5 non-health tech stories you should care about this week

Plus, it’s time to rethink IoT security, while phablets drive mobile app engagement.

IBM Quantum Computing Scientist Jay Gambetta uses a tablet to interact with the IBM Quantum Experience, the world’s first quantum computing platform delivered via the IBM Cloud.

IBM Quantum Computing Scientist Jay Gambetta uses a tablet to interact with the IBM Quantum Experience, a cloud-based quantum computing platform.

Another week has come and gone, so it’s time once again to take a look at what you may have missed in the world of technology outside healthcare.

Here are five interesting general technology stories from the past seven days that people in healthcare should pay attention to. These issues could have an impact on health tech in the future.

1. “How IBM’s new five-qubit universal quantum computer works” (Ars Technica)

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, IBM gave an unwary world its first publicly accessible quantum computer. You might be worried that you can tear up your passwords and throw away your encryption, for all is now lost. However, it’s probably a bit early to call time on the world as we know it. You see, the whole computer is just five bits.

This might sound like some kind of publicity stunt; maybe it’s IBM’s way of clawing some attention back from D-Wave’s quantum computing efforts. But a careful look shows that serious science undergirds the announcement.

2. “Rethinking security for the Internet of Things” (TechCrunch)

There’s no question that IoT is ushering in a new era of innovation, connecting the digital and machine worlds to bring greater speed and efficiency to diverse sectors, including automotive, aviation, energy and healthcare. But with sensitive data increasingly accessible online — and more endpoints open to attackers — businesses are quickly realizing that security cannot be an afterthought.

The bad news is that they’re relying on the same solutions that have failed in the past — and which continue to fail. Created four decades ago to secure communications between two human parties, Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) was never designed to handle the complexity of managing 50 billion devices on industrial-scale networks.

3.  “Phablets lead to more mobile app engagement” (Business Insider)

Phablets, smartphones with 5-inch screens or larger, are having a significant effect on mobile app engagement.

Owners of these devices spend 23 percemt more time within apps every month than regular smartphone owners, according to data from Localytics. Phablet owners spend 66 minutes in apps compared to 52 minutes for others.

4. “Windows 10 is now on over 300 million devices, upgrade will cost $119 after July 29” (VentureBeat)

Windows 10 was installed on over 75 million PCs in its first four weeks, passed 110 million devices after 10 weeks, 200 million in under six months, 270 million after eight months, and now 300 million after nine months.

Microsoft’s stated goal is to hit 1 billion devices in two to three years. So it’s getting there.

Microsoft today is also instructing people to upgrade if they haven’t already, because the date when doing so will no longer be free is fast approaching

5. “New tech turns your skin into a touchscreen for your smartwatch” (The Verge)

The system uses a signal-emitting ring worn on the finger to communicate with a sensing band attached to the watch. When the finger wearing the ring touches the skin, a high-frequency electrical signal spreads across your arm. It uses the distance between the ring and four pairs of electrodes in the watchband to triangulate the position of your finger in 2D space. “The great thing about SkinTrack is that it’s not obtrusive; watches and rings are items that people already wear every day,” said Yang Zhang, a first-year Ph.D. student at [Carnegie Mellon University] who worked on the technology.

Photo: Jon Simon/Feature Photo Service for IBM