Google Cloud’s Enhanced Interactive Docs Earn Editors Choice Award for DX

There are many facets that go into the leading API portals and ProgrammableWeb has created a series of articles that help you understand what best practices are being used by real-world API providers. The series was kicked off with a comprehensive checklist of the criteria needed to build a world-class API developer portal. Subsequent Editors Choice articles including this one will provide a more in-depth look at how individual providers have executed on the various criteria.

Google recently announced a feature update to its Google Cloud Storage documentation; placeholder variables that can be replaced within the code samples. This new feature lets a developer replace a placeholder variable within a code sample with their own custom variable. 

Figure 1 Placeholder variables allow you to use custom parameters in the code sample

This feature allows a developer to use parameters specific to their own instance thereby giving them a better understanding of how well the API will meet their needs. It takes the idea of interactive samples one step further by allowing for nearly bespoke code samples.

Another neat feature can be seen when a documentation page has multiple code samples that each have the same placeholder variable.

Figure 2 Changing the placeholder variable once, will change the variable for all instances across multiples samples on a page

As you can see in the image above, if you change the variable in one place, it will be replaced anywhere else it appears on the page, including within other code samples. Not only is this a time saver, it ensures consistency for developers when they run the samples.

Google’s use of placeholder variables is a forward step that helps make its documentation more relevant and easier to understand for anyone new to its APIs. For this reason, Google has earned a ProgrammableWeb Editor’s Choice award for Developer Experience.

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Author: <a href="">wsantos</a>


How to Create High-performance, Scalable Content Websites Using MACH Technologies

Websites are easy to build these days. There is an abundance of tools available that let you create websites in minutes. However, building websites that are fast, scalable, and flexible that deliver superior performance is a lot more complex than creating a simple website. This is especially true when developing content-heavy websites, such as a news site, knowledge-base platform, online magazine, communities, and so on.

In general, content-heavy websites are likely to have hundreds or even thousands of pages, with new content added every day. They may also attract high traffic as they act as a body of knowledge hosting not just text content but also other media resources such as research reports, interactive maps, videos, images, calculators for consumers, or other dynamic tools. Consequently, they require a structure that supports quick publishing and accommodates frequent changes in content models and functionalities. 

It requires meticulous planning, a well-planned architecture, and modern technologies to develop and maintain a massive website and ensure that it delivers super-fast performance for every interaction with its visitors. 

Adopting a MACH approach is one of the effective ways to implement this. MACH stands for microservices, API-first, cloud-native, and headless technologies. It promotes having an architecture where most components are scalable and pluggable, enabling continuous improvement and easy replacement of modules without impacting the performance of others. 

This article shows how you can harness the power of different MACH and serverless technologies to develop and maintain a high-performance content-heavy website.

Use APIs for Content Management, Content Delivery, and to Connect to Other Apps 

With the advent of new IoT technologies, companies now have more ways and channels to connect and engage with customers. However, the underlying technology needs to be robust and flexible enough to support the channels of today and tomorrow.

Content on most devices today can be powered by APIs. Therefore it makes sense to use an API-based headless content management system that provides content as a service. Such CMSs are backend-only, front-end-agnostic platforms, so you can attach any frontend to it and deliver content through APIs. They give developers full control over how the content needs to be presented and allow integration with third-party apps. 

Integrate Pluggable Apps With Microservices Architecture 

A microservices architecture is a modern, complex approach that brings together loosely coupled, independently deployable applications, making your application modular and agile. With this approach, it becomes easier to build, test, and deploy features or parts of your application. 

Each service in such a setup has an API to communicate with the rest and has its own database, making it truly decoupled. This separation ensures that changes or issues with one service don’t impact another, and can be replaced immediately without downtime. 

This approach works well for a content-heavy website. It complements the cloud or serverless setup by enabling different teams to innovate rapidly, have greater control over the technologies, manage release cycles, and eventually cut down the time to market. 

Fortunately, due to rapid evolution in the SaaS space, all the services you need for a content site have API-based alternatives that can quickly form your application’s foundation. 

