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Alexa voice-powered apps and Internet usage can lead to mental illness
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Alexa voice-powered apps and Internet usage can lead to mental illness 

Show Notes:

Amazon’s Alexa

Amazon’s Alexa voice platform has now passed 15,000 skills, these are the voice-powered apps. This is up from last September when it was around 10,000.

Today, Amazon is currently the leader in voice-powered devices and it is expected to control 70 percent of the market this year — well ahead of Google Home, Lenovo, LG and others.

Due to the increased interest in voice-powered devices, Apple has joined the party with the with its own Siri-powered device, the HomePod which will be released this December. 

In terms of competition, Google Home has just 378 voice apps available as of June 30, and Microsoft’s Cortana has only 65. So, they are way behind.

Internet usage can lead to mental illness

More than one-third of 15-year-old children in the UK could be classified as ‘extreme internet users’, or those who are online for more than six hours daily, outside of school.

A report from UK think-tank Education Policy Institute (EPI) states that children in the UK have a higher rate of extreme usage.

EPI examined the relation between social media use including online time and mental illness.

While 12 per cent of children who spend no time on social networking websites on a normal school day have symptoms of mental ill health, that figure rises to 27 per cent for those who are on the sites for three or more hours a day.

The study went on to say that they would caution against simply restricting a child’s access, claiming that this could actually hurt kids in the long run by preventing them from learning the skills they needed to cope with stressful events online. 

Video-gamers growing worldwide

Nearly a third of the earth’s population is an active video-gamer, and that number will only grow, according to a study commissioned by Razer, the maker of high-end mice and other gaming accessories.

According to the study, in 2016, 2.1 billion people were “active gamers”. An active gamer is defined as someone who plays a game once a month or spends at least an hour a week playing.

Of the 2.1 billion people, over 71 per cent are millennials. This group according to the study is not only huge, but also young, which is a dream demographic for a company looking for growth in this area.

Tech Bytes

Students from the Eindhoven University of Technology have designed the first ever system that allows a bus to drive on formic acid.

Formic acid naturally occurs in stinging nettles and certain species of ants, but it’s also manufactured cheaply and safely on an industrial level, and is typically used for preserving livestock feed. The students use a blend of 99 per cent formic acid with a performance enhancing agent to create Hydrozine — which has four times as much energy density as a battery — to power the bus.

This is expected to be fully operational by the end of the year.

Researchers at Anglia Ruskin University put a mobile eye tracker and motion analysis sensors on participants who walked and crossed a kerb-like obstacle on the ground while writing, reading a text or talking on a phone.

According to results, phone users spend up to 61 percent less time watching out for the obstacle, and bring their foot up “higher and slower” over the obstacle as they walked, adopting a “cautious and exaggerated stepping strategy” to minimise the risk of tripping.

This tendency was observed most in users writing a text on their phones.

Smartphone zombies are becoming a road hazard in cities around the world and efforts have been put in place to keep them and others safe.

And finally, A battery-powered plane that can fly for 30 minutes has taken to the skies at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The “eFusion” has been developed by German engineering firm Siemens, and can reach a top speed of 140mph (225km/h).

 

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