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Withings Launches the new Steel HR Sport Smartwatch

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After reacquiring itself from Nokia on May 31, 2018, Withings is back since September 18th with a new look, a strengthened focus on connected health and the first new product under its original brand. It unveiled Steel HR Sport, a multi-sport hybrid smartwatch that offers heart rate monitoring, connected GPS tracking and Fitness Level analytics – an estimation of VO2 max. The device that boasts an unprecedented 25-day battery life joins the product portfolio of connected health devices that encompass activity trackers, blood pressure monitors, smart scales, thermometers and sleep tracking devices.

The launch of Steel HR Sport on September 18th marks a new chapter in the Withings story, which has seen its original cofounder, Eric Carreel, buy back the business he sold to Nokia Technologies in 2016.  Four months after officially reacquiring Withings, the brand is back with a new logo and product.

“With its advanced sport and health tracking capabilities, Steel HR Sport is a perfect example of how Withings is delivering against its original mission to help better manage health,” said Eric Carreel, CEO of Withings. “The public reaction to the return of Withings is extraordinary and renews my belief that elegantly designed devices with b health tracking abilities can dramatically improve individual and society’s health.”

With the groundbreaking launch of Activité back in 2014, the first analog watch with activity tracking features, Withings paved the way for all hybrid smartwatches to come. Steel HR Sport continues this tradition with a premium design blended with smart health and sport features for analytics. Its elegant design features 316L stainless steel and a 40mm case that is water resistant up to 50M (5ATM). Available in both white and black face variants, it is equally eye-catching in sporting or social settings.

The analog face of Steel HR shows the time as well as a sub-dial that shows the percentage of daily activity goals achieved. Goals are set and managed within the Health Mate app. The device’s discrete OLED display shows important health and sports data such as daily steps, calories, distance and heart rate and can be navigated with a push of a button. The display also shows smartphone notifications, which appear automatically along with a discrete vibration.

Steel HR Sport offers dedicated multisport tracking for over 30 different activities from yoga, volleyball and rowing to boxing, skiing and ice hockey. Users select the chosen activity on the watch display to start their workout session. During workout sessions, Steel HR Sport continuously tracks and displays heart rate and the duration of the workout directly on the watch screen. After the session, users can understand the intensity of their workout with heart rate zones and calories spent based on the specific activity selected.

Steel HR Sport is the first product within the Steel HR range to feature GPS connectivity. Once paired with a smartphone, users can track their pace, distance, elevation and map their workouts while walking, running or cycling. Pace, distance and continuous heart rate are displayed on the watch face screen and can be tracked live on the user’s phone. After a session, the user’s workout route can also be viewed in the Health Mate app.

The device is the first Withings product to offer Fitness Level assessments of its user. The fitness indicator, called VO2 max, measures the heart and muscles ability to convert oxygen into energy during physical exercise. The fitter the individual, the higher the VO2 max. Following running sessions, Steel HR Sport calculates the user’s personal Fitness Level using pace, heart rate and morphological data (age, weight, gender). This fitness metric will help users to optimize their training, increase performance, and achieve long-term fitness objectives.

With a battery life of 25 days that can be extended for a further 20 days in a power reserve mode, Steel HR Sport is able to track fitness, activity and sleep patterns around the clock. The device’s tracking ability is not limited to the waking hours. Steel HR Sport is a sophisticated sleep tracker, detecting length and quality of sleep and providing an overall Sleep Score in the Health Mate app that is based on sleep duration, depth regularity and interruptions. Steel HR Sport has capabilities such as Smart Wake-upTM that will wake users with vibration alarms at the most optimal times during their sleep cycle. The app even offers a Sleep Smarter Program, consisting of eight weeks of recommendations to improve sleep patterns.

During waking hours, Steel HR Sport helps users keep on top of their daily communications. Both Steel HR Sport as well the existing Steel HR product will benefit from enhanced notification capabilities, allowing a multitude of app notifications to be displayed on the digital screen.  Previously limited to calls, text messages and events, the Steel HR line is now compatible with notifications from over 100 apps. Whether it’s flight alerts, breaking news or messages from friends and family on social channels, notifications appear on the watch with a content preview.

Priced AED 899, Steel HR Sport is available at Dubai Duty Free, Virgin Megastore, Souq.com and Sharaf DG Online. It is available in both a white and black face variant with each coming with a grey silicone band. Additional exchangeable leather wristbands can be purchased. Steel HR Sport connects with the free Health Mate app, available both on Android and iOS. Health Mate also connects with a range of third party apps such as Apple Health, Google Fit, or MyFitnessPal.

