Global Connectivity; Universal Wireless Charging; an App for your Teeth

Posted March 5th, 2015 at 2:00 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings

In Race Over Global Connectivity, Everyone Wins

Google and Facebook have been thinking of big ways to connect the world’s 4 billion unconnected people to the Internet, including satellites and wireless balloons, among other things. And the CEOs of both companies had a chance this week to rally support for their efforts at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress.

A Quarter of a Million People Use an App to Brush Their Teeth

Before you start smirking, you should know there are 250,000 people in the world today who consult a mobile app at least once a week to brush their teeth, according to Oral-B’s brand manager, Michael Cohen-Dumani. Oral-B’s Bluetooth toothbrush is embedded with sensors and comes with an app that lets users know which teeth they should clean and for how long. And you thought you’d have the last laugh!

Prototype Toilet Generates Electricity

A functional toilet installed at Bristol’s University of the West of England and equipped with microbial fuel cells converts urine into electricity. The microbes feed on urine for growth; and the generated power could help light up cubicles in refugee camps around the world.

IKEA, Samsung Launch Embedded Wireless Charging Range

Samsung and Swedish furniture maker IKEA announced that some of their products will have universally compatible embedded wireless charging technology. Some of Samsung’s new smartphone models will be embedded with the technology — a first for phones. IKEA  also announced at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress that the new technology will be built into home furnishings to turn them into charging spots, equipped with additional USB outlets.

Australia Plans First Floating Solar Farm

The plant, which is expected to run by April, will float on a wastewater treatment facility in Jamestown in South Australia. The water helps keep the floating solar panels cool, thereby making them more efficient than land-based solar panels by about 57 percent, according to Felicia Whiting of Infratech Industries.

Does Apple Pay Really Have a Fraud Problem?

The short answer is yes, though the problem does not originate with Apple. While Apple Pay’s encryption has not been compromised, criminals with stolen credentials and credit cards are apparently exploiting a weakness in the verification process for new cards to add stolen credit cards to the system and use them for fraudulent activities.

Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

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