| |1. US Congress Gets Involved In Hearthstone Player’s Suspension, Asks Blizzard To Reconsider03:57[−]
As you might have heard, Blizzard has come under massive fire recently for their decision to suspend a Hearthstone professional player for a year. This was because the player, Ng Wai Chung, also known as blitzchung, decided to show his support for the Hong Kong protests during his post-game interview.
Now it looks like the issue has escalated to the point where it looks like US Congress is getting involved. In a letter written to Blizzard’s CEO Bobby Kotick by U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), the Senators are asking for Blizzard to reconsider the suspension of Ng.
The letter reads in part, “Your company claims to stand by ‘one’s right to express individual thoughts and opinions,’ yet many of your own employees believe that Activision Blizzard’s decision to punish Mr. Chung runs counter to those values. Because your company is such a pillar of the gaming industry, your disappointing decision could have a chilling effect on gamers who seek to use their platform to promote human rights and basic freedoms.”
|↑|2. 16-inch MacBook Pro Might Have Been Confirmed In macOS Catalina Beta03:56[−]
It has been rumored for a while that Apple could be working on a new 16-inch MacBook Pro. Whether or not that is true remains to be seen, but it’s starting to look like it could. This is according to French Apple website, MacGeneration, where they have uncovered images in the macOS Catalina 10.15.1 beta that hints at the laptop.
One of those images (see above) shows a laptop that looks very much like the 15-inch MacBook Pro. However, the file name does mention the number “16” in it, which has led to speculation that this could indeed be the rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro. We have heard rumors that the design of the laptop could look remarkably similar to the 15-inch MacBook Pro, except with thinner bezels.
This will result in a laptop that will be similar in size to the 15-inch MacBook Pro, but yet manage to sport a larger display. Also, when compared side-by-side to the image that Apple uses for the 15-inch MacBook Pro, the differences are a lot more noticeable. As to when the laptop will be announced, it was previously rumored that it could come this year with a new keyboard design, but recent reports are suggesting that maybe it could come in 2020 instead.
|↑|3. Luna Display Challenges Apple’s Sidecar With New Mac-To-Mac Mode03:55[−]
With the new updates to Apple’s macOS operating system, the company introduced a new feature called Sidecar. In case you’re unfamiliar, this is a new native feature that allows macOS users to use their iPads as a secondary display, so if you needed a second display in a pinch, this feature will let you do just that.
The concept of a Mac doubling as a separate display isn’t new, and Luna Display has actually been offering that feature for a while now. It might seem like the company’s software could be rendered obsolete with Sidecar, but they are actually stepping up their game with the introduction of a new Mac-to-Mac mode.
Basically, what this new feature does is that it allows users to turn an existing Mac computer into a secondary display. According to Luna Display, “Our all-new Mac-to-Mac Mode allows you to use any Mac as a second display. Finally, you can give purpose to your old Macs lying around! No need to have any idle devices. The combinations are nearly endless.”
|↑|4. AirPods Pro To Arrive End Of October With $260 Price TagПт., 18 окт.[−]
For a while now we have heard the rumors that Apple could be working on a new set of AirPods that could feature active noise cancellation. Then within the iOS 13.2 beta, it looked like the rumors were confirmed when a new set of AirPods icons were spotted, hinting at the device’s impending launch.
Now according to a report from China Economic Daily, it seems that the new AirPods could be launching soon. The report claims that the new devices will be known as the AirPods Pro, which seems to be in line with Apple’s new naming scheme where they are giving their products the “Pro” moniker.
The report also corroborates the claims that it will feature noise canceling, and it also hints that it could be more expensive as it might come priced at $260. For context, the current-gen AirPods are priced at $159, or $199 if you wanted the version with a wireless charging case. At $260, it represents a $100 jump and we’re not sure if Apple might be pricing themselves out of the market.
|↑|5. ‘Immature’ Tech Is Why The Google Pixel 4 Doesn’t Have 5GПт., 18 окт.[−]
It was rumored that Google could be looking to launch a 5G Pixel smartphone this year, but when the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL were announced, there was no mention of 5G at all. This has led to some to wonder about Google adopting the technology, and it turns out, Google has a pretty good reason.
Speaking to PCMag, Google’s VP of product management, Brian Rakowski, was quoted as saying, “It will get there, but now is not the right time to buy a 5G phone. Both from a deployment perspective—the coverage is not broadly available in enough places for enough users to benefit from it—[and] from a hardware and phone perspective—it’s still power hungry [and] immature.”
