Cape Canaveral, Oct 15 (AP/UNB) — NASA has moved up the first all-female spacewalk to this week because of a power system failure at the International Space Station.
Astronauts Christina Koch (cook) and Jessica Meir (mere) will now venture out Thursday or Friday, instead of next Monday.
A battery power controller failed over the weekend, prompting the change. The women will replace the broken component, rather than install new batteries, which was their original job.
Last week, astronauts conducted two spacewalks to replace old space station batteries. They have three more spacewalks to go to finish the battery work. A battery-swapping spacewalk scheduled for Wednesday has been called off.
This will be the first spacewalk by only women in more than a half-century of spacewalking.
NASA says the six station astronauts remain safe, despite the failure.
San Francisco, Oct 15 (AP/UNB) — Google unveiled a new Pixel smartphone and other hardware devices Tuesday, all aimed at getting people even more dependent on its artificial-intelligence services.
The Pixel 4 phone promises to respond to AI queries even faster than before, while a home Wi-Fi system is getting the AI features for the first time. The company also unveiled a new smart speaker and wireless earbuds, both invoking the AI-powered Google Assistant.
The Assistant, akin to Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa , is now available on more than 1 billion devices, including ones made by other manufacturers. With Google's own products, though, the company can steer users to Assistant features even more.
That in turn, could encourage Google users to interact with other Google services such as search and maps more frequently, feeding into Google's multi-billion dollar advertising business. More use of the Assistant also means that Google gets more data on user preferences and activities to build its advertising profiles.
Amazon and Google are both pushing their voice assistants onto more devices, though they have different ultimate goals, said Victoria Petrock, principle analyst at eMarketer. Amazon is getting a shopping assistant into every device it can, she said, while Google is collecting more information about user preferences.
"I think their end game is trying to collect all this data and target you with advertising," she said.
The "helpful" features Assistant announces could make people even more likely to use it.
"The voice is a whole new way to capture people's behaviors," she said.
Assistant has faced scrutiny this year after reports revealed that Google contractors were transcribing some customer's spoken communication with the AI to help improve the system. Google has since clarified its policies and said it will make it more explicit that people must give explicit permission, or opt in.
Still, many are skeptical of the proliferation of digital assistants in homes and pockets.
With the new Pixel, the Google Assistant will complete some tasks entirely on the device — so it doesn't have to wait for answers from the cloud — allowing users to make commands and dictate text messages more quickly.
The Pixel 4 will have better facial recognition for unlocking the phone with a glance. Unlike the existing "trusted face" feature on Android phones, the new Face Unlock is intended to be more secure and easier to use, matching what Apple and Samsung already offer.
The new phone gets a second camera lens, for better zooming, even as some Apple and Samsung devices are getting a third lens, for wider-angle shots. True to Google's focus on AI, the Pixel's new camera will recognize people you have taken many photos of before and automatically focus on them in new shots.
And the new phone comes with motion-sensing technology that allows people to do simple hand-waving gestures to skip songs or switch apps without touching the phone.
The Pixel 4 will carry a starting price tag of $799 — $100 more than the entry-level iPhone 11 — and will go on sale Oct. 24. The larger XL version will cost $899.
Google's phones have been well reviewed, but have yet to make much of a splash in the market dominated by Apple, Huawei and Samsung. In fact, Google's hardware products have never been big moneymakers. Rather, they offer a way for Google to showcase its money-making services.
Google introduced a less expensive version of its phone, the Pixel 3a, to positive reviews in May, a trend that is sweeping across the smartphone market as consumers hold on to phones longer rather than buy new, expensive models. Google hinted the trend may continue, but offered no details.
"We see that being a really great long-term opportunity, both for our users and for us," said Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of hardware at Google
The company also unveiled true wireless earbuds, called Pixel Buds, Google's answer to Apple's AirPods. The new model, which will go on sale early next year for $179, does away with the wire that connects the two buds.
Google introduced Nest Mini, the smaller version of its smart speaker. It comes out next Tuesday for $49. Google's refreshed Wi-Fi router, Nest Wifi, will be available in the coming weeks for $269. A new Pixelbook Go laptop goes on sale in January staring at $649.