Let’s look at some of the apps that you can seamlessly integrate with your applications:

Optimize Content Delivery With CDN Caching 

Your website server exists at one physical location. Content needs to travel the distance to be delivered at another location. The farther the requester, the longer it takes to deliver the content. For instance, if your web server is in New Jersey, visitors in San Francisco will get the content faster than the visitors in Sydney, Australia. 

To avoid this lag and make your content delivery blazing fast, consider using a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN has a lot of network servers scattered across the globe. These servers save cached copies of your website content and act as distributors for visitors requesting content from nearby locations. For instance, visitors from Sydney will get the content from a nearby server (e.g., Melbourne) instead of New Jersey. 

For a large, content-heavy website, having a CDN is highly recommended. It eases the load on the server, reduces latency, and cuts the wait time for your visitors considerably. It also helps to protect your site against Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, which have the potential to bring your site down.

Go With Serverless Infrastructure for Quick Scaling and Easy Management 

While a microservices architecture is much more flexible and scalable than a traditional or monolithic one, an app built using the former approach is no good if it uses a legacy infrastructure that is unable to scale efficiently. 

It makes much more business sense to move to serverless computing, where the cloud provider handles the infrastructure concerns, server space, scalability, etc. The provider is responsible for provisioning, scaling, and managing the infrastructure as needed, where you purchase backend service on a “pay-as-you-go” model. 

This serverless approach ensures that your developers can focus more on writing code and developing features for the application, and worry less about the underlying infrastructure or scalability. Such a model can help you cope with demand spikes of your content-heavy website and ensure high performance.

Choose Scalable Presentation or Frontend Tools

If you adopt MACH technologies for your website, you are most likely to use a headless content management system (CMS) to manage the content and deliver it to your web application via APIs. Using a headless CMS, the frontend (presentation layer) is separate from the CMS backend, making it possible to choose any front-end technology that suits your needs. 

When making this choice, it’s important to remember that your frontend needs to be flexible, scalable, and fast, to accommodate the future requirements that the rapid evolution in technology is likely to bring. 

Another viable option is adopting a JAMstack architecture. It’s a modern way of building websites that are fast, secure, and quickly scalable. Some of the popular JAMstack frameworks are Gatsby, Next.js, and Gridsome.

In conclusion 

By adopting a MACH and serverless architecture, each component of your website has a clearly-defined task, enabling better performance as a whole. The pluggable design allows you to replace components as the technology evolves, thereby future-proofing applications. And finally, the serverless infrastructure provides all the scalability and security you need for your application. With such a solid foundation, a content-heavy website of any scale can deliver peak performance.

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Author: <a href="">MishraMayank</a>


Painless paper patch test for glucose levels uses microneedles

Patches seem to be all the rage these days. There are birth control patches, nicotine patches, and transdermal medicinal patches, just to name a few. Now, a team of researchers led by Beomjoon Kim at the Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo have developed a patch of needles connected to a paper sensor for diagnosing conditions such as prediabetes. Luckily, this patch doesn’t multiply the pain and discomfort of a single hypodermic needle. In fact, these microneedles are painless and biodegradable.

Researchers have been trying to develop a practical way to use microneedles — tiny needles less than 1 mm in length — for routine do-it-yourself medical monitoring. Microneedles are so short that they stay within the skin and do not make contact with any neurons, meaning that they cause no pain. Rather than extracting blood, they draw up fluid in the skin that contains most of the important biomarkers that blood tests look for. Several types of microneedles exist, but until now, making a practical device that quickly analyzes the fluid has proved elusive. “We have overcome this problem by developing a way to combine porous microneedles with paper-based sensors,” says Kim. “The result is low-cost, disposable, and does not require any additional instruments.”

To make the patch, the researchers first made the microneedles by pouring a melted mixture of a biodegradable polymer and salt into the cone-shaped cavities of a micro-mold while applying heat. Then they flipped the mold and needles upside down and placed them on top of a piece of paper, this time applying high pressure from above. The high pressure forced the mixture into the pores of the paper, securing the attachment and allowing fluid drawn through the needles to pass effortlessly into the paper. After removal from the mold, the needles were cooled in a solution that sucked out all the salt, leaving behind thousands of holes, or pores, which are what the fluid flows through on its way to the paper. The salt concentration was a key factor they needed to optimize, testing several concentrations of salt to determine how porous the microneedles should be. To finish the patch, they used double-sided tape to attach a paper glucose sensor onto the paper base of the needle array.

