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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 20th Aug 2018
  • The UK's Competition and Markets Authority is investigating celebrities and social media stars for not labeling paid promotions on platforms like Instagram and YouTube.
  • The competition authority has written to a number of stars it suspects of wrongdoing and could name and shame them before the end of the year.
  • It is not, at this stage, talking to the social media platforms about whether they are doing enough to stamp out the practice.

Britain's Competition and Markets Authority has launched an investigation into celebrities and social media stars failing to declare when they are being paid to promote brands on platforms like Instagram.

The competition authority said it has written to a range of online stars to gather information about their posts and the nature of the deals they strike with brands to sell everything from vacations to makeup.

Those contacted could be in breach of UK consumer laws, and if they don't comply, the Competition and Markets Authority could potentially take them to court. 

The Competition and Markets Authority plans to name those caught up in the investigation before the end of the year. They are understood to be well-known individuals, with large online followings.

Social media celebrities have in the past fallen afoul of advertising rules, which require them to clearly label their posts as adverts if they are being paid to promote goods and services.

One case in 2015 involved Millie Mackintosh, a former reality TV star who has 1.3 million followers on Instagram. She was rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority after posting a video featuring a J20 drink that was not clearly marked as an advert.

The Competition and Markets Authority is not, at this stage, talking to social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube about whether they are doing enough to clamp down on poorly labeled ads. Its investigation could broaden, however, depending on its findings. 

"If people see clothes, cosmetics, a car, or a holiday being plugged by someone they admire, they might be swayed into buying it," said George Lusty, the Competition and Markets Authority's senior director for consumer protection.

"So, it’s really important they are clearly told whether a celebrity is promoting a product because they have bought it themselves, or because they have been paid or thanked in some way by the brand."

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 14th Aug 2018

Image result for facebookPeople in the Indian subcontinent will, from Friday, have only one way to watch top flight Spanish football: on Facebook.

The social network has signed an exclusive deal to show every La Liga game, for the next three seasons, to viewers in India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, The Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The rights were previously held by Sony Pictures Network.

The terms of the new deal have not been disclosed. The last time they were for sale, in 2014, they were bought for $32m, according to Reuters.

There are 348m Facebook users in the region, 270m of them are in India.

It is the latest move from Facebook, and the tech industry in general, to invest in highly lucrative sports rights for emerging streaming services.

The social network already shows Major League Baseball to US audiences at a reported cost of $1m per game. As with the rest of Facebook, the content is free but supported by targeted advertising.

Speaking to Reuters, Facebook’s director of global live sports said the La Liga streams would at first be advertising-free, but it was considering how best to implement them in future.

“This is one deal,” Peter Hutton told the news agency. “It’s not something that is a big threat to broadcast world.”

There are 270m Facebook users in India

It’s unlikely broadcasters will see it that way - and they’re wise not to.

Live sport is the major driver of subscriptions to premium cable or satellite services, and the slow creep of technology companies buying up sports rights will have traditional broadcasters concerned.

Since the rise of Netflix and others, live sport has been just about the only thing holding many potential cord-cutters back from making the chop.

The Facebook-La Liga deal is part of a global trend. In the UK, the current Premier League season will be the last time every live match will be shown on a TV channel.

Next season, 20 games will be online-only - viewable only through Amazon. The company will bundle the games in with its Prime subscription service.

Huge TV deals gave the English Premier League global influence

Similarly, in the US, the National Football League (NFL) has renewed last season’s deal with Amazon to bring 11 “Thursday Night Football” matches to Prime. To get them, Amazon had to win a bidding war involving Twitter, YouTube and Verizon.

Outside the US, the National Basketball Association (NBA) is being streamed in China - by online giant Tencent. An average of 2m people watch each game.

We should also consider a major sport of the future - eSports. Watching professional gamers is an industry predicted by some to soon be worth over $1bn a year. Tech giants got there first: the top platforms for eSports viewing are Amazon-owned Twitch and Google's YouTube.

