this week

Solar windows could generate more than 80% of US electricity

A prototype solar powered smart window has been developed that breaks 11% efficiency, which is enough to generate over 80% of US electricity. The window lowers building temperatures by shifting from clear to opaque under strong sunlight, and when this happens the solar window begins electricity production.

Source: Electrek

Elon Musk proposes 125 to 150mph “Loop” for Chicago

Elon Musk tweeted that his Boring Company “will compete to fund, build & operate a high-speed Loop connecting Chicago O’Hare Airport to downtown.” If successful, Musk's proposal would see passengers transported on autonomous electric skates traveling at 125 to 150 mph.

Source: Ars Technica

Apple fixes flaw that made it possible to access a Mac without a password

Apple has acted swiftly to push out an update that fixes a major security hole in its Mac operating system. The flaw had made it possible to access a Mac without a password, and also have access to powerful administrator rights. The latest version of MacOS will automatically download the update.

Source: BBC

NASA is updating its rover for before its mission to Mars

NASA is updating its Curiosity Mars rover in preparation for a mission to find evidence of life on Mars. New hardware for the Mars 2020 mission includes seven new instruments, new wheels, a new drill to capture rock cores and a caching system with a miniature robotic arm to store the samples.

Source: Tech Crunch

UK government plans to legislate for drones misuse

Under legislation planned by the government, drone users in the UK may have to take safety awareness tests and drones weighing more than 250g could be banned from flying near airports. Police would also be given new powers to seize and ground drones which may have been used in criminal activity.

Source: BBC

GM says it will launch a robot taxi service in 2019

GM says it will have a ride-sharing service featuring its line of self-driving Chevy Bolts ready to go by 2019. If that were to happen, it would place the No. 1 US automaker ahead of its main rival Ford, which has said it plans to unveil its own self-driving car without pedals or a steering wheel by 2021.

Source: The Verge

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