These drone racing goggles could spark the sport’s digital era

Why is this important? Racing drones might be fast, but in terms of core technology, things move fairly slow. While DJI has introduced gesture control and computer vision into their consumer drones over the last few years, the average racing quadcopter has mostly just gotten smaller and quicker. It’s still not uncommon to see a racing drone held together by tape or cable ties sporting a shoddily 3D-printed GoPro mount, and for the most part, that’s fine. But pilots are due a digital upgrade for their “FPV” (first person view) goggles, and it’s slowly starting to happen.

That’s not to say there hasn’t been some progress. We’ve seen drones like UVify’s Draco and Amimon’s Falcore try and sex-up racing drones, and introduce digital video features — but most of the sport hasn’t committed to going digital just yet. Technically, Fat Shark’s goggles have been HDMI compatible for a while, but at a lower resolution — or as a secondary feature to the preferred/usual analog system. The Base HD is designed solely to work with digital systems like Connex ProSight at low latencies.

These drone racing goggles could spark the sport's digital era

The problem with analog frequencies is that they’re a much more limited resource. It’s not unheard of for events to be held up while they wait while someone’s hogging one of the frequencies needed for a pilot. And much like your old radio set in the kitchen, analog suffers from interference leading to grainy quality. The Base HD, then, is the first sign that one of the sport’s main players is taking digital seriously.

The good news is, that when the headset ships this fall, the Base HD will also play nice with your DJI drones too. If your controller has a connection for HDMI out, you can use one headset for your racer and your photography drone. DJI makes its own goggles, but they’re kinda huge and kinda goofy looking (but, to be fair, also very good).

Fat Shark’s also pulling itself out of something of a branding black hole. To racing pilots, the old cartoon shark logo and distressed font are familiar, friendly even. But to everyone else, it probably looks more like a beach-front brand of surf clothing, than something belonging to a video headset company.

These drone racing goggles could spark the sport's digital era

Seemingly something the company was aware of, so it’s dropped the shark logo (kinda), and given itself a visual makeover. There’s also some new blood in the team from Silicon Valley, with a new CEO — and co-founder of Avegant (makers of the Glyph) — moving over to revitalize the brand.

Does this mean we can expect some consumer-grade video goggles to take on the Glyph? Too early to call right just yet, but for now, at least, it looks like 2017 could be the year that drone racing steps out of the hobby shadows.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/06/28/fat-shark-base-hd/

Videos are the latest way to seduce people on your dating app

Hinge isn’t the first dating app to start working on a video feature. Bumble announced earlier this year that it would be adding Snapchat-like video stories that disappear after 24 hours and Match is also developing a video option that allows for stitched-together videos, photos and voiceover. Neither of those dating services have rolled those features out yet, but Badoo introduced video to its app last year. Other popular apps like Tinder, Happn and OkCupid haven’t announced any plans to add video. However, Tinder bought the video messaging app Wheel in February, so its video feature probably isn’t too far away.

Hinge’s feature is limited to existing videos, meaning you can’t shoot a new one directly in the app. But there doesn’t seem to be a time limit for uploaded videos. The video feature launches today on the updated app.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/06/27/hinge-video-seduce-dating-app/

Current theories might be wrong about how a galaxy evolves

However, scientists recently got a look at the MACS2129-1 galaxy, a “dead” galaxy that stopped making stars billions of years ago. But instead of being the expected elliptical shape, it was a flat disk much like the Milky Way. It’s half the size of our galaxy, but three times as massive and spinning twice as fast.

Researchers were able to see this galaxy by combining the power of the Hubble telescope with gravitational lensing — a process by which the gravity of massive celestial objects like galaxies can magnify and stretch light from objects behind them, creating a lens. A galaxy cluster lying between us and MACS2129-1 served as the gravitational lens in this case, allowing scientists to look deep inside the dead galaxy.

Now researchers have to figure out how dead disk-shaped galaxies evolve into elliptical ones, and the answer could be mergers. The merging of multiple galaxies could shuffle the star motions and plump out the shape of the resulting galaxy.

Researchers hope to use NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope to find more examples of this type of dead galaxy.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/06/23/theories-wrong-galaxy-evolves/

WannaCry ransomware causes Honda plant to shut down

The WannaCry ransomware got everyone’s attention in May when UK NHS hospitals fell victim to it. It then quickly spread around the world, affecting over 150 countries and hitting companies like French car manufacturer Renault and FedEx.

WannaCry was made possible by a Windows vulnerability uncovered by the NSA and subsequently stolen and released by a hacking group called The Shadow Brokers. WannaCry, which US agencies suspect a North Korean group was behind, took advantage of that vulnerability in computers that hadn’t been updated with Microsoft’s patch or had versions of Windows that were too old to use it.

Honda’s Sayama plant, located outside of Tokyo, manufactures the Accord, Odyssey and Step Wagon models and produces around 1,000 vehicles each day. Production at other plants wasn’t affected.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/06/21/wannacry-ransomware-honda-shut-down/

Echo alerts you to voice or text messages with a yellow light

๐ŸšจNew light alert ๐ŸšจComing soon to an Echo near you, yellow light = new message (voice or text) awaits. Green light = incoming call. ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ“ฉ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ“ž pic.twitter.com/jNp96NxqtM

— Amazon Echo (@amazonecho) June 19, 2017

Until now, Echo devices (including the Echo, Echo Dot and 2nd-gen Echo Dot) would flash the green ring light until you checked your messages. They may have decided to change it as that indication is fairly similar to the rotating green light for calls, however.

