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From The Editors Technology

What Do We Know About Samsung’s Bendable Smartphone Galaxy X?

Samsung and other manufacturers, including LG and Lenovo, are known to have been working on smartphone devices with bendable displays for some years now. However, with the current news and rumors surrounding Samsung‘s new bendable smartphone, it appears that the Korean giant is winning the foldable-smartphone race.

The technology which was previously referred to as Project Valley is now being, reportedly, dubbed as the Galaxy X. Whether or not the name sticks is anybody’s guess – for all we know, we could be in for yet another name on the final product. Waiting for the official announcement and release is all we can do for now.

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News about its features and expected release date has been gradually trickling out from, both, reliable and unreliable sources. We have endeavored in the following paragraphs to make some chronological sense of all the information that has, so far, been doing the rounds.

If tech site Let’sGoDigital’s report is anything to go by, the Korean National Radio Research Agency (NRRA) – Korea’s answer to United States’ FCC – and the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) have gone ahead and approved a Samsung device with a new model number SM-G888NO, believed to be the Galaxy X.

 

As is evident from the certification result page, model SM- G888NO has been classified as “Equipment of radio equipment for LTE mobile communication (transceiver of land mobile station) under certification number MSIP-CMM-SEC-SMG888N0 of Sep 21, 2017.

However, what has got the rumor mills working full-time, is the fact that a Samsung device with an identical model number (SM- G888NO) was also seen at the WiFi Alliance. If you access the link https://www.wi-fi.org/content/search-page?keys=SM-G888N0, you will observe that model number SM-G888N0 has been categorized as a Phone.

Furthermore, a couple of months ago, a Samsung device bearing the same number was spotted at the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (Bluetooth SIG). The model number, which is listed as a Samsung Mobile Phone under “Design Description” in the Bluetooth SIG certification, did not correspond to any known Samsung device – thereby, fuelling speculations, even then, that the model in question couldn’t be anything but the bendable Samsung Galaxy X.

 

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Now that we have, somewhat, established – with the help of all the circumstantial evidence at our disposal – that it is the Galaxy X we are faced with here, let’s take a look at some of its reported core features and what it promises to offer consumers.

Here are the rumored specifications of the bendable Samsung Galaxy X

  • 5 inch (12.7 cm) display – 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Runs on Android v7.0 (Nougat) Operating System
  • Powered by Quad core (2.4 GHz, Dual core, Kryo + 2 GHz, Dual core,
    Kryo) Qualacomm Snapdragon 830 MSM8998 processor
  • 6 GB of RAM
  • 128 GB of Storage
  • Non-removable Li-Ion 4000 mAh battery
  • 18-megapixel primary camera
  • 8-megapixel front camera

Again, in so far as the release date is concerned, one can but speculate as Samsung has not been very forthcoming in clearing the ambiguity surrounding the Galaxy X. However, Techadvisor reports that in spite of the “foldable technology” being said to be ready “a source close to the matter told the Korea Herald that the device has not been unveiled because of marketability and profitability issues. Plans have also been held up by the political scandal involving president Park Geun-hye and her confidante Choi Soon-sil.”

Earlier, Samsung had been looking forward to unveiling the folding smartphone in the third quarter of 2017 with the company expected to ship out over 100,000 units. ETNews also predicted a working prototype in Q3 2017 while Chinese leaker mmddj_chin went even further, claiming that the Galaxy X would go on sale in Q3 2017, ahead of the Note 8 in Q4.

Well, now that the Q3-launch speculation is busted, with Q3 at its fag end, Bloomberg has reported that a bendable smartphone is due to debut as a Samsung Note device next year.

Koh Dong-jin, president of mobile business at Samsung Electronics, said: “As the head of the business, I can say our current goal is next year. When we can overcome some problems for sure, we will launch the product,” Bloomberg reports.

We may, or may not, get to see the Galaxy X anytime soon; however, what we can hope for is that when it does arrive, it is as dependable as it is bendable.

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From The Editors Technology

Musk Claims To Have Verbal Approval for NYC-DC Hyperloop – City Authorities Refute Claim

Tesla and SpaceX supremo, Elon Musk, caused some confusion with a Thursday tweet about receiving verbal approval from government authorities to build an underground Hyperloop system connecting Washington DC to New York, with two stoppages at Baltimore and Philadelphia, respectively.

The tweet claimed that the DC-NYC distance would be covered in a mere 29 minutes. Needless to say, Elon Musk’s side project, “The Boring Company,” would be undertaking the ambitious project – provided all goes well with the mandatory authorizations.

However, the representatives of the four cities concerned informed “Fortune” that no such approval had been given. In fact, there wasn’t even a proper meeting or discussion on the subject.

