Concept Headphones That Won’t Get You Killed While Biking

“EVERY SINGLE DAY, I see at least five or six people with headphones on while cycling,” says Gemma Roper. The designer and recent graduate of London’s Royal College of Art finds the habit a troubling distraction but also an understandable tactic of using music to soften a harsh daily commute.

The problem is that cyclists also need to stay alert to certain sounds in order to be safe while weaving through traffic. Riding is already dicey in London, Roper says, because the local infrastructure accommodates bus and car traffic over cyclists. The city has seen eight cyclist fatalities so far this year; last year, there were 13. Roper decided that music pumping through earphones shouldn’t contribute to the risk. Her Safe + Sound headphone design uses bone conduction to play tunes through wearers’ cheekbones, instead of directly into their eardrums, so they can still detect ambient noise.

Bone-conduction headphones work by playing soundwave vibrations on top of bones, which then transmit the waves into to the Cochlea, or inner ear, bypassing the delicate eardrum. It could work anywhere on the body but works best near the ear. The technique itself is old—Beethoven, who was deaf, crafted a crude conductive listening device by biting on a metal rod attached to his piano—and a few other headphone makers have rolled out models using the technology in recent years.

Roper’s Safe + Sound are made with cycling helmets in mind. Most of the bone-conduction headphones on the market are wrap around the ear (like these, and these), with nodes that rest more or less where a helmet strap would sit. Asking cyclists to layer up headgear is an uncomfortable and unreasonable ask. At the same time, making any modifications to the helmet that might deter a rider from wearing one is out of the question. So Roper created something that could clip onto to a helmet’s straps. While testing out the idea, she also found that asking cyclists to tote around two pairs of headphones will slow down adoption, so her buds convert into a regular pair of headphones; the modular bone-conducting pieces fit magnetically into a pair of gold muffs.

London has yet to pass a ban on wearing headphones while riding a bike, and only five states in the U.S. forbid the practice. For now, Roper’s design, a working prototype, could be the transitional object cyclists need before giving up their headphones cold turkey.

Wearing a headset or a pair of earphones whilst cycling is a dangerous game to play, particularly in busy cities. This headset from broadbandchoices.co.uk is a simple idea and more importantly is safe. 

F1 DRIVER COACHING VIA RADIO – WHAT IS AND IS NOT ALLOWED IN 2015

As this article shows rules on what information can be relayed from the team to the driver over the radio have been restricted, it actually started last season and has been carried over.

Drivers racing the 2015 season will still be subject to the same radio message restrictions imposed by the FIA last year, with the governing body adding that a “a few more” may be included before the start of the season.

Last year, in response to a belief that information being relayed to drivers by engineers concerning performance was against the spirit of article 20.1 of the Sporting Regulations, which state that “the driver must drive the car alone and unaided”, the FIA contemplated a blanket ban on radio traffic between teams and drivers concerning car and driver performance.

However, following consultation with teams, officials modified their position, saying, at the Singapore Grand Prix, that it would delay restricting car performance messages until this season due to the complexity of introducing the ban at short notice and the potential for differing effects among teams. The FIA issued a revised advisory specifying a range of messages that would no longer be permitted.

According to an FIA spokesman the F1 Strategy Group has now ruled that the current restrictions are sufficient and that race officials will expect teams to continue to respect the technical directive issued in Singapore.

“The Strategy Group, from whom the original request to limit what messages could be delivered to the drivers, now feel that the balance is right by only limiting messages that can be considered driver “coaching”,” said the FIA spokesman. “Therefore, the only messages we will not permit are those listed in TD/041-14 from last year.”

He added, however, that there is still scope for further message types to be prohibited.

“We may add a few to this before the start of the season and re-issue the TD,” he said.

The issue of driver coaching is of particular relevance this year to teams such as Toro Rosso, who are fielding two rookies, including F1’s youngest driver, 17-year-old Max Verstappen.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 14.33.35

Toro Rosso’s Franz Tost was strong opponent of the coaching ban, with the team boss saying last September that the changes contained in the technical directive.

“The changes are absolutely not necessary,” he said during the FIA’s press conference in Singapore.

“All the information the drivers get is also entertainment for the people in front of the TV to hear,” he added.

