this week

China's facial recognition tech can ID any citizen within seconds

China is building "the world’s most powerful facial recognition system" with the power to identify any one of its 1.3 billion citizens within three seconds. Apparently, the system will be able to connect to surveillance camera networks, but it is unclear when the system will be operational.

New technology promises 40TB hard drives by 2025

Western Digital recently announced a breakthrough in ultra-high capacity storage called microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR). According to the company, the technology will enable hard drives with 40TB of capacity by 2025 and will offer over four terabits-per-square-inch over time.

Source: Tech Spot

Oxford proposes plan to ban petrol and diesel vehicles from city centre

Petrol and diesel vehicles could be banned from Oxford city centre from 2020 under new proposals. A zero emission zone in the city is being backed by Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council to tackle air pollution, and could be extended to include the whole city by 2035.

Source: BBC

Scientists genetically boost the nutritional value of corn

By inserting a bacterial gene in corn that causes it to produce a key nutrient called methionine, which is normally found in meat, Rutgers scientists have found an efficient way to enhance the nutritional value of the world’s largest commodity crop.

Source: Rutgers Today

Toyota tests a hydrogen fuel cell truck that emits only water vapour

A concept version of Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell truck, which uses compressed hydrogen as its fuel and releases only water vapour as an emission, is running short-haul drayage routes at the Port of Los Angeles as part of a feasibility study.

Source: The Verge

Australian defence programme data stolen in 'extensive' hack

About 30GB of sensitive data, including details about new fighter planes and navy vessels, has been stolen in an "extensive" cyber hack. The Australian government has said that it doesn't know if the data was stolen by another nation.

Source: BBC

Footage of fatal crash involving self-driving Uber released

The Tempe Police Department has released the first footage of this week’s fatal crash involving a self-driving Uber. Police had previously said that the Uber, which had a safety driver inside, did not slow down before it struck the victim, something the footage appears to confirm.

Source: The Verge

Police ask Google to help in the pursuit of two gunmen

Google may have helped solve two separate crimes committed roughly one-a-half years apart. According to reports, Raleigh police presented Google with warrants for data from all the mobile devices that were within a certain distance of the respective crime scenes at the time the crimes were committed.

Source: Tech Crunch

Teenager hacks "tamper-proof" cryptocurrency wallet

A hardware wallet designed to store cryptocurrencies, and touted by its manufacturer as tamper-proof, has been hacked by a British 15-year-old. Saleem Rashid said he had written code that gave him a back door into the Ledger Nano S, which would allow a malicious attacker to drain the wallet of funds.

Source: BBC

Tooth-mounted sensor tracks what your're eating

Scientists at Tufts University have developed a wireless sensor that can be attached onto a person’s tooth to track what they are eating and drinking. In their study, the researchers describe how the sensor is able to transmit information about a person’s glucose, salt and alcohol intake.

Source: Alphr

Scientists develop AI software that can reproduce like a living thing

Computer scientists have created a neural network that continually self improves by mimicking the biological self-replication process. “Self-replication is a key aspect of biological life that has been largely overlooked in Artificial Intelligence systems,” the scientists are quoted as saying.

Source: The Register

Boring Company unveils proposed ‘Loop’ route

Elon Musk’s Boring Company has unveiled the first leg of its hyperloop project, which is a ‘Loop’ transit system to travel between Washington D.C. and Baltimore in 15 minutes. The Boring Company’s main project is its network of tunnels under Los Angeles, where it already started digging last year.

Source: Electrek

XPRIZE launches contest to build remote-controlled robot avatars

Prize fund XPRIZE and All Nippon Airways are offering $10 million reward to research teas who develop tech that eliminates the need to physically travel. The initial idea is that instead of plane travel, people could use goggles, ear phones and haptic tech to control a humanoid robot and experience different locations.

Source: Tech Crunch

NASA reveals plans for huge spacecraft to blow up asteroids

NASA has revealed plans for a huge nuclear spacecraft capable of shunting or blowing up an asteroid if it was on course to wipe out life on Earth. The agency published details of its Hammer deterrent, which is an eight tonne spaceship capable of deflecting a giant space rock.

Source: The Telegraph

Sierra Leone hosts the world’s first blockchain-powered elections

Sierra Leone recorded votes in its recent election to a blockchain. The tech, anonymously stored votes in an immutable ledger, thereby offering instant access to the election results. “This is the first time a government election is using blockchain technology,” said Leonardo Gammar of Agora, the company behind the technology.

Source: Quartz

AI-powered robot shoots perfect free throws

Japanese news agency Asahi Shimbun has reported on a AI-powered robot that shoots perfect free throws in a game of basketball. The robot was training by repeating shots, up to 12 feet from the hoop, 200,000 times, and its developers said it can hit these close shots with almost perfect accuracy.

Source: Motherboard

Russia accused of engineering cyberattacks by the US

Russia has been accused of engineering a series of cyberattacks that targeted critical infrastructure in America and Europe, which could have sabotaged or shut down power plants. US officials and private security firms claim the attacks are a signal by Russia that it could disrupt the West’s critical facilities.

Google founder Larry Page unveils self-flying air taxi

A firm funded by Google founder Larry Page has unveiled an electric, self-flying air taxi that can travel at up to 180 km/h (110mph). The taxi takes off and lands vertically, and can do 100 km on a single charge. It will eventually be available to customers as a service "similar to an airline or a rideshare".

Source: BBC