Tech Friday (4 – 10 Dec 2020)

Weekly Tech News related to Apple Silicon Chips for High-End Macs, Neuromorphic Computer, Economic Glass Design, Battery with Up To 10 Times More Power, Interaction Between Humans and Robots, DNA “Tricorder” In Your Pocket, Reliance Jio’s 5G in 2021, Safeguarding Computer Chip Hardware from Hackers, Google’s Look to Speak, 100 Billion Hours Watched on YouTube Gaming, Google’s Health Research App, Robust Quantum Systems

Note: I do not write/own any of the tech news bits (and cover picture) given here. The links on each of the news bits will redirect to the news source. The content given under each headline is a basic gist and not the full story.


1. Intel-Beating High Core Count Apple Silicon Chips for High-End Macs

Source: Tech Crunch

7 Dec 2020

Apple is reportedly developing a number of Apple Silicon chip variants with significantly higher core counts relative to the M1 chips that it uses in today’s MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini computers based on its own ARM processor designs.

Original written by: Darrell Etherington


2. Split Wave: Component for Neuromorphic Computer

Source: Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf

7 Dec 2020

Experts are working on the “neuromorphic computer” in which the brain’s switching points – the neurons – are not simulated by software but reconstructed in hardware components. Researchers have demonstrated a new approach to such hardware – targeted magnetic waves that are generated and divided in micrometer-sized wafers. Looking to the future, this could mean that optimization tasks and pattern recognition could be completed faster and more energy efficient.


3. Bend, Don’t Break: New Tool Enables Economic Glass Design

Source: Institute of Science and Technology Austria

7 Dec 2020

Computer scientists develop a design tool that opens up the use of a cost-efficient technology for curved glass panels. The tool is based on a deep neural network and allows for the free-form design of beautiful glass façades.


4. Rechargeable Battery with Up To 10 Times More Power Than State of The Art

Source: University of California – San Diego

7 Dec 2020

A team of researchers has developed a flexible, rechargeable silver oxide-zinc battery with a five to 10 times greater areal energy density than state of the art. The battery also is easier to manufacture; while most flexible batteries need to be manufactured in sterile conditions, under vacuum, this one can be screen printed in normal lab conditions. The device can be used in flexible, stretchable electronics for wearables as well as soft robotics.

Original written by: Ioana Patringenaru


5. A Study Predicts Smooth Interaction Between Humans and Robots

Source: Tampere University

7 Dec 2020

According to a new study, making eye contact with a robot may have the same effect on people as eye contact with another person. The results predict that interaction between humans and humanoid robots will be surprisingly smooth. Researchers investigated the matter by studying the physiological reactions that eye contact with a social robot evokes.


6. The World’s First DNA “Tricorder” In Your Pocket

Source: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

7 Dec 2020

Scientists have developed the world’s first mobile genome sequence analyzer, a new iPhone app called iGenomics. By pairing an iPhone with a handheld DNA sequencer, users can create a mobile genetics laboratory. The iGenomics app runs entirely on the iOS device, reducing the need for laptops or large equipment in the field, which is useful for pandemic and ecology workers.

Original written by: Luis Sandoval


7. Reliance’s Jio Platforms Says It Will Roll Out 5G In Second Half of 2021

Source: Tech Crunch

8 Dec 2020

Reliance’s Jio Platforms, the largest telecom operator in India, plans to roll out a 5G network in the country in the second half of 2021, top executive Mukesh Ambani announced on Tuesday. The announcement comes as a surprise as India has yet to grant spectrum for 5G network to telecom networks in the country. At this moment, it is also unclear when India will begin auctioning the 5G spectrum.

Original written by: Manish Singh


8. New Transistor Design Disguises Key Computer Chip Hardware from Hackers

Source: Purdue University

7 Dec 2020

A hacker can reproduce a circuit on a chip by discovering what key transistors are doing in a circuit – but not if the transistor “type” is undetectable. Engineers have demonstrated a way to disguise which transistor is which by building them out of a sheet-like material called black phosphorus. This built-in security measure would prevent hackers from getting enough information about the circuit to reverse engineer it.

Original written by: Kayla Wiles


9. Google Look to Speak Lets You Use Your Eyes to Select and Speak Phrases

Source: The Verge

8 Dec 2020

A new experimental application on Android aims to make communication easier for people with speech and motor impairments, Google announced. The Look to Speak app lets users choose preselected phrases on their phone screen with their eyes. It’s available to everyone and is compatible with Android 9.0 and above, including Android One.

Original written by: Kim Lyons


10. YouTube Gaming Had Its Best Year Ever with More Than 100 Billion Hours Watched

Source: The Verge

8 Dec 2020

Gaming remains one of the most dominant pillars of online entertainment, and nowhere is that more apparent than in YouTube’s 2020 statistics. According to YouTube Gaming head Ryan Wyatt, users of the video-sharing site watched 100 billion hours of gaming content on the platform this past year, double the number of hours watched in 2018.

Original written by: Nick Statt


11. Google Launches Health Research App

Source: The Verge

9 Dec 2020

Google announced Wednesday that it is launching a new research app for Android phones, which would allow anyone with a device to participate in medical studies. The first study run through the app, called Google Health Studies, will look at respiratory illnesses like the flu and COVID-19.

Original written by: Nicole Wetsman


12. Hidden Symmetry Could Be Key to More Robust Quantum Systems

Source: University of Cambridge

9 Dec 2020

Researchers have found a way to protect highly fragile quantum systems from noise, which could aid in the design and development of new quantum devices, such as ultra-powerful quantum computers. The researchers have shown that microscopic particles can remain intrinsically linked, or entangled, over long distances even if there are random disruptions between them.

The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons License

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