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A Smartphone App That Takes Your Temperature

The Kinsa Smart Thermometer can also tell you what illnesses are going around your school or community

1 min read
A Smartphone App That Takes Your Temperature

When my kids were younger, whenever one seemed to be coming down with an illness, I did two things right away: I took the child’s temperature, and I called the teacher to ask what was going around the classroom—because the odds were, my kid was getting whatever his classmates already had. (Later, when we were living in a more networked world, I would send a quick e-mail to the class parent list to get that information.) Invariably, the teacher or parents could tell me a lot about the illness of the month—what and how serious it was, and how long it would last.

I always knew I wasn't the only parent relying on these kinds of quantative and qualitative data when my kid gets sick. And sure enough, Kinsa, a New York City startup, has wrapped both of these approaches together in a single app, the Kinsa Smart Thermometer, which it launched at Demo Mobile this week. The app's thermometer connects to smart phones through the audio port (a cheaper way to go than Bluetooth). Your temperature appears on the phone display, and the app saves the temperature and any symptom information you enter. It also lets users create private communities, like parents of children in the same classroom, to track illnesses going through the community, and offers even more general “what’s going around” tracking for broader geographic areas—similar it seemed, to the pollen count data provided by local weather sites. The gizmo will initially sell for $25, about the cost of an old-fashioned, non-networked electronic thermometer.

Follow me on Twitter @TeklaPerry.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
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Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford
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Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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