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Russian Media Watchdog Moves Against Facebook, Twitter

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 20:03
Russia's communication watchdog, Roskomnadzor, opened "administrative proceedings" Monday against Facebook and Twitter for non-compliance with country’s data laws, Interfax news agency reported. Roskomnadzor head Alexander Zharov is quoted as saying that U.S. social media giants have a month to comply or face legal proceedings. According to Roskomnadzor, Facebook and Twitter have not explained how and when they would comply with legislation that requires all servers used to store Russians' personal data to be located in Russia. Russia has introduced stricter internet laws in the past five years, among other things requiring search engines to share encryption keys with Russian security services. In April last year, thousands rallied in Moscow in support of internet freedom after Russian authorities attempted to block access to the popular messaging app Telegram. Telegram had refused to give state intelligence services access to private conversations which are usually encrypted.

Temporary Tattoo Developed in Portugal Monitors Body Functions

Sun, 01/20/2019 - 15:00
In the future, a tattoo may not only be a way for someone to express themselves, it may also be used to monitor a genetic condition or even control a prosthetic device. VOA's Kevin Enochs reports.

These CEOs, Foreign-Born and Women, Create Thriving Tech Careers

Sun, 01/20/2019 - 09:16
Home to Apple, Facebook and Google, Silicon Valley is an American economic powerhouse, producing technology companies with global influence. But behind these influential American brands are scores of foreign workers who play a critical role in the Valley's tech workforce. Deana Mitchell reports.

James Webb Telescope Prepping for Launch

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 12:47
Humanity's efforts to move into and peer into space seem to be experiencing something of a renaissance in the past few weeks. NASA's pictures of Ultima Thule continue to astound, as do Chinese pictures from their probe on the far side of the moon. Coming soon, the James Webb Telescope will allow NASA to look even farther into the great beyond. VOA's Kevin Enochs reports.

Report: Facebook's Privacy Lapses May Result in Record Fine

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 04:23
Facebook may be facing the biggest fine ever imposed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations involving the personal information of its 2.2 billion users. The FTC is considering hitting Facebook with a penalty that would top its previous record fine of $22.5 million, which it dealt to Google in 2012 for bypassing the privacy controls in Apple's Safari browser, according to The Washington Post. The story published Friday cited three unidentified people familiar with the discussions. In an automated response, the FTC said it was unable to comment, citing its closure due to the U.S. government shutdown. Facebook declined to comment. The potential fine stems from an FTC investigation opened after revelations that data mining firm Cambridge Analytica had vacuumed up details about as many as 87 million Facebook users without their permission. The FTC has been exploring whether that massive breakdown violated a settlement that Facebook reached in 2011 after government regulators had concluded the Menlo Park, California, company had repeatedly broken its privacy promises . The FTC decree, which runs through 2031, requires Facebook to get its users' consent to share their personal information in ways that aren't allowed by their privacy settings. Since the Cambridge Analytica erupted 10 months ago, Facebook has vowed to do a better job corralling its users' data. Nevertheless, its controls have remained leaky. Just last month, the company acknowledged a software flaw had exposed the photos of about 7 million users to a wider audience than they had intended. The FTC's five commissioners have discussed fining Facebook but haven't settled on the amount yet, according to the Post. Facebook's privacy problems are also under investigation in other countries and the target of a lawsuit filed last month by Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine.