“For us of course it’s a big disadvantage because the more un-experienced the driver is there’s more information you have to give him.

“For me it’s absolutely nonsense what we are discussing here because in all the other kinds of sports a coach gives some informations, instructions to a football player, for example, on the sideline or wherever.

“This does not mean that the sportsman is not able to do his job, he can do his job, he does do his job, but maybe he can do it in a better way, it’s just a performance improvement. Therefore I don’t understand it.”

Under FIA technical directive TD/041 messages concerning the following are not permitted (either by radio or pit board)

           Driving lines on the circuit.

-           Contact with kerbs.

-           Car set up parameters for specific corners.

-           Comparative or absolute sector time detail of another driver.

-           Speeds in corners compared to another driver.

-           Gear selection compared with another driver.

-           Gear selection in general.

-           Braking points.

-           Rate of braking compared to another driver.

-           Rate of braking or application of brakes in general.

-           Car stability under braking.

-           Throttle application compared to another driver.

-           Throttle application in general.

           Use of DRS compared with another driver.

-           Use of any overtake button.

-           Driving technique in general.

Pryme Radio Products features Bluetooth accessories in latest additions to product portfolio

The IWCE was a great event this year, with lots of great companies and exhibitors. Particular noted showcase’s were Pryme and their new Bluetooth range. You can find the original source of the article on this website 

Pryme Radio Products recently showcased four accessories that leverage Bluetooth technology as the California-based manufacturer continues to expand its product portfolio supporting both two-way-radio and cellular users.

Introduced at IWCE 2015, Pryme Radio Products’ new BTH-600 is a heavy-duty Bluetooth wireless speaker microphone that supports push-to-talk (PTT) capability on two-way radios, according to Pryme Radio Products President Dave George. By loading different software into the headset, the user can utilize PTT applications that are available on cellular phone, he said.

Based on Pryme’s Storm Trooper platform, the BTH-600 is waterproof and utilizes an off-the-shelf, rechargeable cell-phone battery, George said.

“One of the coolest things about it is that it’s got a big battery—it can run for 40 hours of continuous duty on a single charge, and it can be in standby mode for 30 days,” George said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “

The BTH-300 is a small, lightweight clip-on box that converts any wired Apple iPhone accessory into a Bluetooth headset, according to company literature. Featuring 10 hours of battery life, a built-in PTT switch and a built-in noise-canceling microphone, the BTH-300 can be used during covert operations—there is no visible LED light—and supports both radio and cellular communications, George said.

“This will work both with radio dongles and with cell phones at the same time,” he said. “It has a separate button on it for answering phone calls, and it has technology inside of it that will allow you to prioritize whether you want to ignore the two-way-radio calls while you are on you cell phone, or whether you want to ignore the cell phone calls when you are on a two-way-radio call.”

For those using Motorola Solutions’ XPR-3300/3500 series radios on a MOTOTRBO network, Pryme Radio Products has developed the BT-M11, which is a Bluetooth adapter that attaches directly to the radio with a patent-pending locking mechanism, George said. Previously, Bluetooth chips were so large that Pryme’s Bluetooth adapter had to be attached with a cable, he said.

“Now that the Bluetooth chips have gotten much smaller, we’re finally able to get it inside the small connector,” George said. “So, we’ve designed a new small connector that will attach directly to the side of the radio and contain the Bluetooth technology.”

WrestleMania XXXI Surprises Fans

Despite claims that the WWE padded out its attendance figures from 67,000 to 76,000 fans, the eagerly anticipated 31st annual WrestleMania was generally well received by the majority in attendance, as well as those watching at home.

The event took place at Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, San Francisco, making it only the sixth open-air WrestleMania event in WWE history. The card featured, amongst other matches, a seven-man ladder match for the companys Intercontinental Championship, a dream match of sorts between WWE veteran Triple H and former WCW mainstay Sting and a main event of Brock Lesnar Vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

The main card kicked off in spectacular fashion, with fan-favourite Daniel Bryan picking up the gold from defending champion Bad News Barrett. Bryan headlined last years 30th anniversary event, but was sidelined by a serious neck injury not long afterwards. His victory at WrestleMania XXXI marked a triumphant return to Championship form for the man known as much for his skilful wrestling as he is for his popular “YES! YES! YES!” chants.

