Weekly Recap: death of a phone, wireless rechargeable sedan, foldable computer, magnetic levitation turntable, sweating robot…
New Samsung LTE SoC dedicated to wearables
Samsung's mobile division is in crisis mode right now, so of course the company is happy to talk about one division that is doing well: chips. It just unveiled the Exynos 7 Dual 7270, which is not only the first 14-nanometer wearable processor (connected watches, activity trackers…), but the first in its class to have a built-in LTE 4G modem. The chip also features Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM radio and GPS, all the while requiring 20% less power. Apple had given up on 4G connectivity for its Apple Watch Series 2 due to power issues.
⇨ Engadget, “Samsung crams LTE into a tiny smartwatch chip.”
Wireless rechargeable Mercedes
Mercedes-Benz and Qualcomm jointly announced that the new S550e (the rechargeable hybrid version of the flagship S-Class sedan) will have the option of wireless charging. Mercedes says that its induction system, which charges at 3,6 kW/h, will be 90% as efficient as a wired connection. Owners who choose this option will receive a square charging pad to be plugged in and placed on the floor of their garage. We can expect this technology to trickle down to cheaper hybrids in Mercedes-Benz’s line-up before long.
⇨ Ars Technica, “Mercedes-Benz debuts Qualcomm’s wireless charging for the hybrid S Class.”
RIP, Galaxy Note 7
The Galaxy Note 7 is dead. We wanted it to live, but it tended to commit suicide by self-immolation even before Samsung officially killed it. It could have survived one recall, but two recalls? To make it up to us, Samsung is offering $25 towards the purchase of a new phone, regardless of the brand, or $100 for the trade-in of the Galaxy Note 7 for another Samsung. The worst of it is that Samsung engineers claim to have no idea what causes the devices to blow up, saying it could have nothing to do with the batteries.
⇨ Ars Technica, “RIP Galaxy Note 7: Samsung permanently ends production.”
⇨ PC Magazine, “Swap Your Note 7 for Another Samsung Phone, Get $100.”
⇨ Circuit Breaker, “Samsung has no idea why the Note 7 keeps catching fire, NYT claims.”
If you’re a vinyl lover (and even if you’re not), you’ll find this magnetic levitation turntable so awesomely cool. The project, developed by a team of Slovenian designers, has already raised $67,328 out of $300,000 on Kickstarter.
⇨ Designboom, “MAG-LEV Audio creates the world’s first levitating turntable.”
The foldable computer
Foldable and rollable, the Vensmile K8 is a full Windows 10 computer made up of a box attached to a flexible rubber keyboard. The box includes an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 Cherry Trail processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC flash storage. The top of the box has a touchpad which supports Windows’ gestures. The only question is: why? Why!? Who would want this? Available for US$200 by pre-order at Geekbuying.
⇨ Circuit Breaker, “This weird rubber keyboard is actually an entire Windows PC.”
The robot that sweats
At the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) this week, Japanese researchers presented a novel idea of how to cool humanoid robots in a much more efficient way: Design them to be able to sweat water straight out of their bones. Kengoro, a musculoskeletal humanoid with more than 100 motors, can run for half a day on about a cup of deionized water, although just like you, it has to keep itself hydrated for the cooling to be effective, especially if it’s working hard.
⇨ IEEE Spectrum, “This Robot Can Do More Push-Ups Because It Sweats.”