World's First Solar-Powered Smartwatch Harvests Both Natural and Artificial Light
A big problem with smartwatches is that, compared to traditional watches, the internal battery can easily run out of juice.
But a San Francisco-based startup has taken a major step in solving this problem by creating the LunaR, which claims to be the world's first solar-powered smartwatch.
"We love watches, we LOVE technology AND we hated the fact that we're always stressed out about recharging our devices," the company touts on their Kickstarter crowdfunding page. "We felt those elements hadn't been tackled and we wanted to expressed a harmonious connection between the beauty and simplicity of an elegant timepiece with the 'smarts' of a smartwatch."
Casio and Citizen already make solar-powered wristwatches, but the LunaR appears to be the first smartwatch that can run off of the sun's rays.
A transparent solar panel made by France-based Sunpartner covers the watch face. Inside the watch is a 110-mAh lithium-polymer battery that can supposedly run with as little as one hour of artificial or natural light.
"With a full charge, the battery will last up to at least 3 months, depending on the amount of notifications you're receiving. If you're able to collect passive sun while outside each day for like 1 hour (with a exposure greater than 10K LUX), then you (almost) never have to charge your watch again," the company said.
The watch works with a companion smartphone app to offer features such as sleep and activity tracking, integration with social media and messaging apps, and can auto-update the time wherever you are using the phone's GPS. Notifications are displayed on the embedded LED or through vibration technology. It's also waterproof up to 164 feet and comes with a traditional USB charger for backup.
LunaR's successful crowdfunding campaign has already racked up more than 500 backers to date. Models start at an early-bird price of $138 on the site.
Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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