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Weekly Tech Recap - № 155 - Vaunt glasses, self-driving slippers, Cleo dronut, iBoot code, etc.

Vaunt smart glasses

Vaunt smart glasses.

Vaunt glasses. © Vjeran Pavic, The Verge.

Intel has released a prototype of their smart glasses that look just like a regular pair of glasses, which is good news if you don’t want to turn into a strange cyborg, as with the failed Google Glass. They’re connected via Bluetooth to a phone (Android or iPhone), weigh less than 50 grams, and don’t have a camera, microphones or buttons. At the moment, Vaunt Glasses have only one major role: to display notifications and offer contextual information. The batteries and all the electronics are housed in the glasses’ arms. Messages aren’t displayed on a screen, but rather projected by a low-powered laser beam (VCSEL—vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) right onto your retina. As a result of the technology that’s used, the display is monochrome: everything displays in red, at a resolution of close to 400x150 pixels. Since the image shines directly on your retina, it’s always in focus. The battery should last 18 hours. Intel will be making a development kit available in the next several months, for an undisclosed price.

The Verge, “Intel made smart glasses that look normal.”


Self-driving slippers

Self-driving slippers.

Self-driving slippers.

Self-driving slippers. © Nissan.

Nissan has developed a nifty system that sends slippers to their rightful place at the entryway of a traditional Japanese inn (or ryokan) all by themselves, with the click of a button. Each slipper is outfitted with tiny wheels, a motor and sensors, which enables it to cross the floor using Nissan’s ProPilot Park technology. The car giant has also integrated the system into the inn’s tables and floor cushions, allowing guests to see autonomous furniture making its way across the floor. According to Nissan, their goal is “to entertain guests and reduce staff workload,” but it’s obviously being used to promote the company’s new Leaf vehicle, an all-electric, semi-autonomous car which uses the ProPilot driver assistance technology system. Points to Nissan for a creative marketing campaign.

The Verge, “Forget self-driving cars — these self-driving slippers are the future we deserve.”


Cleo, the donut-shaped tiny-drone

Cleo Drone.

Drone Cleo. © Cleo Robotics.

Cleo Robotics has released a tiny, donut-shaped compact drone that can fit in the palm of your hand (it measures 95 mm in diameter, 33 mm thick, weighing 90 grams). It’s got a single pair of propellers on the same axis, housed inside a ring-shaped casing; it can fit in your pocket without having to be folded or taken apart, and there aren’t any fragile external parts that need to be protected. It works using a ducted fan. Changing the drone’s direction in flight relies on control surfaces into the airstream, something that company President Omar Eleryan, is saying very little about. The drone promises to be easy to use, practical and safe. Cleo should be available to the professional security market within the next 12 months, and the company hopes to launch a drone available to the public at a price competitive with other small quadcopters, between now and late 2019. That means you’ll need to be patient before you get a hold of one of these “dronuts.”

IEEE Spectrum, “Cleo Robotics demonstrates uniquely clever ducted fan drone.”


Twitter’s finally in the black


© iStock.

For the first time in its history, Twitter has posted a profit. In the last quarter of 2017, its net earnings were $91 million USD on total revenue of $732 million, or 12 cents per share. Adjusted earnings were19 cents per share, which surpassed analysts’ predictions of 14 cents per share. That said, the number of active users didn’t increase, staying stagnant at around 330 million. That’s just about 4% more than Q4 in 2016. Twitter has lost $2 billion since going public, while Facebook has made $34 billion.

Recode, “Twitter just reported its first profitable quarter ever, but didn’t add any new users in Q4.”

Recode, “Twitter has lost $2 billion since going public. Facebook has made $34 billion.


Apple’s iOS iBoot code leaked, posted to GitHub

iOS iBoot.

© Spiria / iStock.

In early February, iBoot, which is code from the secure boot-up part of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, was leaked online and posted to GitHub. Apple sent GitHub a Digital Millennium Act takedown request, thus confirming it was indeed genuine code, and while GitHub did remove the code, it was online for a few hours. This may have lasting and damaging effects for the security of Apple devices, as the code could be used by people creating software to jailbreak or bypass Apple’s protection of iPhones and iPads. According to comments in the leak, the leaked code is from iOS 9, although it’s likely that sections of this code are used in the more recent version.

Ars Technica, “Leak of iBoot code to GitHub could potentially help iPhone jailbreakers.”


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