Explainer: Contact tracing and how Apple and Google will make it work

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COVID-19
Electron microscope image of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Photo: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Apple and Google revealed Friday that they’re teaming up to take on one of the most colossal tasks in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19: contact tracing.

If you’re like me, you probably hadn’t heard about contact tracing until the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it’s proven to be an important tool in countries that have seen a drop in their reported cases of the coronavirus.

With a little background, here are the basics of contact tracing and what you need to know.

Apple and Google team up to build COVID-19 contact tracing apps

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Apple and Google join forces using Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Apple and Google join forces using Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Photo: Apple/Google

In a rare moment of collaboration, Apple and Google said Friday they have teamed up to create a contact-tracing program that uses smartphones to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The privacy-focused solution created by the companies will use anonymous Bluetooth “chirps” from phones as a way to tell where an infected person has been and who they’ve come in contact with.

Unseen Steve Jobs interview shares business secrets

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Jobs
Who wouldn't want Steve as their instructor?
Photo: Deliberate Think

Who wouldn’t have wanted Steve Jobs to have visited their university class for a casual Q&A with the students? That’s what folks at MIT were lucky enough to experience in 1992.

Running NeXT at the time, Jobs stopped by to drop some wisdom on everything from his thoughts on leaving Apple to the state of computing to his thoughts on the right way to run a company. Excerpts from the discussion recently landed on YouTube. Check them out below.

See Tim Cook deliver inspiring MIT commencement speech

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Apple CEO Tim Cook before giving the 2017 MIT Commencement Speech.
Apple CEO Tim Cook before giving the 2017 MIT Commencement Speech.
Photo: TIME

Apple CEO Tim Cook warned MIT’s graduating class of the dangers society faces as a result of rapidly advancing technology during his commencement speech this morning.

Cook challenged the 2017 graduates to measure their impact on humanity on the lives they touch, rather than the likes you get on social media.

Tim Cook will drop his wisdom on MIT grads next June

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Tim Cook
This will be Cook's third time as a university commencement speaker.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Steve Jobs gave one of the most memorable commencement speeches in living memory, and it seems that Tim Cook is set to take on the same challenge when he delivers the address at MIT’s 2017 graduation event next June.

“Mr. Cook’s brilliance as a business leader, his genuineness as a human being, and his passion for issues that matter to our community make his voice one that I know will resonate deeply with our graduates,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif said. “I am delighted that he will join us for commencement and eagerly await his charge to the class of 2017.”

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Education is easy with EDX's learning platform.
Education is easy with EDX's learning platform.
Photo: EDX

Apple hires Google X Lab co-founder to work on health projects

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Apple's latest hire specialized at building robotic hands.
Apple's latest hire specialized at building robotic hands.
Photo: University of Washington/Flickr

Apple has added yet another wicked smart talent to its ranks recently by hiring famed robotics expert Yoky Matsuoka.

Yoky was working as the head of technology at Nest before joining Apple. She was also one of the co-founders of Google’s X Lab and is a MacArthur genius award winner.

MIT: Apple is smarter than Snapchat, dumber than Google

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Tim Cook commencement
S-M-R-T.
Photo: George Washington University

Tesla Motors is the smartest company in the world, according to MIT Tech Review’s latest survey of the brainiest corporations. Apple, which was not on last year’s list returns at number 16, beating out other firms like ride-sharing company Uber and smartbulb-maker Philips. MIT cites the newly released Apple Watch and touchless payment method Apple Pay as its reasons for inclusion, saying that these two products “set the pace for competitors.”

You can see the full list of smartiespants in the table below.

This robot leaps hurdles like a Terminator horse

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Heading
Sarah Connor won't get away so easily next time.
Photo: MIT

Okay, so it’s not really Apple news, but — honestly — who could complain about a robot cheetah on a Friday afternoon?

Given Google’s disappointing lack of killer robots at its oddly boring I/O keynote yesterday, MIT has fortunately stepped up to the plate by unleashing a new video of its metallic quadruped autonomously leaping hurdles like some kind of horse Terminator.

Check out the video below. Then start running.