Inside IoT - February 20th, 2020

Inside IoT (Feb 20th, 2020)

Xiaomi’s connected face masks / WasteShark drone / Smart guns


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Hello all, 

Thank you for sending me all of your reasons for reading Inside IoT — many of you said it’s entertaining, and it’s an easy way to keep up with all the diverse news in the industry. I’m thankful to have you all as a part of this community, and know that you can send me feedback or comments at any time by hitting reply or messaging me at Holly@inside.com. 

Onto the news: 

1. Chinese company Xiaomi is developing a smart facial mask that could track the surrounding air and what's coming out of the user's lungs using sensors and electronic systems. Xiaomi currently has the Youpin F95 face mask, but it doesn't have any smart features — however, it's still flying off the shelves thanks to the coronavirus. The mask will be designed to track data – whether that's total wearing time, breath counts, or even pollution – and then stores it for access via smartphone. The mask will be able to report air quality and will alert the user of any breathing abnormalities. — TOMS GUIDE

2. An Atlanta-based startup called RanMarine USA is building a drone that collects data while removing trash from waterways. Nicknamed WasteShark, it looks like a small boat with a basket underneath, and it trolls on top of the water collecting litter. The WasteShark has a 10-hour battery life and also uses sensors to measure temperature, pH, depth, green algae, and hydrocarbons in oil. WasteShark is expected to reach level 4 autonomy by the end of the year. — GOV TECH

3. #ThrowbackThursday: In February 2014, the country's first smart gun, the Armatix iP1, hit the shelves, and it required an accompanying smartwatch nearby to work. The .22-caliber pistol was a win for gun-control activists, but not-so-much for gun owners and the NRA. Quickly, retailers refused to sell it, and Armatix filed for bankruptcy. In January 2019, the idea for a smart gun arose again when startups created new models that would succeed where the iP1 failed. The latest prototypes have various features, such as fingerprint activation, user-recognition technology, activation via pin code, and one sends a text when removed from its dock. While the technology could make guns safer, the challenge is still winning over NRA supporters, who don't want devices that feel like "Big Brother" or are too out-of-reach financially. — THE TRACE

4. A team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University launched the Internet of Things Assistant, an app that pinpoints which smart devices are in the users’ vicinity, collecting data. The app launched this week and will display a map of nearby smart devices and the type of data they’re receiving. If a device has an option to opt-out, a user can access that through the app. The app is free for iOS and Android, and at the time of this writing, it has a 2.6 rating in the App Store. — GIZMODO

5. The Dallas Fort Worth Airport started using EMMA — Easy Mile Mobility Assistant — Wednesday afternoon. EMMA is a driverless shuttle that takes passengers from the shuttle drop-off/pick-up area to their vehicles, as a pilot program in partnership with EasyMile. The shuttle holds six people at once and has a safety driver on-board. — @DFWAIRPORT / TWITTER

6. Wyze shared a timeline of its upcoming smart home products, including a doorbell camera, an outdoor camera, and an in-house version of person detection. The Wyze Lock is expected launch Feb. 25, while the outdoor camera is in its second round of testing. The Wyze Band is a new item that will be a smart home wearable with personal data tracking plus Amazon Alexa. — ANDROID POLICE

7. Insurance provider Nationwide has partnered with Notion to offer customers smart home devices that will detect leaks and smoke and send alerts to their smartphones. Customers that opt-in to the service will get the monitoring system at a discount and will save money on their homeowner’s insurance. The program will initially be available in Arizona, Alabama, and Illinois, with other states being added in the coming months. — INSURANCE BUSINESS

8. The US Navy is testing the Common Unmanned Service Vehicle (CUSV), an autonomous robo-boat that can patrol a set geographical area. The CUSV is 39ft long and can stay on the water for 20 hours at a time. It has electro-optical cameras, loudspeakers, and a remote-controlled .50-caliber machine gun. — POPULAR MECHANICS

9. Researchers at Texas A&M University are participating in a mental health pilot program called Mental Health Evaluation and Lookout that detects stress and anxiety. The platform pairs with an app and a smartwatch and uses artificial intelligence to determine when the user is showing signs of mental struggle. The program targets college students and aims to provide on-demand access to digital health resources. — MHEALTH INTELLIGENCE

10. The Amazon Echo Auto is the only Echo speaker that puts Alexa in your car and uses Bluetooth or an auxiliary cable to play through the vehicle’s speakers. Tech writer Rachel Murphy used Echo Auto for a week and said the setup takes less than five minutes. The Echo Auto allows users to ask Alexa for weather and news updates, add items to shopping lists, set reminders, and listen to music or podcasts. — REVIEWED

Holly A. Phillips has a passion for storytelling and uses her craft to promote brands around the world. She is a Blogging Instructor at the University of Texas at Austin and is always looking for a new adventure. Keep up with her on her blog Thebitterlemon.com or on Twitter at @orangejulius7.

This newsletter was edited by Sheena Vasani, staff writer at Inside.

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