Robotic baristas ☕ Self cleaning aluminium 🧽 GE sells lighting business 💡!

Technology News

South Korean cafe uses robotic baristas to comply with social distancing

A cafe in Daejeon, South Korea, is now using robots to prepare drinks and deliver them to customers. Proponents say the robots could encourage “distancing in daily life.” The barista system consists of a robotic arm that prepares 60 different beverages and wheeled bots that deliver the drinks to customers. The system can communicate with other devices, contains self-driving tech to determine the best route around people and tables and communicates with customers via voice controls. “Our system needs no input from people from order to delivery, and tables were sparsely arranged to ensure smooth movements of the robots.”

Facebook launches CatchUp, an audio-only calling app that shows who’s ready to chat now

Facebook’s internal R&D group has launched a new app called CatchUp that makes it easier for friends and family in the U.S. to coordinate phone calls or set up group calls with up to 8 people. What makes CatchUp unique is that the calls it enables are audio-only, not video, and it flags when users are available. CatchUp won’t need a Facebook account to use the service – the app works with your phone’s contacts list. The app’s intention is to address one of the key reasons people no longer make phone calls – they don’t know when someone has time to talk and they don’t want to interrupt them.

Science News

Clean without scrubbing and using chemicals. Dresden scientists develop self-cleaning aluminium surface

A project team has structured an aluminium plate with a laser process in such a way that water droplets no longer adhere and dirt particles can be removed from the surface – completely without chemical cleaning agents or additional effort. A special camera was used to analyse the self-cleaning effect of the aluminium surfaces and filmed the process at 12,500 frames per second. “This way we can perfectly see how a water drop can remove the dirt from the aluminium surface. This method is also suitable for understanding other processes, such as laser cutting and welding or additive manufacturing”.

A few months of vaping puts healthy people on the brink of oral disease

Scientists who’ve taken the first look at bacteria in young and healthy vapers’ mouths say that the potential for future disease lies just below the surface. The collection of oral bacteria in daily e-cigarette users’ mouths is teeming with potent infection-causing organisms that put vapers at substantial risk for ailments ranging from gum disease to cancer, researchers found. The damaging effects were seen with or without nicotine, leading the scientists to believe that the heated and pressurized liquids in e-cigarette cartridges are likely the key culprit in transforming vapers’ mouths into a welcoming home for a dangerous combination of microbes.

Business News

GE switches off light bulb business after almost 130 years

General Electric has finally found a buyer for its lighting business and will be selling off its last consumer-facing business after more than 120 years of operation. GE said it would divest the lighting business to Savant Systems, a smart home management company also based in Massachusetts. The companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal, but sources say that the transaction was valued at about $250 million. Acquiring a lighting business directly will allow Savant Systems to take advantage of vertical integration and take more control over the physical equipment it installs in consumer’ homes.

Amazon is reportedly in talks to buy secretive self-driving car company Zoox for less than $3.2 billion

Amazon is in late-stage discussions to acquire secretive self-driving car company Zoox. Zoox is based in Foster City, California, was founded in 2014, and is working on software and hardware for autonomous vehicles. The deal, if it happens, would value Zoox at less than the $3.2 billion valuation it attracted at its previous fundraising in 2018. And it would also expand Amazon’s reach in autonomous driving, with the firm investing in self-driving car startup Aurora in February 2019. Zoox hinted that it had received interest from multiple buyers.

Miscellaneous News

Disney World Set to Reopen in July

Walt Disney World, one of the largest tourist sites on the planet with an annual attendance of 93 million people, has a plan to reopen in mid-July. But the necessary safety protocols — limiting the number of visitors, making face masks mandatory, having roaming squads to enforce social distancing, no longer allowing people to get up close and personal with Mickey Mouse — shows how difficult it will be to operate once-booming attractions as the country prepares for a broader reopening.

Ford’s police SUVs will heat up to 133 degrees to burn the germs away

Ford created software that will burn the germs out of the police department’s SUVs. With the new software, the Ford Police Utility — a version of the Ford Explorer SUV — can use its engine along with the cabin ventilation system to raise interior temperatures to 133 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. That’s hot enough and long enough to kill more than 99% of disease causing germs in the vehicle, including the coronavirus, according to Ford. The doors are locked automatically as the engine runs at an unusually high idle speed of around 2,000 RPM.

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