The team tested the patch on an agarose gel in which glucose had been dissolved. Fluid from the gel flowed from the gel into the porous microneedles, and from there into the paper and the sensor layer. The glucose concentration was accurately recorded as color changes in the paper.

The patches are disposable, biodegradable, and using them does not require any medical expertise or training. They are also biocompatible, meaning that there is no problem if any remain in the skin when the patch is removed.

“Of course, prediabetes testing is just one application of the technology,” says first author Hakjae Lee. “The paper-based sensor can vary depending on the biomarker you wish to monitor.”

After this success, the next step will be to test the practicality of the device with human participants and to develop configurations for monitoring other substances, and in turn, determining the presence of other conditions.

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Materials provided by Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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New machine learning-assisted method rapidly classifies quantum sources

For quantum optical technologies to become more practical, there is a need for large-scale integration of quantum photonic circuits on chips.

This integration calls for scaling up key building blocks of these circuits — sources of particles of light — produced by single quantum optical emitters.

Purdue University engineers created a new machine learning-assisted method that could make quantum photonic circuit development more efficient by rapidly preselecting these solid-state quantum emitters.

The work is published in the journal Advanced Quantum Technologies.

Researchers around the world have been exploring different ways to fabricate identical quantum sources by “transplanting” nanostructures containing single quantum optical emitters into conventional photonic chips.

“With the growing interest in scalable realization and rapid prototyping of quantum devices that utilize large emitter arrays, high-speed, robust preselection of suitable emitters becomes necessary,” said Alexandra Boltasseva, Purdue’s Ron and Dotty Garvin Tonjes Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Quantum emitters produce light with unique, non-classical properties that can be used in many quantum information protocols.

The challenge is that interfacing most solid-state quantum emitters with existing scalable photonic platforms requires complex integration techniques. Before integrating, engineers need to first identify bright emitters that produce single photons rapidly, on-demand and with a specific optical frequency.

Emitter preselection based on “single-photon purity” — which is the ability to produce only one photon at a time — typically takes several minutes for each emitter. Thousands of emitters may need to be analyzed before finding a high-quality candidate suitable for quantum chip integration.

To speed up screening based on single-photon purity, Purdue researchers trained a machine to recognize promising patterns in single-photon emission within a split second.

According to the researchers, rapidly finding the purest single-photon emitters within a set of thousands would be a key step toward practical and scalable assembly of large quantum photonic circuits.

“Given a photon purity standard that emitters must meet, we have taught a machine to classify single-photon emitters as sufficiently or insufficiently ‘pure’ with 95% accuracy, based on minimal data acquired within only one second,” said Zhaxylyk Kudyshev, a Purdue postdoctoral researcher.

The researchers found that the conventional photon purity measurement method used for the same task took 100 times longer to reach the same level of accuracy.

“The machine learning approach is such a versatile and efficient technique because it is capable of extracting the information from the dataset that the fitting procedure usually ignores,” Boltasseva said.

The researchers believe that their approach has the potential to dramatically advance most quantum optical measurements that can be formulated as binary or multiclass classification problems.

“Our technique could, for example, speed up super-resolution microscopy methods built on higher-order correlation measurements that are currently limited by long image acquisition times,” Kudyshev said.

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Materials provided by Purdue University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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Betrayal or cooperation? Analytical investigation of behavior drivers

When looking at humanity from a macroscopic perspective, there are numerous examples of people cooperating to form societies, countries, religions, and other groupings.

Yet at the basic two-person level, people tend to betray each other, as found in social dilemma games like the prisoner’s dilemma, even though people would receive a better payoff if they cooperated among themselves.

The topic of cooperation and how and when people start trusting one another has been studied by various researchers who have addressed this problem numerically. In a paper in Chaos, by AIP Publishing, researchers investigate what drives cooperation analytically.