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‘Black Panther’ and its Science Role Models Inspire More Than Just Movie Awards

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Written by Clifford Johnson, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

It has been said many times that the Marvel movie “Black Panther” is an important landmark. I’m not referring to its deserved critical and box office success worldwide, the many awards it has won, or the fact that it is the first film in the superhero genre to be nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards.

Instead, I’m focusing on a key aspect of its cultural impact that is less frequently discussed. Finally a feature film starring a black superhero character became part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – a successful run of intertwined movies that began with “Iron Man” in 2008. While there have been other superhero movies with a black lead character – “Hancock” (2008), “Blade” (1998), “Spawn” (1997) or even “The Meteor Man” (1993) – this film is significant because of the recent remarkable rise of the superhero film from the nerdish fringe to part of mainstream culture.

Huge audiences saw a black lead character – not a sidekick or part of a team – in a superhero movie by a major studio, with a black director (Ryan Coogler), black writers and a majority black cast. This is a significant step toward diversifying our culture by improving the lackluster representation of minorities in our major media. It’s also a filmmaking landmark because black creators have been given access to the resources and platforms needed to bring different storytelling perspectives into our mainstream culture.

2017’s “Wonder Woman” forged a similar path. In that case, a major studio finally decided to commit resources to a superhero film headlined by a female character and directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins. Female directors are a minority in the movie industry. Jenkins brought a new perspective to this kind of action movie, and there was a huge positive response from audiences in theaters worldwide.

And beyond all this, “Black Panther” also broke additional ground in a way most people may not realize: In the comics, the character is actually a scientist and engineer. Moreover, in the inevitable (and somewhat ridiculous) ranking of scientific prowess that happens in the comic book world, he’s been portrayed as at least the equal of the two most famous “top scientists” in the Marvel universe: Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic). A black headlining superhero character written and directed by black artists is rare enough from a major studio. But making him – and his sister Shuri – successful scientists and engineers as well is another level of rarity.

Scientists On Screen

I’m a scientist who cares about increased engagement with science by the general public. I’ve worked as a science adviser on many film and TV projects (though not “Black Panther”). When the opportunity arises, I’ve helped broaden the diversity of scientist characters portrayed onscreen.

Jason Wilkes is a black scientist on ‘Agent Carter,’ whose character emerged from the author’s talks with the show’s writers.
Panels from ‘The Dialogues,’ including a black female scientist. ‘The Dialogues,’ by Clifford V. Johnson (MIT Press 2017).

I’ve also recently published a nonfiction graphic book for general audiences called “The Dialogues: Conversations about the Nature of the Universe.” Its characters include male and female black scientists, discussing aspects of my own field of theoretical physics – where black scientists are unfortunately very rare. So the opportunity that the “Black Panther” movie presents to inform and inspire vast audiences is of great interest to me.

The history and evolution of the Black Panther character and his scientific back story is a fascinating example of turning a problematic past into a positive opportunity. Created in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, he’s the first black superhero character in mainstream comics, originally appearing as a guest in a “Fantastic Four” Marvel comic. As a black character created and initially written by nonblack authors, guest-starring in the pages of a book headlined by white characters, he had many of the classic attributes of what is now sometimes controversially known as the “magical negro” in American cultural criticism: He ranked extremely highly in every sphere that mattered, to the point of being almost too unreal even for the comics of the time.

Black Panther is T’Challa, king of the fictional African country Wakanda, which is fathomlessly wealthy and remarkably advanced, scientifically and technologically. Even Marvel’s legendary master scientist – Reed Richards of the superhero team Fantastic Four – is befuddled by and full of admiration for Wakanda’s scientific capabilities. T’Challa himself is portrayed as an extraordinary “genius” in physics and other scientific fields, a peerless tactician, a remarkable athlete and a master of numerous forms of martial arts. And he is noble to a fault. Of course, he grows to become a powerful ally of the Fantastic Four and other Marvel superheroes over many adventures.

While likening Black Panther to a ‘refugee from a Tarzan movie,’ the Fantastic Four marveled at his technological innovations in ‘Introducing the Sensational Black Panther.’

The key point here is that the superlative scientific ability of our hero, and that of his country, has its origins in the well-meaning, but problematic, practice of inventing near or beyond perfect black characters to support stories starring primarily white protagonists. But this is a lemons-to-lemonade story.

The Fantastic Four were amazed by the scientific ingenuity of Wakanda in ‘Whosoever Finds The Evil Eye.’