Google hardware team, including many former Google Glass engineers, work from a light-filled, architecturally impressive building near the company's main campus in Mountain View, California. The building is complete with a "color lab" for finding the perfect device hues, a materials library for all sorts of elemental inspiration and a small model shop to build device prototypes on site.
"We started by defining what it feels like to hold Google in your hands," hardware design executive Ivy Ross said. "The good thing about coming a little bit late to the hardware arena is you get to stand back and look at everyone else."
One of the challenges this time around was finding a way to make the products more sustainable, a feat especially notable on the Nest Mini, which has a "fabric" casing made of yarn created from plastic water bottles.
Dhaka, Oct 15 (UNB)- Bangladesh Innovation Conclave (BIC) has conferred the Social Innovation award 2019 to the country’s largest digital school, Robi-10 Minute School.
The award was handed to the Robi-10 Minute School team at the Bangladesh Business Innovation Summit 2019 organised by Bangladesh Innovation Conclave at Le Méridien in Dhaka recently.
Robi-10 Minute School received the award in recognition of the digital school’s extraordinary contribution in making quality education content available for students across the country through live classes on Facebook and YouTube.
These live classes take place every-day from 7 to 8 pm and 9 to 10 pm. The topics of these live classes cover a wide array of topics, including, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, Bangla, English, General Knowledge, Accounting, Finance and various tips and tricks of approaching one’s academic life.
On an average, more than 5,000 students attend these live classes. Since the inception of the live classes in July, 2016, more than 10 million students have been benefitted from the classes. Besides, the live class educational content has been viewed more than 30 million times so far.
This year, Robi-10 Minute School undertook a two months long special project providing live classes for the students all over the country who are preparing for the university admission.
BIC aims to keep the innovative minds of Bangladesh updated with the latest trends and happenings from around the world. BIC regularly features successful innovation stories that are happening in the country, along with insightful articles from local and global experts.
Seoul, Oct 15 (Xinhua/UNB) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday that his country aimed to commercialize autonomous driving cars by 2027 and expand the sales proportion of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles to a third of the total by 2030.
Moon made the remarks at the Namyang R&D Center of the country's biggest carmaker Hyundai Motor in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi province to announce his government's vision to become a world leader in the future car industry.
He said South Korea aimed to become the world's first country to commercialize "fully" autonomous driving vehicles by 2027 by building up necessary infrastructure, such as wireless communication networks between roads and cars, integrated control systems and 3D precision maps, by 2024.
The Moon government also targeted the sales proportion of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles at 33 percent of the total by 2030, while winning a global market share of 10 percent by the year.
To help achieve that goal, the government planned to install about 15,000 high-speed battery chargers by 2025 as well as 330 hydrogen charging stations by 2030 across the country.
If achieved, the environmentally-friendly vehicles would cut greenhouse gas emissions and fine dust by 36 percent and 11 percent each, the president noted.
South Korean companies planned to invest about 60 trillion won (50.6 billion U.S. dollars) in developing future car-related technologies for the next 10 years.
Moon said the government will make a separate investment of 2.2 trillion won (1.8 billion U.S. dollars) to help local companies develop core components and materials in the future car sector.
In a separate statement, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said the country aimed to launch pilot projects for the so-called flying car by 2025 and expand its businesses in a gradual manner.
Beijing, Oct 15 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Space engineers have made a key step in designing a new generation launch vehicle that could help start China's manned lunar exploration program, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
A pre-study for the carrier rocket, conducted by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) under the CASC, has passed a review by the China Manned Space Agency.
The research, started in 2017, has produced an initial blueprint for the rocket, which will be about 87 meters long and have a takeoff weight of about 2,200 tonnes.
It could carry payloads of more than 25 tonnes to the lunar transfer orbit and would have a new escape system to improve astronaut safety.
As well as the mature engine and the highly reliable flight control technologies of the Long March-5 and Long March-7 carrier rockets, production of the rocket would feature advanced manufacturing technologies and new materials.
A detailed plan to develop the carrier rocket is now on the drawing board, according to the CASC.
It has been reported that China is pushing forward the pre-study of a manned lunar landing program.
Currently, China's largest carrier rocket has a payload capacity of about 8 tonnes to the lunar transfer orbit. The manned lunar landing program needs a more powerful and reliable new generation manned launch vehicle.