“Prosthetic Memory Systems,” Delivered Via Electrode, Could Be Dope, If You’re Willing To Wait A While

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Prosthetic memory systems: no longer just some sci-fi nonsense.

Researchers just completed a military-funded project intended to boost patients’ recall. At first glance, the numbers look really promising. At second glance, though, they might just be enough cause for optimism, but, well, not much more. 

The 15 participants were seeking treatment for epilepsy-related memory loss at North Carolina’s Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. They had already received surgery to place small brain implants in an effort to map what was going on in their brains to better treat their epilepsy.

In the study, published in the Journal of Neural Engineering on March 28, the participants in the study were asked to complete a simple task: look at an image on a screen and then correctly identify it among three or four other images after a short delay. While they were doing so, the researchers were busy mapping their brain activity to identify the region that displayed the most activity when the participant remembered the correct image.

In a second trial, the researchers used those small electrodes to stimulate the “correct answer” areas they had just identified.

The result? Stimulated participants’ short term memory improved by 37 percent, and their long-term memory (or what the researchers are calling that — a similar task with a longer day) improved by 35 percent.

“This is the first time scientists have been able to identify a patient’s own brain cell code or pattern for memory and, in essence, ‘write in’ that code to make existing memory work better, an important first step in potentially restoring memory loss,” said Robert Hampson, the lead researcher on this project, in a press release.

Dope.

The researchers received funding from DARPA in the hope that their work could help soldiers who face memory loss after head injuries.

Some caveats: this was one clinical trial conducted on just 15 people who were asked to complete one specific, simple task in a hospital setting. It’s not at all clear this would help you stop losing your keys so damn much, nor would you want to necessarily undergo surgery to try it. At least, not at its current stage of development, which is just proof-of-concept. 

The results from this latest memory boosting study, which the researchers are calling a “prosthetic memory system,” are impressive. They might even inspire optimism, if you’re into that sort of thing.  This experiment lays the groundwork for future human research into technology that can restore or enhance brain function, and that’s nothing to dismiss.

But for as long as scientists have studied memory loss, no matter its cause, the timeline for when we’d have a viable solution was always in “the near future,” “sometime down the line.” A stock answer for when Alzheimer’s might be cured is always “50 years away,” conveniently after that scientist would likely have retired.

So what does this study show? A cool, promising future of prosthetic memories. But not for, say, 50 years or so.

The post “Prosthetic Memory Systems,” Delivered Via Electrode, Could Be Dope, If You’re Willing To Wait A While appeared first on Futurism.

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New Audi Vehicles Know How Long You’ll Wait at a Stoplight in DC

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Sitting at a stoplight and waiting what seems like an eternity for it to change. What a drag.

Audi understands. Some of its newest models are equipped with a Traffic Light Information system that displays how long it will take a red light to turn green on the vehicle’s dashboard. Washington, D.C. became the most recent city in which this system works, joining Dallas, Denver, Houston, and Palo Alto.

But in the end, this system isn’t really for human drivers. It’s for autonomous vehicles.

The system is called Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I). Using 4G, the car connects to the area’s centralized traffic light management system to access information that could, for example, help navigation systems determine the most efficient route, or slow vehicles down when a light is about to change, as The Verge reports.

“This initiative represents the kind of innovation that is critical for us to advance the traffic safety goals of Vision Zero,” said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser in a press release. “We look forward to building on this and similar partnerships as we continue to build a safer, stronger, and smarter DC.” The partnership with Audi will also help the city to identify areas ripe for traffic improvement.

If people are going to move around stoplight-free cities in AVs, improving systems that allow the cars to talk to the infrastructure, and to each other, will be critical. Cars like Audi’s could go a long way towards bridging the gap between our past of traditional vehicles and our future of AVs.

The post New Audi Vehicles Know How Long You’ll Wait at a Stoplight in DC appeared first on Futurism.

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Google Maps on iOS brings more transit details and restaurant wait times

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iOS users should download the latest version of Google Maps so they can take advantage of some new transit features. Version 4.47 of Google Maps brings additional details when getting directions via public transit. Rather than highlighting the intersection where an underground train entrance is and expecting you to find it, Google Maps will tell you exactly which entrance you need to go into to take the correct train. For instance, on some New York City Subway lines, the entrance may only serve one direction of the train and a rider may not realize it until they realize the stops are in…

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Google Maps for iOS adds restaurant wait times, additional transit details, more

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Following an update last month with real-time transit and driving details, Google Maps for iOS has today received another update. Today’s update brings the app to version 4.47 and includes new details for restaurants, additional transit updates, and more…

more…

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Google Maps for iOS Gains Restaurant Wait Times, Improved Transit Directions and More

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Google Maps for iOS was today updated to version 4.47, introducing new and improved features.

When searching for a restaurant using Google Maps, you can now see wait times at more than a million restaurants around the world that will let you know just how long you can expect to wait before being seated.


Google says the update also introduces the ability to sort and search through reviews of a restaurant, store, or other business, so you can find specific information that you’re looking for, and it includes more robust transit directions.

The new transit directions feature in Google Maps is designed to let you know which transit entrance you need to go to, and it is available in New York, Hong Kong, Taipei, Paris, Los Angeles, Delhi, Moscow, Singapore, Madrid, Barcelona, Kiev, and Budapest.

Thanks for using Google Maps! This release brings bug fixes and awesome new features to help you discover new places and navigate to them:
– See average wait times at over a million restaurants worldwide.
– Search and sort through reviews of a place.
– Get transit directions that tell you exactly which entrance you need to go into. This feature is available now in New York, Hong Kong, Taipei, Paris, Los Angeles, Delhi, Moscow, Singapore, Madrid, Barcelona, Kiev, and Budapest, with more on the way!

Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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If you want a new iPhone battery, you may have to wait a full month

iPhone Battery Replacement

Though Apple claims that it was only trying to help customers when it throttled CPU performance on older iPhone models, a good number of iPhone owners clearly think otherwise. Hardly a surprise, Apple’s admission that it slowed down iPhones with degraded batteries has led to nearly 60 class-action lawsuits at this point.

In an attempt to get ahead of the problem and assuage iPhone owners who felt taken advantage of, Apple a few weeks ago started a brand new battery replacement program where iPhone owners can swap out their existing battery for a brand new one for just $ 29.

Since Apple’s battery replacement program went live, iPhone owners have been taking full advantage of the opportunity, with Apple noting in a letter to lawmakers earlier this year that they’ve seen “strong demand” for replacement batteries. In fact, some analysts have opined that the popularity of Apple’s battery replacement program might have a discernible and adverse impact on cumulative iPhone sales. After all, the impetus to upgrade naturally weakens if users can essentially get a phone that’s as good as new for just a few bucks.

Touching on this point, Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz recently issued an investor note (via Business Insider) claiming that wait times for new iPhone batteries are actually becoming longer. All told, Moskowitz relays that the average waiting period for a new iPhone battery now stands at about 3-4.5 weeks, up from about 2-3 weeks not too long ago. Incidentally, demand for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S Plus batteries is said to be especially strong.

As to how this might impact Apple’s bottom line, Moskowitz a few weeks ago wrote the following:

In our base case scenario, 10% of those 519M users take the $ 29 offer, and around 30% of them decide not to buy a new iPhone this year. This means around 16M iPhone sales could be at risk, creating ~4% downside to our current revenue estimate for C2018.

While there’s no telling where Moskowitz got the aforementioned 10% figure from, there’s reason to believe that demand for iPhone battery replacements is even stronger than Apple might have initially anticipated.

Apple – BGR

Wait Times for iPhone Battery Replacements Increasing

Customers aiming to get a battery replacement for an older iPhone with a degraded battery are facing longer wait times than ever, according to new data shared by Barclays.

Average wait times for a new battery have jumped up to 2.7 to 4.5 weeks based on a series of Apple Store checks conducted by Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz (via Business Insider). That’s up from around 2.3 to 4.5 weeks earlier in the year.


MacRumors has received complaints from customers who are facing long wait times for replacements and who have, in some cases, been waiting for weeks to hear back from Apple about previously requested battery replacements.

When you initiate a battery replacement from Apple, stores typically need to order the part from Apple and then let you know when the new battery arrives, so getting a fresh battery isn’t as simple as scheduling a Genius Bar appointment.

Wait times vary based on location and by the device that needs the battery replacement. Batteries for devices like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s are harder to come by than batteries for the iPhone 7, and for some devices, like the iPhone 6 Plus, battery wait times have ranged into months.

Back in January, Apple said that for the iPhone 6 Plus, which is no longer being sold, replacement batteries are in such short supply that customers will need to wait until March or April for a new battery.

Customers who are seeking Genius Bar appointments for battery replacements are also crowding out appointment slots for customers with other issues, which is a problem in areas with few Apple Stores.

According to Barclays, the increased battery wait time suggests demand for replacement batteries remains strong, and it indicates an increasing number of iPhone users are opting to take advantage of Apple’s $29 battery replacements instead of purchasing a new iPhone.

Barclays previously said that Apple’s program could result in millions of fewer iPhone purchases during 2018, something Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said Apple did not take into account when choosing to implement the program in the first place. From Cook:

We did it because we thought it was the right thing to do for our customers. I don’t know what effect it will have for our investors. It was not in our thought process of deciding to do what we’ve done.

Apple has been offering $29 battery replacements for the iPhone 6 and newer since the beginning of the year. Apple implemented the program after facing backlash from power management features that were introduced in iOS 10.2.1.

The power management features have the potential to slow down older iPhones with degraded batteries in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns, and after the issue faced widespread media attention in late 2017, Apple apologized for its lack of transparency and implemented new policies.

In addition to offering reduced cost battery replacements through the end of 2018, Apple is also introducing a new Battery Health feature in iOS 11.3 that lets customers see more detailed information about the status of their iPhone’s battery.


For batteries that are degraded enough to be impacted by throttling, Apple also offers an option to turn off the performance management all together.

Power management features impact the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus, and for any affected iPhone, a new battery effectively fixes the issue.

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Apple’s wait times for iPhone battery replacements actually increasing, says analyst

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Even though Apple’s iPhone battery replacement discounts are no longer in the news, and the company has theoretically had time to ramp up supply, wait times for replacements have actually worsened in the past few weeks, according to Barclays research.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Analyst Believes iPhone Battery Replacement Wait Times Will Get Worse and Fall Sales Will be Impacted

Throughout 2018, Apple will be hosting a $ 29 battery replacement program for iPhones, allowing customers to replace the battery in their device once for the discounted price tag. Continue reading
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Uber’s New Express Pool: Walk and Wait

Uber has launched a new service that lowers ride-sharing costs for customers willing to walk to and from designated locations. Express Pool became available this week in several participating cities. Passengers must walk a short distance to a pickup intersection. They are then dropped off at another designated spot, close to their final destination. Customers appreciate the cost savings of normal ride-sharing, but many would like the benefits that come with having designated pickup and dropoff locations, said Uber spokesperson Kaitlin Durkosh.
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