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Have you ever experienced the burning desire to control your music playlist or transmit data to other devices via your tattoos? Well, me neither – but given the opportunity, I’d be pretty excited to try it out.

The MIT Media Lab recently introduced a product created in partnership with Microsoft Research called DuoSkin: an aesthetic and easy-to-make on-skin interface. In simpler terms, it’s a temporary tattoo enhanced with tiny, multi-functional electronic components and topped with gold leaf, the element that makes it shiny and pretty. The video below makes the product a bit easier to understand, so give it a watch if you’re more of a visual learner.

So, are you sold yet? In case you missed it in the video, the three main uses for the DuoSkin device are:

1.      Sensing touch input

  • Essentially transforms your skin into a 2D touchpad
  • Allows you to control your mobile devices with a swipe or two directly onto the tattoo
  • Uses row-column scanning in a two-layer construction which differentiates horizontal traces from vertical ones; each type carries different information

2.      Output displays

  • Shows information using thermochromic pigments
  • These displays have different states; color change is triggered when heated beyond body temperature
  • Device can also light up to show your emotion

3.      Wireless communication

  • Enables users to store information directly on their skin. Concert tickets are a good example – if you had a NFC chip (near-field communication chip) containing the ticket information for the Tragically Hip’s final show this Saturday in Kingston embedded into a temporary tattoo on your wrist, it could be scanned, and you would theoretically be admitted just as easily as anyone else

If you can’t find a use for any of the above functions (which is highly unlikely), keep in mind that you can also enhance the tattoos’ aesthetics by adding LED lights to them! A shiny, glowing tattoo seems like a pretty great conversation starter to me. 

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Another unique point about this product is its widespread accessibility. As Cindy from the MIT Media Lab describes, these temporary tattoos are simple to make using commonly found instruments. The DuoSkin website lays out the creation process in three steps:

Step 1

Sketch the tattoo’s circuitry with graphic design software.

Step 2

Fabricate the tattoo, a process which includes:

       a) creating stencils of the circuitry;

       b) applying gold leaf as the conductive material, and;

       c) mounting electronics.

Step 3

After the the DuoSkin device has been fabricated, apply it to the user’s skin through water-transfer – holding a damp cloth over it for a few seconds – just like any other temporary tattoo!

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The only issue with this list is that it seems to be one step short – where and how do users buy the specific electronic components, like NFC chips, needed to make the product actually work? I guess that part will be up to the MIT lab once they completely roll out their DuoSkin device. For now, we’ll just have to imagine the possibilities.

All in all, I’m curious to learn more about the specifics of the DuoSkin device – the exact functions and customizability, price tag, and whether it’s really accessible to anyone. Maybe my first tattoo will be one that doubles as a pair of movie tickets – only time will tell!

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Caitlin Feehan, Blogger & Editor


Converse have been my footwear of choice for the past 9 years, I’m convinced that all doors and sidewalks are conspiring against me, and I enjoy sticking my head out of the passenger window on long car rides.


The Best Canadian Moments of Rio So Far

Posted by cirvine on August 15, 2016

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Have you been following the games in Rio so far? If you have, then you’ve already witnessed a lot of heart pounding moments of pride and admiration for our Canadian athletes. While the Summer Olympics tend not to be our country’s forte (where is summer street hockey?), we have a total of 13 medals so far and each one of them came with a beautiful moment. With that in mind, here are some of our favourite Olympic moments so far:

Theisen-Eaton Makes Canadian Heptathlon History

Brianne Theisen-Eaton made history on Saturday to become the first Canadian ever to win a medal in the heptathlon, scoring a bronze. If you need to be reminded, a heptathlon consists of seven events: the 100 metre hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 metres, long jump, javelin throw, and 800 metres. So to me, 1 heptathlon medal actually equals 7.

Check out a video of her win here.

Rosie MacLennan’s a Trampoline Master

Winning her second consecutive Olympic gold medal in women’s trampoline, Rosie MacLennan became every little kid’s hero last Friday as she triple-flipped her way to glory. What makes the medal even more special is that she suffered from a pair of head injuries last year, causing headaches, vision issues and even speech problems. She took some time off and was eventually able to return, which she posited as a “reminder of how much I really did love the sport. Because if I didn’t, I would have given up.”

Check out a video of her routine here.

Penny Oleksiak Makes History

When the 16-year-old Penny Oleksiak tied American Simone Manuel in 100-metre freestyle on Friday, she added a 4th medal to her Rio-Medal collection, the most medals ever received by a Canadian athlete at a single Summer Olympics. Oh, and she also made history by being the youngest gold medalist in Canadian Olympic history. And last but not least, she got a shout-out on Instagram from one of her (and the world’s) favourite artists, Drake:

 

OVOPenny aka @typicalpen we are so proud of you!!!! Can't wait to see you when you are back from Rio at a show!