“Elon Musk has had no contact with Philadelphia officials on this matter. We do not know what he means when he says he received ‘verbal government approval’,” Mike Dunn, deputy communications director at the City of Philadelphia, said to “Fortune,” while Anthony McCarthy, director of communications for the Baltimore mayor’s office informed “Fortune” that the city of Baltimore had not given any approval for the project to Musk or “The Boring Company.”

“Right now, I would characterize any conversations as preliminary and not extensive,” McCarthy said.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has supported .the concept – “I am excited to hear about Elon Musk’s underground Hyperloop connecting New York to Washington, DC through Baltimore,” she said in a statement. “If his plan becomes a reality it has tremendous potential to create new opportunities for Baltimore and transform the way we link to neighboring cities.”

Meanwhile, Eric Phillips, the New York City Press Secretary, said in a tweeted statement: “This is news to City Hall,” following it up later with: “The entirety of what we know about this proposal is what’s in Mr. Musk’s Tweet. That is not how we evaluate projects of any scale.”

The White House said in a statement to the “New York Times” “We have had promising conversations to date, are committed to transformative infrastructure projects and believe our greatest solutions have often come from the ingenuity and drive of the private sector.”

While the White House statement may not have been very forthcoming about the project or its specifics, it certainly points towards the source of Musk’s so-called “verbal approval.”

When pressed for clarification on the Thursday announcement, Musk backpedaled a bit with a follow-up tweet: “Still a lot of work needed to receive formal approval, but am optimistic that will occur rapidly.”

In another tweet, later, Musk urged the people to take the matter up with their local authorities.

“If you want this to happen fast, please let your local & federal elected representatives know. Makes a big difference if they hear from you,” read the tweet.

Fortune claims to have been informed by a Boring Company spokesperson that the project has the nod from “key government decision-makers” without providing details.

Having got held up in a traffic snarl one day in December last year, Musk took to Twitter to vent his frustration – “Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…”

At first, it seemed nothing more than the ranting of a man frustrated with the traffic but several subsequent tweets on the subject confirmed, to some extent, the billionaire’s seriousness about his plans of building a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) to solve traffic woes.

Musk founded “The Boring Company” with the purpose of building an underground network of tunnels beneath cities, starting with Los Angeles, to counter surface traffic congestions.

However, in the current proposal to link the four cities in the Northeast corridor, the tunnels will house the Hyperloop, a technology that, basically, uses levitated pods to go through a low-pressure tube powered by a “custom electric motor.” This mode of transporting people and vehicles can be done at airline speeds.

Back in 2013, Musk had said it would take 7-10 years and cost under $6 billion to build a Hyperloop between LA and San Francisco, a distance of about 400 miles.

According to White House officials, Musk had touched upon the Boring Company idea in a meeting with President Donald Trump in March this year, in addition to bringing up his Mars mission plans.

In April, Musk’s idea of using tunnels to address traffic congestion in LA and for intercity connectivity was lauded by White House National Economic Council Director Gary John.

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From The Editors Technology

Massive Protest against FCC Proposal to Rollback Net Neutrality – Amazon, Google, and Other Tech Giants to Participate

More than 80,000 websites including tech giants such as Google, Amazon, and many others are gearing up for an online protest today – being touted as the “Day of Action” – in support of net neutrality which the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is apparently committed to doing away with.

The protest involves the coming together of tens of thousands of online activists and businesses, big and small, to inform users about the Trump administration’s plans to hand over control of how we access the internet today to a handful of service providers.

The proposed rollback of the net neutrality rules, put in place by the Obama administration in 2015, will give too much power to ISPs (Internet Service Providers) such as Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, and Charter who will be able to determine and control what users can see online, and at what price and speed.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that financially strong companies, capable of paying higher premium to these ISPs, will be given preference over lesser entities – so to speak – in terms of speedier access to their domains and other related advantages.

What’s worse is that the service providers will be in a position to even block or slow down data of rivals with the purpose of hurting them – in a business sense, of course – or with the unethical intention of easing competition for affiliated websites – read paying websites.

The concept of net neutrality faced its first real challenge in May when the FCC voted in favor of repealing/reversing the Internet neutrality law passed under the previous government. The FCC, by the way, is headed by Trump appointee Ajit Pai who, with a majority, is moving aggressively toward repealing the rule against Internet interference by ISPs.

July 17, has been set as the deadline for incoming comments and already half a billion comments on the issue have been received by FCC.

“We’re trying to make it easier for real people to comment and make their voices heard,” said Evan Greer, campaign director for Fight for the Future. “Ajit Pai has made it clear he has no interest in listening to the public. He’s listening to the cable companies and plans to give them what they want.”

Fight for the Future is a non-profit advocacy group and one of the organizers of today’s protest.

