Xbox announces VR-focused console Project Scorpio

Xbox has announced a console that it claims will be the most powerful ever built, putting virtual reality support alongside 4K gaming at the core of its capabilities.

Project Scorpio, which was announced as Xbox’s ‘and finally’ product at the end of its E3 keynote presentation today, will be released in mid 2017 offering full backwards compatability.

“When it ships next year we believe it will be the most powerful console ever built,” said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, adding that Scorpio would offer over six teraflops of power..

”This is the console to lead gaming into true 4k and high-fidelity VR.”

A VR version of Fallout 4 has also been announced for the console.

Xbox is continuing support for the Xbox One and its newly announced compact variant, the Xbox One S, making Project Scorpio the premium offering in its line-up.

The company is also pushing a more integrated approach with Windows 10, announcing Xbox Play Anywhere, where games can be purchased once and played across PC and Xbox.

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Despite saying that the console will offer “true 4k gaming and high fidelity VR”, Spencer did not make any mention of headsets. Last year Xbox heavily pushed its partnership with Oculus, so it is possible that Xbox will primarily support the Rift, however it may be that Scorpio will support a Microsoft-designed model.

The tech heavyweight has announced an AR headset, Hololens, but currently remains silent on VR. It may be that Microsoft is planning its own rival to the Rift, which will be supported across Windows 10 and Xbox to encourage wider adoption.

However, while less present, Oculus did make an appearance at Xbox’s conference, in the form of CTO John Carmack. The legendary developer had a brief but bizarre cameo during the Minecraft segment, wearing a Gear VR and hobbling around the stage apparently marvelling at the game’s Gear VR edition.

Owners of the regular Xbox One will be pleased to hear that cross-platform and backwards compatibility is fully supported.

“All Xbox games and accessories will play on all three – no one gets left behind,” said Spencer. “Today makes the beginning of gaming for the generations.”

This approach has already drawn approval from industry figures.

“I think it’s good for the industry where there’s new hardware and you can do new things, but the games you played before aren’t forgotten,” said Todd Howard, director and executive producer at Bethesda Game Studios, in an interview on YouTube’s Live at E3 stream.

Steve “Woz” Wozniak to advise hologram emoji company that he calls “groundbreaking”

Apple’s co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak has found himself a new gig; Woz has joined the hologram emoji company, Mojiit, as an adviser.

In his role as advisor to Mojiit, the legendary entrepreneur and engineer will help assemble a world-class engineering team in addition to bringing investors and partnerships to the newly launched startup. Wozniak will also serve as mentor to Mojiit founder, Jeremy Greene.

“I’m thrilled to join Mojiit as an advisor,” said Wozniak. “Jeremy is a natural leader, the company is groundbreaking, it’s going to change the ecommerce space, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Created in 2017, Mojiit is the latest startup technology venture from Greene. The company’s tech essentially enables users to project and share 3D hologram emojis via smartphones.

The platform turns users into emojis by scanning their face, which can then be sent to loved ones and friends. Once a Mojiit message is received, it will map the area where it is received and place the Mojiit hologram there in real time, so it works in a similar way to Pokemon Go.

“Steve is one of the best and brilliant engineers in the entire world. But outside of that, he’s a wonderful man,” said Greene. “There isn’t anyone I’d want to be in business with more than this guy. He’s a legend. Who better to learn from than the guy who created the computer?”

Image courtesy of Nichollas Harrison. Featured image courtesy of Mojiit

In addition to consumer use, businesses of all kinds can tap into hologram emojis with Mojiit’s technology.

Mojiit investors already  include NFL alum Ed Reed, and the company was able to raise a total of $1 million in its seed round of funding.

Alongside the appointment of Woz, Entourage and Ballers producer Rob Weiss recently joined the company as a creative director.

“It’s exciting to expand beyond television and film to digital platforms,” said Weiss. “Hologram technology brings incredible opportunity to entertainment and media. I’m thrilled to be leading creative at Mojiit.”

Nanoengineers send antibiotic-delivering micromotors into the body to treat cancer-causing infection

Nanoengineers have demonstrated for the first time how “micromotors” that measure half the width of a human hair can be used to transport antibiotics through the body.

Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego tested the micromotors in mice with Helicobacter pylori infections, which can also be found in about two-thirds of the world’s population and while many people will never notice any signs of its presence it can cause peptic ulcers and stomach cancer.

The mice received the micromotors – packed with a clinical dose of the antibiotic clarithromycin – orally once a day for five consecutive days.

Afterwards, nanoengineers evaluated the bacterial count in each mouse stomach and found that treatment with the micromotors was slightly more effective than when the same dose of antibiotic was given in combination with proton pump inhibitors, which also suppress gastric acid production.

Micromotors administered to the mice swam rapidly throughout the stomach while neutralising gastric acid, which can be destructive to orally administered drugs such as antibiotics and protein-based pharmaceuticals.

Because gastric acid is so destructive to traditional antibiotics drugs used to treat bacterial infections, ulcers and other diseases in the stomach are normally taken with additional substances, called proton pump inhibitors.

But when taken over longer periods or in high doses, proton pump inhibitors can cause adverse side effects including headaches, diarrhea and fatigue. In more serious cases, they can cause anxiety or depression.

The micromotors, however, have a built-in mechanism that neutralises gastric acid and effectively deliver their drug payloads in the stomach without requiring the use of proton pump inhibitors.

“It’s a one-step treatment with these micromotors, combining acid neutralisation with therapeutic action,” said Berta Esteban-Fernández de Ávila, a postdoctoral scholar in Wang’s research group at UC San Diego and a co-first author of the paper.

The nanoengineers say that while the present results are promising, this work is still at an early stage.

To test their work, the team is planning future studies to into the therapeutic performance of the micromotors in animals and humans, and will compare it with other standard therapies used to combat stomach diseases.

UC San Diego nanoengineers also plan to test different drug combinations with the micromotors to treat multiple diseases in the stomach or in different sections of the gastrointestinal tract.

Overall, the researchers say that this work opens the door to the use of synthetic motors as active delivery platforms in the treatment of diseases.

Image and video courtesy of the Laboratory for Nanobioelectronics at UC San Diego.