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Tech watch:$168,000 headphones to go on display

Have you ever wondered how much is a pair of the world's most expensive headphones?

The Focal Utopia by Tournaire, which costs a whopping US$120,000 (S$168,000), is the answer.

It will be on display at CanJam Global, the world's premier headphone audio expo, which returns to Singapore for this year's edition.

The event will also feature other high-end headphones, such as the Sennheiser HE 1 (US$55,000) and the HIFIMAN Shangri-La (US$50,000).

It will be held from March 11 to 12 at the Pan Pacific Singapore hotel.

Google to make online talk less toxic 

Alphabet's Google and subsidiary Jigsaw launched on Thursday a new technology to help news organisations and online platforms identify abusive comments on their websites.

Called Perspective, it will review comments and score them based on how similar they are to comments people said were "toxic" or likely to make them leave a conversation.

It has been tested on the New York Times, and the companies hope to extend it to other news organisations, such as The Guardian and The Economist, as well as websites.

Perspective examined hundreds of thousands of comments that had been labelled as offensive by human reviewers to learn how to spot potentially abusive language.

Jigsaw product manager CJ Adams said the company is open to rolling out the technology to all platforms, without specifying whether that included larger ones such as Facebook and Twitter, where trolling can be a major headache. - REUTERS

New iPhone able to map your face: Report 


Rumours about new iPhones normally centre on the screen or processing chips.

But a new report from 9to5Mac highlighted something that could be a little controversial for Apple's next iPhone - a camera that can map your face.

Apple may be considering a camera designed for authentication and augmented reality for its next high-end iPhone, according to a research note from Apple analyst Kuo Ming-chi of KGI Securities.

With a better sense of depth, the camera can tell how far away something is from the lens.

It could even generate something like a 3D selfie, 9to5Mac reported.

Adding such a camera seems to be a natural next step for Apple, as it already organises iPhone photos based on the subjects it recognises in the images, reported The Washington Post.

Experts said Apple's reported plan to use a depth-sensing camera for the feature addresses issues of people tricking facial recognition scans.

"You can get much more accurate readings. There are things that can mess with visual sensors. This sees through make-up to tissue," said Mr Chester Wisniewski of security firm Sophos.

He added that this type of camera will not be easily fooled - even a 3D-printed model of a face should not trick it.

Nintendo Switch increases game line-up 


The Nintendo Switch is just a week away from hitting the shelves in stores, and Nintendo has upped the hype by announcing three new games to the line-up of titles that will be available on March 3.

They are Shin'en Multimedia's Fast RMX racing competition and two Shovel Knight titles from Yacht Club Games - Specter Of Torment and Treasure Trove, reported CNet.

Fast RMX is exclusive to the Switch, while the other two are exclusive for a limited time.

The other titles slated to be available include Zelda, 1-2-Switch (28 minigames), Super Bomberman R, Just Dance 2017, Skylanders Imaginators and I Am Setsuna.

Nintendo also made announcements about the Switch eShop, including the news that Virtual Console games will not yet be available, and that users will have to perform a system update on launch day to access the store.

YouTube to ditch long unskippable ads

Good news for those who get irked by YouTube's unskippable 30-second advertisements that play before your video.

Google confirmed the plan to scrap such advertisements from next year to BBC's Newsround programme, adding that it wants to focus on "formats that work well for both users and advertisers".

Long unskippable adverts are seen as a nuisance by many viewers, and Google has introduced shorter formats.

One media agency told the BBC that the move reflected the difference between online video and linear television services.

"The 30-second ad is a legacy from TV times," said Mr Will Smyth, head of media at the Agenda21 agency.

"This will encourage advertisers to be more creative about the way they use the platform."