However, this doesn’t mean that Google won’t adopt it. Rakowski adds, “There’s work to be done there. We’re tracking it closely and we’ll bring a phone out when we feel like it’s a good time for users, but now’s not the time.” This seems to be similar to what Apple is doing as well, where the company has held off on launching 5G iPhones for now, although we heard that it could come in 2020.
|↑|6. Four 5G iPhones Could Be Coming In 2020Пт., 18 окт.[−]
Apple skipped 5G on its iPhones this year and we can’t say we blame them. The tech is still relatively new and Apple is usually one to prefer using tried and tested technology (it took the company a while to adopt 4G as well). However, come 2020, Apple is expected to finally embrace 5G technology.
This was previously predicted by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who suggested that Apple could launch up to three 5G iPhones in 2020, but now according to Wedbush Securities analyst, Dan Ives, he is suggesting that Apple might launch as many as four 5G iPhones in 2020. We’re not sure what the fourth iPhone could be, so it seems strange that he is predicting that number.
2020 is expected to bring the successor to this year’s iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max. It is also rumored to see Apple launch the iPhone SE 2, but given that the iPhone SE 2 is said to be a budget handset, we’re not sure if the company would be bothered to introduce 5G in it, or maybe they will in an attempt to make it more appealing to customers.
|↑|7. Photoshop For iPad Still Launching In 2019, But Might Have Some Missing FeaturesПт., 18 окт.[−]
Last year, it was reported that Adobe would be creating a “real” and full version of Photoshop designed for Apple’s iPad. The app was supposed to be launched this year, but given that we’re almost at the end of the year and the app is nowhere in sight, it’s safe to say that our confidence is not particularly high.
However, according to a report from Bloomberg, it seems that the app is still being targeted for a launch in 2019, although the bad news is that in order to meet their 2019 deadline, there is a good chance that not all of the features of the app will be shipped at launch. This is according to a small group of beta testers who found that several core features in the app are not present in the beta.
This includes filters, the pen tool, custom brushes, RAW editing, and so on. Of course, from now until the release there is a chance that Adobe could have those features ready, but maybe we shouldn’t hold our breaths just yet. Adobe Creative Cloud chief product officer Scott Belsky has since confirmed that there will be some features missing at launch, but reassured users that those features will be added in over time.
|↑|8. Loophole Gives iPhone Users Free Unlimited Original Quality Google Photos StorageПт., 18 окт.[−]
Google Photos offer users two storage options: a free unlimited tier that is capped at a certain resolution/file size, and another tier that lets you store photos in its original resolution above a certain resolution, but that is limited and you will need to pay if you want additional storage. However, it seems that there is a loophole that gives iPhone users the second storage option for free.
In a discovery made by Redditor u/stephenvsawyer, it seems that there is a loophole which gives iPhone users free unlimited original quality photo storage on Google Photos. According to the post, it seems that this seems to stem from how Apple shoots photos on the iPhone, where it uses the HEIC format and not JPG.
“With all modern iPhones shooting photos in HEIC format, which is smaller than even Googles compressed JPG files, iPhones therefore get free unlimited ORIGINAL quality backups simply because it would cost Google both storage space (because if Google tried to compress iPhones HEIC photos they would actually become larger) and computing power (because Google doesn’t need to compress and process all of the billions of photos iPhones backup.)”
|↑|9. Google’s Pixel 3 XL Trade-In Value Is Pretty DisappointingПт., 18 окт.[−]
Thinking of getting Google’s new Pixel 4 smartphones by trading in your older Pixel phone for it? If you are, then you might want to consider trading in with another company besides Google. This is because according to reports, it appears that Google is giving pretty disappointing trade-in values for older Pixel phones.
For example, the max value that Google is offering for a Pixel 3 XL is $295. This is versus Samsung who is more than happy to offer up to $450 if you’re trading it in for the Galaxy Note 10. The difference of $150 is a pretty big one especially if you’re trying to save yourself some money.
Now, it is possible that maybe Google’s inspections might be a bit more lax than Samsung, but we wouldn’t really know. It is unclear why Google is offering older Pixel phone owners such low value on their own brand of phones, but it is disappointing where some users are feeling a tad insulted by those prices.
|↑|10. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare Will Replace Loot Boxes With A Battle Pass SystemПт., 18 окт.[−]
Loot boxes are a controversial game feature that has been around for a while now. The idea is that you can pay money for a loot box and the items in it will be randomized, so you might not necessarily get what you want. This has drawn the ire of lawmakers, where some feel that it might be considered a form of gambling.
