Tag: technology

Humanoid robot Pepper is amusing, but is it practical?

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — While merrily chirping, dancing and posing for selfies, a robot named Pepper looks like another expensive toy at a San Francisco mall. But don’t dismiss it as mere child’s play. Pepper embodies the ambitions of SoftBank Robotics, an Asian joint venture formed by a trio of major technology companies that’s aiming to put its personable robots in businesses and homes across the U.S. over the next few years. If the technology advances as Softbank Robotics hopes, Pepper could become a playmate, companion and concierge. It could eventually respond to voice commands to retrieve vital information,...

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Car company offering red light-reading vehicles in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) — On the theory that a driver who knows when a red light will turn green is more relaxed and aware, vehicle manufacturer Audi is unveiling this week in Las Vegas a technology that enables vehicles to “read” traffic signals ahead and tell the motorist how long the wait will be. It’s a simple display for the driver – a dashboard traffic signal icon and a timer next to the digital vehicle speed and area speed limit displays already common in newer cars. The technology behind it is more complex. It uses 4G LTE cellular communication...

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University collects medical samples via drones in Madagascar

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — A suburban New York university is using drone technology to improve the health care of people in remote parts of Madagascar. Stony Brook University, which has been working in the island nation off the coast of Africa for nearly three decades, has teamed with a Michigan startup company called Vayu Inc. to transport medical samples by drone for laboratory analysis. The team made its first successful run of the drone technology in late July. Diagnosis of ailments, like tapeworm disease, which causes life-threatening seizures and contributes to malnutrition in villages on the island, can now...

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Wal-Mart buying online retailer newcomer Jet.com

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart has agreed to buy fast-growing online retail newcomer Jet.com, which had launched with a splash a year ago when it announced its intention to challenge online leader Amazon. Wal-Mart is paying $3 billion in cash and another $300 million in stock. The deal announced Monday underscores how serious Wal-Mart is about igniting its online business, which has been slowing even as it has been making big investments in new distribution centers and expanding services. Buying Jet.com would let Wal-Mart compete more effectively with Amazon.com and other online retailers. The deal also reflects the difficulties...

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FBI chief calls for national talk over encryption vs. safety

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The FBI’s director said Friday the agency is collecting data to present next year in hopes of sparking a national conversation about law enforcement’s increasing inability to access encrypted electronic devices. Speaking Friday at the American Bar Association annual conference in San Francisco, James Comey said the agency was unable to access 650 of 5,000 electronic devices investigators attempted to search over the last 10 months. He said the problem is only going to get worse without a discussion about the technology. Comey says encryption technology makes it impossible in a growing number of criminal...

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Technology gives unique voices to those who can’t speak

SPRINGFIELD, N.H. (AP) — Jessie Levine smiles and shakes her head when she hears the outgoing voicemail message on her iPhone. “I sound young! And fast!” she marvels. “That person never, ever expected to talk like this.” The message was recorded before Levine was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS, in early 2015, and before the progressive motor neuron disease caused her speech to become slow and slurred. But as her ability to talk deteriorates, she’s exploring a new way to restore her voice via speech synthesis, or the artificial production of human speech. The technology has been...

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‘Pokemon Go’ Digital Popularity Is Also Warping Real Life

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The “Pokemon Go” craze has sent legions of players hiking around cities and battling with “pocket monsters” on their smartphones. It marks a turning point for augmented reality, or technology that superimposes a digital facade on the real world. But the game’s popularity has created unintended consequences in everyday life, from annoyed property owners dealing with hordes of monster hunters to store owners using the game to attract customers. Though perhaps that’s to be expected from a game that has players visit real-world landmarks such as train stations, churches and museums in order to find...

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Killer Robot used by Dallas Police Sparks Debate

When Dallas police used a bomb-carrying robot to kill a sniper, they also kicked off an ethical debate about technology’s use as a crime-fighting weapon. In what appears to be an unprecedented tactic, police rigged a bomb-disposal robot to kill an armed suspect in the fatal shootings of five officers in Dallas. While there doesn’t appear to be any hard data on the subject, security experts and law enforcement officials said they couldn’t recall another time when U.S. police have deployed a robot with lethal intent. The strategy opens a new chapter in the escalating use of remote and...

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Wal-mart now lets you pay with your phone

ATLANTA (AP) — Wal-Mart will now let you pay with your phone at all 4,600 stores nationwide. With Walmart Pay, the cashier scans a QR code on the phone screen to complete the payment. It differs from Apple, Samsung and Android Pay, which that involves taping your phone next to a payment machine with a wireless technology called NFC. The effort is part of Wal-Mart’s overall strategy to making shopping easier and faster. By controlling its own payment app, Wal-Mart gets insights into consumer behavior, although it says it won’t use that data without a shopper’s permission. Wal-Mart says...

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Tesla Crash Could Hurt Sentiment On Driverless Cars

DETROIT (AP) — It was the crash the auto industry knew was coming but still feared. The death of a driver who was using Tesla Motors’ semi-autonomous mode could add to the public’s apprehension of driverless cars even before they reach the road in big numbers. Most major automakers and technology companies, including Google and Uber, are working on fully autonomous cars, and have worried that a highly publicized crash could hurt those efforts. Joshua D. Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio, died in the accident May 7 in Williston, Florida. According to a Tesla statement issued Thursday, the cameras...

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