Weekly News Update 06.04-12.04

A news highlight about what’s new with the tech industry, smart cities and smart mobility in the past week.

Elon Musk’s Neuralink claims it has a monkey play video game with its mind

Neuralink, Elon Musk’s firm that works on brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers, has released a video in which it claims that Pager, a macaque monkey, is playing a video game with his mind. The firm says the ultimate goal is to help people with paralysis use smartphones, access the web, play video games and even walk again. Read more here.

US blacklists Chinese supercomputing companies

The Biden administration has blacklisted seven Chinese supercomputer groups it accuses of building supercomputers to help its military. Read more here.

Big Tech faces new UK regulator

The Digital Markets Unit (DMU), a new regulator in the UK, is starting to work on curbing the dominance of Google, Amazon and Facebook. Read more here.

NHS Covid-19 app to share QR code check-ins

A new feature was to be introduced into the NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app which asks users to share information about the venues they have checked into if they test positive for the virus. Read more here. This feature was later blocked for violating Apple’s and Google’s rules. Read more here.

Transmitting secret messages by hand will be possible with infrared radiation

According to a new study published by a group of engineers from China, transmitting secret messages by hand will be possible in the future with the use of infrared radiation. Read more here.

Will.i.am makes high-tech face mask

Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas announced that together with Honeywell he made Xupermask, a high-tech face mask with features such as Bluetooth connectivity, noise-cancelling audio and LED lights. Read more here.

Researchers announce new health tech tool that detects vital signs remotely

Scientists with the University of Washington and Microsoft Research will soon be presenting a new health tech tool that allows medical professionals to detect a patient’s pulse and heart rate from the patient’s face in online consultations. Read more here.

New Samsung device uses augmented reality to locate misplaced items

SmartTag Plus, Samsung’s new device, helps locate misplaced items that are connected to the tag with the use of ultra-wideband technology and Bluetooth. The device will launch this month. Read more here.

UAE Government to launch biometric facial recognition

The UAE Government has announced it will be launching biometric facial recognition to register customers in the “UAE Pass” application and this is part of their plan to introduce the first safe digital national ID. Read more here.

New Heads Up feature on phones reminds users to look up

The Digital Wellbeing app available on Android phones will be launching a new feature called Heads Up, which reminds users to look up from their mobile phones when they are walking. Read more here.

New drones used in Search and Rescue operations in Foyle

A new fleet of drones is used by the charity Search and Rescue to assist in search-and-rescue operations along the River Foyle in Londonderry, an area with high rates of lost lives. Read more here.

Robot Dog tested in combat scenarios at French military school

Spot, the four-legged robot dog created by Boston Dynamics, is currently being tested in combat scenarios for future military applications at the Special Military School of Saint-Cyr in France. Read more here.

Robot delivery of Domino’s Pizza in Houston

Domino’s Pizza and Nuro, a Silicon Valley startup, announced they will be launching robotic pizza delivery with small vehicles to deliver pizza orders instead of people, solving the problem of not having enough drivers to deliver the rise of pizza orders during the pandemic. Read more here.

General Motors to start deploying robotaxis in Dubai

General Motors Co’s Cruise announced it is planning to start deploying robotaxis in Dubai beginning in 2023, making Dubai the first city outside the US where Cruise will operate. Read more here.

Robots now delivering groceries in Singapore

A technology company has deployed robots named “Camello” that deliver online grocery purchases to the homes of Singapore residents. The robots disinfect themselves after every trip and are equipped with 3D sensors and a camera. Read more here.

Microsoft acquires Nuance

Microsoft has confirmed they signed a deal to acquire Nuance Communications, an AI and speech-recognition company, for nearly $20 billion. Read more here.

Two teens make bot that helps secure COVID vaccine appointments

Sam Mendelson and Daniel Stoiber, two teenagers from the US, created a bot that helps people schedule appointments for the COVID vaccine, appointments that are usually very difficult to get. The initiative started because the teen programmers wanted to help their parents schedule an appointment and had difficulty doing so. Read more here.

US Senator wants to ban acquisitions by Big Tech

Republican US Senator, Josh Hawley, has unveiled a bill that would prohibit companies with a market value bigger than $100 billion, such as Apple, Microsoft and Facebook, from merging and acquiring other companies. Read more here.

MIT scientists turn spiderweb vibrations into music

A team of MIT scientists has used the sonification process to create music from the vibrations that come from spiderwebs. Read more here.

Klaudia Żychowska

Klaudia Żychowska is a Polish native who grew up in Chicago. After completing a Bachelor’s Degree in English with a double concentration in Creative Writing and Professional Writing at the University of Illinois at Chicago, she decided to move back to Poland to reconnect with her roots. She is fascinated by smart cities and innovative technologies and is responsible for content strategy at NaviParking.

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