A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, has made a breakthrough in the field of noninvasive robotic device control. Using a noninvasive brain-computer interface (BCI), researchers have developed the first-ever successful mind-controlled robotic arm exhibiting the ability to continuously track and follow a computer cursor.
Being able to noninvasively control robotic devices using only thoughts will have broad applications, in particular benefiting the lives of paralyzed patients and those with movement disorders.
BCIs have been shown to achieve good performance for controlling robotic devices using only the signals sensed from brain implants. When robotic devices can be controlled with high precision, they can be used to complete a variety of daily tasks. Until now, however, BCIs successful in controlling robotic arms have used invasive brain implants. These implants require a substantial amount of medical and surgical expertise to correctly install and operate, not to mention cost and potential risks to subjects, and as such, their use has been limited to just a few clinical cases.
A grand challenge in BCI research is to develop less invasive or even totally noninvasive technology that would allow paralyzed patients to control their environment or robotic limbs using their own “thoughts.” Such noninvasive BCI technology, if successful, would bring such much needed technology to numerous patients and even potentially to the general population.
However, BCIs that use noninvasive external sensing, rather than brain implants, receive “dirtier” signals, leading to current lower resolution and less precise control. Thus, when using only the brain to control a robotic arm, a noninvasive BCI doesn’t stand up to using implanted devices. Despite this, BCI researchers have forged ahead, their eye on the prize of a less- or non-invasive technology that could help patients everywhere on a daily basis.
Bin He, Trustee Professor and Department Head of Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, is achieving that goal, one key discovery at a time.
“There have been major advances in mind controlled robotic devicesusing brain implants. It’s excellent science,” says He. “But noninvasive is the ultimate goal. Advances in neural decoding and the practical utility of noninvasive robotic arm control will have major implications on the eventual development of noninvasive neurorobotics.”
Using novel sensing and machine learning techniques, He and his lab have been able to access signals deep within the brain, achieving a high resolution of control over a robotic arm. With noninvasive neuroimaging and a novel continuous pursuit paradigm, He is overcoming the noisy EEG signals leading to significantly improve EEG-based neural decoding, and facilitating real-time continuous 2-D robotic device control.
Using a noninvasive BCI to control a robotic arm that’s tracking a cursor on a computer screen, for the first time ever, He has shown in human subjects that a robotic arm can now follow the cursor continuously. Whereas robotic arms controlled by humans noninvasively had previously followed a moving cursor in jerky, discrete motions—as though the robotic arm was trying to “catch up” to the brain’s commands—now, the arm follows the cursor in a smooth, continuous path.
In a paper published in Science Robotics, the team established a new framework that addresses and improves upon the “brain” and “computer” components of BCI by increasing user engagement and training, as well as spatial resolution of noninvasive neural data through EEG source imaging.
The paper, “Noninvasive neuroimaging enhances continuous neural tracking for robotic device control,” shows that the team’s unique approach to solving this problem not enhanced BCI learning by nearly 60% for traditional center-out tasks, it also enhanced continuous tracking of a computer cursor by over 500%.
The technology also has applications that could help a variety of people, by offering safe, noninvasive “mind control” of devices that can allow people to interact with and control their environments. The technology has, to date, been tested in 68 able-bodied human subjects (up to 10 sessions for each subject), including virtual device control and controlling of a robotic arm for continuous pursuit. The technology is directly applicable to patients, and the team plans to conduct clinical trials in the near future.
“Despite technical challenges using noninvasive signals, we are fully committed to bringing this safe and economic technology to people who can benefit from it,” says He. “This work represents an important step in noninvasive brain-computer interfaces, a technology which someday may become a pervasive assistive technology aiding everyone, like smartphones.”
How Apple factory workers steal pieces of new iPhones — and sometimes get away
Leaks are common in the tech industry, but for the past six years, Apple has been doing everything in its power to prevent them from getting out into the world.
Following a big leak that spoiled the announcement of the iPhone 5C, The Informationreports that Apple created its own manufacturing security division, dubbed the New Product Security Team (NPS), to closely monitor its suppliers and assembly partners in China. The team was also tasked with sealing up methods used by some factory workers to leak information about its new devices, be it in the form of device schematics and measurements or physical components.
