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When Luca Giacovazzi explains why rare earths are so important to the future of the planet, he likes to bring up the small electric motors that push water through heating radiators. “Not that long ago, the EU legislated that these pumps had to be more efficient, and the most efficient pump out there was one that used a rare earth magnet instead of a normal magnet,” explains the CEO of Andrew and Nicola Forrest’s private green investment company Wyloo Metals.
That legislative prompt resulted in something like a 20% efficiency gain across millions of homes, he says, or the equivalent of removing two coal-fired-power-stations from the European grid. “For me, it’s the closest thing to magic that we are ever going to get. It’s this amazing little natural element that’s got these incredible properties that allow us to do everything better. It’ll make a Tesla 20% more efficient, which means you can make a battery 20% smaller (and therefore cheaper) or you can increase your [driving] range by 20%.”
However, the world isn’t producing enough of this magical element to build a decarbonised future fast enough to reach climate change goals. For example, when American giant GE Renewables announced in July that it had struck a deal with Australian miner Arafura Resources – which is still a year or two from extracting any rare earths from its planned mine and processing facility north of Alice Springs – it was estimated the company would need 7.2 tonnes of rare earth magnets for every one of its giant 12-megawatt offshore wind turbines.
Then there is the demand from electric cars, most of which need about 2kg of rare earth magnets.
The next decade is predicted to see a seven-fold increase in production of electric vehicles and an eight-fold increase in offshore wind turbines.
“If you look at the demand profile for electric vehicles, air conditioning, wind turbines, large transportation, there’s just not enough [rare earth] mines coming online,” says Russell Bradford, interim chief executive of ASX listed Vital Minerals. His view is shared by all the company chiefs interviewed for this story. “It’s not just rare earths,” says Bradford.
“It’s copper, nickel, it’s everything. It’s fine for politicians to say we’re going to do x, y and z but they’ve got to realise there’s a requirement that these deposits get found and developed. If you drill a hole and find something today, it’s going to take you seven to 10 years to get that mine running. So, if you want to decarbonise by 2030, like the European countries are saying, well, good luck, because it’s not going to happen.”
And while there isn’t enough of these minerals being mined in absolute terms, there’s also the matter of who controls them. Until a few years ago, China processed nearly 100% of the world’s rare earths. But in the last decade Australia has chipped that back to 90%, thanks to one very large mine, and it has its eye on much more of the market.
Illustration: Bill Hope
It’s not surprising the Forrests have jumped into this space. Giacovazzi closed Wyloo’s first rare earths deal in September, providing $150 million to Australian miner Hastings Technology Metals. Hastings used the money to buy a 22% stake in rare earth magnet processor Neo Performance Materials. When Hastings’ mine and processing plant start producing in the next few years (supplying a forecast 8% of the world’s needs) it will have a hand in the entire process, from mine to magnet.
“It’ll be the only company in the world where you can get that type of exposure,” Giacovazzi says.
Rare earth elements were first identified in 1788 but it took 100 years for a use to be found for them – as mantles in gas streetlights. Billions were manufactured. The chemist who invented that, Carl Auer von Welsbach, also produced an alloy of rare earths and iron that sparked when struck. Think pocket lighters and early car ignitions.
There are 17 rare earth elements. In the early days, most of them came from India, Brazil and North Carolina. They were used in electronics, optics and as catalysts in chemical reactions. Then it was discovered that europium phosphors made the red brighter in colour televisions. A large mine and processing plant at Mountain Pass, California, came to dominate world production until the early 90s when low levels of radioactive wastewater were found leaking from its pipes. With prices low, the owner shut the plant down rather than modernise.
China, meanwhile, had increased its production by 40% a year since the Chinese leader, Deng Xiaoping, had declared in 1978: “Saudi Arabia has oil, China has rare earths.” By 2010, China processed 97% of the world’s rare earths, pumping them out cheaply with little concern for the wastes flooding rivers and lakes with radioactive material and fluoride, which can cause bone disease.
The low price allowed nickel–metal hydride batteries to become ubiquitous in power tools until they were recently superseded by lithium batteries.