Now, with Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, last we heard, the developers behind the game said that they would not be introducing loot boxes to the game, and now in a post on Activision’s website, it has been revealed that they will instead be opting for a battle pass system.
According to the post, “The new Battle Pass system will allow players to see the content that they are earning or buying. Battle Passes will launch timed to new, post-launch live seasons, so you can unlock cool new Modern Warfare-themed content that matches each season.” Basically, unlike loot boxes where it is up to luck, you know what you’ll be getting before you buy it.
|↑|11. iOS 13 Reportedly Installed On More Than 50% Of iPhonesПт., 18 окт.[−]
One of the benefits of owning an iOS device is that updates are usually prompt. This means that when Apple releases an update, all their devices get it at the same time. This is versus Android where unless you own a Pixel phone, there is a good chance you will only get the latest version of Android a few months after its release.
This is why it doesn’t really come as a surprise to learn that following the release of iOS 13, it appears that more than half of iPhones out there are already running on the latest version of the software. To be more specific, it seems that 55% of iPhones that were launched in the past four years are now powered by iOS 13, but if we were to cover all compatible iPhones, it would still be at a somewhat respectable rate of 50%.
|↑|12. Bose Is Making House Calls To Fix The QC35 II’s Noise Cancellation ProblemПт., 18 окт.[−]
When it comes to noise canceling headphones, Bose is a company that is widely regarded as one of the best in the industry. The company’s Quiet Comfort series of headphones is pretty popular amongst travellers who might be able to appreciate the noise cancellation that it affords them, especially during public commutes or while on a plane.
However, it seems that in a recent firmware update, Bose might have accidentally done something to the noise cancellation feature on the QC35 II headphones, where users are complaining that it doesn’t seem to be quite as effective anymore. Apparently, sounds that used to be eliminated by the headphones is no longer being cancelled out.
This has also led to customers downgrading the firmware, which Bose promptly blocked due to security concerns. This has resulted in Bose actually making house calls and visiting their customers to get to the bottom of the issue. According to Bose, “Coordinating these visits is no small task, as the process between initial contact and the first visit can be extensive. We are still trying to coordinate more visits and have been responding to survey participants, usually within 24 hours of completion.”
|↑|13. PG&E Should Try This ALPS Drone For Fully Automated Power Grid InspectionsПт., 18 окт.[−]
ALPS, known for its in-car electronics components has put together a Done system that can autonomously inspect powerline infrastructure.
The drone has highly precise and sensitive sensors, including a Lidar, which is a laser-based radar that provides 3D awareness of what’s around the drone. As an upgrade, ALPS is working on adapting an RF (radio-frequency) positioning system that has a 30cm (11-inch) precision instead of the normal 16 feet precision of civilian GPS systems.
Power companies like PG&E have tested drone inspections since 2016, and it would typically be used for difficult terrain where it is dangerous and time-consuming (expensive) for human personnel to go. An inspection requires a drone pilot and a supporting team.
But what if all of this could be automated further, to the point that routine inspections could be done very regularly without much setup and human intervention?
ALPS proposes to automatically create flight plans along the powerline, which makes a lot of sense since the powerline positioning isn’t likely to change anytime soon. Once the rough path is set, the drone’s Lidar and autopilot can deal with local obstacles, thanks to collision detection and other automated features that are increasingly incorporated in drones.
After the automatic take-off (and landing), the drone transmits real-time video and flight data, and a human operator can take over at any time, if there’s something of interest that would justify a deviation from the scheduled flight. Operators have a map view, but also a live “pilot” view from the drone’s camera.
The demo drone had a camera mount with a Sony 4K camera (you can change it), that can capture a video feed far superior in quality to consumer-level drones, which makes it possible to spot small damage during video recording that can be analyzed automatically by an artificial intelligence algorithm (AI) tailored to this industry. In this instance, the AI is provided by Toshiba Digital Solutions Corporation.
The flight plan creation software is extremely complex and is at the core of the expected productivity gains. It also takes into account local drone flight regulations that could be changed and dispatched to all users as changes happen.
