Mi 6X (Mi A2) With Snapdragon 660, Dual Rear Cameras Launched

The Mi 6X smartphone has been launched by Xiaomi at an event at Wuhan University, the alma mater of CEO Lei Jun. The new Mi 6X smartphone, which is expected to be launched as the Mi A2 with stock Android UI in India, has a familiar design, AI integration in the camera, and Android 8.1 Oreo-based custom skin. The handset is widely expected to be unveiled as the Mi A2 in the Indian market soon, now that the Mi A1 has gone out of stock in the country. The Mi 6X/ Mi A2 is also the second smartphone by the company to come pre-installed with the new Xiao AI.

mi6x

Specifications:

The new Xiaomi Mi 6X has a 5.99-inch display with 18:9 aspect ratio and narrow bezels on the sides, and looks quite similar to the Redmi Note 5 Pro. The dual-SIM smartphone will run MIUI 9.5 software, based on Android 8.1 Oreo, and is powered by the octa-core Snapdragon 660 SoC (four 2.2GHz Kyro 260 cores + four 1.8GHz Kyro 260 cores) and Adreno 512 GPU. As mentioned above, it will come with up to 6GB LPDDR4x dual channel RAM and up to 128GB internal storage options.

 

In the camera department, you’ll find a 20MP and 12MP f/1.75 aperture dual-cameralayout (IMX376 and IMX486, respectively), enabling portrait mode shots.

Xiaomi is touting AI-powered scene recognition as well, claiming the camera suite is capable of recognizing dozens of scenes, objects, and subjects. A front-facing 20MP camera (IMX376) handles selfie duties. Both 20MP cameras offer pixel-binning tech of sorts, essentially combining four pixels into a two micron pixel.

On the back is a dual camera setup with 12-megapixel primary Sony IMX486 sensor with f/1.75 aperture and 1.25-micron pixels, and a 20-megapixel secondary Sony IMX376 sensor with the same aperture but 1-micron pixel size. The rear camera setup is accompanied by phase-detection autofocus and dual-tone LED flash.

Battery capacity of the handset is 3010mAh, with support for QuickCharge 3.0 that allows it to go from nil to 50 percent in 30 minutes. Connectivity options on the Mi 6X/ Mi A2 are 4G LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Miracast, Bluetooth 5.0, IR emitter, USB Type-C port; however, there is no 3.5mm earphone jack this time. Sensors on board include accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, proximity sensor. It has an all-metal body, dual speakers on the bottom, and comes in five colour options — Red, Gold, Rose Gold, Blue, and Black. The smartphone measures 158.7×75.4×7.3mm in thickness and weighs 168 grams.

Price:

The Mi 6X price has been launched in three variants, differing with each other in terms of storage and RAM. The 4GB RAM and 64GB storage option is priced at CNY 1,599 (roughly Rs. 16,900), while the 6GB RAM and 64GB storage option costs CNY 1,799 (approximately Rs. 19,000). As for the top end Mi 6X variant with 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage, the price tag is CNY 1,999 (around Rs. 21,000). It will go on sale in China starting 10am local time on Friday, April 27.

 

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Xiaomi Black Shark

A new phone dubbed the Black Shark marks, in a roundabout way, Xiaomi’s entry into the gaming phone market. The device’s launch follows an investment made by Xiaomi in Black Shark Technology, a Chinese gaming company that will presumably form part of the Mi ecosystem.

The Black Shark’s black-and-green styling won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s seen the Razer Phone, the most prominent gaming phone on the market today, although it’s a lot smoother and curvier. Inside, it has the appropriately high specs you’d expect: a Snapdragon 845, up to 8GB of RAM, a 1080p 21:9 display, and a 4,000mAh battery.

Xiaomi shark

There’s no mention of a high refresh rate display, unlike the Razer Phone, but the Black Shark phone earns its gamer credentials by way of an attachable analog stick controller that snaps onto one side of the screen. The phone also supposedly has true “liquid cooling,” a term that’s previously been used for heat pipe-style cooling solutions on phones like the Lumia 950, which isn’t quite the same thing as what you’d find on a gaming PC. In any case, Black Shark is claiming temperature reductions of 8 degrees Celsius.