Not long afterward, Bryan was congratulated backstage by a plethora of wrestling legends (and former Intercontinental Champions) including Ricky The Dragon Steamboat, Bret Hitman Hart, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Nature Boy Ric Flair and Pat Patterson, the first ever Intercontinental Champion.

Fans were also treated to a heated grudge match between Seth Rollins and former WWE Champion Randy Orton. The match was tightly contested, with Rollins security men causing regular distractions to Orton from the outside. At the climax of the fight, Orton managed perform his signature move, the RKO, almost from midair, as Rollins attempted his Curb Stomp finisher. Visually, this made for an incredible finish, as The Viper picked up the win.

The matchup between Triple H and Sting was billed as a dream match of sorts, and Sting was presented to fans as being the last survivor of the fabled Monday Night Wars – a period of time in wrestlings recent history marked by a ratings war between the then-WWF and its nearest rival WCW. This was rather odd, as Sting had in fact been competing for the TNA promotion for many years after the fall of WCW.

Triple Hs Terminator-themed entrance (complete with virtual ring announcement by Arnold Schwarzenegger) was an impressive sight to behold, but, despite this, the match didnt really find its footing until near the end. However, instead of a satisfactory conclusion to a one-on-one match, the WWE staged a microcosmic version of the ratings war by having its D-Generation X stable reunite in support of Triple H as WCWs New World Order group came to the aid of Sting.

Although well received by Attitude Era fans, this probably proved confusing for some of the younger audience members. At the finale of the match, HHH defeated Sting in fairly predictable fashion, but the pair shook hands when all was said and done, indicating that any animosity between WWE and WCW was finally over (of course, the company purchased WCW in 2001, so the point was actually moot before it was made).

Elsewhere on the card, WWE Divas A.J Lee (who retired from active competition shortly after the event) and Paige saw off The Bella Twins in an enjoyable matchup, whilst John Cena won the United States Championship from the (at the time) undefeated Rusev. In the storyline leading up to the event, Rusev and his manager, The Ravishing Russian Lana had been denigrating the United States in an angle not a million miles removed from the plot of Rocky IV, so it was up to John Cena to put them in their place – which he did.

Next up was the long-awaited return of The Undertaker to face the villainous cult leader Bray Wyatt. Fans were teased regarding Takers return, as announcers speculated that he might not actually show up at all.

Up until last year, The Undertaker had remained undefeated at any WrestleMania event, and, in fact had held a 21-0 win/loss record, known to WWE fans as The Streak. However, The Streak had ended at WrestleMania XXX, arguably the biggest shock in WWE history – and The Deadman hadnt been seen since. Many fans had speculated that he had actually retired.

Eventually, after much taunting from Wyatt, a loud bell rang and Undertakers entrance music began to play. The match was a far better showing from Undertaker than the previous year (probably because he was concussed for most of his WMXXX matchup), with both men working the crowd into a frenzy before Undertaker picked up a clean and decisive win (as it should be). Bray Wyatt was working hurt throughout the match, but both Bray and his opponent covered for it extremely well.

The main event was a match between WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and 2015 Royal Rumble winner Roman Reigns. Reigns, formerly a member of fan favourite stable The Shield, is the son of Wild Samoan Sika and is therefore a cousin to WWE legends The Rock, Yokozuna and Rikishi and a relative of multi-time WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos. WWE management was obviously very hot on Reigns being their next big star, but the fans had other ideas.

Unanimously booed after his Royal Rumble victory in January, Roman Reigns has been declared by wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer as the least popular wrestler ever to headline a WrestleMania main event. Perceptions of Reigns stem from his being unready and/or too inexperienced for a top spot within the company, to his simply not being a main event calibre-wrestler. In either instance, Reigns (booked to be the good guy or babyface in the match) was unpopular in the main event and actually had to be led to the ring by security guards.

