UK hospital uses VR to ease kids’ nerves before an MRI

 

Magnetic resonance imaging, most common known as an MRI for short, can be a frightening experience, especially for kids. The process involves lying down on a narrow bed, sliding into the middle of a donut-shaped machine, and being bombarded by loud banging noises as the machine goes to work. To help ease children’s nerves before their first MRI, a hospital in the United Kingdom has developed a virtual reality app for kids to watch and prepare themselves for their procedure. The Kings College Hospital in London this week launched an Android app to be used with virtual reality headsets such as the Google Cardboard. In it, kids can look around the room in 360-degree view and listen as the video explains what to expect when they check into the hospital and get taken to the imaging room.

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Air pollution masks – fashion’s next statement?

 

Yesterday saw the launch of M90, an “urban breathing mask” created by the Swedish company Airinum and sold in more than 50 countries. Face masks are already a common sight in Asian countries, although the cheap washable cotton rectangles rarely perform well in tests. Surgical masks, the type usually worn by doctors, have tended to fare better – but are still largely ineffectual. The market for pricier, more attractive masks has been growing steadily in the past few years. Sales are not notable but Freka, a British brand, had the monopoly for a while. And rightly so, given that they tapped into the trend for minimal sportswear, almost Céline-like in design, seeking to become more of a background accessory than anything stand-out.

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Do we still need Doctor Who? Time travel in the internet age

 

Most people, Wells wrote – “the predominant type, the type of the majority of living people” – never think about the future. Or, if they do, they regard it “as a sort of blank nonexistence upon which the advancing present will presently write events”. The more modern sort of person – “the creative, organising, or masterful type” – sees the future as our very reason for being: “Things have been, says the legal mind, and so we are here. The creative mind says we are here because things have yet to be.” Wells, of course, hoped to personify that creative, forward-looking type.

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Google is helping H&M construct a custom dress based on your personal data

 

Google is teaming up with H&M Group’s digital fashion house Ivyrevel in an attempt to make data fashionable. The two companies are working together on an Android app that’ll track wherever users go, the weather where they live, and whether they’re having casual or formal hangs. With that information, Ivyrevel will design an individualized “data dress” users can buy. How exactly will the dress visualize data? It’s not totally clear, but based off images, it seems the dress will be fitted for formal or casual occasions and then details on it will be attributed to certain things. So because it’s cold in Sweden, the dress will be made of black velvet, and because the wearer likes to go out dancing, it’ll have diamond details. I guess this kind of makes sense. You just have to have a liberal interpretation of data and be willing to use your imagination

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Net ​nostalgia: the online museums preserving dolphin gifs and spinning Comic Sans

 

Scott is interested in conserving the stuff we have forgotten has value. Increasingly, our culture plays itself out on the internet, yet even now we have a tendency to view what we do on there as trivial. Or we make the mistake of assuming that digital means for ever. “The problem is, the internet’s systems have been designed as though everything goes on indefinitely,” he says. “There are no agreed-upon shutdown procedures. When users die, what do you do? Because their accounts live on, and suddenly Facebook is telling you your dead friend also likes Snickers bars. Often, you don’t even know who’s running a site. It’s as if you didn’t know who was in charge of your water supply; then one day, it just stopped …”

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Here are Facebook’s marketing tips for exploiting lonely people

 

Facebook has some advice for brands on how to get their marketing messages to resonate with newly single people. In a blog post today, the company expounded on ways in which single people act in the wild and on the internet, as well as ways to capitalize on their sad, sad lives

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What’s the future of interaction?

 

The proliferation of connected devices, especially the Internet of Things, was spurred by access to cheap parts. Anyone can now affordably slap a chip, accelerometer, gyroscope, and 3D-printed shell together to build something smart. But they still face one major challenge: how to give users control of their brand-new thing. Some manufacturers opt for a smartphone app; others build a touchscreen control panel right into their gadget. The touchscreen is easy, affordable, and involves no user learning curve. But still, the touchscreen presents its own problems.

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Swedish supermarkets replace sticky labels with laser marking

 

The humble fruit sticker may seem an unlikely cause for environmental concern but removing it from produce could create huge savings in plastic, energy and CO2 emissions. In response to consumer demand for less packaging, Dutch fruit and veg supplier Nature & More and Swedish supermarket ICA have joined forces to run a trial to replace sticky labels on organic avocados and sweet potatoes with a laser mark. M&S are also using it on coconuts in the UK. Dubbed “natural branding”, the technique uses a strong light to remove pigment from the skin of produce. The mark is invisible once skin is removed and doesn’t affect shelf life or eating quality.

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How statistics lost their power – and why we should fear what comes next

 

Rather than diffusing controversy and polarisation, it seems as if statistics are actually stoking them. Antipathy to statistics has become one of the hallmarks of the populist right, with statisticians and economists chief among the various “experts” that were ostensibly rejected by voters in 2016. Not only are statistics viewed by many as untrustworthy, there appears to be something almost insulting or arrogant about them. Reducing social and economic issues to numerical aggregates and averages seems to violate some people’s sense of political decency. Nowhere is this more vividly manifest than with immigration. The thinktank British Future has studied how best to win arguments in favour of immigration and multiculturalism. One of its main findings is that people often respond warmly to qualitative evidence, such as the stories of individual migrants and photographs of diverse communities. But statistics – especially regarding alleged benefits of migration to Britain’s economy – elicit quite the opposite reaction. People assume that the numbers are manipulated and dislike the elitism of resorting to quantitative evidence. Presented with official estimates of how many immigrants are in the country illegally, a common response is to scoff. Far from increasing support for immigration, British Future found, pointing to its positive effect on GDP can actually make people more hostile to it. GDP itself has come to seem like a Trojan horse for an elitist liberal agenda. Sensing this, politicians have now largely abandoned discussing immigration in economic terms.

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Mossberg: Lousy ads are ruining the online experience

 

Last Saturday, as the New England Patriots were sloppily beating the Houston Texans 34–16 in a playoff game, I wanted to look at the highlight video of a play using the NFL app on my iPad. To watch that 14-second clip, I had to suffer through a 30-second ad for something so irrelevant to me that I can’t even recall what it was. The length and content of that video ad Saturday was, in my view, way out of proportion to the length and value of the clip itself. And that’s just one small example of why the advertising-supported model online is broken, and is threatening the whole online content experience with it.

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