Democratic senators Ron Wyden, of Oregon, and Brian Schatz, of Hawaii, who are in favor of the net neutrality rule in place now, asked the FCC to ensure its computer system was prepared to handle the deluge of comments expected.

It would appear that the FCC is simply going through the motions of ‘comments and deadlines’ in view of the statements coming from supporters of the anti-net-neutrality move.

Berin Szoka of TechFreedom, a policy group that supports the FCC proposal, said in an interview that the protests were “not going to stop the FCC.”

“Their entire agenda is simply to jump up and down at the FCC, and jump up and down on the Hill, and try to obstruct a legislative deal,” Szoka said.

AT&T, however, appears to have suddenly changed its stance on the neutrality issue stating in a blog post on Tuesday that it will join the “day of action” with TV and print advertisements.

“We agree that no company should be allowed to block content or throttle the download speeds of content in a discriminatory manner,” Bob Quinn, senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs, said in the post. “So, we are joining this effort because it’s consistent with AT&T’s proud history of championing our customers’ right to an open Internet.”

The organizers of the “Day of Action” are not buying, though. “This is so ridiculous I’m laughing out loud,” Greer said in an e-mail when asked his reaction, reports thestar.com. “AT&T and other companies like Comcast and Verizon have waged an all out war on net neutrality protections because they want to be able to charge Internet users and startups extra fees, and squeeze all of us for more money for less Internet.”

The online businesses/websites taking part in the protest will reportedly display eye-catching messages on their home pages urging users to protest to the Congress and FCC. Some sample messages circulated by the organizing committee warn, ““this site has been blocked” and “we’re stuck in the slow lane.”

Here are some tweets from liberals protesting the change being sought by Ajit Pai.

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy

“Ending #netneutrality would allow Internet providers to slow certain websites or charge more for preferential service.”

Minnesota Senator Al Franken

“The @FCC wants to get rid of the rules that protect #netneutrality. That’s a threat to destroy the Internet as we know it,”

In Evan Greer’s own words, “the goal of the protest … is to ensure that ordinary people have a voice and are heard by decision makers in Washington, D.C. No one – regardless of their political affiliation – wants their cable company to control what they can see and do on the Internet, or to charge extra fees to access the content they want.”

 

 

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From The Editors Technology

The Best Alexa – Compatible Smart Home Devices Under Different Categories

The Amazon Echo along with the virtual assistant Alexa has made quiet inroads into our homes and suddenly we find it compatible with almost all categories of smart home devices including lighting, switches, dimmers and outlets, smart home hubs, locks, cameras, and home security, heating and cooling, automobiles, services, and more.

Third party integration is happening at such a frantic pace that it is hard to keep abreast with all the compatible smart home devices in each of the categories mentioned. This effectively means that you don’t really need an Echo to make the most of Alexa’s skills. Every other tech company is looking to link its devices to the versatile Alexa.

We have compiled below a list of some of the best products under each major smart home category that is Echo/Alexa compatible including Amazon’s own Alexa devices.

Amazon’s Alexa Devices

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Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo is a 9.25-inch Bluetooth speaker with a seven-piece microphone array which responds to the default “wake-word” Alexa with the provision of changing it to “Amazon”, “Echo” or “Computer” should the user choose to.

The device which is priced at $180 responds to your voice commands to control a rapidly increasing range of smart home products, pause or play music from your smartphone, Amazon Prime, or Spotify, let you know the weather or the time remaining in the completion of a task ordered earlier and even place an order for you with Amazon by simply listening to your voice.

Amazon Echo Show

The new addition “Amazon Echo Show” with a price tag of $230 kind of augments the “Amazon Echo” with the inclusion of a camera and touchscreen, making it possible to make video calls, watch Amazon Prime and YouTube videos, and make Amazon purchases and much more.

Amazon Echo Look

The fashion-friendly “Amazon Echo Look,” another recent addition to the Echo line-up is an Alexa enabled camera which serves as your very own fashion consultant. Alexa can be instructed to build your personal “ lookbook” with the help of photos and videos of your outfits which it captures.

It can be made to use machine learning to let you know which outfit looks good on you. Not only this, you can even ask for its suggestions before buying new clothes. At $200 with Amazon, it is not a bad buy at all.

Amazon Echo Dot

Priced at $49 the “Amazon Echo Dot” is the poor man’s version of Echo – an abridged version really. Standing just about 1.5 inches tall it is minus the top-of-the-line built-in speaker of the Echo.

While you can still talk to Alexa via a smaller inbuilt speaker for most of Alexa’s services, you will not be able to stream music. You can work around that problem, though, by connecting to existing speakers via Bluetooth or an audio-out jack.