Disney will broadcast the popular Overwatch League

In something of a role reversal, traditional broadcasters are making deals to bring eSports offline and onto regular TV.

Most notably, Disney recently announced a multi-year deal to broadcast live action from Overwatch League, one of the biggest eSports competitions. Disney’s channels, which include ESPN and ABC, will share the action - and it will be streamed online too, of course.

‘We don’t do live sports'

So what does all this platform-shifting mean for world sport?

We’re at the beginning of a financial shift, maybe the biggest since the early 1990s, when the major football leagues in Europe commericialised their competitions to new heights. Transfer fees and wages soared thanks, in a big way, to the phenomenal TV deals these new sporting megabrands could attract.

Is that changing? Perhaps. This year's deal for UK rights for the Premier League came in at £496m less than in 2017 - the first time in the Premier League’s history that TV revenue has dropped year-on-year.

The tech giants have money to burn. With its yearly content budget of $8bn, Netflix could buy the next three seasons of Premier League UK rights twice over. But it doesn’t plan to, saying it won’t follow its competitors.

"We don't do [live] news, we don't do [live] sports,” chief executive Reed Hastings told a room of journalists in Hollywood earlier this year. "But what we do do, we try to do really well.”

With subscriber growth slowing this year, the industry is watching to see how long it can hold on to that stance, especially as its rivals seem eager to open their wallets.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 14th Aug 2018

Image result for zoombiesThere are zombies on the internet - odd, undead lumps of code that roam endlessly seeking and finding fresh victims to infect that help keep the whole ugly horde staggering on, and on.

Most of these shambling data revenants are computer viruses and the most long-lived of all are worms.

"Most of those worms are self-spreading - that's why we still see them moving around," said Candid Wueest, principal threat researcher at Symantec, who has hunted viruses for years.

Typically, he said, when these malicious programs infected a machine, they kicked off a routine that scanned the entire net looking for other computers vulnerable in the same way as their current host.

When they found one, they installed a copy that also started scanning.

"All it takes is a few machines to get them moving around again," he added.

The living dud

One of the most active zombie viruses is Conficker, which first struck in November 2008. At its height, the worm is believed to have infected up to 15 million Windows PCs.

The French navy, UK warships, Greater Manchester Police and many others were all caught out by Conficker, which targeted the Windows XP operating system.

The malware caused so much trouble that Microsoft put up a bounty of $250,000 (£193,000) for any information that would lead to the capture of Conficker's creators.

That bounty was still live and, Microsoft told the BBC, remained unclaimed to this day.

Dr Paul Vixie, from Farsight Security, was part of the Conficker Working Group, set up when the malware was at its feverish peak.

There are millions of viruses in circulation - but most have only a short life

The group had managed to stem the tide of infection, said Dr Vixie, because of the way the virus worked.

One of the ways it spread was by it checking one of a handful of net domains for instructions or updates every day.

And the first two variants of Conficker picked one domain from a list of 250 randomly generated names.

But some clever software reverse engineering worked out how the daily domains were generated.

In 2008, Dr Vixie helped to run the net's Domain Name System so was able to co-ordinate a global effort to register every day's possible domains before the malware's creators did the same.

And data sent from infected machines was then "sinkholed" almost neutering Conficker's ability to spread.

"We got it from 11 million down to one million," said Dr Vixie. "That sounds like progress but one million is still a pretty big number."

hat zombie virus was still wandering around, said Dr Vixie.

Statistics gathered by Symantec suggest there were 1.2 million Conficker infections in 2016 and 840,000 in 2017.

India suffered the highest number of infections last year.

"The population is gradually reducing in size because eventually computers wear out or they get upgraded or replaced," Dr Vixie said.

And that is just as well because the concerted efforts to directly combat Conficker are all but at an end.

