Health

Rapper Will.i.am launches a futuristic mask with earbuds called Xupermask

Now this is masking up with style!

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It’s been a little more than a year since the Coronavirus pandemic forced us to embrace lockdowns, masks, and social distancing. Rapper Will.i.am has shown off a new mask called Xupermask, and it looks futuristic, fashionable, and directly out of a sci-fi movie.

The mask is developed by Will.i.am in partnership with veteran personal protective equipment maker Honeywell. The Xupermask has LED lights and noise-canceling Bluetooth earbuds that magnetically dock on the mask when not in use. The mask combines protection, design, and usability into one product, according to Will.i.am.

Thanks to Honeywell’s HEPA filter technology, the mask is also said to be easy to breathe through. The mask’s creator is confident that Xupermask has a bright future because it’s supposed to be worn for longer periods. It’s also got 3-speed fans to ensure maximum comfort. The earbuds can provide up to seven hours of playback on a single charge.

And, the product isn’t just for the pandemic. Will.i.am explained in an interview with CNBC that southeast Asian countries have always been open about masking up, and there’s immense demand for something different and convenient.

The Xupermask comes with a carry case, three months of HEPA filters, different-sized ear tips and a charging cable. The mask has not yet been FDA approved but has received authorization by the FDA for emergency use. The face mask goes on sale from April 8 in North America and Europe via a dedicated website for US$ 299. Color options include black and white.

Will.i.am has always been a technology enthusiast and has previously invested in multiple small and large projects. He’s the director of innovation at Apple, an investor in Tesla and Beats, and the founder of i.am+.

Read Also: Razer is developing face mask vending machines

Health

Facebook will convert its California HQ into a vaccination site

Helping end the pandemic

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Vaccination
Image by Hakan Nural

Facebook said it’s converting a part of its Menlo Park headquarters into a vaccination site, joining the government effort to speed up the US’s vaccination drive. The technology company is going out of its way to ensure citizens are jabbed as soon as possible, in turn, putting an end to the Coronavirus pandemic.

It’ll partner with the Ravenswood Family Health Center to turn part of its headquarters into a vaccination clinic for underserved communities. The company also said it’s partnering with California Governor Gavin Newsom and nonprofits to support pop-up clinics.

Facebook plans to arrange vaccine rides to and from Facebook’s campus. However, Facebook employees will be ineligible for the vaccination program. The new vaccination site is being made for under-served communities.

Recently, the social networking giant launched a tool that shows the nearest vaccination facilities to a user. Facebook is partnering with Boston Children’s Hospital, which runs the VaccineFinder.org website, to offer the tool that identifies places nearby to get the vaccine.

The adoption of vaccines is a point of contention for many due to a host of reasons — misinformation, lack of trust, poor supply chains, and more. Amid the pandemic, health regulators worldwide are urging citizens to get jabbed as soon as possible. Facebook has also launched a profile picture frame that says, “I got my COVID vaccine.”

“Now that many countries are moving towards vaccinations for all adults, we’re working on tools to make it easier for everyone to get vaccinated as well,” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, said in a blog post.

As part of the efforts, the Coronavirus Information Center will expand to Instagram, and the company soon expects to roll out a WhatsApp chatbot in association with local health authorities.

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Health

Elon Musk’s Neuralink wired up a monkey’s brain to play video games

The tech will help someone with paralysis to use a smartphone

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Elon Musk is trying to establish a human colony on Mars, believes that the future of currency is Bitcoin, and is churning out more electric vehicles than ever. But that’s still not enough. The billionaire has also wired up a monkey’s brain to control a video game via his startup Neuralink.

Neuralink put two computer chips into a monkey’s skull and used microwires to connect it to its brain. It sends brain signals from the monkey through a 1,024 electrode transmission device called the N1 Link. This neural activity is then decoded and calibrated to predict the monkey’s intentions.