In order to investigate what happens when an infinite number of people, instead of two people, play a game like the prisoner’s dilemma, the researchers mapped the two-player game to a two-spin ID Ising model, which is a 1D line of interacting spins in the presence of an external magnetic field.

Spins can either point clockwise, which is up, or counterclockwise, which is down. The net difference between the fraction of spins pointing up to those pointing down provides the analytic result for the magnetization.

“Game magnetization is an excellent measure of how in the overall scheme of things the total number of players respond to different payoffs,” said Colin Benjamin, one of the authors. “In our work, we go beyond game magnetization and look at game susceptibility, too.”

An analytical result for susceptibility probes the net change in the fraction of players adopting a certain strategy for both classic and quantum social dilemmas and pinpoints the real drivers of cooperative behavior, which can vary given the situation.

The findings in this research can be applied to analytical solutions to numerous other social dilemma games, such as rock-paper-scissors, Battle of the Sexes, or Stag Hunt. The mapping to ID Ising model can help understand cooperative behavior in many other social dilemmas as well.

“One future area to explore is that of recent COVID-19 infection dynamics,” said Benjamin. “A lot of numerical work has been done to explore COVID-19 infection dynamics using tools of evolutionary game theory. An analytical model, however, is lacking.”

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Materials provided by American Institute of Physics. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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How dangerous are burning electric cars?

There’ s a loud bang, and then it starts: A battery module of an electric car is on fire in the Hagerbach test tunnel. A video of the test impressively shows the energy stored in such batteries: Meter-long flames hiss through the room and produce enormous amounts of thick, black soot. The visibility in the previously brightly lit tunnel section quickly approaches zero. After a few minutes, the battery module is completely burnt out. Ash and soot have spread throughout the room.

Crucial information for multi-storey and underground car parks

The trial, which was funded by the Swiss Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) and in which several Empa researchers participated, took place in December 2019. The results have just been published. “In our experiment we were considering in particular private and public operators of small and large underground or multi-story car parks,” says project leader Lars Derek Mellert of Amstein + Walthert Progress AG. “All these existing underground structures are being used to an increasing extent by electric cars. And the operators ask themselves: What to do if such a car catches fire? What are the health risks for my employees? What effects does such a fire have on the operation of my plant?” But until now there has been hardly any meaningful technical literature, let alone practical experience for such a case.

With the support of battery researcher Marcel Held and corrosion specialist Martin Tuchschmid from Empa, Mellert developed three test scenarios. Experts from the Hagerbach AG test tunnel and the French Centre d’études des tunnels (CETU) in Bron were also involved. “We installed test surfaces in the fire tunnel on which the soot settled,” explains Martin Tuchschmid, corrosion and fire damage specialist at Empa. “After the test, the surfaces were chemically analyzed and also stored in special rooms for several months to detect possible corrosion damage.”

Scenario 1: Fire in an enclosed space

The first scenario involves a fire in a closed car park without mechanical ventilation. A parking space of 28 x 28 meters area and 2.5 meters floor height was assumed. Such a floor would have an air volume of 2000 cubic meters. The fire of a small car with a fully charged battery of 32 kWh is assumed. For reasons of test economy everything was scaled down to 1/8. Thus, a fully charged battery module with 4 kWh capacity was set on fire in a room with 250 cubic meters of air volume. The tests investigated how the soot settles on tunnel walls, surfaces and on protective suits worn by firefighters on site, how toxic the residues are and by what means the fire site can be cleaned after the event.

Scenario 2: Fire in a room with sprinkler system

Scenario 2 deals with chemical residues in the extinguishing water. The test set-up was the same as in scenario 1. But this time, the smoke from the battery was channeled with the aid of a metal plate beneath a water shower that resembled a sprinkler system. The sooty water that rained down was collected in a basin. The battery was not extinguished, but burned out completely.

Scenario 3: Fire in a tunnel with ventilation

In this scenario, the focus of the study lay on the effect of such a fire on a ventilation system. How far is the soot distributed in the exhaust ducts? Do substances that would cause corrosion settle there? In the experiment, a 4 kWh battery module was again set on fire, but this time a fan blew the smoke at a constant speed into a 160-meter-long ventilation tunnel. At a distance of 50, 100 and 150 meters from the site of the fire, the researchers had installed metal sheets in the tunnel where the soot would settle. The chemical composition of the soot and possible corrosion effects were analyzed in the Empa laboratories.

