Reusable Rockets

The image of a rocket just about to take off is iconic: a tense and exciting few seconds marked by a stoic countdown and finally, “liftoff.”

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What about the opposite end of the expedition, though? What happens to a rocket once it has completed its mission? Most of the time it winds up as debris, but some of the tech industry’s brightest minds are working to change that.

Waste Not, Want Not

In an age that is becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, it comes as no surprise that some of the companies on the forefront of technology have made great strides in developing something known as reusable rockets. 

Rockets used to return to Earth as used up shells, often becoming litter at the bottom of the ocean since that’s often where they landed. In the last 10 years, though, both Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have worked toward creating a better option for their companies Blue Origin and SpaceX. 

Blue Origin was technically the first to achieve this goal. It happened in 2015 when their Blue Shepherd exited the atmosphere to leave a pod and return to Earth. While the feat was impressive, Blue Origin didn’t technically enter outer space, which requires a great deal more power. 

Though it took several years longer, SpaceX eventually perfected the concept of reusable rockets with its rockets Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. By 2018, SpaceX completed more than 20 launches with its reusable Falcon Heavy, and those expeditions did enter outer space. 

How It Works

An easy way to understand the difference between reusable rockets and traditional rockets is to simply think of this new incarnation as a technological advancement, or an improvement upon traditional rockets. 

The mechanics are largely the same, aside from the fact that reusable rockets are generally equipped with extra engines to maintain control for the entire expedition, including re-entry. However, reusable rockets must have a fair amount more computing potential. 

This is because they have to account for things like wind speed in order to understand and correct their trajectory; since reusable rockets are aiming for a specific landing target, there’s very little margin for error in these capabilities. 

What This Means for Space Travel

Aside from obviously being an environmentally conscious alternative, reusable rockets will also greatly cut down on the expense of sending people and equipment to space. When agencies don’t have to build an entirely new rocket for every single launch, the efficiency with which they can travel will be massively increased.

Though the ultimate vision of SpaceX is to offer its technology to governments through contracts, Blue Origin has a slightly different vision. Their reusable rockets can be used as something of a tourist attraction, offering those wealthy enough to pay for it a few seconds outside of Earth’s atmosphere. 

In either case, reusable rockets make space travel more financially viable and environmentally responsible; with the vision that rockets may someday be reused like airplanes, there’s no telling what kinds of space exploration may be possible. 

Whether you’re interested in paying Blue Origin for a trip outside of the atmosphere, or are simply excited by the prospect of SpaceX technology allowing humans greater range in the universe, reusable rockets are an integral part of the vision.

Delivery Drones

There was a time when dispatching a package meant waiting weeks before the recipient could expect it.

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Trains and stagecoaches were the only methods for delivering basically anything, and just as cars and airplanes revolutionized delivery in the 20th century, the field is being disrupted once again by drones. 

A 21st Century Vision

Though drones (using the definition of unmanned aerial vehicles) have been a sort of shadowy figure in public consciousness for decades,  the idea that they could be used not only for non-military purposes, but as a means of delivery was only first presented in 2013. 

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, first articulated the idea of flying robot deliveries at the end of that year with a service called Amazon Prime Air. At the time, it seemed like a far off pipe dream, but the concept has barrelled rapidly toward common use since then. 

Though Amazon is the major player in pioneering drone delivery, Google also began testing a similar project in 2016 called Project Wing. As these two Goliaths of tech throw their weight behind drone deliveries, it seems likely that the U.S. Postal Service and other delivery services will also jump on board. 

From Vision to Practicality

The idea of drones buzzing around carrying packages to leave on doorsteps may feel like a figment of science fiction, but it’s becoming a more and more likely part of daily reality. To start, Amazon couldn’t simply purchase the sort of drones your neighbor uses to take aerial photography as a hobby, they had to develop their own aircraft. 

This in and of itself has been an evolving process, but a June 2019 conference saw Amazon’s newly unveiled drone, capable of multiple modes of flight and equipped with a robust set of safety technologies. 

