Digital technologies are being harnessed to support the public-health response to COVID-19 worldwide, including population surveillance, case identification, contact tracing and evaluation of interventions on the basis of mobility data and communication with the public. These rapid responses leverage billions of mobile phones, large online datasets, connected devices, relatively low-cost computing resources and advances in machine learning and natural language processing. This Review aims to capture the breadth of digital innovations for the public-health response to COVID-19 worldwide and their limitations, and barriers to their implementation, including legal, ethical and privacy barriers, as well as organizational and workforce barriers. The future of public health is likely to become increasingly digital, and we review the need for the alignment of international strategies for the regulation, evaluation and use of digital technologies to strengthen pandemic management, and future preparedness for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an accelerated development of applications for digital health, including symptom monitoring and contact tracing. Their potential is wide ranging and must be integrated into conventional approaches to public health for best effect.
I used to carry a pocket camera everywhere I went. For many years it was a 110 Instamatic camera that came free when collecting enough cans of fizzy pop. Then it was a classic 35mm pocket camera, before I switched to my final film format APS. When digital came along I was a quick convert, using Casio, Canon, Ricoh, and Nikon devices for when a DSLR was too big. It was easy to throw a small camera in my backpack and be ready for anything.
Amazon is working on a new feature for its Alexa voice assistant that will let the software launch Android and iOS apps using voice commands, a first for Amazon's assistant and a bold expansion of its strategy to position Alexa as a platform-agnostic alternative to Apple's Siri and Google Assistant. Called Alexa for Apps, the new feature is launching today in preview form, meaning Amazon is working with select developers on how they'd like to make use of it. For instance, Amazon imagines users on either an iPhone or an Android device asking Alexa to open Twitter and search for a hashtag, and the app would then let the companion Alexa skill do the work of launching the app and inputting the search term. The results would then show up on the phone instead of being read aloud. Another example Amazon gives is using a voice request to launch TikTok and start a hands-free video recording (in the event you're filming yourself). It's a new type of interaction Amazon is hoping could catch on and help better position Alexa as a viable competitor to digital assistants from Apple and Google, both of which are deeply baked into their respective operating systems and have richer access to apps and system-level features as a result.
We fell in love with the LIFX Z LED strip lights for their incredibly simple set up, ease of use, and variety of awesome features. The Lifx Z LED Strip Kit impressed us from the very beginning. In what felt like a blink of an eye, we had these dimmable lights connected to Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. It also works with IFTTT, SmartThings, Nest, Arlo, Flic, and more. The strip is very responsive when controlled using the Lifx app on iOS and Android devices (keep in mind that HomeKit is only available on Apple smartphones and tablets). Although these weren't the brightest lights we tested, they put off a vivid glow that easily illuminates a dark room. These smart lights have a noticeably thicker strip than the set from Govee, but less chunky than the C by GE set we tested.
Android smartphone owners will soon have another use for their devices: playing Xbox video games. Microsoft announced Tuesday its Xbox Game Pass subscription service will support Project xCloud cloud gaming technology, allowing players to stream more than 100 games directly to their Android mobile device. Subscribers to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate ($14.99 per month, with the first month $1 for new members) will be able to use the feature beginning September 15, with titles including Destiny 2, Gears 5 and Minecraft Dungeons. "As the world around us changes and entertainment is readily available no matter the device, it's our vision to make games accessible in a variety of scenarios," said Kareem Choudhry, corporate vice president of Project xCloud, in a statement. "All the experiences you expect on Xbox and your gaming profile travel with you on mobile, including your friends list, achievements, controller settings, and saved game progress."
Apple is refreshing its 27-inch iMac, though you'll need a keen eye to spot the differences. The new model doesn't look any different from its predecessors, sporting the same classic look Apple has used for several years now with thick bezels surrounding the 5K display. You won't find any radically new features here either. There's still no biometric authentication, meaning there's no Face ID or Touch ID, and the screen uses the exact same panel and pixel resolution as before. Most of the changes are on the inside, and impact performance.
Microsoft's video game streaming technology, Project xCloud, will come to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on September 15th, at no additional cost to members. The initial rollout covers 22 countries across North America, Europe and South Korea, and gives players access to more than 100 games, including Destiny 2, Gears 5, Minecraft: Dungeons, The Outer Worlds, Sea of Thieves and Yakuza Kiwami 2. Microsoft revealed in July that xCloud would be rolled into Game Pass Ultimate in September, but didn't share an exact date or specific titles coming to the service. Today, Microsoft listed the names of 36 games heading to Game Pass Ultimate via xCloud, and we've published those at the end of the article. Project xCloud makes Xbox console games playable on Android smartphones and tablets, streamed in over WiFi or cellular data. It's been live in beta since October 2019, and it's proven to be one of the most consistent, steadily-growing streaming services out there.
The Pixel 4a is a return to form for Google's smartphone efforts: a lower-cost, mid-range phone that is high quality, long-lasting and fairly small, with a great camera. The £349 Pixel 4a is very much an attempt to boil down a smartphone to only the essentials and then make them all work really well. It slots under the higher-priced £669-and-up Pixel 4 series, replacing last year's Pixel 3a and 3a XL with only one size of phone, taking the design of the 3a and expanding the screen to fill the front of the device. A 5G version is coming later in the year but for now the Pixel 4a is 4G only. The body is high-quality, soft-touch polycarbonate and feels surprisingly nice.
In this podcast, we interview selected industry practitioners who have proven to be substantive doers of AI. The Art of Artificial Intelligence speaks with guests who have practical and nuance perspectives on what it takes to get started with Artificial Intelligence. From recruiters, data scientists, thought leaders to prospective investors, we carefully select guests we believe to have an honest take on AI based on their experiences. We hope you'll join us every week.