The results of the test were published in a final report in August 2020. Project leader Mellert reassures: In terms of heat development a burning electric car is not more hazardous than a burning car with a conventional drive. “The pollutants emitted by a burning vehicle have always been dangerous and possibly fatal,” says the final report. Regardless of the type of drive or energy storage system, the primary objective has to be to get everyone out of the danger zone as quickly as possible. The highly corrosive, toxic hydrofluoric acid has often been discussed as a particular danger in burning batteries. In the three tests in the Hagerbach tunnel, however, the concentrations remained below critical levels.

Conclusion: A tunnel ventilation system that is state-of-the-art can cope not only with burning gasoline/diesel cars, but also with electric cars. Increased corrosion damage to the ventilation system or the tunnel equipment is also unlikely based on the results now available.

Even the fire brigades do not have to learn anything new on the basis of the tests. Firefighters know that the battery of an electric car is impossible to extinguish and that it can only be cooled with large amounts of water. So the fire can possibly be limited to a few battery cells, and part of the battery will not burn out. Of course, such a partially burnt wreck must be stored in a water basin or a special container so that it cannot reignite. But this is already known to the specialists and is being practiced.

The extinguishing water is poisonous

A problem, however, is the extinguishing and cooling water that is produced when fighting such a fire and storing a burnt-out battery in a water basin. The analyses showed that the chemical contamination of the extinguishing water exceeds the Swiss threshold values for industrial wastewater by a factor of 70; the cooling water is even up to 100-times above threshold values. It is important that this highly contaminated water does not enter the sewage system without proper treatment.

Professional decontamination mandatory

After the trials, the tunnel was decontaminated by a professional fire clean-up team. Samples taken subsequently confirmed that the methods and time required were sufficient for the clean-up after an electric car fire. But Mellert warns especially private owners of underground garages: “Do not try to clean up the soot and dirt yourself. The soot contains large amounts of cobalt oxide, nickel oxide and manganese oxide. These heavy metals cause severe allergic reactions on unprotected skin.” So clean-up after an electric car fire is definitely a job for professionals in protective suits.

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One step closer to bomb-sniffing cyborg locusts

If you want to enhance a locust to be used as a bomb-sniffing bug, there are a few technical challenges that need solving before sending it into the field.

Is there some way to direct the locust — to tell it where to go to do its sniffing? And because the locusts can’t speak (yet), is there a way to read the brain of these cyborg bugs to know what they’re smelling?

For that matter, can locusts even smell explosives?

Yes and yes to the first two questions. Previous research from Washington University in St. Louis has demonstrated both the ability to control the locusts and the ability to read their brains, so to speak, to discern what it is they are smelling. And now, thanks to new research from the McKelvey School of Engineering, the third question has been settled.

The answer, again: ‘yes.’

In a pre-proof published online Aug. 6 in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics: X, researchers showed how they were able to hijack a locust’s olfactory system to both detect and discriminate between different explosive scents — all within a few hundred milliseconds of exposure.

They were also able to optimize a previously developed biorobotic sensing system that could detect the locusts’ firing neurons and convey that information in a way that told researchers about the smells the locusts were sensing.

“We didn’t know if they’d be able to smell or pinpoint the explosives because they don’t have any meaningful ecological significance,” said Barani Raman, professor of biomedical engineering. “It was possible that they didn’t care about any of the cues that were meaningful to us in this particular case.”

Previous work in Raman’s lab led to the discovery that the locust olfactory system could be decoded as an ‘or-of-ands’ logical operation. This allowed researchers to determine what a locust was smelling in different contexts.

With this knowledge, the researchers were able to look for similar patterns when they exposed locusts to vapors from TNT, DNT, RDX, PETN and ammonium nitrate — a chemically diverse set of explosives. “Most surprisingly,” Raman said, “we could clearly see the neurons responded differently to TNT and DNT, as well as these other explosive chemical vapors.”