Basically, if the nine-year-old monkey can mentally operate a video game and there’s no need for external pointing mechanisms like a mouse, trackpad, joystick, or even a touchscreen. After just six weeks of practice, the monkey had learned to play the 1970’s video game classic Pong in return for a banana smoothie reward.

Neuralink’s primary target is to make the computer-brain interface directly possible. According to Musk, people are already “cyborgs” because they have a tertiary “digital layer” thanks to phones, computers, and applications.

Musk claimed in a tweet that the first product from the startup would allow “someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs.” His goal is to help people with brain or spinal injuries since they can’t directly communicate.

The video ends with a recruitment callout, imploring anyone who’s “good at solving hard problems” to contact Neuralink, even if they’re not in the neurological field.

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Apps

How to get a good night’s sleep

Five tips that don’t involve melatonin

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Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to staying healthy. Not only does it allow your body to rest, it’s also the time for your body to perform some essential maintenance on your memory, hormones, immune system, and other critical functions. Sleep also helps the brain’s ability to learn, help the body fight infection, and even lower blood pressure.

If you are looking to improve your sleep habits, it might be counterintuitive to look to your smartphone for help. Keeping electronics away before bed is always a good place to start, but there are a lot of tools and features on the iPhone that can get you to sleep better.

Track your sleep

Built into the Apple Watch and the Health app on the iPhone, using the Sleep app is a good way to start tracking your sleep. Sleep tracking will make sleep a priority alongside exercise and eating healthier.

Tracking your sleep can give you an overview of your sleeping patterns so you can make adjustments where necessary. Going to sleep one hour earlier or later can sometimes make you feel more well-rested.

The Apple Watch uses signals from the accelerometer to determine when you’re awake and when you’re asleep, so you can track how long you’re asleep each night and view your sleep trends over time.

Other sleep tracking apps you can try are Sleep Cycle – Sleep Tracker, Autosleep, Sleeptown, Snorelab.

Create a bedtime routine

Using the Wind Down feature on the Sleep app, you can create a customized bedtime routine. You can create a shortcut that includes etting up a specific scene in the Home app, listening to a soothing soundscape on Apple Music, or using a favorite meditation app before you fall asleep.

You can also set a schedule for time away from your iPhone screen using Downtime. This can help put a stop to doom scrolling your social media feeds past your bed time.

Other apps like Fabulous – Daily Self Care, and Mindvalley: Learn and Evolve can help you build habits, create routines for self care that result in better sleep.

Winding down can also be done by anchoring offline activities to bedtime. Changing into comfy pyjamas, doing your nighttime skincare routine, dimming the lights, diffusing lavender oil, journaling, or reading a few pages of a book can help your body know it’s time for sleep.

READ: How you can use your smartwatch to be healthier

Listen to ambient sounds

It’s not just your body that needs to relax before bed; the mind needs to calm down, too.

Meditation and breathing mindfully can help prepare the mind for sleep. Apps like Headspace, Calm, Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds, and Breethe: Meditation & Sleep have guided exercises to help you drift off at night.

Sleep-associated content consumption on Apple Music has been up since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Apple Music has a dedicated space entirely devoted to helping people unwind, relax and fall asleep. On the app you can find curated mood and activity playlists, nature sounds and white noise, radio stations and more.

The top playlists on Apple Music for relaxation and sleep include: Sleep Sounds, Piano Chill, Bedtime Beats, In My Room, Today’s Easy Hits, Acoustic Hits, Today’s Chill, Pure Focus, Piano Chill.

READ: 8 mindfulness apps to help you cope in this time of uncertainty

Try LumiHealth

In Singapore, the LumiHealth app is also helping to look after your sleep. Users can earn rewards of up to SG$380 with challenges that remind users to stick to a sleep routine, wind down before bedtime, or meditate for a good night’s sleep.

SEE ALSO: Apple, Harvard release preliminary data to help destigmatize menstrual symptoms

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