Although gaming phones are still a pretty niche market worldwide, they make more sense in China than most other places due to the overwhelming popularity of relatively hardcore mobile games like the dominating MOBA Honor of Kings and various spins on the PUBGbattle royale formula. Dedicated consoles don’t have the same degree of penetration in China, so the idea of a phone focused on gaming performance could well be appealing to serious players.

 

A Wristband That Can Tell You If You’re Too Drunk To Drive

No one should ever drive drunk, but it can be difficult to monitor your blood alcohol content levels without taking a breathalyzer test. While there are some small breathalyzers ar on the market, they can be clumsy and awkward to use in public. Proof is a unique and elegant solution to this problem, as it’s a wearable wristband that can discretely analyze you BAC levels through your skin.

proofwearable

Top 10 Breakthrough Technologies For 2018

MIT Technology Review unveils its breakthrough technology list for 2018 – a rundown of 10 awe-inspiring scientific and technological advances that have the potential to change our lives in dramatic ways.

David Rotman, Editor – MIT Technology Review

“We select the list by asking each of our journalists what are the most important new technologies they wrote about this year? And which will have a long-term impact. We’re looking for fundamentally new advances in technology that will have widespread consequences.”

1. 3D Metal Printing

We’ve all become used to 3D plastic printing over the last few years, and the ease it has brought to design and prototyping. Advances in the technology mean that instant metal fabrication is quickly becoming a reality, which clearly opens a new world of possibilities.

The ability to create large, intricate metal structures on demand could revolutionize manufacturing.

“3D metal printing gives manufacturers the ability to make a single or small number of metal parts much more cheaply than using existing mass-production techniques,” Rotman says.

“Instead of keeping a large inventory of parts, the company can simply print a part when the customer needs it. Additionally, it can make complex shapes not possible with any other method. That can mean lighter or higher performance parts.”

2. Artificial Embryos

For the first time, researchers have made embryo-like structures from stem cells alone, without using egg or sperm cells. This will open new possibilities for understanding how life comes into existence – but clearly also raises vital ethical and even philosophical problems.

Rotman told me “Artificial embryos could provide an invaluable scientific tool in understanding how life develops.  But they could eventually make it possible to create life simply from a stem cell taken from another embryo. No sperm, no eggs. It would be an unnatural creation of life placed in the hands of laboratory researchers.”

3. Sensing City

At Toronto’s Waterfront district, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, are implementing sensors and analytics in order to rethink how cities are built, run, and lived in. The aim is to integrate urban design with cutting edge technology in order to make “smart cities” more affordable, liveable and environmentally sustainable.

Rotman says “Although it won’t be completed for a few years, it could be the start on smart cities that are cleaner and safer.”

4. Cloud-based AI services

Key players here include Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft, which are all working on increasing access to machine learning and artificial neural network technology, in order to make it more affordable and easy to use. Rotman told me “The availability of artificial intelligence tools in the cloud will mean that advanced machine learning is widely accessible to many different businesses. That will change everything from manufacturing to logistics, making AI far cheaper and easier for businesses to deploy.”

5. Duelling Neural Networks

This breakthrough promises to bestow AI systems with “imagination”, through allowing them to essentially “spar” with each other. Work at Google Brain, Deep Mind and Nvidia is focused on enabling systems that will create ultra-realistic, computer generated images or sounds, beyond what is currently possible.

“Dueling Neural Networks describes a breakthrough in artificial intelligence that allows AI to create images of things it has never seen. It gives AI a sense of imagination,” says Rotman.

However, he also urges caution, as it raises the possibility of computers becoming alarmingly capable tools for digital fakery and fraud.

Source: Forbes

 

Biology’s next mega-project: Cell Atlas

In 1665, Robert Hooke peered down his microscope at a piece of cork and discovered little boxes that reminded him of rooms in a monastery. Being the first scientist to describe cells, Hooke would be amazed by biology’s next mega-project: a scheme to individually capture and scrutinize millions of cells using the most powerful tools in modern genomics and cell biology.   

The objective is to construct the first comprehensive “cell atlas,” or map of human cells, a technological marvel that should comprehensively reveal, for the first time, what human bodies are actually made of and provide scientists a sophisticated new model of biology that could speed the search for drugs.

To perform the task of cataloguing the 37.2 trillion cells of the human body, an international consortium of scientists from the U.S., U.K., Sweden, Israel, the Netherlands, and Japan is being assembled to assign each a molecular signature and also give each type a zip code in the three-dimensional space of our bodies.

