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April 27, 2021
♨️ Good morning! Hot stuff coming through!
Foldable health
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 laptop mode
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

When I read the news that future Samsung foldable phones could get some serious health tracking features, I wasn’t exactly sure of what additional wellness features we might get. Sometimes, having more data that isn’t super accurate doesn’t really help.

But what Samsung is working on here looks serious:

  • A patent awarded to Samsung, spotted by LetsGoDigital, shows that it’s developing tech using the non-flat surfaces of foldable phones.
  • By quite literally folding the phone onto your finger, a bunch of interesting health data can be discerned.

It’s best described in this image:

  • This is clever stuff! There’s a few different methods of data gathering shown here but undoubtedly the clamping-the-finger method to calculate blood pressure, along with elements claimed in the patents including vascular age, aortic pressure waveform, stress, fatigue levels, and more, is pretty interesting.
  • There’s also a model where sensors are placed on the outside of the phone and the inside, where the phone will snap an image, convert pixel intensity into pulse wave amplitude, and gather health information using an amplitude conversion mode.
  • And one other variant is using the palm of your hand — my medical knowledge gives out at some point as to where and which method is best, but that’s a good range of options.
  • When are we getting these goodies? The patent game rarely yields those kinds of answers. Sometimes we see stuff that looks incredibly far in the future, where the company seems to be storing patents.
  • With Samsung’s next Galaxy Z devices expected in July or so this year, I’d hazard a guess that the timing of this patent means the next foldables won’t include this health tracking. There’s a chance, but perhaps more like 2022?
  • In case you forgot too, Samsung’s next smartwatch has long been tipped to get blood glucose monitoring sometime in the second half of this year.
Roundup

📈 Spotify prices are going up, mostly by $1 or so a month, across large swathes of the world (Android Authority).

📊 Poll: Should Android implement an Apple-like App Tracking Transparency feature? (Android Authority).

🍎 Apple releases iOS 14.5, the biggest update since iOS 14 first launched, including the new privacy feature, while new versions of macOS, watchOS, and tvOS also rolled out (Ars Technica).

🍏 Also, a bug fixed in macOS 11.3 was one of the worst in a long time, already exploited in the wild and easy enough to do for malware (TechCrunch).

📜 Apple will reportedly face EU antitrust charges this week (The Verge).

📺 Roku is feuding with Google over YouTube TV (Gizmodo).

📺 Why the active-matrix LCD panel, despite largely being invented and developed by American companies in the 1970s, was never really manufactured in the United States (Tedium).

🥽 HTC Vive owners can buy parts from iFixit for DIY VR repairs (Engadget).

🚗 Toyota is buying Lyft’s autonomous car division for $550 million: Lyft joins rivals in abandoning the expensive development of self-driving cars, which was costing it about $100M per year (The Verge). Also, see what Lyft said five years ago about what would happen in 2021.

🌞 Tesla turns a record profit despite new Model S and Model X delay, including $100M+ profit from selling their new Bitcoin holdings, of all things. The company lost around $970 per car sold in Q1, too. Also, Elon Musk said Tesla made ‘significant mistakes’ with solar roof project (The Verge).

🤖 This researcher says AI is neither artificial nor intelligent: new book from Kate Crawford called Atlas of AI (Wired).

🔴 Scientists discover a ‘hellish’ planet so hot it would vaporize most metals (CNET). (Still not as hell as Twitter, where you can follow me for my not-very-often tweets.)

🧽 “ELI5: Why can’t you boil a sponge to sanitize it?” (r/explainlikeimfive). (First use of the sponge emoji in this newsletter, I’m sure!)

Chart Tuesday

Here’s an interesting look at the highest altitude humans have been each year since 1961 (r/dataisbeautiful):

altitude humanity
  • The Gemini 11 mission in 1966 (Wikipedia) is definitely one of the cooler missions among these.
  • It also shows just how far away the Moon is, despite it lighting up our night sky so brilliantly, as it will tonight for a “pink” supermoon (The Guardian).

All the best,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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