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New tech to prevent Li-ion battery fires

Materials scientists from Nanyang Technological University Singapore have found a way to prevent internal short-circuits, the main cause of fires in Li-ion batteries.

Billions of Li-ion batteries are produced annually for use in mobile phones, laptops, personal mobile devices, and the huge battery packs of electric vehicles and aircraft.

This global battery demand is set to grow, with electric vehicles alone requiring up to 2,700 GWh worth of Li-ion batteries a year by 2030, equivalent to some 225 billion mobile phone batteries.

Even with an estimated failure rate of less than one-in-a-million, in 2020 there were 26 power-assisted bicycle (PAB) fires and 42 cases of personal mobility device fires in Singapore.

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In most Li-ion battery fires, the cause is due to a build-up of lithium deposits known as dendrites (tiny wire-like tendrils) that cross the separator between the positive (cathode) and negative (anode) electrodes of the battery when it is being charged, causing a short-circuit leading to an uncontrolled chemical fire.

To prevent such battery fires, NTU scientists invented a patent-pending “anti-short layer” that can be easily added inside a Li-ion battery, preventing any future short-circuits from occurring during the charging process.

This concept is akin to adding a slice of cheese to a hamburger’s meat patty in between the buns, thus the new “anti-short layer” can be rapidly adopted in current battery manufacturing.

The post New tech to prevent Li-ion battery fires appeared first on ARY NEWS.

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Source: https://techncruncher.blogspot.com/2021/09/new-tech-to-prevent-li-ion-battery-fires.html
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Xbox gains new features with updated Edge browser

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With its September Xbox update, Microsoft has brought the new, Chromium-based Edge browser to Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One consoles. It supports a keyboard and mouse and will introduce new capabilities like access to Google Stadia, Discord, web apps and more.

Microsoft started testing the Edge update on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S earlier this year, but today it’s coming to everyone. Edge has been the default browser on Xbox One, but not the latest Chromium version that enables features like Google Stadia gameplay. 

It promises a “fast, secure and modern browsing experience right from your console,” Microsoft wrote. It’s nearly identical to the desktop version, with features like vertical tabs, collections and syncing of settings, favorites, history, tabs and more to other signed-in devices. As Reddit users have noted, though, it’s missing extensions — so you won’t be able to use an ad-blocker for now.

With mouse and keyboard support, gamers will find it far easier to use productivity apps. More importantly, you’ll be able to play Google Stadia or Steam PC games with either a mouse and/or the Xbox controller. For now, there’s no microphone support for live chats on Discord or other apps, according to The Verge.  

Microsoft also trumpeted the release of Play Later discovery, but it’s not clear how that differs from the current Play Later features. It also re-announced the arrival of game streaming to PC via Xbox Game Pass cloud or using Xbox Remote Play. The new features are now available to all Xbox consoles. 

Source: https://www.engadget.com/xboxs-latest-update-rolls-out-the-edge-browser-to-all-consoles-114037339.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Steve Dent

Get Ready for Big Android Auto Changes On Your Phone and In Your Car

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Google plans to discontinue the Android Auto app for Android phones, and has created a new way to navigate using Google Assistant in Google Maps. Today Google said its new Google Assistant driving mode for Android phones is getting a new dashboard that’s easier to use hands-free and won’t require you to set a…

Read more…

Source: https://gizmodo.com/get-ready-for-big-android-auto-changes-on-your-phone-an-1847726152
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Florence Ion

Discord Is Bringing Music Back With a YouTube-Sanctioned Bot

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After Google-owned YouTube killed two hugely popular Discord music bots this month, forcing them to essentially shut down in the dead of night over claims of copyright infringement, Discord has reportedly begun testing a YouTube integration that will allow users to once again stream tunes within their servers.

Read more…

Source: https://gizmodo.com/discord-is-bringing-music-back-with-a-youtube-sanctione-1847730671
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Brianna Provenzano

Android’s accessibility updates include a way to control your phone using your face

Google has introduced quite a lengthy list of Android features, including new accessibility tools for the mobile OS that rely on eye and facial gestures. Starting this week, users will see a new addition to the Android Accessibility Suite that can turn a phone’s front-facing camera into a switch. Aptly called Camera Switch, the tool replaces keyboards, mice and touchscreen displays as a device’s input method. With the feature, users will be able to navigate their phones with eye movements or with facial features, such as smiling or opening and closing their mouths. The tech giant started beta testing it in August, but it’s now giving the feature a wider rollout.