Now, there are four elements that dominate the world’s hunger for rare earths – neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium – all used in powerful permanent magnets.Rare, not rare
The thing about rare earths is they are not that rare. There are more of them in the earth’s crust than gold, silver or lead. But purifying them is difficult because they are tightly bound with other elements in varying ratios. “It’s as much a chemical industry as it is a mining industry,” says veteran of the Australian rare earths sector, Nick Curtis.
Curtis travelled to China in 1978 to undertake a PhD on medieval Chinese art and returned in 1993 as an alumnus of Macquarie Bank and a student of arbitrage looking for opportunities in mining. He achieved the extraordinary feat of creating Sino Gold Ltd, a Chinese miner that listed on the ASX in 2000. In the late 90s, he learnt about rare earths and China’s monopoly of the market from his Chinese colleague Harry Wong.
“The dominance of China seemed to be unsustainable,” recalls Curtis. “So, we looked around for the best possible asset we could build a business on, and we stumbled across Lynas, which was Lynas Gold at the time, where a guy called Les Emery had done a deal with Rio for an option to buy the Mt Weld [rare earth] deposit [in Western Australia]. Rio didn’t see a long-term future for this asset.” As it turned out, Forrest was also interested in Lynas Gold, but Curtis beat him to it.
“I did him a favour because he went on to look at other things,” Curtis jokes. Curtis bought out Anaconda Nickel’s $5-million stake and stripped Lynas back to being a pure rare-earths play with “a big patch of dirt up past Leonora”.
Curtis needed to tell the world why rare earths were important. He was “doing pitch after pitch. Wearing out the shoe leather, trying to figure out how we’d build it”. Plan A was to ship a muddy slurry of concentrate off to China for it to do the processing, but in 2004, China announced an export ban on rare earths. This meant that if Lynas sent its slurry to China, it couldn’t on-sell it outside China.
“It didn’t make sense as a business model anymore,” says Curtis. “We were stuck. ‘What are we going to do?’ We took the rather bold decision to build a fully integrated circuit right down to downstream rare earths. We weren’t a big company, so it was well above our market cap.”China to the rescue
A Chinese company was going to take a controlling stake but was blocked by the Foreign Investment Review Board. “They told the Chinese party they could only have 49%, not 51%, and the Chinese party walked away.”
Stubbornness and the idea that the market would soon explode kept Curtis and his team in the game. “You keep going. You keep pulling the string.” Lynas needed a plan C. It needed capital. Ironically, it was China which came to the rescue when, in 2011, it stopped exporting rare earths to Japan.
“The Japanese market panicked, and the price went from $3 a kilo to about $200 a kilo in about six months,” recalls Curtis. Lynas was suddenly looking very attractive and raised enough money to build a processing plant in Malaysia. The plant quickly sputtered into life with numerous teething problems just in time to see the price crash after Japan had built a stockpile.
As testimony to its importance, Lynas did a US$120 million ($190 million) deal with the Pentagon in June to build a separation plant in Texas, using Western Australian rare earths, to reduce reliance on China.World’s richest deposit a waste dump
China’s market dominance is expected to decline further by 2025 when a projected nine per cent of world supply starts coming out of an old waste pile north of Perth.
Iluka Resources has been around for about 70 years digging up sand and extracting the minerals, in the process becoming the world’s largest miner of zircon and rutile. As part of that process, it has also been digging up the rare-earth-containing minerals monazite and xenotime. Those by-product minerals used to be sold to France for processing but when France dropped out of the industry in the early 1990s, Iluka found itself with a big, sandy pile of unsellable rare earths.
Most Australian sand miners in the same position decided to mix the valueless minerals back in with their tailings, but someone at Iluka – and there are a few executives there now who would like to shake their hand – decided to stockpile the material in a disused sand mine at Eneabba, 270km north of Perth. Thirty years later, the sandhill they built is a million tonnes of the highest-grade rare-earth deposit in the world, valued at about $1 billion.
As the price for rare earths started to stabilise around 2023, Iluka considered the low-risk, low-cost option of selling a concentrate overseas. But it also had another project on the books in the Wimmera in western Victoria – a multi-decade resource of rare earths and zircon. The miner developed a plan to build a “cracking and leaching” plant at Wimmera to take the raw product halfway through the refining process to what’s called a rare earth carbonate.
