Innovation of the week
If you’ve ever wanted a pair of self-lacing sneakers like those worn by Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future_II, you’re in luck, said James Vincent in TheVerge.com. After 11 years of research and development as well as innumerable prototypes and redesigns, Nike announced last week that its HyperAdapt 1.0 would go on sale this holiday season. Each futuristic shoe has “an internal cable system made from fishing line and a pressure sensor in the sole.” When you insert your foot, LEDs light up in the heel and the cable automatically tightens based on “an algorithmic pressure equation.” The fit can be adjusted with a pair of buttons near the tongue. All that technology means that “yes, you do have to charge these shoes.” The cost hasn’t been announced yet, but “expect a high price tag.”
Bytes: What’s new in tech
Yahoo hack could affect sale
The announcement that at least 500 million Yahoo accounts were hacked two years ago has “far-reaching implications” for the company’s pending $4.8 billion sale to Verizon, said Nicole Perlroth in The New York Times. Yahoo said it discovered in August that the names, emails, birth dates, passwords, and even security questions of hundreds of millions of users were compromised in 2014 by an unnamed “state-sponsored actor.” Users have been urged to change their passwords and to monitor their other online accounts for suspicious activity. Verizon, which announced it would purchase the firm in July, just days before Yahoo began investigating the breach, said it only found out about the hack last week. “Security experts say the breach could bring about class-action lawsuits,” which would not have been factored into Yahoo’s sale price.
Facebook’s inflated video stats
Advertisers are furious with Facebook after the social network admitted last week that it had “vastly overestimated” the average time users spent watching videos on the platform, said Suzanne Vranica and Jack Marshall in The Wall Street Journal. Facebook calculated average viewing times by counting only video views of more than three seconds, a method that inflated average viewing times by 60 to 80 percent. Based on that data, “marketers may have misjudged the performance of video advertising” on Facebook, and may have reduced spending on video ads on rival platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and even network TV. Facebook says it has recalculated the metric to include video views of any duration.
AT&T hacks the grid
AT&T thinks it can massively expand highspeed internet access by “shooting wireless signals along power lines,” said Tom Simonite in TechnologyReview.com. The telecom giant unveiled a new project last week called AirGig that “uses power lines to guide high-speed wireless data signals over long distances.” Piggybacking on power lines, instead of spending money to lay data cables or build towers, slashes the cost of delivering broadband to rural areas, the company says. The data signals don’t travel through the electricity cables; instead, small plastic antennas mounted on the lines “draw power from them wirelessly and shoot wireless signals through the air.” AT&T has tested the system on its office buildings and is “searching for a community to host a public test next year.”