Amazon today introduced the Amazon Dash Cart, a "smart shopping cart" that uses weight sensors and cameras to let you scan your items as you place them in the cart so you can skip the checkout line. According to CNET:
"Our primary motivation for building this was to be able to save customers time," said Dilip Kumar, vice president of Amazon’s physical retail and technology. "The alternative solutions are standing in the express checkout lanes or fumbling through self-checkout stations."
Dash Carts will debut at Amazon’s Woodland Hills, California, grocery store, when the location opens later this year. The company last November unveiled plans for the Woodland Hills store as the first location for a new supermarket chain that will be separate from its Whole Foods chain. The store will include conventional checkout lanes, too.
The new shopping cart, which Kumar says is built sturdy enough to prevent those annoying shaky and off-balance wheels, is part of Amazon’s continued work to put its techie signature on the $1.2 trillion US grocery market. It introduced Amazon Go in 2016 and Amazon Go Grocery, a larger store format that includes fresh produce, in February. There’s been plenty of speculation that Amazon will add similar hardware into Whole Foods, which it purchased in 2017, but that has yet to happen.
It’s clear Amazon is trying to eliminate as much friction as possible between them and your money. I didn’t even know checkout lines were causing me to spend less, but Amazon’s data says they do so they must. It’s probably just a matter of time before Amazon skips the middleman that is your brain completely and starts randomly sending you things you might want. I’m kind of joking, but with their return policy, this actually seems like a viable business model for them.
via Geekologie – Gadgets, Gizmos, and Awesome https://geekologie.com/
Transcript: This scooter looks like a suitcase when folded. ATTO from moving life is a full-sized scooter with a unique foldable design. There is trolley mode, which resembles a suitcase, and split mode, where the scooter separates into two parts for easy lifting. You can pack ATTO in the trunk of a vehicle or take it onto a plane or train according to moving life. ATTO comes with a 48-Volt lithium-ion battery with 12 miles of range per charge. The brushless DC motor propels to a top speed of 4 mph. ATTO currently retails for $2,799 on Amazon.
Google is going to invest up to $10 billion in India over the next five to seven years, CEO Sundar Pichai announced today. The news came as part of Google’s annual Google for India event in which the search giant makes announcements specific to that market. This year’s headline is the launch of the Google for India Digitization Fund, which will distribute the $10 billion in investments of the next near-decade.
Pichai said that the fund will make money available for equity investment in local tech businesses, partnerships and infrastructure spending. They will be focused around four broad categories, including language-services (India has 22 officially-recognized local languages as well as English), helping Indian businesses embrace digitization, and tailoring products to suit India’s specific needs. The fourth involves the use of AI for “social good” in areas like “health, education and agriculture.”
Google for India has been a yearly event in the country since 2015, where the company often announces initiatives designed for the subcontinent. Last year, Google announced it would launch a new AI lab in Bengaluru as well as the launch of mobile payments there. The company has also rolled out free public WiFi at over 400 train stations (a program which has since been axed) and adding more Indian languages to its voice and search products.
We’ve seen a spate of big companies making big in-roads into the Indian market, which has been a long sought-after prize for western tech firms. Facebook invested close to $6 billion to buy a stake in Jio, the country’s biggest mobile network, Apple is opening its first store there in 2021 and even Samsung is offering digital tech support in the country. India certainly looks as if it’s going to be a big growth incubator in the future, with the World Economic Forum claiming that India could become the “next Silicon Valley.”
Arevo wants to change that. The little-known manufacturer in California is launching a new bike brand today called Superstrata. Unlike most of its competition, which builds carbon fibre frames with multiple parts or pieces, the company has developed “a true unibody construction” that has no visible seams or welding marks. “This piece comes out as a single piece from our machines,” Sonny Vu, CEO of Arevo and the former CEO of wearables maker Misfit told Engadget. “So there’s no glue, no joins, no bolts, no laser welds, none of that stuff. If anything, things are shaved off in the post-processing [phase].”
Superstrata frames won’t be a single piece, though. The team is planning to print the main portion of the frame — which doesn’t have a traditional seat tube, creating an open diamond shape — and front forks separately. Still, it’s an impressive design feat that is catch the attention of other cyclists and road users.
The company will use additive manufacturing to build two similarly-shaped bicycles: a standard $2,799 ‘Terra’ model, and an electrified $3,999 ‘Ion’ version. That might sound expensive, however a carbon road bike can cost anywhere between $1,250 and $12,500. (And even higher, if you want something truly rare.) A top-end Riese & Müller e-bike, meanwhile, will set you back almost $9,000. Superstrata isn’t making a bike for the masses, but the company isn’t operating in the upper echelons of bespoke bicycle building, either.
