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Bowled Over by Toilet Technology

Super smart seats and community-conscious commodes aimed at huddled masses yearning to breathe free

1 min read
Bowled Over by Toilet Technology
Photo-Illustration: Eawag/EOOS

Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/Getty Images
Having Daiwa House’s Intelligent Toilet is like having a physician’s assistant permanently stationed in your bathroom. It is equipped with sensors that check blood sugar, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight. A digital display not only delivers daily updates on all these vital statistics, but also provides information such as the calories in everyday meals and advice on proper diet and exercise.

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
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Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush
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Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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