Amazon Tap

The Amazon Tap is a portable battery-powered Bluetooth speaker incorporated with the core features of Echo. Unlike the Echo or the Echo Dot which is always listening, the Tap requires you to press its mic button to be able to speak to Alexa. An updated version, however, allows you to activate hands-free listening but you lose out on an hour of battery life at least.

With no LTE option available with Tap, you need a Wi-Fi connection to communicate with Alexa. You will have to use your smartphone as a hotspot if you wish to carry it around as a portable device.

Amazon Fire TV

While the Amazon Fire TV is an Alexa device it does not have the same Alexa features the makers have blessed Echo with, but there is still enough of Alexa built into it to control smart home products and utilize other Alexa features.

The difference is mainly in the way you communicate with the device. With the Fire TV there’s no permanent listening mode; instead, you need to turn your TV on and interact with Alexa via the Fire TV Remote – it can be seen as a blessing in disguise by privacy-conscious users. At $ 90 it is not a bad buy.

Amazon Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote

Priced at $50, the Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote is the most budget-friendly virtual assistant option. It boasts the same features and uses the same remote interface as the Fire TV Box.

Amazon App

Amazon has upgraded its shopping app for iPhone to include Alexa but with limited features as compared to Echo. However, it is all the time with you and is pretty handy when it comes to searching the store for products you may be interested in buying. There is no update, yet, on when Alexa will be made available on the app for the Android platform.

Automotive

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Ford Sync – Alexa, with the core features of Echo and some automobile-related ones, will be integrated with all Ford vehicles with the latest version of the Ford Sync infotainment system.

Automatic – The Automatic is a small device with Amazon’s Alexa integration that can be connected to the diagnostic port in your car for data such as fuel level, engine light codes and other driving data beamed straight to your smartphone via Bluetooth. In addition to fuel levels, you can ask Alexa about where you last parked the vehicle, or what distance you have driven over a defined period of time.

Garageio  WiFi enabled gadget, the Garageio can be connected to a maximum of three garage doors to remotely open or close them using your smartphone. With Alexa enabled devices you can do the same by simply asking the virtual assistant.

Services

IFTTT

“If This, Then That” or IFTTT is a very handy service indeed and when connected to your Amazon Echo it serves as a tireless and versatile intermediary between you and a host of other products and services that are yet to be integrated with Alexa.

Spotify

With the Echo integration, you can control your Spotify music with your voice – thanks to Alexa.

Capital One Bank

Capital One is the first bank to integrate Alexa enabling you to check your account balance, pay utility and other bills, and keep tabs on your spending – all you need to do is ask your VA Alexa.

Uber

Hailing an Uber service or checking the location of your Uber can now be done with your voice after the Uber-Alexa integration.

Google Calendar

While the two tech giants may not see eye to eye most times, Amazon has integrated Alexa for Google Calendar support. Alexa can now be asked what’s on your calendar or be told to add an event to your calendar – how cool is that!

Domino’s

The Alexa-Dominoes integration allows you to order a pizza from whatever position you are in without moving a finger – just let Alexa know how you want your pizza.

Other services that are Alexa compatible area:

  • USA TODAY Network
  • 1-800-Flowers.com
  • Kayak
  • HomeAdvisor
  • KidsMD
  • OurGroceries
  • Pandora
  • iHeartRadio
  • TuneIn
  • Amazon Prime Music

Locks, Cameras, and Home Security

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August Smart Lock (2nd Gen)

While the unlocking option is available with all Alexa-friendly smart locks, the second generation August Smart Lock is the only one that can even be locked by giving Alexa a PIN code to work with – a real clever safety feature.

Scout Alarm

Among all the other Alexa enabled security systems, Scout Alarm is the only one that is considered a “pure” security system that connects to Alexa. It allows you to arm and disarm the system and even call for help with your voice commands to Alexa.

Netgear Arlo Pro

One of the best outdoor security cameras available today, the Netgear Arlo Pro is compatible with the Amazon Echo Show. Live feeds from compatible security cameras can be viewed on its touch screen.

Ring Video Doorbells and Security Cameras

Similar to the Netgear Arlo cameras, live feeds from Ring doorbells and cameras can be also viewed on the Echo Show.

Switches, Dimmers, and Outlets

While smart plugs, switches, and outlets allow you to control lights, ceiling fans and even your garbage disposals, Alexa integration makes it possible to do the same things and more with voice commands. The products below give you that Alexa flexibility.