With that crucial piece of data, Raman said, “We were ready to get to work. We were optimized.”

Now they knew that the locusts could detect and discriminate between different explosives, but in order to seek out a bomb, a locust would have to know from which direction the odor emanated. Enter the “odor box and locust mobile.”

“You know when you’re close to the coffee shop, the coffee smell is stronger, and when you’re farther away, you smell it less? That’s what we were looking at,” Raman said. The explosive vapors were injected via a hole in the box where the locust sat in a tiny vehicle. As the locust was driven around and sniffed different concentrations of vapors, researchers studied its odor-related brain activity.

The signals in the bugs’ brains reflected those differences in vapor concentration.

The next step was to optimize the system for transmitting the locusts’ brain activity. The team, which included Shantanu Chakrabartty, the Clifford W. Murphy Professor in the Preston M. Green Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering, and Srikanth Singamaneni, the Lilyan & E. Lisle Hughes Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, focused the breadth of their expertise on the tiny locust.

In order to do the least harm to the locusts, and to keep them stable in order to accurately record their neural activity, the team came up with a new surgical procedure to attach electrodes that didn’t hinder the locusts’ movement. With their new instrumentation in place, the neuronal activity of a locust exposed to an explosive smell was resolved into a discernible odor-specific pattern within 500 milliseconds.

“Now we can implant the electrodes, seal the locust and transport them to mobile environments,” Raman said. One day, that environment might be one in which Homeland Security is searching for explosives.

The idea isn’t as strange as it might first sound, Raman said.

“This is not that different from in the old days, when coal miners used canaries,” he said. “People use pigs for finding truffles. It’s a similar approach — using a biological organism — this is just a bit more sophisticated.”

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12 Top Marine APIs

Earth’s oceans are vast and deep, so it makes sense there are plenty of ideas for marine-related applications. Developers who want to create an application using data about oceans or ocean related topics need Marine APIs to accomplish their task.

What is a Marine API?

A Marine API, or Application Programmaing Interface, provides a way for developers to programmatically interact with ocean-related data and software.

The best place to find these APIs is in the Marine category of the ProgrammableWeb API directory. This category contains a wide variety of APIs including services for locating and routing ships, predicting ocean weather, tracking ocean tides, surveying fish, fishing, and diving spots, sonar imaging, tracking rising sea levels, preventing ocean pollution, getting shark alerts, mapping the seas, getting scientific oceanography data, buying and selling boats and yachts, and viewing maritime museum collections.

In this article, we detail the 12 most popular Marine APIs, based on ProgrammableWeb web page visits.

1. World Tides API

The WorldTime APITrack this API returns the local time for a given time zone in either JSON or plain text format. This API can also return information on whether a time zone is currently in Daylight Savings Time (DST), when DST starts and ends, and the UTC offset.

2. Storm Glass API

The Storm Glass APITrack this API gives developers access to global marine weather data from multiple sources using a single REST API. This Weather API returns marine forecasts for the next 7 days in hourly resolution. Forecasts include swell height, swell direction, swell period, wave height, wave direction, wave period, wind speed, wind direction, and air temperature.

Storm Glass API provides coherent data from multiple marine weather institutes. Screenshot: Storm Glass

3. Fishbase API

rOpenSci is a non-profit that advocates for sharing of scientific data. The Fishbase APITrack this API returns fish data provided by rOpenSci. With this API, developers can implement data about fish ecology, ecosystems, fecundity, food items, maturity, population growth, reproduction, species, and swimming. The REST API uses backend SQL and it queries data in JSON format.

4. Whale Hotline API

The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, WA, provides the Whale Hotline APITrack this API to allow developers to access public sighting reports of marine mammals. The Hotline receives thousands of sightings every year. Sightings and data can be filtered by species, orca type, orca pod, date and time, and location.

5. FishWatch API

The FishWatch APITrack this API provides access to information on seafood sustainability. For a given fish species, the FishWatch API can return information on population, fishing rate, habitat impacts, bycatch, availability, source, taste, texture, and more. This service and its content are provided by NOAA Fisheries to help spread information about the science behind U.S. sustainable seafood.