By the start of 2023, however, the federal government was getting interested in rare earths’ strategic importance and approached Iluka about taking the refinement one step further, to produce a rare earth oxide, the same as Lynas was doing in Malaysia. The government wanted it done in Australia. And soon. Iluka realised the fastest route would be to build a plant next to its billion-dollar stockpile at Eneabba, which had enough to feed the plant for a decade.
After two and a half years of discussions, the Morrison government committed to lend $1.2 billion to the project as part of Australia’s critical minerals strategy. Iluka injected $200 million. With a forecast completion date of 2025, Eneabba will be able to process all four of the rare earths needed for magnets. Feedstock will also be bought from other Australian miners. “We’ll start to get an industry going,” said one insider. “An ecosystem.”“I couldn’t help myself.”
Former Lynas chief Nick Curtis on why he got back into rare earths
Goldminer Alkane Resources poked around its patch of dirt near Dubbo in central western NSW and found a rich patch of rare earths, plus what we now call “critical minerals” – zirconium, hafnium and niobium. Alkane tried to develop the patch for years but couldn’t get traction on the lode, says Australian Strategic Minerals (ASM) chief executive Rowena Smith.
The market wasn’t placing any value on the rare earths and only saw this strike as useful for its zirconium, which has similar properties to titanium. However, following the 2012 spike in rare earth prices, Alkane predicted South Korea might, like Japan, want to detach itself from Chinese dependence. The miner started cultivating relationships and working with a South Korean university to develop ways to turn its minerals into metals without all the downstream pollution that make these operations unpopular in democracies.
They succeeded, but the gold miner still couldn’t get the market to recognise the value of the resource it was sitting on. So, in 2023, Alkane spun out a new company – ASM – as an exclusive rare earths/critical minerals play. It set out to process four rare earths through to oxides at a plant in Dubbo and build a plant in South Korea to take it through to metals and alloys.
Their timing was good. The Covid-19 pandemic and a truculent China exposed the limitations of the world’s supply chains. Investors saw the light and ASM’s share price increased 10-fold, valuing the company at about $1 billion by October 2023. The share price has since fallen seven-fold, but in that time, ASM has built its refinery in South Korea, and in September it exported its first neodymium and praseodymium metal product (using raw materials sourced from China) while it works on getting the $1.6 billion needed to finish the Dubbo mine and processing plant.
“We’re positioned incredibly well because we’ve been doing that work all of that time,” says Smith via Zoom from South Korea where she’s been spending a lot of time since taking the reins of the company in July. Every rare-earth deposit has a different combination of minerals, all tightly bound together, and there is no off-the-shelf way of separating them. “Each business has to do that development work themselves,” says Smith. “It’s a 10-year process to develop your flow sheet (the mine-to-metal process) for a rare-earth deposit.”
“It’s a big number, you know, it’s $1.6 billion,” says Smith “We’ve got a lot of support from government both in Australia and in Korea and a lot of interest in Korea. And that’s why I’m up here in Korea at the moment because the most important thing for us is to secure a really strong strategic relationship or a strategic partner.”
For his part, Nick Curtis is back in the game that spat him out almost a decade ago, still looking for those undervalued assets. “I couldn’t help myself,” he says. He is chairman of Northern Minerals which has a pilot project at Browns Range on the edge of the Tanami desert in the north of West Australia. “Browns Range has two very obscure little metals, dysprosium and terbium … The magnet on your fridge is the same temperature all the time, but one that drives missiles has to be able to operate at the same intensity across a wide range of temperatures. For that you need dysprosium and terbium … We’re intrigued because we’ve got the only non-China source of them. That’s why I’ve got back into this one.”
He says the market still doesn’t get it. The share prices of most of these Australian rare earth plays have tended to track the broader market rather than any critical future demand.
ASM’s Rowena Smith – who watched her company’s stocks fall seven-fold while building a production facility in 14 months, go to whoa – is bewildered. “The dizziness of the share price doesn’t make sense to me, and whatever is happening to it, it’s not happening based on any of the fundamentals of business. The market is still finding it difficult to understand rare earths … It’s a lot of big words. It’s praseodymium and dysprosium and blah, blah, blah. And, you know, the markets are opaque, they’re emerging. It’s much harder to get a handle on what the future is going to be.”
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While the Ehang 184 is quite pricey, Ehang hopes that a mass-production run of its successors would achieve economies of scale, bringing down the price. Ehang
The Ehang 184 debuted at CES in 2023.