  • Samsung SmartThings Outlet (via SmartThings Hub)
  • Belkin WeMo Light Switch
  • Belkin WeMo Switch
  • Belkin WeMo Insight Switch
  • iHome Smart Plug (via Wink Hub)
  • Insteon Switches, Dimmers, and Outlets (via Insteon Hub)
  • GE Z-Wave Switches, Dimmers, and Outlets (via SmartThings Hub)
  • Leviton Switches, Dimmers, and Outlets (via SmartThings Hub or Wink Hub)
  • Lutron Caséta Wireless Switches, Dimmers, and Remotes
  • Evolve Switches, Dimmers, and Outlets (via SmartThings Hub)
  • Enerwave Switches, Dimmers, and Outlets (via SmartThings Hub)
  • D-Link WiFi Smart Plugs
  • TP-Link HS110 Smart Plug with Energy Monitoring
  • TP-Link HS100 Smart Plug

Smart Home Hubs

There are still many smart home devices out there that are not equipped to communicate directly with Alexa and require a smart home hub to act as an intermediary for the integration. Here’s a list of some of these hubs.

  • Samsung SmartThings Hub
  • Wink Hubs
  • Simple Control Simple Hub
  • Almond Smart Home WiFi Routers
  • Universal Devices ISY Hubs
  • HomeSeer Home Controllers
  • Insteon Hub
  • Alarm.com Hub
  • Vivint Hub
  • Nexia Home Intelligence Bridge

Lighting

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Lighting is the first category of smart home devices to have integrated with Amazon Echo. Currently, there are countless switches, dimmers, small bulbs, and outlets that are Alexa-friendly. Here are some of the more popular ones.

  • Philips Hue White Starter Kit
  • Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit
  • Philips Friends of Hue Lighting Bloom (via Hue Bridge)
  • Philips Hue Go (via Hue Bridge)
  • LIFX Smart Bulbs and Light Strip
  • Cree Connected LED (via SmartThings Hub or Wink Hub)
  • GE Link Bulb (via Wink Hub)
  • TP-Link WiFi Smart Bulbs
  • TCP Connected Smart Bulbs (via SmartThings Hub or Wink Hub)
  • Osram Lightify Smart Bulb (via SmartThings Hub or Wink Hub)

Heating and Cooling

Alexa’s capabilities are continuing to reach out to more and more smart home device categories and thermostat control (Heating and Cooling) is also within its ambit now. Please find below a list of the leading Alexa-enabled thermostats.

  • Honeywell Total Connect Comfort Thermostats (via SmartThings Hub)
  • Honeywell Lyric Thermostat (via SmartThings Hub)
  • Ecobee3 Smarter WiFi Thermostat
  • Nest Learning Thermostat
  • Haiku Home Ceiling Fans
  • Keen Home Smart Vents (via SmartThings Hub)
  • Sensi WiFi Programmable Thermostat
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From The Editors Technology

Toyota’s Revolutionary New Human Support Robot for Paralyzed Veterans

Toyota announced Friday that the in-home trial run of its new Human Support Robot working with paralyzed veteran Romulo Camargo was completed and the robot was now ready to feature at the 2017 NASCAR Coke 400 pre-race in Daytona, Beach, Florida. Toyota, however, will continue to work with the veteran “to understand how we can use platforms like HSR to improve mobility.”

During a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan about a decade ago, Army Ranger Romulo Camargo’s troops were ambushed and Camargo sustained a gunshot injury to the neck that rendered him paralyzed from the neck down. Tasks that most of us take for granted is an everyday struggle for this veteran who was on a noble mission.

“When they opened the box, and I saw the robot, I figured we would unfold the next chapter in human support robots helping people with disabilities — like this research is going to change the world,” said Camargo in a release.

The HSR weighs 81 pounds and is three feet tall equipped with stereo camera eyes and a wide-angle camera, which can be called the robot’s nose. The HSR recognizes voice commands like “open the door” and other similar instructions given to it and responds with its robotic voice. In the 2-day trial, it proved a useful companion to the decorated veteran by helping him out with tasks like opening doors and grabbing food from the pantry and handing it over to him.

Designed to be an obliging and safe home companion to those who need its services, the HSR is capable of extending its height by a foot.

The single extending arm of the robot works in sync with the onboard intelligence that identifies objects. The arm responds by reaching out and grabbing objects like a water bottle, a pen, or a doorknob with the help of Vacuum-pad grippers.

While the obstacle avoidance technology enables the robot to move autonomously within the home at 5mph, it can also be controlled using a smartphone. People who connect to the robot via Skype appear on a small display screen at the top.

The three primary modes of the HSR are:

* Pick-up objects with the gripper that extends from the body

* Fetch – the HSR’s response to voice commands

* Manual control

Toyota’s Asimo, the robot that can walk, run, navigate stairs, and greet people has been the most popular so far in the robotics community. The HSR, however, is an addition to an
increasing range of home and human assistant robots developed by Toyota including WelWalk, and Transfer Assist Robot, which can move an adult from a bed to a chair or to a toilet.

The robot has a run time of three hours on a single charge but does not have the capability of recharging itself as confirmed by Toyota.

