Tech Sector News

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streaming technology

New Technology Allows For Seamless Integration

Technology now offers users a way to listen to music and drive together, and now a new association between music streaming app Spotify and navigation app Waze anticipates to make that experience more smooth in the connected age. The two have united so that Waze users can listen to Spotify playlists from within the app, and Spotify users can continue to get their Waze navigation instructions while in the music app.

streaming technology

The companies said the association is rolling out first to Android users worldwide. When it will be turned on for iOS is unknown. The move is an appealing for several reasons, beginning with usability. If you have ever launched Spotify while also launching a mapping app through your phone in a car, you will know that it doesn’t always work as smooth as you would prefer. This will also create a better experience on the screen. Users who are in the Spotify app will now get a short version of the next navigation instruction, while Waze users will get a short description of what they’re listening to, with the option to skip or change the music without requiring to open the Spotify app.

For Waze, it is notable that it selected Spotify first for this kind of integration. Waze tells us that Spotify is the first and only partner for this kind of app-level integration for the moment. It will be interesting to see whether Waze intends to add more integrations of music or other services down the line. More music services, to cover those who use Apple Music, Pandora, or Tidal, for example, would be an obvious start, but once you begin to think of other location-based apps or anything else you might do in a vehicle, such as search for a place to eat on Foursquare or Yelp, and you can imagine how these integrations could get very interesting.

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How Will Autonomous Vehicle Sharing Technology Affect Cities?

New research from Arcadis, HR&A Advisors and Sam Schwartz Consulting offers advice for city planners who are considering a future that includes autonomous vehicle technology, or AVs. McKinsey (who was not part of this particular study) says that by 2030, autonomous vehicles will account for 15% of auto sales worldwide. The study released recently, “Driverless Future: A Policy Roadmap for City Leaders,” estimates that nearly 8 million people in its three sample cities will choose an AV over a traditional vehicle in the next 15 to 20 years. Those three sample cities were Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York and were selected for the extent of their of density, walkability, and usage of public transportation.

technology ride sharing

The research compared the cost of car ownership to speculated AV ridesharing and AV ridesourcing, and determined when people in those cities were likely to make the move from commuting in their own car to hailing a self-driving car. However, the study’s authors also point out that in order for AV to work, it has to work for everyone. They suggest things like using open data and universal apps so riders can compare prices, travel times, and environmental impact across modes of transportation, and pay using one app. To that extent, the authors also remind cities to keep in mind that not everyone has equal access to technology. People who do not have cell phones or bank accounts need to be able to access the transportation network, including autonomous rideshare or ridesource vehicles, through Dial-a-Ride and smartcard payment options.

It is also worth taking in mind now, as this kind of technology and service is growing worldwide, how to fund accessible services. For example, the study notes that in New York City, there is a 30-cent fee per taxi ride that supports the city’s expansion of wheelchair-accessible transportation options. Ridesourcing services like Uber and Lyft don’t pay that fee. There are potential drawbacks to having fleets of AVs wandering city streets, and the study is aware of these concerns. Mass adoption of AVs could encourage sprawl and increase the number of miles cars travel, and the system could develop in a way that leaves behind anyone without a cell phone and a checking account. AVs also could decrease public transit revenues, which could affect public transportation.

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Augmented-Reality Technology Company Attracting Big Investment

Technology & e-commerce company Alibaba is digging deeper into the automobile industry after launching its first car last year. The company announced the Chinese Internet and e-commerce beast is the lead investor in smart car tech developer WayRay’s $18 million Series B round. Founded in 2012, WayRay makes holographic navigation systems. According to its funding announcement, WayRay has already spent $10 million of its own cash, as well as previous venture funding, on the technology that underpins Navion, an augmented-reality dashboard that overlays directions and other information onto a driver’s view of the road. WayRay plans to unveil a consumer version of Navion in 2017.


Alibaba Group’s senior investment director, Ethan Xie stated, “We believe there is huge potential in the development of leading-edge technology like augmented reality and its application to various industries, like WayRay’s AR navigation system in the auto sector. The potential of augmented reality makes it an exciting and promising area.” Alibaba made its first appearance in the car industry last summer, when the RX5, a smart car it designed with SAIC (one of China’s “big four” state-owned auto manufacturers) opened for pre-orders. The RX5 uses Alibaba’s Yun operating system and the company anticipates to make the vehicle part of an Internet-of-Things ecosystem that will include its other smart hardware and Internet services like Alipay.