One of the most talked about products at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Shows in Las Vegas left observers wondering whether to call it a passenger drone or a self-flying helicopter.
Robo Uber for the Skies
The Ehang 184 can be folded up for easy storage and transportation (you probably could hide the 1.5m tall drone in a studio apartment).
Made by Chinese UAV manufacturer Ehang, the Ehang 184 (numbered “184” for 1 passenger, eight rotors, and four wings) is a 1.5-meter, 200kg, all-electric drone that can carry a 100kg person for 23 minutes at speeds of 100 kph. As a fully automated UAV with redundant fly-by-wire and networked, encrypted sensors, Ehang 184 allows non-pilots to fly in small, personal aircraft without having to go through extensive pilot training or the high cost of a private jet/helicopter. Rather, they can enjoy their flight in the comfort of an air conditioned, F-1 style racing cabin that even has 4G Internet. The manufacturer claims its sensors and computer are smart enough to allow the 184 to fly both in empty rural spaces and reasonably crowded urban areas.
Ehang hopes that its air chauffeur drone will eventually fly in skies around the world, doing for personal transportation what DJI has done with recreational drones.
If it gains widespread acceptance, the Ehang 184 and its successors would democratize private flight. It’s like Uber meets the Google Car, but in the air. But like these examples, the technology may also may have security applications.
The Ehang 184 might not be ideal for military missions, but its autonomous software is a strong foundation to build autonomously operating VTOL drones for the Chinese military.
At first glance, the Ehang 184’s short range and likely low flight altitude would seem to preclude its use as a military transport. However, its high level of flight automation and redundant systems can be militarized and scaled to other systems. Ehang has developed flight control software that not only autonomously develops a flight plan and adjusts it according to data from its many sensors, but the flight control system can also refuse to take off in certain conditions (such as thunderstorms), as well as diagnose and remedy damage (such as birdstrikes), and includes emergency landing protocols.
The Kaman K-Max is a cargo carrying American drone helicopter that can fly autonomously to resupply Marine outposts in Afghanistan.
Mass Private Helicopters
While the Ehang 184 is quite pricey, Ehang hopes that a mass-production run of its successors would achieve economies of scale, bringing down the price.
Just like in so many other technologies, including the helicopter and drones that it takes inspiration from, the Ehang 184 could become the forerunner to highly autonomous robotic systems to use at work, play, and war.
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“As the FCC continues to combat unwanted robocalls, it recognizes that it must adapt to the latest scamming trends— including the rise of robotexts,” the FCC said in a statement, adding that they received around 14,000 consumer complaints about unwanted text messages in 2023 alone—nearly a 146 percent increase from the year prior. And in 2023, the Commission has already reported more than 9,800 complaints about spam texts. During COVID-19, for example, the FCC warned against package delivery notification scam calls and texts.
The Commission also cited data collected by spam call blocking app RoboKiller, which reported 7.4 billion spam texts in March 2023.
[Related: Congress is coming for big tech—here’s how and why]
The proposal, which would be adopted if it received a full vote from the Commission, would explore different approaches to protect consumers from illegal robotexts, including having mobile carriers block these texts at the network level, and using caller ID authentication on messages.
While this proposal is in regards to texts, federal authorities have been fighting against robocalls since 2009, according to the US Public Interest Research Group. That year, the Federal Trade Commission made pre-recorded telemarketing calls illegal. In 2023, AT&T, Apple, Comcast, Google, Verizon, along with dozens of other technology and communications companies, agreed to work with the FCC to crack down on robocalls, Reuters reported.
The FTC wrote in February that consumers reported losing nearly $3.3 billion to frauds in 2023, with phone calls and text messages listed as the top ways scammers are reaching them.
[Related: Cryptocurrency scammers are mining dating sites for victims]
In recent years, the Commission has spent over $450 million to enforce legal actions against telemarketers. This year especially, the FCC is doubling down on its efforts to prevent robocalls and texts from entering the US phone networks. In June, the Commission mandated that phone companies such as AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile use caller ID authentication to identify who’s calling you, and in September, the Commission announced that calls from numbers not listed in its Robocall Mitigation Database will now be blocked on US phone networks.
