BMW Microtransactions 💵 Anti-Ageing protein 🧬 Drive in cinema 🎥!

Technology News

BMW is going all-in on in-car microtransactions

The German automaker that all cars equipped with its newest “Operating System 7” software will soon receive an update that makes it possible for the company to tinker with all sorts of functions in the car, like access to heated seats and driving assist features like automatic high beams or adaptive cruise control. And the company unsurprisingly plans to use this ability to make money. An owner can, at some point, pay to access certain features that they didn’t initially buy with the car. People buying on the used car market will be able to configure the car to their liking in a way that wasn’t possible with the company’s previous vehicles.

Wearable-tech glove translates sign language into speech in real time

Bioengineers have designed a glove-like device that can translate American Sign Language into English speech in real time through a smartphone app. Sensors, made from electrically conducting yarns, pick up hand motions and finger placements that stand for individual letters, numbers, words and phrases. The device then turns the finger movements into electrical signals, which are transmitted wirelessly to a smartphone that translates them into spoken words at the rate of about a one word per second. The researchers also added adhesive sensors to testers’ faces to capture facial expressions that are a part of American Sign Language.

Science News

A trick to activating “anti-aging” proteins in worms could exist in humans, too

A team of scientists describe how an enzyme called VRK-1 can extend lifespan in roundworms. Control worms lived about 16.9 days on average – typically roundworms only live about 2 to 3 weeks. However, the first line of worms who had elevated levels of VRK-1 lived about 20.8 days. A second line lived about 23.7 days on average. In experiments where VRK-1 was inhibited, the worms tended to die sooner. The longevity switch works by activating “a key cellular energy sensor and anti-aging protein” called AMPK. The key to activating AMPK is VRK-1. This enzyme is found in worms but also has a close relative in human cells.

Nanofiber protects against extreme temperatures and projectiles

Researchers in collaboration with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center (CCDC SC), have developed a lightweight, multi-functional nanofiber material that can protect wearers from both extreme temperatures and ballistic threats. “Our idea was to use this Kevlar polymer to combine the woven, ordered structure of fibers with the porosity of aerogels to make long, continuous fibers with porous spacing in between. In this system, the long fibers could resist a mechanical impact while the pores would limit heat diffusion.” The research team used immersion Rotary Jet-Spinning (iRJS) to manufacture the fibers.

Business News

Walmart is transforming 160 of its parking lots into drive-in theaters

Beginning in August, the retailer is converting 160 of its US store parking lots into drive-in movie theaters. As the pandemic continues, drive-in theaters have been making a comeback as a safe alternative to the traditional movie theaters that remain closed in much of the country. Walmart is partnering with Tribeca Enterprises, the Robert De Niro-backed media company, to program the films. Locations and movie titles haven’t yet been announced, but they will be revealed later on a special website. The event will run through October and encompass more than 300 showings. Walmart will use the nearby physical stores to let people use curbside pickup for treats and food.

Tesla’s ‘jaw-dropping’ second-quarter deliveries send shares surging

Tesla outpaced analyst estimates for second-quarter vehicle deliveries, defying a trend of plummeting sales in the wider auto industry as coronavirus-linked lockdown orders kept shoppers at home, and sending its shares up 8%. Analysts said the solid delivery numbers heightened expectations for a profitable second quarter, which would mark the first time in Tesla’s history that it would report four consecutive quarters of profit. Tesla delivered 90,650 vehicles during the quarter, significantly above estimates for 74,130 vehicles. It delivered 80,050 units of its new Model Y sport utility vehicle and Model 3 for the quarter.

Miscellaneous News

The Rock ranks as Instagram’s ‘most valuable star’

The wrestler-turned-actor could charge advertisers more than $1m (£790,000) per post last year, according to the social media marketing firm Hopper HQ. The Fast and Furious star knocked make-up entrepreneur Kylie Jenner off the top spot. She has 182 million Instagram followers, while he has 187 million. Other high value personalities on its list for 2019 included footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, who was worth $889,000 per post, and socialite Kim Kardashian West, who could charge $858,000.

Check in but never leave: Taiwan offers fake flights for travel-starved tourists

Starved of the travel experience during the coronavirus lockdown? One Taiwanese airport has the solution – a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. Taipei’s downtown Songshan airport began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with some 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. Around 7,000 people applied to take part, the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences will take place in coming weeks.

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