Technology Near for Real-Time TV Political Fact Checks

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 03:15
A Duke University team expects to have a product available for election year that will allow television networks to offer real-time fact checks onscreen when a politician makes a questionable claim during a speech or debate. The mystery is whether any network will choose to use it. The response to President Donald Trump's Jan. 8 speech on border security illustrated how fact-checking is likely to be an issue over the next two years. Networks briefly considered not airing Trump live and several analysts contested some of his statements afterward, but nobody questioned him while he was speaking. Duke already offers an app, developed by professor and Politifact founder Bill Adair, that directs users to online fact checks during political events. A similar product has been tested for television, but is still not complete. The TV product would call on a database of research from Politifact, Factcheck.org and The Washington Post to point out false or misleading statements onscreen. For instance, Trump's statement that 90 percent of the heroin that kills 300 Americans each week comes through the southern border would likely trigger an onscreen explanation that much of the drugs were smuggled through legal points of entry and wouldn't be affected by a wall. The Duke Tech & Check Cooperative conducted a focus group test in October, showing viewers portions of State of the Union speeches by Trump and predecessor Barack Obama with fact checks inserted. It was a big hit, Adair said. "People really want onscreen fact checks," he said. "There is a strong market for this and I think the TV networks will realize there's a brand advantage to it." Networks mum If that's the case, the networks aren't letting on. None of the broadcast or cable news divisions would discuss Duke's product when contacted by The Associated Press, or their own philosophies on fact checking. Network executives are likely to tread very carefully, both because of technical concerns about how it would work, the risk of getting something wrong or the suspicion that some viewers might consider the messages a political attack. "It's an incredibly difficult challenge," said Mark Lukasiewicz, longtime NBC News executive who recently became dean of Hofstra University's communications school. Adair said the system will be automated. Mindful that many politicians repeat similar claims, the database will be triggered when code phrases that have been fact-checked before come up. An onscreen note would either explain that a claim is false or misleading and direct viewers to a website where they can find more information, or provide a succinct explanation of why it is being challenged. He envisions an average of one fact check popping up every two minutes. A network using the service would likely air the speech or debate on a delayed basis of about a minute. Lukasiewicz said network executives would likely be wary of letting an outside vendor decide what goes on their screen. Adair said anyone who uses the system would be given veto power over what information is being displayed. CNN and MSNBC have been most aggressive in using onscreen notes, called chyrons, to counter misleading statements by Trump, although neither did during the border speech. Among the post-speech analyses, Shepard Smith's rapid-fire reality check on Fox broadcast during the three-minute pause before Democrats spoke was particularly effective. But critics like the liberal watchdog Media Matters for America said anyone who turned the coverage off when Trump stopped speaking was exposed to no questioning of his words. Complicated, cumbersome "There is a responsibility to not just be a blind portal and just let things go unchallenged," said David Bohrman, a former CNN Washington bureau chief who consulted on MSNBC's 2016 election coverage. "The goal is a good one. The execution is a challenge." A technical junkie, Bohrman said he explored different approaches for real-time TV fact-checking while at CNN, but they ultimately proved too complicated and cumbersome. For networks, an incorrect onscreen fact-check would be a public relations disaster. Politicians also make many statements that a critic might question but isn't necessarily factually incorrect. For example, Trump's contention that there is a "crisis" at the southern border: Is that a fact or matter of interpretation? Rest assured, people will be watching. Very carefully. Even Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the conservative Media Research Center, concedes that "we all understand that President Trump has a casual approach to factivity." But conservatives are deeply suspicious that Trump's words are being watched more carefully than those of Democrats. They will notice and take offense if Trump is corrected on the air much more than his rivals, he said, no matter if Trump actually makes more false or misleading statements. "People aren't going to trust you," he said, "because they know what the objective is. The objective is to ruin the president." Adair stressed that his product is nonpartisan. He believes television networks will catch on at some point because they will realize that their viewers want quick fact-checking. "Anyone who criticizes will get criticized for criticizing," Bohrman said. "But the reality is we may be able to help the viewers."

Tesla Plans 7 Percent Staff Cut, Says Bumpy Road Ahead

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 22:21
Electric car and solar panel maker Tesla said Friday it plans to cut its staff by about 7 percent. "The road ahead is very difficult," the company's founder and CEO Elon Musk said in an email to employees posted on the company's website. He said Tesla Inc. hopes to post a "tiny profit" in the current quarter but that after expanding its workforce by 30 percent last year, it cannot support that size of staff. Musk said in a tweet in October that Tesla had 45,000 employees. A 7 percent cut would involve laying off about 3,150 people. Tesla's shares tumbled earlier this month after it cut vehicle prices by $2,000 and announced fourth-quarter sales figures that fell short of Wall Street estimates. "Our products are too expensive for most people," Musk said in the memo to Tesla staff saying the company has to "work harder." "Tesla has only been producing cars for about a decade and we're up against massive, entrenched competitors," he said. The company says it delivered over 245,000 electric cars and SUVs last year, nearly as many as all previous years combined. But its 2018 production fell far short of a goal set nearly three years ago of manufacturing 500,000 vehicles for the year. That goal was announced in May of 2016 based on advance orders for its mid-range Model 3, which sells for $44,000. Musk said Tesla plans to ramp up production of the Model 3, "as we need to reach more customers who can afford our vehicles." "Attempting to build affordable clean energy products at scale necessarily requires extreme effort and relentless creativity," he said in the memo, "but succeeding in our mission is essential to ensure that the future is good, so we must do everything we can to advance the cause."