But scammers are tricky to stop. And not even 911 call centers are safe from phone scammers. “It’s a game of Whac-A-Mole,” Paul Schmitt, a research computer scientist at the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute, told CNBC in September. “Robocallers will find other ways to do what they want to do.” Further, CNBC said that “robocalls reel in billions of dollars in profits every year.”
[Related: The FCC wants to know if you’re paying too much for internet access]
Tejas Narechania, faculty director at the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, says via email that while this new proposal is a good start, “we’ve seen in the robocall context that this is a hard issue to address.”
He notes that it will be key to look for the regulatory details around these new rules and how they will be implemented. “The rules propose things like authentication standards, that we’re starting to see implemented in the robocall context, and that have started to have some effect,” he says. “But it’s cheap for fraudsters to send out millions of these messages (often from abroad), and it can be lucrative to do so, so I don’t think this is going to solve everything.”
Moreover, these rules apply to text messages, but not to fraudulent messages sent over other platforms, such as WhatsApp, he adds. “We’ll need more action in order to fully address this problem.”
To help consumers, the FCC has issued guides on avoiding unwanted spam calls and texts, which include tips such as not picking up on calls from unknown numbers, or hanging up quickly without responding or engaging. For texts, the FCC suggests that you immediately block the sender or report the message as spam to your mobile provider. (Verizon, for example, lets users forward the message to 7726, or SPAM, to block and report the sender.) In general, consumers should be wary about giving out their personal info and phone number, or opting into receiving text messages through commercial web sites.
Summer Internship: Getting to the Heart of the Matter Cardio testing lab welcomes SAR senior as part of team
Anubhav Nangia (SAR’15) became a valued team member when he interned this summer at a cardiovascular testing center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Photos by Cydney ScottInternships often play a critical role in job hunting as employers increasingly seek graduates with some real-world experience. A 2012 Marketplace and Chronicle of Higher Education survey found that employers place more weight on experience, particularly internships and employment during school, rather than academic credentials, when evaluating a recent graduate for employment. Name:
Anubhav Nangia (SAR’15)My internship:
I worked at the noninvasive cardiovascular imaging center at the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.How I landed the internship:
I was recommended for it by a professor, applied, and was promptly accepted. I’d emailed the center’s supervisor, who said to come in for an interview, and I said, sure why not? I was accepted after a couple of days.A typical day on the job:
I’d arrive at the center by 7:45 a.m. When a physiologist was ready to test a patient, I would get the person from the waiting room and prepare him or her for the test. I performed standard treadmill tests, stress echocardiograms, and cardiopulmonary stress tests. Once I had obtained the patient’s consent, I would ask questions to document the medical history and enter the information into the computer.
I prepared patients for electrocardiograms (ECG), which involves the placement of electrodes on their chest and abdominal region. After briefing the physiologist on the patient’s history, we’d interpret the baseline ECG together. This was by far the most challenging aspect of the internship. Each ECG is unique, and the basic information I had learned about ECGs at school had not prepared me for the extensive analysis I performed at the center.
The test is always performed under the supervision of a physiologist. I had to constantly eye the ECG for any changes, while printing a 12-lead every three minutes, taking blood pressures, monitoring the patient’s progress, and documenting observations on the reports. It gets very hard to take a blood pressure after about nine minutes of exercise due to the surrounding noise and the patient’s movements. I had to communicate with the patient constantly to try and push him or her to maximal effort. The test stopped either at the request of the patient or when a physiological sign or signs that I was looking for has been attained. Those signs would depend on the patient’s history. Patients are monitored for eight minutes following exercise, during which blood pressure and ECG are constantly monitored. It took me time to get adjusted to maintaining a watch on so many aspects of the test.
Once the recovery period had ended, I would unhook the patient from the apparatus and help the physiologist with the final report. This required further interpretations of the ECGs obtained throughout the test. The entire process—from getting the patient to finishing the report—usually took about an hour.Career skills I acquired:
I strongly believe the following new skills I acquired will benefit my future in the health care industry.
I am now very good at taking relevant, detailed patient histories. I learned that casual conversation with patients puts them at ease and helps them to be thorough in the details they provide. A good history saves time for the physiologists.