But Alibaba’s smart cars are already up against challengers from other big Chinese tech companies like LeEco, which bills its electric car LeSee as “the first mobility ecosystem on wheels,” and Baidu, which is developing smart car technology and autonomous vehicles with BAIC, another of China’s big four state-owned automakers. WayRay also said that it will partner with Banma Technologies (a joint venture between Alibaba Group and SAIC) to create an augmented-reality navigation and entertainment system for a car that will be launched by Banma in 2018. WayRay claims that this is “the world’s first vehicle in-production with a holographic AR head-up display.”

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technology moon delivery

Technology Company, Blue Origin Anticipates Amazon-Style Delivery To The Moon By 2020

Technology guru Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin and Amazon founder, is planning a trip to the Moon. His plan, uncovered through a draft proposal by The Washington Post presented to NASA and Trump’s administration, outlines Blue Origin’s intention to design a cargo spacecraft destined for the Moon that would help it carry experiments, supplies, and people to Earth’s largest natural satellite, hopefully by 2020.

technology moon delivery

Bezos has a pretty sharp grasp of terrestrial shipping through Amazon, so it makes sense that he would visualize providing similar services at a lunar scale. The CEO told the Washington Post that he thinks it is time for the United States to not only make its way back to the Moon, but also to stay, with the aim of setting up a “permanently inhabited lunar settlement.” The Moon is currently on the mind of many. Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, recently announced that his company would be sending two private individuals on a tourist mission around the Moon, with a target flight date in 2019.

Blue Origin’s original proposal aims on getting the goods necessary to set up a permanent colony on the Moon, rather than shuttling humans or tourists to the destination. It also looks for resource commitment from NASA, both in terms of expertise and funding. In the white paper, the plan is to land the spacecraft at the Moon’s south pole, where there’s enough sunlight to power it through external solar panels, and where it has water ice nearby, which is essential for both human sustenance and the creation of rocket fuel. Its design could allow for flying 10,000 pound of materials and supplies, and it is intended to be usable with NASA’s own launch craft, the ULA’s Atlas V rocket or its own New Glenn rocket, which is still in development.

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space technology

Space Debris Tracking Technology Is LeoLabs’ Mission

Low-Earth orbit is an elite contender for huge commercial growth, but it is also a space where the risk of explosions happening from debris impact is a concern for businesses targeting the technology opportunity. That is the issue LeoLabs focuses on, a startup spun out of SRI International to find, map, and help dodge collisions with debris floating in low-Earth orbit (LEO).

space technology

LeoLabs is announcing $4 million in investment from SRI International, Airbus Ventures, Horizons Ventures, and is adding the Midland Space Radar facility in Midland, Texas to its organization of ground-based radar monitoring facilities, which help it track the objects it’s mapping. The problem LeoLabs is hoping to solve is helping the growing number of ventures working with cubsats and smallsat networks, as well as emerging ventures looking to put people into low-Earth orbit for short tourist flights.

Evading collisions in LEO is a serious concern because it is already a crowded region of space. Collisions in LEO stand to amplify the problem. Objects crashing into one another results in more debris and more dangerous navigation of LEO space overall. There are already some choices for keeping clear of other objects in LEO. The United States Air Force maintains a public catalog that will alert those registered to use it about potential crashes. The company believes more advanced tools are needed.

LeoLabs’ solution has unique abilities including accuracy to within 100 meters, along with verification mechanisms: data offered up on a predefined schedule, tracking of each piece of debris and object in LEO multiple times per day, the ability to track up to 250,000 new objects that aren’t tracked by public monitoring systems today, and an API so that customers can use the info with their own systems via tight integration. CEO Dan Ceperley stated, “We provide raw data. Plus, we provide services built on top of this data to address specific customer needs, such as avoiding collisions. Finally, we are heavily investing in the data services platform that will enable third-parties to innovate on top of the data.”


Smaller Satellite Company Gives Boeing A Run For Their Money

According to Wall Street Journal, Boeing is in the process of changing the way a satellite is constructed, with an eye toward automating a lot of the process. This will make it more simple to boost production while also developing overall efficiency. The efforts of the company reflect the basic transformation of the private space industry, driven by pressure put on incumbents by new entrants with a more nimble approach to getting the job done.