In terms of actual capabilities, the drones can deliver any package under 5 pounds. This may sound like a small carrying capacity, and it is, but at least 75% of the items purchased on the site fall under this limit. Basically, most of what people are ordering on Amazon already could be delivered by drone, and soon it may be. 

The Future of Deliveries

There are all sorts of implications of the rise of drone deliveries, some positive and some negative. Of course, geographic location will play a role in whether or not this service is available to you. Urban consumers may soon buy items like toilet paper and toothpaste online since they can be delivered within an hour. Rural customers, on the other hand, likely won’t have this service immediately available. 

The rise of drone deliveries is largely considered the first widespread foray into robotic technology interaction with consumers, and its success could serve to calm the world’s nerves about Artificial Intelligence. The concept has appeared in shows like Parks & Recreation, but the somewhat incredulous attitude of the characters mirrors that of the general public. 

Drone delivery may prove the future of deliveries the world around, or they may prove an exciting but short lived glimpse into the future. Either way, drone delivery technology serves as a characteristic hallmark of the modern world and its potential.

Spy Drones

One of the biggest arguments against advanced technology is that certain things of it threaten privacy.

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When you consider the fact that people used to live their lives relatively undetected, it’s hard to argue against that case given location services, IP tracking, and even spy drones. However, this futuristic technology isn’t just a means to make you feel uncomfortable, it has important applications. 

From Government Technology to Modern Fad

Technically speaking, the advent of drones could be linked to the very first flying vehicles, as without the technology of airplanes and helicopters, drones wouldn’t exist. More realistically, widespread drone use began around 2006. At that point, the military had been using drones for fighting wildfires, surveying damage, and of course, surveying people. 

As drones became popular among civilians, uses ranged from pesticide application and equipment inspection, but far and away the most common use is as a means of capturing some sort of images. Some people use drones as a hobby, some companies use them to take professional quality photos with an aerial vantage point, and some use them for surveillance. 

There are some important distinctions to make when discussing spy drones: the first is that they are not inherently bad. Not ever spy drone is manned by an individual with nefarious intentions watching your family. For example, a spy drone can be used as a security measure on private property, a way to locate potentially dangerous people via their license plates, and a means by which countries can gather counter-intelligence. 

Smaller Than Ever

To talk about spy drones today is different than in previous years, as the U.S. Army awarded a nearly $40 million contract to an Oregon-based company that produces incredibly tiny aerial unmanned vehicles. 

These nano-drones are intended for ground combat units, allowing them to surveil enemies and potential threats. Aside from being very small (only about 6.6 inches long, and tipping the scales at just 33 grams), this new wave of spy drones also packs a logistical punch. 

Despite their size, these drones (which look a great deal like tiny helicopters) can travel at more than 13 miles per hour for 25 minutes on a single charge, and they have a range of nearly 1.25 miles. 

Changing The Face of Diplomacy

As it becomes safer and more economical for countries to use drones to spy on each other, there will invariably be tension surrounding the subject. In fact, in June of 2019, Iran shot down a U.S. military spy drone when it entered their territory, speaking to already unstable relations between the two countries. 

Stories like these are bound to become more and more common, because although spy drones are small enough that they’re not especially intrusive, they’re certainly still visible, and they’re a clear indication that another country is performing information gathering operations, which doesn’t sit well with most governments. 

For now, spy drones are likely to affect average citizens very little. You may feel a little uneasy when you spot a drone nearby, but society certainly hasn’t reached the “big brother is watching” level that dystopian pop culture has warned about. Instead, spy drones are a budding military tool that may save lives in the process of performing their functions.

Geo-targeting in Marketing

If you don’t love the idea of advertisers and tech giants knowing where you are at all times, you’re not alone.

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Most people feel a little squirmy about being tracked, and therefore get a little uncomfortable when highly targeted ads know their location, but geo-targeting is simply part of being on the digital grid today, and it actually serves to make your life better, too. 