A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) onAug 13, 2016 at 6:59am PDT


She is officially the coolest 16-year old ever.

Watch a video of her amazing tie (and reaction to winning gold) here.

De Grasse’s Win of Bronze and Bolt’s Praise

Scarborough’s Andre De Grasse stepped up for the Canadian men and took home a bronze in the 100-metre race last night in Rio. In the highly-anticipated event, we saw him keep up steps with the likes of Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, who won his third straight gold. Bolt had this to say about De Grasse: “He came through again. He's going to be good, he runs just like me, I mean he's really slow at the blocks but when he gets going, he gets going." The next best thing to winning an Olympic medal? Winning the praise of Usain Bolt.

Check out the race here.

Well that sums up just a few of our most favourite Canadian Olympic moments so far. We can’t wait to see what the rest of the games have in store for us as we head into the final days. GO CANADA GO!

Execulink customers can watch the 2016 Olympics on CBC.


More Sources:
http://olympics.cbc.ca/news/article/usain-bolt-wins-gold-andre-grasse-gets-bronze-100m.html

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Candice Irvine, Blogger, Marketing Specialist, Graphic Designer


I'm addicted to games of all kinds: boardgames, video games, card games, mind games... nah, just kidding about that last one. Or am I?


No Man's Sky is Being Released Tomorrow!

Posted by cirvine on August 8, 2016

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Every year seems to have its massively anticipated video game release. This year’s is undoubtedly No Man’s Sky, and its launch date is, OMG, tomorrow!

What is No Man’s Sky? 

If you’ve been living under a space-rock, then let me give you a quick breakdown of the game and what makes it stand out. To put it simply (very simply), No Man’s Sky is an action-adventure survival video game for Windows and PS4 created by the indie studio Hello Games. For those of you that need a storyline, you could say that the point of the game is to get to the center of the universe. But in reality, it’s so much more than that. The gameplay consists of battling and trading resources with other players or AI, mining planets and upgrading your stuff, and most importantly, exploring.

Check out this video on how the game works and prepare to be blown away:

So this game is big. Really big. With over 18 quintillion planets (18,446,744,073,709,551,616 to be exact), Hello Games predicted that if you visited each planet for 1 second, it would take you roughly 585 billion years to see them all. There will be entire planets or species in this game that you will be the first one seeing. When this happens, you can choose to name them and share them in the Atlas, which is the database of all the things people have discovered in No Man’s Sky. And because everything’s randomly generated by an algorithm, things will be discovered by gamers that the creators might not even know about yet. Pretty cool, right?

Here’s a look at 5 random planets (from IGN.ca):

Here are some other REALLY cool facts about the game:

  • Planets are defined by their position in space. If they’re close to their sun they’ll tend to be more barren. Further away and they’ll be colder.
  • Some planets are completely toxic and require an upgrade to your spacesuit to survive on.
  • Planets have days and nights. If you land on a planet’s dark side (it’s night), you’ll find different creatures awake then when it’s daytime.
  • If you disrupt the natural order of a planet too much, you’ll be hunted down by the Sentinels, the robotic protectors of that planet. Think of the wanted level in GTA but in space.
  • Space is controlled by factions that are constantly vying for territory across the galaxy. You can choose to help or hinder them, but either way, they’ll remember.
  • Animal calls are unique to each animal’s throat-size.
  • The music is procedurally generated as well, adapting to the landscape around you and the situation you’re in. Full songs are played at certain important points. The soundtrack was made by one of the developer’s favourite bands: 65daysofstatic.
  • There’s a food chain on most planets. Some species get eaten by certain other species and that’s just the circle of life. Where you are on that chain and how much you want to disrupt it is up to you.

Well, that’s a brief look at the incredible No Man’s Sky. Once again, it’s out tomorrow in your local video game store or on Steam and you can buy it for about $80. I for one can’t wait to get exploring. 

 

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Man%27s_Sky

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procedural_generation

https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2015/08/03/41-amazing-things-you-might-not-know-about-no-mans-sky/

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Candice Irvine, Blogger, Marketing Specialist, Graphic Designer


I'm addicted to games of all kinds: boardgames, video games, card games, mind games... nah, just kidding about that last one. Or am I?


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In the world of social media, self-expression is king. Users are encouraged to share as much about themselves as possible – this includes where they live, how they’re “feeling” (thanks Facebook), what they’re eating, and of course, as many selfies as they can possibly cram onto their feed.

