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Topics - fahad.faisal

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If you've been curious as to what Instagram might look like on an e-paper screen and happen to live in Japan, the Kyocera Card Keitai KY-01L might be of interest. It's a companion device that's supposed to be a sidekick to a beefier mobile phone. The KY-01L is really small -- not too much larger than a credit card. It's about 9 centimeters tall, 5 centimeters wide, 5 millimeters thick and weights in at a miniscule 47 grams. It has a standby time of 100 hours and a continuous talk time of 110 minutes.

Kyocera's announcement comes the same week of Palm's re-entrance into the US mobile space with its own companion device. But it should be noted that these types of tiny phone accessories are not completely uncommon in Japan.

The device itself can do basic phone tasks, like make calls, send messages, and has VoLTE and WiFi to browse the web, if you really want to try that on an e-paper display. While it doesn't have a camera, it does have Bluetooth and is water resistant at an IPX 2 rating, which can protect it from a few drops of water (but not a drop in the toilet).

he KY-01L is expected to launch in Japan sometime next month for 32,000 yen, or $280.

Source: NTT Docomo

Samsung might not let the LG V40's abundance of cameras go unchallenged. Leaks from Evan Blass (aka Evleaks) and AllAboutSamsung have detailed the Galaxy A9 Star Pro, a mid-tier phone that would tout no less than four rear cameras. It would start with a 24-megapixel f/1.7 main camera, but you'd also get aa 10MP f/2.4 telephoto camera for 2X zoom, an 8MP f/2.4 wide-angle camera and, finally, a 5MP f/2.2 depth camera. It's a bit ridiculous, but it also makes phones like the V40 and Huawei's P20 Pro feel slightly inadequate -- even if they don't always need a dedicated depth sensor.

The A9 Star Pro might be worth a look even if you're only mildly interested in its photographic chops. It'll reportedly include a 6.3-inch, 2,220 x 1,080 AMOLED screen, a quick-for-the-category Snapdragon 660 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage and a hefty 3,720mAh battery. There's 'only' one front camera, an 8MP f/1.7 shooter.

You might not have to wait long to see this phone in action. Samsung is holding a Galaxy phone launch event on October 11th that promises "4X fun," so it could just be hours away. The question is whether or not the A9 Star Pro will be available in your corner of the world. A-series devices don't always make it to North America, and Samsung is holding this event in Malaysia. There's a real chance you'll have to stare longingly from afar.

Source: Evan Blass

t's been a big week for smartwatches. Big month, really. On Wednesday, Apple unveiled the latest version of its Watch, which -- in addition to cosmetic updates -- got new features like an FDA-cleared ECG app, irregular heart rate notification and fall detection. Meanwhile, Qualcomm launched a new made-for-wearables chip that promises much better battery life. Google also just released the latest iteration of Wear OS, which places your health data front and center. The company also worked with the American Heart Association (AHA) to come up with the new Fit app's health-tracking system to encourage users to engage in more cardio activity.

On their own, each of those announcements is noteworthy (but not groundbreaking). Collectively, though, they make the wearable category, which has been struggling to prove its usefulness for years, feel relevant and promising again.

While we always knew about the potential for wearables to be excellent fitness companions, the latest announcements show us that companies are taking your overall health a lot more seriously. The smartwatches of 2018 and beyond will be more than glorified pedometers -- they'll actually offer useful information like whether you're matching up to recommended activity standards.

Apple's and Google's collaborations with the AHA led to better interpretation of the heart rate data that the Apple Watch and Wear OS devices are constantly collecting. This way, they can be appealing to not only runners or exercise enthusiasts but also a wider audience that is more interested in their general health.

It's interesting, too, that the Apple Watch Series 4 managed to get FDA clearance for its ECG and irregular rhythm notification -- but I'd caution against relying on those features too heavily. First of all, the FDA decision classifies these two specific functions of the Watch as over-the-counter tools that should not be used in place of "traditional methods of diagnosis or treatment." Plus, I'm not sure most people can make sense of an ECG. I had to ask a cousin who works as an ER doctor to see if anything was amiss with my own chart when I had a checkup years ago.

These devices are ultimately about detecting anomalies -- events that deviate from your typical pattern. On the new Apple Watch, this means things like irregular heart rhythm (a possible sign of atrial fibrillation) or falls. In the case of the latter, if you fall and can't get up, the Watch can also send for help.

Beyond general health tracking, this data will be useful for your doctor (should you choose to share your stats with your health care provider). Our memories are unreliable, which is why a regular record of our heart rate is much more helpful in catching potential problems early.