Dr Vixie and some others still block a few of the domains its variants seeks out but only to sample the traffic they send to get an idea of the viral load Conficker places on the net.

The good news was that Conficker had never been "weaponised", said Dr Vixie.

His theory is that Conficker escaped too early and was too successful for its creators to risk making it more malicious.

Data of the dead

But Conficker was not alone in persisting long after its initial outburst, said Mr Wueest, from Symantec.

Its network of sensors across the net regularly catches a wide range of malware that has lasted for much longer than anyone expected.

Symantec regularly sees the SillyFDC virus from 2007, Virut from 2006 and even a file infector called Sality that dates from 2003.

"We do see Dos viruses now and then," he said. The disk operating system (Dos) is more than 36 years old and dates from the early days of the desktop PC. Even older versions ran on mainframes.

"Our guess is that sometimes it is researchers that have found an old disk and its gets run and gets detected," said Mr Wueest.

Net-connected cameras are helping attackers mount large-scale attacks such as Mirai

There were many others, said Martin Lee, technical, lead for security research at Cisco.

"Malware samples can be long-lived in that they are continued to be observed 'in the wild' many months or years after they were first encountered," he said.

One regularly caught in the spam traps by Cisco is another worm, called MyDoom, that appeared in 2004.

"It's often the most commonly detected malware we get in our traps," said Mr Lee.

But many viruses lived on in another fashion, he said, because of the way the cyber-crime underground treated code.

"Malware is rarely static," he said, "computer code from older malware families can be shared, or stolen, and used in the development of new malware."

One prime example of this, said Mr Lee, was the Zeus banking Trojan, whose source code was leaked in 2011.

That code had proved so useful that it was still turning up seven years later, he said.

The trend of zombie malware was likely to continue if more modern viruses were any guide, said Mr Lee.

Mirai first appeared in 2016 but is proving hard to eradicate.

"It has features suggesting that it will be exceptionally long lived," Mr Lee said.

The bug infects networked devices unlikely to be running anti-virus software. Some cannot be upgraded to run any kind of decent protection.

As the net grows and starts to incorporate more of those dumber devices, Mirai, like Conficker will probably never be eradicated.

"With the source code of the malware leaked, and a simple method of propagation using default usernames and passwords to compromise devices, it is something that will be with us for years," Mr Lee said.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 14th Aug 2018

The intent is to build bots small enough to crawl through a garden hose

DARPA wants to build an army of teeny tiny robots

The intent is to build bots small enough to crawl through a garden hose

Disaster recovery robots are becoming the new governmental must-have, with firms like Boston Dynamics developing bots that can inspect unstable terrain, work in toxic environments and generally go where humans can't.

Not content to let private firms reap all the glory, the US government is getting in on the action through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which develops new technologies for the military.

In the past these technologies have included human exoskeletons, jetpacks and various smart missiles. Going a few steps down on the size scale, though, DARPA's new project is called SHRIMP: SHort-Range Independent Microrobotic Platforms.

Aiming to spur development of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) - another area in which the Agency had a founding role - the robots are said to be small enough to make their way through tiny spaces, like the inside of a drainpipe or garden hose.

Ronald Polcawich, a programme manager in the Microsystems Technology Office (MTO), said: "Whether in a natural disaster scenario, a search and rescue mission, a hazardous environment or other critical relief situation, robots have the potential to provide much needed aide and support.

"However, there are a number of environments that are inaccessible for larger robotic platforms. Smaller robotics systems could provide significant aid, but shrinking down these platforms requires significant advancement of the underlying technology."

Power is the most significant challenge with such small robots, with untethered models commonly running out of power after only a minute or two. Overcoming ‘SWaP' (size, weight and power) constraints is the goal behind SHRIMP.

DARPA has $32 million to invest in grant funding, and teams must build components or entire robots that can compete in a series of Olympic-style tests. For actuators and power sources these include the high jump, long jump, weightlifting and shotput (expected result: >10cm for a 1g load).