Lesnar, usually a heel (industry term for a bad guy), found himself in an awkward position of garnering some cheers from the crowd – and, perhaps as a result, his offence eclipsed Reigns by a significant margin. The former UFC Champ, himself a target of much fan-criticism due to his status as a part-time WWE employee, threw Roman Reigns about like a veritable rag doll. Reigns signature moves (the spear and the Superman Punch respectively) were apparently ineffective against Lesnar, who simply kicked out of each and every pin attempt.

The feel of the main event struggled from the lack of the clear-cut good guy/bad guy dynamic so prominent in pro wrestling, but WWE creative had obviously anticipated this, so a genuine surprise was still waiting around the corner…

Seth Rollins, Reigns former tag team partner, emerged from the back brandishing his Money in the Bank briefcase – a storyline-item that grants the bearer a title match at any place or time of his choosing – and cashed in his contract, leaving WrestleMania XXXI as the new WWE Champion.

Rollins has long been regarded as one of the industrys brightest stars. From his days in independent promotions like ROH to his time in WWEs developmental series NXT, the man formerly known as Tyler Black has been a consistently impressive performer and had been nominated by many as a future World Champion.

Apparently, WrestleMania XXXI was his moment to shine – and he did, garnering more heat (industry term for fan reaction to a villain) than either Lesnar or Reigns had managed during the entire match. This set up an interesting story that could play out over the next few months, with Seth ducking and dodging challengers Lesnar and Reigns in his quest to keep the title.

Overall, WrestleMania XXXI received generally positive reviews from fans and critics alike, being named as one of the greatest Manias ever by more than one critic. From this fans perspective, however, it lacked the polish and power of WrestleMania XXX, being dragged down by an ambivalent main event reliant on shock tactics rather than wrestling. Having said that, this years WrestleMania was still a very well packaged and enjoyable Pay-Per-View event.

SOURCES

http://www.wrestleview.com/wwe-news/53869

http://www.f4wonline.com/component/content/article/112-wrestling-observer/41491

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WrestleMania_31#cite_note-42

Did Someone Say Walkie Talkie Earpiece?

Gone are the days of having to actually hold a 2 Way Radio while using it, thank goodness. Today’s world is one of convenience and I am so glad that it has translated over to 2 Way Radios in the form of an earpiece. When everyone in your vicinity can hear what your conversation is about, or hear other conversations that just happen to be on the same station as you, it can get annoying. Not just when I get those side glances when the person “calling” speaks there mind, but it must be pretty aggravating for those having to hear my (sometimes) loud conversations, but not anymore! Two Way Radios aren’t just something I can benefit from, but my family can too (kids love to play with the things, but the 2 Way Radios help parents to keep a check on them).

Although Two Way Radios can be used on a daily basis for different things, I use mine primarily at work. My best friend, and partner on the job, takes his on family vacations so that he and his wife can keep up with everyone. Sure, cell phones are all the rage, but when you are out relaxing on the beach or snowboarding down a mountain, who wants to keep up with a phone? Just stick that little earpiece in and take off. Plus the kids, and the elderly parents, can all use them with ease.

Like I said, I use mine mostly at work. I need my hands to help my customers, so I do not have the extra hands to fiddle with a phone or the whole walkie talkie. Also, they help to keep sensitive information private. The speaker volume is easy to manoeuvre and the mic picks up words without getting all the background sounds. If the weather is nice, the walkie talkie earpiece is great to wear while on the motorcycle. The earpiece fits comfortably under my helmet, so if an emergency signal is sounded from work, I can still get it. This is also great for when my husband and I go on motorcycle road trips. We can always easily talk to one another while always keeping both eyes on the road.

In addition to the ways I use the walkie talkie now, kids seem to really love these things. My partner’s kids love to play on them around the house, but also during games of paintball and airsoft when they need to covertly communicate with other kids on their team. The 2 Way Radio earpiece is also convenient if your kids ever venture off on their own. For example, my parents owned horses when I was a kid. They were always paranoid about my sister and I off riding horses throughout their land with no one around to help us if something went wrong. Thankfully, we had walkie talkies so we could radio them periodically to let them know we were fine and having fun. This situation could also apply to kids running around the neighborhood or out camping in the yard.

