Four years ago, the popular consumer electronics company, Bose, released one of the most critically acclaimed noise-cancelling headphones, the QuietComfort 35 II. Although other companies such as Sony have released headphones with more modern features and designs, the QC35 II headphones still are some of the most widely used. However, on June 30, Bose finally released an updated model of headphones called the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 to compete with other headphones gaining popularity.
These new headphones offer a big redesign; most of the materials used are different and the headphones appear much more minimal. Most of the new features in the headphones are similar to what we see in other headphones that are popular. For example, the touchpad on the side of the headphones used to control volume, pause songs, and skip tracks is similar to what is seen on Sony’s WH-1000XM3 headphones. The Bose 700 headphones also come with an accompanying mobile application that can control settings for them, another feature found in other headphones. The sound quality is reportedly similar to the QuietComfort 35 headphones, however, most people buying these headphones will be focused on the noise-cancelling performance. In that area, Bose delivers. There are up to eleven different levels of noise-cancellation, and when making phone calls or using a digital assistant such as Siri, microphones inside the headphones will block incoming noise. This feature is especially useful for taking phone calls in busy areas. The Bose 700 headphones are a clear upgrade from the QC35, but whether they are better or not than their main competitor, the Sony WH-1000XM3, is up for debate. The Bose 700 headphones do cost more at a starting price of $400, which could make the difference for consumers. However, only time will tell whether or not these headphones will have the same success and longevity that the QC35 headphones did.
Source: Business Insider
Bose Quiet Comfort 35 (left) and Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (right)
On June 3, Apple announced the updated Mac Pro, which is scheduled to release this fall. The last generation Mac Pro was released nearly six years ago, and before that the first generation ones were released in 2006 to 2012. The Mac Pro is Apple’s most powerful computer out of the iMac, iMac Pro, and Mac mini. However, it comes at a big price; it will start at $5,999 and can go for much more than that depending on the specs the consumer chooses. At the price point, most people will not be buying it for personal use, but instead will likely be used by musicians, filmmakers, etc. The monitor designed to go with the Mac Pro is also very high-end, as it will have 6K resolution. This monitor is called the Pro Display XDR and will also be released in fall with the Mac Pro. The base model will cost $4,999, and even the stand for the monitor itself will cost $999, following the theme of high-expense. The Mac Pro will be able to have up to 1.5 TB of RAM. For comparison, most laptops hold 8 MB of RAM. One thing people are criticizing besides the price is the non-compatibility with Nvidia graphics cards. Nvidia graphics cards are known for being some of the best, but Apple does not use them. This is interesting because some who may be interested in the Mac Pro may need it for graphics-intensive programs, and Windows computers support Nvidia graphics cards. It may not make that much of a difference, but it could still potentially lead some to opt for a different computer. However, it will be interesting to see the perception of the Mac Pro when it is released.
Source: The Verge
Recently, the renowned audio product company, Beats, released a new product called the Powerbeats Pro. These earphones are following the trend by being completely wireless, similar to the Apple Airpods 2 and Samsung Galaxy Buds. While Beats is known for being a polarizing company, the Powerbeats Pro have received great reviews since its release.
Because Beats is owned by Apple, the Powerbeats Pro have several features similar to the Airpods and work best on Apple devices. For example, it uses the Apple H1 chip, meaning pairing the device with an Apple device is much quicker and it is possible to use Siri voice commands through it. However, it will still work fine with non-Apple devices as well. The earphones have received praise for its comfort and bass. Additionally, they are sweat and water resistant while also providing nine hours of listening time and over twenty-four hours of listening time when using the included charging case. This charging case is also able to provide up to ninety minutes of playtime after charging for five minutes when the battery is low. While the headphones do have many benefits, there are some drawbacks as well. Similar to many other Beats products, they are on the expensive side, costing around $250. Beats products typically are more expensive in part due to the celebrity branding; the company was co-founded by rapper Dr. Dre and endorses many celebrities and athletes such as LeBron James. Another drawback is the portability - the carrying case is very large compared to those of other earphones. Besides that though, overall, the Powerbeats Pro have been receiving positive reviews so far. However, it will be interesting to see if they can grow more popular than the Apple Airpods 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Buds.
Just under a week ago, astronomers were able to capture an image of a black hole through much analysis and special telescopes. The image is significant in the science community, as it confirms the existence of black holes, which was predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity. It took nearly two years of analysis of images of the constellation Virgo to obtain these images. Analysis revealed that this black hole is located inside the galaxy known as Messier 87, which is over 53 million light years from Earth. The black hole is classified as supermassive, meaning it can be up to a billion times the mass of the Sun. The image was created by the Event Horizon Telescope, a virtual telescope consisting of a global network of eight radio telescopes. The telescope used interferometry, which means that the eight radio telescopes combined observations into one image. This arrangement allowed for the virtual telescope, which gathered over five petabytes of data in 2017. To put this in perspective, one petabyte is over a million gigabytes, which is why it took two years of analysis to find the image. The ring in the image appears to show the event horizon, which is the point where once passed, nothing can escape due to gravitational pull being so strong. However, it is actually the black hole’s shadow. This image is significant, and as Charles Alcock, director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said, “This is the first time we have an image of a black hole itself. This is a remarkable confirmation of more than a century of theoretical work”.