“It’s less than your high-end carbon fiber bikes, but it’s not affordable in the common sense,” Vu accepted.
According to Superstrata, 3D printing offers a couple of crucial benefits. For starters, each bicycle can be printed to suit the exact dimensions of the rider. The company is promising “over 500,000” possible setups that account for the customer’s height, weight, arm and leg length, as well as their preferred riding position and level of frame stiffness. Most bicycle manufacturers, for comparison, offer a handful of frame sizes that account for most rider heights. And many e-bike startups, such as Cowboy, have a single specification to simplify manufacturing and repairs.
3D printing doesn’t require any expensive molds, either. That means the company isn’t tied down or incentivised to stick with the same frame design for a long period of time. The process requires fewer humans, too, than a traditional carbon fiber frame. “The materials for carbon composites are really expensive, but it’s really the labor that makes it expensive,” Vu said. “That was astounding to me. I always thought it was the material, but then I realized, ‘Oh, it’s actually the labor.’”
Finally, Superstata is promising “seamless strength” that trumps traditional monocoque carbon fiber frames. Vu told Engadget: “We say, ‘Well, your monocoque frame didn’t start as one piece. it was 20 or 30 pieces that are glued together, laser-welded maybe even together, wrapped. But it started as many pieces. And if it hits a tree, it’s going to end up being many pieces.” Superstrata’s bikes won’t be indestructible, but they should fare better if you take a tumble or stand it up haphazardly outside a cafe.
The Ion will ship with a 252Wh battery tucked into its svelte down tube. By e-bike standards, that’s small. VanMoof and Cowboy’s latest wares offer 504Wh and 360Wh batteries respectively, for instance. Superstrata is promising a 250-watt motor, which is effectively the industry standard for pedal-assisted e-bikes, that can rise to 350 watts in a pinch. It will deliver 40Nm of torque, which is well below the 75Nm that Bosch — the supplier for countless bike brands including Trek, Moustache and Riese & Müller — currently offers with its flagship generation four motors. (Bosh is also planning a software update that will increase the torque to 85Nm later this summer.)
Superstrata’s Ion will be lighter than most of its e-bike competition, though. The entire contraption should weigh 11KG, which is 1KG less than Gogoro’s Eeyo 1, 8KG less than VanMoof’s S3 and only 700 grams heavier than the folding Hummingbird. Like the Eeyo 1, the weight and “open-frame” design should make it easy to carry the bike on one shoulder. In theory, the the weight should counterbalance the smaller battery size, too. Superstrata is promising 96KM (60 miles) of range on a single charge and an assisted top speed of 32KMH (20MPH), which will be software restricted to meet Europe’s lower 25KMH (15.5MPH) speed limit.
The company has sourced some of its basic components — the tyres, saddle and groupset, for instance — from third-party manufacturers. We don’t know the exact model numbers, but Vu confirmed they would be fairly “standard” choices. Superstrata couldn’t pick top of the line components, he explained, because the team is ordering them in smaller volumes than traditional bike manufacturers. “The average person, I think they’ll enjoy it,” Vu said. “Pro bikers, they’ll probably scoff at it, the sets. But they can put in their own sets.”
Arevo has been working on its 3D-printed bike formula for some time. Back in 2018, the company unveiled a head-turning proof-of-concept with a blue frame that extended beyond the head tube fork and seat tube. Twelve months later, it unveiled the electric Emery One with Franco Bicycles, a premium road and gravel bike manufacturer based in California. Arevo has since announced that it will help Pilot Distribution Group, a company in the Netherlands, develop a new line off e-bikes that have 3D-printed carbon fiber frames.
With Superstrata, the company is finally striking out on its own. “I said, ‘You know what? Why are we doing this for other people? Let’s do it for ourselves and if other people want it, they can come to us,’” Vu said. “So that’s the idea. Let’s make a nice bike, end to end. Let’s build a whole brand around it and just have fun.”
To deliver its dream bicycles, though, the company is turning to Indiegogo. As with all crowdfunding campaigns, there’s no guarantee that the Terra or Ion will ever materialize. Arevo has been around since 2013, though, which is longer than many electric bike startups. Vu also hinted that the company is using the platform more as a marketing “launch pad” than a finance-raising tool. Still, any reservation is a gamble.
If everything goes to plan, Arevo will be delivering its first bikes in December. The company will make 500 two-wheelers in its initial run, according to Vu, through a combination of printing in the US and Vietnam. He hopes the Superstrata business will increase to “thousands, eventually,” but is keenly aware of how competitive the bike industry can be. If the brand doesn’t catch on, Arevo might have to pivot.