The iPhone 5C leak was carried out when an employee of Jabil, one of Apple’s suppliers, was able to drive away with colorful enclosures (the defining trait of that model of iPhone), avoiding security cameras and doctoring papers, thanks to assistance from an abiding security guard.
The report details other leaks that NPS, having formed to stop situations like the 5C casings that were eventually photographed and uploaded to the internet, has been able to prevent. One saw workers try and fail to dig an underground tunnel to make away with components outside of the facility.
As closely as Apple watches the factory workers who are paid to make the next iPhone a reality, some secrets will escape. Though, the report details that Apple is usually privy to find what has gone missing and where to find it.
Two workers at Jabil, the supplier that leaked the iPhone 5C. later stole 180 iPhone 6 enclosures by adjusting inventory tracking system, then they put them up for sale on the black market. Apple discovered the leak and purchased all of the stolen enclosures.
Here’s another story:
In one instance, before the iPhone X was released, a business that teaches technicians how to repair Apple devices had access to leaked glass screens for the new phone and began holding classes on repairing the screens. Apple secretly enrolled a contractor in the class to trace the source of the leaks, the person said.
One fascinating element of Apple’s anti-leak strategy is that it rarely goes after the leakers using legal methods, both because its difficult to do so in a foreign country and because doing so would mean media reports on or otherwise unwanted attention paid to the unreleased products. The Information says Apple would be required to provide product descriptions of stolen parts to Chinese law enforcement, but it chooses not to out for fear of sharing the information with non-Apple employees.
That means iPhone part thieves are typically only charged the street value of the stolen components when caught, instead of the intellectual property value. That’s part of the reason why smuggling Apple secrets out of Chinese factories doesn’t carry the type of risk you might associate with crossing one of the most secretive corporations on the planet.
2019’s Best WordPress Hosting Providers (Number #1 is Awesome)
WordPress is easily one of the best content management systems out there—by many metrics, it is the content management system. Just about everyone has heard of WordPress—though many consumers might know WordPress.com better than WordPress.org.
WordPress.org is an incredible tool and it’s free to use, but it doesn’t come with hosting. If you can take care of your own hosting (and presumably your own domain) you can use WordPress to edit the site itself.
WordPress is so popular that many hosting companies offer plansspecifically geared towards WordPress. Now, a couple things need to be explained here.
First of all, some of this is a bit exaggerated. You could use normal shared web hosting plans to connect to WordPress most of the time—so companies that offer shared/web WordPress hosting are basically offering dressed up web hosting. It’s something to be wary of.
At the same time, some of these options also have extra features or decent prices, are still worth looking into. Plus, some companies offer managed WordPress solutions that are on the pricier side, but also provide more premium, WordPress-oriented services.
Now there’s a lot to sort out here. Most individuals can install WordPress on a normal web hosting account and it will work fine—so some of the items on this list are here because they offer web hosting prices for WordPress-oriented hosting.
Other items here offer managed WordPress solutions that are better for businesses. And of course, some companies here do both.
Another quick note for this list: there are some things that are very common for WordPress Hosting products.
If something makes the pros and cons list here, it probably means it’s special—for example, many WordPress hosting products come with some form of customer support, but I’ll make a note when companies provide particularly good WordPress-trained customer support representatives.
There’s one last thing I’d like to say about this list: all the options here are solid. Yes, they’re ranked for a reason, but the truth of the matter is that companies have gotten the hang of WordPress hosting these days.
That’s not to say any of these options are perfect WordPress hosting solutions…just that they’ve managed to do a great job somehow. Particularly, the last three options are close, and you’ll need to look hard at what you want specifically before you start ruling names out.
Here we have given rank based on our experience.
2019’s Best WordPress Hosting:
|WORDPRESS HOSTING||PRICE||SPEED||UPTIME||USABILITY||MY RATING|
Without further ado, let’s dive into a detailed review of each WordPress hosting.
7: Liquid Web
Liquid Web is one of the more unique hosting companies here on this list.
While the other names here do a mix of shared hosting and managed hosting for small to medium needs, Liquid Web specializes in managed hosting. It’s specifically intended for web professionals and agencies—people with heftier needs but who aren’t huge companies either.