The good thing, technologically speaking, about walkie talkies is that they have been around for many years, and tech teams have worked to make them all the better. No longer do they just reach a couple of feet, but many miles depending on which set you get and the purpose of them. The new earpieces are amazingly convenient and easy to use, at a low cost. How you will be using a walkie talkie is something that you should keep in mind when looking for purchase one and the same goes for the earpiece. Although many can be used for multiple purposes, some 2 Way Radios work better further distances than others. Along the same line, some earpieces work better to keep out background noises (if you are on a motorcycle, per say) and some are more comfortable under a helmet. It is all about how you are going to use them, but they are all convenient and fun to use!

BIG Changes Announced By DC Comics…Again

When veteran comic book publisher DC Entertainment announced that it was ending its entire line of comic books and starting everything again at Issue 1, the fans went crazy.

Some comics had been running, there or thereabouts uninterrupted, for 700 issues or more – and now it seemed that it was all over. Still, in 2011, when DC announced this major upheaval, naming their initiative ‘The New 52’, the first few issues actually sold rather well.

DC had started out by promising a company-wide ‘reboot’ of all their characters/stories, but then baulked at using the term after fan outcry became too great. Instead, it became seen as a ‘soft reboot’, or a ‘revamp’, which left fans – and creators too, evidently – scratching their collective heads regarding which major storyline events had still happened in the new timeline and which hadn’t.

Many fans, for their part, were upset that Frank Miller David Mazzuccelli’s ‘Batman: Year One’ was no longer the Bat’s official origin story, replaced instead by the gruelling, overlong ‘Zero Year’. In fact, fans were further annoyed when other classic texts such as Alan Moore Brian Bolland’s ‘The Killing Joke’ and Jeph Loeb Tim Sale’s ‘The Long Halloween’ also departed from Bat-continuity.

Elsewhere in the DCU, Superman was no longer after Lois Lane, instead striking up a romance with Wonder Woman. Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl – latterly the company’s only major disabled character as Oracle – was miraculously able to walk again and The Flash Mk III, AKA Wally West, was simply erased from continuity altogether.

As time went on, we learned that The Joker was probably immortal, that Dick Grayson gave up his crime fighting identity of Nightwing to become a spy, that Green Arrow was somehow a kid again and that Catwoman and Batman enjoyed regular ‘on the job’ sex. In costume.

Of course, there were good stories, too, but as far as many fans were concerned, the end result was, to borrow a line from Red Dwarf’s Kryten “garbled, confusing and quite frankly duller than an in-flight magazine produced by air Belgium”.

Now, just four years later, sales have apparently slumped again, so DC’s reaction has been to plan another, still more drastic, reboot of the company’s characters.

The starting gun will be a story called ‘Convergence’ and it is set to officially begin next month. After that, the company will take a two-month hiatus and return with a new and completely rebooted line. Again.

Well, you know what they say, if at first you don’t succeed…

DC has already teased a ‘new look’ for Superman and Wonder Woman, designs that, personally, I’m hoping are April fools’ jokes. Superman will now be fighting crime and injustice with a buzzcut hairdo and a jeans-and-t-shirt ensemble that makes him look like, to quote one commenter “a gym douche” and Wonder Woman now has a 90’s style armoured battlesuit.

By working within the continuity established by The New 52, but moving it to the ‘back burner’ as it were, DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio hopes that “In this new era of storytelling, story will trump continuity as we continue to empower creators to tell the best stories in the industry.”

Launching 24 new number 1 issues in June (‘The Poor 24?’, ‘Less Is More, 24?’ – I’m just trying to come up with an angle for this), DC Entertainment is hoping to capture a funnier, sunnier feel with some of its characters. 25 successful series will be kept, but tweaked with new creative teams and whatnot.

Sadly, at least as far as online discussion is concerned, the overall feel is not one of ‘glorious new rebirth’ as much as it is ‘here we go again’. The image in the eyes of this long-time fan (and former ‘New 52’ apologist) is one of DC hitting the panic button in yet another sad attempt to appear ‘modern’ and ‘contemporary’ whilst actually revealing itself as stodgy and out of touch in the process.