“We will see some things that we expect, things we know to exist, but I’m sure there will be completely novel things,” says Mike Stubbington, head of the cell atlas team at the Sanger Institute in the U.K. “I think there will be surprises.”

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Previous attempts at describing cells, from the hairy neurons that populate the brain and spinal cord to the glutinous fat cells of the skin, suggest there are about 300 variations in total. But the true figure is undoubtedly larger. Analyzing molecular differences between cells has already revealed, for example, two new types of retinal cells that escaped decades of investigation of the eye; a cell that forms the first line of defense against pathogens and makes up four in every 10,000 blood cells; and a newly spotted immune cell that uniquely produces a steroid that appears to suppress the immune response.

Three technologies are coming together to make this new type of mapping possible. The first is known as “cellular microfluidics.” Individual cells are separated, tagged with tiny beads, and manipulated in droplets of oil that are shunted like cars down the narrow, one-way streets of artificial capillaries etched into a tiny chip, so they can be corralled, cracked open, and studied one by one.

The second is the ability to identify the genes active in single cells by decoding them in superfast and efficient sequencing machines at a cost of just a few cents per cell. One scientist can now process 10,000 cells in a single day.

The third technology uses novel labeling and staining techniques that can locate each type of cell—on the basis of its gene activity—at a specific zip code in a human organ or tissue.

Behind the cell atlas are big-science powerhouses including Britain’s Sanger Institute, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and a new “Biohub” in California funded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In September Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, made the cell atlas the inaugural target of a $3 billion donation to medical research. 

Paying with Your Face

Shortly after walking through the door at Face++, a Chinese startup valued at roughly a billion dollars, I see my face, unshaven and looking a bit jet-lagged, flash up on a large screen near the entrance.

Having been added to a database, my face now provides automatic access to the building. It can also be used to monitor my movements through each room inside. As I tour the offices of Face++ (pronounced “face plus plus”), located in a suburb of Beijing, I see it appear on several more screens, automatically captured from countless angles by the company’s software. On one screen a video shows the software tracking 83 different points on my face simultaneously. It’s a little creepy, but undeniably impressive.

Over the past few years, computers have become incredibly good at recognizing faces, and the technology is expanding quickly in China in the interest of both surveillance and convenience. Face recognition might transform everything from policing to the way people interact every day with banks, stores, and transportation services.

Technology from Face++ is already being used in several popular apps. It is possible to transfer money through Alipay, a mobile payment app used by more than 120 million people in China, using only your face as credentials. Meanwhile, Didi, China’s dominant ride-hailing company, uses the Face++ software to let passengers confirm that the person behind the wheel is a legitimate driver. (A “liveness” test, designed to prevent anyone from duping the system with a photo, requires people being scanned to move their head or speak while the app scans them.)

Pay with face

The technology figures to take off in China first because of the country’s attitudes toward surveillance and privacy. Unlike, say, the United States, China has a large centralized database of ID card photos. During my time at Face++, I saw how local governments are using its software to identify suspected criminals in video from surveillance cameras, which are omnipresent in the country. This is especially impressive—albeit somewhat dystopian—because the footage analyzed is far from perfect, and because mug shots or other images on file may be several years old.

Facial recognition has existed for decades, but only now is it accurate enough to be used in secure financial transactions. The new versions use deep learning, an artificial-intelligence technique that is especially effective for image recognition because it makes a computer zero in on the facial features that will most reliably identify a person (see “10 Breakthrough Technologies 2013: Deep Learning”).

“The face recognition market is huge,” says Shiliang Zhang, an assistant professor at Peking University who specializes in machine learning and image processing. Zhang heads a lab not far from the offices of Face++. When I arrived, his students were working away furiously in a dozen or so cubicles. “In China security is very important, and we also have lots of people,” he says. “Lots of companies are working on it.”

One such company is Baidu, which operates China’s most popular search engine, along with other services. Baidu researchers have published papers showing that their software rivals most humans in its ability to recognize a face. In January, the company proved this by taking part in a TV show featuring people who are remarkably good at identifying adults from their baby photos. Baidu’s system outshined them.

Face++ pinpoints 83 points on a face. The distance between them provides a means of identification.