“As a 3D printing company, we can do that,” he explained. “We can say, ‘Nah, okay. We’re done.’ If you’ve invested into a whole line with carbon fiber molds and a complete production setup, you better sell tens of thousands of bikes or else you’re pretty screwed. But if 437 people are hating [Superstrata bikes] and we can’t get anyone’s attention, it’s okay. Let’s do baby strollers or whatever. Let’s do something else. I just love this world of additive manufacturing because you can do that kind of thing. It’s really upending the supply chain structure that’s out there.”
Transcript: A car parking robot. Stan is an autonomous bot that will find a spot and park your car for you. 100% electric, Stan uses storage optimization software and autonomous car organization to take your vehicle and park it with other cars, optimizing space in parking garages and eliminating the hassle of having to do it yourself. When you initiate the valet service, Stan comes to tag and pick up your vehicle, then neatly parks it. Sensors scan the environment and Stan adjusts as needed.
Want to make sure your parking is always on point? Park Right from Maxsa Innovations makes sure you land that perfect spot every time so you don’t cause accidental damage in your garage.
After China imposed a restrictive national security law on Hong Kong, tech companies find themselves at a crossroads. Giants like Google and Facebook stopped responding to requests for user data in the city, but may eventually have to pull out altogether.
One marquee name to exit Hong Kong already is TikTok, which remains eager to prove its distance from its China-based parent company. TikTok also found itself embroiled in a confusing episode on Friday, when an internal Amazon email indicated that the company was ordering employees to remove the app from their phones; hours later, Amazon stated that the email was sent in error. Hate it when the drafts go live, especially when they cause an international furor.
And there’s more! Every Saturday we round up the security and privacy stories that we didn’t break or report on in depth but think you should know about. Click on the headlines to read them, and stay safe out there.
It’s no secret that hacker forums on the dark web are teeming with stolen credentials. But a recent audit from security firm Digital Shadows has put a number on just how large a problem that’s become. The data loss detection firm found 15 billion login pairs—user names and passwords—stemming from 100,000 breaches. Five billion of those were unique. The survey also details pricing, which varies widely based on how recent the breach is and what type of site it accesses. Financial services and banking passwords, unsurprisingly, command a much higher sum than file sharing or video game accounts. As always, WIRED recommends using a password manager to minimize the fallout when a company coughs up your sign-in info.
Facebook regularly takes down Pages associated with what it calls coordinated inauthentic behavior from countries like Russia and Iran. This week, though, it turned its attention stateside, taking down dozens of Pages and accounts associated with Donald Trump associate Roger Stone violating the platform’s rules. Stone’s personal Facebook and Instagram account were included the enforcement effort, along with a bunch of fake ones that promoted Stone’s positions across a variety of topics.
Motherboard reports this week that a company called SpyCloud, which sells access to data obtained by criminals in breaches, has marketed its services to law enforcement agencies. The practice would enable police or other government organizations to do an end-around of due process, by potentially collecting data from a huge number of civilians, whether they’ve been accused of a crime or not, without a warrant.
Late last month, the group DDoSecrets hosted a massive trove of hacked law enforcement data that had been passed to it by someone claiming an affiliation with Anonymous. This week, German authorities seized the web server that hosted the so-called BlueLeaks collection, at the behest of the US government. DDoSecrets remains undeterred, but the site that had hosted BlueLeaks remains down as of press time.
Aircraft manufacturer Boom plans on unveiling their XB-1 prototype on October 7th, which would be the first independently-developed supersonic jet. According to Airline Ratings:
The fuselage is complete, the wings tested and installed and the engines are ready to fire up. In April, the manufacturing team installed XB-1’s wing to the forward fuselage in a quick and seamless operation. Boom says that it has made significant progress to the aft fuselage build-up which hosts the XB-1’s three supersonic engines. The XB-1’s titanium aft fuselage can withstand temperatures in excess of 800°F.
Drop tests for XB-1’s nose and main landing gears are also underway, while the pilots are training in the flight simulator.
The prototype is a proof of concept before production of a full scale 50-seat supersonic airliner, to be called the "Overture". The timeline for the planned entry into airline service has now also slipped from the previously envisaged 2023-24 to between 2025 and 2027.
The original Concorde was retired in 2003 and there haven’t been any commercial supsersonic flights since. But really, just how fast do we really need our air travel to be? I guess flying to Taiwan in half the time would be neat, but I’ve watched cartoons and in the future we’re all going to be zipping around in tubes anyway so I’m not sure there’s going to be a huge market for this. Keep going for some more production shots as well as the official Boom XB-1 video.
via Geekologie – Gadgets, Gizmos, and Awesome https://geekologie.com/