Here’s Co-Publisher Jim Lee, usually one of the sharpest minds in comics, essentially blaming the audience for the failure of ‘The New 52’…

“It was really weird when we launched the New 52 — there were so many fans focused on, “What happened between the five years, when this character showed up, and this character” — it almost overshadowed what the original intent of it was, which was basically to put a fresh face on the universe, boldly go forward, tell new stories. This is an attempt to refocus the line, focus on story, focus on producing great stories that become canon, and letting the creators have some freedom to tell those stories, without necessarily being confined by the restriction of “continuity.”

Of course, comic book creators have been working with continuity, in one form or another, for 75 years or more, so it actually just seems to be the current crop (and thus, a tiny percentage overall) of creators who find it to be a “restriction”. But I digress, here’s more from DC’s Co-Publisher.

“I’ll just use one example — there was a tweet I saw, someone complaining about “Throne of Atlantis,” the DVD adaptation of the comic book. The complaint was, “Superman and Wonder Woman don’t breathe underwater. You failed.” Maybe the continuity proves that right, I don’t know — I’m pretty sure I’ve put Superman under water, and he was fine, and he’s been to outer space, same with Wonder Woman — when those things start overshadowing the story, and the emotional beats, I think there’s something wrong with what’s going on in the marketplace. That’s my perspective”.

One might argue that being DC’s Co-Publisher, it’s actually his job to know everything there is to know about Superman, including whether or not he can breathe underwater, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg here.

Anyway, love the idea or hate it (and I think I’ve made my own feelings pretty clear on the subject), DC’s new line will be launching in June. Make of it what you will.

For many fans, (including myself) the reaction is not one of excitement and glee, but is, in fact, more akin to Seinfeld’s J. Peterman being confronted with ‘The Urban Sombrero’.

“The horror…The horror”

What types of spy earpiece are available?

Assuming you didn’t make your own spy earpiece (we ran an instructional piece on how to build one last year), there are three main types of spy earpiece.

  • Bluetooth spy earpieces
  • Mp3 spy earpieces
  • Wired spy earpieces

The appeal of the spy earpiece is simple (and goes beyond simply having the word ‘spy’ in the title). A spy earpiece is largely invisible to the outside observer, allowing the user to send and receive information in a discreet and covert manner. In recent months, spy earpieces have skyrocketed in popularity. According to this blog entry we sourced,

“We may see in the technology of Bluetooth spy earpiece the future in new methods of quick reception of the audio information from any area – with the help of GSM mobile phones and invisible spy ear pieces. Your partner transfers the information you need to your GSM mobile phone which is further transferred by means of Bluetooth technology to the Bluetooth spy earpiece plugged in your ear. Simultaneously, your partner can hear your replies using invisible microphone”.

The Bluetooth spy earpiece is the most diverse of the three types. Using a Bluetooth spy earpiece, it is possible to relay messages and information between two users. In this fashion, these earpieces are now being used in business presentations and high-pressure working situations, when up-to-the second information is necessary for completion of a task.

The Mp3 spy earpiece is a little different. It can only play back audio information (it has no send/receive functions). However, it still proves to be a popular choice, as this Blogspot confirms,

“The main advantage of mp3 spy earpieces is that you needn’t to attract the partner to this process. You can record all-important information in advance on your mp3 device and listen later when it is necessary! Since you are familiar with your own voice and record contents, it will be easier to understand and analyze audio information”.

The final type, the ‘wired’ spy earpiece, is probably the least popular of the three. It’s not difficult to see why; the wire renders the earpiece awkward and conspicuous. Despite wired technology still having a (general) advantage over wireless in terms of transmission speed and reliability, spy earpieces are one technological avenue that needs to attract as little attention as possible to itself (the operative word being ‘spy’) and a wired earpiece just doesn’t camouflage as well as a wireless one.

On this, the blog says,

“It is a bit (of an) out-of-date approach to the problem. Usual wired earpiece does not differ from Bluetooth one except that the micro earpiece is communicated to the GSM mobile phone by wire, often inconvenient in use”.

 The Bluetooth spy earpiece is definitely the best choice in terms of versatility.

Are Your Headphones Causing Your Acne?

We all take reasonable care of our stuff, particularly when we wear it, we wash our clothes regularly, we shower, more than twice a week! but when was the last time you cleaned your headphones? they might not look dirty, or do they? this article seemingly does.