6. Marine Traffic API

MarineTraffic provides data on millions of daily vessel positions, which users may integrate with their applications or websites using the RESTful APITrack this API. Users can also get the most recent arrivals and departures for a given port or vessel, all of a vessel’s AIS positions, or a popular photo of a vessel to display in their app.


Marine Traffic provides global ship tracking intelligence services and API. Screenshot: Marine Traffic

7. Searoutes API

The Searoutes APITrack this API returns sea route and other data about marine vessels. Sea routes are computed based on historical voyages of vessels, gathered from both satellite and terrestrial data. Also get tides, ocean currents, winds and waves in current or historical data with this API. The Searoutes search service is currently composed of a reverse geocoding functionality. V2 of this API also includes methods to calculate CO2 emissions from real routes and vessel characteristics. V2 is currently in Beta. See v1 for recommended version.

8. Boats Group API

Boats Group is a recreational marine industry service that operates Boat Trader, YachtWorld,, Cosas De Barcos, and YachtCloser. The Boats Group Inventory APITrack this API provides detailed boating and boat sales related information. This interface supports methods to perform searches, and access resources in several standard units of length and currencies.

9. Marine/Surfing Weather API

The Marine/Surfing Weather APITrack this API from World Weather Online allows developers and programmers to access today’s live marine and sailing weather forecast. Data includes high and low tides, swell height, wave height, swell period, tide data, sea temperature, heat index temperature, wind direction and much more.

10. Divesites API

The Divesites APITrack this API returns database information for scuba divers including location, weather, latitude & longitude, map, and tide stations. The API supports POST and GET methods, JSON and AJAX formats. Divesites API determines the location using Geo IP location and return sites in a radius from that point.

11. Magic Seaweed Forecast API

Magic Seaweed provides global surf forecasting and news services. The Magic Seaweed Forecast APITrack this API allows access to core marine weather data such as swell, wind, surf condition, and charts for developers and surfers.

12. CORDC Nautical Charts API

The Coastal Observing Research and Development Center Nautical Charts (CORDC) APITrack this API displays NOAA Nautical Charts within Google Maps API v. 3. The Nautical Charts API provides map layering capabilities and gives developers access to the data. Functionality allows developers to manipulate map layering and access any geographical information they may need. The API is guided towards scientific research and oceanic mapping innovation this service is provided with a Javascript SDK by University of California at San Diego.

Head over to the Marine category for 50 more APIs, plus SDKs, Source Code Samples, and other developer resources.

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Author: <a href="">joyc</a>


Novel magnetic stirrer speaks to lab equipment

A current problem for a wide range of chemists is when stirring a solution in the laboratory there is a need to check the properties of the solution and monitor how they change.

In the paper, ‘Monitoring chemistry in situ with the Smart Stirrer — a magnetic stirrer bar with an integrated process monitoring system’ published in the journal ACS Sensors, researchers from the School of Engineering, the Mathematics Institute and WMG at the University of Warwick present their innovative stirrer sensor.

The small device, called “Smart Stirrer,” performed a function of a conventional laboratory stir bar, has an integrated microprocessor and various sensors capable of wireless and autonomous report the conversion of properties of a solution. The advanced sensor stir bar is a capsule shaped magnet encased in plastic.

A beaker filled with a solution is placed on a platform that generates a rotating magnetic field, when the magnetic stirrer is placed in the solution it continuously rotates stirring the liquid.

The Smart Stirrer then monitors:

    – Colour

    – Transparency

    – Conductivity

    – Viscosity

    – Temperature

Results are sent to a computer over Bluetooth, and any changes notify the user wirelessly. Although the idea of using magnetic stir bar with integrated sensors may not be entirely new, this new affordable, multi-sensor and easy programmable stirrer sensor device is first in its kind.

The concept is valuable to Research and Design laboratories and pharmaceutical and chemistry manufacturing industries because it allows wireless monitoring of several parameters of a chemical reaction simultaneously

Dr Dmitry Isakov, from WMG at the University who led the study comments:

“We are still continuing research into the stirrer, the next revision of the stirrer sensor that will be smaller size and with a bit more sophisticated sensors. We are collaborating with several chemists from Warwick University. This will help us to understand their needs and help to improve the device.

