University of Buffalo Engineer Receives Grant to Sanitize Mobile Devices

It is no secret that smartphones and other mobile gadgets are covered in germs. These devices often contain millions of bacteria and microorganisms that are typically harmless in daily life. But, when mobile devices are used in more sensitive environments, such as hospitals, then the presence of bacteria on devices can be problematic. But, Engineer Edward Furlani of the University of Buffalo hopes to combat this issue using ultraviolet light to damage the DNA of these microorganisms to make them inactive. Furlani will be working with New York based CleanSlate UV and Grantwood Technologies to create this sanitization process leveraging the CleanSlate UV device. Once inside, the ultraviolet light sanitizes and kills harmful germs in 30 seconds. For this innovation, Furlani recently received a $75,000 grant from FuzeHub to manufacture this potentially life-saving solution.

Read more about this new method of mobile device sanitation at the University of Buffalo


Not Home? Amazon Key Enables Couriers to Unlock Your Front Door for Deliveries

Have you ever missed a package from Amazon because you were not at home to accept? Well, Amazon’s latest innovation, the Amazon Key will give consumers more flexibility when it comes to accepting packages by allowing couriers to unlock consumers’ front doors for delivery. To make this technology work, consumers will need to purchase the Amazon Cloud Cam and its compatible smart lock. To leverage Amazon Key, once a courier arrives with a delivery he or she will scan the package barcode, which will send a request to Amazon’s cloud to unlock the door. If the request is granted, the courier will use an app to trigger the door to unlock. Once the package is delivered, the courier will relock the door using an app. Consumers will receive a package delivery notification and a recording of the transaction to confirm all is in order. The Amazon Key app and delivery service will be available on November 8th.

Read more about the Amazon Key and its planned future at the Verge


New App Affirm Will Help Break Large Purchases into Monthly Payments

Have you ever wished that you could split an expensive purchase into smaller monthly payments? Well, the new mobile app Affirm is here to do just that for consumers. Launched by PayPay co-founder Max Levchin, Affirm works by extending credit to consumers to make purchases with payments to made over a set period of time. Affirm is different than a traditional credit card because there are no hidden fees or compounding interest. Although Affirm is typically used for online purchases, it hopes to extend its services to retail partners in the future.

Read more about the Affirm mobile app at TechCrunch


Google Assistant Now Features 50 Apps and Games for Children

The next time your kids are bored and are looking for something fun to do, have them ask Google Assistant. Currently, the Google Assistant offers 50 applications and games geared to a younger audience, including the personalized education services cK-12 and study.com. For fun, Google Assistant can beatbox and host fun games such as musical chairs. For kids who like stories, the Google Assistant can also read classic children’s tales such as Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks. For children to access these family friendly applications parents are required to create a Family Link account for each child to set up voice recognition.

Read more about Google Assistant’s fun activities and games for children at VentureBeat


LinkedIn to Leverage AI for its Messaging App

It appears that LinkedIn is the next major platform to jump on the AI bandwagon. LinkedIn has launched a smart reply feature in its messaging app to provide LinkedIn users with key prompts and phrases to help users enhance and continue their conversations. LinkedIn has been trying out a version of this enhanced messaging feature since January, but in the newest version LinkedIn will be incorporating more AI tools, including machine learning and natural language processing for messaging. LinkedIn will only be rolling out this new AI powered platform in English for its mobile app and desktop versions, but it intends to roll out to more languages in the future.

Read more about LinkedIn’s latest enhancement to messaging at TechCrunch