Headphones are a necessity for the modern music-lover or phone user but your gadgets could also be taking a negative toll on your skin.

Some things in life never seem to last as long as we want them to: Your last paycheck, free cookies, or (perhaps most disappointing of all), clear skin are all relatable examples. Sure, we know that there are tons of prescribed, over-the-counter, and even some go-to natural ingredients that can treat an annoying blemish in a flash, but wouldn’t it be less frustrating to know why our pimples are, well, popping up in the first place?

While genetics and hormones play a huge role, there are certain sneaky, everyday habits that could be irritating your skin too. Like coveting those beloved gadgets of yours.

For instance, think about how your headphones go everywhere with you—school, work, the subway, the gym—and you slide them on without giving it a second thought. Cranking up the music is totally therapeutic (and yes, great for drowning out an annoying sibling), but it turns out if you’re seeing spots on your temples and jaw line, the headphones you use for your daily jam sessions to Taylor Swift might be the culprit for recurring breakouts.

“Wearing over-the-ear headphones is a perfect setup for causing an increase of acne breakouts and skin infections,” says dermatologist and Simple advisory board member Dr. Debra Luftman. “This is especially the case when you wear them during and after a workout, or if you keep them on for long periods of time. Sweat and moisture collect on and around the headphones, compressing the skin and therefore encouraging bacteria and yeast to multiply.” Gross, but true.

Luckily, a blemish-free complexion doesn’t mean retiring your giant pair of Beats or new Frends headphones for good. To keep them gunk-free, Dr. Luftman recommends giving them a daily rubdown with a makeup remover wipe. (Simple’s Cleansing Facial Wipes are so easy to toss in your bag!) Then, remember to use another wipe to clean the areas around your ears, hairline, and jaw before the next time you toss your headphones on again.

If you find that your headphones get discolored or grimy particularly often, you can also keep a stash of anti-bacterial cloths handy in your purse or backpack. Feel free to pick these up during your next drugstore run. Just be sure to let the earphones dry completely before using them again. The same bacteria that develops from sweat and moisture, can build up from any dampness that stems from your cleansing tools. Come on, putting whatever you’re listening to on pause for 10 minutes isn’t too much to ask now, is it?

Dealing with acne is never fun, but preventing it with these simple tips is music to our ears—literally!

New Technology May Double Radio Frequency Data Capacity

A team of Columbia Engineering researchers has invented a technology—full-duplex radio integrated circuits (ICs)—that can be implemented in nanoscale CMOS to enable simultaneous transmission and reception at the same frequency in a wireless radio. Up to now, this has been thought to be impossible: transmitters and receivers either work at different times or at the same time but at different frequencies. The Columbia team, led by Electrical Engineering Associate Professor Harish Krishnaswamy, is the first to demonstrate an IC that can accomplish this. The researchers presented their work at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco on February 25.

CoSMIC (Columbia high-Speed and Mm-wave IC) Lab full-duplex transceiver IC that can be implemented in nanoscale CMOS to enable simultaneous transmission and reception at the same frequency in a wireless radio

“This is a game-changer,” says Krishnaswamy, director of the Columbia high-Speed and Mm-wave IC (CoSMIC) Lab. “By leveraging our new technology, networks can effectively double the frequency spectrum resources available for devices like smartphones and tablets.”

In the era of Big Data, the current frequency spectrum crisis is one of the biggest challenges researchers are grappling with and it is clear that today’s wireless networks will not be able to support tomorrow’s data deluge. Today’s standards, such as 4G/LTE, already support 40 different frequency bands, and there is no space left at radio frequencies for future expansion. At the same time, the grand challenge of the next-generation 5G network is to increase the data capacity by 1,000 times.

So the ability to have a transmitter and receiver re-use the same frequency has the potential to immediately double the data capacity of today’s networks. Krishnaswamy notes that other research groups and startup companies have demonstrated the theoretical feasibility of simultaneous transmission and reception at the same frequency, but no one has yet been able to build tiny nanoscale ICs with this capability.

“Our work is the first to demonstrate an IC that can receive and transmit simultaneously,” he says. “Doing this in an IC is critical if we are to have widespread impact and bring this functionality to handheld devices such as cellular handsets, mobile devices such as tablets for WiFi, and in cellular and WiFi base stations to support full duplex communications.”

