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2024-07-18 13:00:05| Engadget

NASA's Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover or VIPER was going to look for water ice at the moon's south pole. The agency was hoping that it could help answer important questions, such as where water is on the moon and how much there is for future spacefarers to use. But now NASA has decided to cancel the project and discontinue the rover's development, citing "cost increases, delays to the launch date and the risks of future cost growth." The agency has already spent $450 million developing VIPER, according to The New York Times it's even done assembling the rover and installing its scientific instruments. That said, it still has to subject the rover to a series of tests to ensure that it can endure a rocket launch and the harsh conditions of outer space. Joel Kearns, NASA's Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration, told the publication that the cancelation would save the agency at least $84 million, because it would no longer have to pay for those tests and for the rover's operations.  Kearns added that the agency was also worried about additional expenses if the rover's launch gets delayed. NASA first announced the VIPER mission back in 2019, with plans to launch it in late 2022. However, due to supply chain issues during the height of the COVID pandemic, among other problems, its launch was pushed back to late 2024. More problems forced NASA to move its launch again to September 2025 at the earliest, so additional delays aren't outside the realm of possibility.  NASA has several projects lined up that will help it verify the presence of water ice on the moon. They just won't be focused on that goal and will most likely need more time to achieve what NASA was hoping VIPER would. The agency is planning to disassemble the rover and use its instruments and components for future missions. It will, however, consider proposals from American and international companies that may want to use the rover, as long as it doesn't cost the US government more money. While the project itself has already been canceled, the flight that was supposed to ferry VIPER to the moon will still push through. NASA chose Astrobotic to launch the rover and to develop a lander called Griffin to safely get VIPER to its destination. The mission will fly with a non-functional item simulating the VIPER's mass. As Kearns explains, a successful demonstration of the Griffin lander would still be valuable for future missions, whether or not it's carrying a real rover. This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/nasa-scraps-its-viper-project-that-aimed-to-look-for-ice-on-the-moon-110005343.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2024-07-18 09:00:35| Engadget

Today, HMD unveiled its newest own-brand smartphone called Skyline. This phone runs on a mid-range Snapdragon 7s Gen2 CPU, and it offers up to 256GB of storage and 12GB of RAM. It has 15W Qi2 wireless charging and its 4600mAh battery lasts up to 48 hours. The screen is a 6.55-inch full HD+ panel with a 144Hz refresh rate and up to 1,000 nits of brightness. Pick either pink (maybe they had leftovers from the Barbie collab) or black for your phone's color. Skyline phones will be available starting in August and will cost $499. The spotlight feature for Skyline is ease of repairability. This has been a focus for recent projects from HMD, which also makes phones under the Nokia brand. The back cover of this phone model can be removed, allowing for a user or a third-party shop to replace a broken screen, a worn-out battery, or a bent charging port. Replacement parts are available in select markets from iFixit, which said Skyline will have almost the repairability levels of the Fairphone. Right to repair movements gained a lot of traction last year, with even holdout device manufacturers starting to change their tune. It's positive to see HMD not just offering an option to self-repair, but making it easy to do so. HMD (modified) Skyline is also equipped with some notable photo features. The 50 megapixel front camera offers autofocus and eye-tracking. It also has "selfie gesture" hardware that will snap a photo in response to one of four common hand gestures. The rear camera is 108MP, and it has both portrait and night modes to capture the right image for the moment. As more people want the option to unplug from the always-on lifestyle, Skyline will offer a Detox mode. This feature lets users select specific apps and contacts to block during scheduled breaks. It can be useful for people who find themselves spending more time than they want on social media or games, or for those who need to draw strong lines for work-life balance.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-hmd-skyline-is-a-mid-range-smartphone-thats-all-about-repairability-070035654.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2024-07-18 06:00:44| Engadget

When Dyson revealed its Zone headphones in early 2022, the company had combined its air filtration expertise with noise-cancelling headphones. COVID-19 was still a big part of our lives back then, but the Zone doesn't protect you against the virus. Instead, it's meant to provide less-polluted air as you move about your day, battling things like urban toxins and seasonal allergens. However, extremely short battery life and a $949 price plagued that first model, so it wasn't really a device accessible to the masses. Now the company is back with its first "audio-only" over-ear headphones, the Dyson OnTrac. There's no Bane-like mask or air filtration system here, just a set of noise-cancelling headphones with a decidedly Dyson design and a $500 premium price tag. Battery life is no longer an issue, and the company is touting both active noise cancellation (ANC) performance and audio quality on the OnTrac. There are also over 2,000 customization combinations for the outer caps and ear cushions, so you can change up the look at you see fit. The design of the OnTrac headphones certainly looks like something that would come from the same company that built the V12 stick vac, the Airstrait hair straightener and the Cool air purifiers. Dyson combined premium materials with ergonomics to create the appropriate seal for audio and ANC while also keeping things comfortable. The company used aluminum, copper, nickel and ceramics for the outer caps on the ear cups and "ultra-soft microfiber" foam cushions on the ear pads. There are also "multi-pivot gimbal arms" to help increase comfort and relieve pressure. Plus, Dyson relocated the battery to the headband for better weight distribution. Inside, the OnTrac features 40mm, 16-ohm neodymium speaker drivers that Dyson says are capable of a frequency response of 6Hz to 21kHz. That covers more of the sonic spectrum than he standard 20Hz to 20kHz range most headphones offer. The company also angled the drivers 13 degrees toward your ears for better acoustic performance. All of that combines to provide "deep sub-bass that you can feel, and clear highs at the upper end of the frequency range." Dyson promises the OnTrac will "reveal hidden detail" as well. Cherlynn Low for Engadget The ANC setup on the OnTrac is composed of eight microphones that Dyson says sample external sound 384,000 times a second. Those work with a custom noise-cancelling algorithm and "carefully designed internal geometry" for 40dB of noise blocking, according to the company. Battery life won't be a problem either, so long as Dyson's claims pan out. The company says the OnTrac is capable of up to 55 hours of use with ANC on, thanks to two high-capacity lithium-ion battery cells. A 10-minute charge will give you up to 2.5 hours of use while 30 minutes provides 9.5 hours (with ANC on in both cases). During that listening time, onboard playback and volume controls are handled by a "joystick" on the back edge of the right ear cup. You can double tap on the outside of either ear cup to turn ANC on or off. The OnTrac headphones will be available in aluminum/orange, cooper/blue, black nickel and ceramic red from Dyson for $500. The replacement caps and cushions will be available for $50 for a set of two. Only a few colors will be available from other retailers, so you'll have to buy most of the options directly from Dyson.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/dysons-ontrac-headphones-ditch-the-zones-air-purifier-for-audio-only-use-040044551.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2024-07-17 23:55:43| Engadget