Black Panther eventually got to star in his own series of comics. He was turned into a nuanced and complex character, moving well away from the tropes of his beginnings. Writer Don McGregor’s work started this development as early as 1973, but Black Panther’s journey to the multilayered character you see on screen was greatly advanced by the efforts of several writers with diverse perspectives. Perhaps most notably, in the context of the film, these include Christopher Priest (late 1990s) and Ta-Nehisi Coates (starting in 2016), along with Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey, writing in “World of Wakanda” (2016). Coates and Gay, already best-selling literary writers before coming to the character, helped bring him to wider attention beyond normal comic book fandom, partly paving the way for the movie.

Through all of the improved writing of T’Challa and his world, his spectacular scientific ability has remained prominent. Wakanda continues to be a successful African nation with astonishing science and technology. Furthermore, and very importantly, T’Challa is not portrayed as an anomaly among his people in this regard. There are many great scientists and engineers in the Wakanda of the comics, including his sister Shuri. In some accounts, she (in the continued scientist-ranking business of comics) is an even greater intellect than he is. In the movie, T’Challa’s science and engineering abilities are referred to, but it is his sister Shuri who takes center stage in this role, having taken over to design the new tools and weapons he uses in the field. She also uses Wakandan science to heal wounds that would have been fatal elsewhere in the world.

Black Panther isn’t an isolated genius – his half-sister Shuri is a technological wiz herself.

If They Can Do It, Then Why Not Me?

As a scientist who cares about inspiring more people – including underrepresented minorities and women – to engage with science, I think that showing a little of this scientific landscape in “Black Panther” potentially amplifies the movie’s cultural impact.

Vast audiences see black heroes – both men and women – using their scientific ability to solve problems and make their way in the world, at an unrivaled level. Research has shown that such representation can have a positive effect on the interests, outlook and career trajectories of viewers.

Improving science education for all is a core endeavor in a nation’s competitiveness and overall health, but outcomes are limited if people aren’t inspired to take an interest in science in the first place. There simply are not enough images of black scientists – male or female – in our media and entertainment to help inspire. Many people from underrepresented groups end up genuinely believing that scientific investigation is not a career path open to them.

Moreover, many people still see the dedication and study needed to excel in science as “nerdy.” A cultural injection of Black Panther heroics helps continue to erode the crumbling tropes that science is only for white men or reserved for people with a special “science gene.”

The huge widespread success of the “Black Panther” movie, showcasing T’Challa, Shuri and other Wakandans as highly accomplished scientists, remains one of the most significant boosts for science engagement in recent times.

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TP-Link to Showcase Neffos X20 and X20 Pro at MWC 2019

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Neffos, TP-Link’s sub-brand for smartphones, will be exhibiting at the Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Spain, on February 25. The theme for the year’s biggest technology convention for mobile products and innovations is intelligent connectivity, which is in line with TP-Link’s slogan of “Faster Wi-Fi, Better Signal Phone, Smarter Home.”

At the MWC 2019 tech show, Neffos will display Neffos P1 as well with a built-in projector feature for beaming HD content onto a large wall. Neffos P1, which adds a laser projector that can throw a picture as large as 200 inches wide onto a wall or any flat surface in high resolution.

For the first time, the company will also showcase its new Neffos X20 and X20 Pro flagship phones. The two models are expected to hit the market sometime in June, along with Neffos’ own NFUI 9.0 software based on the Android 9.0 Pie operating system. As NFUI 9.0 hasn’t launched yet, the X20 and X20 Pro will be the first devices to run the latest user interface out of the box.

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OPPO’s VOOC Charging System Gets TÜV Rheinland’s Certification

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OPPO has received a new safety certification for its proprietary flash charging technology known as VOOC, which can charge a flat smartphone batter up to 40% in just 10 minutes. “The company recognizes that fast charging is now one of the most important demands from smartphone users globally who want a device that can fully charge in minutes, not hours,” said the company in a statement.

OPPO’s VOOC flash charging uses a special adapter and cables to charge devices safely at 25W without overheating—far above the industry standard. The company also offers a Super VOOC system that boosts the charging power to a massive 50W, capable of charging a flat battery to a full charge in just 35 minutes. Most high-end smartphones today take around 2 hours to fully charge.

The latest certification from renowned international safety authority TÜV Rheinland acknowledges that OPPO’s VOOC charging system has undergone rigorous testing across multiple sessions and test cycles to ensure its safety for daily usage. The VOOC system also allows users to safely use their smartphone during charging without it overheating.

OPPO’s VOOC flash charge technology is already used in more than 100 million smartphones worldwide including several models available in the Middle East today. The system is featured in OPPO’s flagship premium handset, the OPPO Find X, as well as its mid to high-end OPPO R17 and R17 Pro devices.

“Such innovations will continue as OPPO plans to raise its global R&D investments to around $1.43 billion in 2019, a 150% year-on-year increase,” said the company.

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