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Google

The tech giant has also launched a new application called Project Activate specifically for those don’t speak or have neurological conditions. Its purpose is to make it easier for the users to communicate with other people. They can program the app to speak phrases like “Please, wait!” when they move their eyes a certain way or make a gesture with their face. The application can also be programmed to play audio, make phone calls or send texts, such as emergency messages seeking assistance. 

Finally, Google has updated its Lookout app with handwriting recognition. It can now read out handwritten and printed text for Latin-based languages while in Documents mode. Further, it can now recognize Euro and Indian Rupee in currency mode, with Google planning to add support for more currencies in the future. The tech giant first announced Lookout back in 2018 as a way to provide Blind individuals and people with visual impairments spoken notifications about their environment. Google added food and document scanning to its capabilities in 2020, along with support for languages other than English. 

Source: https://www.engadget.com/android-accessibility-camera-switch-project-activate-160013117.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Mariella Moon

Google Is Trying to Fight Distracted Driving With Android

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Google is making some significant changes to its driving functionality that’ll work whether you have your phone mounted to your vent or you rely on Android Auto to stay connected while you’re on the go.

Read This Article on How-To Geek ›

Source: https://www.howtogeek.com/756840/google-is-trying-to-fight-distracted-driving-with-android/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Dave LeClair

Microsoft’s New Surface Laptop Studio Flips the 2-in-1 Game on Its Head

The Surface Laptop Studio in laptop and tablet modes.Microsoft

Of all the devices announced during today’s Surface event, Microsoft’s new flagship 2-in-1 is by far the most unexpected and bizarre. The Surface Laptop Studio features a unique floating display that you can perch behind its trackpad for an immersive gaming or streaming experience or fold into tablet mode for drawing and note-taking.

Microsoft calls the Surface Laptop Studio an ideal product for “developers, creative pros, weekend gamers, and designers.” Its floating display certainly seems to fit in all use-cases, and with support for 11th Gen Intel Core processors (i5 or i7) and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPUs (only available with i7 configurations), the Surface Laptop Studio is more than powerful enough to run professional software, AAA games, and creative applications. In fact, it’s the most powerful Surface device to date.

You can get the Surface Laptop Studio with 16GB or 32GB of LPDDR4x RAM, and its removable SSD drive comes with a maximum 2TB of storage. Like the new Surface Pro 8, the Laptop Studio packs two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, a Surface connect jack, and a headphone jack. And of course, Microsoft managed to pack the Laptop Studio with both Windows Hello and Wi-Fi 6 support.

A gamer using the Surface Laptop Studio in stage mode.

When in laptop mode, the Surface Laptop Studio looks and feels like a modern PC. It sports a large keyboard and haptic trackpad, and its 14.4-inch PixelSense display is extremely slim despite the integrated hinge.

This hinge, dubbed the Dynamic Woven Hinge, is a completely new design. Microsoft touts its durability and ease of use, emphasizing just how quickly it can fold into new orientations. The unique “Stage” mode places the display behind the trackpad, covering the keyboard and providing a comfortable, immersive experience for gaming, streaming, docking, drawing, or taking notes.

Another orientation, called “Studio” mode, flattens the laptop’s display against its keyboard and trackpad for a tablet experience. It’s an interesting and sleek alternative to the backward-folding design of most 2-in-1s.

And while you can’t really see it in Microsoft’s press photos, the Surface Laptop Studio features a magnetic storage and charging slot for the Surface Slim Pen 2. This slot is tucked underneath the Laptop Studio’s keyboard, providing easy access in the “Studio” tablet mode.

An artist drawing on the Surface Laptop Studio in tablet mode.I guess the hinge doesn’t fold completely flat in tablet mode. Microsoft

While the Surface Laptop Studio specs look impressive, I want to point out one glaring issue that will turn off a lot of people—this thing is a bit heavy. The i5 configuration weighs 3.83 pounds, while the i7 model is a whopping 4 pounds. That’s comparable to devices like the 15-inch MacBook Pro, but about three times the weight of even the largest tablets. (Though to be fair, the Laptop Studio is more of a laptop than a tablet.)

Be sure to check out all the other devices announced during today’s Surface event, including the Surface Duo 2, the Thunderbolt 4-capable Surface Pro 8, the more affordable Surface Pro X, and the tiny Surface Go 3. Microsoft also announced a ton of genuinely cool accessories that are worth looking at.