Although talking about yourself online isn’t a new phenomenon, there seems to be a new emphasis placed on the “now” and living in the moment. Apps like Snapchat really perpetuate this, as all photos sent literally disappear within seconds of being viewed. Whether it’s that people don’t want these photos of themselves living forever on the Internet, or that their lives seem much more eventful in 5-second “snaps”, one thing is certain: users like the idea of impermanence.

There are a few theories on why this is the case. One of the most compelling is that impermanent posts don’t have as much riding on them as regular newsfeed posts. Most timed posts don’t work on a “likes” system, like regular Instagram photos or Facebook posts. Sure, you can see who has viewed your picture or video, but when people cannot comment or like, the entire judgement piece is removed. And on social media, where approval is a major part of the system, that is a huge deal.

In addition, because these posts cannot be liked, there isn’t as much pressure to post only your very best material. I know people who have waited weeks to post on Instagram simply because they didn’t think that their life was interesting enough to display on social media, and that people wouldn’t care enough to engage with them. This kind of pressure is what has brought Instagram’s daily usage down in 2016 – people don’t go on crazy adventures every single day, so it’s not likely that they’ll have content to post daily.

Instagram finally tuned into these ideas, and introduced a feature called “Stories”. These stories can include pictures or 10-second videos which you can edit, draw on, stick emojis on, and so forth. These stories, however, do not show up on your main Instagram feed – they appear at the top of the screen when you log in, so users can easily skip them if they’d like. 

Blog1_Edit.jpgNow, I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t this basically Snapchat within Instagram? Well, yes. Even Instagram’s CEO, Kevin Systrom, says that all of the credit should go to Snapchat for creating the program, but insists that its success on Instagram will rely on their ability to effectively integrate the idea. Touché, Systrom.

Something cool about Instagram Stories is that you can block certain people from viewing them. Since a user’s Instagram generally has a wider audience than their Snapchat, it is likely that they’ll have follower or two that would be better left in the dark (like parents, bosses, etc.) Think of it like your ability to control who sees which posts on Facebook. This eliminates the “but I have my mom on Instagram!” argument when deciding whether to post a photo at the bar, or a video of yourself crossing the street without looking both ways…you know, things that moms disapprove of. Now you can just go for it, and she’ll never have to know!

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If you want to give Instagram Stories a try, you’ll have to update your Instagram app. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a screen similar to this once you open it: 

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  1. Click on the little icon marked with a + in the upper left corner to start your story.
  2. Take a picture by tapping the lower middle button, record a video by holding it down, or even import content from your camera roll from the last 24 hours.
  3. Once you’ve taken your picture or video, click the button in the top right corner that looks like a marker to draw on it. You have three style options – regular, wide-tip marker, and neon.
  4. You can also add text – click the “Aa” button in the top right corner to do so. From here, you can add emojis from your keyboard.
  5. Finally, click “Add it to your story!” and it will be posted in all its time-sensitive glory.

Instagram’s new Stories feature seems like it will be a lot of fun, even if it’s not exactly a new idea. Only time will tell if impermanent posts can succeed on a platform based on picture-perfect filtered reality and quantifying social approval.

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Caitlin Feehan, Blogger & Editor


Converse have been my footwear of choice for the past 9 years, I’m convinced that all doors and sidewalks are conspiring against me, and I enjoy sticking my head out of the passenger window on long car rides.


The Top 10 Most Viewed YouTube Videos of July

Posted by cfeehan on July 28, 2016

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Happy Thursday, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to July’s edition of the 10 Most Viewed YouTube Videos! We have a few seasoned veterans, like James Corden and Jimmy Fallon, and a couple of new additions to the list, like Katy Perry and YouTuber Casey Neistat. This month brought a mix of serious videos and funny videos, and even threw in some music videos. Get ready for this awesome pop culture playlist!

33,583,407 views

He’s back! James Corden has secured the #1 spot yet again on our list of the 10 most popular YouTube videos. This time, however, there’s a twist – his passenger isn’t a famous singer, it’s First Lady Michelle Obama! And she’s totally down-to-earth and awesome…other than the fact that she has only been in the passenger seat of a car once in the last seven and a half years, but we’ll let that one slide. The pair discusses White House nicknames, room service, and more, and at one point, Missy Elliott shows up for some unknown reason. It’s definitely a fun watch!

