Apple’s AR headset may offer realistic sound effects to go with its digital imagery laid over a real-world view, by accurately reproducing a sound in such a way that it matches where the sound would come from in 3D space. In a patent titled “Head related transfer function selection for binaural sound reproduction,” Apple believes it can make the effect of virtual 3D sound positioning better by having what it refers to as the Head related transfer function (HRTF). These are effectively a pair of acoustic filters for each ear that characterize the transmission of sound from one place in an environment to the ear.
Researchers have used machine learning to understand what a chemical smells like — a research breakthrough with potential applications in the food flavor and fragrance industries. About 80% of what is considered flavor in food actually stems from the odors that affect smell. Digitizing predictions of how chemicals smell creates a new way of scientifically prioritizing what chemicals can be used in the food, flavor, and fragrance industries. “It gives us a vast palette of compounds that we can mix and match for any olfactory application. For example, you can now make a mosquito repellent that works on mosquitoes but is pleasant smelling to humans.”
An experimental blood test was highly accurate at distinguishing people with Alzheimer’s disease from those without it in several studies, boosting hopes that there soon may be a simple way to help diagnose this most common form of dementia. The testing was able to differentiate between people with Alzheimer’s and people with other types of dementia, or those with healthy brains, with accuracy ranging from 89% to 98%. The work focuses on the protein tau, and found that one form of it called p-tau217 is a more reliable indicator. It also was comparable to the brain scans and some spinal tests in accuracy.
In a recent trial, researchers discovered that cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound found in cannabis, can actually help people quit. The study team found that prescription-grade CBD moderately reduced cannabis intake and helped people abstain from using cannabis more than a placebo treatment. Studies indicate that 47 percent of people who quit using marijuana experience withdrawals, while other research suggests 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it. If further studies confirm these findings, CBD may become be a vital tool for the estimated 22 million people who deal with this distressing and life-altering issue.
Italian fashion group Prada said sales had recovered sharply in Asia since June after the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic triggered a 40% decline for comparable revenues globally in the first half of the year. Prada said it had seen retail sales growth of almost 60% in mainland China in June and 66% in July, and encouraging signs in other markets as movement restrictions eased – though the trend in Europe remained “double-digit negative” due to the lack of tourists. E-commerce sales surged 300% in June and July. Chief Executive Patrizio Bertelli said the group was confident that overall sales would return to growth in the second half of the year.
Santander – the continent’s biggest bank, after HSBC, by stock market value reported the first quarterly loss in its 163-year history – of €11.1bn – that reflected both loan impairments and a write-down in the value of some assets that came to €12bn. The write-downs and loan loss provisions meant that, for the first half of 2020 as a whole, Santander reported a loss of €10.8bn. During the second quarter, Santander lent an average of €1.6bn every day. “The past six months have been among the most challenging in our history. The impact of the pandemic has tested us all and I am proud of how Santander has responded.”
The number of wild tigers is on the increase in Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Russia, a decade on from the launch of an ambitious scheme to double the population of the species. The TX2 initiative was launched in 2010 when it was estimated that wild populations of the cat were as few as 3200 animals across the 13 countries where they are found. Nepal’s population of tigers had nearly doubled by 2018, up from 121 individuals in 2009 to 235. The population in Nepal’s Bardiya National Park alone has increased from just 18 tigers in 2008 to 87 in 2018.
Virgin Galactic has revealed the interior of its centrepiece space plane, showing off a cabin with new custom seats and a “space mirror” in a virtual tour . For $250,000 a ticket, passengers who have signed up for the suborbital flight aboard the air-launched plane VSS Unity will strap into six tailored seats and be able to peer out of the cabin’s 12 circular windows as they ascend 97km (60 miles) above Earth. The company has 600 customers signed up to fly and at least 400 more who have expressed interest.