The Surface Laptop Studio starts at $1,600 and is available for pre-order at Microsoft’s webstore. It ships with Windows 11, with general availability opening on October 5th (the same day that Windows 11 launches). Be sure to check out everything else that Microsoft announced during its Surface event, including the new Surface Pro 8, the Go 3, a cheaper Pro X tablet, the new Surface Duo 2 phone, and a ton of genuinely cool accessories.


Surface Laptop Studio


The new Surface Laptop Studio features a bizarre floating display for three immersive orientations. It’s also the most powerful Surface device yet, running 11th Gen Intel Core processors and NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs. Pre-order it now starting at $1,600.

Source: Microsoft

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/98308/microsofts-new-surface-laptop-studio-flips-the-2-in-1-game-on-its-head/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

Snapchat’s new lenses and stickers can teach you basic sign language

Snapchat is rolling out new augmented reality lenses and stickers that can give you cursory lessons on sign language. The company has developed the new features as part of its efforts for the Weak of the Deaf with guidance from its Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing team members. Its new AR Lenses use AI and computer vision technology by SignAll, which can recognize and translate American Sign Language. 

One of the lenses will teach you how to fingerspell, in which you form individual letters with your fingers to spell a word. The other new lenses will teach you how to fingerspell your username, as well as some common words like “love” and “smile.” You can scan the Snapcodes below to access them and then share a clip of you signing on the app.

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Snap

In addition to the new lenses, Snap has also launched new general, Bitmoji and Cameos selfie stickers with common signs. The hope is that these new elements can boost awareness and help more people learn a new way to communicate. Jennica Pounds, a deaf software engineer at Snap who was a key figure in the project said:

“A big motivation for me is my own oldest son, who absolutely loves to talk, but has had a hard time learning ASL. I’m passionate about this technology because I truly believe it’s going to break so many applications wide open. It’s tech like this that will help families like mine communicate and grow together.”

Snap

Snap

Source: https://www.engadget.com/snapchat-lenses-stickers-basic-sign-language-100047839.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Mariella Moon

HP’s latest Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptops feature 16-inch OLED displays

HP is again using OLED displays for its latest Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptops, but this time, you get a bit more screen for your money. The new HP Spectre x360 comes with an optional 16-inch, 16:10 4K OLED display — up from the 15.6-inch displays last year — delivering true VESA blacks with “100 percent color calibration,” the company announced. 

The new model has an extra 22mm of viewing space compared to the previous models, while still offering fairly slim bezels all around with a 91 percent screen-to-body ratio. It’s also available with a 3,072 x 1,920 IPS touchscreen, if budget is an issue. At the same time, you get a top-mounted 5-megapixel webcam with a physical shutter for privacy and Windows Hello support. It comes with HP’s AI controls and “beauty mode” that can improve lighting and “touch up skin, teeth and eyes.” 

HP's latest Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptops come with 16-inch OLED displays

HP

It should have enough power to drive those features too, with an 11th-gen Intel Core i7 CPU and Intel Evo graphics, or an optional NDIVIDA GeForce RTX 3050 laptop GPU, along with 16GB of memory, 512GB PCIe NVMe storage and 32GB of Intel Optane memory. It also offers quad B&O speakers, up to WiFi 6E, a MicroSD card reader, two Thunderbolt 4 with 40Gbps speeds and USB Power Delivery USB4 Type-C ports, HDMI 2.0b, Bluetooth 5.2 and 17 hours of battery life. The HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 arrives in the fall at HP.com or Best Buy starting at $1,639, but expect to pay more for the OLED 4K model. 

Source: https://www.engadget.com/h-ps-latest-spectre-x-360-2-in-1-laptops-come-with-16-inch-oled-displays-120039392.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Steve Dent

PayPal launches its ‘super app’ combining payments, savings, bill pay, crypto, shopping and more

PayPal has been talking about its “super app” plans for some time, having recently told investors its upcoming digital wallet and payments app had been given a go for launch. Today, the first version of that app is officially being introduced, offering a combination of financial tools including direct deposit, bill pay, a digital wallet, peer-to-peer payments, shopping tools, crypto capabilities and more. The company is also announcing its partnership with Synchrony Bank for its new high-yield savings account, PayPal Savings.

These changes shift PayPal from being largely a payments utility that’s tacked on other offerings here and there, to being a more fully fleshed out finance app. Though PayPal itself doesn’t aim to be a “bank,” the new app offers a range of competitive features for those considering shifting their finances to neobanks, like Chime or Varo, as it will now also include support for paycheck Direct Deposits through PayPal’s bank partners, bill pay and more.