US Appeals Court Will Not Delay Net Neutrality Case

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 07:31
A federal appeals court said Thursday it would not delay oral arguments set for Feb. 1 on the Trump administration's decision to repeal the 2015 landmark net neutrality rules governing internet providers. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday asked the court to delay the arguments over its December 2017 repeal, citing the partial government shutdown. Without comment, the court denied the request. The FCC had no immediate comment on the decision. A group of 22 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia have asked the court to reinstate the Obama-era internet rules and block the FCC's effort to pre-empt states from imposing their own rules guaranteeing an open internet. Several internet companies are also part of the legal challenge, including Mozilla Corp, Vimeo Inc and Etsy Inc, as well as numerous media and technology advocacy groups and major cities, including New York and San Francisco. The FCC voted to reverse the rules that barred internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or offering paid fast lanes, also known as paid prioritization. The FCC said providers must disclose any changes in users' internet access. 'Misguided' repeal The net neutrality repeal was a win for providers like Comcast Corp, AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, but was opposed by internet companies like Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc. Major providers have not made any changes in how Americans access the internet since the repeal. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said on Thursday that the lawsuits are aimed at overturning the agency's "misguided" repeal of the Obama rules. "The fight for an open internet continues," she wrote on Twitter. The panel hearing the case is made up of Judges Robert Wilkins and Patricia Millett, two appointees of Barack Obama, and Stephen Williams, an appointee of Republican Ronald Reagan. In October, California agreed not to enforce its own state net neutrality law until the appeals court's decision on the 2017 repeal and any potential review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Want to Buy Ethical Food? Scan with Your Phone for Fast Facts

Thu, 01/17/2019 - 11:24
Whether buying a fish fillet at a supermarket or ordering steak in a restaurant, consumers will soon be able to use their phones to check instantly whether their food is green and ethical. Launched by environmental group WWF and investment firm BCG Digital Ventures, OpenSC is a website that harnesses blockchain technology to allow users to scan a QR code on a product or menu that reveals the full history and supply chain before they buy. "For those catching and producing things in a very unsustainable way, it's quite easy for them to hide behind the complexity of supply chains," said Paul Hunyor, Asia region head at BCG Digital Ventures in Sydney. "There is a lack of carrots for those doing good at the production end because it is very hard for them to make the end consumer aware of all the good work they're doing," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Globally, consumers and retailers are demanding more information about what they procure, buy and eat, to ascertain that its production and transportation does not damage the environment, or use illegal and unethical business practices. In response, large consumer goods companies, restaurants and other businesses are looking at ways to attract more customers by offering sustainable products that are guaranteed as free of deforestation or slave labor, for example. The OpenSC platform, conceived in 2017 when WWF was piloting a tuna fisheries traceability project in the Pacific Ocean, will initially focus on fish and beef. It plans to expand in the next two years to cover other commodities like palm oil and timber. OpenSC allows consumers to cut through the complexity and lack of transparency in supply chains, said Hunyor. The digital tool will cover environmental, social and human rights, and hopes to attract sustainability bodies and schemes, as well as corporations and major commodities producers, said Dermot O'Gorman, CEO of WWF-Australia. "There is ... growing momentum around the world with corporates who are doing and want to do the right thing because their customers are increasing demand,” he said. Austral Fisheries, which is part of the Maruha Nichiro Group, has committed to implement OpenSC this year across its fleet which catches Patagonian toothfish. Customers and staff of supermarkets and restaurants, as well as wholesalers, can use the tool to access instant information. For fish, that would include where it was caught, if the area is a verified sustainable fishing zone, and conditions along the supply chain. Fish tracked by OpenSC, set up as a social enterprise, will be served at a dinner for world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.

"Pulse" Turns Heartbeats into Interactive Art

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 09:02
Take a minute and think about your heart. Can you hear it beating? Probably not, but you know it is. Now imagine your heartbeat “in color,” with rhythmic lighting to match. You can now see your unique beat pattern at a new interactive exhibit called “Pulse” at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. In this Log-on segment, VOA’s Carolyn Presutti shows us how your heartbeat joins others and becomes art.