Traditionally, power utilities have done this type of inspections by having robots travel along powerlines. Sometimes these robots are equipped with Lidar sensors as well. However, there are drawbacks to using such robots hanging from powerlines. First, the robot can induce some cable sagging, which slightly changes the condition of the powerline. Secondly, if the powerline is down, the robot can no longer do its job.
Flying drones are much better since they are completely independent of the powerline, and they can fly to a different vantage point. Finally, they can come and go without having humans suspend them to the cable to start with.
As human intervention diminishes, it is possible to inspect more, more often and at a lower price, to focus the personnel effort on actually fixing the infrastructure, rather than searching for problems to solve, thus better utilizing the limited resources available.
|↑|14. NEC Flying Car Puts Drone Air Traffic Control To The TestПт., 18 окт.[−]
It was a bit surprising to see a company like NEC prominently featuring a car-size drone on its CEATEC 2019 booth, so we stopped by to check things up.
And no, NEC isn’t going to jump in the drone transportation market, at least, not by producing drones. This prototype is built to test a drone Air Traffic Control System developed by NEC.
This is one piece of a larger government-led effort to have passenger drone flights by the year 2030. Japan, like many other places, is looking at drone evolution with attention, seeing the potential benefits to move part of the transportation and delivery system to new urban aerial routes. Using the latest technologies in every aspect of life is part of Japan’s Society 5.0 vision.
To have an orderly launch and transition, systems and infrastructures must be built and tested now, and this NEC “Flying Car” will be a real-world test for large drones.
Smaller drones are now a well-known factor with concrete planning and regulations. We don’t yet know what issues may arise from transporting people in large drones.
In western countries, we know NEC for its consumer and enterprise electronics. However, the company has a history of building infrastructure systems in Japan and other places in Asia, so this is not a new venture, but the extension of a long history in traffic control systems.
|↑|15. What’s New In Samsung One UI for Android 10 (Beta)?Пт., 18 окт.[−]
Recently, Samsung announced the One UI beta program for the Galaxy S10 series in the U.S. Even though only selected customers will be able to get their hands-on, it will be a major ‘One UI’ update on top of the new Android 10.
In this article, we tell you how to register for the beta program and what’s new with Android 10 for Samsung Galaxy S10 devices.
How To Register For The Beta Program?
You need to have a Samsung account (create one if you don’t have). Once done, you will have to access the “Samsung Members” app to opt-in for the beta program.
Do note that it will be limited to a few users to start with (U.S Customers for now). There’s no official word about the beta program for other countries or devices. If there’s an update, we will make sure to let you know.
What’s New In Android 10 beta (Samsung One UI)?
Of course, you should expect all the same core Android 10 features. In addition to that, Samsung’s improved One UI experience has introduce or tweaked a couple of things in the beta update.
As per the official announcement, these are some key important changes, here they are:
Enhanced Streamline Design
To polish the user interface and make it cleaner to look at, the new Samsung One UI features a streamlined design. Here the notification boxes take up less space in your screen which makes it less distracting.
For instance, the caller notification and volume bar are minimized as you can see in the images above.
Enhanced Dark Mode
With Android 10, Samsung’s S10 devices will be able to take advantage of a full-blown dark mode experience which is an improvement over what was available before.
This also extends to the homescreen by adding a dark overlay on the wallpaper to make the dark theme experience seamless.
Improved Layout & Edge Lighting
A new smart layout has been introduced with Samsung’s One UI 2.0 (based on Android 10). It involves the use of some animated icons and improved edge lighting to provide a better experience viewing the screen of the device.
Smart Lock screen Adjusts The Color & Format of the Clock
The lock screen automatically adjusts the color and the format of the lock (and notifications) which lets you see the texts and icons clearly depending on the lockscreen wallpaper.
A New Focus Mode To Pause Apps
You get to finally utilize the Digital Wellbeing features with some enhancements in the new Samsung One UI upgrade.
The new focus mode lets you pause apps temporarily.
An organized way to get all the essential functions in one place and review them to make sure you’re making the most out of your smartphone.
The full roll-out should happen in the coming months (not too soon). So, if you are eligible for the update, you can try it out and give your feedback to help improve the experience.
|↑|16. Samsung Galaxy S10 Can Be Unlocked By Any FingerprintЧт., 17 окт.[−]
Just like every other smartphone (ranging from cheap $200 Android devices to the premium Pixel devices), Samsung’s Galaxy S10 should unlock when using the fingerprint unlock.