The biggest challenge the team faced with full duplex was canceling the transmitter’s echo. Imagine that you are trying to listen to someone whisper from far away while at the same time someone else is yelling while standing next to you. If you can cancel the echo of the person yelling, you can hear the other person whispering.

“If everyone could do this, everyone could talk and listen at the same time, and conversations would take half the amount of time and resources as they take right now,” explains Jin Zhou, Krishnaswamy’s PhD student and the paper’s lead author. “Transmitter echo or ‘self-interference’ cancellation has been a fundamental challenge, especially when performed in a tiny nanoscale IC, and we have found a way to solve that challenge.”

Krishnaswamy and Zhou plan next to test a number of full-duplex nodes to understand what the gains are at the network level. “We are working closely with Electrical Engineering Associate Professor Gil Zussman and his PhD student Jelena Marasevic, who are network theory experts here at Columbia Engineering,” Krishnaswamy adds. “It will be very exciting if we are indeed able to deliver the promised performance gains.”

This work was funded by the DARPA RF-FPGA program

Thankyou to columbia.edu for the tireless research, this really is an exciting invention, the possibilities if this can be brought to our industry are unbelievable.

Security Earpiece For the iPhone

With every passing day, technology is improving and it has made lives of people easier and better in many ways. Some of the latest technologies and gadgets have really been helpful to many people. If you look at the security earpiece then you will understand how advantageous it is for specific people. There are different types of these earpieces available and you can also get these for your iPhone. You just have to check whether or not these are suitable and compatible with your handset.

Use Of Security Earpieces

These earpieces are only required when you want to communicate with someone secretly. The security earpiece is fitted into the ears and normally people around you cannot see it. It is small and is connected by a very thin wire. Security personnel mainly use these types of earpieces. But people also use this when they are in a conference and want to communicate or hear something while communicating. You can also find it useful in movie sets, broadcasting of radios etc. Even it will be great for using inside classrooms and not getting caught by teachers!

This is quite small in size the voice transmitted via this cannot be heard outside. Only the person who is wearing it can hear the voice. Thus, you can secretly converse with someone while none will even know about it. In case of audio surveillance, security guards and bodyguards use this earpiece to make sure they can hear each and everything distinctly. When a person is speaking on radio in front of a microphone, he/she has to make sure that even a message comes through the earphone it is not heard outside. So, with the help of the security earpiece it is very much possible.

Connecting To Mobile

Though these earpieces are meant mainly for security purposes, many people find it cool! They use this as a style statement and wear it just for fun. It has become a part of cool accessories which many enthusiasts prefer to use while going out. It is not necessary that you have to be a spy, bodyguard or a secret agent in order to buy or use this. You can simply buy one security earpiece for your iPhone too. it also comes with a separate mouthpiece which you can put on anywhere you feel comfortable.

If you are an owner of an iPhone then you can get the security earpiece for your particular handset. The jack which will be connected to your earphone port of the mobile has to be compatible to each other, normally a 3.5mm Jack. If not then you will not be able to hear or listen to anything. This is very much important. So, it is best to buy the security earphones specially made for each model of iPhone. With the help of this you can talk over phone while driving or even you can hear songs and watch movies.

Some Useful Tips

Since you have to wear these earpieces inside your ears, you have to be much more conscious of it. Make sure that you are not allergic to the material by which earpiece is made up of. If you are then avoid using that material as it can be harmful for you. The earpiece is fitted inside the ear exactly beside your eardrum. While wearing it you have to be careful about whether or not the earpiece is touching your eardrum. If it is not touching then you will not be able to hear anything or you will hear a low voice. When you are done you have to take out that earpiece as well. In this case also you have to be very much careful.

Your ear, mainly eardrum, is very much sensitive. You have to make sure that the security earpiece you are buying for your ears is not made up of some low quality material. It can react badly with your inner ear skin. So, when you are buying one for your iPhone, you have to choose the best one made up of high quality material. These are mainly available in rubber and thus you have to confirm that you are not allergic to it. This is surely a great technology and a cool accessorise for the one who want to use it just for fun for their iPhone.