The rarefied atmosphere housed by private contractors has not been very crowded, and has proven a place for the companies that do exist to make a lot of money out of lucrative government contract that have large built-in margins. However, pressure from smaller players like SpaceX, which drastically undercuts Boeing on the cost of rocket launches, has meant the legacy operators need to rethink how they conduct business. Boeing’s satellite business lead Paul Rusnock told the Wall Street Journal that his company is now taking measures like putting 3D printing to use wherever possible, and sampling the designs of the satellites so they require fewer moving parts in order to minimize error rates and speed up production.

Satellites have been especially dependent on specialized, one-off parts that cost a lot to produce. Use of more standard, cross-purpose and modular satellite components is driving new efficiencies in production. The Wall Street Journal also states that there is a lot that can be done with simulated testing, and self-check protocols run by satellite themselves that replace previous expensive efforts to achieve the same results. With upstart providers offering cost of construction for new satellites that run at roughly 1/100th the price of what Boeing has commonly charged, and production cycles that can design new ones in a small fraction of the time, it is a likely necessity more than anything else that has pushed Boeing to rethink how it approaches the industry.


New Stream TV Technology App Revealed By Comcast

Comcast is unveiling a new streaming technology app called Xfinity Stream, which will replace its older Xfinity TV app on mobile devices, as well as deliver many features for cable subscribers, including on-demand programming, DVR recordings, access to live TV, and more. It will also be home to Comcast’s internet TV service targeted at cord cutters, Stream TV. This IPTV service is set to roll out nationally later this year under new branding.

streaming technology

Stream TV has not had much attention since its reveal in 2015, mostly because it’s still only available in select markets. Currently, those in Boston and Chicago metros can subscribe to the live streaming technology service, which is being targeted at those who no longer want to pay for cable. Stream TV includes access to the local broadcast stations (ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC, PBS, Telemundo, and Univision), as well as HBO. The service has been criticized for not being on par with PlayStation Vue or Sling TV, but is not really targeted at the true cord cutter. Rather, Stream TV is meant to appeal to those who mostly watch TV at home, where a laptop or mobile device is used as their primary screen.

Comcast plans to roll out Stream TV nationwide later this year to all the markets where Comcast is available. At the time of the nationwide reveal, Stream TV will also be rebranded to eliminate confusion between it and this new “Stream TV” app. The application will then continue to serve both Comcast customer bases: those streaming TV cord cutters as well as the traditional subscribers to cable TV. As for the new Stream TV app itself, it now allows subscribers to Xfinity cable TV to tune in to over 200 live TV channels.

In addition, TV customers can choose from 40,000 on-demand titles, including both TV shows and movies, thousands of which can be downloaded for offline viewing, the company says. DVR recordings can be downloaded for offline access, and the DVR can be programmed remotely. Stream TV subscribers will have access to the same general feature set, but will only be able to view those channels and on-demand titles included in that subscription. Downloads are not available for the broadcast networks or HBO in this package, so on-demand viewing may be limited.

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First Flying Car Technology Set To Showcase By The End Of The Year

Technology update: Dutch company PAL-V is now accepting pre-orders for “the first certified commercial flying car ever,” its Liberty vehicle. The three-wheeled ‘car’ has a top-mounted retractable rotor, which kind of makes it more like a motor trike with gyrocopter skills than a car. The vehicle can both fly and drive, which is double what most cars or aircraft can do.


PAL-V is selling it at a price beginning at $400,000, but that’s for the base model. If you want the proper trim and kit, you’ll spend $600,000 for the “Pioneer” edition. This adds at-home training, power heating, special detailing, and an electronic flight instrument display instead of just the electromechanical option. You won’t have to pay all of that up front, since PAL-V says it’s aiming at the end of 2017 for production. Rather, the company is asking for either a non-refundable deposit of $25,000 for the top trim Pioneer, or $10,000 for the base model Sport. The other option will be putting down a $2,500 escrow deposit which can be refunded. This will will get you on the waiting list.