There's also value in using your cardio data to measure your daily activity -- and not just to tell you about your sleep stages and exercise zones like Fitbits and other trackers do. Though it's not the only indicator of your overall well-being, your heart health is the easiest for smartwatches to track. Google is using this data in the new Fit to encourage people to lead more-active lives by attaining a recommended number of "Heart points" each week. This way, smartwatches not only are on the lookout for potentially worrying symptoms but also are becoming better at preventative care. In other words, the next generation of wearables can be both watchful guardian and naggy parent.

Let's not forget Fitbit either, which launched the Charge 3 last month, along with a beta trial that uses the relative blood-oxygen sensors on its newer devices to study sleep disturbances. Samsung also launched its Galaxy Watch last month, which offers a feature that tests your stress level.

Having used a few of these new devices and software for weeks now, I definitely find myself strapping on a smartwatch more often. My main reason is the sense of achievement I get from receiving a notification from Google Fit every day, telling me I've met (exceeded, actually) my fitness goals. Plus, they tell time, let me reply to my friends without taking out my phone and let me easily control my music.

One of the biggest gripes about smartwatches, though, is battery life, and nothing bums me out harder than having to leave my watch behind on a charger when I head out for work. Qualcomm's new Wear 3100 CPU looks like it might improve performance on that front, thanks to revamped architecture and new battery-sipping modes. I'll have to wait till I can test out a watch with the new chip to know for sure, but it's encouraging to know that someone's working on longer-lasting hardware.

It's fair to say it's time to be optimistic about wearables again, with upcoming answers to the category's biggest complaints, like a lack of useful applications and disappointing battery life. While they still won't replace a trip to your doctor (and probably never will), the next generation of smartwatches may have finally found a way to stay on your wrist.

Source: Endgadget

Los Angeles will be the first US city to start equipping its subways with body scanners. But the Southern California metropolis isn't using the bulky, slow-operating models that populate US airports: Instead, LA's Metropolitan Transit Authority will deploy portable trunk-sized scanners that can survey people from 30 feet away at a rate of 2,000 individuals an hour.

LA MTA will use the scanners, made by Thruvision, in response to threats of terrorism or to scan large crowds heading to protests or sporting events, according to the Los Angeles Times. A spokesperson said they'll cost around $100,000 apiece, use radio waves to pick out guns and nonmetal explosives beneath clothing and highlight them on a split-screen display. They are calibrated to pick out weapons capable of mass harm.

"We're looking specifically for weapons that have the ability to cause a mass-casualty event," LA MTA law enforcement chief Alex Wiggins said, per the Associated Press. "We're looking for explosive vests, we're looking for assault rifles. We're not necessarily looking for smaller weapons that don't have the ability to inflict mass casualties."

The LA transit authority is also planning to buy another model of body scanner that looks like a tripod-mounted TV camera, which can focus on individuals.

Thruvision's trunk model was approved by TSA for use as a mass-transit scanner in the last year. The agency previously tested body scanners at NYC's Penn Station in February and Union Station in Washington, D.C.

Source: The Associated Press

Lithium-ion batteries have a world of important applications (smartphones, electric vehicles and the Mars Curiosity Rover, to name a few), but they're also notoriously unstable, and if damaged can result in burns, house fires and even plane crashes. Now, researchers think they've found a way to eliminate these dangers, by creating a lithium-ion battery that hardens on impact.

In a normal lithium-ion battery, its two electrodes are separated by a thin piece of plastic. This -- clearly -- isn't fool-proof, and if that layer fails the electrodes can come into contact with each other and spark a fire. Researchers working with batteries use solid-state versions for safety reasons, but getting solid-state batteries to market is pretty unfeasible: they're costly and would require a significant change in current battery production processes.

But a team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Rochester have now developed a practical and inexpensive way to make lithium-ion batteries safer. It takes its inspiration from oobleck, a mixture of cornstarch and water that flows like a liquid until it's poked, and then it becomes solid. Once the pressure is removed, the substance liquefies again. The team has created a similar material -- a type of silica -- that can be used in place of the thin plastic normally used in lithium-ion batteries. It solidifies when hit, preventing the electrodes from touching, and thus, eliminating the risk of fire.

It's cheap, and it only requires minor adjustments to conventional battery manufacturing processes. According to project lead Gabriel Vieth, initial applications could include drone batteries and later, the automotive market. Further down the line, the team wants to create a bigger version of the battery designed for the military, in particular soldiers who have to carry heavy loads of protective gear as well as batteries. "The battery would function as their armour," Veith says. "That could lighten the average soldier by about 20 pounds."