“The beauty of the Smart Stirrer is that it can be used everywhere, such as a sealed vessels thus minimising the contamination of the reactor. It may give a push to new discoveries as well. It is easy to integrate the stirrer into the labware family and make it “speak” to other lab equipment.”

Samuel Baldwin, from the Mathematics institute at the University of Warwick worked on the smart stirrer during his WMG summer internship, he comments:

“I have found every stage of development of the Smart Stirrer to be very fulfilling, from circuit design, to manufacturing to finally programming. We have leveraged state-of-the-art technology to build a device with very low power consumption, a broad range of sensor capabilities, and high data-throughput over the Bluetooth Low Energy platform.

“The laboratory of the future is that of automation, reproducibility and safety; our all-in-one Smart Stirrer device eliminates the need for a vast array of individual wired sensors whilst maintaining the control and customisability that one would expect from any piece of advanced laboratory equipment. I look forward to seeing the Smart Stirrer solve laboratory problems and help us understand complex reactions.”

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Materials provided by University of Warwick. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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‘SoundWear’ a heads-up sound augmentation gadget helps expand children’s play experience

In this digital era, there has been growing concern that children spend most of their playtime watching TV, playing computer games, and staring at mobile phones with ‘head-down’ posture even outdoors.

To counter such concerns, KAIST researchers designed a wearable bracelet using sound augmentation to leverage play benefits by employing digital technology. The research team also investigated how sound influences children’s play experiences according to their physical, social, and imaginative aspects.

Playing is a large part of enjoyable and rewarding lives, especially for children. Previously, a large part of children’s playtime used to take place outdoors, and playing outdoors has long been praised for playing an essential role in providing opportunities to perform physical activity, improve social skills, and boost imaginative thinking.

Motivated by these concerns, a KAIST research team led by Professor Woohun Lee and his researcher Jiwoo Hong from the Department of Industrial Design made use of sound augmentation, which is beneficial for motivating playful experiences by facilitating imagination and enhancing social awareness with its ambient and omnidirectional characteristics.

Despite the beneficial characteristics of sound augmentation, only a few studies have explored sound interaction as a technology to augment outdoor play due to its abstractness when conveying information in an open space outdoors. There is also a lack of empirical evidence regarding its effect on children’s play experiences.

Professor Lee’s team designed and implemented an original bracelet-type wearable device called SoundWear. This device uses non-speech sound as a core digital feature for children to broaden their imaginations and improvise their outdoor games.

Children equipped with SoundWear were allowed to explore multiple sounds (i.e., everyday and instrumental sounds) on SoundPalette, pick a desired sound, generate the sound with a swinging movement, and transfer the sound between multiple devices for their outdoor play.

Both the quantitative and qualitative results of a user study indicated that augmenting playtime with everyday sounds triggered children’s imagination and resulted in distinct play behaviors, whereas instrumental sounds were transparently integrated with existing outdoor games while fully preserving play benefits in physical, social, and imaginative ways.

The team also found that the gestural interaction of SoundWear and the free sound choice on SoundPalette helped children to gain a sense of achievement and ownership toward sound. This led children to be physically and socially active while playing.

PhD candidate Hong said, “Our work can encourage the discussion on using digital technology that entails sound augmentation and gestural interactions for understanding and cultivating creative improvisations, social pretenses, and ownership of digital materials in digitally augmented play experiences.”

Professor Lee also envisioned that the findings being helpful to parents and educators saying, “I hope the verified effect of digital technology on children’s play informs parents and educators to help them make more informed decisions and incorporate the playful and creative usage of new media, such as mobile phones and smart toys, for young children.”

This research titled “SoundWear: Effect of Non-speech Sound Augmentation on the Outdoor Play Experience of Children” was presented at DIS 2020 (the ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems) taking place virtually in Eindhoven, Netherlands, from July 6 to 20. This work received an Honorable Mention Award for being in the top 5% of all the submissions to the conference.

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