Big Tech &
Facebook to launch officially licensed music videos in the US next month (3 minute read)
Facebook will launch officially licensed music videos on its social network in the US next month. Artists will be able to toggle a new setting to add music videos to their pages ahead of an August 1st deadline. Facebook will automatically create a page of the artist's videos if no action is taken. By toggling the setting, artists will give Facebook permission to add their music videos, and they will not have to upload the videos themselves. Facebook will automatically share music videos through an artist's page as soon as it receives a new release from a music label. Artists will have control over the material after it is posted. Before the change, many artists were not able to share full videos due to licensing rights.
Amazon’s new smart shopping cart lets you check out without a cashier (4 minute read)
Amazon has a new smart grocery store cart that is equipped with a touchscreen and other hardware to automatically detect what items are being placed inside it. Shoppers can take the Dash Cart through a special lane when they are finished shopping to digitally check out their items without a human cashier. Amazon will deploy its first Dash Carts in a grocery store in the Los Angeles area. The store is currently up and running for online orders and will open for customers later this year. Dash Carts will only be able to handle about two bags of items, so customers who want to purchase more will need to use traditional carts and standard checkout lanes.
Ex-Googler's Startup Comes Out of Stealth With Beautifully Simple, Clever Robot Design (14 minute read)
Stretch is a robot mobile manipulator that is small, lightweight, capable, and affordable. Designed by Hello Robot, Stretch weighs 23kg and has a 34 cm square footprint. It costs $17,950 per unit, a fraction of what other mobile manipulators sell for. Stretch was designed to bring mobile manipulation into a home or workplace environment. It has an arm that is made from custom carbon fiber, driven by a single motor attached to the robot's vertical pole. The arm can extend over half a meter and hold up to 1.5kg. Stretch can both be teleoperated and autonomous. Several videos of Stretch are available in the article.
White Castle becomes the first fast food chain to test out the robot fry cook, Flippy, from Miso Robotics (4 minute read)
White Castle will start trialing Miso Robotic's Flippy robot to reduce human contact with food, increase the quality of its meals, and to reduce the amount of waste produced in the kitchen. Flippy will be tested in the Chicago area starting September, and if the trial is successful, White Castle plans to bring the robot to kitchens across the country. Miso Robotics usually charges $30,000 to install each system and then another $15,000 per year, but White Castle aims to bring the costs down significantly. White Castle executives have taken pay cuts to retain staff, and there are no plans yet to replace staff with the robot. A 45-second video of Flippy in action is available.
Programming, Design & Data Science
FastAPI (GitHub Repo)
FastAPI is a web framework for building APIs with Python 3.6+ based on standard Python type hints. It is one of the fastest Python frameworks available, fast, easy, and intuitive to code, and based on the open standards for APIs.
Fertility rate: 'Jaw-dropping' global crash in children being born (8 minute read)
Every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century due to the decline in birth rates around the world. In 1950 women were having an average of 4.7 children and this has nearly halved to 2.4 in 2017. Experts expect the human population to peak around 9.7 billion around 2064, falling back down to 8.8 billion by the end of the century. The falling fertility rate is due to greater access to contraception and more women being in education and work. 23 countries, including Japan, Italy, Thailand, and Spain, are expecting to see their populations more than halve. A decline in population by the end of this century will bring about many social issues, especially when considering a large elderly population. Some countries have already started trying to combat this problem but it is complicated as other social issues are involved. The sub-Saharan African population is expected to triple in size to more than three billion by the end of the century.
A US firm is turning Arabian Desert air into bottled water (5 minute read)
Zero Mass Water, an Arizona-based technology firm, is using renewable energy to harvest water from the air to create bottled water at a plant near Dubai. Its bottling plant runs on solar energy. The bottles that Zero Mass use are recyclable and the bottle caps are made from bamboo. Zero Mass will only be able to produce up to 2.3 million liters annually, selling the water at around $3.80 a liter. Gulf nations are finding ways to reduce their heavy dependence on food imports as it deals with the pandemic disrupting global supply chains. The technique that Zero Mass is using could be used to supply indoor farming setups with water in dry countries.