Here are some of the articles we’ve come across this week.
Tech Watches You for Digital Symptoms of Brain Disorders – “Seeing an opportunity, a number of startups have devised quantitative methods to diagnose diseases or assess mental health while patients complete routine activities, like talking on a smartphone, typing on a keyboard, or scrolling through a website. Here are three companies that say they can lift the “fingerprints” of mental disorders from people’s mundane behaviors.”
How Tesla and Waymo are tackling a major problem for self-driving cars: data – “Not only are these two companies collecting data at different scales, they’re also collecting different data. Waymo’s self-driving minivans use three different types of LIDAR sensors, five radar sensors, and eight cameras. Tesla’s cars are also heavily kitted out: eight cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and one forward-facing radar.”
Exabytes in a Test Tube: The Case for DNA Data Storage – “It still may not match other data storage options for cost, but DNA has advantages that other options can’t match. Not only is it easily replicated, it also has an ultrahigh storage density—as much as 100 trillion GB per gram.”
Why You Should be Reading Books Every Day, According to Science – “According to the Pew Research Center, more than a quarter–26 percent–of American adults have not read even part of a book within the past year. It’s a shame considering that researchers have found reading is beneficial in many ways.”
Turn Your Wall Into A Touch Screen For $20 – “In a world of smart stuff, there are still plenty of everyday items that are dumb. What would it look like if a piece of paper could become an interface without losing one of its essential characteristics–being cheap enough to throw away? What would happen to our homes if walls functioned as giant touch screens at a reasonable price?”
3 ways to improve your writing through user testing – “User testing has always been one of the best ways to evaluate the effectiveness of a design. And so much of communicating a design is language. Here are a few ways I take user research and specifically apply it to product writing.”
Alexa and the Age of Casual Rudeness – “Now, I could be overreacting. Maybe speaking to Alexa is just programming by another means. It’s too soon to assess what, if anything, speech-driven interfaces will do to children (mine or anyone else’s). But to me, using one’s voice to get what one wants feels qualitatively different from silently inputting commands on a keyboard. Vocalizing one’s authority can be problematic, if done repeatedly and unreflectively—and today’s chatbots and digital assistants encourage a lot more repetition than reflection.”