Teams that develop full robots will have their own events, including the steeplechase and biathlon.

Proposals are due by the 26th September, and the contests could take place in Q1 next year.

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 13th Aug 2018

Over a million homes in the UK could benefit from Vodafone’s new full fibre broadband service following a trial in Milton Keynes. The new services are made possible by Vodafone’s partnership with CityFibre, which has built the full fibre network.

50 customer homes in Milton Keynes will be the first to test Vodafone Gigafast Broadband, its new Gigabit full fibre home broadband service, before it is made widely available across the city. Vodafone Gigafast Broadband runs over fibre optic cables at every stage of the connection, instead of using old copper-based wires. This means customers will enjoy a faster and more reliable broadband service.

Greg Mesch, Chief Executive at CityFibre said:

“Bringing the first Gigabit homes online in Milton Keynes is a great moment for full fibre in the UK and shows just how quickly this powerful partnership between Vodafone and CityFibre can bring towns and cities transformative digital connectivity. Our rollout is gathering pace, with the first homes live within four months of breaking ground in Milton Keynes and more to follow quickly in Peterborough and Aberdeen.

“These networks are future-proof, capable of delivering Gigabit speeds today but potentially up to 40 Gigabits per second in the near future. Milton Keynes is the first to benefit but not the last: CityFibre intends to bring this technology to at least five million homes and businesses by 2025, with Gigabit towns and cities becoming a reality across the UK.”

Source: cw-chamber.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 13th Aug 2018

Business secretary Greg Clark says Sutherland spaceport will be competing for share of 2,000 satellite launches a year by 2030

Image result for satellite launch

The UK's first spaceport in Sutherland, northern Scotland will be competing for a slice of the global market for satellite launches from the early 2020s, business secretary Greg Clark has claimed. 

Visiting the site where the spaceport will be built, he added that it could generate as many as 400 jobs in the local economy, while stimulating the satellite and space business across the UK.

It comes after the government provided £31.5 million in funding to support the Sutherland spaceport in July, which forms part of the government's Industrial Strategy. The Sutherland spaceport will be developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The government claims that the commercial market for launches could be worth £3.8 billion to the UK economy over the next decade, and will support a burgeoning space sector.

The UK already has a significant satellite manufacturing sector, which includes the presence of multinationals such as Airbus and Thales Alenia Space, as well as British Aerospace, Clyde Space, Hawker Siddeley Dynamics, and Surrey Satellite Technology. Other companies in the broader space sector include Moog-ISP, Orbex and Reaction Engines.

Indeed, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy claims that the UK builds more small satellites than any other country in Europe - with Glasgow a leading centre.

"From our market leadership in small satellite construction to our world leading universities, Scotland and the UK comes from a position of strength in the global space sector which will be turbo-boosted by the first new spaceport and our Industrial Strategy," said Clark.

He continued: "However, I want to make sure that this giant leap for the UK will also deliver on the ground. That's why I'm here today to discuss benefits in local jobs, uplifting tourism and businesses, helping to bring prosperity to all."

Clark believes there is a gap in the market that the Sutherland spaceport can exploit. Currently, small satellite launches piggyback on larger missions, but this is increasingly incapable of meeting growing demand.

"The international space sector is set to grow very significantly in the coming years. We want to ensure our businesses are ready to benefit from the opportunities this will create… We'll be working to develop supply chain opportunities locally and across our region.

"We will also use the spaceport's presence to attract and encourage further business activity and investment here in the longer term," said HIE project director Roy Kirk.

Chris Larmour, CEO of Orbex, added: "With Sutherland, we will have continental Europe's first spaceport. Britain already has a very strong satellite manufacturing capability and soon, with Orbex, there will be British rockets taking those satellites into orbit. This end-to-end capability is unique in Europe and will create a virtuous circle."

