Google’s new image compression tech is actually pretty cool

In a bid to save you precious mobile data, Google has developed a technique that improves image quality without taking up more bandwidth. Entitled RASIR (Rapid and Accurate Super Image Resolution) this impressive software quickly reads large photos and manages to replicate them using a quarter of the pixels.

RASIR achieves this by analyzing both low and high-quality versions of the same image. As it reads the image, it learns from the superior version and applies filters to its low-res counterpart that simulate extra detail, creating a convincing data-friendly replica of the original high-res photo.

Unfortunately for the majority of smartphone users, the bespoke tech is currently only available on Google+. The company has rolled out the tech to a subset of Android devices, and claims to be upscaling over a billion images per week. Impressively, Google states that thanks to RASIR, it has used 75% less bandwidth per image its upscaled.

For those not interested in Google+, Google aims to expand its use of the tech more broadly across its many apps and services over the coming weeks and months.

Source: Google Blog

from Engadget

CVS just announced a super cheap generic alternative to EpiPen

Pharmaceutical giant CVS announced Thursday that it has partnered with Impax Laboratories to sell a generic epinephrine auto-injector for $109.99 for a two-pack—a dramatic cut from Mylan’s Epipen two-pack prices, which list for more than $600 as a brand name and $300 as a generic.

The lower-cost auto-injector, a generic form of Adrenaclick, is available starting today nationwide in the company’s more than 9,600 pharmacies. Its price resembles that of EpiPen’s before Mylan bought the rights to the life-saving devices back in 2007 and raised the price repeatedly, sparking outcry.

from Ars Technica

All electric trains in the Netherlands now run on wind energy

The Netherlands has been harnessing the power of the wind to drain bodies of water, saw timber and to produce oil for centuries. Now, the country is also using it to run all its electric trains. The Dutch railways network (NS) started using wind energy generated by the turbines owned by electric company Eneco two years ago when they signed a ten-year agreement. They planned to power all of the country’s electric trains with wind-generated energy by 2018, but they’re clearly a shining example of Dutch efficiency and reached their goal a year earlier than planned.

According to Brightvibes, the country’s electric trains shuttle 600,000 people to their destinations in around 5,500 train trips per day. Those trips use up 1.2 billion kWh of energy per year, which can power all households in Amsterdam for the same time period. At this point in time, it takes an hour for a wind turbine to generate enough power to run a train for 120 miles. However, NS is looking for ways to lower their machines’ consumption by 35 percent before 2020, so they can go farther for smaller amounts of energy.

Source: The Guardian, Brightvibes

from Engadget

ICYMI: A medical breakthrough inspired by a kids toy

ICYMI: Separating blood based on a kids toy

Today on In Case You Missed It: Stanford bioengineers created a centrifuge to separate blood and detect disease, all based on whirligigs from childhood. They estimate the blood cell device would cost only 20 cents a piece to make, and since it’s human-powered, could be used all over off-the-grid locations to help diagnose diseases like tuberculosis.

The National Science Foundation helped fund research into walking efficiency and the artist who imagined a sad robot dystopia is here. As always, please share any interesting tech or science videos you find by using the #ICYMI hashtag on Twitter for @mskerryd.

from Engadget