Big Tech &
Google parent Alphabet launches Intrinsic: a new company to build software for industrial robots (3 minute read)
Intrinsic is a new company from Alphabet that focuses on building software for industrial robots. Its aim is to create software that will make industrial robots easier to use, less costly, and more flexible. Google has been interested in robots for years, buying up several companies, but its efforts have been unfocused and have not produced any commercial hits. The website for its most recent effort, the Everyday Robot project, has not had any updates since 2019.
Acoustic Tweezers Can Pick Objects Up With Sound Waves – Without Any Physical Contact (3 minute read)
Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have developed a technology that uses sound waves to pick up objects. Scientists have been using light to move microscopic objects around for many years using a technique called optical trapping. Acoustic trapping can manipulate larger, millimeter-sized objects. The new technique achieves more accuracy and control over previous attempts. An 11-second video demonstrating the acoustic trapping technique is available in the article.
SpaceX will launch NASA's Europa Clipper mission to Jupiter's moon (2 minute read)
NASA's Europa Clipper spacecraft is scheduled to launch in October 2024 from the Kennedy Space Center on top of a Falcon Heavy rocket. The contract with SpaceX for the launch is worth approximately $178 million. Congress had originally wanted NASA to use its Space Launch System to launch the Europa Clipper, but a single SLS launch was estimated to cost over $2 billion. If the Europa Clipper launches on time, it will reach Jupiter's orbit in April 2030. It will be investigating whether Europa has conditions suitable for life.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Blockly (GitHub Repo)
Blockly is a library that adds a visual code editor to web and mobile apps. The editor uses graphical blocks to represent code concepts, allowing users to apply programming principles without having to worry about syntax. A live demo is available.
SQLGlot (GitHub Repo)
SQLGlot is a Python SQL parser and transpiler. It can read, write, and translate a wide variety of SQL dialects. SQLGlot is fast and customizable. Examples are available.
Facebook brings cloud gaming to Apple devices with a web app (3 minute read)
Facebook is bringing its cloud gaming service to iOS through a web app. The service allows players to stream graphically intensive games from the cloud. It uses a custom payment system to accept in-game purchases. Facebook is not allowed to use its main app to direct users to a website that uses its own payments technology. Amazon and Microsoft are also using web apps to get around App Store rules. Facebook's cloud gaming service is available in the US and parts of Canada and Mexico.