Yes, that is obvious. However, what would you do if it unlocks the device even if the fingerprint does not match? Well, that is scary if you have important documents stored.
And, that is what happens with the new Galaxy S10. Samsung has a track record to take security seriously, but this time it looks like they have something important to patch.
With the help of some reports, they found out that if you are using a screen protector on your device, anyone can bypass your fingerprint unlock.
The flaw lets anyone with a different fingerprint unlock the device given that the smartphone has a screen protector installed. If you do not have a screen protector, you are safe.
We are not sure of the exact technical details now – however, it is applicable to the devices with screen protectors.
It is definitely a weird and annoying issue for users with a screen protector (almost everyone uses a screen protector nowadays).
Samsung has responded to the issue with a statement by promising a patch for it early next week.
For now, Samsung recommends users to remove their silicone front screen protectors and delete their fingerprints to add it again.
After you get the critical update, you will be able to use the screen protectors without any issues.
This is definitely a concerning issue for Samsung Galaxy S10 users.
Have you tried the vulnerability on your phone? Do you use a screen protector? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
|↑|17. ‘Snaptube’ Caught Serving Invisible Ads & Making Unauthorized PurchasesЧт., 17 окт.[−]
While there are malicious apps on the Play Store, you should stay away from sideloading apps from 3rd party sources by downloading the APK files.
Of course, you must be knowing about the risks when you install an app from an unknown source.
However, there are certain popular apps which people still rely on (even if they are not available on the Play Store). One of the examples for that is – “ Snaptube“, which helps you to download music/video onto your Android device.
Tech Crunch reports that a security firm has found evidence against Snaptube to generate fake ad clicks and make unauthorized purchases from its active users.
In case you did not know, the app has seen more than a billion times of download and almost 40 million active users.
Techniques like background clicks (to make unwanted purchases) and silent ads that utilize your mobile data/power to help Snaptube to generate ad revenue.
However, the company failed to acknowledge the problem – so they passed on the issues and blamed it on a third-party software development kit.
Whatever be the case, there was definitely a fraudulent activity going on with Snaptube either way.
So, this tells us that we should totally avoid 3rd party apps as well that require sideloading. What’s your take on it?
|↑|18. Nanoleaf Introduces ‘Screen Mirror’ Feature For An Aesthetic ExperienceЧт., 17 окт.[−]
Nanoleaf is unquestionably one of the most popular companies to provide smart home lighting solutions.
They offer are expensive add-ons to add an immersive lighting experience to your desk setup or the entertainment room.
For obvious reasons, the products are considered to be premium lighting equipment for studios (or for personal usage).
Now, it has introduced a new feature for its products. With the new feature – “ Screen Mirror” – it will technically react to your screen activity with the Nanoleaf Panels and Nanoleaf Canvas.
In other words, it will match the theme of your screen and everything that goes on your screen. It may be annoying for some but if you are someone who appreciates the feature, it should be a fantastic experience to have.
Here’s the official video to get an idea:
You will be needing the latest version of Nanoleaf’s desktop app (which is available for Mac and Windows) to be able to enable the ‘Screen Mirror’ feature.
In addition to the feature, you will also notice that it works for most of the supported activities and apps – except Netflix. You can try a range of activities (playing a game, listening to music, opening different apps, and so on.)
You can be sure only when you try it out personally – but nevertheless, you can utilize it for most of the common activities that you would do on your Mac or Windows system.
|↑|19. How To Disable Optimized Battery Charging On iPhoneЧт., 17 окт.[−]
With every iOS update, Apple tries to include new features and changes to the operating system that they believe will lead to better energy savings, faster performance, greater efficiency, and so on. However, one of the changes in iOS 13 is a new feature called Optimized Battery Charging.
According to Apple, “iOS 13 uses Optimized Battery Charging to slow the rate of battery aging by reducing the time that your iPhone spends fully charged. Your iPhone uses on-device machine learning to understand your daily charging routine so that it can wait until you need to use your iPhone to finish charging past 80 percent.”
While this is a good thing for those who have regular charging schedules, this might not be an issue, but for those who have erratic charging schedules, then this could pose a problem in which you might be better of disabling the feature.
