GTRacer (234395) writes "Forbes reports that Hilton Worldwide, international hotel operator, is rolling out smartphone-based guest tools allowing self-service check-in, access to a virtual floorplan to select a room, and (in 2015) actual door access once checked in. The author states the drive for this technology is the growing influence of the swelling ranks of Millennials, who "[...] have a very strong inclination toward automated and self-service customer service." The security risks seem obvious though "Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts [is] working on using the same, or a similar, system soon–and Four Seasons is nothing if not secure and discreet."" top
Translucent Oyster Shells May Pave The Way To Better Armor
GTRacer (234395) writes "The Slate Report has an interesting summary and lay analysis of a recent research paper (paywalled) in Nature Materials. This materials research focused on the properties of the "clear enough to read through" windowpane oyster shell. Ling Li and Christine Ortiz analyzed the way the shell's structure contained penetration damage by "twinning", a split of the damaged ceramic structures into smaller regions which helps limit the effects of impacts. Engineered ceramic armor or structural systems with high translucence and damage mitigation could come next: "A clear, lightweight, damage-resistant material has obvious applications for military and police personnel, including eye and face protection. However, there are many potential applications such as windows and windshields which could benefit everyone," much as Kevlar has." top
Google Science Fair Finalist Invents Peltier-Powered Flashlight
GTRacer (234395) writes "Ann Makosinski, a Canadian student competing in Google's Science Fair submitted a flashlight which uses temperature differentials to power its LEDs. Her long-time interest is alternative energy because, "[she's] really interested in harvesting surplus energy, energy that surrounds but we never really use." Using Peltier tiles and custom circuitry, her design currently runs for 20 minutes or so and costs $26. A win at the September finals in Mountain View and/or outside investment could fund further development." top
GTRacer (234395) writes "In response to Aereo's recent win allowing per-user over-the-air antenna feeds to remote devices, Fox COO Chase Carey said, "We need to be able to be fairly compensated for our content. This is not an ideal path we look to pursue [...]", that path being a switch to a subscription model. Spanish-language stalwart Univison may join Fox, per CEO Haim Saban. Aereo replied, in part, "When broadcasters asked Congress for a free license to digitally broadcast on the public's airwaves, they did so with the promise that they would broadcast in the public interest and convenience, and that they would remain free-to-air. Having a television antenna is every American's right." A switch to a pay-TV subscription model would stymie Aereo but could hurt affiliate stations."