The Blurred Line Between Digital and Physical Addresses

To discuss the beginnings of geo-targeting, you have to first understand that advertising platforms aren’t utilizing any sort of surreptitious tracking technology to ferret out your whereabouts, they’re simply using your IP address.

Your IP address gives websites a fairly specific idea of your location, which allows them to sell businesses highly targeted ads because they can make sure the ads only appear to those accessing the site from a select range of IP addresses. 

This technology is nothing new. IP addresses have been standardized for decades, it’s sites’ abilities to capitalize on the knowledge of your location that is a fairly recent development, because it took a while for them to develop algorithms that only filtered ads to specific addresses. 

How Does This Impact You?

You may not love the idea of Google or Facebook keeping track of your IP address, but it actually ensures that you only see relevant ads. The idea of anonymity may appeal to you, but think about how frustrated you’d be to see an ad for a major sale at a local car dealership, only to find out it actually only applied to a neighboring state. 

By only targeting you with businesses or services that are available in your area, advertising platforms filter out a great deal of excess noise for you. Think of it like going to buy a local newspaper—you wouldn’t expect to see ads for a different city there, so why should your digital experience be any different?

Above and Beyond

Of course, there are situations in which geo-targeting goes above and beyond IP addresses. If your location services are turned on, certain advertising platforms will use that information to their advantage. 

For example, if you visit a Wendy’s restaurant, and receive an ad for Wendy’s later that same day, it’s no coincidence. These are highly targeted ads, and if you’ve allowed certain applications access to your location, they’re not doing anything seedy. 

The reality is that to enjoy modern conveniences, like GPS on cell phones or typing “food near me” into smartphone browsers, you have to concede that your location is being watched and used for monetary gain. 

You always have the option to turn off your location services until it comes time to use a location-specific app, but you’ll never be able to escape geo-targeting entirely. As technology becomes more finite, you’ll likely see more and more localized ads based solely on your IP address.

Digital Assistants in Everyday Life

Technology has become so seamlessly integrated within modern lifestyles that you probably don’t even realize how often you use it. 

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You may think a personal assistant is a luxury just for high powered business people, but if you have ever asked Siri what the weather was going to be like tomorrow, or told Alexa to text your mother and let her know you’re running late, you’ve enlisted the help of a digital assistant. 

Voice Recognition to Virtual Assistance

Perhaps the largest triumph of digital assistants, their ability to recognize speech, was the first aspect of the technology to be developed. IBM developed its “shoebox” in the early 1960s, a tool that could recognize 16 different words and numbers. 

Artificial intelligence technology made some major leaps and bounds in the 50 years that followed, and IBM’s Watson (a much further developed version of speech recognition) won Jeopardy in 2011. Apple launched Siri the same year, and the world quickly became familiar with the idea of a digital assistant. 

Foreign Concept to Fast Friend

When Siri was first released less than 10 years ago, the idea that you could speak into your phone and receive answers to specific questions was still a little baffling for most. Now, estimates say that 1.6 billion people will be using digital assistants in their daily life by 2021. 

Today, some of the most well known virtual assistants on the market are Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Now, and Microsoft’s Cortana. For the most part, these digital assistants sit quietly in the home until prompted with a specific phrase, like “Okay Google,” or simply “Alexa,” to make them up. 

Some of these assistants are programmed to only recognize certain voices, and can be integrated with the users’ other technology, like cell phones or smart home applications. For example, you might be able to use your digital assistant to craft an email, or turn off the lights in your kitchen. 

These assistants couple speech recognition with information gathering algorithms to provide a wide range of digital services. As the technology broadens, coming years will likely see virtual assistants who can make dinner reservations, or seek out airplane tickets. This signifies a more complex, multi-step level of computing within the technology. 

The Future of Artificial Relationships

The use of digital assistants has certainly prompted commentary and questions in pop culture. A 2013 movie called Her explored just how deep relationships with digital companions might run, should AI reach a point of near-human likeness, and what that could mean for human emotions. 

