Preserving digital lives, and more sensitive prostheses

Preserving digital lives, and more sensitive prostheses

Earlier this week, Google announced its intention to start deleting personal accounts that haven’t been active in over two years in December. Photos, emails, and docs attached to inactive accounts will all be eradicated.

The announcement follows a similar one from Twitter last week, pledging to purge accounts that have been inactive for several years. It caused an uproar among people who don’t want their deceased loved ones’ accounts to be deleted. 

With developments like cloud storage, we’ve developed an expectation, or fantasy, that data is infinite and that our digital spaces will last forever. Such policy changes are a reminder of how fragile our digital lives are and just how little control we have over their preservation. Read the full story.

—Tate Ryan-Mosley

A soft e-skin mimics the way human skin can sense things

The news: A soft electronic skin could allow people with prosthetics to sense pressure and temperature, helping them to more easily interact with their surroundings. It contains sensors to measure external temperature and pressure, which it converts into electrical signals to help the brain tell the difference between sensations like a softer touch and a firm handshake, or a strawberry and an apple. 

Why it matters: Lack of sensory feedback is one of the main reasons people stop wearing a prosthesis, as it can leave users feeling frustrated. Flexible e-skins could lead to better prosthetics, and could also pave the way for robots that can feel human-like sensations. Read the full story.

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