How To Turn Off Optimized Battery Charging In iOS 13
- Go to Settings
- Go to Battery
- Tap Battery Health
- Tap the Optimized Battery Charging toggle to turn it off
- Repeat the steps above if you’d like to turn it back on
The reason for the feature is due to the iPhone’s battery controversy, where Apple was found to be throttling the performance of iPhones due to aging batteries. This was done because due to batteries no longer performing at peak efficiency, in some instances, it could result in iPhones rebooting or shutting down at random.
|↑|20. This Guitar Was Made Entirely Out Of iPhonesЧт., 17 окт.[−]
Like most instruments, guitars are typically made using wood. This is because of the natural acoustic properties of wood that makes it a better material when it comes to musical instruments. However, this does not mean that other materials can’t be used, which is what Art Mayer did with this guitar he created called the iCaster.
Why the name? This is because this is a guitar shaped like a Telecaster guitar but has been made entirely out of iPhones, or to be exact, 107 iPhones, hence the name. You can watch the video above to get an idea of how it was all put together, but basically, the thickness of the guitar’s made was made from about four iPhones that were all glued together before it was smoothed out.
He then added a mahogany sustain block, added a Tele-style bridge, a pair of single-coil guitar pickups, and before you knew it, he had a fully functional electric guitar in his hands. While it might sound normal to an untrained ear, according to Mayer, “Surprisingly, iPhones really give a lot of high frequencies, despite the fact that the sustain block of the guitar is made of mahogany.”
|↑|21. Restaurant In India Rolls Out Robots That Can Take Orders And Serve CustomersЧт., 17 окт.[−]
Image credit – ANI News
The idea that one day robots could eventually replace certain jobs isn’t exactly a new one. In fact, over in New Delhi, India, it seems that some jobs are already on the verge of being replaced where what could be a first in India, a restaurant has rolled out a pair of robots named Champa and Chameli who will be capable of taking orders and serving customers.
The owner of the restaurant, Basa, claims that while robots in restaurants in India aren’t exactly new, he says that his robots are the first of their kind. This is apparently due to the fact that these robots can roam around freely, while at the same time they are also made in India, unlike other robots that are typically imported from China.
According to Basa, “Though there are several restaurants in India where robots are serving customers, Robo Chef is probably the first restaurant where there is no special track for them. They can move on in any uniform surface.” He adds, “The robots have 17 kinds of sensors that sense the environment, heat, even smoke, identify persons, greet and welcome people.”
|↑|22. Master & Dynamic Announces New MW07 GO And MW07 PLUS EarphonesЧт., 17 окт.[−]
The problem with a lot of true wireless earbuds is that due to their size, they don’t usually come with the best sound. However, if there is one company that seemed to defy those odds it would be Master & Dynamic, whose MW07 earbuds have been rated as some of the best-sounding wireless earbuds money can buy at the moment.
If you are interested in these earphones, then you might actually be interested to learn that Master & Dynamic have since taken the wraps off two more models in the MW07 lineup. This comes in the form of the MW07 GO and the MW07 PLUS.
Starting with the MW07 GO, these earphones were designed for active users in mind. The company claims that they have designed them to be smaller and lighter, making them easier for users to wear them while at the gym. They also feature an IPX6 rating which means that they should be able to withstand a bit of sweat and water. They are also cheaper at $199.
|↑|23. Olympus ORBEYE Neurosurgery Camera, Powered Sony Camera SensorsЧт., 17 окт.[−]
At CEATEC 2019, we spotted the Olympus ORBEYE, a powerful medical camera that is powered by Sony Camera sensors, some of them small enough to fit in our phones.
Many people don’t realize that today’s best mobile camera phones are nearly always powered by at least one Sony camera sensor. We look at this extensively because we have our Camera IQ mobile camera benchmark.
The ORBEYE brings 4K and 3D imaging to surgical teams that perform extremely precise and difficult brain and spine surgeries. The camera is probably one of the greatest advances in neurosurgery since the invention of the surgical microscope.
Some details are so small, and the operating areas are so packed with tissues and veins that any mistake can have dire consequences. The camera is connected to a large monitor and shows to the whole medical team the same view as the surgeon.
Sharing a common view increases awareness and let other members chime in and provide advice if necessary. If the session is recorded, it may also bring invaluable educational value.
The camera is mounted on a multi-axis arm so that the camera can be oriented in any direction. The low-profile mounting platform is designed to require a minimal amount of space and can be placed out of the way, to let tools to be passed around.
