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Technology News

Disney patents metaverse technology for theme parks that would track visitors while projecting personalized 3D images for them

Disney park visitors could soon be riding through the metaverse as the entertainment giant explores headsetless augmented reality. Disney Enterprises was approved for a “virtual-world simulator” patent during the last week of December. The technology would project 3D images and virtual effects onto physical spaces. Instead of being designed for mass entertainment, the device would track individual park visitors to personalize the projections. “Our efforts to date are merely a prologue to a time when we’ll be able to connect the physical and digital worlds even more closely, allowing for storytelling without boundaries in our own Disney metaverse.”

LG is bringing its CLOi service robot to the US

LG is bringing its CLOi ServeBot to the US, giving hotels, restaurants and stores a semi-autonomous machine that can ferry up to 66lbs of food and other cargo across a busy space. While humans have to pre-program maps and set destinations, the bot can use a 3D camera, LiDAR and sensors to dodge people and detect when someone has removed an item from a tray. The ServeBot uses its 9.2-inch touchsreen to both put on a friendly face for guests and take input. It’s not fast at 2.2MPH, but its 11 hours of continuous use should be enough for a long workday. It might lessen the sting of job shortfalls and reduce exposure for workers who frequently have to deal with the public.

Science News

Ketamine-assisted therapy could help heavy drinkers stay sober longer — study

This phase II clinical trial is the first of its kind to test whether a low dose of ketamine, combined with one-on-one therapy sessions, can prevent people from returning to heavy drinking immediately after quitting. Compared to a control group who did not receive ketamine, participants were 2.5 times more likely to abstain from drinking through the end of the trial. “It makes the brain more receptive to new learning by stimulating a process called synaptic plasticity where the brain is more able to make new connections.” People who received ketamine combined with therapy stayed completely sober for 162 of the 180 day follow-up period, or 87 percent of the days.

Cannabis Compounds Prevented Covid Infection in Laboratory Study

Cannabis compounds prevented the virus that causes Covid-19 from penetrating healthy human cells, according to a laboratory study. The two compounds commonly found in hemp – called cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA – were identified during a chemical screening effort as having potential to combat coronavirus. In the study, they bound to spike proteins found on the virus and blocked a step the pathogen uses to infect people. The researchers tested the compounds’ effect against alpha and beta variants of the virus in a laboratory. “These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans.”

Business News

Apple may bid for MLB weekday package, marking its first foray into live sports

Apple is in talks with Major League Baseball to acquire the rights to its weekday package. An agreement would, for the first time, align the most valuable U.S. tech company with a pro sports media package and give Apple a major content boost for its streaming service, Apple TV+. “If Apple is looking to increase usage of Apple TV+ but also looking to sell additional hardware – phones, watches, iPads – then sports provides you with a ready-made mass audience.” The pandemic changed media consumption, making a deal between MLB and Apple more attractive to both parties. “The games need to be there on those screens for new fans to be exposed to it.”

Monster Beverage to buy craft-beer maker in alcohol market drive

Energy drinks maker Monster Beverage Corp is entering the alcoholic drinks market through a $330 million deal for craft beer and hard seltzer producer CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective LLC. The all-cash deal extends the trend of soft-drink companies branching out to the alcohol space as traditional boundaries between the categories rapidly blur. “The acquisition will provide us with a fully in-place infrastructure, including people, distribution and licenses, along with alcoholic beverage development expertise and manufacturing capabilities in this industry.” The deal is expected to close in the first calendar quarter of this year.

Miscellaneous News

Bulgaria moves to end practice of ‘golden passports’

Bulgaria’s new government passed a bill aimed at getting rid of “golden passports”, a programme that allows people to become citizens in exchange for large investments. The European Commission has repeatedly expressed concern about this practice and considers that it presents risks for the EU, which “relate in particular to security, money laundering, tax evasion and corruption”. Foreigners investing the minimum sum of one million leva (€500,000) can obtain a permanent resident title. For double that, they can obtain citizenship without going through the more tedious stages of a traditional procedure.

Prince Andrew stripped of military titles and charities amid sex abuse lawsuit

Britain’s Prince Andrew has been stripped of his military titles and charities, a day after a judge ruled a sexual abuse civil lawsuit could proceed. Andrew will also no longer use the style “His Royal Highness” in any official capacity. “With The Queen’s approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen. The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.” The prospect of a public trial that would attract global attention could put Andrew in an unprecedented situation for a senior British royal.

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