Over a year and a half ago, the first fatal crash from a car in fully autonomous mode occurred between an Uber self-driving car and a pedestrian. There was huge controversy and Uber stopped its autonomous vehicle testing in public. However, the National Transportation Safety Board has finished its investigation and released its findings only recently, on November 19. The investigation has concluded that the primary cause for the crash was most likely the person sitting in the car because the person was using their phone and as a result, did not react in time. A camera in the car revealed that he/she was not focused on the road and looked away from the road many times. However, the NTSB also believes that Uber should have had a safety plan and better systems in the car to help prevent this type of accident. They had no way of ensuring that operators of the car would not get distracted or use their phones as an act of complacency, and there were also some features missing such as an emergency brake. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made recommendations to help with the safety of self-driving cars. For example, the administration recommended that companies testing self-driving cars should submit self-assessment reports. It also suggested guidelines for self-driving vehicles. So, overall, the operator of the vehicle is mainly at fault, however, Uber also deserves to take some blame as well.
On October 15th, Google held the annual “Made By Google” event, where the company announced several new devices. Among these include the Pixel 4, Pixelbook Go, and Pixel Buds 2
The new Pixel 4, which looks to build off the success of the previous Pixel 3. Similar to the Pixel 3, the Pixel 4’s main selling point is its camera. This time, the device has two cameras on the back, one of which allows for 2x optical zoom, which allows for much higher quality photos when zooming in than most other phones. Additionally, it features a returning mode called Night Sight, which allows for low-light photography and even allows for astrophotography. The Pixel 3’s camera was one of the best in smartphones, so the Pixel 4’s should be no different. The other features are limited, but the new quick gestures allow for some control of the phone without needing to touch it. One key feature seen in other phones but not implemented into this device is the fingerprint sensor. However, the face unlock is supposed to be quick and secure. Google also claims that the battery is able to last for a full day, and the phone itself should have better performance than the Pixel 3. However, those who have had early access with the phone have mixed feelings about it. There is not a huge improvement from the Pixel 3, and the starting price of $799 is quite high especially considering some other new phones, notably ones by Apple and Samsung, have better performance and more innovative features. The phone is set to be released on October 24.
Source: Business Insider
The Pixelbook Go, which is a more budget-oriented version of Google’s Pixelbook which was released in 2017, will start at $649 and is a very portable laptop. It features touchscreen and twelve hours of battery life, according to Google.The actual specifications are not amazing, but the laptop uses Chrome OS, so it will not matter too much. It is a good alternative for users who want to buy a higher-end, portable laptop. The Pixel Buds 2 will be released in Spring 2020, but they will address the problems that caused the previous generation ones to receive unfavorable reviews, such as bluetooth connectivity issues. They will start at $179.
Overall, the “Made By Google Event” introduced some new devices that could help the company better compete with some of the other established companies, though with the limited changes to some of the devices, they may not be the most innovative.and noteworthy.
Source: Chrome Unboxed
Just one month after Samsung had its Galaxy Unpacked event, Apple had its Keynote event on September 10. During the event, there were new updates on the iPhone 11, Apple Watch Series 5, and new iPad.
The new iPhone series features the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Surprisingly, the iPhone 11 starts at $699, and trading in an old iPhone will give a discount. This is a drop in price from the $999 iPhone X and $749 iPhone XR from last year. The iPhone 11 comes in six different colors: black, white, yellow, purple, green, and red. Additionally, it has two cameras on the back, which will make photo quality much better and allow a wide-angle photography mode. Another feature is the ability to shoot in 4K video. All of the phones feature a new A13 Bionic processor which is supposed to be one of the best on any smartphone in terms of performance. It also supposedly increases battery life by several hours. There are a plethora of other smaller features, and the phone will likely be shipped with the newest software, IOS 13. The iPhone 11 Pro adds an ultrawide camera, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max is similar to the Pro but has a bigger screen size. The iPhone 11 Pro starts at $999 and the iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at $1099.
The Apple Watch Series 5 also has updated features from the previous generation Apple Watch. Among these features are the always-on retina display, which keeps the watch display always on, but is especially bright when looking at it. Additionally, it has a compass and switchable bands, but besides that, not much is different. The watch starts at $399. The new iPad is similar to the previous generation but it has better specs and is 10.2 inches. It will start at $329. These new devices will likely all be popular, but the reduced price and new features of the iPhones specifically could make them a huge success.
Early this August, Samsung hosted its Galaxy Unpacked event, where the company showcased its upcoming devices: the Galaxy Note 10 series, the Galaxy Watch Active 2, the Galaxy Tab S6, and the Galaxy Book S. However, the gadgets that have gained the most attention are those in the Note 10 series. These include the normal Note 10 and Note 10+, as well as the 5G version of the 10+. The most notable, new features of the devices include a better screen, performance, and camera. The phones feature a bigger display and thinner design. The front-facing camera is positioned at the center towards the top of the screen, but it is small so it is not as noticeable as some other phones that include a camera on the screen itself. The phone has a triple camera setup on the back, and videos taken on the phone have interesting features. Such features are the zoom-in microphone which amplifies sound as you zoom in and the super steady camera which acts as a video stabilizer. The phone also includes a stylus, similar to previous Note devices. To accommodate other components, Samsung has finally been forced to remove the headphone jack, which is a controversial move since the company used to mock Apple in its commercials for removing the headphone jack on its phones. The Note 10+ has better specifications than the Note 10 but starts at $1100 instead of $950, which is the price of the regular Note 10. The 5G version starts at $1300.
Source: The Verge
The other upcoming device that is the most popular and interesting is the Galaxy Book S. This ultralight, 13.3-inch laptop runs Windows 10 and connects with LTE. It is also able to connect with a phone to allow one to receive phone notifications and text through the laptop. It is also reportedly able to run for twenty-three hours on a single charge. The actual specs of the laptop seem to be good, though they may be a bit underwhelming considering it is rumored to be priced at $900 to $1000. This device definitely could be a step in the right direction for Samsung, as it seems to be a big upgrade from the previous generations of the Galaxy Book, which were not received very favorably by critics. All the new devices add to the improving Samsung ecosystem, but consumers may wonder if the upgrades are worth it.
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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