Orbex, he continued, is planning to build a rocket factory and Spaceflight Mission Control facility in Scotland. It is currently testing its Prime rocket and has secured £30 million in funding. "We have signed up our first customer for 20 satellite launches," he added.

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 13th Aug 2018

If you want to see what the highway of the future might look like, then you only need to drive down to Georgia.

On an 18-mile segment of Interstate 85 — stretching from the city of LaGrange to the Alabama border, 67 miles from Atlanta — a consortium of government agencies, global companies, and academic researchers, along with the Ray C. Anderson Foundation are working together to build a smart roadway. Using a variety of technologies ranging from electricity-generating surfaces to pollution-reducing ditches, it’s a real-world laboratory that’s paving the way to the roads of tomorrow.

It’s also aimed at demonstrating how a smart transportation corridor can not only be environmentally friendly, but generate revenue as well.

smart cities series content module fg

Cities across the globe are installing technology to gather data in the hopes of saving money, becoming cleaner, reducing traffic, and improving urban life. In Digital Trends’ Smart Cities series, we’ll examine how smart cities deal with everything from energy management, to disaster preparedness, to public safety, and what it all means for you.

That tantalizing possibility — making money off public roads — has attracted a lot attention to what is known as “The Ray,” the stretch of I-85 that includes the right-of-way land along the highway, the highway itself, and the Georgia Visitor Information Center in West Point. Officially the Ray C. Anderson Memorial Highway, the segment is named after the man who founded Interface Inc., a carpet manufacturer, and the namesake foundation that’s involved in the project. Anderson, who died in 2011, was recognized during his tenure at Interface for his efforts to make his company environmentally sustainable, and projects that promote a sustainable society is one of the nonprofit’s goals.

Like urban environments, highways present an interesting opportunity — and a significant challenge — for new technology solutions. Roadways impinge on natural habitats in 15 percent of the country, for example, and the cars and trucks that travel on them produce millions of tons of carbon dioxide annually.
And, there’s a lot of pavement out there: Over 164,000 miles of highway crisscross the United States. That’s enough concrete and tarmac to go around the world 6.5 times.

So far, most of those are roads do only one thing: carry vehicles. The Ray wants to show they can do much more.


Perhaps the most ambitious idea is to turn all that pavement baking in the sun into a giant solar power source. At the West Point Visitor Information Center, the Ray is starting with Wattway, approximately 538 square feet of solar panels laid down on the road’s surface. Durable enough to withstand the traffic from tens of thousands of vehicles a year, the photovoltaic pavers are thin and skid-resistant, and can be installed over existing pavement, so there’s no need to tear up roads.

The Ray Solar Road

The Ray

“The next project is to see if it’s feasible to put solar panels in the shoulder of the road,” Costas Simoglou, director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Energy Technology, told Digital Trends. Simoglou is interested in putting the panels on the side of the highway not because of durability concerns, but they would get more sun exposure.

Wattway was developed by the French transportation company Colas. The technology took over five years of research and development, working in conjunction with the French National Solar Energy Institute. Wattway currently provides electricity to the visitor center, but it could do much more.

Additional energy generated by Wattway could not only feed electricity back into the grid, but also power everything from street lights to traffic signals. It could be a source of electricity anywhere there’s pavement and people: shopping centers, airports, even bike paths. Solar panels on the road could also power needed vehicle-to-infrastructure communications for the forthcoming generation of self-driving cars.


Then, there’s the electric car charging stations. At the visitor center, there are charging stations for electric vehicles, sponsored by Kia Motors, which has a manufacturing plant in West Point. The stations are currently powered by pole-mounted photovolaic solar panels, and owners can power up their electric cars free of charge.

“But solar could be a new revenue source for the state,” Simoglou said. “There are already 25,000 electric vehicles in Georgia. So the state could eventually sell electricity” rather then charging gasoline tax.


Roughly 700,000 people make a pit stop at the West Point visitor center every year. So, it’s not just an ideal proving ground for new technologies, it’s also a great way to show drivers the benefits these new smart systems have to offer them.

