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New Study Finds That People Interpret Emojis Differently

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Emojis like smiley faces, thumbs up icons, and random fruits and vegetables often replace words in digital conversations. But instead of making conversing easier, emojis cause a lot of miscommunication, in part because not everyone interprets their meaning in the same way, according to a new study shared by The Verge.

For the study [PDF], researchers of GroupLens Research at the University of Minnesota surveyed online participants and asked them to rate the sentiment of 22 of the most popular human-looking emojis. A score of -5 meant that the emoji was very negative, while a score of 5 meant that it was very positive.

They found that though some emojis look completely different from one operating system to the next, that wasn't the only distinction that led to different interpretations among participants. The same emoji was read more positively on some platforms (Samsung, Google, LG, etc.) than others (Apple) because of the change in design. However, even when participants were shown emojis within the same operating systems, there were a range of interpretations. For instance, some saw the "grinning" Apple emoji as positive, while other saw it as negative.

GroupLens Research at the University of Minnesota

"We found that for 9 of our 22 emoji, the average difference in emotion rating between two platforms was greater than 2 points on our -5-to-5 scale," Hannah Miller of the GroupLens research lab wrote.

Miller added that some emojis not only represented different emotions, but meant completely different concepts to different people. One example: the emoji that shows two raised hands. "When seeing this Apple emoji rendering, participants used words like 'stop' and 'clap,' whereas they described the Google version of the same emoji character with words like 'praise' and 'hand,'" Miller said.

So, how can we make communication with emojis more effective? The researchers offered up possible solutions, including alerting users that their emoji may appear differently on a different platform and standardizing emojis across platforms. Still, that would only fix half of the problem. They acknowledge that users could still have different translations of the same image.

So the next time someone sends you a grinning face or praise hands, you may want to consider what you know about the sender before jumping to conclusions.

[h/t The Verge]

Images via GroupLens Research at the University of Minnesota

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Cinera
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This VR Headset Promises a Movie-Viewing Experience That Rivals Theaters
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Cinera

Movies in 2017 are typically viewed one of two ways: on a big screen in the theater or from the comfort of your home. A new VR headset called Cinera claims to combine the best of both experiences. As Mashable reports, the device, currently seeking support on Kickstarter, lets viewers enjoy theater-quality home entertainment without so much as lifting their heads, let alone a finger.

Unlike other VR headsets on the market, Cinera is designed primarily for watching movies and TV shows rather than playing video games. Inside there are two screens—one for each eye—which create a 3D, IMAX-like effect. According to the product’s Kickstarter page, the picture resolution is eight times that of an iPhone and three times that of a professional theater screen. And because Cinera is all about enjoying theater-quality media in the comfort of a home setting, it includes one vital feature most VR headsets don’t have: an adjustable arm that holds up the hardware so your head doesn’t have to.

With less than a week to go in the campaign, Cinera has already surpassed its $50,000 funding goal at least five times over. Cinephiles looking for a different type of VR experience can reserve their headset for a pledge of $450 with shipments set to go out in November.

[h/t Mashable]

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Here's Why Your Phone Battery Can Explode
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When you hear about exploding batteries, what comes to mind? If you're like most, you think of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, the disastrous Samsung device that was recalled last October (and subsequently banned from airlines) after a string of reports indicated it was catching fire.

While Samsung might be the latest—and certainly, most public—example, it is far from the first. This phenomenon in which a battery spontaneously explodes is called thermal runaway, and it has been plaguing the consumer market for as long as lithium-ion batteries have been around.

There are a few reasons for thermal runaway: overcharging, overheating, physical damage, and, as is often the case, faulty manufacturing. (The Samsung Galaxy explosions were caused by overheating and faulty manufacturing by two separate battery suppliers.)

So, one lithium-ion battery factory explosion and several third-degree burn victims later, why haven't we figured out a safer way to engineer these smart devices? Well, in short: A solution is well underway. A group of researchers are currently troubleshooting a battery they believe to be noncombustible, longer-lasting, and capable of holding three times more energy.

To learn more on the chemistry behind this phenomenon, watch the video below from Reactions:

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