The PAL-V also has specs including take-off space that generally will mean you’ll have to use an airfield to fly. It has a 100 mph top ground speed and has 817 miles driving distance on a full tank of fuel. While flying, it has a top speed of 112mph, but mileage greatly reduces. You will have to refuel every 310 miles, but that’s still enough for jumping between many cities. The company has been doing concept testing since at least 2009, and it also founded the first North American flying car school in the U.S. in Utah in 2016. Still, don’t count your flying cars before they take to the sky, unless you’ve got at least $10K lying around you are ok with never seeing again.

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Scientists Are Hopeful Magnet Technology Will Replace Depression Drug Treatments

Most physicians will avoid technology to give patients a number of drugs to treat conditions like depression and anxiety, and up to two-thirds of patients won’t respond to their first medication. Another 10 to 30 percent of these same patients will never respond to drugs as therapy. However, NeuroQore hopes to replace medications with these magnetic pulses and believes it may be onto something with initial tests.


Co-founder Mehran Talebinjad stated, “We have an 87.5 percent remission success rate over drug-resistant depression. The startup is in the initial stages with only a small amount of subjects, but similar brain wave technology has been around to treat mental conditions since the 90s. Neurofeedback started up to help with anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD, different types of addiction, and impulse control. It is mainly used in clinics or social work professions where medications are not the first method of therapy, and works by stimulating parts of the brain to send a positive signal whenever a desired mood is achieved.

When an acceptable brainwave pattern occurs, the neurofeedback machine sends a cheerful tone (positive feedback) into the patient’s ears, which hopefully causes the brain to prolong that desirable brainwave pattern. Over time, the brain is trained to prolong a healthy brain wave pattern permanently. NeuroQore is based on rTMS technology. It works in a somewhat different way than other neurofeedback. Rather than sending cheerful tones through the ears to train the brain, it uses the magnetic pulses to send those tones directly into the brain to create positive feedback by itself.

NeuroQore also measures its results with biomarkers as physical evidence. Unlike with communicational therapy or medications, this takes out some of the guesswork of if and where the brain might be improving. According to NeuroQore and another source we asked who uses neurofeedback, there are also no side effects to these types of treatments. However, the downside is this type of treatment may also not work for everyone.

Talebinjad, who has a degree in biomedical engineering, came up with the idea after performing his first brain surgery. He stated, “Neuromodulation is super important and the brain is so complex. I realized during this surgery there wasn’t a lot of effective approaches out there.” NeuroQore is already approved in Canada, where its headquarters is in Ontario. The next challenge for Talebinjad and his team is getting FDA approval, though he says he does have a line out there. He anticipates setting up brain centers where patients can go and get the therapy throughout California soon.

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Drone Technology: Racing Drone That Reaches 70 Mph

Drone racing technology is becoming more and more popular with teams, television networks, and sponsors getting involved in on this developing scene. There’s a professional drone racing league, live streaming, and even drone-racing simulators. Vendetta, team BlackSheep’s drone kit, is a first-person-view drone that might be one of the finest options.

This drone is unlike most consumer-grade drones for two reasons. The first reason; that it has a top speed of almost 70 mph. The second reason; it can be operated with a headset that basically gives you a bird’s-eye view of the world above, seen through the eyes of Vendetta’s forward and bottom-facing cameras. A first-person view controller exists for the Vendetta (costing almost $250), turning it into a FPV drone where you will see whatever the drone sees during your high-speed flight. This option is recommended for the full drone pilot experience.

Flying drones in NYC is illegal, but if you have watched any famous vlogger from the city use drones in their videos, they have most likely done it regardless. However, the Vendetta is no ordinary drone. Pilots in leagues fly up to 70 mph. It is suggested to practice in an open space at first. After repairing from previous test flights, most of the battery life was spent flying 50 feet up and then landing quickly just moments after. TBS praised the Vendetta for being exceedingly durable due to a carbon fiber body, however, the antennae and propellers are rather sensitive. They broke after a several hard landings.

For its professional races, Team BlackSheep creates custom flying profiles for its drone pilots, as well as a kit that includes tools, a backpack, battery charger, and spare blades. By default, however, TBS includes three flight modes: vertical, acrobatic, and horizontal. Surveying the area in vertical mode, several flips in acrobatic mode, and seeing a dog chase after the drone in horizontal mode was all the information needed to know that the Vendetta was a well-built machine.

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