Google Car has seen more development and more improvement in the past year than all the time spent researching combined beforehand and stands as testament to Google’s newfound affinity for autonomous self-driving cars. With the announcement of a new CEO, John Krafcik, taking one of the most important positions in the Google ecosystem this month, Google Car has reached a new milestone in its development and innovation.
Officially, Google Car now has more than 1 million miles driven autonomously on public roads in the United States, more than any other autonomous vehicle in development at the moment. Although major car companies are working on their own autonomous vehicles, Google Car has seen the most rapid development of all, thanks to the dedicated and powerful team in the project.
The appointment of John Krafcik, a veteran when it comes to horsepower, comes as a new push towards public availability and most likely aims to bump up the release date of the self-driving car by at least a few months. People have been looking forward to the Google Car after seeing the great progress the Mountain View giant has made and some of our readers have confessed that their next major purchase in life will be the Google Car, for which they’re saving up.
The Google Car price is uncertain, as we don’t know exactly how the final model of the self-driving vehicle will look like or what features it will boast with. We do know however that it is going to be an electric vehicle with a long autonomy, which means we are expecting an initial price of quite a few thousand dollars. Since Google is only in the prototype stage with its own Google Car, we do expect the final version release date to come around in about 4 years time.
Until the first Google Car, the first completely autonomous vehicle, comes around, Google’s joint ventures with other automotive companies will most likely bring to market more semi-autonomous smart cars. The addition of the skilled new CEO will only speed things up and industry voices think we might see the first self-driving Google Car earlier than expected, putting its release date sometime in 2018, well before the estimated date.
Google is building and engineering prototypes in Livonia, readying them for public roads of Cali, where it will be test-driving all of the models. Austin and Moutain View, California are the two main HQs for test-driving the Google Car, but the self-driving vehicle will soon be all around the states in test drives as the tech giant tries to improve voice guidance, GPS features, navigational controls, motion sensing and environmental perception of the vehicle.
Although we’re still a long way from a fully autonomous Google Car, the changes within Google’s Self-driving Car Project point towards an acceleration in development and towards the confidence that Google already has in its new product. It seems like the company has things on point and going according to plan, but until we find out more, we can only imagine how the world will be with self-driving cars improving travel, safety and comfort.
Track People and Read Through Walls with Wi-Fi Signals
Recent research has shown that your Wi-Fi router’s signals can be used as a sneaky surveillance system to track people and read text through walls.
Recently, Carnegie Mellon University computer scientists developed a deep neural network that digitally maps human bodies using Wi-Fi signals.
It works like radar. Many sensors detect Wi-Fi radio waves reflected around the room by a person walking. This data is processed by a machine learning algorithm to create an accurate image of moving human bodies.
“The results of the study reveal that our model can estimate the dense pose of multiple subjects, with comparable performance to image-based approaches, by utilizing WiFi signals as the only input,” the researchers wrote in a December 2022 pre-print paper.
The team claims this experimental technology is “privacy-preserving” compared to a camera, despite concerns about intrusion. The algorithm can only detect rough body positions, not facial features and appearance, so it could provide a new way to monitor people anonymously.
They write, “This technology may be scaled to monitor the well-being of elder people or just identify suspicious behaviors at home.”
Recent research at the University of California Santa Barbara showed another way Wi-Fi signals can be used to spy through walls. They used similar technology to detect Wi-Fi signals through a building wall and reveal 3D alphabet letters.
WiFi still imagery is difficult due to motionlessness. “We then took a completely different approach to this challenging problem by tracing the edges of the objects,” said UC Santa Barbara electrical and computer engineering professor Yasamin Mostofi.
The iPhone 15’s USB-C switch could simplify computing
A special event tomorrow, Tuesday September 12, will reveal the iPhone 15, and rumors, supply chain sources, and European Union regulators have already given us a lot of information. Last source strongly suggests that the newest iPhone will have a USB-C connector instead of the Lightning connector from the iPhone 5 in 2012.
That’s not all we expect from a new iPhone, but it could be the biggest change due to what it could unlock. That’s especially true for the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, which are expected to get a Thunderbolt port that uses the same connector as USB-C but adds data, display, power, and other input and output options.
The iPhone’s hardware input and output capabilities affect its role in users’ computing lives. Samsung and Motorola, for example, have spent multiple generations of their devices iterating on how smartphones can do more for users than they might be used to. Samsung’s DeX, while awkward at its introduction, has become a surprisingly competent desktop replacement. Android may get a native desktop mode for Pixel 8, if rumors are true.
Apple has yet to prove that iPadOS can replace desktop computing, but it has the potential to transform the iPhone in this regard. The concept of a pocketable thin client, where you take your PC with you and plug it into displays and input devices to work anywhere, has been around for a long time. No technical barriers exist to making an iPhone 15 with a full-featured USB-C port that supports the latest Thunderbolt spec.
When connected to an external display, iPhones are very limited. If implemented by a developer, you can output video at a resolution and aspect ratio that maximizes a TV or monitor while removing the rest of the interface.
An iPhone that projects iPadOS (or, ideally, macOS) when connected to a screen could replace a laptop for a large portion of the population, including casual computing and most of the knowledge workforce’s work tasks. The iPhone’s processors, which are used in Macs, are powerful enough for email, web browsing, video, and photo editing.
The foundations are there, and iPadOS does most of what’s needed on similar hardware. Apple could lose some of its Mac market if it did this, but it hasn’t shied away from cannibalizing its sales in other categories to lead a paradigm shift in how people use their devices.
We know Apple will announce a USB-C iPhone tomorrow, but we don’t know if it will be the same story, slightly repackaged, or a new opportunity for Apple to lead what we think of when we hear the word “smartphone.” I hope a desktop mode is being worked on for a future launch, but I don’t think it’s coming this year.
Redwire Space produces human knee cartilage in space for the first time
Redwire Space has “bioprinted” a human knee meniscus on the International Space Station, which could treat Earthlings with meniscus issues.
The meniscus cartilage was manufactured on Redwire’s ISS BioFabrication Facility (BFF). The BFF printed the meniscus using living human cells and transmitted it to Redwire’s Advanced Space Experiment Processor for a 14-day enculturation process for BFF-Meniscus-2.
SpaceX’s Crew-6 mission returned the tissue to Earth after culturing. UAE astronaut Sultan Al-Neyadi and NASA astronauts Frank Rubio, Warren Hoburg, and Stephen Bowen investigated.
Redwire collaborated with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Center for Biotechnology, which studies warfighter remedies, for the trial. Meniscus injuries are the most prevalent orthopedic injuries in U.S. service members.
In recent months, Redwire Space has advanced biotechnology. The subsidiary of Redwire Corporation launched a 30,000-square-foot biotech and microgravity research park in Indiana this summer.
Redwire EVP John Vellinger called the printing “groundbreaking milestone.”
He stated, “Demonstrating the ability to print complex tissue such as this meniscus is a major leap forward toward the development of a repeatable microgravity manufacturing process for reliable bioprinting at scale.”
The company has long-term bioprinting and space microgravity research goals. Redwire will fly microgravity pharmaceutical drug development and cardiac tissue bioprinting payloads on a November SpaceX Commercial Resupply trip to the ISS.
Sierra Space agreed to integrate Redwire’s biotech and in-space manufacturing technology into its Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFE) space station module. Orbital Reef, a private space station designed by Blue Origin, Boeing, and others, will include LIFE.
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