Mercedes infotainment 🚗 Powerhouse gene editing 🧬 Uber boats 🛥️!

Technology News

Mercedes’ new touchscreen controls eliminate 27 physical buttons

Mercedes’ revealed its second-generation MBUX infotainment system. When it arrives in the 2021 S-Class luxury sedan, the new MBUX system will replace 27 physical hardware buttons with touchscreen controls, add new voice, hand gesture and gaze controls and offer additional safety features. Every S-Class sedan will come with a 12.8-inch OLED screen with haptic feedback, and customers will have the option of adding up to three additional screens for backseat passengers. The instrument display will get new AR capabilities, and thanks to the auto-stereoscopic display, the instruments will look 3D, even without 3D glasses.

Robotic lab assistant is 1,000 times faster at conducting research

The machine is far from fully autonomous: it needs to be programmed with the location of lab equipment and can’t design its own experiments. But by working seven days a week, 22 hours a day (with two hours to recharge every night), it allows scientists to automate time-consuming and tedious research they wouldn’t otherwise tackle. The robot’s creators say it was able to perform experiments 1,000 times faster than a human lab assistant, with that speed-up mostly due to the robot’s ability to work around the clock without breaks. “The idea is not to do things we would do faster, but to do bigger, more ambitious things we wouldn’t otherwise try to tackle.”

Science News

The powerhouses inside cells have been gene-edited for the first time

Mitochondria, the structures inside our cells that use food to produce energy, have been gene-edited for the first time. A new kind of “base editor” was used, opening the door to treating disorders related to faulty mitochondria. These organelles have their own genomes and mutations in this DNA can lead to everything from muscle weakness to intellectual disability. The researchers fused proteins that can make the necessary chemical changes to mitochondrial DNA with proteins that bind to specific sequences. In tests in human cells growing in a dish, this base editor made the desired change in up to 50 per cent of mitochondrial genomes.

Injection of nanoparticle-based retina restores vision to blind rats

Researchers have demonstrated how conjugated polymer nanoparticles (P3HT-NP) can potentially spread broadly across the sub-retinal space and restore lost vision. Following just one sub-retinal injection of the experimental nanoparticles, the researchers saw visual cortex activity and visual acuity return to levels similar to animals with healthy vision. This level of spatial resolution should be significantly greater than any currently available implant. A simple, and relatively non-invasive, surgical procedure means it would be easier to broadly deploy compared to other artificial retina technologies.

Business News

Uber to offer boat rides in London as new commuter service

You’ll soon be able to use the Uber app to book boat journeys in London, thanks to a new partnership between the ride-hail company and Thames Clippers. The partnership will see the existing 20-strong fleet of boats and 23 piers between Putney and Woolwich branded as “Uber Boats by Thames Clippers,” and the service will continue to be operated by the river bus service. The multiyear partnership is Uber’s latest attempt to diversify its business after being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The boats will differ from Uber’s existing ride-hailing service in that they’ll operate on set routes, as they do currently.

Rivals Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line team up to plan restart

Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announced a joint task force to help develop safety standards for restarting their businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. On March 14, the CDC issued a no-sail order for all cruise ships, which it subsequently extended to July 24. Operators including Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Corp have voluntarily extended their pause in operations from U.S. ports until September. The “Healthy Sail Panel” is advising the companies on restart plans they will submit to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other regulators at the end of August.

Miscellaneous News

Pakistan’s tree-planting push has a sweetener: more honey

When authorities started planting millions of trees in eastern Pakistan’s Changa Manga Forest, the idea was to bring back life to forest land that had been destroyed. Now that the trees have matured, they are having an even sweeter side-effect – helping to boost the local bee population and honey production in the area. Beekeepers in the plantation said they are now harvesting up to 70% more honey than before the greening project started in 2014, as the trees provide a habitat for bees and create conditions for a growing diversity of plants and flowers.

Dogecoin volumes spike 683% after viral TikTok challenge urges buying spree

Dogecoin volumes spiked over the past two days amid a new TikTok trend aiming to get the meme-based cryptocurrency’s price to $1. TikTok user James Galante began urging followers to buy Dogecoin, claiming they could “all get rich” if enough viewers invested $25. “Dogecoin is practically worthless. There are 800 million TikTok users. Once it hits $1, you’ll have $10,000. Tell everyone you know!” The coin’s 24-hour trading volume soared above $878 million, marking a 683% leap from the coin’s average volume over the past year.

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