Big Tech &
Google is making some big upgrades to directions in Google Maps (3 minute read)
New features were recently announced for Google Maps, including tools for indoor navigation and eco-friendly driving routes. Live View augmented reality directions will soon be available at airports, transit stations, and malls in select cities. A revamped interface for picking transportation modes is rolling out globally over the next few months. Users in Australia, India, and the US will soon be able to view air quality in Maps, and a weather layer is rolling out globally. Screenshots of the new features are available in the article.
Snap Plans Hardware Push With AR Spectacles, Drone (1 minute read)
Snap's next-gen Spectacles will be able to layer Snapchat lenses onto the surrounding environment without using a smartphone's camera. The glasses are geared towards developers and creators, who Snap hopes will create new lens-style experiences for them. Snap will announce the AR Spectacles in May at its developer conference. The company has also revived its plans to build a selfie drone, investing $20 million into Zero Zero Robotics.
Energy-harvesting card treats 5G networks as wireless power grids (3 minute read)
A team from Georgia Tech has unveiled a 3D-printed rectifying antenna that can harvest electromagnetic energy from 5G signals and use it to power devices. The playing card-sized device could turn 5G networks into wireless power grids. It is flexible and works well even when bent. Millimeter-wave energy harvesting has been possible for some time, but it hasn't been practical due to the large size of previous antennas. The device can harvest more than enough energy to power a range of small sensors and devices by using energy that would otherwise have been wasted.
Virgin Galactic unveils 'VSS Imagine,' the first of its next-generation spaceship series (4 minute read)
Virgin Galactic unveiled the VSS Imagine on Tuesday, the first of its next-generation SpaceShip III class of vehicles. It is the third spacecraft the company has built to date. The VSS Imagine was designed with lessons taken from flight testing on VSS Unity in mind. SpaceShip III class spacecraft can be manufactured faster and take less time to maintain between each flight compared to SpaceShipTwo class spacecraft due to their modular design. Virgin Galactic is on track for a test flight in May, after a delay in December.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Deep Daze (GitHub Repo)
Deep Daze is a command-line tool for text to image generation using OpenAI's CLIP and Siren. Users simply type a description of an image, for example, 'a house in the forest', and it will generate that image. Examples are available in the repository.
Announcing WWDC21 (1 minute read)
The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference will be held online from June 7 to 11. There will be announcements, sessions, and labs at no cost. Students are now invited to submit their Swift playgrounds to this year's Swift Student Challenge for a chance to win exclusive WWDC21 outerwear and a customized pin set.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to Online Anonymity (Website)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to Online Anonymity is an introduction to various online tracking techniques, online ID verification techniques, and creating and maintaining anonymous online identities. It is not sponsored or endorsed by any commercial or government entity. Links to online and PDF versions of the guide are available.
Arm’s first new architecture in a decade is designed for security and AI (2 minute read)
Arm has announced its first new chip architecture in a decade. The Armv9 protects sensitive data with a secure, hardware-based environment. It uses dynamically created 'Realms' to protect data and code from the rest of the system. The Armv9 uses Scalable Vector Extension 2, which should benefit machine learning and digital signal processing tasks. CPU performance has increased by over 30 percent. All existing software will run on Armv9-based processors without any problems. The first Armv9-based silicon will ship before the end of the year.