Nasa to Develop ‘Chemical Laptop’ to Aid Search for Alien Life

Nasa engineers are working on a unique “Chemical Laptop” – a portable, miniaturised laboratory that can help astronauts analyse samples for presence of life on the spot as they enter the alien world.

Being developed at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, the device will help astronauts look for the signatures of life on another world, including Mars.

“If this instrument were to be sent to space, it would be the most sensitive device of its kind to leave the Earth and the first to be able to look for both amino acids and fatty acids – the building blocks of life,” said Jessica Creamer, Nasa post-doctoral fellow based at JPL.

The “Chemical Laptop” is a on-the-go laboratory which researchers hope to send one day to another planetary body such as Mars or Europa.

It is roughly the size of a regular computing laptop, but much thicker to make room for chemical analysis components inside.

But unlike a tricorder seen in the movie “Star Trek,” it has to ingest a sample to analyse it.

“Our device is a chemical analyser that can be reprogrammed like a laptop to perform different functions,” added Fernanda Mora, a JPL technologist.

As on a regular laptop, we have different apps for different analyses like amino acids and fatty acids, he added.

Amino acids are building blocks of proteins, while fatty acids are key components of cell membranes.

Both are essential to life, but can also be found in non-life sources and the “Chemical Laptop” may be able to tell the difference.

If a test found a 50-50 mixture of left-handed and right-handed amino acids, we could conclude that the sample was probably not of biological origin.

“But if we were to find an excess of either left or right, that would be the golden ticket. That would be the best evidence so far that life exists on other planets,” Creamer noted.

When the laptop is set to look for fatty acids, scientists are most interested in the length of the acids’ carbon chain. This is an indication of what organisms are or were present.

Coming up is a test in the Atacama Desert in Chile, with collaboration from Nasa’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.

“This could also be an especially useful tool for icy-worlds targets such as Enceladus and Europa. All you would need to do is melt a little bit of the ice, and you could sample it and analyze it directly,” Creamer explained.

The “Chemical Laptop” technology has applications for Earth, too.

It could be used for environmental monitoring analysing samples directly in the field, rather than taking them back to a laboratory.

Uses for medicine could include testing whether the contents of drugs are legitimate or counterfeit, the statement added.

Apple Pay UK Service Now Supports Tesco Bank And TSB

Apple Pay Tesco

Both Tesco Bank and TSB have announced that their UK branches now support the new Apple Pay payment service making it easier to make mobile payments.

If you are a customer of either TSB UK or Tesco Bank UK you can now use the iOS Wallet application and scan your credit card or simply authenticate your account you may already have set up at the iTunes store.

Both banks say that the Apple Pay setup should take no longer than five minutes. Tesco explains more about the new Apple Pay facility they have setup for the UK Tesco Bank service.

To use Apple Pay you will need a Tesco Bank credit card featuring the MasterCard logo. Unfortunately Visa or Business credit cards are excluded.

You will also need an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s or 6s Plus, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro or iPad mini 3 or 4 or an Apple Watch with iOS8.3 or later. To add your Tesco Bank credit card to your iPhone, open the Wallet app and follow the instructions. You’ll receive a one-time passcode from Tesco Bank that’s valid for three days. Once you enter the passcode, you’re ready to shop.

Twitch Private Messaging Whispers Land On Mobile Devices

twitch whispers

Twitch has this week announced that its private messaging service Whispers will be soon arriving on mobile devices. Allowing you to communicate privately with friends using the private messaging feature that has already been rolled out on other platforms.

Starting today Twitch has started a soft launch on Android devices and will be collecting feedback from users to then tweak and finalise the private messaging service ready for a rollout on iOS devices.
Eric Barnett writes more over on the Twitch official blog :

Slide into your friends’ DMs on the go with our first phase of whispers on your mobile device! Starting today, a small sample size of Android users will automatically gain access to our updated whispers functionality.

We will continue to roll this out to more and more users until we have gathered enough feedback for a full launch. After we collect enough feedback from our Android users during this soft launch, we will follow things up by getting our iOS friends in on the fun.

If your device is selected, you will automatically be able to update the app to have access to the new functionality. Check back each day this week to see if you have access! Keep in mind that this feature is still in beta.

Gigaclear Trialing 5GBPS Broadband In The UK, Costs £399 A Month

broadband

A company called Gigaclear has announced that it will start trialing 5GBPS broadband in the UK, the service will be made available to around 10,000 homes in the UK during the trial.

There is just one catch, this new super fast broadband is considerably more expensive that standard broadband.

Available to customers from early 2016 through Gigaclear’s existing fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network, the ultrafast service significantly reduces the time taken to upload and download large files. For example, to download a 1,500MB video can take up to eight minutes on an average UK broadband service. This improves to two minutes on Gigaclear’s 100Mbps service, but will take between just four and six seconds with the new 5Gbps package.