Now Baidu is developing a system that lets people pick up rail tickets by showing their face. The company is already working with the government of Wuzhen, a historic tourist destination, to provide access to many of its attractions without a ticket. This involves scanning tens of thousands of faces in a database to find a match, which Baidu says it can do with 99 percent accuracy.

Jie Tang, an associate professor at Tsinghua University who advised the founders of Face++ as students, says the convenience of the technology is what appeals most to people in China. Some apartment complexes use facial recognition to provide access, and shops and restaurants are looking to the technology to make the customer experience smoother. Not only can he pay for things this way, he says, but the staff in some coffee shops are now alerted by a facial recognition system when he walks in: “They say, ‘Hello, Mr. Tang.’”

Essential Phone from Father of Android

The Essential Phone, brought to us by the person who created Android, is finally ready for the spotlight. It’s an incredibly audacious and ambitious project, with an outlandish screen and the beginnings of a modular ecosystem.

Essential Phone

First, the Android phone basics: the Essential Phone costs $699 with top-of-the-line specs and features. As you can see, it prominently features an edge-to-edge display that one-ups even the Samsung Galaxy S8 by bringing it all the way to the the top of the phone, wrapping around the front-facing selfie camera.

It’s a unique take on a big screen that makes the phone stand out — and it’s smart, too. Often, the status bar at the top of an Android phone doesn’t fill that middle space with icons, so it’s efficient. The screen does leave some bezel at the bottom of the phone, but nevertheless it’s as close to the whole front of a phone being display.

Essential is launching the phone in the US to start, and it’s filled the phone with radios that should make it work on all major carriers, alongside usual Android flagship internals like a Qualcomm 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.

Essential is clearly planning on releasing a very well-made phone: the screen looks promising, it has no annoying logos, and it is built with a combination of titanium and ceramic so it can survive a drop test “without blemish, unlike the aluminum competitor devices.” Andy Rubin claims that the Essential phone’s titanium and ceramic build is better able to withstand a drop test.

Speaking of ports, there is no traditional 3.5mm headphone jack — which is a bummer. We’re told that it will ship with a headphone dongle in the box. It’s possible that other audio accessories could be made that could clip on to the magnetic accessory port.

The Essential Phone also has a good take on the dual-camera systems we’ve seen on other phones. Rather than use the second lens for telephoto or bokeh, it’s using it for a monochrome sensor, just like Huawei has been doing with the P9 and P10. That second sensor will be able to take in more light than a traditional color camera, meaning it can be combined with the regular 13-megapixel for better low-light shots. The front-facing camera is in line with current expectations, too: an 8-megapixel sensor that can also capture 4K video.

 

Device that uses sunlight to purify polluted air and produces hydrogen

A small innovation could have a big impact on air pollution. In Belgium, researchers have engineered a device that uses sunlight to purify polluted air and produce hydrogen gas that can be stored and used for power.

“We couple both processes together in one device,” Sammy Verbruggen, a professor of bioscience engineering at the University of Antwerp, told Live Science. “Hydrogen production on one side and air purification on the other side.”

Verbruggen is working with two teams of researchers who had been separately investigating both processes for years. At the University of Antwerp, the scientists had been testing different ways of combing light energy with nanomaterials to purify air. At the University of Leuven, another team had been working on a tiny fuel cell with a membrane that could produce hydrogen gas from water.

Now, the two teams have merged their expertise to create this newest device, which could purify fouled air and produce energy at the same time.

Verbruggen said the researchers are focusing on air polluted with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are small molecules produced by chemicals in adhesives, upholstery, carpeting, copy machines, cleaning fluids and more. In sufficient concentrations, VOCs can cause severe headaches, eye irritation, dizziness, nauseaand asthma attacks.

The small molecules can be found in the air of enclosed buildings that are not well-ventilated, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which may include newly built high-rises to factories that manufacture goods like paint and carpeting.

“They can lead to a disease called the sick building syndrome,” Verbruggen said.

purifier

The prototype cell is a square with an active area that measures about 0.4 inches by 0.4 inches (1 centimeter by 1 cm). At one side of the device, a tube delivers polluted air into the cell. Light enters naturally through a transparent window that covers a membrane treated with a light-activated catalyst. Once polluted air and light meet at the membrane, the catalyst tears apart the small organic molecules.