Facebook to Invest $300 Million in Local News Initiatives

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 21:33
Facebook says it is investing $300 million over the next three years in local news programs, partnerships and other initiatives. The money will go toward reporting grants for local newsrooms, expanding Facebook’s program to help local newsrooms with subscription business models and investing in nonprofits aimed at supporting local news. The move comes at a difficult time for the news industry, which is facing falling profits and print readership. Facebook, like Google, has also been partly blamed for the ongoing decline in newspapers’ share of advertising dollars as people and advertisers have moved online. Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of global news partnerships, acknowledges the company “can’t uninvent the internet,” but says it wants to work with publishers to help them succeed on and off the social network. “The industry is going through a massive transition that has been underway for a long time,” she said. “None of us have quite figured out ultimately what the future of journalism is going to look like but we want to be part of helping find a solution.” Facebook has increased its focus on local news in the past year after starting off 2018 with the announcement that it was generally de-emphasizing news stories and videos in people’s feeds on the social network in favor of posts from their friends. At the same time, though, the company has been cautiously testing out ways to boost local news stories users are interested in and initiatives to support the broader industry. It launched a feature called “Today In” that shows people local news and information , including missing-person alerts, road closures, crime reports and school announcements, expanding it to hundreds of cities around the U.S. and a few in Australia. The push to support local news comes as Facebook, which is based in Menlo Park, California, tries to shake off its reputation as a hotbed for misinformation and elections-meddling. The company says users have been asking to see more local content that is relevant to them, including news stories as well as community information such as road closings during a snowstorm. The $300 million investment includes a $5 million grant to the nonprofit Pulitzer Center to launch “Bringing Stories Home,” a fund that will provide local U.S. newsrooms with reporting grants to support coverage of local issues. There’s also a $2 million investment in Report for America as part of a partnership aiming to place 1,000 journalists in local newsrooms across the country over the next five years. The idea behind the investments, Brown said, is to look “holistically at how a given publisher can define a business model. Facebook can’t be the only answer, the only solution — we don’t want the publisher to be dependent on Facebook.” Fran Wills, CEO of the Local Media Consortium, which is receiving $1 million together with the Local Media Association to help their member newsrooms develop new revenue streams, said she is optimistic the investment will help. “I think they are recognizing that trusted, credible content is of benefit not only to local publishers but to them,” she said.  

Huawei Founder Says Company Would Not Share User Secrets

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 17:39
The founder of network gear and smart phone supplier Huawei Technologies says the tech giant would reject requests from the Chinese government to disclose confidential information about its customers.  Meeting with foreign reporters at Huawei's headquarters, Ren Zhengfei sought Tuesday to allay Western concerns the company is a security risk. Those fears have hampered Huawei's access to global markets for next-generation telecom technology.  Asked how Huawei would respond if Chinese authorities ask for confidential information about foreign customers or their networks, Ren said, "we would definitely say no to such a request.'' The United States, Australia, Japan and some other governments have imposed curbs on use of Huawei technology over concerns the company is a security risk.

Amphibious Robot Thrives in Water and on Land

Sun, 01/13/2019 - 14:50
Nature finds a way, the old saying goes. We see it in how animals fly, crawl, slink, dig and otherwise make their way through the world. Scientists have long recognized the ways in which evolution has perfected movement in the natural world, and mimicked it in their robot designs. Here's the latest, and it's simple and incredibly complicated all at the same time. VOA's Kevin Enochs reports.

Robot Animals Serving as Pets to Dementia Patients

Sun, 01/13/2019 - 14:45
A new form of social therapy is powering-on in the U.S. A group of former toy company employees bought a brand from their ex-employer and started developing robotic household animals that serve as friends and therapy aids to America's growing elderly population. Arash Arabasadi reports.

Foreign-Born Workers Powering Silicon Valley's Startup Success

Sat, 01/12/2019 - 14:15
Home to Apple, Facebook and Google, Silicon Valley is an American economic powerhouse, producing technology companies with global influence. But behind these influential American brands are scores of foreign workers who play a critical role in the Valley's tech workforce. Deana Mitchell reports.