One of the most successful projects, for example, is the WheelWright system. People drive their cars slowly past the system’s wheel sensors, which take thousands of pictures of the tires in a few seconds. WheelWright, a British company, will then either spit out a paper report or text the driver with information on the tire pressure and tread wear on the car. The goal is to alert drivers when their tires are under inflated, which can reduce fuel efficiency and traction, or need to be replaced.

The technology has other possible applications, such as the thousands of truck weigh stations across the United States. Today, most commercial truck drivers do a visual — and not terribly accurate — inspection of tires and tread wear. The WheelWright system could do it more accurately and more quickly.


Highways comprise more than just pavement, of course. Other parts of The Ray project are working to leverage the land alongside the road.

Instead of conventional ditches, for example, The Ray is utilizing so-called “bioswales.” Rather than simply facilitating rain runoff, bioswales are shallow drainage ditches that are filled with vegetation that is known to capture particulate pollutants, such as rubber, lead, and oil that can wash off the road. The plants, often switchgrass, are all native to Georgia, and some bioswales include compost to slow water movement and reduce the threat of sudden flooding in a rainstorm.

“We would love to have this carbon-free highway — zero waste, zero carbon, zero deaths.”

Other smart agriculture road work includes planting wheat farms along and around the highway. The project has been using intermediate wheatgrass, which have 10-foot deep roots that help prevent soil erosion, help retain clean water, and trap carbon. The perennial is currently in the midst of a three-year study along the side of The Ray.

The Ray just received state approval to install a 2-megawatt solar array in another right of way, said Simoglou of the Georgia Center of Innovation. The new solar array will be installed at an exit ramp near the city of LaGrange. Future solar array plans include using the panels strategically to also act as noise dampening walls — all of it covered by a pollinator meadow ground cover.


Besides sustainability, smart infrastructure must be safe, as well. It’s estimated that $277 billion is lost every year in the U.S. due to car and truck accidents, according to the entities behind the projct.

“We would love to have this carbon-free highway,” said Harriet Anderson Langford, president of The Ray. “So that’s zero waste, zero carbon, zero deaths.”

The Ray

Smart roads could include speed warning systems, for example. One technology is speed control pulsing. The system, developed by Innovia, involves embedding light studs in the road. The studs flash in sequence to warn drivers of trouble ahead — yellow to reduce speeds and red for congestion or traffic stoppage ahead.

The lights can also be used to encourage safe following distances, alerting drivers when they get too close or tailgate cars in front. A line of red studs along the dotted white lane dividers could also tell drivers there’s a vehicle approaching from behind and that it’s unsafe to change lanes. The smart dots could even be used to deliver lane departure warnings and alerts about black ice. It means any car, not just newer connected cars, could benefit from early alerts to help them avoid accidents.


So far, the costs associated with The Ray project are relatively small. The organization’s executive director, Allie Kelly, says The Ray spends about $1 million a year. The money comes from the Georgia Department of Transportation, private corporate partnerships, and the Ray C. Anderson Foundation endowment.

For government departments like the DOT it’s a chance to test new smart infrastructure technologies. For the private firms involved, it’s an invaluable real world testing bed to improve their technologies. (Colas, for example, believes it will now be able to bring the cost of its solar pavers down to the equivalent of roof top solar panels.)

For The Ray, it’s a way to spread the ideas and solutions for a smart road infrastructure to other states and communities. There’s now a constant flow of new visitors to the Georgia site, from Florida and Missouri state reps to researchers from the asphalt industry and academic institutions.

“All this smart stuff can be overwhelming, especially for town managers” trying to balance budgets, Simoglou said. So The Ray is out to shown them not only how smart roads can be sustainable, but also be a sustainable business.

