Week in Tech (19 – 25 Mar 2021)

Weekly Tech News related to Samsung’s Double-Folding Phone, Soft Robots That Sense, Using AI to Map the Brain, Buying a Tesla with Bitcoin, Accelerating Quantum Computer Development, Fantasy Sports App Dream11, Superconducting Quantum Computers, WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy Changes, Robot Swimmers That Heal Themselves, Liquid Lens Camera on Mi Mix, Soft Robotic Dragonfly, Edtech Giant Byju’s

Note: None of the news bits (and cover picture) given here are written/owned by NewAnced's authors. The links on each of the news bits will redirect to the news source. Content given under each headline is a basic gist and not the full story.

1. Samsung Is Reportedly Working on A Double-Folding Phone

Source: The Verge 22 Mar 2021

Samsung is reportedly working on a double-folding phone to add to its lineup, according to Nikkei Asia (via 9to5Google). According to the article, the phone would fold into three segments using two hinges and could be announced “as early as the end of this year.” The phone would be a third option in Samsung’s foldable lineup, joining the Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip, both of which are also expected to appear in new versions this year.

Original written by: Mitchell Clark

2. Researchers’ Algorithm Designs Soft Robots That Sense

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology 22 Mar 2021

Researchers have developed an algorithm to help engineers design soft robots that collect more useful information about their surroundings. The deep-learning algorithm suggests an optimized placement of sensors within the robot’s body, allowing it to better interact with its environment and complete assigned tasks. The advance is a step toward the automation of robot design.

Original written by: Daniel Ackerman

3. Using AI to Map How the Brain Understands Sentences

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center 22 Mar 2021

New research involving neuroimaging and A.I., describes the complex network within the brain that comprehends the meaning of a spoken sentence. The study is an example of how the application of artificial neural networks, or A.I., are enabling researchers to unlock the extremely complex signaling in the brain that underlies functions such as processing language.

Original written by: Kelsie Smith Hayduk

4. Buying A Tesla with Bitcoin in the US

Source: The Verge 23 Mar 2021

Tesla now accepts bitcoin as payment for its cars in the US, CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter. The option to pay using the cryptocurrency now appears on the company’s US website, where it’s available alongside the traditional card payment option. Musk said that the option to pay with bitcoin will be available to other countries “later this year.”

Original written by: Jon Porter

5. Novel Thermometer Can Accelerate Quantum Computer Development

Source: Chalmers University of Technology 23 Mar 2021

Researchers have developed a novel type of thermometer that can simply and quickly measure temperatures during quantum calculations with extremely high accuracy. The breakthrough provides a benchmarking tool for quantum computing of great value – and opens up for experiments in the exciting field of quantum thermodynamics.

6. Indian Fantasy Sports App Dream11’s Parent Firm Raises $400 Million

Source: TechCrunch 24 Mar 2021

Dream Sports, the parent firm of fantasy sports app Dream11, has secured $400 million in a new financing round as the Mumbai-headquartered firm builds what it calls an “end-to-end sports tech company” in the cricket-loving nation, which is also the world’s second-largest internet market.

Original written by: Manish Singh

7. Optical Fiber Could Boost Power of Superconducting Quantum Computers

Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 24 Mar 2021

The secret to building superconducting quantum computers with massive processing power may be an ordinary telecommunications technology — optical fiber. Physicists have measured and controlled a superconducting quantum bit (qubit) using light-conducting fiber instead of metal electrical wires, paving the way to packing a million qubits into a quantum computer rather than just a few thousand.

8. India Antitrust Body Orders Investigation into WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy Changes

Source: TechCrunch 24 Mar 2021

Indian antitrust body Competition Commission of India on Wednesday ordered an investigation into WhatsApp’s privacy policy changes, saying that the Facebook-owned service breached local antitrust laws in the guise of a policy update.

Original written by: Manish Singh

9. Small Robot Swimmers That Heal Themselves from Damage

Source: American Chemical Society 24 Mar 2021

Living tissue can heal itself from many injuries, but giving similar abilities to artificial systems, such as robots, has been extremely challenging. Now, researchers have developed small, swimming robots that can magnetically heal themselves on-the-fly after breaking into two or three pieces. The strategy could someday be used to make hardier devices for environmental or industrial clean up, the researchers say.

10. Xiaomi Teases Camera with Liquid Lens on Upcoming Mi Mix

Source: The Verge 25 Mar 2021

Xiaomi’s upcoming Mi Mix handset will include a camera with a liquid lens, the company teased in a pair of Weibo posts on Thursday. As its name implies, the lens typically includes a layer of liquid, and the lens’s focus and focal length are changed by applying an electrical voltage. Xiaomi says the lens will allow one camera to take everything from telephoto to macro shots as well as offer fast autofocus. The phone is due to be unveiled on March 29th.

Original written by: Jon Porter

11. Soft Robotic Dragonfly Signals Environmental Disruptions

Source: Duke University 25 Mar 2021

Engineers have developed an electronics-free, entirely soft robot shaped like a dragonfly that can skim across water and react to environmental conditions such as pH, temperature or the presence of oil. The proof-of-principle demonstration could be the precursor to more advanced, autonomous, long-range environmental sentinels for monitoring a wide range of potential telltale signs of problems.

Original written by: Ken Kingery

12. Edtech Giant Byju’s In Talks to Raise At $15 Billion Valuation

Source: TechCrunch 25 Mar 2021

Indian edtech giant Byju’s, which raised over a billion dollars last year as the pandemic accelerated the adoption of online learning services in India, is about to begin a new fundraising spree. Byju’s is in talks to raise over $600 million in a new financing round that values the Indian startup at $15 billion, up from about $11 billion late last year, and $5.75 billion in July 2019.

Original written by: Manish Singh

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