Home & Leisure News and Discussions

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Home & Leisure News and Discussions

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Home & Leisure News and Discussions

This thread covers technology in the home, the latest gadgets and appliances, gaming, entertainment, retail, restaurants and food, outdoor activities, textiles, wearables and so on.

More specific and indepth coverage of particular subjects will be found in other threads.


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Yuli Ban
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Are we ready for our smart home devices to become truly "smart"?
For decades, the smart home has been a mainstay in pop culture, from Disney's 1999 flick "Smart House," in which an artificially intelligent home takes on the personality of a domineering mother, to the retro high-tech home of "The Jetsons." The 1960s cartoon offered a view of domestic life a century later, from a grooming room that combs your hair and brushes your teeth, to the ever-attentive and overworked Rosie, the robot maid.
Some of the Jetsons' housewares and furnishings, such as the bed that ejected the occupant like a piece of toast, are still a pipe dream. But 60 years later, we've got their smart watches and (comparatively primitive) digital assistants.
In our homes, devices like Google Nest identify friends or strangers at the door, while Philips Hue lights can be programmed to shift their color based on our circadian clocks. When we plan meals for the week, Samsung's Family Hub refrigerator photographs what's left in the fridge and makes suggestions based on our diets. If there are unusual sounds in our homes (like the cat lazily knocking a drinking glass to the floor), Amazon's Alexa alerts us. In 2020, Samsung also teased a forthcoming robot companion named Ballie, that can roll around like BB-8 from "Star Wars" and help operate our smart home devices.

For the most part, we still explicitly direct our devices on how best to serve us, but that's about to change, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor Joseph A. Paradiso, who directs the MIT Media Lab's Responsive Environments group.
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We may not have the living room of "The Jetsons" yet, but over the past decade, integrated smart devices have become a mainstay in our homes. Credit: leanza abucayan/cnn
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Google explains how Matter smart home tech will work on Nest and Android
May 21, 2021

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Google, Amazon and Apple are among the tech giants pioneering an effort to ensure smart home products share an infrastructure that’ll work across platforms.

The new Matter standard will mean those smartening up their homes won’t need to be so concerned about whether the product supports the individual protocols that underpin the major platforms. The overall goal is to boost interoperability among the best smart home devices making it into people’s domiciles.

The hope is that the standard will make it easier for third-party manufacturers to make products that support Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, as well as any emerging voice assistants. The alliance says it wants reliable and secure smart home tech that will enable devices to “work seamlessly together today and tomorrow.” It says it has support from across the industry and Samsung’s SmartThings will also be adopting the standard.
Android Matter

During Google I/O, the company revealed it is bringing the Matter protocol – launching later this year – to Nest and Android, with the company saying it’ll be easier and faster to set-up and pair new devices and link others. As well as that, Google is ensuring devices like the Nest Wi-Fi, Nest Hub (2nd-gen) and Nest Hub Max, as well as the thermostats and smart speakers will act as Matter ‘hubs’.
https://www.trustedreviews.com/news/goo ... id-4139289
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Disney closing 100 cable channels
Disney is set to close 100 of its cable television channels this year as it continues its move towards a streaming future.

Speaking at JPMorgan’s annual Global Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Conference, The Walt Disney Company’s Chief Executive, Bob Chapek, revealed the plans to shut down the international channels in favour of placing its Disney+ streaming service at the forefront.

He added that “when the time is right to really stomp on the gas”, the Disney will “go even stronger into our direct-to-consumer platforms for sports”.

“We closed 30 channels in Fiscal Year 2020 or in 2020. We plan to close 100 in 2021,” Chapek said. “We will continue at a robust rate […] the great majority of that content will migrate to Disney+. The decisions that we make in individual channels and individual markets, and the timing of such, are sort of framed up by existing deals […] some of the constraints we’ve got there. But as you can see, that continues to be a core strategy for us as we pivot toward direct-to-consumer.”
https://advanced-television.com/2021/05 ... -channels/
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This New Smart Sprinkler 'Prints' Water — and Investors Are Noticing
May 29, 2021

Maintaining landscaping in the face of droughts has gotten more difficult for homeowners, especially those in heavy-hit areas like California. About 60,000 gallons of water are wasted on outdoor use per home due to issues like inefficient, overlapping sprinkler systems, and in high water cost areas those homeowners spend between $600-$1,200 a year on wasted water. That spells bad news for drought-ridden areas and homeowner's wallets.

But as technology gets smarter, so do options for watering a lawn. Irrigreen is the smart, digital sprinkler system that cuts water usage and water bills up to 50 percent. As homeowners look for a way around waste and high water usage, Irrigreen offers them a system that could disrupt the $6 billion landscaping industry with a smart, thriftier way to keep landscaping lush and water bills low.

