Technology


How smart speakers stole the show from smartphones

The Guardian - Technology (UK)

The battle now raging between the big technology companies for consumer cash is focused on the voice-controlled smart speaker. Having already conquered the pocket with the ubiquitous smartphone, big tech has been struggling to come up with the next must-have gadget that will open up a potentially lucrative new market – the home. A pilot light was lit when Amazon's Echo launched in 2014 and became a sleeper hit. Now the voice controlled smart speaker is rapidly becoming the next big thing, capable of answering questions, setting timers, playing music, controlling other devices about the home, or even potentially selling products. "The last 12 months have been explosive for smart speakers, which have surged into the mass market for two reasons.


Zipline Expands Its Medical Delivery Drones Across East Africa

IEEE Spectrum

While companies like Amazon pour considerable resources into finding ways of using drones to deliver such things as shoes and dog treats, Zipline has been saving lives in Rwanda since October 2016 with drones that deliver blood. Zipline's autonomous fixed-wing drones now form an integral part of Rwanda's medical-supply infrastructure, transporting blood products from a central distribution center to hospitals across the country. And in 2018, Zipline's East African operations will expand to include Tanzania, a much larger country. Delivering critical medical supplies in this region typically involves someone spending hours (or even days) driving a cooler full of life-saving medicine or blood along windy dirt roads. Such deliveries can become dangerous or even impossible to make if roads and bridges get washed out.