5 Tech Stories You Need To Know About This Week

Featuring a computer chip like a human brain and a fitness tracker for your penis

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1 | Scientists can tap your conversations via crisp packets 

Not content with just tapping our phones, e-mails and Facebook messages, the big bods in the science world have come up with a way to listen to your conversations via everyone's favourite potato-based snack. Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Microsoft and Adobe have developed an algorithm that can make out conversations via the vibrations – undetectable to us – that they create in the every day stuff we all leave laying around. By analysing these vibrations from a video of the scene, the researchers were able to piece together what was said between two people. 
 

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2 | Anti-counterfeit paper to tackle black market

A hell of a lot cooler than those pens shopkeepers use to check whether the twenty pound note you've just handed them is real, researcher at the University of Michigan have developed this iridescent plastic that responds to heat to reveal an image. Blow on it, and you'll be presented with Marilyn. The idea is for this to replace the holograms that get whacked on luxury items at the minute, with them being less easy to imitate on the black market. Fancy. 

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3 | Australian scientists will soon be able to control the waves

Mark this one as very much "a work in progress" but scientists from the Australian National University are currently at work on a "tractor beam" which will potentially allow them to control water and shape the waves. It's all very technical, but basically works by generating 3D waves which can "engineer surface flows of practically any shape". The aim is to use the new technology to help clear up oil spills, clean up debris in the ocean, and presumably disrupt any of James Bond's aquatic adventures. 

 

4 | A new fitness band tracks how good you are in bed 

Yes, really. In another terrifying sign that wearable tech is getting dangerously out of hand, sex toy purveyors Bondara have created a fitness tracker for your penis. The device connects to an app to measure things like stamina and how many calories burned during sex. Because that's exactly what every man is desperate to have evaluated. 


5 | There's a computer chip that thinks like human brain 

Another pretty worrying one, this. Tech corporation IBM have revealed a new chip they've designed, the processes of which mimic the human brain. The catchily titled Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) chip doesn't use one data channel to connect with a processor, as regular computers do, but instead uses a number of data streams at the same time, allowing it to 'think' quicker, in an infrastructure that replicates how our thoughts and decisions are made. We give it fifty years before we're shackled in a line and prostrating ourselves before it. 

 

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