Privacy, Please: Latest Gadgets Want Greater Peek into Lives

Sat, 01/12/2019 - 07:05
The latest gadgets want even greater access to your lives. This week's CES tech show in Las Vegas was a showcase for cameras that can livestream the living room, a bathroom mirror that captures your face to offer beauty tips and a gizmo that tracks the heartbeat of an unborn child. These features can be useful — or at least fun — but they all open the door for companies and people working for them to peek into your private lives. Just this week, The Intercept reported that Ring, a security-camera company owned by Amazon, gave employees access to some customer video footage. You'll have to weigh whether the gadgets are useful enough to give up some privacy. First, you have to trust that companies making these devices are protecting your information and aren't doing more than what they say they're doing with data. Even if a company has your privacy in mind, things can go wrong: Hackers can break in and access sensitive data. Or an ex might retain access to a video feed long after a breakup. “It's not like all these technologies are inherently bad,'' says Franziska Roesner, a University of Washington professor who researches computer security and privacy. But she said the industry is still trying to figure out the right balance between providing useful services and protecting people's privacy in the process Amazon’s video feeds As with other security cameras, Ring's can be mounted outside the front door or inside the home to give you a peek, through an app, of who's there. But the Intercept said the Amazon-owned company was also allowing some high-level engineers in the U.S. to view customers' video feeds, while others in the Ukraine office could view and download any customer video file. In a statement, Ring said some Amazon employees have access to videos that are publicly shared through the company's Neighbors app, which aims to create a network of security cameras in an area. Ring also says employees get additional video from users who consent to such sharing. At CES, Ring announced an internet-connected video doorbell that fits into peepholes for apartment dwellers or college students who can't install one next to their doors. Though it doesn't appear Ring uses facial recognition yet, records show that Amazon recently filed a patent application for a facial-recognition system involving home security cameras. Living room livestream It's one thing to put cameras in our own homes, but Alarm.com wants us to also put them in other people's houses. Alarm's Wellcam is for caretakers to watch from afar and is mostly designed to check in on aging relatives. Someone who lives elsewhere can use a smartphone to “peek in'' anytime, says Steve Chazin, vice president of products.  The notion of placing a camera in someone else's living room might feel icky.  Wellcam says video isn't recorded until someone activates it from a phone and video is deleted as soon as the stream stops. Chazin says such cameras are ``becoming more acceptable because loved ones want to know that the ones they care about are safe.'' Just be sure you trust whom you're giving access to. You can't turn off the camera, unless you unplug it or cover it up with something.  Bathroom cameras  French company CareOS showcased a smart mirror that lets you “try on'' different hairstyles. Facial recognition helps the mirror's camera know which person in a household is there, while augmented-reality technology overlays your actual image with animation on how you might look. CareOS expects hotels and salons to buy the $20,000 Artemis mirror — making it more important that personal data is protected.  “We know we don't want the whole world to know about what's going on in the bathroom,'' co-founder Chloe Szulzinger said. The mirror doesn't need internet to work, she said. Even if it is connected, all data is stored on a local network. The company says it will abide by Europe's stronger privacy rules, which took effect in May, regardless of where a customer lives. Customers can choose to share their information with CareOS, but only after they've explicitly agreed to how it will be used. The same applies for the businesses that buy and install the mirror. Customers can choose to share some information — such as photos of the hair cut they got last time they visited a salon — but the businesses can't access anything stored in user profiles unless users specifically allow them to. Bodily data Some gadgets, meanwhile, are gathering intimate information.  Yo Sperm sells an iPhone attachment that tests and tracks sperm quality. To protect privacy, the company recommends that users turn their phones to airplane mode when using the test. The company says data stays on the phone, within the app, though there's a button for sharing details with a doctor. Owlet, meanwhile, plans to sell a wearable device that sits over a pregnant belly and tracks the heartbeat. The company's privacy policy says personal data gets collected. And you can choose to share heartbeat information with researchers studying stillbirths. Though such data can be useful, Forrester analyst Fatemeh Khatibloo warns that these devices aren't regulated or governed by U.S. privacy law. She warns that companies could potentially sell data to insurance companies who could find, for instance, that someone was drinking caffeine during a pregnancy — potentially raising health risks and hence premiums.

Technology Opening New Worlds for Disabled at CES

Fri, 01/11/2019 - 13:24
Proponents of Big Tech say the march of technology into our daily lives is designed to make our lives easier. For some, it's arguable if a smart refrigerator can actually make life easier. But for the disabled community, technological advances can make a huge difference. Some of that new technology was on display this week at the Consumer Electronics' show. VOA's Kevin Enochs reports.