For personal customers the cost for the 5GBPS broadband is £399 a month, for business customers the cost is £1,500 per month.

 

Google Photos now helps you free up space by deleting pictures

google photosNo matter the device, it seems we never have enough space for our files, especially when it comes to photos. Well, a Google Photos update just rolled out that will give users a new function in the form of a “Free up space” button in the app.

This button will let you easily delete a large batch of pictures from your device, while keeping them backed up and safe in the Photos cloud. If you are running low on space, the Photos assistant will also suggest to Free up space.

Also you will be able to go to photos.google.com/settings and choose to downgrade all of the pictures that you have uploaded in “Original quality” down to “High quality”. The reason that you would want to do this is because Original quality photos take up a lot of Drive space, which you have to pay for beyond 15 GB. So it makes sense.

High quality photos will not count toward your Drive storage, and you can have an unlimited amount of them backed up in your Photos cloud. This new feature should be very handy if you are running low on storage space, which we all are at some point or other.

Google+ Gets A New Look, sCollection And More

google+

Google has updated Google+ with a new look and some new features, this includes a new design for the pages on Google+ and also a new Collections feature.

The new collections feature lets you create a collection of posts on a specific topic and then share them with your friends on Google+.

And so we’ve reimagined Google+ to help them do that. Today, we’re starting to introduce a fully redesigned Google+ that puts Communities and Collections front and center. Now focused around interests, the new Google+ is much simpler. And it’s more mobile-friendly—we’ve rebuilt it across web, Android and iOS so that you’ll have a fast and consistent experience whether you are on a big screen or small one. You’ll need to opt-in to this new version of Google+ on the web to see the changes

You can find out more details about everything that is new in the latest version of Google+ at the link below, the update is rolling out to the web and also mobile devices.

Samsung Gear VR Goes Up For Pre-order In Europe

Gear VR

The new Samsung Gear VR recently went  up for pre-order in the US and now the device is listed in some of Samsung’s European stores.

The Samsung Gear VR is listed for €99.99 in Europe and it is showing up on the websites of Samsung Germany and also Samsung Netherlands.

The Gear VR is compatible with the latest Samsung smartphones, this included the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge and the Edge+

The just checked the UK store for the Gear VR and the new version is not listed as yet, as soon as we get some details on when it will launch in the UK, we will let you guys know.

Dunkin’ Donuts Testing Mobile Ordering

dunkinStarbucks seems to know what they are doing as far as technology goes. It lets you order your coffee before you even get in the door, saving you time on the way to work in the morning. Well, Dunkin’ Donutshas also started testing mobile ordering in order to catch up with Starbucks.

Starting yesterday 124 Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Portland, Maine are nowletting customers order using a smartphone app before they reach the store. In Dallas 19 locations are testing deliveries. Customers in Dallas can order coffee, doughnuts and sandwiches online which will then be delivered to in 45 minutes or less, DoorDash is providing the service. That will make a lot of donut lovers happy.

Other locations across Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Washington will soon have coffee drop-offs too. Scott Hudler, vice president of global consumer engagement says that it is all about speed in his business. And they aim to bring the speed.

This is a step in the right direction, one that will save customers a lot of time while they get their coffee or doughnut fix. I bet they make a lot of money on these new endeavors. We all like speedy service and we already love their products.

New Star Wars The Force Awakens Trailer Focuses On Finn

star wars

A new Star Wars The Force Awakens TV Spot trailer has been released and this new trailer focuses on Finn, who is played by John Boyega.

This new TV spot trailer for the seventh movie in the Star Wars saga comes with some new footage that we have not seen before.

The movie launches in just under a month on the 17th of December in the UK and 18th of December in the US.

As well as starring John Boyega as Finn, Star Wars The Force Awakens also features Daisy Ridley as Rey, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia.

LG Shows Of The World’s Largest OLED Display

oled display

LG has announced that it has created the world’s largest OLED display at South Korea’s Incheon International Airport.

This OLED display is made up of 140 55 inch curved OLED pansles and it measures 13 meters high by 8 meters wide, LG says that this is the same size as three large sized shipping containers, it certainly looks massive from the photos.

“These OLED displays perfectly complement the advanced technology that our airport has become known for,” said Park Wan-su, president and CEO at Incheon International Airport. “We are always eager to showcase to the millions of travelers every year the cutting-edge technology that originates from Korea. OLED is a prime example of that.”

“While the world’s largest OLED sign is certainly something to be proud of, we are more excited about the opportunity to introduce travelers from across the world to the magic of OLED,” said Ro Se-yong, senior vice president and head of business-to-business solutions at LG Electronics. “The benefits of OLED technology can only be viewed, they cannot be described with mere words.”

oled display

The company will be featuring a range of content on these giant OLED display at the Incheon International Airport to show off the displays.