Weekly Tech Recap - № 183 - Alpha Training Blue, Chrome, Amazon, Facebook, Scoobe3D
Alpha Training Blue
Jurassic World Alpha Training Blue. © Mattel.
Though this toy is ostensibly for children aged 8 and up, we believe that children of all ages will love it! Created by Mattel, Alpha Training Blue is a robotic velociraptor weighing 4lbs and standing a foot high with its beak turned to the sky. It is controlled with a real joystick with an embedded accelerometer to let you move the head and tail. It has four gaming modes, including total control mode, which lets you control your dino like a puppet. But the best mode is Training Mode, when you get to train your velociraptor by giving him rewards whenever it performs an intended action. And, just like a real animal, the robot will progressively forget its training if you ignore it for over a month, or act like a true baby by occasionally not obeying and doing its own thing. Embedded sensors allow Blue to feel and react when you pet its chin or nose. The battery provides it with one to two hours’ playtime, depending on playing mode, and recharges in just half an hour. The price is a little steep (US$250), but you do get bang for your buck: with 7 servomotors, this is Mattel’s most sophisticated toy ever. Besides, Christmas is just around the corner. Available for preorder on Amazon US, for October delivery.
New look for Chrome
For its tenth anniversary, Google’s Web browser, which dominates the market, has been given a new, minimalist look. Chrome’s new user interface, available on all Chrome-supported platforms, follows Google’s Material Design 2 system, for a more modern, elegant look, with rounded corners and subtle animation, new icons and a new color palette. Also improved are Chrome’s functionalities, such as an updated password manager that can automatically generate strong passwords, and an improved autofill feature for forms.
Amazon hard on Apple’s heels
Amazon Go, Seattle, WA. © iStock.
Just one month after Apple, Amazon passed a market value of 1 trillion dollars yesterday. After 24 years of operation, the company is the second in history to reach the symbolic milestone of 1,000 billion dollars (1012). Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, Amazon was initially an on-line bookstore, gradually developing a unique logistical operations platform to sell a growing range of products. According to the New York Times, Amazon “captures 49 cents of every e-commerce dollar in the United States”. Its market value is greater than those of the 10 biggest brick-and-mortar retailers combined. However, Amazon is less profitable than Apple, posting “just” $3 billion in profits in 2017, compared to Apple’s $48 billion.
⇨ Ars Technica, “Amazon achieved a market value of $1,000,000,000,000.”
Facebook losing face
Mark Zuckerberg. © iStock.
It looks like the Cambridge Analytica debacle just won’t quit. A few months back, it was revealed that the former consulting firm had collected data on millions of Facebook users without their consent. Now, a recent survey shows that in the past 12 months, 74% of Facebook-using adults have adjusted their privacy settings, taken a break from checking the platform for a period of several weeks or more, or deleted the Facebook app from their cellphone. Worse yet for Facebook, the percentage of younger users (those ages 18 to 29) who say they have deleted the Facebook app from their phone in the past year is 44%, nearly four times the share of users aged 65 and older (12%). No surprise, then, that Facebook stock now sits at US$167.20, a new low since July 26, when its value tumbled overnight from US$217.50 to US$175. Not Mark’s best year.
⇨ Pew Search Center, “Americans are changing their relationship with Facebook.”
Scoobe3D. © Scoobe3d.com.
The Scoobe3D is an affordable, handset-sized 3D scanner that is touted to be accurate to an outstanding 0.1mm. This accuracy is delivered through a combination of three technologies: time of flight, photogrammetry and polarized 3D. Scoobe3D can scan objects of up to two cubic yards, including those with specular surfaces. Developed by a team in Germany, Scoobe3D is currently on Kickstarter at the prototype stage. Delivery is slated for May 2019. Early buyers can scoop up the Scoobe3D for €900 (CA$1,380), before the price goes up to €1,200 (CA$1,840). As for any crowdfunded item, buyers order at their own risk.
⇨ Kickstarter, “Scoobe3D: new 3D technology - no post processing necessary.”