The movie received critical acclaim, and begged the question: is the world headed in a direction where the lines between organic and artificial life are blurred? Are digital assistants the first step in the process?

For now, virtual assistants remain an increasingly useful asset in most people’s lives, but they haven’t made the leap to actual companions just yet.

Wireless Charging for Electric Cars

Electric cars have just recently become commonplace in the automobile market. In fact, experts say that 50% of the cars sold in 2040 will be completely electric.

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Of course, it is always an arms race to make things better. As the supply and demand of electric vehicles increases, more and more consumers will ask for new technology to optimize their experiences. 

Currently, there are many companies looking to develop a cutting-edge technology that would allow electric car users to charge their cars wirelessly, which makes sense in a world that has the desire to get rid of pesky cables. Will it work just as well as the plug-in models we know now? Let’s find out. 

When was Wireless Charging for Electric Cars First Introduced?

There are a few companies that currently offer wireless charging technology today. Qualcomm Halo began developing their own wireless charging in 2012. It was originally meant to power Formula E race cars, though their current consumer series has 22kW of power that matches the public charger standard.

In 2017, BMW began working on a wireless charging pad for their iPerformance hybrid, known as the 530e. This wireless charging pad is made to connect to the power outlet in your house so that you can park atop it when you get home and wait for it to charge.

What is Wireless Charging for Electric Cars?

Wireless Charging

Wireless charging is based off of a technology known as inductive charging. If you’ve ever used a wireless phone charger pad, it works the same way, though on a far larger scale.

A user simply parks their car atop the charging coil and the energy transferring process works its magic. The difficult part behind creating this technology is that the strength of the magnetic coils has to be extremely high for them to work. The beauty is, this technology could be placed in parking spots very strategically, effectively reducing the number of charging stations that we need.

Wireless Charging for Electric Cars in Movies and Pop Culture

So far, there hasn’t been any mention of wireless charging for electric cars in movies or pop culture. With that said, Hollywood is no stranger to promoting electric vehicles. As time goes on and more electric vehicles begin showing up in movies, we can expect to see these devices become more commonplace on the silver screen as well.

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If you want to find out more about wireless charging for electric cars, here are some great articles to get you started.


These are incredible times in the world of electric vehicles. New technologies are being developed by top automobile manufacturers around the world. It may seem like a bit of a gimmick right now, though like most wireless technology that we know, it will eventually become standard, changing the way we charge our electric cars.

There is still a lot of work to do in terms of developing the proper infrastructure for the public sphere, though we don’t believe it will be long before this becomes the most prominent form of vehicle charging.

EyeLock Myris: First Home Iris Scanner

We now live in the hybrid age of security and technology. Out are the days of relying on password memorization or key rings.

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Allow us to introduce EyeLock Myris, the first home iris scanner. Biometric security is not a new concept by any means. We’ve seen fingerprint scanners on iPhones, and now face scanners.

The EyeLock Myris is one of the very first that aims to create something consumer-friendly that works with your own unique eye. The question is, “is it a legitimate form of security or crazy science-fiction that has come to life?”

Let’s open up those peepers and find out! 

When was the Eyelock Myris First Introduced?

EyeLock ID first debuted back in 2015 for PC at the Consumer Electronics Show. The New York-based company decided that it was time to try a brand new technology that utilized the iris to identify a person. The idea was based on the fact that no two irises are alike, making it one of the most secure forms of identification that is on the market today. 

Currently, the portfolio of Eyelock LLC contains over 75 different patents that enable convenient, touchless security permissions.

What is EyeLock Myris?

IRis Scanner

Eyelock technology works by looking at 240 different points in the eye. The device will only unlock after it matches the entire scan. At this point, they are one of the only companies throughout the world that uses dual-eye authentication, and they are planning to use that technology to provide top-tier vehicles with total security.

The EyeLock Myris is pretty easy to use, as it is a USB-based device that can be plugged in to your Mac or Windows computer. All it requires is a simple installation to get it going. You then register your iris with the device by holding it in front of your face. There is even a small mirror in the center of the device so that you know you’re doing it right. Once your irises are registered, you will be able to use your chosen device.

