From Tech: BMW produces giant wireless charging pad for your car

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Just when you were getting used to the idea of wirelessly charging your iPhone 8, BMW’s jumped on the bandwagon with a giant wireless charging pad for your car.

The German auto maker explains in a blog post that it’s planning on making a wireless inductive charger available in 2018.

The charging pad — essentially a giant version of the Qi chargers you put your smartphones on — will first come to the BMW 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid, before other electric models.

As BMW shows in this video, you’ll need to carefully drive your car over the plate, aligning the charging plate under your car with the pad on the ground. Read more…

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From Tech: BMW produces giant wireless charging pad for your car

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Just when you were getting used to the idea of wirelessly charging your iPhone 8, BMW’s jumped on the bandwagon with a giant wireless charging pad for your car.

The German auto maker explains in a blog post that it’s planning on making a wireless inductive charger available in 2018.

The charging pad — essentially a giant version of the Qi chargers you put your smartphones on — will first come to the BMW 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid, before other electric models.

As BMW shows in this video, you’ll need to carefully drive your car over the plate, aligning the charging plate under your car with the pad on the ground. Read more…

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From Tech: Google Maps and Lyft could soon be waaay more accurate thanks to this new GPS chip

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Tired of your Lyft driver not knowing exactly where you are? A new extremely accurate GPS chip could help solve that problem — all while consuming half the power of current chips.

Broadcom’s BCM47755 chip will allow smartphones to be accurate within 30 centimeters, the company said at a conference in Portland, according to IEEE Spectrum. That’s compared to the current standard of 3 to 5 meters, the company said. Broadcom also said the BCM47755 would be more effective in cities than older chips. 

All of this would make them very useful for location-based apps.  Read more…

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From Tech: Intel introduces an experimental ‘self-learning’ chip to make robots smarter

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Intel just introduced a new type of chip that could have big implications for artificial intelligence. 

The company is experimenting with a new “self-learning” chip that’s designed to learn like the human brain. 

Called the “Intel Loihi test chip,” the processor is what Intel calls a “neuromorphic chip,” meaning it’s designed to learn from its environment. The chip could be used for an array of AI-intensive applications, but the company says it will be particularly impactful in industrial automation and personal robotics. Read more…

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From Tech: Apple finally ditches Bing for Siri’s search results

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The next time you ask Siri a question, Apple’s AI will finally offer up search results to help you find an answer using Google, like the rest of the civilized world.   

Apple is dumping Microsoft’s Bing as the default search platform for Siri, Search inside iOS, and Spotlight on Macs in favor of Google, according to Tech Crunch

The iPhone maker said that the switch is being made in order to create a more “consistent web search experience” for its users, since Google is currently the default search engine on its Safari browser thanks to a reported $3 billion annual deal between the two companies.  Read more…

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From Tech: These bugs might solve the problem of robots that fall and can’t get up

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When a robot falls over, it usually can’t get up — at least not without difficulty. To address the trouble of downed robots, scientists are taking a cue from the natural world, examining how click beetles right themselves after taking a tumble. 

Researchers at The University of Illinois of Urbana-Champaign found that the insects often topple over, but have a natural self-righting mechanism that robots could emulate. The team published their research online on Monday and also presented their findings at Living Machines 2017: The 6th International Conference on Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems at Stanford University. Read more…

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From Tech: WhatsApp gets blocked behind China’s ‘Great Firewall,’ joining Facebook and Instagram

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It looks like WhatsApp has joined similar apps and websites pushed behind China’s online censorship efforts, the so-called “Great Firewall.”

On Monday it appeared the messaging app had been blocked throughout the country, according to the New York Times. The app joins other Facebook-owned apps censored by the Chinese government: Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook has been blocked in China since 2009, so that’s nothing new. But WhatsApp had slowly become more and more restricted since July, according to the New York Times. Video chats, photo and file sharing, and voice chats were harder to use. Within the past week, WhatsApp and other VPN services had been unstable. And on Monday the entire app apparently went down — texts couldn’t even go through. Read more…

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From Tech: Joe Biden has a news podcast, and you can listen via Amazon Echo and Google Home

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Straight-talking former vice president Joe Biden is curating and commenting upon the news in a podcast called Biden’s Briefing.

After some 60 test runs, Biden’s Briefing officially launched Monday, with featured news roundups to be added daily. 

The veteran statesman intends his briefings — which run between three and 15 minutes long — to be easily accessible via the home devices Amazon Echo and Google HomeBiden’s Briefing can also be streamed through iTunes, Spotify, and TuneIn.   

In fact, the Biden’s Briefing site states that one needs only utter “Alexa, enable Biden’s Briefing,” to access the news roundup via an Amazon Echo device.  Read more…

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From Tech: Snapchat’s new sky-changing filters make even boring snaps look cool

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Snapchat’s just added a new tool that will help even the most boring snaps look a lot cooler.

The app introduced a new set of “sky filters,” which let you add different effects, like rainbows and sunsets, to photos with skies in them.

Just like Snapchat’s other filters, sky filters, which are rolling out to the app now, will change regularly. Once live, you can experiment with the filters by swiping across a photo just as you’d add any other filter. 

The sky-changing effects will appear automatically when the app detects a sky in the photo. Here’s what they look like in action. Read more…

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