Meta has decided to not offer its upcoming multimodal AI model and future versions to customers in the European Union citing a lack of clarity from European regulators, according to a report by Axios. The models in question are designed to process not only text but also images and audio, and power AI capabilities in Meta platforms as well as the companys Ray-Ban smart glasses. "We will release a multimodal Llama model over the coming months, but not in the EU due to the unpredictable nature of the European regulatory environment," Meta said in a statement to Axios. Metas move follows a similar decision by Apple, which recently announced it would not release its Apple Intelligence features in Europe due to regulatory concerns. Margrethe Vesteger, the EUs competition commissioner, had slammed Apples move, saying that the companys decision was a stunning, open declaration that they know 100 percent that this is another way of disabling competition where they have a stronghold already. Engadget has reached out to Vesteger for comment on Metas decision. Withholding Metas multimodal AI models from the EU could have far-reaching implications it means that any companies that use them to build their products and services would be unable to offer them in Europe. Meta told Axios that it still plans to release Llama 3, the companys upcoming text-only model in the EU. The companys primary concern stems from the challenges of training AI models using data from European customers while complying with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EU's existing data protection law. In May, Meta announced that it planned to use publicly available posts from Facebook and Instagram users to train future AI models but was forced to stop doing so in the EU after receiving pushback from data privacy regulators in the region. At the time, Meta defended its actions, saying that being able to train its models on the data of European users was necessary to reflect local culture and terminology.  "If we dont train our models on the public content that Europeans share on our services and others, such as public posts or comments, then models and the AI features they power wont accurately understand important regional languages, cultures or trending topics on social media," the company said in a blog post. "We believe that Europeans will be ill-served by AI models that are not informed by Europes rich cultural, social and historical contributions." Despite its reservations about releasing its multimodal models in the EU, Meta still plans to launch them in the UK, which has similar data protection laws to the EU. The company argued that European regulators are taking longer to interpret existing laws compared to their counterparts in other regions.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/meta-will-reportedly-withhold-multimodal-ai-models-from-the-eu-amid-regulatory-uncertainty-215543292.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2024-07-17 22:44:10| Engadget

Serious concerns have been raised about the effect of social media on teenagers mental well-being. Meta is letting a group of researchers examine some of Instagrams data to determine if social media is psychologically damaging younger users. The Verge reported that the Center for Open Science (COS) is launching a new joint pilot program with Meta to produce independent studies about how social media affects teenagers mental health. The Instagram Data Access Pilot for Well-Being Research program will conduct independent academic research using up to six months of Instagram data to determine the potential positive or negative associations of Instagram use among teens and young adults. The study will also examine the positive and negative differences of large populations across the world and the causes of statistical relationships between Instagram and social or emotional health, according to the programs website. The data researchers can access may include an Instagram users followers and the accounts they follow, account settings and the amount of time they spend on the photo sharing service. The researchers will not have access to users demographic information or the contents of their posts and comments. The data will come from accounts based in 24 countries including the US and UK, according to the request for proposal (RFP). Other scientific studies conducted by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and New York University and Stanford have found parallel links between social media use and the state of a persons mental health. The link earned greater awareness last year when Arturo Béjar, a former director of engineering for Protect and Care at Facebook, testified before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that he alerted the company and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg by email of the dangers their product could have on young people. Béjar testified that seven days before the hearing, 13 percent of users on Instagram between the ages of 13-15 receive unwanted sexual advances. He also testified that his own 16-year-old daughter exhibited signs of a momentary decline in mental health when a user commented that she should get back to the kitchen under one of her posts. A month before the hearing, 41 states filed a lawsuit against Meta for allegedly misleading the public about the potentially addictive nature of its platforms like Facebook and Instagram among teenagers. "My experience, after sending that email and seeing what happened afterwards, is that they knew there were things they could do about it, they chose not to do them and we cannot trust them with our children," Béjar said during the hearing. "It's time for Congress to act. The evidence, I believe, is overwhelming."This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/meta-gives-researchers-access-to-instagram-data-for-teen-mental-health-study-204322979.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


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