When Mashable asked about the robots price and availability, Toyota responded by saying that it was a little too early to talk about either aspect as it was an on-going research project.

Source: http://mashable.com

 

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From The Editors Technology

New Atari Gaming Console in the Pipeline – Atari CEO Chesnais Confirms

Last week, a twenty-one second video appeared on the website www.ataribox.com, which showed panning close-ups of a wood-paneled hardware unit called the Ataribox which in all likelihood is Atari’s new gaming console.

The brief video was titled “First Look: A brand new Atari product. Years in the making.” The video abruptly ends with the message “Coming Soon” – “Be the first to know.”

Speaking exclusively to GameBeats, Atari CEO Fred Chesnais gave credence to the rumors and speculations that are rife about a new Atari gaming console on the horizon. “We’re back in the hardware business,” is what he said.`

As of now, that is about all we know about the Ataribox as Mr. Chesnais was not very forthcoming other than his “back in the hardware business” statement. However, he seems to have informed GamesBeat that the new Ataribox is a PC technology-based gaming device and the design was still to be fine-tuned. Further information on the hardware will be made available at an undisclosed date.

It will be a long hiatus of twenty-four years before Atari unveils the Ataribox. Its last game-box, the Jaguar, was not much to write home about having been released in 1993 in North America and discontinued in 1995 after a rather subdued response from the gaming public. Atari managed to sell only 125,000 units before it decided it had had enough of the toothless Jaguar.

A brief history of Atari

“To those born into the console era, whose formative gaming education came from Nintendo, Sega, or PlayStation, Atari feels like an amorphous presence in the world of video games: a once-important name that has been diluted by countless mergers, acquisitions, and bankruptcies. A titan of the arcade era whose relevance had dwindled almost to nothingness by the turn of the millennium.” writes Shunal Dokes, in the article “IGN PRESENTS THE HISTORY OF ATARI.”

A trip down Atari’s gaming memory lane

1972-1984 – Atari Inc.

Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney established Atari, Inc. on June 27, 1972, and did not take long to hire the American pioneering engineer and computer scientist, Al Alcorn, as their first design engineer. He was immediately asked to work on an arcade version of Magnavox Odyssey’s Tennis game to be named “Pong.”

“Pong quickly became a success and is the first commercially successful arcade video game machine, which helped to establish the video game industry along with the first home console, the Magnavox Odyssey” – Wikipedia.

In a move to circumvent the exclusive deals with distributors, Atari sneakily created its own competitor, Kee Games in 1973. It was run by Nolan Bushnell’s neighbor, Joe Keenan and headed by its lead engineer Steve Bristow.

Kee Games went on to sell uniquely enhanced knock-offs of Atari games and in November 1974, Kee Games introduced its first unique game – Tank. Following its immense success Tank – II was unveiled that same year.

“Tank” was later to become the basis for Atari Combat, which was the game packed in with the Atari 2600 video game console in 1977.

The multiprocessor-based, programmable game, the Atari Video Computer System (2600), made its debut in October 1977. Packaged with two joysticks and two paddle controllers together with a two-player game, Combat, with 27 variations.

1985 to 1996 – Atari Corporation

Atari Corporation was founded by Jack Tramiel – Polish-American businessman of the “Commodore” fame – after he purchased the beleaguered Atari, Inc. from its parent company.

In April 1985 Atari Corporation released the first update to the 8-bit computer line — the Atari 65XE, the Atari XE series, and in June the same year, the Atari 130XE was launched.

September 1985 saw the new 32-bit Atari ST computers hit the stores.

Two consoles, the Atari 2600jr and the Atari 7800 (which had seen a limited release in 1984) were released in 1986 and were instrumental in Atari’s resurrection, earning a $25 million profit for the company that year.

The Atari Lynx, a handheld console with color graphics was introduced in 1989 amid much fanfare. Not able to make the game available nationwide for the 1989 Christmas season due to a shortage of parts, the Atari Lynx lost out to Nintendo’s Game Boy despite its black & white display. However, the Game Boy was cheaper with a longer battery life – and, most importantly, it was available to buy.

Atari Corporation filed an “illegal monopoly” lawsuit against Nintendo for $250 million, in 1989, eventually losing the case when it was rejected by a US district court in 1992.

1998 to 2000- A division of Hasbro

“In March 1998, JTS sold the Atari name and assets to Hasbro Interactive for $5 million—less than a fifth of what Warner Communications had paid 22 years earlier.[33] This transaction primarily involved the brand and intellectual property, which now fell under the Atari Interactive division of Hasbro Interactive. The brand name changed hands again in December 2000 when French software publisher Infogrames took over Hasbro Interactive” – Wikipedia

2001 to now – Infogrames/Atari SA

In an attempt to “reinvent” ” the Atari brand, Infogrames (now Atari SA) launched three new games, Splashdown, MX Rider and TransWorld Surf, with strong branding of the Atari name on the packaging boxes.

