Future Robots May Be Controlled By Magnetic Fields

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Robots have to be soft and flexible if they are  to become more lifelike or if we want to start using them for more biological applications. Scientists studying soft robotics are trying to overcome some of the inadequacies of moving metal beings made from janky, clanky parts, which might not be so useful for squeezing into tight spaces or moving around in the human body. But switching to bendier materials comes with its own set of problems to solve—for instance, how best to control soft robots, or make them strong…

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10 million users help Microsoft test Windows 10

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Microsoft has amassed over 10 million volunteer testers who help the Redmond tech giant to rigorously test and polish the software. Anyone can sign up to test Windows 10, and now 10 million people are helping Microsoft refine and improve its operating system. Unlike the development of Windows 7 and Windows 8, the tech giant has remained open about the development process and the expected features that would make a certain Windows 10 version. When the company introduced the program in 2014, it wasn’t expected to get such a huge…

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Google disables Gchat to foist Hangouts

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One of the best parts about using Gmail is Gchat, the instant-messaging function that lets you chat with other Google users and still look like you’re the most productive person in the room. Google is replacing Google Talk. Google released Hangouts back in 2013 as a more feature-filled chat service to take the place of Talk in the Gmail sidebar, but users have been able to stick with the older, more basic service if they chose. Google has been touting Hangouts features, which include group video calling and integration with…

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YouTube’s AI can now describe sound effects

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YouTube understands the power of video to tell stories, move people, and leave a lasting impression. One part of storytelling that many people take for granted is sound, yet sound adds color to the world around us. YouTube has had automated captions for its videos since 2009, and now it’s expanding the feature to include captions for sound effects. While those three were some of the most frequent manually captioned sounds, YouTube says it’s only in the early stages of making improvements for its deaf and hard of hearing users.…

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Uber Rival Grab Said Raising $1.5 Billion in New Funding Round

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Grab, Uber Technologies Inc.’s largest rival in Southeast Asia, plans to raise more than $1.5 billion in a new funding round backed by SoftBank Group Corp., people familiar with the matter said. SoftBank is pledging about $1 billion in the ride-sharing company backed by Tiger Global Management and GGV Capital, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is private. It wasn’t clear if the money was coming from the Japanese company itself or its yet-to-close SoftBank Vision Fund. Grab’s financing could be a record for Southeast…

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Google announces app updates to Allo, Duo, and Photos

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Google has announced a slew of updates to its Duo, Allo, and Photos apps, including new calling capabilities, file transfers, and easier photo sharing. Google Duo will also offer audio-only calls on Android and iOS. The new feature is now available in Brazil and will be arriving “around the world in the coming days,” according to Google.  Google reported that they are now adding audio-only calling in Duo. So in those moments when video calling isn’t an option users can stay connected with family and friends through audio calling. Duo…

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ISPs argue Web history isn’t “sensitive” they should be able to sell it

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Internet providers are continuing to argue that they should be free to share and sell users’ web history without permission because it isn’t “sensitive information.” “Web browsing and app usage history are not ‘sensitive information,’” CTIA said in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission yesterday. CTIA is the main lobbyist group representing mobile broadband providers such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA, and Sprint. The disagreement is around whether internet providers should be treated differently than web companies, like Facebook and Google. Internet providers argue that it’s unfair that the…

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Google kills off the Captcha Feature

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The online tests to check whether you’re a human or a robot  have been a necessary evil, but Google is finally killing them off in their current form. For some time now, Captcha has served as the primary way of telling humans and robots apart on the internet. It made sure that the person looking to access a website was actually a human being – ensuring that robots couldn’t be used to send spam or flood a website with requests. However, the technologies have become more complex and robots have…

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Samsung Galaxy S8 to Adopt Facial Recognition

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When Samsung rolled out the Galaxy Note 7 last year, it introduced a new iris scanning technology designed to bolster device security. However the Galaxy’s note 7 life was short lived. The new Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus will reportedly both include iris scanning functionality. Samsung is planning to add facial recognition technology to its S8 lineup to either complement the iris scanner or replace it altogether. The Galaxy S8 to be unveiled later this month will blend fingerprint, iris and facial detection to verify users accessing mobile services…

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Security Concerns Rising in the Age of IoT

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IoT has gone mainstream. Home refrigerators are chattier than ever, and emerging virtual home assistants can order wings for dinner, turn on lawn sprinklers, start the car and purchase pounds of cookies. Yet behind the headlines of these gee-whiz cyber technologies lurks a shortcoming. It is one that poses significant threats to national security but could be remedied fairly easily, some experts offer. The mobile device and sensor industries lack uniform security standards and a system of checks and balances—something akin to the safety standards for electrical devices and components…

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