Robots Walk, Talk, Brew Beer and Take Over CES Tech Show

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 23:09
Robots that walk, talk, brew beer and play pingpong have taken over the CES gadget show in Las Vegas again. Just don’t expect to find one in your home any time soon. Most home robot ventures have failed, in part because they’re so difficult and expensive to design to a level of intelligence that consumers will find useful, says Bilal Zuberi, a robotics-oriented venture capitalist at Lux Capital. But that doesn’t keep companies from trying. “Roboticists, I guess, will never give up their dream to build Rosie,” says Zuberi, referring to the humanoid maid from “The Jetsons.” But there’s some hope for others. Frank Gillett, a tech analyst at Forrester, says robots with more focused missions such as mowing the lawn or delivering cheeseburgers stand a better shot at finding a useful niche. ROBOTS THAT DELIVER There are so many delivery robots at CES that it’s easy to imagine that we’ll all be stumbling over them on the sidewalk — or in the elevator — before long. Zuberi says they’re among the new robot trends with the most promise because the field is drawing on some of the same advances that power self-driving cars. But it’s hard to tell which — if any — will still be around in a few years. Segway Robotics, part of the same company that makes electric rental scooters for Lime, Jump and Bird, is the latest to get into the delivery game with a new machine it calls Loomo. The wheeled office robot can avoid obstacles, board elevators and deliver documents to another floor. A similar office courier called the Holabot was unveiled by Chinese startup Shenzhen Pudu Technology. CEO Felix Zhang says his company already has a track record in China, where its Pudubot robot — which looks like shelves on wheels — navigates busy restaurants as a kind of robotic waiter. Nearly all of these robots use a technology called visual SLAM, short for simultaneous localization and mapping. Most are wheeled, though there are outliers — such as one from German automotive company Continental, which wants to deploy walking robotic dogs to carry packages from self-driving delivery vans to residential front doors. A delivery robot will need both sophisticated autonomy and a focused mission to stand out from the pack, says Saumil Nanavati, head of business development for Robby Technology. His company’s namesake robot travels down sidewalks as a “store on wheels.” The company recently partnered with PepsiCo to deliver snacks around a California university campus. ROBOTS FOR DOGS Does man’s best friend need a robotic pal of its own? Some startups think so. “There’s a big problem with separation anxiety, obesity and depression in pets,” says Bee-oh Kim, a marketing manager for robotics firm Varram. The company’s $99 robot is essentially a moving treat dispenser that motivates pets to chase it around. A herd of the small, dumbbell-shaped robots zoomed around a pen at the show — though there were no canine or feline conference attendees to show how the machines really work. Varram’s robot takes two hours to charge and can run for 10 hours — just enough time to allow a pet’s guilt-ridden human companion to get home from work. ROBOTS ON GRANDPARENT WATCH Samsung is coming out with a robot that can keep its eye on grandparents. The rolling robot can talk and has two digital eyes on a black screen. It’s designed to track the medicines seniors take, measure blood pressure and call 911 if it detects a fall. The company didn’t say when Samsung Bot Care would be available. Samsung says it’s also working on a robot for retail shops and another for testing and purifying the air in homes. ROBOT FRIENDS Lovot is a simple robot with just one aim — to make its owner happy. It can’t carry on long conversations, but it’s still social — approaching people so they can interact, moving around a space to create a digital map, responding to being embraced. Lovot’s horn-shaped antenna — featuring a 360-degree camera — recognizes its surroundings and detects the direction of sound and voices. Lovot is the brainchild of Groove X CEO Kaname Hayashi, who previously worked on SoftBank’s Pepper, a humanoid robot that briefly appeared in a few U.S. shopping malls two years ago. Hayashi wanted to create a real connection between people and robots. “This is just supporting your heart, our motivation,” he says.

At the Consumer Electronics Show, Technology to Help Survive

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 13:51
This week, visitors to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas are getting a look at the latest technology in TVs, computers, smartwatches and drones. But they are also seeing examples of how tech can be used to help people around the world become more resilient. Michelle Quinn reports.

The Future of Auto Tech: Keeping Drivers Safe, and Entertained

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 13:43
The annual Consumer Electronics Show is underway in Las Vegas. The massive exhibition highlights trends and new products that should change the way we live — in some cases as early as next week, and in others, years in the future. VOA's Kevin Enochs looks at a few of the new technologies that will change the way we drive.

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