technology

Baraja’s LIDAR sets its sights on self-driving cars

Baraja’s LIDAR sets its sights on self-driving cars

Spectrum-Scan LIDAR startup Baraja wants to knock the silly hat from the top of autonomous cars. Emerging into the light after several years in stealth mode, the Australian company is promising a double whammy for self-driving vehicle manufacturers: better performance than current laser scanning systems, but in a more discreet and flexible package.

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This is Elon Musk’s submarine that will rescue Thai soccer team

This is Elon Musk’s submarine that will rescue Thai soccer team

There’s a tragic irony to the fact that while soccer (read: football) teams were competing over the 2018 World Cup in Russia, a Thai boys’ soccer team is fighting for their very lives. But as traditional and straightforward methods prove inadequate to rescue the children and their coach, Elon Musk is turning to technology to design a kid-size submarine that will help save the boys. Unsurprisingly, he’s borrowing a few things from SpaceX.

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Chinese “laser rifle” makes science fiction frighteningly real

Chinese “laser rifle” makes science fiction frighteningly real

Lasers, by their very nature, have the potential for harm but most of the dangerous applications of the technology has been limited to science fiction until recently. But while companies like Lockheed Martin are scrambling to weaponize lasers, their Chines counterparts may have just one-upped them. According to a recent report, a Chinese tech firm has successfully developed a laser rifle no heavier than an AK-47 but has the ability to pierce through glass and metal undetected and set clothes, and humans, on fire.

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Orlando drops Amazon Rekognition amid privacy outcry

Orlando drops Amazon Rekognition amid privacy outcry

It might be a small and probably temporary win for privacy advocates, but it’s a significant win nonetheless. The City of Orlando, Florida has announced that they will be ending the use of Amazon’s facial recognition software in response to protests staged by the ACLU and dozens of advocacy groups. While the government is still keeping the door open to using the technology again in the future, Orlando residents can rest assured that the frighteningly accurate Amazon Rekognition won’t scanning their faces again any time soon.

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Microsoft checkout-free system tipped to take on Amazon Go

Microsoft checkout-free system tipped to take on Amazon Go

Microsoft is developing its own automatic checkout technology similar to the kind used by Amazon Go stores, according to sources. With this, retailers can equip stores with a system that monitors what consumers put into their basket and automatically bills them for it, eliminating the need to go through traditional checkout lines. Walmart is reportedly interested in Microsoft's platform.

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Smart luggage-maker Raden unexpectedly shuts down: Goodbye warranty

Smart luggage-maker Raden unexpectedly shuts down: Goodbye warranty

Another smart luggage company has closed its doors, with startup Raden blaming the change in battery policies for air travel for the decision to shut up shop. The news makes Raden the second bag-maker to cease operations this month, each citing the tougher rules applied by airlines last December.

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Wikipedia will be printed on tiny metal plates and sent to the moon

Wikipedia will be printed on tiny metal plates and sent to the moon

A non-profit called Arch Foundation is hoping to send millions of Wikipedia pages to the moon, only with a twist: they'll be "written" on small metal plates. The pages will be sourced from the English version of Wikipedia, and assuming everything goes according to plan, the content will be on the lunar surface within the next couple years. The total archive size will be similar to a CD.

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Inexpensive touch-sensitive paper instantly digitizes written notes

Inexpensive touch-sensitive paper instantly digitizes written notes

Researchers have introduced a new touch-sensitive paper that can track input and automatically digitize it. The system involves conductive film and a carbon-loaded paint applied to paper, among other things. The end result is a type of paper that detects touches from both fingers and writing instruments, transforming the process of digitizing handwritten content.

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HD Vinyl coming next year to capitalize on nostalgia

HD Vinyl coming next year to capitalize on nostalgia

Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks or old media new features. Austrian startup Rebeat is certainly trying to prove it isn't the case. Making use of European patent filed way back in 2016 and a $4.8 billion investment, the small company is starting to turn the gears to produce what it labels as "High Definition Vinyl". Why? Because sales of physical media such as CDs and vinyl, for the first time in 7 years, just eclipsed digital sales.

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Walmart Pickup Tower deployment expands

Walmart Pickup Tower deployment expands

This week the folks at Walmart announced the arrival of a whole bunch more "high-tech pickup towers" at a number of stores across the United States. These giant towers appeared at just under 200 Walmart stores in the past year. Now the store is aiming to expand the program to "more than 500" stores by the end of this year. You might see this massive machine at your Walmart soon... very soon.

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Trade Wars in Tech: consumers are the real casualties

Trade Wars in Tech: consumers are the real casualties

It’s almost too easy to start a war. All it takes is for someone in power (after all, those without power can’t start wars) to say something that offends another person in power who, in turn, says something back. It’s not easy, however, to end the war or to pick up the broken pieces. In the case of a trade war like the one brewing between the US and China, those pieces are the consumers from both sides. Because in a clash of titans, it’s the little humans below that get stomped on.

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Epic Games’ Siren demo is both amazing and super-creepy

Epic Games’ Siren demo is both amazing and super-creepy

Epic Games is no stranger to incredibly detailed motion capture technology. 2017's Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice was based on Unreal Engine's motion capture capabilities, and it received a lot of praise for just how detailed the in-game character of Senua was. Now Epic is looking to take what it learned with Hellblade one step further, creating a new digital personality called Siren who is as impressive as she is unsettling.

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