Infogrames also used the Atari brand name for games targeting the 18-34 age group.

V-Rally 3, Neverwinter Nights, Stuntman and Enter the Matrix were some other games from Infogrames that were marketed under the Atari brand.

May 7, 2003, saw Infogrames change the name of its discreetly owned US subsidiary, Infogrames NA to Atari Inc. also renaming its European operations to Atari Europe. Hasbro Interactive became a separate corporate entity with the name Atari Interactive.

On October 8, 2008, Infogrames completed its acquisition of Atari Inc., making it a wholly owned subsidiary.

December 9, 2008, saw Atari acquire Cryptic Studios, an MMORPG developer.

“On January 21, 2013, Atari, Atari Interactive, Humongous, and California US Holdings (collectively, the “Companies”) filed petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. All three Ataris emerged from bankruptcy one year later and the entering of the social casino gaming industry with Atari Casino. Frederic Chesnais, who now heads all three companies, stated that their entire operations consist of a staff of 10 people” – Wikipedia

“On June 22, 2014, Atari announced a new corporate strategy that would include a focus on “new audiences”, specifically “LGBT, social casinos, real-money gambling, and YouTube” – Wikipedia.

AND on June 16, 2017 – “We’re back in the hardware business” with Ataribox.

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From The Editors Science

Electricity-Generating Biotechnology Can be used for Waste-Water Treatment – Says New Research

Professors Ioannis (Yannis) Ieropoulos and John Greenman of the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) recently published the findings of their groundbreaking research in the leading scientific journal PLOS ONE.

What they claim to have achieved is a technology that kills pathogens, like the dreaded “Salmonella,” harmful to humans, by employing an existing technology that generates electricity from organic waste, like urine – referred to as ‘Urine-tricity++’ (electricity from urine).

The following is the project goal of the Microbial Fuel Cells (MFC) project as explained in the article “Urine-tricity++: Electricity from Urine” (www.brl.ac.uk):

“The proposed work is all about electricity generation, whilst cleaning the urine ‘fuel’ and producing clean water in addition to fertilizer, and is focusing on small-scale MFC units, which have been shown to be more efficient and energy-dense. The continuous flow nature of the MFC technology facilitates continuous growth of the constituent biofilm organisms, which clean the input and can be subsequently used as fertilizer. In essence, the more powerful the MFC is, the greater are the rates of urine utilization.”

If the technology in question is a feasible option and can be put to practical use it could change the sanitation scenario in developing countries especially in areas with poor or no sanitation policies and infrastructure.

What is more, it can be deployed at homes to treat waste before it is released into the public sewerage network thereby reducing the burden on sewage treatment companies.

Director of the Bristol BioEnergy Centre, based at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory at UWE Bristol, Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos, who also happens to be leading the research, said:

“Water companies are under pressure to improve treatment and produce cleaner and cleaner water at the end of the process. This means costs are rising, energy consumption levels are high and chemicals that are not good for the environment are being used.”

He said it was important to ascertain that the technology could actually engage and destroy pathogens before it could be recommended for use in the Developing World.

The Professor also said that globally, it was the first such report – that pathogens could be destroyed using this method.

“We were really excited with the results…. it shows we have a stable biological system in which we can treat waste, generate electricity and stop harmful organisms making it through to the sewerage network.”

It’s not that the research involves a new technology altogether; it’s just a brilliant improvisation on the emerging MFC technology created by Dr. Ieropoulos and his team that can clean organic waste, including urine, to a level where it could be safely released into the environment, generating energy in the process.

The technology, however, is still in its nascent stage – in earlier trials, just about enough electricity was generated to charge a mobile or, power light bulbs.

A ‘Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’ funded program, the exceptional system being developed uses a method where microbes inside the fuel cells consume and break down the organic content of the urine generating power as a more-than-useful by-product.

“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are funding research on the topic: ‘Create the Next Generation of Sanitation Technologies’. As part of the Grand Challenges Exploration Scheme (Round 7) the Intelligent Bio Energy Group were awarded a Phase-I grant for the project ‘Urine-tricity: electricity from urine’,” (www.brl.ac.uk)

To check the effectiveness of the technology in destroying pathogens, Salmonella enteritidis was released into the urine flowing through the system and, indeed, a significant drop in pathogen numbers was observed at the end of the process – below the minimum threshold set by the sanitation sector.

“The wonderful outcome in this study was that tests showed a reduction in the number of pathogens beyond the minimum expectations in the sanitation world,” the emeritus Professor of Microbiology and co-researcher, John Greenman, said.

“We have reduced the number of pathogenic organisms significantly but we haven’t shown we can bring them down to zero — we will continue the work to test if we can completely eliminate them,” he added.