As of right now, this technology is used in the consumer world to unlock computers, though the company believes that it won’t be long until they can integrate it with new vehicles so that consumers can unlock their cars hands-free. 

The EyeLock Myris in Movies and Pop Culture

So far, the Eyelock Myris has not been seen in any movies, nor has it been featured in pop culture. As time goes on, we can maybe expect to see this device become more commonplace, meaning it will end up showing up more often in movies. With that said, the idea of eye scanners has long been a part of science fiction, among other movie genres.

One of the most popular uses of iris scanners in movies is in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report. Tom Cruise can be seen walking through different areas in the movie, using the eye scanners to provide identification.

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Though EyeLock Myris is still on the rise, there is no doubt that this technology will become the standard for security. There is also no reason that we should still be using generated passwords to secure our information online. Biometrics is one of the best answers to all of our privacy solutions, and we can only hope that EyeLock Myris eventually becomes the specific answer that we’ve been searching for.


The biggest problem in the world of smart devices is privacy.

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We feel that we are at the constant whim of larger corporations who control and operate wireless systems and applications. The point of Blackphone is to bring privacy and security back into the world of smart technology. The thing is, the Blackphone has been through its ups and downs since its introduction.

Is this the kind of technology that we will be able to trust and use within the next few years, or will it be another flop in the world of “black market privacy”? Let’s crack the code and find out.

When was the Blackphone First Introduced?

Phil Zimmermann, the creator of Silent Circle, a company that creates and provides secure communication applications, introduced the idea of the Blackphone back in 2013. However, it wasn’t until 2014 that Blackphone was unveiled to the public. 

The motivation behind its creation had a lot to do with the fact that the NSA was spying on Americans in their day-to-day lives. The team at Silent Circle had a goal of providing consumers with total security in their actions. This phone is not 100% NSA-proof, though it was the very beginning of a large consumer shift in the world of privacy and security. 

What is Blackphone?

Security Cameras on the Wall

Blackphone is a device that is meant to provide a bit more privacy for its users. It comes with secure messaging that utilizes the company’s privacy software. The main privacy feature is a custom version of Android’s software called PrivatOS. This version of Android OS will give users the ability to control all of the data that is on their phone. They’ll be able to toggle application permissions for everything that they download as well.

The first Blackphone came around in 2014, though the Blackphone 2 has just recently been put on the market. This Blackphone runs on Silent OS that gives privacy without compromising anything else. This phone also uses ZRTP, which is a cryptographic key-agreement that helps to destroy the contents of a call immediately after it is done.

Blackphone in Movies and Pop Culture

Because Blackphone is such a recent technology, we haven’t seen it any movies, nor any pop culture references. It can be noted that there have been a variety of movies about the NSA and their attempts to spy on Americans though, which is the reason that this technology was created in the first place. 

One of the most popular NSA films in the past decade is Snowden, the story of a political figure who stood up to expose illegal surveillance activities being carried out by the NSA. 

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As of now, a Blackphone retails for a higher price than most of the top smartphones on the market, which does not make it the most available device to consumers. With that said, it is creating an obvious shift in consumer wants and needs, as more and more people are now concerned with their own privacy. While this phone is not NSA-proof, nor is any phone, it represents an ideal that will be important as the future of technology and connection moves forward.


Our network speeds are moving faster than they ever have before.

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It seems that today, we have the ability to hop on the internet and get the results that we’re looking for in a matter of seconds. For those that didn’t think it could get faster, we’ve got something for you. This is WiGig, a new wireless standard that is set to excel beyond the fast wireless speeds that we know now. 

You might think to yourself, well, I already have WiFi, so how would this apply to me?

Buckle your seatbelts, as we’re about to dive into to the fastest network speeds you’ve ever seen.

When was WiGig First Introduced?