As this year’s generation of phones are beginning to release, Samsung officially released its new set of Galaxy phones on March 8th after being available for pre-order since late February. The three phones the company released are the Galaxy S10, S10E, and S10+. These three premium phones make huge advancements from the company’s previous generation of phones, and also introduce features not seen in any other phones.
The S10 features a brand new design. On the front, there are almost no bezels on the S10 and S10+. These phones have high-resolution, big screens as well as edges that wrap around the phone’s sides - one of the trademark features of Samsung phones. On the cheaper S10e however, the bezels are larger and there are no curved edges. On all the three phones, a distinguishing feature is the “hole-punch camera”. In efforts to maximize the screen size and remove the bezels, these phones have their cameras in the top-right of the screen, which some prefer while others do not.
One of the best features on the S10 and S10+ are the under screen fingerprint sensors. For many phones, there is a sensor on the back of the phone where you can unlock your phone using your fingerprint. However, with the S10 and S10+, users can unlock their phones by putting their finger on the screen, since the sensors are under the screens. While this feature is on some other phones as well, what isn’t is the technology used alongside these sensors. The S10 and S10+ use an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, while other companies using in-screen fingerprint readers use optical scanners. The difference is mainly in security. The optic sensors used in other devices take a 2D photo of your fingerprint, while the ultrasonic fingerprint scanners bounce sound waves off the finger to detect the fingerprint. This is much more secure and also supposed to be faster. The S10e, however, has a scanner on the side of the phone instead.
The S10+ and S10 also have three cameras on the back, while the S10e has two. Finally, another new feature is wireless powersharing. This feature allows other compatible devices to charge its battery by putting it on the back of the phone. This is a feature that is exciting and will be able to work with Samsung’s new wireless Galaxy Buds, as well as other phones. While these phones are great, they do cost a lot. The S10e starts at $749, the S10 starts at $899, and the S10+ costs $1000. Overall, the new Samsung phones are breakthrough devices that make drastic changes as well as exciting new features, that we hope to see in other phones coming out later this year.
Source: Samsung Newsroom
One topic that intrigues us in the constructivist learning theory, due to its unconventional yet exciting learning experiences. The constructivist learning theory states that people construct their learning and understanding of the world through their past experiences. Classrooms can implement this learning strategy through experiments and more hands-on learning rather than lectures. As a result of this, students are able to reflect on these experiments with classmates. The constructivist learning theory places a big emphasis on collaboration with peers and also communication with the teacher to enhance the learning. Rather than having students do the experiments individually, they instead are encouraged to work with peers to share ideas and learn from everyone’s experiences. Students work with data and different sources as part of their experience.
Constructivist learning can be a huge benefit because it helps students with problem-solving and communication skills. While there is some guidance from a teacher, students are usually responsible for designing experiments and interpreting results, which is how it can help improve problem-solving. Additionally, constructivist learning can help students understand the real-world applications of the skills they are learning rather than just the theory. In typical classrooms, teachers may lecture and have students take notes, which can help with learning the concepts, but not the application of them or why they are important. This also makes the lessons more engaging and enjoyable for students than the traditional approach to learning. Overall, constructivist learning could be very beneficial and gain more traction if more classes employ it.
Message from the team:
STEAM Team is forming a Tech Team! We need a team of backend and frontend developers to work on a new project we're starting up. This project will entail developing a website to be used by both groups of STEAM Team: the elementary school liaisons (principals, teachers, whoever is in contact with the club from the school), and the high school clubs.
It will be a communication platform designed to connect elementary schools looking to adopt STEAM Team programs and high school clubs that offer them. The purpose is to centralize the communication and initial connection aspect of STEAM Team on an online platform.
**PLEASE NOTE: We are only looking for backend developers at the moment. If this is not something you feel confident that you can do given your abilities, we apologize, but we ask that you not apply for this position at the moment.
The link to the application can be found here.
We look forward to reading your applications!
It’s that time of year again where new and exciting products are being showcased in the annual CES event. Big companies are displaying some of the new technology that is to be released in the future. One such product is LG’s 4K TV that rolls up and down from a base. This TV was announced last year, but now LG is finally going to start selling them. Not only is it extremely thin, but it’s rolling feature allows the TV to blend in seamlessly with the rest of the room, all while maintaining a 4K resolution. When you want to use it, the TV slowly rises up from a rectangular prism. When done using it, the TV slides down into this “box”. Although exciting, its price is expected to be very high - close to ten thousand dollars. This is a glaring problem to the regular consumer, but is still cool to see as it could pave the path for future TV’s.
Another product showcased at CES was Samsung’s Bot Care robot. This robot, which does not have an expected release date yet, helps monitor the health of people. From what was seen at CES, the robot is able to read blood pressure and heart rate simply by placing a finger on a screen. The robot will then report these and note if they are within normal levels. There are also other features as well that help with the health of people. Because the robot is not too big, this product could be useful for elderly people at home. Additionally, it could be useful in hospitals as well, since having many of these would make it convenient to track the basic health of patients. While this product may not be released soon, it has the potential of being very beneficial and useful. Overall, CES showcased many great pieces of technology that we should keep an eye out for in the future.
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