Tag Archives: Gadget News

Sana’s smart sleep goggles for insomniacs will be out in 2018

Richard Hanbury, the company’s chief, worked on the technology as a solution to his chronic pain issues that make it hard to go to sleep. It was put to the test when Bertrand Piccard relied on the technology to make sure he had enough rest when he piloted the Solar Impulse on a round-the-world journey last year. He could only nap three hours a day divided in 20-minute blocks and needed the extra help to make the most of each. At the moment, Sana Health is testing the device on athletes in need of restful nights while traveling.

Sana Sleep isn’t just for pilots and athletes, though: it’s for everyone who’s having trouble going to bed. Now that the company has successfully closed a $1.3 million round of seed funding, it’ll start working towards mass production. Hanbury says you’ll be able to buy the mask by the second quarter of 2018 at the earliest, and it will set you back $400.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/28/sanas-smart-sleep-goggles-2018-release/

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s mother killed in boating mishap

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick

Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has lost his mother in a boating accident, and his father has been injured.

Kalanick’s parents, Bonnie and Donald, were boating on Pine Flat Lake near Fresno, California, on Friday when their craft struck a rock and sank, according to a preliminary report by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.

“Deputies later found a man and woman on shore. He had moderate injuries and the woman was deceased,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release. Kalanick’s father was flown by helicopter to a regional medical center.

“Last night Travis and his family suffered an unspeakable tragedy. His mother passed away in a devastating boating accident near Fresno and his father is in serious condition. Our thoughts and prayers are with Travis and his family in this heartbreaking time,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement.

Kalanick reportedly was close to his mother. He posted these photos to Facebook on Mother’s Day, earlier this month:

Recode’s Kara Swisher, who also writes for Vanity Fair, published an outtake from a profile she did of Kalanick for VF. It gives a glimpse of Kalanick’s relationship with his mother and father.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/uber-ceo-travis-kalanicks-mother-killed-in-boating-mishap/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Mind-controlled bionic hand can help stroke patients move again

The cap picks up on the user’s intention to open or close the paralyzed hand, the computer it’s attached to amplifies those signals and the Ipsihand follows those commands. So, how does the technology work? It’s based on what David Bundy, the lead author of the team’s paper published in the journal Stroke, discovered a decade ago. See, the parts of the brain that control movements are located on the other side of the limbs you want to move. If, say, you want to close your left hand, it’s the right part of your brain that does the work. That also means that a stroke survivor who can’t control his left arm and leg sustained damage on the the right side of his brain.

Bundy and neurosurgery professor Eric Leuthardt, however, found out that the electric signals that indicate movement first appear on the side of the limb you want to move. Those signals are responsible for activating the other side of your brain, which causes the actual movement. In stroke patients, the initial signals get lost in the ether, since the part it’s trying to activate doesn’t work anymore. That’s where Ipsihand comes in.

Out of 13 subjects, 10 were able to finish 12 weeks of testing, picking up blocks and building towers, fitting tubes around smaller tubes and moving their hands to their mouths. Their scores improved by an average of 6.2 points on a 57-point scale. It doesn’t sound like much, but as Leuthardt said, it could be “the difference between being unable to put on their pants by themselves and being able to do so.”

During those tests, the team found that patients improved based on how well the system read the signals from their brains. The more the researchers improve its capability to pick up signals, the better Ipsihand will be at helping survivors move their hands again.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/27/mind-controlled-ipsihand-stroke-rehab/

Before you install the Amazon Video app on Android, read this

Ask almost any security expert, and they’ll tell you switching on “unknown sources” on your Android phone or tablet is one of the worst things you can do for device security.

But that’s exactly what Amazon has asked its app store customers to do for years.

The heart of the problem is Amazon’s requirement to allow installations from “unknown sources” — that is, any app or game that hasn’t been carefully vetted by the Google Play app store. That’s because while almost all of Amazon’s apps are already in Google Play, the retail giant’s own third-party app store, dubbed Underground, isn’t allowed.

Opening your Android phone or tablet up to apps and games outside Google’s protective walled garden also makes your device infinitely more vulnerable to malware.

A spokesperson for Amazon said “millions” of devices have Underground installed, but warned that “customers should take care only to download content from sources they trust, like Amazon.” That includes Amazon Prime Video — the company’s competitor to Netflix — which is only available on Android through the Amazon Underground store.

But it’s not Amazon’s app store that’s the problem — it’s the giant hole you have to punch in Android’s security to get it installed in the first place.

You can read more of this story on our sister site ZDNet.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-underground-app-store-android-security-risk/#ftag=CAD590a51e

‘Fallen London’ and the secret to writing an infinite gothic game

Fallen London debuted as a free browser game in 2009, though back then it was called Echo Bazaar. It’s still available in browser form, but it’s also on iOS and Android, and it’s spawned a successful spinoff mobile franchise starting with Sunless Sea. Just this week, Failbetter announced it would place renewed focus on Fallen London, tying up some of its stories and systems.

Fallen London is a deep choose-your-own-adventure game with no moving pictures to guide players into new worlds. Instead, it’s text-based, allowing fans to decide how they’ll react to certain scenarios while they wander around a Victorian version of London that was pulled into an underground dimension by a swarm of bats.

Fallen London blends Lovecraftian monsters with the eloquence of Poe and a dark sense of wit that’s entirely unique to the game world. Here’s a taste of its tone, courtesy of Gardiner:

There’s a scene in a story called The Gift where the player ventures under the royal palace and learns what’s become of Queen Victoria’s children. The player ends up disguised as a servant at a banquet. They’ve been instructed to keep their back to it, and under no circumstances to turn around.

