Innovation

Alias Voice Assistant Parasite

Bjørn Karmann and Tore Knudsen have created Alias, a parasite smart device that can be used to stop your voice assistant device from spying on you. The DIY device deafens the assistant's microphone with white noise, and only stops when alias hears you speak the device's wake word. Alias then cuts the white noise and relays a recording of the wake word to the assistant, allowing it to work as intended. Details on how to build the alias device are available on Instructables.

24.9 Billion Pixel Shanghai

The government of Shanghai commissioned a 24.9 Billion Pixel photograph of the city by BigPixel. The fidelity and scale of the image is incredible, from the top of a skyscraper you can zoom into leaves on a tree! I dare you not to spend time zooming in and exploring, and just when I thought I had had enough, I realised that the image is 360 degrees, you can turn around and see the rest of the city!

Insect Cam

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have developed a 1.4mm thick camera prototype. The novel ultra-slim camera design is based on the eye structure of the xenos peckii parastic insect, which consists of a series of micro-prisms that sit above a set of microlenses.

Softday Uisce Salach

Art-Science duo Softday have launched a new community art project called Uisce Salach (Dirty Water) based on water analyses from domestic water supplies from the River Liffey, its tributaries in Dublin City and from Dublin Port. The project will synergise science and arts practice using water sampling and creative technology, developing new thinking and new meaning around the sustainability of water resources.

Plant Power

Researchers at the Centre for Micro-Bio Robotics of IIT in Pontedera in Italy have discovered that certain plants generate electricity when touched that can power up to 100 LEDs (150V) per leaf. The leaves gather electric charges on their surface as a result of contact electrification and transmit the current directly to the stem of the plant, which can then be harvested. the researchers built a hybrid Nerum oleander tree with artificial leaves that touch the natural leaves and generate electricity.

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