Source: Techxplore

Latest Technology / LG adds an exoskeleton to its line of CLOi robots
« on: August 26, 2018, 01:25:11 AM »
Today, LG announced that it will reveal its first robotic exoskeleton at IFA 2018, which takes place in Berlin from August 31st to September 5th. The exoskeleton, called LG CLOi SuitBot, is designed to support a user's legs to allow for more limb strength

This robot differs from the others that LG has announced because it is a robotic exoskeleton that you can wear, not a robot. It features rotating joints and sandal-type shoes with automatic adjustments, which help users enter and exit the exoskeleton more easily. It's designed to be a comfortable fit and provide natural enhancement while walking, standing and working. It can give people who lift heavy objects or operate heavy tools a boost.

The CLOi SuitBot can also connect to LG's service robots to become part of a "smart working network," according to the release. They can work together to deliver information and transport tools at a factory or job site. These robots also have the capacity to learn on the job and analyze biometric and environment data to optimize power consumption.

Source: LG

It's easy to scoff at Aibo, Sony's $2,799 robot dog. But seeing one up close might change your mind. It moves much more smoothly than before; it reacts to your pets and voice commands realistically; and best of all, it'll get smarter over time. Yes, Aibo is undoubtedly a luxury. But it brings us one step closer to the robot companions we've been waiting for.

Aibo is very much a puppy. When you open one up for the first time, it won't know any tricks and it probably won't listen to anything you say. But as you play with it, Aibo will learn to recognize your face (it can recognize up to 100 people); discover how to sit and stand on command; and in general, become better trained. That $2,799 price in the US gets you three years of Sony's AI Cloud service, which will keep track of what Aibo learns every day and help it improve with AI algorithms.

At a launch event in New York City today, Sony invited press to play with Aibo for the first time. And it didn't take long for it to wiggle its way into our hearts. Just watching two Aibos wander around on their own and play with each other, while yapping with gentle puppy barks, was enough to make me want one. When I reached down to pet one on the head, it reacted with surprise and delight. And when I nuzzled its chin with my hand, it leaned into my finger as if it was actually enjoying the experience. Simpy interacting with the Aibo felt more natural than before.

Like real dogs, the demo Aibos didn't always do what I (or their handlers) asked. Partially, that's because these are new and untrained models. But Sony also purposefully made Aibo a bit disobedient, so that it would seem more realistic. That's reminiscent of Anki's Vector and Cozmo robots, which have a bit of an attitude and don't always do what you ask. Some owners might not appreciate having to train their robot dogs, but doing so might also bring them closer together.

So do you need Aibo? Probably not. But if you're an early adopter, or someone allergic to most animals, it might just fill the fur baby-sized hole in your heart.

Source: Sony

Latest Technology / Audi's PB 18 E-Tron is a supercar spaceship
« on: August 26, 2018, 01:22:05 AM »
Ahead of the final unveiling of the E-Tron SUV, the automaker used the car festivities at Laguna Seca raceway to unveil its electric supercar, the PB 18. With over 600 horsepower and a center-positioned driver's seat, it's ready for the track. But also, your luggage.

"Audi is a race car brand. A brand of dynamism," president of Audi of America said ahead of the unveiling. The PB 18 personifies that spirit. The electric supercar positions the driver in the center of the vehicle. But the driver actually enters the vehicle on the left-hand side like you would any production vehicle. Once seated, the driver, dash cluster, steering wheel, and pedals automatically move towards the center of the car. It's slick.

It's able to do this thanks to a "drive by wire" system. Steering, acceleration and braking are controlled by computers instead of mechanical components. Meanwhile, the dash cluster is OLED, but also it's transparent which wouldn't be that cool if it weren't for the fact that you can see through it and through a wedge in the bonnet to see the road just ahead of the vehicle. Why do you need to see that portion of the road when you're traveling too fast to do anything about it? Just because it's cool.

Audi said the car can be configured to have two seats. The driver's chair won't move but you will be able to take friends for a ride in the very fast EV.

And it is quick. The all-wheel-drive vehicle has three electric motors (two in the back, one in the front) that push out a combined 670 horsepower and 612 pounds of torque. Audi says it'll do zero to 60 in less than two seconds.

The 95 kWh battery has a range of 310 miles and is ready for fast charging that allows it to be fully charged in 15 minutes. It also supports Audi Wireless Charging (AWC) via a pad on the floor of a garage. the battery pack is placed behind and driver for ideal weight distribution and a low center of gravity.