There’s a mirror in front of them. And in the mirror, fine lords and ladies are eating an elegant dinner. But the sounds you hear behind you are very different. Slobbering. Cracking bones. The thud of wet meat on the table. The mirror is lying. Three times we ask the player if they want to turn around, and warn that the consequences will be terrible. It’s entirely their choice. And because they’re our players, they generally turn. Bless them.

Gardiner is the narrative director on Fallen London, but he isn’t putting this deliciously grotesque universe together himself. The entire project is the brainchild of Alexis Kennedy, an acclaimed video-game writer and designer who’s helping build the new Dragon Age. Kennedy founded Failbetter in 2010, as Fallen London was gaining a sizable cult following, and over the following years, he tended to the game’s story alongside a small team of writers and fans-turned-employees. He left Failbetter in 2016 on good terms, placing Fallen London in Gardiner’s hands.

“His were very big shoes to fill,” Gardiner says. “Failbetter was his baby, and he was involved in every aspect of it. Even when his duties meant he didn’t have much time to write content, Alexis was always the arbiter and guardian of Fallen London‘s lore and tone. Maintaining that tone has been a crucial priority for us, and I was concerned about it. I’d been head writer for a while, so the team wasn’t left without a lead experienced in writing for Fallen London. And, fortunately, Alexis left us a game consisting of hundreds of thousands of words of stories, which is as comprehensive an authority as you can get.”

Today, the Fallen London team maintains a living document of every event and arc in the game, constantly growing it as new activities are introduced. The doc is streamlined, containing only basic, businesslike information about any particular event — and still, it’s 131 pages long.

“Every time we write a new story, we add to it, like the ever-expanding occult tome of a very well-organized sorcerer who believes highlighters and Post-It notes are true magic,” Gardiner says.

If necessary, writers can also dive directly into the game’s back end and search for specific text or mechanical elements, though given the size of the story, this is a laborious process.

“Increasingly, we rely on the expertise of the writers,” Gardiner says. “Each writer tends to become an authority on different parts of the lore.”

There are four writers working on Fallen London, including Gardiner, plus an analyst and a handful of freelancers who chip in as needed. They operate in a multistep editing loop that ensures each piece of the story fits into the overall Fallen London universe (and that it’s as eerie, romantic or disturbing as possible).

This week, Failbetter announced its renewed focus on Fallen London. The game has been on the back burner for a while as developers worked on Sunless Sea and its sequel, Sunless Skies. Some of the mechanics and stories have languished in the meantime, and Gardiner says it’s simply time to dust off the cobwebs and dive back into the Echo Bazaar.

Throughout 2017, the Fallen London team promises to continue a few storylines, such as “The Cheery Man” and “Last Constable,” “The Dilmun Club, A Return to the Empress’ Court and the Light Fingers ambition. This is on top of the game’s expected stories and events, including the next mayoral election, a large-scale affair where players chose the leader of Fallen London. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Failbetter is improving its own writing tools.

“Everyone’s been in the role at least a year, and our process is well-established and polished,” Gardiner says, noting that the team has expanded to include freelancers like Emily Short. “Failbetter has grown in all other areas, too — tech, analytics, art, production. We’re now in a place where we’re able to commit dedicated resource to some things that otherwise would have missed out to higher-priority tasks.”

Besides, Failbetter wants to reward veteran players who have been clamoring for these updates for a long while. “We’ve always seen this content as an unpaid debt, and it’s time to pay it off,” he says.

Fallen London never sleeps. Since its inception in 2009, it’s continued to evolve, gathering new stories, items, characters and creeps under the city’s yellowed gas lamps. Kennedy, Gardiner and Failbetter have written more than 1.5 million words for Fallen London so far, and they’re nowhere near done.

Fallen London is the story of a city, and a city doesn’t stop,” Gardiner says. “There are definitely stories that will conclude, but London won’t. Some players will feel a natural stopping point when some stories — like the ambitions that drove them to London — are at an end, but the game won’t force them to leave. We want players to spend as much time in Fallen London as they choose. And if they want to leave and come back, that’s fine too. We’ll always make you welcome, Delicious Friend.”

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/27/fallen-london-gothic-horror-game-interview-writing/

Here’s your first look at the Mercedes-AMG hypercar’s powertrain

Mercedes-AMG has already given out a few details of its upcoming hypercar, dubbed Project One. Now, we can finally take a look at how it all comes together.

The performance sub-brand of Mercedes-Benz released a new teaser for Project One today, showcasing the ridiculous Formula 1-derived powertrain. Shortly thereafter, the automaker was nice enough to give us some time with it in person.

We already know it will put out more than 1,000 horsepower, thanks to a plug-in hybrid system that mates a 1.6-liter gas V6 to four electric motors — two driving the front axle, and two integrated into the powertrain out back. Three of the motors (the two front axle motors, and the MGU-K connected to the crank) have an output of about 161 horsepower.

17c39902.jpgEnlarge Image

All that’s left to unveil at this point is the body.


The engine, mounted midship, sports a massive air intake up top, which will integrate into the body with a bit more elegance than a Formula 1 car. Its lithium-ion battery sits low and flat just behind the front axle. Stuck between the engine and the battery is a litany of electronic components, the same components you’d find tucked into a 2015-ish-era Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 car. Also like Mercedes-AMG’s Formula 1 car, the turbocharger is split in two, with each half residing on either side of the engine block, connected by a shaft that runs through the engine’s V.

It’s complicated, it’s powerful, and it’s unlike any other road car in existence. If you’ve been yearning for a Formula 1 car for the road, here’s the best way to make that happen — if you can get your hands on one, which won’t exactly be easy.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/heres-your-first-look-at-the-mercedes-amg-hypercar-powertrain/#ftag=CAD590a51e