Big Tech &
SpaceX Starlink public beta begins (2 minute read)
SpaceX has started to send email invitations to Starlink's public beta. The service will cost users $99 per month plus a one-time fee of $499 for the user terminal, mounting tripod, and router. The "Better Than Nothing" beta will feature speeds of between 50Mbps to 150Mbps and latency from 20ms to 40ms. SpaceX expects that the service will improve dramatically as more satellites are launched. There are no data caps. A mobile app is available to help users set up and manage their service.
Build a video game like a Lego set with this new Unity tool (1 minute read)
Lego and Unity have paired up to create a Lego Microgame. The Microgame is free and it lets players create custom game worlds by snapping together virtual bricks. No previous video game programming knowledge is required. Custom mods are available that can add features to the game. A 50-second video from Unity that showcases some of the features of the Lego Microgame is available in the article.
China experiencing a drone ‘revolution’ in agriculture (4 minute read)
Drone use in agriculture is expanding in China faster than in other countries due to advances in autonomous navigation technology and the presence of competent operators. XAG, a Guangzhou-based company that works with small-scale farmers, boasts that it has 42,000 drones flying over 1.2 million flights every day. Drones are more efficient and cheaper than skilled manpower while also being environmentally friendly. They enable older farmers to continue to work.
Brain Implant Bypasses Eyes To Help Blind People See (5 minute read)
Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine have devised a way to use a brain implant to stimulate the visual cortex to produce a relatively clear and functional kind of bionic vision. Dynamic current steering involves tracing shapes with electricity onto the brain's surface. The Orion system uses an eyeglass-mounted video camera to send information to an electrode array on top of the brain's visual cortex. It is currently limited in resolution due to engineering limitations. Six patients have received the implant so far and it has allowed them to see letters as they are drawn. A short video is available in the article that shows one of the patients detecting letters as they are drawn on a screen.
Programming, Design & Data Science
The great rebalancing: working from home fuels rise of the 'secondary city' (5 minute read)
The number of Americans working from home skyrocketed between February to May. Studies have shown that most workers report being equally or more effective since working from home, and most intend to continue with it in some form post-pandemic. A permanent change in work culture will have far-reaching repercussions. As people are required to commute less, they may move further away from cities. Cities will likely become less congested, and towns and rural areas will likely have an opportunity to grow.