The Founder of Atari launches new VR company called Modal VR

Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, is launching a new virtual reality company called Modal VR.

Modal VR was developed by Jason Crawford, who serves as the company’s chief executive. It uses standing senors that follow and record movement, and a full-body tracking suit that tracks body movement with 10 milliseconds of latency and accommodates areas as large as 900,000 square feet. Modal is completely wireless and can work with multiple users. The company aims to create a fully immersive virtual experience.

The downside is that the platform isn’t available for consumers. That means consumers may use the platform provided from other business, much like arcades. This makes sense because of Busnells past when he started Chuck E. Cheese, a place for kids to place games.

Businesses could also create custom VR apps that may be used to see life size models of objects. The technology is still in the prototype stage and will start shipping a beta developers kit in the near future.

As of now the VR isn’t priced, but may not be cheap enough for consumers to buy.

Microsoft announces partnership with Adobe

Microsoft announced a major partnership with Adobe today at Ignite. The partnership focuses on Adobe delivering its cloud services on Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft says Adobe will now make Azure its “preferred cloud platform” for the Adobe Marketing Cloud, Creative Cloud, and Document Cloud services. Adobe will use SQL Server and Azure’s machine learning services provided in the Microsoft Cortana Intelligence Suite.

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, brought out onto the stage the CEO of Adobe, Shantanu Narayen. “Customers today expect a well-designed, personalized and consistent experience every time they engage with a brand,” said Shantanu Narayen in a statement today. “Adobe and Microsoft will bring together the cloud horsepower and end-to-end capabilities brands need to design and deliver great digital experiences.”

The partnership will make it simpler for customers to work across the two services. “Customers today expect a well-designed, personalized and consistent experience every time they engage with a brand,” said Shantanu Narayen. “Adobe and Microsoft will bring together the cloud horsepower and end-to-end capabilities brands need to design and deliver great digital experiences.”

Google launches Daydream VR Development tools

Google has launched its VR platform Daydream for developers and have released the new Google VR SDK. The kit allows developers to build in VR for devices that are ready for Daydream, it also supports integration with Unity and Unreal game engines.

Daydream was revealed during Google I/O and Google stated that it would create its own virtual reality headset for Daydream in the future. Daydream is integrated within Android 7.0, Nougat. Netflix, Hulu, HBO, CNN, and other apps will be available at launch.

During an announcement today on the Google Developers blog, Google announced Daydream is available to all through its developer website. The developer site provides documentation, tutorials, and sample apps to help new developers.

Google also opened up the Daydream Access Program, which allows only members to push their apps to Google Play.


The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative announced a $3billion investment in an effort to cure disease

Last year Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, his wife, started an organization to help advance human potential and equality and pumped $45 billion into it. $3 billion from that organization will be used over the next decade to invest in an effort to help cure, prevent, and manage all disease. The project is called Chan Zuckerberg Science and was announced in San Francisco.

The project aims to bring together teams of scientists and engineers in an effort “to build new tools for the scientific community, said Priscilla Chan at the San Francisco event.

$600 million from the $3 billion will be invested in Biohub, a location aimed to unite researchers from Stanford, UCSF, and Berkeley with engineers to find new ways to finding cures to diseases. “We’ll be investing in basic science research with the goal of curing disease,” Said Chan.

Bill Gates came to the stage and called the project “very bold, very ambitious”. He supported the project and called for others to do the same and organizations with funding are needed to stop diseases from spreading such as Ebola.

The Biohub will be located at 499 Illinois St, SF, CA. It will be led by UCSF’s Joe DeRisi and Stanford’s Stephen Quake, who are known for their experience in bio-engineering and biophysics. The most important part about the research that will take place in the Biohub is that it will be openly available to doctors and researchers around the world.

Tesla wins bid to power Southern California Edison

Tesla recently won a contract to provide power to Southern California Edison to combat future power shortages. Tesla will supply 20 megawatts of energy storage using its Powerpacks technology that is capable of powering 2,500 homes for a day.

Tesla announced its stationary storage battery system in may. There are 2 different storage systems. The Powerwall batteries for homes and the Powerpack batteries for commercial and industrial use. The batteries are in production currently at Tesla’s Gigafactory, in Reno, Nevada.

The contract is a response to the recent Aliso Canyon leak. On October 23, 2015 one of the underground storage wells began to leak methane. This leaked methane began to have side effects for the residents of he nearby Port Ranch community. Residents complained of headaches and nosebleeds, which led to their relocation. Southern California Gas Company, owned by Sempra Utilities, took months to fix the situation, having to dig 8,500 ft down to the gas reservoir, pumping it with slurry, and sealing it with cement. This became the second largest methane leak in the history of the the US. Without the largest natural gas storage facility, the state started a bidding to look for alternative solutions.

Tesla reported that it will deliver and install the 80MWh Powerpack battery system at Southern California Edison’s Mira Loma substation before the end of 2016. This is one of the most important parts as previously its taken years to implement power solutions. “The storage is being procured in a record time frame,” months instead of years, said Yayoi Sekine, a battery analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “It highlights the maturity of advanced technologies like energy storage to be contracted as a reliable resource in an emergency situation.”

“Upon completion, this system will be the largest lithium ion battery storage project in the world,” Tesla posted on its website. “When fully charged, this system will hold enough energy to power more than 2,500 households for a day or charge 1,000 Tesla vehicles.”