So there’s the gist for Liquid Web: it’s pretty solid, but probably not for individuals running personal sites. It’s an overall good option for businesses (including smaller ones), however.
- Enterprise Plans are available for managing upwards of 100 sites.
- iThemes Sync is included for all packages. iThemes Sync is a tool that lets you manage many WordPress sites at once, from one dashboard—it tremendously streamlines things.
- Unlimited traffic, and guarantees you won’t be charged with overage fees.
- Staging sites included with all packages (lets you do more extensive testing before making your site go live).
- Developer tools and full server access give you/your team more control over your hosting.
- Liquid Web’s customer support is very good. This is to be expected because part of offering a good managed hosting product is having really helpful staff and representatives, but it still makes Liquid Web stand out. In the example chat, it took about 30 seconds for me to get my question answered.
- If you’re an individual, or otherwise running a small site and not anticipating much traffic, Liquid Web isn’t the most affordable. Pricing starts at $100 a month, for 10 sites.
- This is not a major flaw, but storage is a bit limited for the price range (granted, it’s SSD storage). The starting option gets you 50GB of SSD storage for 10 sites: it’ll be enough for most, but if you used each site you’d only get an average of 5GB.
So, do I recommend Liquid Web?
I’d say yes, but with a few qualifications. I do not recommend Liquid Web for anyone who’s a hobbyist, or a small-time freelancer. I don’t even recommend it to every small business—I’d recommend only to those small or midsized businesses (SMBs) that have very stringent hosting needs and want really high-quality management.
If you’re not in that niche, then you can find less expensive managed products or unmanaged products that are significantly cheaper that can still get the job done fine.Visit Liquid Web
InMotion is a well-respected name in hosting. It’s not necessarily the biggest provider, though it’s still quite a force, but it just has a solid reputation. This reputation has been well-earned—I think WordPress hosting is one of InMotion’s strengths, and shows some of the more unique approaches of InMotion.
InMotion offers quite a few WordPress plans, so you can most likely find one that can accommodate your needs. These plans are all pretty well-stocked, and perform highly, but for individuals they start on the pricier side.
- Free domain
- Wide range of pricing options, from roughly $4.99 to $114.99 (for the first terms).
- Fairly generous allowances for starting or second-tier packages: 20,000-50,000 monthly visitors, upwards of 40GB SSD storage, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited email accounts. True, some providers have unlimited storage, but few people will really need ‘unlimited’ storage—40GB is more than enough for most entry-level options.
- BoldGrid is included for free with all WordPress packages. BoldGrid is basically a plugin that makes WordPress even more user-friendly (if it isn’t enough already). It also makes content management a little more aesthetically pleasing. It’s not for everyone, but that’s okay—it’s optional.
- With a couple exceptions, most of the renewal prices aren’t significantly higher than the first-term prices.
- Money-back guarantee is 90 days, not 30.
- The cheaper options are on the more expensive side—a few bucks over normal, and even for the first year (though renewal prices are pretty normal). Small businesses will probably be unaffected, but some individuals can save money by going to other providers.
- While customer support is overall solid, I had some slight issues with the live chat. They’re pretty minor, but basically I found the person I was talking to difficult to understand, and the wait time was about 2 minutes for a real answer, not 1. Though having said that, it’s a pretty minor point of concern because overall I got my question answered within minutes.
Would I recommend InMotion?
Yes for most people, but my main qualification is this: no, for individuals with lighter needs looking to save money. There are cheaper options with similar quality.Visit InMotion
5: A2 Hosting
A2 is a name that’s managed to keep a fairly strong reputationwithout being an overbearing force in the hosting market. A2’s been around for a while—it was first founded in 2001 and has been independently owned since then, which is a bit unique.
As far as WordPress hosting goes, A2 offers both managed and web options. It’s decently priced and decently featured, and while it isn’t the best ever, it doesn’t have much to complain about either.
- Quite a few web and managed options, with a rough price range of $4 to $40. The first tier of managed plans is relatively affordable. Additionally, you can choose between Linux or Windows hosting for these options.
- The second tier shared WordPress hosting option is not much higher than the first, but has significantly more features and resources allocated.