While the car is a giant ball of performance, Audi says the car is at home off the track. It actually has a hatchback so you can put luggage in the trunk for a weekend trip that doesn't involve track times. That is unless you're vacationing at the track.

Sadly it's very unlikely this sports wagon/supercar will ever make it into showrooms. But, most of the technology found in this car will make its way to production vehicles in the next few years as Audi transitions to more electrified vehicles like the E-Tron SUV.

Source: Audi

There's no shortage of electric concept cars based on vehicles of the past. But that's doesn't mean I'm any less excited about the Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow. Based on the W 125 Benz from 1937, the single-seater concept car looks like its ready for a driver with goggles and leather helmet.

During an event at Pebble Beach, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the sportscar that combines retro design combined with current and future technology. The EV has an 80kWh battery pack that's good for about 248 miles before needing a recharge. The vehicle has 750 horsepower from the nearly silent electric powertrain. But, if you miss the roar of an engine, you can pipe in the sound of a Formula 1 Silver Arrow, Mercedes-AMG V8 or weird alien sounds.

While going fast shouldn't be too tough of a problem for the EQ Silver Arrow, while slowing down the brakes get a bit of help from two extendible rear spoilers. They act as air brakes creating wind resistance.

The rest of the bullet of a car is equally impressive with carbon fiber throughout and the interior a mixture of leather, brushed aluminum and walnut.

While in the leather seat, the driver has two displays: a panoramic curved cluster and a touchscreen on the steering wheel. The giant display features the ability to "virtually" race against current and old Silver Arrow cars. It's like when you race a ghost car in a video game except in real life.

Meanwhile, the touchscreen displays the speed and is used to select options like drive mode.

Like most concept cars, we'll likely never the EQ Silver Arrow in production. But, the tech in the car -- especially the EV tech -- will more than likely make its way into a real production vehicle. With Mercedes-Benz expanding its EQ EV line over the next few years, the awesome we see today will be the fun we drive tomorrow.

Source: Mercedes

If you thought the retro-tastic Infiniti Prototype 9 couldn't be improved upon, the automaker thought otherwise. At this year's Pebble Beach automotive event, the larger Prototype 10 made an appearance.
Infiniti says this year's electric-powered concept is in the "spirit of early Californian speedsters." the creation was a global effort for the company with the design oversight taking place in Japan. Digital design happening in the UK and the San Diego office building the actual vehicle by hand.

The Prototype 10 continues the single-seater concept. Infiniti says that it's in line with its goal of building driver-focused cars. The electric powertrain also hints at the company's future.

"Prototype 10 provides a link between where Infiniti stands now, and where we are heading. For us, electrification means performance. Our cars will be powerful, efficient, and highly rewarding to drive, and Prototype 10 is a physical representation of our electrified future," Karim Habib, executive design director, Infiniti said.

So you won't be able to drive (or buy) this car anytime soon, but part of its DNA should make its way into future Infiniti models. Starting in 2021, all Infiniti vehicles will have an electrified component.

Source: Infiniti

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) said this week that it is aiming to issue electric scooter permits next month, and the staff who have been reviewing the 12 permit applications will make their recommendations in the coming weeks. The move to require permits came after Bird, Spin and LimeBike unveiled their e-scooter sharing programs earlier this year, resulting in hundreds of scooters peppering public areas and taking up sidewalk space. They quickly became a nuisance and in April, the city told the three companies that they had to remove their scooters from the streets. Permit applications opened up soon thereafter.

Companies seeking a permit to operate in the city had to submit an application by June 7th, and the SFMTA has been reviewing the dozen applications it received, assessing them for safety, sustainability, access, accountability, financial impact and other measures. Up to five companies will be selected to participate in a year-long pilot program that will evaluate the scooters and their impact. As many as 1,250 scooters may be allowed to operate in San Francisco during the first six months of the trial, and depending on how things play out, an additional 1,250 may be approved for the last half of the trial period.

Once the final firms are selected, the SFMTA will work with them to finalize and clarify the permit terms and conditions. Permits should be issued in August.

Source: SFMTA

Tesla's Model 3 is very quick, especially if you spring for the dual-motor Performance variant, but it's still tame for safety's sake. What if you want to launch an all-out assault on a race course? You might have that option soon. YouTuber Marques Brownlee recently had an opportunity to drive the Model 3 Performance on a track, and he pointed out an experimental "Track Mode" that takes the gloves off. The in-testing feature switches on "stability control and powertrain settings configured for track driving," and it's no secret what that means: you can drift, understeer and otherwise push the electric car past its usual limits.