A high-powered zoom shows the most minute details, but the camera can do far more than that. Equipped with Infrared, blue light, and narrow-band imaging, the camera can highlight veins and different types of tissues to help doctors operate with higher accuracy. It can even help distinguish between tumors and healthy tissues to minimize the damage done during surgery.
|↑|24. Oki Cockpit Concept For Robot Fleet SupervisionЧт., 17 окт.[−]
Oki Japan was demonstrating this eye-catching cockpit at CEATEC 2019, and it goes a bit against the grain because it is supposed to let humans help robots.
The industry is trying to move fast towards a world where robots are fully autonomous and don’t require human intervention. While this may happen at some point, the reality is that we’re not quite there yet, and it’s not obvious when we will eventually get there.
Oki takes a pragmatic view and proposes a cockpit from which human operators can “jump in” and assist robots that encounter situations they cannot deal with. In this particular demo, the robot encounters a crying child in a park, and can report it, but not much more. A human operator then takes over and communicates remotely with the child.
The technology to do this is already out there, although probably not as fancy looking. After all, this kind of cockpit can remind you of the ones used to operate military drones, which already are semi-autonomous. However, Oki seems to think that robots will need human supervisors for a long while. That’s in line with Japan’s Society 5.0 vision that we published about.
Conceptually, it is still very valuable to deploy dozens or hundreds of robots or drones that cover a lot of ground and have few human operators taking over when the situation requires it.
Robots such as the one shown in the Oki demo remind me of the Knightscope security robots that have been deployed in our home area: the Silicon Valley.
They have been confined to private property surveillance because, despite all the artificial intelligence available, it’s really hard to make them operate 100% safe to do simple things such as patrolling around without bumping into kids or pets, for example.
|↑|25. Kyocera Micro-LED Display Is Amazingly BrightЧт., 17 окт.[−]
At CEATEC 2019, we had a good look at the Kyocera / Glo next-gen micro-LED display technology in the form of a 1.8-inch display (0.7mm thick) that reaches an amazing 3000 NITs brightness, according to the company.
For context, the best smartphone OLED displays can top ~1400 (iPhone 11 Pro) to ~1500 NITs (Galaxy Note 10+). Smartwatches have much lower brightness levels. Higher brightness is extremely useful to make screens more readable outdoors in direct sunlight.
At the moment, Kyocera’s Micro-LED displays are prototypes, and it is not clear when they might enter production and hit the market. However, the company says that its technology can scale to ~10-inch screens.
Several companies are working on Micro-LED technology, including Sony and Sharp. Of course, Samsung introduced micro-LED in fanfare and has demonstrated several large-scale TVs and commercial displays, including “The Wall.”
Small and large micro-LED screens run into different problems during development. For small displays, it is difficult to achieve a high pixel density because the technology is relatively young, and the miniaturization process is still underway. For large displays, the pixel boundaries are sometimes visible, giving a mosquito screen effect.
Kyocera’s 1.8-inch has 200 PPI of density, which is more than most 1080p laptops, but still half of what the best smartphone OLED displays can achieve. Older PC monitors had a 75 PPI definition, so 200 PPI is most definitely very usable as-is.
Micro-LED is currently the main technology that could challenge OLED in the future. Like OLED, it is self-emitting, which means that each pixel produces its light, resulting in perfect black. Micro-LED is, by nature, brighter and more resilient to long-term usage than OLED.
However, the color quality of Micro-LED screens we’ve seen isn’t quite where it should be to compete with OLED technology. It’s great to see more competition in this field because it will ensure that Micro-LED displays will get to market faster and at a more affordable price.
|↑|26. Religion Gets Hi-Tech With These Smart Rosary BeadsЧт., 17 окт.[−]
The world around us is getting more hi-tech by the day, so why wouldn’t religion attempt to follow suit as well? If you thought that maybe religion could do with some hi-tech upgrades, you might be interested to learn that the Catholic Church has announced a device by the name of the Click to Pray eRosary.
This is a smart rosary where your prayers can be tracked by an app accompanying your smartphone through the device. It activates itself when the user makes the sign of the cross. According to the press release, “When activated, the user has the possibility to choose either to pray the standard rosary, a contemplative Rosary and different kinds of thematic rosaries that will be updated every year. Once the prayer begins, the smart rosary shows the user’s progression throughout the different mysteries and keeps track of each rosary completed.”
In addition to being able to help users pray, it also seems to double up as a fitness tracker of sorts, where it can track your steps, calories, and distance traveled, and so on. For those looking for guidance on how to pray, the accompanying app will also provide music, narration, images, and also personalized content.