- Entry level option has 5 databases, unlimited storage, SSL certificate, 25 email addresses,
- A2 has some speed boosting options. One of them is called Railgun Optimizer, which is an additional dollar a month for entry-level plans and significantly boosts HTML load times, and then other things such as CloudFlare and A2 Optimized can significantly boost performance (but are usually reserved for higher tiers).
- A2’s cPanel is uniquely efficient and powerful, though I must admit the aesthetic is not my taste.
- Live chat is overall good, even if the service is nothing to write home about.
- Uptime is great. (You can see A2 hosting’s latest uptime here)
- I wish the response times were a bit higher, but admittedly I haven’t made full use of A2’s available performance upgrades.
- It’s not that A2 is difficult to use, but the other services here can be a bit more user-friendly (as far as shared WordPress hosting goes).
So, do I recommend A2 Hosting?
Unequivocally, yes. A2 has enough power and flexibility to accommodate bigger clients with larger needs, as well as individuals, plus its performance is consistently high.Visit A2 Hosting
HostGator is one of the biggest names in hosting, and it’s a name well-earned: HostGator has serviced over 8 million sites, which is pretty darn impressive.
So, what’s the deal with HostGator’s WordPress options? Their website makes this a bit confusing, but HostGator offers two types of WordPress hosting: the first is WordPress web hosting, and the second is Managed Cloud Hosting. Both are good, but HostGator is a particularly strong option for its Cloud plans—they perform very highly.
- Unmetered bandwidth, disk space, a free SSL certificate, and unlimited MySQL databases for all shared hosting accounts, which includes shared/web WordPress hosting.
- 45-day money-back guarantee (as opposed to 30 days).
- An email marketing tool is included for free with entry-level accounts upwards.
- If you use HostGator’s shared hosting products for WordPress, the prices are naturally lower. However, HostGator’s managed WordPress offers aren’t too bad either, in a $6–$10 range (for the first terms at least).
- HostGator has WordPress experts available for support. In general, HostGator has very good customer support anyway (as proof, this is a live chat sample I did when logged out, as a “prospective customer”).
- Although my uptime with HostGator has been good, the response times have been higher than average for me, over several months. However, that’s on WordPress web hosting: using WordPress Cloud hosting is much better.
- HostGator’s managed WordPress plans don’t allow users many sites—a maximum of three. This is common for managed WordPress products, but some people might be willing to pay for more than 3 sites…sorry, no dice!
Does HostGator get my recommendation?
Yep. It’s without a doubt one of the best hosts around today, and it does a very good job with WordPress hosting—I just wish a couple minor things could be made better.Visit HostGator
SiteGround is another of hosting’s big names. What makes SiteGround stand out, however, is that WordPress actually recommends SiteGround (along with the next two options, which is why they’re ranked this way).
Here’s the gist for SiteGround: the service is just overall high quality for very standard prices. Moreover, even the entry-level tiers get high quality customer support and features.
- In my experience, SiteGround has had some of the best uptime.
- Free daily backup is included from the cheapest tier upwards. Higher tiers get free daily restores.
- The installation process is incredibly easy.
- Unlimited MySQL databases from the cheapest tier upwards.
- Customer support is phenomenal, especially because SiteGround has specialized WordPress support. Even better, this advanced support is available to first tier users as well. Like some others here, even their normal customer support is good.
- SiteGround has CDN included for many packages.
- Although SiteGround’s uptime has been excellent in my experience, the response times can be a little higher than ideal. Having said that, they’re still smaller than a lot of other companies on this list.
- Although the first year of hosting is normally/affordably priced, the renewal prices can be significantly higher.
- Storage isn’t unlimited, no matter the tier. This isn’t the worst thing, but other providers have unlimited storage for similar or lower prices.
As SiteGround is in the top three and recommended by WordPress, you can probably guess that yes, it has my recommendation as well. You’d be right. I would just like to reiterate my word of caution to the individuals looking for affordable WordPress hosting: beware the renewal prices!Visit SiteGround
DreamHost, like SiteGround, is one of the three hosting providers recommended by WordPress itself. DreamHost is a veteran in the community of hosting companies: it’s been around since 1996.
