Just in time for the weekend, we’ve gathered some of the week's most interesting Wi-Fi and Internet-related stories and packaged them up for your reading pleasure.
VR in the ER
VR is staging a big comeback in the gaming world, but it’s also poised to be a major factor in a less-expected space: the operating room (we know the title says ER, it just rhymes better). While it’s common for patients to be conscious during brain surgery, this week marks the first time a patient in France wore a VR headset during the procedure. By creating a controlled, artificial environment, neurosurgeons were able to map specific areas of the brain and perform tests that they previously could not. Because the patient’s vision was a particular concern, they created an environment with “luminous objects” and no single focal point to ensure his sight wouldn’t be impacted.
Just Add a Tiny Starry Station
In Barbie’s 50-some years, she’s held roles as an aerobics instructor, a flight attendant, a doctor, a surgeon... the list goes on. It appears her hard work has paid off, as she’s landed the ultimate (tiny) smart home. The multi-level, Wi-Fi equipped pad can be controlled from an app, and features motion-sensors and voice-enabled commands. Want to go down the elevator? Throw a party? Make pancakes? Simply tell the house, and it takes care of the rest. Barbie’s smart home goes on sale to the general public this fall. It’s still unknown if Ken has gotten his mancave.
An Android tablet is one of the last things you’d expect to find on a New York sidewalk, but that all changes as of this week. On Thursday, some of New York’s new public Wi-Fi hubs, which will begin replacing all of the city’s phone booths, were outfitted with the tablets. They’re intended to let people check emails, make phone calls, look up directions, find out about events in the area, and get other info. In addition to the tablets, the Wi-Fi hubs are also equipped with USB ports to let people charge their phones and other devices. The Wi-Fi signal from the hubs is said to reach an average of 150-feet, though some have shown a signal that travels much further.
Smart is the New Swiss
A Strategy Analytics report shows that smartwatch production outpaced Swiss watch production for the first time. In Q4 2015, there were as many as 8.1M smartwatch shipments, compared to just 7.9M Swiss watch shipments. To put it in perspective, just 1.9M smartwatches were shipped in Q4 2014, only one year earlier; that’s a pretty remarkable increase. If smartwatches are becoming the new norm, does this mean we can just call them watches? Only time will tell.
What were the Wi-Fi stories that helped you procrastinate this week?