WiGig came about in May of 2009, and was known as the Wireless Gigabit Alliance. The idea behind the company was to create and promote the IEEE 802.11ad protocol, which would take consumer wireless communications a step further to the millimeter wave band. 1.0 WiGig was completed in December of the same year.

In 2010, they opened up their WiGig Alliance Adopter Program to better cooperate with current technologies for multi-gigabit wireless networking. Over the years, the protocol has been better refined to catch up with manufacturers so that families can begin using it too.

What is WiGig?

Web Hosting Concept

WiGig is essentially a new wireless standard that is made to create higher wireless speeds. Similar to 801.11ac in terms of speed, this new wireless standard is set to work off of a different frequency. Your standard wireless internet utilizes either 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands, while WiGig is set to use 60GHz. 

So yes, the main point is that WiGig will create faster internet speeds for all users. In fact, WiGig is set to bring speeds up to a whopping 8GB per second, which is more than enough to download just about anything that you could think of in mere seconds. Of course, with 60GHz, WiGig could easily transfer at speeds of 50GB per second, though most consumer devices aren’t able to handle that kind of transfer speed.

WiGig in Movies and Pop Culture

So far, WiGig has not been seen in any movies, nor has it been used in any pop culture references. As time goes on, we can maybe expect to see this device become more commonplace, meaning it will end up showing up in more and more movies.

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WiGig can currently be used as an addition to regular Wi-Fi, though you have to have a device that supports WiGig, as many do not. There are now a few companies on the market that are selling WiGig routers if you have a WiGig-enabled laptop. While the devices are still fairly new, we can expect to see it become common in the next few years or so. More and more devices that support the 802.11ay standard are set to come out in 2019, so make sure to keep your eye out!

Sproutling Baby Monitor: Baby Monitor That Tracks Vitals

No, these babies aren’t under house arrest. This little high-tech baby monitor is a bit like a Fitbit for babies, with the promise of monitoring a variety of different variables so that you can make sure your baby is healthy and happy every time that you put them down for their nap. 

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Some may think that this new baby monitor is a bit on the extreme side of parenting, though Sproutling says that they created this device to help make things a bit simpler. The thought of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome can scare a parent into constantly checking to see if their baby is okay. The question is, does Sproutling work as intended, and can it help to curb parental anxiety?

When were Sproutling Baby Monitors Introduced?

The idea of the Sproutling Baby Monitor came from new fathers Chris Bruce and Mathew Spolin, who found that they were experiencing constant anxiety, which caused them to stand at the door all the time to see if their babies were breathing. It motivated them to create the San Francisco startup, Sproutling.

The product was developed over the course of two years and was finally debuted in 2014. It can now be found for sale all around the internet.

What are Sproutling Baby Monitors?

Sproutling Baby Monitor

Sproutling Baby Monitors are small bands worn on the ankle that are made of high-quality, medical-grade silicone. They utilize an optical heart-rate sensor to monitor the baby’s pulse. It does so by shining a small light on the skin of the baby and measuring the wavelength of the light that comes back.

A sensor gauge reads the baby’s temperature, while an accelerometer tracks the position of the baby. If the baby is in motion and accidentally rolls over, the parents will be notified right away. The base even doubles as a wireless charger that allows the band to run for up to two days.

Sproutling helps to convert all of the data into little push notifications that parents can get on their smartphone. They don’t deal with graphs or data, meaning they are easy to read too. Sproutling also helps to make sure that the streams of data coming from the band are protected so that you can feel secure about that information.

Sproutling Baby Monitors in Movies and Pop Culture

So far, the Sproutling Baby Monitor has not been seen in any movies, nor has it been used in any pop culture references. As time goes on, we can maybe expect to see this device become more commonplace, meaning it will end up showing up in more and more movies.

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If first-time or veteran parents are feeling extremely anxious about the health of their newborn babies, the Sproutling Baby Monitor can help to provide a little bit of peace of mind. Having those alerts can be extremely helpful to give an idea of how your baby is doing at all times, which helps to reduce your stress, improve your sleep, and feel better about the status of your baby no matter what.