This eRosary isn’t the first time we’ve seen religion attempt to go hi-tech. In the past, we’ve seen how over in China, WeChat can be used to purchase spiritual services. Last year, the Church of England also adopted mobile payments where Apple Pay and Google Pay could be used to make donations.
|↑|27. It Looks Like Google’s Daydream VR Experiment Is OverЧт., 17 окт.[−]
For a while now, it felt like Google was taking the lead on virtual reality (VR) on mobile with its Daydream platform, where the company attempted to create a unified platform of sorts amidst a bunch of other companies all trying to create their own VR devices. However, it seems that Google’s experiment with Daydream has finally come to an end.
During Google’s presentation a couple of days ago when they announced their Pixel smartphones and other products, what was missing was any mention of Daydream. Now in a statement made to VentureBeat, Google has confirmed that they will be essentially winding things down on the Daydream front.
The statement reads, “We saw a lot of potential in smartphone VR — being able to use the smartphone you carry with you everywhere to power an immersive on-the-go experience. But over time we noticed some clear limitations constraining smartphone VR from being a viable long-term solution. Most notably, asking people to put their phone in a headset and lose access to the apps they use throughout the day causes immense friction.”
The company adds, “There also hasn’t been the broad consumer or developer adoption we had hoped, and we’ve seen decreasing usage over time of the Daydream View headset. So while we are no longer selling Daydream View or supporting Daydream on Pixel 4, the Daydream app and store will remain available for existing users.”
|↑|28. Google’s AI Clips Camera Has Been DiscontinuedЧт., 17 окт.[−]
A couple of years ago, Google launched Clips. For those who are unfamiliar, Clips is a digital camera that relies on AI to help users capture the “best” moments. Basically, it involved users leaving the camera somewhere and hope that its AI is smart enough to capture pivotal moments, like during a birthday, a family gathering, and so on.
It was an interesting experiment, but perhaps it did not exactly fly off the shelves at the rate that Google had hoped, which could have led to it being discontinued. It has been reported that the Clips camera is no longer available via Google’s online store and we’re not talking about it no longer being in stock, but rather it has been removed from the store entirely.
Google has yet to confirm anything so there is always a chance that this could have been made in error, but if it really has been discontinued, we can’t say we’re too surprised. This is because due to ongoing privacy concerns, we’re sure that many aren’t too thrilled about placing a camera in their home that is continuously recording.
|↑|29. Woman Reported To HR By French Colleagues For Sending Emails After 8pmЧт., 17 окт.[−]
Did you know that over in France, it is considered to be illegal to send emails to employees after working hours and on the weekend? The idea behind this is that it is meant to help promote a work-life balance, where it will give people a break from work and concentrate on their family, friends, and hobbies, without having to feel obligated to respond to emails from your boss or colleagues.
Unfortunately for 44-year old former Singaporean actress, Sharon Au, who has retired from show business and is working in Paris, France for the past year, it seems that she might not have gotten the memo. During a recent interview with Singapore Chinese radio station, 96.3 FM, Au shared some of her experiences of working in Paris.
One of those experiences involved her being reported to her company’s HR department twice for sending emails to her colleagues after official working hours. The first time saw HR gently remind Au about communication outside of official working hours, and while you might think that the second time would be harsher, it was actually the opposite.
|↑|30. Volvo’s XC40 Recharge Is The Company’s First Full-Electric VehicleЧт., 17 окт.[−]
Electric vehicles are expected to be the way of the future as the world tries to cut down on its carbon emissions and turn to sustainable forms of energy. We’ve seen companies such as Tesla fully commit to the creation of electric cars, and it looks like Volvo has tossed their hat into the ring with their first full-electric vehicle, the XC40 Recharge.
To be clear, Volvo isn’t giving up on fuel-powered vehicles, but rather the company is expanding on its portfolio with the full-electric XC40 Recharge. If you’re wondering why this looks familiar, it is because in terms of design, it is similar to its gas-powered counterpart, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
There is no official range on the XC40 Recharge yet, but according to Volvo, they are estimating that it will be capable of offering 200 miles of mixed driving in between charges. It also supports fast-charging in which it can charge from 0 to 80% in 40 minutes. Volvo also claims that it can put out 402 horsepower, and a 0 to 60 time of 4.7 seconds.