Big Tech &
Uber sells its self-driving unit to Aurora (2 minute read)
Uber has sold its self-driving unit, Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), to competitor Aurora Innovation. The deal values ATG at around $4 billion, down from $7.25 billion in 2019. Uber will invest $400 million into Aurora, resulting in a 26% stake in the company. Aurora plans to further develop self-driving technology to make transportation and logistics safer, more accessible, and less expensive. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will join the company's board. Uber has made several other efforts to stem losses in its business this year, including major layoffs, selling its electric bike-sharing subsidiary, and growing its delivery business.
LG developing sliding doors made of transparent OLED displays (1 minute read)
LG, in partnership with Swedish manufacturer Assa Abloy Entrance Systems, has announced that it is developing automatic sliding doors with built-in transparent OLED displays. The company unveiled a range of transparent signage early last year, and they are now being used for real-world applications, for example, in the windows of subway carriages in China and for the displays in Panasonic and Xiaomi's transparent OLED TVs. Samsung had experimented with transparent OLED displays in the past, but it has stopped developing the technology. LG did not announce a release date for its high-end doors.
Scientists Beamed Shapes and Motion Directly Into Monkeys’ Brains Using Light (3 minute read)
Attempts at beaming images directly into people's brains have so far only resulted in very low-resolution devices. Most devices require electrodes to be placed on the brain's surface, which limits the resolution significantly. In a new experiment, scientists used tiny needle-like electrodes to create a high-resolution array that allowed monkeys to identify complex shapes. The tiny electrodes were able to reach deeper into the brain tissue, allowing the scientists to use smaller currents with more precision. Adapting the technology to be used in humans will prove challenging as the same area of the brain in humans is much deeper.
China Just Switched on Its 'Artificial Sun' Nuclear Fusion Reactor (2 minute read)
China recently powered up its HL-2M Tokamak nuclear fusion reactor for the first time in its Sichuan province. The reactor uses a powerful magnetic field to fuse hot plasma, reaching temperatures of over 150 million degrees Celsius. It has often been referred to as an 'artificial Sun' due to the enormous heat and power it produces. Fusion power emits no greenhouse gasses and is safer than fission power. However, it is extremely difficult and prohibitively expensive.
Programming, Design & Data Science
UI Design Trend of 2021 (4 minute read)
Glassmorphism is the new UI Design Trend of 2021. Neumorphism, the design trend for 2020, had issues with accessibility, which Glassmorphism improves on significantly. This article contains a tutorial on how to use Figma to create a design using Glassmorphism.
Google promises “spectacular” city GPS improvement with 3D building data (3 minute read)
GPS accuracy can be affected by tall buildings, but Google claims it can correct for this with its new 3D mapping aided correction module for Android. Using the massive amount of 3D building data that it has available in Google Maps, Google can calculate how a GPS signal bounces off of surrounding buildings and correct for the interference. The module improves location accuracy in cities spectacularly, reducing wrong-side-of-the-street occurrences by approximately 75%. It will be part of Google Play Services' Fused Location Provider API. The feature will work in 3,850 cities around the world. It will be rolled out in early 2021.
Iran says 'smart satellite-controlled machine gun' killed top nuclear scientist (3 minute read)
According to Iranian authorities, last month's killing of Iran's top nuclear scientist was carried out remotely by Israel with artificial intelligence and a machine gun equipped with a satellite-controlled smart system. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the killing. The killing has exposed security gaps and the Islamic Republic may be vulnerable to further attacks. 13 shots were fired at the scientist. However, his wife was uninjured, despite sitting only 25 centimeters away. Five Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed inside Iran
in targeted attacks since 2010.