Tag Archive: Apple

  1. Apple Acquires Self-Driving Car Startup Drive.ai

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    Image from Pixabay

    Apple has bought Drive.ai, one of the most promising self-driving startups in California, who wasn’t doing very good recently and was actually close to ceasing operations altogether. Maybe this was the very reason that Apple decided to go forward with the acquisition, as this was the right time to strike a good deal. Drive.ai was established in 2015 in Mountain View, and quickly grew into an expert in the field of AI-based self-driving systems for regular cars. Drive.ai’s units are independent of the vehicle, and can turn any car into an autonomously driven one through simple and relatively inexpensive modifications.

    Why does Apple need such a system? The Cupertino tech giant has been running a project codenamed “Titan” for at least five years now, with the goal being to develop a self-driving electric car. While the rumors about Apple have been rampant for quite some time, the particular project was disclosed in 2018, so the associated research and development goals were publicly confirmed. In the start of the year, Apple laid off more than 200 engineers from the Titan, so uncertainty engulfed the project. As some noticed on Linkedin last month, there have been new members joining in with several Drive.ai employees changing to “Apple” employees and stating that they’re now working on special projects that are underpinned by data analytics, software engineering, and system development. Most of these people are hardware and software engineers, so Apple clearly has something going.

    In spite of these developments being publicized, Apple is not keen to share more details about their Titan project, when to expect the first prototype, and what level of autonomy they’re after. Drive.ai’s kits promise the withdrawal of the need for the “safety driver”, but how close this is to reality remains to be seen. According to BBC reports, Apple is currently operating a test fleet of 66 driver-less cars that roam around Cupertino, so these are bound to get the Drive.ai kits and hit the road for a new round of testing.

  2. Apple Watch Will Soon Protect Your Hearing

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    Source: Apple

    The Apple Watch was at first thought to be a replacement for your smartphone, but through the years, it has become a different breed of a smart gadget. Thanks to the plethora of sensors it possesses, the Apple Watch is mostly marketed as a fitness device, but in recent years it also became a potent health tool. With this smartwatch, you can now monitor your heart rate for heart-related diseases, and soon, you can also use it to protect your hearing.

    Apple already announced that in the new watchOS 6 operating system, available for all generations of their Watch smart wearable, there will be a new app called Noise. This app will continuously monitor the surrounding area for noise via the built-in microphone and notify the user if the sound might be damaging to the ears. More precisely, the app will track how long the user is exposed to various levels of noise intensity. That said, the app might show higher or lower readings in windy areas or immediately after the Watch was used in water.

    The user can choose what those intensity levels are in the settings of the app, but Apple already has set recommended parameters according to suggestions from the World Health Organization, which are:

    • 80 decibels up to five hours per day.
    • 85 decibels up to two hours per day.
    • 90 decibels up to 30 minutes per day.
    • 95 decibels up to minutes per day.
    • 100 decibels up to three minutes per day.

    This nifty app could be a great addition to the Apple Watch, especially for those that spend most of their time outdoors. Sure, most people are already aware of heightened sound levels on concerts, but you’d be surprised how much noise there is on the street. According to some measurements, a busy street sits at around 70 dBA, while a noisy restaurant might even go to 80 dBA.

    As with all Apple services, Noise will respect the privacy of the user, and it will not record any sound. 

  3. Apple Watch Can Be Used For Detection of Certain Heart Diseases

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    Apple Watch can be used for detection of certain heart diseases

    The Apple Watch is an amazing product, especially in terms of how it can monitor your body. Thanks to the plethora of sensors it possesses, it can be a very powerful tool for medicinal purposes, apart from the already excellent fitness use. In order to show its health prowess, a team of Stanford scientists, helped by Apple, made a study with over 419,000 participants that used the Apple Watch. More precisely, they monitored their hearts via the sensors inside the watch in order to find an irregular pulse or some other heart diseases.

    After conducting the study, which lasted around eight months, they founded that 0.5% of the people (around 2,000) have an irregular pulse. Apple and Stanford than used these findings to tell the users about their heart condition via a notification on their watches. In order to prove that the result is positive, a full medical-grade examination using ECG patch was made on one-third of the participants, and it was found that they have atrial fibrillation. Perhaps even more important, 57% of the people notified sought medical attention after they saw the flag.

    This study shows that wearables can be very helpful in detecting certain heart diseases, only with the help of a regular optical heart rate monitor. This sensor is used in the first three generations of Apple Watch, but also many other smartwatches and wearables from companies like Samsung and Huawei. Interestingly, the fourth generation of the Apple Watch already has ECG monitor built-in, which can detect the same pulse irregularities.

    In spite of that, researchers still think that this study is very important – “The results of the Apple Heart Study highlight the potential role that innovative digital technology can play in creating more predictive health care,” said Lloyd Minor of the Stanford School of Medicine, adding “Atrial fibrillation is just the beginning, as this study opens the door to further research into wearable technologies and how they might be used to prevent disease before it strikes”.