Although I learned about electrode placement in theory in class, the practical side is quite different. Each patient has a unique body structure, which means that the electrodes must be adjusted to ensure a good voltage for the ECG. Since the patients’ blood pressure is taken manually and not digitally, it took a few attempts before the physiologists agreed that I was ready to take them on my own. I am now comfortable prepping any patient and have a good instinct for gauging the quality of the placement.
I have become good at taking blood pressures during exercise. Due to the surrounding noise of the machinery and patient’s movement, this was hard to learn. Thanks to the physiologists who hopped onto treadmills during their free time, I am now confident in my ability to measure the blood pressure of a patient at any stage of exercise.
I can efficiently use the software involved in stress tests at the Brigham.
My most remarkable achievement has been the ability to interpret ECGs independently. From knowing just the basic anatomy of an ECG to understanding terms like premature ventricular/atrial contractions, left/right bundle branch blocks, fusion beats, and so forth, I have come a long way. I am sure that this knowledge will benefit me immensely in medical school, should I go down that track.What it internship taught me about the real world:
I have developed an understanding of what it feels like to work in health care. Every patient who visits a hospital is unique. Health care professionals must do their best to ensure that patients feel relaxed and safe under their supervision. Their reaction to, observation of, and communication with, patients is crucial to the success of a clinical encounter.
Health care workers must not bring the stress of their personal lives into the workplace; it can negatively impact a patient’s experience. A couple of times during my internship, I was stressed out due to family issues. Luckily for me, I noticed right away that my personal troubles had wiped the smile off my face entirely. I made a conscious effort never to let such things bother me again.
I learned what it is like to work in a professional setting. Colleagues have certain expectations of each other with regard to workload, work ethics, and more, and it is important for everyone to align with them. Mutual respect in the workplace is imperative.
Contrary to popular belief, it is okay to make mistakes. The colleagues I worked with became my friends and mentors. I never hesitated to ask questions.
It is important to make the most out of every opportunity provided to you. Although I was required to work only 10 to 14 hours a week, I ended up working 21 a week to gain additional experience.Biggest mistake I made:
Sometimes, it is hard to take a blood pressure when the so-called Korotkoff sounds cannot be heard clearly. For one such patient, when I was taking a blood pressure during the recovery period, I underestimated the systolic pressure. This mistake caused the physiologist to be confused for several minutes, and we assumed that the patient was having a hypotensive response postexercise. But when the physiologist took additional blood pressures, she realized that my measurement was probably inaccurate.Most frustrating thing about the internship:
Nothing about the experience frustrated me per se; I enjoyed my time at the center thoroughly.My proudest accomplishment:
The ability to interpret ECGs independently. It takes a lot of training, and I am proud to have learned the necessary techniques and definitions so quickly.Most important lesson I learned:
Never hesitate to ask questions.My most surprising or unexpected experience:
The first time I was asked to take blood pressures of patients during exercise, I did not find it hard. All the physiologists were surprised and excited that I was able to learn to take them so quickly.What I learned about the real world that inspired or frustrated me:
When you work in a health care setting, everyone helps each other. You are never alone. You become part of a team trying to deliver the best possible service to patients.Overall grade and whether the internship lived up to my expectations:
The internship lived up to, and in fact exceeded, my expectations. My initial ambition of working in the health care industry was strengthened. I got incredible amounts of hands-on experience with patients and cherished the opportunity to participate in their treatment regimens, even if it was in a relatively small way. I was treated like any other employee at the center and was expected to perform to similar standards. Supported by an incredibly welcoming staff that was eager to teach, I now feel like a competent exercise physiologist.If I had it to do over, I’d…
Probably work longer hours to get the opportunity to learn even more.
Apply to internships that you are truly interested in. Do not work at a place simply because you want to boost your résumé. It will seem like a burden for you more than anything else. Be cordial and respectful at your job site. Try to meet as many people as possible. You never know when someone will turn out to be a great resource for you personally or professionally.
And don’t be afraid to ask questions. It is expected that interns are only getting their feet wet. You are not meant to be an expert in any way.
Tomorrow, part four of our summer internship series: Live from Lincoln Center.
Explore Related Topics:
It’s finally arrived: an activity-tracking wristband that promises accurate, real-time heart rate monitoring during the heat of exercise. The Basis Peak is lighter, slimmer, brighter and more elegant than the Basis wearable it replaces, and when it goes on sale in early November for $200, it stands a good chance of restoring dignity to the heart-rate monitoring space.
