Tech Friday (23 – 29 Oct 2020)

Tech News related to Charging 90% in 6 Minutes, Epic vs Apple Update, Extending Battery Life, Longer-Lasting and More Efficient Solar Cells, Dog Training for Robots, Facebook in The World of Cloud Gaming, New OnePlus Nord Phones, Recycled Materials in Google Products, Limb-Inspired Architecture, Creating a Better CX with AI, Death Threats to Cyberpunk 2077 Developers, Raptor-Inspired Drone

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. Charging Electric Cars Up To 90% in 6 Minutes

Source: Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH)

23 Oct 2020

A research team uncovered a new Li-ion battery electrode material that can achieve high-energy density and high power capability per volume without reducing particle size. The team has recently developed a faster charging and longer-lasting battery material for electric cars. They have proved for the first time that when charging and discharging Li-ion battery electrode materials, high power can be produced by significantly reducing the charging and discharging time without reducing the particle size.

2. Epic Says Apple ‘Has No Rights to The Fruits of Epic’s Labor’ In Latest Filing

Source: The Verge

24 Oct 2020

Epic Games fired back against Apple yet again in a new court filing, saying the iPhone maker “has no rights to the fruits of Epic’s labor,” the latest salvo in the ongoing battle between the two companies. Epic said its actions “are a far cry from the tortious—even purportedly criminal—conduct that Apple’s Opposition depicts. Simply put, Epic did not “steal” anything that belonged to Apple.”

Original written by: Kim Lyons

3. Extending Battery Life in Smartphones, Electric Cars

Source: University of Central Florida

26 Oct 2020

A researcher is working to make portable devices and electric vehicles stay charged longer by extending the life of the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries powering them. He’s doing this by making the batteries more efficient, with some of his latest work focusing on keeping an internal metal structure, the anode, from falling apart over time by applying a thin, film-like coating of copper and tin.

Original written by: Robert Wells

4. Researchers Investigate Material Properties for Longer-Lasting, More Efficient Solar Cells

Source: Florida State University

26 Oct 2020

The designers of solar cells know their creations must contend with a wide range of temperatures and all sorts of weather conditions — conditions that can impact their efficiency and useful lifetime. Researchers are helping to understand the fundamental processes in a material known as perovskites, work that could lead to more efficient solar cells that also do a better job of resisting degradation. They found that small tweaks to the chemical makeup of the materials as well as the magnitude of the electrical field it is exposed to can greatly affect the overall material stability.

Original written by: Bill Wellock

5. Dog Training Methods Help Teach Robots to Learn New Tricks

Source: Johns Hopkins University

26 Oct 2020

With a training technique commonly used to teach dogs to sit and stay, computer scientists showed a robot how to teach itself several new tricks, including stacking blocks. With the method, the robot, named Spot, was able to learn in days what typically takes a month. By using positive reinforcement, an approach familiar to anyone who’s used treats to change a dog’s behaviour, the team dramatically improved the robot’s skills and did it quickly enough to make training robots for real-world work a more feasible enterprise.

6. Facebook Takes Its First Small Steps into The World of Cloud Gaming

Source: The Verge

26 Oct 2020

Facebook is the latest tech giant to get into the world of cloud gaming — but the company’s offering is quite a bit different than the competition. Unlike Amazon or Google, which both offer standalone cloud gaming services for a fee, Facebook is introducing cloud games to its existing app — several of which are playable right now. According to Jason Rubin, Facebook’s vice president of play, the reason Facebook is exploring the cloud is because it opens up the types of games it can offer.

Original written by: Andrew Webster

7. OnePlus Announces Two New Affordable Nord Phones

Source: The Verge

26 Oct 2020

OnePlus has announced a pair of new phones for its midrange Nord lineup — the N10 5G and N100. Both sit below the existing £379/€399 OnePlus Nord in terms of specs and price. The N10 5G starts at £329 in the UK and €349 in Germany (around $412) and is powered by a Snapdragon 690, while the N100 starts at £179 and €199 (around $235) in the same countries and is powered by a Snapdragon 460.

Original written by: Jon Porter

8. Google Says All Made by Google Products Now Use Recycled Materials

Source: The Verge

26 Oct 2020

Last year, Google pledged that, by 2022, it would include recycled materials in all of its Made By Google products, a list that includes Pixel phones, Pixelbooks, Google Home speakers, Nest devices, and accessories like phone cases and charging stands. Today, the company announced it hit one of its goals ahead of schedule: all new Pixel and Nest products are now designed with recycled materials, according to Google sustainability systems architect David Bourne.

Original written by: Kim Lyons

9. Bridges with Limb-Inspired Architecture Can Withstand Earthquakes, Cut Repair Costs

Source: Texas A&M University

26 Oct 2020

In a study, researchers have conducted a comprehensive damage and repair assessment of a still-to-be-implemented bridge design using a panel of experts from academia and industry. The researchers said the expert feedback method offers a unique and robust technique for evaluating the feasibility of bridge designs that are still at an early research and development phase.

Original written by: Vandana Suresh

10. How Computer Scientists and Marketers Can Create a Better CX with AI

Source: American Marketing Association

27 Oct 2020

Researchers published a new paper that examines the tension between AI’s benefits and costs and then offers recommendations to guide managers and scholars investigating these challenges. On one hand, the researchers acknowledge the benefits that AI can provide to consumers. On the other hand, they build on and integrate sociological and psychological scholarship to examine the costs consumers can experience in their interactions with AI.

Original written by: Matt Weingarden

11. Cyberpunk 2077 Developers Ask for Basic Human Decency After Receiving Death Threats Over Game Delay

Source: The Verge

28 Oct 2020

The creators of Cyberpunk 2077, one of the most anticipated video games of the last few years, are having a rough go of it in the lead-up to launch, complicated by yet another delay announced yesterday to help the CD Projekt Red developers finish polishing the game before it launches across nine platforms on December 10th. Now, senior game designer Andrzej Zawadzki has taken to Twitter in the aftermath of the delay announcement to plead with fans to exercise some basic human decency by not continuing to send the Polish studio death threats.

Original written by: Nick Statt

12. Raptor-Inspired Drone with Morphing Wing and Tail

Source: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

28 Oct 2020

Engineers have developed a drone with a feathered wing and tail that give it unprecedented flight agility. The northern goshawk is a fast, powerful raptor that flies effortlessly through forests. This bird was the design inspiration for the next-generation drone developed by scientists. They carefully studied the shape of the bird’s wings and tail and its flight behaviour and used that information to develop a drone with similar characteristics.

Original written by: Valérie Geneux

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