Amazon has revealed Amazon One, a service that uses your unique palm signature to authenticate purchases and let you into gated locations, such as offices, gyms and stadiums. It will “start” in select Amazon Go stores before expanding to “additional Amazon stores,” which could mean bookshops or Whole Foods Market locations. It will also offer the service to third-party retailers and other businesses. Amazon believes palms offer more privacy than other biometric methods because you can’t figure out a person’s identity with a palm image alone. Images will be encrypted on a “highly secure area in the cloud,” and never locally on a store scanner.
General Electric announced that the FAA had officially blessed the GE9x, the largest commercial jet engine ever built. Composed of 16 blades, its fan has a diameter of 134 inches – almost as wide as a Boeing 737 fuselage – and delivers 110,000 pounds of thrust at takeoff, or about twice the power of two engines on an early 747. GE also says the GE9x will be the quietest GE engine ever produced while delivering 10% lower fuel consumption. Parts of the engines are made from composite materials including some turbine blades, which are 3D printed by Italian company Avio Aero. Entry into service is scheduled for 2022.
Scientists have created a detailed cellular and molecular map of the healthy human heart to understand how this vital organ functions and to shed light on what goes awry in cardiovascular disease. The atlas shows the huge diversity of cells and reveals heart muscle cell types, cardiac protective immune cells and an intricate network of blood vessels. It also predicts how the cells communicate to keep the heart working. Detailing the molecular processes inside the cells of a healthy heart is critical to understanding how things go awry in heart disease. Such knowledge can lead to more precise, better treatment strategies for various forms of cardiovascular illness.
A gene that helps to control inflammation increases the risk of obesity and could be turned off in mice to stop weight gain, a study has found. “We found small changes in the inflammatory gene RIPK1 in the obese people, and these variations caused an increased amount of the gene being present in their fat tissue, increasing their risk of being obese.” The researchers then looked at the effect of turning the inflammatory gene on and off in mice. Without the gene, the mice remained at a normal weight despite eating a high-fat diet and their risk of diabetes was reduced. The mice with a normal level of the inflammatory gene put on weight from eating the same high-fat diet.
Walmart is in talks with Tata Group for an investment of up to $25 billion in the Indian conglomerate’s “super app”. The app will tie in all of Tata’s consumer business including healthcare, grocery, insurance, fashion and electronics. “Walmart is keen to get a strong brand backing its e-commerce business, while Tata group wants a global name and an established player in the online space… to be able to compete against Reliance Industries’ Jio Platforms and Amazon.” If the deal goes through, it could mark Walmart’s biggest investment in the country, topping the $16 billion paid for a 66% stake in ecommerce company Flipkart.
The Finnish telecoms firm has struck a deal to become the largest equipment provider to BT. Nokia will now provide additional base stations and antennas to let EE customers’ devices make calls and transmit data via the UK firm’s 5G “radio access network”. The deal will also see Nokia replace Huawei in BT’s 2G and 4G networks. It is expected that BT will soon strike a deal to buy kit from a second vendor to avoid becoming solely dependent on Nokia. Ericsson is the favourite to be named as BT’s second radio access network kit supplier, but it is still likely to lag Nokia in terms of the number of 5G masts and base stations it would provide.
A super-enzyme that degrades plastic bottles six times faster than before has been created and could be used for recycling within a year or two. The super-enzyme, derived from bacteria that naturally evolved the ability to eat plastic, enables the full recycling of the bottles. Scientists believe combining it with enzymes that break down cotton could also allow mixed-fabric clothing to be recycled. The super-enzyme was engineered by linking two separate enzymes, both of which were found in the plastic-eating bug discovered at a Japanese waste site in 2016.
France’s environment minister has announced a gradual ban on using wild animals in traveling circuses, on keeping dolphins and killer whales in captivity in marine parks and on raising mink on fur farms. France’s minister of ecological transition said that bears, tigers, lions, elephants and other wild animals won’t be allowed any more in travelling circuses “in the coming years.” Starting immediately, France’s three marine parks won’t be able to bring in nor breed dolphins and killer whales. The ban does not apply to wild animals in other permanent shows and in zoos.