MIT’s CSAIL lab has just taken its very cool but kinda creepy WiFi motion tracking to a new level: monitoring your vital signs from another room. Last we saw, the same researchers bounced low-powered WiFi signals (100x less than a home router) off of individuals to finely track their position behind a wall. The resulting 10cm (four inch) precision was nothing compared to what they can now do, however. Fancier algorithms enabled the system to approximate subjects’ volumes within millimeters, and then calculate their breathing level by amplifying and observing the subtle changes over time. From breathing levels, the researchers could extrapolate heart rate with 99 percent accuracy – something foreshadowed uncannily by earlier research. The tech may lead to non-invasive vital sign monitoring, more advanced baby monitors and other, more sinister, applications.
Read the full story at Engadget.
It’s become clear that the biggest risk to the future of the multibillion-dollar football industry is the high-impact sport’s propensity for giving its athletes concussions. There have already been 29 football-related deaths in 2013, 16 of them attributed to brain injuries. After being blamed for years of denial, the National Football League has agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to compensate former players with brain injuries and to fund research, and it’s also working to change the rules of the game. And at the other end of the spectrum, American youth football enrollment is dropping, with parents citing the risk of concussions as the reason they aren’t signing up their kids. So why is this a tech story? One way to manage risks and concerns is to get better data about them, and some companies are producing wearable devices that measure players’ brain activity during games.
Read the full story at All Things D.
Going all the way back to the venerable eMac, Apple has produced a low-price version of its iMac for educational institutions. This year is no different. Apple is now offering a new education-only version of the all-in-one featuring many of the improvements from 2012′s model, but at $1,099 it costs $200 less than the entry-level model available to the general public. You will give up quite a bit of hardware to save that money, though. Compared to the $1,299 model, the list of downgrades runs thusly: You get a dual-core 3.3GHz Core i3 CPU, instead of a quad-core 2.5GHz Core i5 CPU. You get 4GB of RAM spread across two 2GB sticks, instead of 8GB of RAM in two 4GB sticks. You get an integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics processor, instead of the dedicated Nvidia GeForce 640M. You get a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive, instead of a 1TB 5400RPM hard drive.
Read the full story at Ars Technica.