In the last two decades, DreamHost has grown to become a major hosting company. They claim to have served over 400,000 customers and 1.5 million websites. Most impressively, DreamHost has powered over 750,000 WordPress installs—clearly, many customers use DreamHost for WordPress.
So what’s the run-down? DreamHost is definitely one of the best hosting companies for WordPress, with a really seamless installation and management process, as well as solid features for decent prices.
- Seamless installation process.
- DreamHost also has CDN.
- A low entry level price makes DreamHost a good option for individuals looking to save, and those with lighter hosting needs.
- Very good uptime (at least recently), though response times could be a bit better.
- SSD storage, unlimited traffic, a pre-installed SSL certificate, and daily backups are all available for the first tier.
- As shown, the response times could be a little better.
- Although the entry price is a little lower, you really only have two tiers, and the second is significantly higher. It’s essentially a basic WordPress option, or a full WordPress option, without any middle ground.
- DreamHost was hit by a DDoS attack in the summer of 2017, which reduced uptime. This has led some to conclude DreamHost’s security isn’t too great when it’s actually tested.
- Email is not included for free, and requires an upgrade.
As with SiteGround, yes DreamHost has my recommendation. It’s hard not to get that when WordPress recommends it! My caution is the price jump—some people might be caught in the middle, and some small or midsized businesses might want a greater variety of options.Visit DreamHost
Ah, Bluehost—probably one of the most famous hosting companies out there. Bluehost is also strongly associated with WordPress hosting. Just like the previous two options, Bluehost is recommended by WordPress and combined with its massive name, Bluehost is a good-looking option.
The gist for Bluehost? There isn’t too much going wrong with it, and while it’s not the cheapest provider, the shared hosting WordPress plans are still pretty good deals.
- Free domain name registration, and some tiers include free domain privacy.
- Free SSL certificate and Free Domain (for 1 year) for entry-level tiers upwards. Higher tiers allow for unlimited sites and storage.
- Choice of both managed and shared WordPress plans, in a wide pricing range.
- Free CDN (for certain tiers).
- Overall, very solid uptime (though one month wasn’t great for me) and fast response times.
- Renewal prices aren’t too high, and sometimes the first year can be significantly cheaper.
- Like SiteGround, Bluehost’s support includes WordPress experts. As I’ve said a couple times here, a good marker of that is live chat quality pre-purchase.
- Some of the managed WordPress hosting plans might be a bit on the pricier side, but for small businesses it probably won’t be a major setback.
For being one of the best all-rounder hosting companies, Bluehost still manages to excel in WordPress. I’ll give credit where it’s due: Bluehost of course gets my recommendation, and for just about everyone.Visit BlueHost
So what’s the best WordPress hosting? Naturally, none of these can make every single reader happy. For small businesses, Liquid Webhas the best specialization but, HostGator, A2 hosting, or even Bluehost are good at accommodating heftier WordPress needs as well.
For individuals looking to run their own blogs or personal sites, most of the options here will be decent enough, but DreamHost is particularly good for those looking to save money (and especially for the first year).
Bluehost is one of the best all-rounders.
Of course you should consider what your own priorities are, but these are some of the best names in hosting, and definitely leaders in WordPress hosting. And hey—all of these have money-back guarantees.
So if you’re not sure…try them out!
Samsung rolls out beta version of ethereum blockchain development kit
South Korean electronics giant Samsung has released a beta version of ethereum blockchain-based software development kit (SDK) for partner developers.
The kit provides “a full set” of functions that are required to build decentralized apps (dapps), the company said, adding that it also offers a payment gateway for cryptocurrency remittance with its user interface.
“Samsung Blockchain SDK is available to communicate with external blockchain node providing payment solution. It can reduce costs to build your dapp except in case if you have your own wallet logics already,” Samsung explained.
The kit currently only supports five devices: Galaxy S10e, S10, S10+, S10 5G and the Galaxy Fold. The official version of the kit is expected to be released by the end of this year.
Galaxy S10 was launched earlier this year, which supports several dapps as well as features a Samsung crypto wallet supporting ether and ERC20 tokens. The giant was also planning to bring blockchain solutions to more budget-friendly Galaxy models.
Recently, there were also reports that Samsung is creating its own Ethereum-based blockchain network and may be planning to issue its own token too.
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