Apple is exploring new Apple Pencil technology that could allow the device to sample colors from the real world to use in digital art, drawings, edits, and more, according to an Apple patent application. The color sensor would be equipped with several photodetectors able to measure light for different color channels, which would let it detect and sample a color from a real world object, like a flower. Apple suggests that the color sensor could be used for other purposes such as calibrating displays, calibrating printers, making health-related measurements, and identifying paint colors for home projects, which would make the Apple Pencil even more versatile.
Ford Motor will work with Intel’s autonomous driving unit, Mobileye, to develop an improved collision avoidance system for its vehicles. The collaboration will be to develop improved camera-based collision warning, detection of vehicles and pedestrians and lane-keeping features for its vehicles, including F-150 and Mustang Mach-E cars. Mobileye will provide its EyeQ sensing technology along with a vision-processing software to support Ford’s Co-Pilot360 system as well as a hands-free driving feature that will be introduced next year. Ford is also considering using its Roadbook map system, which uses anonymized, crowd-sourced data from vehicle cameras.
Researchers are able to get paralyzed rodents walking again by stimulating the animals’ damaged spinal cords. This promising treatment has already helped paraplegics regain mobility during clinical trials. Using artificial intelligence, the researchers can pinpoint which neurons are involved in the gait reacquisition process. By precisely identifying the types of neurons involved, researchers can better understand what happens at a cellular level when these stimuli result in immediate gait recovery. They can then specifically target those neurons that are activated by stimulation, thereby boosting the treatment’s effectiveness.
A new artificial material effectively cannot be cut, holding out the promise of lightweight cut-proof bike locks, security doors and protective clothing. Its inventors embedded ceramic spheres in aluminum foam to create a material that couldn’t be cut with angle grinders, power drills or water jet cutters. They dubbed it Proteus after the shape-shifting Greek god, for the way the material metamorphosised in different ways to defend against attacks. Rather than just being a hard surface that resists external pressure, the material turns the force of the drill or cutting mechanism back on itself, as the ceramic spheres create vibrations that disrupt the external force.
Uber Technologies announced that it has entered into a Google master agreement under which the ride-hailing company will get access to Google Maps platform rides and deliveries services. As part of the four-year agreement, Uber and Google have adopted a new pricing model based on the number of billable trips taken using the services, instead of the number of requests. The transaction also includes tiered volume-based discounts. According to company filings, Uber paid Google $58 million for using Maps during 2016 to 2018. Google Maps is built into the the ride-hailing company’s app for the use by its drivers and customers.
Walmart has revived talks to sell a stake in its UK supermarket chain Asda, having paused the process in April at the peak of the coronavirus disruption. The US group said that it was in talks with “a small number of third-party investors” to take an interest in the grocer, “following renewed inbound interest”. Walmart remains keen to reduce its exposure to the highly competitive UK market and focus on faster-growing markets such as China and India. Asda is the third-largest supermarket in the UK, with £23bn of annual sales. However, it is a small contributor to Walmart, which produced $524bn in total revenues last year.
An experimental vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University against the new coronavirus produced an immune response in early-stage clinical trials, data showed, preserving hopes it could be in use by the end of the year. The vaccine, called AZD1222, has been described by the World Health Organization’s chief scientist as the leading candidate in a global race to halt the pandemic. The vaccine prompted no serious side effects and elicited antibody and T-cell immune responses, with the strongest response seen in people who received two doses.
The United Arab Emirates’ historic first mission to Mars is under way, after a successful lift-off in Japan. The Hope probe launched on an H2-A rocket from Tanegashima spaceport, and is now on a 500-million-km journey to study the planet’s weather and climate. Hope’s arrival in February 2021 is set to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the UAE’s formation. The UAE craft is one of three missions heading to Mars this month. The US and China both have surface rovers in the late stages of preparation.