It's not certain when this will reach customers, or even what the final name will be. And as enthusiasts will tell you, it's not a novel concept -- many sports cars have the option to turn off handholding features. It's still relatively rare among street-going electric vehicles, though, and serves as another signal that Tesla is interested in EV performance beyond straight-line acceleration. The greater challenge may be the "Augmented Mode" for the upcoming Roadster. It's one thing to turn features off in the name of courting experienced drivers, it's another to use them to improve a driver's abilities.

Source: Marques Brownlee

A robot can show how it's feeling (insofar as a robot can feel) with its face, but that's not the only way living beings do it. Humans have their goosebumps, for instance, while cats and dogs will raise their fur. Cornell wants to bring that nuance to synthetic beings. Its researchers have crafted a robot that uses a soft, adjustable skin to provide a tactile indication of a robot's emotion -- as the university put it, you can feel its feelings. It may develop goosebumps if it's happy, spikes if it's angry, or just a timid response if it's sad and needs a hug.

The elastomer skin contains separate sets of goosebump and spike generators, each of which is joined by fluidic chambers. When the robot wants to bare its soul, a quiet two-pump system applies pressure to the generators at the strength and frequency needed to convey those feelings. It's relatively subtle, and shouldn't kill the preciousness moment with loud mechanical noises.

Cornell's tech isn't particularly sophisticated at the moment (the design is likened to a 3D-printed oyster), and it's not about to fool you into thinking a robot needs some TLC. However, this could matter in the long run as scientists produce more sophisticated AI systems and artificial skins. If robots are ever going to be advanced enough to display something resembling real human emotion, they'll ideally show all the cues associated with those feelings.

Source: Guy Hoffman

Rolls-Royce showed off a handful of small robots this week that could aid in the inspection and repair of airplane engines sometime in the future. Though still under development, the tiny robots could lead to faster, less labor-intensive engine inspections as well as cost reductions for engine maintenance. The technologies, which were displayed at the Farnborough Airshow, are being developed in partnership with other companies as well as researchers at the University of Nottingham and Harvard University.

Swarm robots are small, cockroach-inspired robots that in theory will be able to be delivered inside of an engine and with small cameras, provide a look inside. This way, the engine wouldn't have to be removed from the plane in order for an inspection to take place. Researchers at Harvard University are working on scaling down the robots, which, as of now, are still too big for this type of work.

Along with the Swarm robots, Rolls-Royce also displayed a periscope-like robot that could be embedded within an engine itself and could always be on the lookout for any repairs that may need to be performed. A pair of snake-like robots were also on display, and their flexible design would allow them to travel throughout an engine, sort of like an endoscope, and then work together to perform repairs. And lastly, Rolls-Royce displayed its remote boreblending robots, which could be installed in an engine by pretty much anyone and an expert can then control it remotely, negating the need for these specialists to travel to an aircraft's location to perform certain repairs.

"While some of these technologies, such as the Swarm robots, are still a long way from becoming an everyday reality, others, such as the remote boreblending robot, are already being tested and will begin to be introduced over the next few years," James Kell, an on-wing technology specialist with Rolls-Royce, said at the airshow. "We have a great network of partners who support our work in this field and it is clear that this is an area with the potential to revolutionise how we think about engine maintenance."

Source: Roll-Royce

Scientists can only do so much to discover new chemical reactions on their own. Short of happy accidents, it can take years to find new drugs that might save lives. They might have a better way at the University of Glasgow, though: let robots do the hard work. A research team at the school has developed a "robot chemist" (below) that uses machine learning to accelerate discoveries of chemical reactions and molecules. The bot uses machine learning to predict the outcomes of chemical reactions based on what it gleans from direct experience with just a fraction of those interactions. In a test with 1,000 possible reactions from 18 chemicals, the machine only needed to explore 100 of them to predict study-worthy reactions in the entire lot with about 80 percent accuracy.

The University said it found four reactions just through this test, and one reaction was in the top one percent of unique responses.

That may not sound like a great success rate, and it will ideally get better. However, it's easy to see the robot dramatically speeding up the discovery process by letting scientists focus on the handful of reactions that are most likely to pan out. That could accelerate the development of new treatments, new battery formulas and extra-strong materials. And it wouldn't necessarily cost jobs -- rather, it could help chemists focus on the trickier aspects of research instead of plowing through mundane tests.

Source: University of Glasgow

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