By enabling direct deposit, PayPal users can get paid up to two days earlier, which is one of the bigger draws among those considering digital banking apps over traditional banks.

In addition to shifting their paychecks to Payal, customers’ PayPal funds can then be used for things that are a part of daily life, like paying their bills, saving or shopping, for example.

The enhanced bill pay feature lets customers track, view and pay bills from thousands of companies, including utilities, TV and internet, insurance, credit cards, phone and more, PayPal says. When bill pay first arrived earlier this year, it offered access to (single-digit) thousands of billers. Now, it will support around 17,000 billers. Customers can also discover billers through an improved, intelligent search feature, set reminders to be notified of upcoming bills and schedule automatic payments for bills they have to pay on a regular basis. The bills don’t have to only be paid from funds currently in the PayPal account, but can be paid through any eligible funding source that’s already linked to their PayPal account.

Via a Synchrony Bank partnership, PayPal Savings will offer a high-yield savings account with a 0.40% Annual Percentage Yield (APY), which is more than six times the national average of 0.06%, the company says. However, that’s lower than top rivals in the digital banking market offer, like Chime (0.50%), Varo (starts at 0.20%, but users can qualify to get 3.00% APY), Marcus (0.50%), Ally (0.50%), ONE (1.00% or 3.00% on Auto-Save transactions), and others. However, the rate may appeal to those who are switching from a traditional bank, where rates tend to be lower.

PayPal believes its high-yield offering will be able to compete not based on the APY alone, but on the strength of its combined offerings.

Image Credits: PayPal

“We know that about half of customers in the United States don’t even have a savings account, much less one with a very competitive rate,” notes PayPal SVP of Consumer, Julian King. “So all in all, we think that by bringing together the full set of solutions on the platform, it’s a really competitive offering for an individual.”

The app has also been reorganized to accommodate the new features and those yet to come.

It now features a personalized dashboard offering an overview of the customer’s account. The wallet tab lets users manage Direct Deposits and connect funding sources like bank accounts and debit and credit cards alongside the ability to enroll in PayPal’s own debit, credit and cash cards. And a finance tab provides access to the high-yield savings and the previously available crypto capabilities, which allows users to buy, hold and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin.

The payments tab, meanwhile, will hold much of PayPal’s traditional feature set, including peer-to-peer payments, international remittances, charitable and nonprofit giving, plus now bill pay and a two-way messaging feature that allows users to request payments or say thank you after receiving a payment — whether that’s between friends and family or between merchants and customers. This addition could bring PayPal more in line with PayPal-owned Venmo, which already offers the ability to add notes to payments and make comments.

Messaging also ties into PayPal’s new Shopping hub, which is where the company is finally putting to good use its 2019 $4 billion Honey acquisition. Honey’s core features are now becoming a part of the PayPal mobile experience, including personalized deals and exclusive rewards.

Image Credits: PayPal

PayPal users will be able to browse the discounts and offers inside the app, then shop and transact through the in-app browser. The deals can be saved to the wallet for future use, so they can be applied if shopping later in the app or online. Customers will also be able to join a loyalty program, where they can earn cashback and PayPal shopping credit on their purchases. The company says these personalized deals will improve over time.

“We’ll use AI and [machine learning] capabilities to understand what kind of shopping deals are most interesting to customers and continue to develop that over time. They’ll just get smarter and smarter as the product gets more usage,” notes King. This will include using the data about the deals a customer likes, then bringing similar deals to them in the future.

Also new in the updated mobile app is the addition of PayPal’s crowdsourced fundraising platform, the Generosity Network, first launched late last year. The network is PayPal’s answer to GoFundMe or Facebook Fundraisers, by offering tools that allow individuals to raise money for themselves, others in need, or organizations like small businesses or charities. The network is also now expanding to international markets with Germany and the U.K. to start, with more countries to come.

As PayPal has said, the new app is laying the groundwork for other new products in the quarters to come. The biggest initiative on its roadmap is a plan to enter the investment space, to rival other mobile investing apps, like Robinhood. When this arrives, it will support the ability to buy stocks, fractional stocks and ETFs, PayPal says.

It will also later add support for paying with QR codes, like Venmo, and tools for using PayPal to save while in stores.

The updated app is rolling out starting today in the U.S. as a staggered release that will complete in the weeks ahead. However, PayPal Savings won’t be available immediately — it will arrive in the U.S. in the “coming months,” as will some of the shopping and rewards tools.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/21/paypal-launches-its-super-app-combining-payments-savings-bill-pay-crypto-shopping-and-more/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Sarah Perez

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