In the process, protons are set free and seep through the membrane, collecting on the other side. There, a platinum catalyst converts them to hydrogen gas, according to the researchers. Meanwhile, the purified air exits through a second tube.

Verbruggen and his colleagues were able to purify air and create gas from a variety of organic compounds, including methanol, ethanol and acetic acid. The scientists are also conducting new experiments with acetaldehyde, a liquid used in the make acetic acid and perfumes. Verbruggen said the most obvious applications are in industries that produce a waste stream, such as manufacturers of paint or textiles.

“You can purify the waste streams so that they meet their environmental quota and at the same time recover the energy that was stored in those molecules,” Verbruggen said. The gas produced could be used to power the lights or other machines in the factory, he added.

At the moment, the team has not come up with an engineering solution to collect and store the gas. That’s another step in the engineering process, and one that will need to be solved by further research and development, Verbruggen said.

“I’m more motivated to improve the cell’s performance, right now,” he said.

Currently, the membrane responds to ultraviolet rays in sunlight, which is only about 4 to 5 percent of the spectrum. But, if the researchers could modify the materials to make them respond to 40 or 50 percent of the solar spectrum, that would increase the efficiency of the cell as a whole, they said.

“Improving the environment is a driving force for us,” Verbruggensaid. “If we can catch two flies at the same time — clean up the environment on one side and also provide a cleaner energy source — that’s a net benefit, because there’s no extra energy input to drive these reactions, just pure sunlight.”

Original article on Live Science.

Google Launching a Job Search Service Called “Google Hire”

Google Hire

The company has not officially announced the launch of the service yet, but as you can see the home page is live for everyone to see.

Everything beyond the home page appears to be locked at the moment. I tried signing in with my Google account, only to be told that my email address is not associated with a Google account. I guess that’s Google’s way of locking people out until the service officially launches.

Multiple sources claim Google Hire will be a recruitment tool which allows employers to manage job applications. Employers will be able to place ads for job listings, which jobseekers will then be able to apply for.

The fact that the service requires individuals to sign in using their Google account has led to concerns that recruiters will be able to see an applicant’s entire search history.

While that could technically be a possibility, it also feels like people are jumping to the worst case scenario in an attempt to create clickbait headlines.

No one knows for sure the extent of the permissions that will have to be granted in order to use the service. I have reached out to Google for more information and will update this story if and when I receive a response.

A Google spokesperson responded with the following details:

Google Hire is a product under development that will help G Suite customers manage their hiring process more effectively. The product will allow employers to collect candidate applications online. Only information that a candidate voluntarily provides would be passed to a prospective employer as part of their online application. Private information will not be shared

Source: https://www.searchenginejournal.com

Mastercard Unveils Next Generation Biometric Card

Mastercard yesterday unveiled the next generation biometric card, combining chip technology with fingerprints to conveniently and safely verify the cardholder’s identity for in-store purchases.

The new card builds on fingerprint scanning technology used for mobile payments today and can be used at EMV terminals worldwide.

“Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, enterprise risk and security, Mastercard. “Whether unlocking a smartphone or shopping online, the fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security. It’s not something that can be taken or replicated and will help our cardholders get on with their lives knowing their payments are protected.”

How It Works

A cardholder enrolls their card by simply registering with their financial institution. Upon registration, their fingerprint is converted into an encrypted digital template that is stored on the card. The card is now ready to be used at any EMV card terminal globally.

When shopping and paying in-store, the biometric card works like any other chip card. The cardholder simply dips the card into a retailer’s terminal while placing their finger on the embedded sensor. The fingerprint is verified against the template and – if the biometrics match – the cardholder is successfully authenticated and the transaction can then be approved with the card never leaving the consumer’s hand.

Benefits

Authenticating a payment transaction biometrically – in this instance via a fingerprint – confirms in a very unique way that the person using the card is the genuine cardholder.

Merchants can easily maximize the shopping experience delivered to their customers, as the card works with existing EMV card terminal infrastructure and does not require any new hardware or software upgrades.

For issuers, the technology helps detect and prevent fraud, increase approval rates, reduce operational costs and foster customer loyalty. Additionally, a future version of the card will feature contactless technology, adding to the simplicity and convenience at checkout.

Sourcehttp://newsroom.mastercard.com