Research and experiments are continuing to establish the effectiveness of the MFC system in successfully eliminating other pathogens and viruses.

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From The Editors Technology

Elon Musk Reveals Videos of The Boring Company’s First Tunnel

Elon Musk’s ‘Boring Company’ has begun work on its first tunnel beneath Los Angeles,

Musk on Friday posted several pictures of equipment meant for digging tunnels beneath Los Angeles. The project is one of Musk’s latest ventures, which was inspired by a desire to alleviate “out of control” traffic in Los Angeles.

In a series of posts today, Musk revealed a glimpse at the processes that are bringing the first tunnel to life, in the first stages of a network that will ‘cover all of greater LA.’

‘Warning, this may cause motion sickness or seizures’

He gave a look at the boring machine segments being lowered into the starter tunnel. These are now ‘going through final assembly, according to Musk, and will eventually be ‘a few hundred feet long’

An inside view of the tunnel:

This video shows off the very front of Musk’s tunnel-boring machine, known as the cutterhead.

Cutterhead in operation at standard industry speed. Planning to jack this up by a factor of ten or more.

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

It’s been just six months since Musk first revealed his radical plan to beat LA’s notorious gridlock – and now, the entry hole, staging area, and starting tunnel for the first Boring Machine, ‘Godot,’ is complete, Musk says

Entry hole, staging area and starting tunnel for Boring Machine 1 (aka Godot) now complete

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

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From The Editors Technology

Elon Musk Gets His Tunnel-Boring Machine at SpaceX

Elon Musk CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX recently launched yet another startup: the Boring Company.

Elon Musk has been teasing his tunneling project since he first tweeted the idea when he was stuck in Los Angeles traffic.

On Thursday, an all-white tunnel-boring machine appeared outside SpaceX’s Hawthorne headquarters. Sections of a tunnel-boring machine are being worked on in a parking lot along Crenshaw Blvd. across the street. SpaceX employee posted a picture on Instagram, which was later removed from his account.

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Elon Musk at TED Conference, 2017 – gave the first look at the underground tunnels his new company, The Boring Company, is shooting to develop in the future.

Musk said that they plan to go down to about 50 feet into that hole in the parking lot before starting to dig horizontally in order not to disrupt any gas or sewage line. There, they will be able to experiment with new digging technologies build on the current boring machine.

The cars will remain on a platform called a car “skate” in the tunnel, which will take it through at up to 130 miles per hour. Musk says he’s shooting to have many layers of tunnels.

“There’s no real limit to how many levels of tunnels you can have,” he said. “The deepest mines are much deeper than the tallest buildings are tall.”

“We have a pet snail named Gary,” he said. “Gary is capable of currently going 14 times faster than a tunnel boring machine. We want to beat Gary. He’s not a patient little fellow, that will be a victory. Victory will be beating the snail.”

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From The Editors Technology

Lilium’s All-Electric VTOL Jet Took Off First Introductory Flight Successfully

The world’s first fully electric VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) jet has completed its maiden test flight in Bavaria, Germany, the two-seater ‘Eagle’ prototype completed a range of complex stratagem  in the sky, including a transition from hover-mode to wing-borne forward flight.

Lilium, the company developing the jet-propelled vehicle, says it could eventually change the face of transport by allowing passengers to rapidly travel through cities or commute long distances quickly.

According to a Lilium press release, the electric vehicle can carry two passengers with a range of around 300 kilometers 186 miles and is capable of hitting a max cruising speed of 300 km/h 186 mph.

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The basic concept of a VTOL is that it has the benefits of a helicopter in terms of taking off without requiring a huge runway. Its mission is to “liberate towns and cities from today’s congestion and pollution, with people able to come and go freely, vastly expanding the radius of their everyday lives”. Lilium explains.

The original Lilium concept was first conceived in Glasgow in 2013, with the firm quickly moving to half-scale prototype testing within just two years. Eventually, Lilium hopes to create a “large network of small and inexpensive landing pads and central places in cities will allow you to quickly enter an aircraft anytime and fly anywhere you want.”

The lightweight flying-car is powered by 36 electric jet engines mounted on its wings via 12 moveable flaps. At take-off, the flaps are pointed downwards to provide vertical lift. And once airborne, the flaps gradually tilt into a horizontal position, providing forward thrust.

The Jet is 100 percent electrically powered. It doesn’t need much space to take off either, since it launches vertically, and will make less noise than a motorcycle.

Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand. “We have solved some of the toughest engineering challenges in aviation to get to this point,”

“The successful test flight programme shows that our ground-breaking technical design works exactly as we envisioned. We can now turn our focus to designing the five-seater production aircraft.”

Watch the inaugural test flight below