24,527,256 views

So many emotions! This video combines Katy Perry’s new song, Rise, with slow-motion footage from past Olympic games, and let me tell you, it’s pretty inspirational. It really gets you up close and personal with the athletes, and only begins to show what they must be feeling during some of the biggest moments of their entire lives. Plus, it includes new Katy Perry music, and I haven’t heard anything new from her in a long time, so that’s rather exciting. If you feel like getting pumped up for the 2016 Rio Olympic games happening in August, don’t miss this one!

18,361,909 views

We all know Justin Bieber by now, and whether you love him or despise him, it’s hard to deny that he occasionally comes out with catchy songs. I must say that this is one of them, which is probably why it’s one of the most-viewed videos of the month. It’s officially by Major Lazer, who released the hugely popular “Lean On” last year (the official video now has over 1.5 billion views…yes, BILLION), and just features Bieber and MØ. But since Bieber is a Stratford native, he’s the headliner in my mind. Keep representing that local heritage proudly, Biebs.

17,667,330 views

I must admit that I am not an avid watcher of superhero movies. I do like them every once in a while for the action and fantasy aspects, though, and it’s usually pretty easy to get immersed in the plot. After watching this trailer, I think that the upcoming Wonder Woman movie will be no exception. Although the comments section is already blowing up with concerns about the strong female lead (really, people? It’s Wonder Woman, what were you expecting?), it looks like it will be a thrill ride with a little bit of humour thrown in.

12,862,409 views

The “Wheel of Musical Impressions” series has become a constant on this blog. I guess people like to see famous people pretending to be other famous people! The guest this time was Céline Dion, who did a crazy good job at impersonating Cher, and was very into the game. Jimmy Fallon made some good attempts too, but when you’re up against Céline, it can be a little difficult to hold your own. 

10,421,156 views

When the first official trailer for Doctor Strange made our list for the top 10 YouTube videos back in April, I immediately put the film on my personal “to-see” list. Now that I’ve watched the second trailer, I’m positive – this is going to be awesome. In case you need a refresher, the movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton, and is based on one of Marvel’s characters. It doesn’t look like your typical superhero movie, though; it feels a bit more “Inception” than “Avengers”, but I’m totally okay with that. Check out the trailer to see if you feel the same way!

5,516,430 views

Does anyone else feel educated? I feel educated. I also feel sad, though, because this video brought to light the way we allow our natural human curiosity to become more important than the lives of other creatures. This video pointed out something I had never really noticed before – the fact that there are no great white sharks in aquariums. It’s not that we respect them enough not to confine them in small spaces, though, it’s that we keep trying and they keep dying, usually after only a couple of days. I would definitely recommend watching this video even if you don’t have a huge interest in wildlife preservation or animals in captivity, because it’s super informative and interesting regardless.

4,661,977 views

These videos always make me feel the most second-hand embarrassment ever. In this particular one, Emma Roberts and Dave Franco are given earpieces, and a couple of guys in another room tell them exactly what to say and do throughout an interview about their new movie, Nerve…and they actually do everything! Dave has to answer a question by simply “meow”-ing, Emma has to awkwardly shake her head for like 15 seconds, and more, while the interviewers have no idea what’s going on. Watch the whole video if you feel like having a cringe-fest.

3,155,499 views

The “Honest Trailers” series is a popular one on YouTube, and for a good reason. The goal of these trailers is to show viewers exactly what to expect when they go into a movie – to make them as “honest” as possible. Essentially, they remove all of the flowery extras from trailers, and insert witty, sarcastic commentary instead. This particular trailer is for Jaws, and it’s great. It highlights things like the town’s awful mayor, which is something the real trailer wouldn’t necessarily touch on, and the movie’s weird obsession with showing legs – lots of legs. If you enjoy this video, there are many more just like it. Check out the full list of Honest Trailers here!

3,176,728 views

I cannot completely explain why, but this is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. I can’t get enough of these bad lip reading videos! I applaud the imagination and total randomness that goes into making them, especially when the media in question is a movie you watched as a kid (in this case, High School Musical). The video centres around the two main characters, Chorky and Lumpkinella, who are faced with typical teen problems, like trying to maintain their relationship despite the fact that one of them is a robot. Personally, I think the world needs more unrestrained nonsense like this. If you’re looking for a ton of laughs, don’t miss out on this video.

We can’t wait to see what kinds of videos August brings, and we hope you’ll be here with us to find out. Have a great long weekend, Execubloggers!

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Blogger-Karen-bio.jpg


Caitlin Feehan, Blogger & Editor


Converse have been my footwear of choice for the past 9 years, I’m convinced that all doors and sidewalks are conspiring against me, and I enjoy sticking my head out of the passenger window on long car rides.