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Spectrum: Wake Up and Smell the Bacon

Also, the healing power of silk and could drones be the answer to getting the rest of the world online?

by / April 4, 2014

Bacon Nation

If you’ve ever tried bacon ice cream or used bacon-flavored toothpaste, you might also be tempted by a new iPhone plug-in from Oscar Mayer. Wake Up and Smell the Bacon tempts its groggy users by filling their sleeping quarters with both the sounds and smells of sizzling bacon. Only serious applicants need apply, via the website — the device will not be sold in stores. Source: Business Insider

Internet for All with Drones?

Could drones be the answer to getting the rest of the world online? In what’s been called Facebook’s answer to Google’s Project Loon, the social media giant is reportedly in talks to purchase solar-powered drone maker Titan Aerospace. Step one would be to build 11,000 Solara 60 drones, which act as inexpensive atmospheric satellites, to help make the Internet accessible to the 5 billion people in the world who are currently offline. The machines’ ability to remain 12 miles above sea level for five years makes them well suited for regional Internet systems, like those Facebook and fellow backers of the project envision over Africa. Source: TechCrunch

The Healing Power of Silk

Scientists at the Tufts University School of Engineering and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center are experimenting with a new substance that could replace the metal plates and screws used to help broken bones heal. Protein from silkworm cocoons is strong, biodegradable and readily acceptable by the human body, and is therefore being used to make plates and screws that don’t cause the same stress to healing bone as metal. Using silk, patients could also avoid a second surgery that’s often required to remove metal plates and screws once the broken bone is healed. Source: Gizmag

Taking a Byte Out of Crime

While they’re not as cuddly as a K-9 unit, the creators of the K5 crime-fighting robot hope its friendly, yet commanding presence can significantly reduce crime rates. The autonomous machines can see, hear, feel and smell, processing up to 90 terabytes of data in real time using a variety of sensors. Information that the robot collects is processed by Knightscope’s predictive analytics engine and combined with other information from its surroundings. When an alert is triggered, authorities and the community are notified.

Current prototypes can operate for 24 hours without needing to recharge, at a cost of about $6.25 an hour. Testing is planned for large public spaces like shopping malls and sporting events. Source:

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Noelle Knell Editor

Government Technology editor Noelle Knell has more than 15 years of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.

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