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Hey Fivers!

It's been a little while. Don't worry, we're still on and we've got a whole bunch of new content to share! Have feedback? Just reply to this e-mail directly.
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1. Energy Harvesting Phone Cases
Right now, there are pretty much only two ways to combat poor battery life. You can either drop in a huge battery, or add on an external battery case. The engineers over at Nikola labs have taken a different route with a case design that can convert radio energy (wasted by the phone) into energy for the phone. They claim this could allow an iPhone 6 to last up to 30% longer! Interesting idea, though they failed to raise enough funding for their kickstarter. [Source]
2. Programmable Magnets
If you weren't already confused enough with how magnets work, there's a company working on making them even more mysterious and complicated. Correlated Magnetics Research can now "program" magnets with complex polarity patterns (North/South poles). Because they very precisely control the areas and polarity of magnetism, they can print shapes to allow for: magnetic gears, one-way interlocking parts, and more. This has huge implications towards parts assembly and magnetic mechanical designs. Check out the video to see how these things work! It's surprisingly counter-intuitive. [Video]
3. Smoothed Streetview
Remember that whole hyperlapse fad going on a few months back? Well, this concept, although quite different, brings back some of those memories. Scientists at Cornell are now able to predict what unseen viewpoints may look like using the few viewpoints they do have access to and some nifty deep learning. Basically, they're able to interpolate in between images to make it feel like a continuous space and simulate perspectives that weren't actually imaged. Check out some of their examples in the video. [Video] [Paper]
4. 3D Smartphone Cameras
Okay, I'm sure many of you have heard of Google's Project Tango, which was an attempt to experiment with putting a Microsoft Kinect depth-sensing camera into a smartphone for real-time environment and orientation tracking. Well, Intel's working on something like this too and it appears to be a lot more elegantly designed. The big question, though, is does the smartphone have enough computational power to do depth tracking in real-time? Tango struggled with overheating and battery-life issues which may have been resolved by moving to a Tango tablet. And even if they do resolve this, what are the specific applications (besides virtual/augmented reality "games" or digital image refocus) in which this is useful to the average consumer? Would love to hear what you think (just reply to this e-mail). [More]
5. DSLR Smartphone Cameras
Since we're on the topic of smartphone cameras, let's take a look at what Apple's been cooking up. Earlier this year, Apple acquired a company called LinX which has created a camera module that offers "DSLR-like" image quality (e.g. background blur) using a unique multi-aperture design. As current king of picture quality on smartphones, Apple may be looking to hold the lead by incorporating this technology into their phones and laptops in the near future. Plus, it's relatively rare that Apple buys startups; perhaps implying that this technology is sufficiently advanced and special. [More]
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Fives is written by Rohan Puri