Amazon got some grief when it first launched calling, because it allowed anyone who had your contact info to reach you, while making it very difficult to block them. It has since remedied that by finally adding contact-by-contact call-blocking a month later, but US users (calling isn’t available anywhere else yet) must call customer service if they want to stop the feature altogether.

Given what appears to be a rapid consumer adoption — it is pretty convenient to just yell at Alexa when you want to place a call — expect Amazon to roll out more features that make it handier and, hopefully, safer.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/06/20/echo-alerts-you-to-voice-or-text-messages-with-a-yellow-light/

‘Up Next’ is an Apple Music series highlighting new artists

When the streaming service launched, its “Connect” feature was supposed to be a one-to-millions social network for artists to share bits of music, photos and videos with their fans. But it never really took off so Apple more or less shelved the idea. Up Next looks like a sort of return to that, but instead of an artist sharing intimate moments from the studio with his or her audience, Apple is putting the spotlight on musicians that otherwise might fly under radar of the service’s 20 million paid subscribers.

Introducing #UpNext.
Music’s Next Generation.
A new artist every month.
Up first, @6LACK.https://t.co/mPtDdmNNLG pic.twitter.com/qq62ggEyCh

— Apple Music (@AppleMusic) April 20, 2017

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/20/apple-music-up-next-zane-lowe/

Facebook details its plans for a brain-computer interface

Facebook wants you to use your brain to interact with your computer. Specifically, instead of using something primitive like a screen or a controller, the company is looking into ways that you and I can interact with our PCs or phones just by using our mind. Regina Dugan, the head of Building 8, the company’s secretive hardware R&D division, delved into this on stage at F8. “What if you could type directly from your brain?” she asks.

In a video demo, Dugan showed the example of a woman in a Stanford lab who is able to type eight words per minute directly with her brain. This means, Dugan says, that you can text your friends without using your phone. She goes on to say that in a few years time, the team expects to demonstrate a real-time silent speech system capable of delivering a hundred words per minute. “That’s five times faster than you can type on your smartphone, and it’s straight from your brain,” she said. “Your brain activity contains more information than what a word sounds like and how it’s spelled; it also contains semantic information of what those words means.”

And that’s not all. Dugan adds that it’s also possible to “listen” to human speech by using your skin. It’s like using Braille, but through a system of actuators and sensors. Dugan showed a video example of how a woman could figure out exactly what objects were selected on a touchscreen based on inputs delivered through a connected armband. The armband’s system of actuators was tuned to 16 frequency bands, and has a tactile vocabulary of nine words, learned in about an hour.

This, Dugan says, also has the potential of removing language barriers. “You could think in Mandarin, but feel in Spanish,” she said. “We are wired to communicate and connect.”

Of course, a lot of this tech is still a few years out. And this is just a small sample of what Dugan has been working on since she joined Facebook in April 2016. She served as the 19th Director of the United States’ Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and she’s the former head of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group (no big deal).

“Our goal is to create and ship new, category-defining consumer products that are social first, at scale,” she said.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from F8 2017!

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/19/facebook-details-its-plans-for-a-brain-computer-interface/

Apple’s iWork, GarageBand and iMovie are now free

As MacRumors notes, the change in pricing is meant to make it easier for businesses and educational institutions to get the iWork suite through Apple’s Volume Purchase Program. That said, this is still a great opportunity for anyone still running older hardware to give Apple’s in-house apps a try. You’ll certainly never find a better price on GarageBand.

iWork apps require macOS Sierra to run, but GarageBand is available for machines running Yosemite or later and iMovie will run as long as you’re up to El Capitan or higher. On mobile devices, iWork requires at least iOS 10.0, while iMovie and GarageBand require at least iOS 9.3 and iOS 10.2 respectively.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/18/apple-iwork-garageband-and-imovie-now-free-mac-ios/

Netflix users have streamed half a billion hours of Adam Sandler

Netflix:

Just ahead of the release of our third film from Adam Sandler, Sandy Wexler, we announced the renewal of our deal with Sandler to premiere an additional four films exclusively on Netflix around the world. We continue to be excited by our Sandler relationship and our members continue to be thrilled with his films. Since the launch of The Ridiculous 6, Netflix members have spent more than half a billion hours enjoying the films of Adam Sandler.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/17/netflix-streamed-half-a-billion-hours-of-adam-sandler-movies/

Here’s the Galaxy S8+ you really want (but can’t have)

Although there’s no official announcement yet, there’s a listing on Samsung’s Korean website for the upgraded model. ETNews claims it will cost around $1,020 and it will include the Dex dock, which lets the Galaxy S8+ function as a desktop computer. Clearly, Samsung is going all-in on marketing the phone as a replacement for your home rig. It’s not the first company to try, though. Motorola came out with a dock/phone setup in 2011 called Atrix, HP had the Elite X3, ASUS put out the PadFone, and Microsoft’s Continuum feature for Windows 10 lets users convert their mobile OSes to fuller-featured PC-like setups. None of these ideas caught on with consumers, however, and it’s possible Samsung will also strike out.

There’s no word yet on whether or not the upgraded S8+ will find its way to the US and Europe. So, if the idea of a hybrid smartphone/desktop appeals to you, and you have money to burn, you’re just going to have to wait and hope it eventually heads West.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/06/samsung-s8-plus-upgrade-version/