Source: digitaltrends.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 8th Aug 2018

A Ford factory worker wearing a robotic exosuitImage copyrightFORD

Image captionThe EksoVests are designed to assist workers lifting or interacting with objects overhead

Carmaker Ford is in the process of giving mechanical "exosuits" to 75 workers at 15 of its factories globally, following successful trials of the technology.

The devices, called EksoVests, wrap around the upper body and assist when lifting or reaching overhead.

It is hoped the suits will lower injuries from repetitive motion.

One industry watcher said it was a significant increase in the use of exosuits in the workplace.

Ekso Bionics is the company behind the devices, which were first used at two of Ford's assembly plants in the US.

Now the auto giant is bringing the technology to several more locations across seven countries: the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Romania, China and Thailand.

Improving overheads

Ford and Ekso say workers' physical activity is comparable to a person lifting a bag of flour or a watermelon above their head 4,600 times a day.

To help reduce the strain, the exosuits provide support to workers' arms as they reach up to perform manual tasks on car bodies and parts suspended above their heads, for example to screw bolts into place with power tools.

The devices also help with lifting larger under-body components into place - including skid plates and bumpers.

They are not powered or controlled by an onboard computer, but instead offer passive mechanical assistance to the wearer.

EksoVests fit workers between 5ft 2in and 6ft 4in tall (1.57m to 1.93m) and offer lift assistance for loads of between 5lb and 15lb per arm (2.3kg to 6.8kg).

A Ford factory on the underside a red carImage copyrightFORD

Image captionThe exosuits are being used in factories in seven different countries around the world

"I don't want the EksoVest to ever leave," said Nick Gotts, an EksoVest user who works at Ford's Flat Rock plant in Michigan, one of the first facilities to incorporate the technology.

"Any job that's overhead, I wouldn't work without it."

Ford's rollout of the technology was the largest adoption of exosuits by a company yet, said long-time industry analyst Dan Kara, at The Robot Report.

"Everything that I've heard behind the scenes says that it's all very positive," he told the BBC.

"These [exosuits] are acting like an intermediary between a human doing something and a full-on robotic solution."

Mr Kara emphasised that the benefits, including reduced worker injuries and higher employee satisfaction, were easy to measure, which has encouraged manufacturing companies and others to push forward with the technology.

In a press release, Ford noted that the 2018 injury incident rate was currently one of the lowest on record.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 7th Aug 2018
  • Google is rolling out the latest version of the Android operating system to Pixel and Essential Phone users.
  • This is Android 9.0, dubbed Android "Pie" by Google.
  • Monday's update includes only a few of the features that Google announced earlier this year. 
  • The rest of the features will come in the fall.
  • It's unclear when phones that aren't made by Google or Essential will get the update. Google says some will get it in the fall — but it's not yet clear when, exactly, it'll come to Samsung's popular Android phones.

Google is rolling out the latest version of its Android operating system — Android 9.0, officially codenamed "Pie" — on Monday, but only a few of the headlining features that Google announced back at Google I/O are included in the update. 

The version of Android Pie that's rolling out on Monday includes Google's personalization features, powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Those features include Adaptive Battery, which uses AI to learn which apps you use at what time of the day, and prioritizes battery towards those apps. 

There's also Adaptive Brightness, which learns how you adjust your brightness settings in different lighting situations and automatically changes the display's brightness. android p adaptive brightnessYouTube/Google

You'll also find App Actions in there, which predicts what you'll want to do based on what you're doing on your phone at any given time. If you're getting ready to commute, App Actions will suggest navigation with Google Maps, or perhaps that you start an audiobook. 

There are new swiping gestures in Android Pie, essentially introducing a whole new way to use Android phones, that are also included in Monday's rollout. It's only an option, and you can turn it off if you prefer the old fashioned way of navigating around your Android phone. 

What's not included in Monday's Android Pie rollout

In a strange twist, the version of Android Pie that's rolling out on Monday won't include some of the "Digital Wellbeing" features that Google announced at Google I/O, including a newDashboard feature that Google says "helps you understand how you're spending time on your device."