Make no mistake, most wrist-worn wearables have laughable heart-rate tracking features. They can only do heart rate “spot checks” that report how fast your ticker is ticking when you stop whatever you’re doing, and keep your body perfectly still like a terrified squirrel. It’s a quaint feature at best—when the devices work. Their performance is usually inconsistent, but of course you already know this if you own one of Samsung’s many wearables, including the Gear Fit. Jon Phillips
Compared to earlier Basis models, the Peak has a lower-profile design, and is made of forged aluminum instead of plastic. The new display is also brighter and higher contrast.
The Basis Peak, announced Tuesday, aims to deliver a heart-rate monitoring experience that rivals what we currently only get from chest-strap monitors and earbud systems like LG’s Heart Rate Earphones. Basis, which was acquired by Intel in March, says the Peak has a completely revamped heart-rate sensor that serves a reliable, continuous data stream regardless of how hard you’re pushing your body.
It’s exactly what you need for zone-based cardio training, and improves upon the previous Basis heart-rate sensor, which was mostly enlisted to calculate general calorie-burn numbers and sleep quality in the B1 Band and Carbon Steel Edition.The forward march of sensor tech
So what’s changed? For starters, the company’s new spectroscopic sensor has a brighter LED. This makes it “less susceptible to channel interference; interfering light has a harder time disrupting the signal,” says Ethan Fassett, Basis VP of Product. Second, the sensor has an improved photo receptor. This is the element that absorbs the LED light, providing a footprint of the blood flow beneath the surface of your skin.
Third, the Peak is lighter than Basis products it replaces. The reduced mass translates into less dramatic “inertial movements” that might cause the Peak to break contact with your skin. Fourth, the sensor housing now has a raised berm that forms a stronger connection point to your skin—almost like a sealed gasket. And, finally, Basis’ new straps are stretchy, flexible silicone. You can pull them tighter without giving up comfort, and the snug fit ensures more reliable data collection.
Battery life remains rated for a generous four days, and the new charging puck is must less clunky than earlier Basis iterations.
With all these improvements working in concert, the quality and consistency of the heart-rate data improves significantly—enough for Basis to claim its breakthrough. I can testify that the Peak is more comfortable to wear then the Carbon Steel Edition I tested earlier this year, and an improved black-and-white LCD display is indeed much easier to read than Basis’ previous dim, low-contrast screen. Still, only real-world testing in November will prove out the company’s sensor claims.
Beyond the new heart-rate sensor, the Peak uses the same accelerometer, skin temperature sensor and perspiration sensor it deployed in earlier products. Algorithms have been improved, and Basis’ Body IQ feature can still automatically sense whether you’ve initiated a walking, running or cycling workout. The Peak is rated for 5ATM water resistance, which means you can take it swimming. Body IQ, however, won’t automatically recognize swimming activity—yet. “It’s a use case we’re aware of, and we’re pretty excited about it,” said Fassett.Improved design, top to bottom
Even without the new heart-rate sensor, the Peak improves nearly every facet of Basis’ industrial design. The body of the device has a lower profile than earlier Basis products, making it less prone to snagging on shirtsleeves. It’s also now made of forged aluminum instead of plastic, and the improved, high-contrast display is a full touchscreen, allowing Basis to ditch its archaic button control.
No, it’s not a smartwatch. But as a highly sophisticated fitness and sleep tracker, it finally looks like something you might want to wear as a watch.
Battery life remains at four days—a generous duration when Android Wear watches can barely make it through the night. The wearable’s charging puck has also been redesigned, and is much easier to snap on and off. When the Peak goes on sale, a matte black model will come with a black strap bearing red accents, while a brushed silver model will come with a white strap bearing gray accents. But Basis has ditched its custom strapping apparatus, so you’ll be able to outfit the Peak with any 23mm replacement strap you fancy.
Basis wearables already appeal to quantified-selfers. In particular, the company’s Advanced Sleep Analysis system can report not only light and deep sleep, but also REM sleep. But once you add in continuous heart-rate monitoring, you have a wearable that can cover all your activity, from your deepest slumber to your most adrenaline-charged exercise. As Fassett repeated frequently, it’s a true 24/7 device.