Musk went on to say that “In order to achieve a sustainable energy future, one which has high penetration of solar and electric vehicles, the world needs a two-way, flexible electric grid. The electric power industry is the last great industry which has not seen the revolutionary effects of storage. Working in close collaboration with Southern California Edison, the Tesla Powerpack system will be a landmark project that truly heralds the new age of storage on the electric grid.”

Meet Rotterdams newest Aqua Drones the Water Shark and AquasmartXL

Drones are made to just fly in the air, there are also others that are made to swim.

The Port of Rotterdam debuted their aquatic drones at the World Port Days conference. The first water drone, AquasmartXL, is planned to travel across the Port of Rotterdam and is equipped with a camera to send real time images for surveillance and inspection of infrastructure.

Another drone called the Waste Shark is used to remove up to 500 kilos of waste from the water, which is then processed. The Waste Shark, developed by RanMarine, will be used to clean up the Rotterdam docks. It has an open mouth that is located 35 centimeters below the water surface, which is used to take in more than a thousand pound of waste in the water. It can also gather data about water quality. For 6 months tests will be run using 4 Waste Sharks.

Catalyst E2 Bus can travel 350 miles on a single charge

Proterra has developed an electric bus that can travel between 194 and 350 miles on one charge.

Proterra is a leading North American manufacturer and aiming for the bus to be released in 2017. The company developed the Catalyst E2 that managed 600 miles on a single charge during testing. The E2 has a battery that can range between 440 and 660 kWH and according to Wired the battery is the size of a twin mattress. The bus also uses regenerative breaking to capture kinetic energy to be used later.

Teslas Model S gets about 315 miles per charge and while personal electric vehicles are great, an electric solution is needed for public transportation. According to Wired, Foothill Transit, Philadelphia, and other cities have already purchased from Proterra so there will definitely be an increase in electric buses in the future. Electric buses maybe more affordable in the long run and safer for the environment. Some cities quality for pro-electrification local and federal subsidies that can help ease the cost of the buses.


Microsoft Flow for Android

Microsoft Flow, a workflow management tool, has launched on Android. Flow debuted in April on the web and to iOS. It came about as an interface that lets users integrate two or more cloud services to create workflows such as alerts, data organization, messages, emails, and more.

Screenshot_20160825-144928.pngFlow looks to be a direct competitor to IFTTT and Zapier, though the two have been around longer and offer more functionality. Microsoft Flow is more focused on SharePoint, Office 365, Dynamics CRM, and other business tools and integrating those tools to other services such as Slack, Salesforce, GitHub, and others.

Some uses that were marketed were integrating twitter and automating tweets, getting a text message when you have received an email, copying files from SharePoint to OneDrive, integrating with Dropbox and Instagram, and more.

Users can start with many templates that are online. Once the app is booted it will take users to these templates.

This could help many power users connect to different services or manage data and create streamlined workflows.

Uber bought out Otto to achieve self driving goal

Uber has been for a while trying to get their hands onto self driving technology. Early 2015 we saw Uber was working on self driving cars and began testing in Pittsburgh though we haven’t seen much since then. That is until it bought out Otto.

Otto has been developing self driving technology that can be added in to vehicles that do not have the technology. Otto doesn’t make the vehicles, currently it has been working on technology, lidar sensors, that could be fitted on to trucks. Now that the company has been bought out by Uber, the technology can be implemented into the Uber fleet and Uber won’t have to reluctantly make the vehicles. In addition Uber also bought the team behind Otto.

Otto’s team come from big companies such as Tesla, Apple, and Google. Most notably Anthony Levandowski, who worked for Google’s self driving cars during the early stages and Lior Ron, who was the head of the Google Maps.

The acquisition is set to close soon, within a months time, and is worth 1 percent of Uber’s valuation, $618 million. Otto announced the deal earlier today. In an interview with Bloomberg, CEO Travis Kalanick revealed that the company is preparing to add self-driving cars to its fleet of active drivers in Pittsburgh as soon as this month.

Futursitic Bus: Chinas Solution to its traffic nightmare

China has an estimated population of 1.3 billion so its no surprise that its car ownership in soaring at a fast rate. With more cars on the road traffic and pollution have become worse, in some cases nightmares. A response to this situation is the straddling bus.

Show cased at the 19th International High-Tech Expo in Beijing, the bus is unique due to its elevation and ability to allow cars to be able to drive right under it. The bus would span two traffic lanes and carry up to 1,400 passengers. It would travel up to 40 miles an hour above street level on a specialized track, allowing cars under 7 feet high to pass through below its belly. This would help relieve traffic congestion and replace public transportation modes.

The bus also runs on electricity and due to its high passenger limit would be able to replace approximately 40 buses. This cuts fuel consumption and more importantly cuts carbon emissions by 2,500 tons. Transit Explore Bus, a Beijing-based company,  is currently building a test model in Changzhou and with initial tests taking place sometime this summer.

The idea was inspired by architects in 1969, Craig Hodgetts and Lester Walker. It was made to travel between Boston and Washington D.C and therefore it was called the Bos-Wash Landliner, though the idea never hit solid ground, it has inspired a similar creation generations later. It could help China not only help with traffic problems but more importantly its pollution crises. The country has been seeking solutions to combat its high pollution levels.