Investors took notice as this green company made a splash on the smart home tech market. Silicon Valley investors have put up $4.9 million already. With more than 340 installations since launch plus six issued patents, Irrigreen is looking to expand with backing from sharp-eyed tech investors.
https://www.chron.com/business/article/ ... 212247.php
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.” - Steven Moffat
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MIT's world-first digital fabric can collect, store and process data
By Nick Lavars
June 03, 2021
https://newatlas.com/wearables/mits-wor ... cess-data/
While the fabrics we wear today might keep us warm and protect us from the elements, scientists continue to demonstrate how they might soon do far more than that. MIT scientist Yoel Fink has been at the cutting edge of this field for more than a decade and has just made a significant breakthrough, demonstrating the first ever digital fabric-fiber that can store and process information, among other some other exciting functions.

From stretchable fabrics that power wearables with sweat, to shirts that harvest energy from movement, and weavable LED fibers that could form wearable displays, the field of smart textiles is one brimming with exciting possibilities. Fink and his colleagues demonstrated an interesting one way back in 2010, developing fibers that detect sound and can be woven into fabric to turn it into a sensitive microphone.

Fink's team has now broken further ground in this area. They describe the electronic fibers that have been developed so far as analog, in that they can carry a continuous electrical signal but not digital information, which would be processed in 0s and 1s. To bring this kind of capability to textile fibers, the MIT team had to get creative.
weatheriscool
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Atom swapping could lead to ultra-bright, flexible next generation LEDs
https://phys.org/news/2021-06-atom-swap ... xible.html
by Sarah Collins, University of Cambridge

An international group of researchers has developed a new technique that could be used to make more efficient low-cost light-emitting materials which are flexible and can be printed using ink-jet techniques.

The researchers, led by the University of Cambridge and the Technical University of Munich, found that by swapping one out of every one thousand atoms of one material for another, they were able to triple the luminescence of a new material class of light emitters known as halide perovskites.

This 'atom swapping', or doping, causes the charge carriers to get stuck in a specific part of the material's crystal structure, where they recombine and emit light. The results, reported in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, could be useful for low-cost printable and flexible LED lighting, displays for smartphones or cheap lasers.
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Yuli Ban
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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future
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Future washable smart clothes powered by Wi-Fi will monitor your health
Purdue University engineers have developed a method to transform existing cloth items into battery-free wearables resistant to laundry. These smart clothes are powered wirelessly through a flexible, silk-based coil sewn on the textile.
In the near future, all your clothes will become smart. These smart cloths will outperform conventional passive garments, thanks to their miniaturized electronic circuits and sensors, which will allow you to seamlessly communicate with your phone, computer, car and other machines. This smart clothing will not only make you more productive but also check on your health status and even call for help if you suffer an accident. The reason why this smart clothing is not all over your closet yet is that the fabrication of this smart clothing is quite challenging, as clothes need to be periodically washed and electronics despise water.


Off topic rant, but I just wanted to talk about this for a moment. The full title of this article is "Forget wearables: Future washable smart clothes powered by Wi-Fi will monitor your health."
I do hate these "Forget [X]" headlines as if these incremental updates that are often vaporware are actually going to lead to a massive seachange. Not a single time it's ever been used has it added anything other than a sense that the article's been paid off and is trying to sell a product. Worse than that: at's usually a sign what's in the article isn't a very big deal. The only thing in recent memory that deserves a "Forget [X]" series of headlines is mRNA therapy/vaccine tech. Ironically I haven't seen any such headlines! If there are some, I don't care because like I said, that's an actual technological development that likely will kill off old vaccine technology so it makes more sense. But things like "Forget carbon nanotubes. Super-graphene is going to change the world" or "Forget stem cell therapy. 3D printed organs are going to change the world" get on my nerves. It's just a tiny annoyance but it's been bothering me for years. No, I'm not going to forget [X]. Stop telling me to forget stuff.
And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future
caltrek
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Post by caltrek »

Normally, one thinks of this thread as a show case for technological improvements that may show up in our homes. Here is a news story with a decidedly dystopian twist. Let us hope that strict adherence to building codes will keep future tragic stories like this to a minimum.

First Lawsuit Filed Against Champlain Towers After Partial Surfside Building Collapse

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/1s ... uxbndlbing

Introduction:
(MSN) A class action lawsuit has been filed in the 11th Circuit Court against the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association in Surfside by a resident who owns property in the building, the first suit filed after Thursday's partial collapse that left at least four people dead.

The lawsuit was filed by the Brad Sohn Law Firm, on behalf of plaintiff Manuel Drezner and "others similarly situated" at 11:29 p.m. on Thursday evening, hours after the partial collapse of the 12-story condo building in the town of Surfside.

The suit seeks $5 million in damages "due to Defendant's acts and omissions and their failure to properly protect the lives and property of Plaintiff and Class members."

The lawsuit continues saying that the condo association "disregarded the rights of Plaintiff and Class members by intentionally, willfully, recklessly, or negligently doing the following: failing to take adequate and reasonable measures to ensure the safety and protection of its residents and their property, failing to disclose to its residents and visitors that it did not have adequate safety measures in place to safeguard occupants of Champlain Towers South, failing to take available steps to prevent the catastrophic collapse of the building, and failing to monitor the building and activities that led to the collapse of the building, among other things."

The cause of the collapse remains under investigation and officials say it will likely take months before we know the actual cause.
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