Researchers have revealed an intriguing new solution that uses holographic augmented reality hardware to create live 3D terrain maps, enabling drone pilots to simply point at targets visualized above any flat surface. A Microsoft HoloLens headset generates the augmented reality content as a colorful voxel map that can be viewed from any angle, using an autonomous drone’s depth cameras and raycasting for real-time location data. Critically, the system provides a live and highly spatial sense of environmental elevation and depth, allowing the drone to be easily seen from a third-person perspective and repositioned.
Apple Glass may be able to replace a background with any image chosen by the wearer. Apple has been investigating how to make an Apple Glass style headset perform chroma keying, or replacing of solid color backgrounds with Apple AR images. Apple’s patent application is simultaneously about making a 3D stereoscopic version of background replacement for Apple AR, and about making it work fast enough. Part of that has to do with the processing power of the headset, but it’s also to do with the speed of returning data to the user’s view. “Low latency is a key element required to achieve great immersion (often called “Presence”).”
A research team has discovered a new electrocatalyst that converts carbon dioxide (CO2) and water into ethanol with very high energy efficiency, high selectivity for the final product and low cost. Ethanol is a particularly desirable commodity because it is an ingredient in nearly all U.S. gasoline and is widely used in the chemical, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. The catalyst breaks down CO2 and water molecules and selectively reassembles the broken molecules into ethanol under an external electric field. The electrocatalytic selectivity of the process is over 90 percent, much higher than any other reported process.
Biomedical engineers have shown that different strains of the same bacterial pathogen can be distinguished by a machine learning analysis of their growth dynamics, which can then accurately predict traits such as resistance to antibiotics. The demonstration could identify diseases and predict their behaviors faster, simpler, less expensive and more accurate than current techniques. The results showed that the growth dynamic profile could successfully predict a strain’s resistance to antibiotics 60 to 75 percent of the time. “This is actually on par or better than some of the current techniques in the literature, including many that use genetic sequencing data.”
Shares in Tencent plummeted as much as 10% in Hong Kong, before paring back some of those losses to nearly 6%. The fall came after Trump issued executive orders that would ban WeChat and TikTok, the short-form video app owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, from operating in the United States in 45 days if they are not sold by their parent companies. Tencent could lose the United States as a market for its mobile games if the ban on Chinese apps is expanded, which appears to be the Trump administration’s intent. Tencent operates many popular mobile gaming apps – ranked 10th in the United States by consumer spend last year.
Uber Technologies has agreed to acquire Autocab, a U.K. taxi-software company, in a deal that will allow riders to connect to local drivers in areas where the Silicon Valley giant doesn’t operate. The deal will ultimately expand Uber’s reach in the U.K. to as many as about 170 locations from 40, and allow the taxi and private car-hire companies that use Autocab’s software to expand and “offer more earnings opportunities to local drivers,” such as deliveries. Autocab says it operates in 30 countries, and Uber may eventually expand the program. Uber hasn’t announced a new location in the U.K. since 2016.
Germany is planning to ban floodlights from dusk for much of the year as part of its bid to fight a dramatic decline in insect populations. The draft also demands that any new streetlights and other outdoor lights be installed in such a way as to minimise the effect on plants, insects and other animals. The use of weed-killers and insecticides would also be banned in national parks and within five to ten metres of major bodies of water, while orchards and dry-stone walls are to be protected as natural habitats for insects.
The LEGO Foundation designed and created a line of bricks molded with studs that correspond to numbers and letters in the braille alphabet. The foundation is sending the blocks, free of charge, to school districts across the United States. For schools that won’t be reopening this fall, the LEGO Foundation is sending the braille bricks to districts where blind or visually impaired students are registered in the hopes that teachers or administrators can send them to students’ homes. “Reading braille means literacy that connects students to lifelong learning and opportunity.”