Tue. Oct 26th, 2021


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“There are some amazing devices,” said Ben Whishaw, alias Q, on the red carpet. world premiere of No time to die tonight at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

He was clearly still kept secret about the surprises in the 25th Bond film and Daniel Craig’s last in the role. At the same time, however, the secrets appeared about the latest products from Amazon (see Tech Tools below) during its annual device event in the US.

The most important among them were Astro, a robot can find your way through your home using sophisticated AI and mastering something known in robotics as Slam – Simultaneous localization and mapping.

The robot is arguably Amazon’s most daring new hardware product since the release of the original Amazon Echo voice assistant in 2014, says Dave Lee in San Francisco.

It can be sent to specific places in the house, and a periscope camera rises on top of the device and can film up to eye level. It can track users while making video calls. A touchscreen in front of Astro displays two large drawing icons to make it look more accessible, the engineers said in a promotional video. It’s a way to check on pets or elderly family members.

Amazon said it costs $ 999 and will be shipped to a limited number of customers later this year, after being in development for the past four years.

It’s tempting to think Astro is something of a Bond gadget – a gimmick that probably won’t appear as a mass market product for years to come.

But Amazon’s device chief Dave Limp said: “In five to ten years, we believe every home will have at least one robot that will become an important part of your daily life.” And the engineers who developed it clearly felt they were making breakthroughs in robotics.

“This is our first robot, not our last robot,” said Gregg Zehr, president of Amazon’s R&D equipment Lab126.

The internet of (five) things

1. AutoStore has a stock exchange
In other robot news, the software group Robotics from AutoBore is with software support plan a stock market listing next month in Oslo, which the company can value at almost $ 12 billion. AutoStore had revenue of $ 182 million last year, but is aiming for $ 300 million in 2021 and more than $ 500 million next year as demand from grocery stores and online sellers increases sharply.

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2. Blue Prism’s new Vista
The British process automation technology company Blue Prism has agreed a £ 1.1bn takeover by private equity group Vista Equity Partners. Vista intends to integrate Blue Prism with Tibco, the Silicon Valley-based data analytics firm that privately acquired it for $ 4.3 billion in 2014.

3. Britain’s scientific superpower ‘ambitions
Monday we have the first National Space Strategy from the United Kingdom, as Boris Johnson promised to build ‘Galactic Britain’. Today, our science editor Clive Cookson looks at the government’s focus on technological leadership, following a innovation strategy, published in July, which provided insight into pastors’ focus on industries of the future. The UK is currently a G7 backlog in R&D spending, but public investment is set to rise from £ 14.9 billion to £ 22 billion in 2024-25 this year.

A bar graph showing the percentage of GDP spent on R & D by G7 countries.  The UK is fifth ahead of Italy and Canada.

4. Ford’s record investment in electric trucks
Ford and South Korean battery maker SK Innovation have dedicated $ 11 billion to spend to build three plants in Kentucky and Tennessee to produce battery-powered versions of the popular F-Series pickups. The investment is the largest Ford has made in its 118-year manufacturing facilities.

5. Google attacked in Oz for ad dominance
Australia’s antitrust regulator has laws asked to reduce Google’s market dominance in online advertising, in the country’s latest salvo against Big Tech following groundbreaking media reforms this year. A report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission estimates that more than 90 per cent of the country’s A $ 2.8 billion (US $ 2 billion) open advertising will involve at least one Google service by 2020.

Technical tools – the new devices from Amazon

Amazon has quite a few new services and devices today at its annual showcase. As part of its updates to the Ring system, Amazon said it would launch a subscription service that would allow a remote worker to access a customer’s live feed at home to avoid any danger, such as’ an intruder, to determine. reports Dave Lee. The $ 99 per month “virtual security guard ” is launched in collaboration with the security company Rapid Response.

Amazon Glow is a small video chat device aimed at children, and a walled version of its Echo device, the Show 15, changes the view based on the recognition of the person watching it. Other announcements include a partnership with Disney, in which Alexa will be installed in hotel rooms at the entertainment giant’s resorts, instructing ‘Hey Disney’ to ask questions about the parks or to communicate with characters.

And the company’s fitness strap – Halo – now includes a Vue device with a small AMOLED screen, as well as training services for workouts and nutrition counseling.

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