Worldwide wrap

Read time 5min 50sec

In this week's wrap, honey bees could soon be used in the early detection of cancer; and a survey has revealed that men take twice as many selfies as women. Get the details on these stories and more below.

App spy

When the mSpy app is installed on an Android or iOS device, it will track calls, location data and keyboard strokes without the user's knowledge. The software can be used on company-owned devices for security purposes or by parents looking to keep an eye on their kids, for example. While the app is intended for legal monitoring, a disclaimer on its Web site details that consent to monitor the device is required, and one is obliged to notify the user of the device that their activity is being monitored.

The mSpy software goes beyond monitoring; it can also be used to remotely lock or wipe a device, in addition to being able to block Web sites or calls from certain contacts and record the person's surroundings. The mSpy app is available on select Apple, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone smartphones.
Via: The Next Web

Men reign as selfie enthusiasts

Women may be the fairer sex, but a recent survey has revealed that men like looking at themselves a whole lot more than their female counterparts do. The research was commissioned by Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom and found that men take roughly double the amount of selfies that women do. Behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings attributes this to the fact that men view showing off via their smartphones as a more acceptable form of vanity. "Men have come to the vanity game later than women. They're taking selfies because there's a technological aspect to them, so they see it as a more acceptable way of revealing their vanity," she says.

Aside from the vanity aspect of the selfie craze, the trend has other implications. A third of the 2 000 participants admitted to missing a great live moment because they were taking a snap of themselves. And they are also missing out on valuable experiences because of their need to share images, with more than half of the respondents confessing that they felt the urge to immediately upload the images onto their favourite social networks.
Via: Daily Mail

Bra curbs overeating

Half of US citizens admit to eating more when they are stressed, a coping mechanism that has contributed to high obesity rates in the region, and across the globe. Researchers are working on new ways to make anxious eaters more aware of when they may be overdoing it, one of which is a stress-busting bra concept from Microsoft, made of special materials that monitor the wearer's mood in an attempt to regulate stress eating.

The bra is fitted with various sensors that capture heart rate, respiration and skin conductance. The data is streamed to a smartphone app and can be used by scientists to predict changes in physiology that commonly accompany stress eating. According to Mary Czerwinski, a cognitive psychologist and senior researcher in visualisation and interaction at Microsoft, women are most commonly stress eaters. "We tried to do the same thing for men's underwear but it was too far away (from the heart)," she said.
Via: Discovery

Plane-spotting billboards

Billboards just got a little more interactive, thanks to British Airways (BA). The airline has debuted a series of digital billboards across the UK that feature children who follow actual aircraft flying overhead. This is part of the brand's efforts to remind customers how magical flying can be for children.

Designed by Ogilvy Group UK, the "Look Up" campaign uses "surveillance technology" to track actual flights and features a small boy who stands up and points to the sky as real planes fly overhead. The billboards are programmed to know exactly when a BA plane is flying by and will show the flight number and destination of the plane, with the ultimate plan to also promote the lowest fares currently available to that location.

According to Abigail Comber, BA's head of marketing, the campaign is not only a first for BA, but also for UK advertising. By telling people on the ground where the flight is headed and offering them promotions on upcoming flights to the same destination, BA is able to use what it does everyday to engage with potential customers, she added.
Via: WellDoneStuff

Oz debuts video stamps

The Australian Post has introduced a smart postage stamp that allows individuals to record a video message to send with their mail. Simply called the Video Stamp, the sender is able to record up to 15 seconds' of footage for 12 hours after the item has been posted. When the recipient gets the package, they need simply scan the stamp using their smartphones to receive the message.

For those without smartphones, the Video Stamp is accompanied by an eight-digit code, which can be entered into the Australia Post's Web site to view the video. These videos can later be shared on social networks and are available for 90 days after recording. The stamps are currently being tested, but if the concept proves successful, they will be made available permanently.
Via: That's Like Whoa

Bees trained to detect cancer

The humble honeybee could have a hidden talent - detecting cancer. According to Portuguese scientist Susana Soares, these insects can be trained to sniff out diseases. And they are fast learners - capable of sniffing out the disease after just 10 minutes of training.

The bees are trained using Pavlov's stimulus-reward techniques. Soares has developed a device that teaches honey bees to recognise certain smells associated with diseases, such as cancer or tuberculosis. The device comprises two chambers - the smaller chamber serves as the diagnostic space, while the larger chamber is where the previously trained bees are kept for short periods of time in order for them to be able to detect general health, she explains.

"People exhale into the smaller chamber, and the bees rush into it if they detect on the breath the odour they were trained to target." She adds that properly trained bees are "very accurate" in early medical diagnosis.
Via: Business Standard

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