Big Tech &
Microsoft Mesh aims to bring holographic virtual collaboration to all (5 minute read)
Microsoft Mesh is Microsoft's ambitious new attempt at unifying holographic virtual collaboration across multiple devices. With Mesh, users can meet in virtual spaces, share holograms, and create shared experiences, even if they are physically separated. Mesh can stream high-quality models from the cloud, allowing designers and engineers to collaborate with the same assets from anywhere in the world. It features cross-platform compatibility, so users can join meetings even without a VR headset. A 2-minute video from Microsoft about Mesh is available in the article.
Microsoft and Niantic demo a HoloLens version of Pokémon Go (2 minute read)
Microsoft has launched its new Microsoft Mesh mixed reality platform, which allows anyone to have shared virtual experiences on a variety of devices. Part of the announcement for Microsoft Mesh included a brief demonstration of Pokémon Go running on the HoloLens 2 headset. The video of the Pokémon Go demonstration is available in the article.
Researchers Linked Dead Locust's Ear to Robot and It Works (2 minute read)
Researchers from Israel connected a dead locust's ear to a robot, replacing the robot's electronic microphone with the ear. The robot was then programmed to respond to the signals it received from the ear. Using biological systems requires less energy than electronic systems. The blend of biology and technology could dramatically alter both technological and biological industries. It might be possible to use other animals' sensory organs for various applications, such as bomb or disease detection.
The First Battery-Powered Tanker is Coming to Tokyo (4 minute read)
The e5 is a new tanker ship powered only by lithium-ion batteries. It will be the first all-electric vessel of its kind. The 60-meter-long tanker will launch in Tokyo Bay next year. Asahi Tanker will own and operate the vessel, which will carry marine diesel fuels to refill the tanks of other cargo ships in the Bay. Its 3.5-megawatt-hour energy storage system is about the size of 40 Tesla Model S battery packs. Battery storage and cargo capacity are large factors for ocean-crossing cargo ships, so companies like Corvus are starting to develop large-scale hydrogen fuel cell systems for ships.
Programming, Design & Data Science
How I Might Have Hacked Any Microsoft Account (4 minute read)
Until recently, hackers could change the password of any Microsoft account by sending all of the possible security codes concurrently. To do so wouldn't be easy for anyone, as it would require a lot of computing resources and thousands of IP addresses. This article follows how the vulnerability was discovered. It was reported to Microsoft and patched in November. A $50,000 bounty was rewarded for reporting the issue.
Microsoft Extends Low-Code Push with Power Fx Programming Language (6 minute read)
Power Fx is a low-code programming language that is general-purpose, strongly typed, declarative, and functional. It helps users create canvas-based apps and it works with products such as the Power Platform and Power Apps. Power Fx is based on Excel-like formulas for working with data in spreadsheets. Microsoft will be extending Power Fx as a singular consistent language offering for the entire Power Platform. Links to resources for learning Power Fx are available in the article.
Genetic tool could improve monitoring of marine protected areas (3 minute read)
Environmental DNA, or eDNA, is DNA that is released by organisms into their environments. eDNA technology has advanced rapidly in the last decade, making it a competitive tool for assessing ecosystem biodiversity. Before eDNA, the only way to tell if marine protected areas were working was for scuba divers to count and identify every fish they saw. eDNA can survey the same species as visual surveys and can reveal additional species that were missed by visual surveys. The method is less expensive than completing visual surveys, with a sample costing around $50. eDNA can't reveal the sex, size, abundance, or behavior of the fish being studied, so visual surveys will still be required.
Google-Free Android Smartphones Are Now Available in the US (2 minute read)
The /e/ Foundation is now offering Google-free Android handsets in the US. The Foundation has been offering refurbished smartphones without Google software in Europe since 2019. It is starting in the US with the Samsung Galaxy S9 for $380 and the Galaxy S9+ for $430. The phones are carrier unlocked and will be backed with a one-year warranty. They will run a version of Android called /e/ OS, which has removed most of the code that sends data to remote servers without user consent.