A feature called App Timer, which lets you set a time limit on specific apps, is also coming out later this fall. 

android p digital wellbeingGoogle

And Wind Down is coming in the fall, too. It'll switch on the Night Light mode that limits your screen's blue light, fade the screen to grayscale (a sort of black and white), and even turn on Do Not Disturb mode before bedtime. Do Not Disturb is also getting smarter, which will mute visual interruptions on your screen in addition to sounds and vibrations. 

Most of you probably won't get the update today...unless you have these three phones

Google's latest Android update is only rolling out to the company's own Pixel smartphones — that is, the original Pixel phone, as well as the newer Pixel 2. Those with the Essential Phone are also getting the Android Pie update, according to Essential, which could make it the first non-Google smartphone that gets an Android update on day one of the rollout.

It should be noted that both the Pixel 2 and the Essential Phone, while sporting solid, modern hardware, are also relatively smaller players in the market for Android devices.

Those with Android phones by companies like Samsung, LG, HTC, and pretty much any company that's not Google or Essential aren't getting the update on Monday. It's unclear when those users will get the update. If the past is anything to go by, it'll be months before non-Google smartphone users get the Android Pie update, if at all. 

Google did say that devices that participated in the Android Beta program — including Sony, Xiami, HMD Global (Nokia), Oppo, Vivo, and OnePlus — will receive the update this fall. 

Still, on day one, Android 9.0 won't have some of its most-hyped features, and it may not come to your phone or most others for months. It's a little bit of a weird situation.

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 6th Aug 2018


Aron ChaseImage copyright ARON CHASE

Image caption Aron Chase was given five tips on how to succeed in the world of AI science

A teenager from London has been given some extra homework for the school holidays by the co-founder of Artificial Intelligence firm DeepMind.

Aron Chase, 17, tweeted Shane Legg looking for five top tips on how to succeed in the burgeoning field of AI.

Dr Legg replied with some very specific advice, including brushing up on linear algebra.

Some AI scientists command six-figure salaries because of the current shortage of experts in the field.

Skip Twitter post by @aron65900682


@ShaneLegg Hey Shane I’m currently 17 from London England and am very passionate about AI, also learning about in-depth human needs. What would be the 5 pieces of advice and tips you would give to a young person like me?

10:48 PM - Jul 29, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @aron65900682

In response to the tweet, the Deepmind chief scientist and co-founder said Aron needed to learn:

  • linear algebra well (eg matrix maths)
  • calculus to an OK level (not advanced stuff)
  • probability theory and stats to a good level
  • theoretical computer science basics
  • to code well in Python and ok in C++

DeepMind, a sister company to Google, is considered by many to be at the cutting-edge of AI research. Algorithms developed at the London-based firm have accomplished a variety of tasks, including beating humans at the complex game of Go, and detecting cancers.

According to the New York Times, its AI scientists are paid an average of $345,000 (£265,000) a year, something not confirmed by the firm itself.

There is currently a shortage of AI experts, as tech firms around the globe vie to snap up talent.

According to research from start-up Element AI, there are around 22,000 PhD researchers working on AI topics around the world, of which about 3,000 were currently looking for work. It also found that there was a subset of 5,000 people at the heart of AI research, who are publishing papers on the topic.

The big question is - will Mr Chase be using the advice?

"Oh yes, for sure. I will definitely follow it and aim to learn all of it by this time next year," he told the BBC.

Mr Chase is currently studying ICT (Information and Communication Technology) at a sixth-form college but said he would consider a university course specialising in AI or, even better, an apprenticeship at an AI firm.

"Elon Musk has said that college degrees aren't as good as getting hands-on experience," he told the BBC.

So will he be tweeting Mr Musk, who has expressed concerns that AI technology could destroy humans in the future, looking for a job?

"Oh yeah, that would be awesome," he said.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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