Smartwatch-style notifications are coming, just not when the Peak launches in early November.
All that’s missing are smartwatch-like functions, like notifications for texts, emails and incoming phone calls. Well, it turns out those are coming too, care of an over-the-air update that Basis projects will arrive before the end of the year. Notifications will only live on the device for a maximum of five minutes, but maybe that’s OK.
Virtual private servers (VPS) may be easily deployed and managed using the well-liked cloud service AWS Lightsail. It is simple to use, inexpensive, and perfect for small to medium-sized companies that need a dependable, economical cloud solution. The ability to see the history of your instances is one of AWS Lightsail’s key capabilities. This post will describe how to know the history of AWS Lightsail instances.What is AWS Lightsail?
An intuitive interface for managing VPS instances is offered by AWS Lightsail, a condensed version of Amazon Web Services (AWS). It is a complete cloud service for those who need more technical experience and wish to put their apps on the cloud. Virtual servers, databases, storage, load balancing, and content delivery networks (CDN) are just a few of the functionalities offered by AWS Lightsail.Why is it Important To View The History Of AWS Lightsail Instances?
Viewing the history of your AWS Lightsail instances is crucial for various reasons. To find any problems or inefficiencies, you need first monitor the performance of your models over time. This might assist you in streamlining and optimizing your apps. Second, looking at the history of your instances might help you spot consumption patterns or trends that could impact your cloud strategy in the future. Last but not least, considering the history of your models is crucial for auditing reasons and may assist you in adhering to legal obligations.How To See The History of AWS Lightsail Instances?
To view the history of your AWS Lightsail instances, follow the steps below −Step 1: Log In To Your AWS Lightsail Account
Your first step is logging into your AWS Lightsail account. If you don’t already have one, you may make one by registering for a free trial.Step 2: Navigate To The Instances Tab
Go to the Instances page after signing in to your account. A list of all the instances you have generated will be shown.Step 3: Select The Instance You Want To View The History Of Step 5: Select The Period You Want To View The History For
Choose the period frame you want to view the history using the drop-down option. You may select the most recent hour, the most recent six hours, the most recent day, the most recent week, or the most recent month.Step 6: View The History Of Your Instance
The monitoring graph will show your instance’s history after choosing the timeframe. Metrics like CPU use, network activity, and disk activity are all available for viewing.How to Interpret The History of AWS Lightsail Instances? CPU Utilization
The percentage of the processor’s capacity utilized by your application is measured by CPU utilization. If your CPU use is excessive, it can be a sign that your program is stressed and needs more resources to function correctly.Network Traffic
Data transmission between your instance and the outside world is measured by network traffic. A sudden increase in network traffic might indicate that your application is being used more often than usual or that there is an issue with your network settings.Disk Activity Memory Usage
The amount of RAM your instance is using is measured by memory utilization. If your memory utilization is constantly high, additional resources are needed for your program to run effectively.Additional Tips For Monitoring Your AWS Lightsail Instances
There are a few different tips you may use to efficiently monitor your AWS Lightsail instances in addition to looking at their history −Use CloudWatch Alarms
You may specify thresholds for specific metrics using AWS CloudWatch Alarms, and you can get alerts when those thresholds are crossed. This may assist you in identifying performance problems so you can address them before they impact your users.Enable Auto-Scaling
You may activate auto-scaling with AWS Lightsail, which dynamically modifies your instance’s capacity depending on your application’s use. You can maintain stable performance and save expenditures by doing this.Review Your Logs
You can access and may review your instance’s logs using AWS Lightsail. This helps you in locating faults and troubleshoot issues with your application.Use Monitoring Tools
You may monitor your AWS Lightsail instances using several third-party monitoring solutions, including Datadog, New Relic, and AppDynamics.Conclusion
You must see the history of your AWS Lightsail instances to monitor the performance of your applications, spot patterns, and adhere to legal and regulatory obligations. You may quickly check the history of your models and learn insightful things about how you use the cloud by following the instructions in this article. AWS Lightsail is a robust and reasonably priced cloud solution that may assist you in swiftly deploying and managing your applications, regardless of your level of expertise with the cloud. You can ensure that your apps function effectively and satisfy the demands of your users by using the monitoring techniques and resources described in this article.
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