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Facebook’s Mind-Read Tech, Google’s Billion Dollar Bet And More In This Week’s Top News

Facebook’s Mind-Read Tech, Google’s Billion Dollar Bet And More In This Week’s Top News


“You actually have more of your brain dedicated to controlling your wrist than any other part of your body,” said Facebook Reality Labs research head TR Reardon in a recent media meet.. According to Reardon, there are probably twice as many neurons controlling your wrist and the movement of your hands than is actually dedicated to your mouth for feeding and for speech. Facebook’s Reality Labs that oversees AR/VR advancements is banking on this idea of brain-wrist connect. 

As reported by CNBC, the company has flaunted its mind-reading wrist device prototype and an augmented reality keyboard hinting at a keyboard free future. The mind-reader sits on the user’s wrist and reads neurological signals sent from the brain down to their hands. “It could theoretically read these signals to get a sense of what a user wants to do and replicate the action in a virtual or augmented reality environment,” read the reports. Last week, Facebook’s chief mark Zuckerberg revealed his plans to combat climate change using smart glasses. Zuckerberg believes that super realistic virtual avatars can cut down unnecessary commutes. Now, with their AR technology, the company even wants you to ditch the QWERTY. 

Image credits: Facebook Reality Labs

FRL’s wearables use electromyography(EMG)  that can translate nerve signals in the wrist to digital commands. “Take the QWERTY keyboard as an example. It’s over 150 years old, and it can be radically improved. Imagine instead a virtual keyboard that learns and adapts to your unique typing style (typos and all) over time,” said the company in a blog post.

No Teslas For China’s Elite

The Chinese government has decided to restrict the use of Tesla vehicles by the military and employees of key state-owned companies. China cited concerns of data leakage from the Tesla cars to the US. This decision comes after the Chinese government security reviewed Tesla’s products. The onboard cameras on Tesla record images constantly and obtain data including when, how and where the vehicles are being used as well as the contact lists of mobile phones synced to them. The Chinese expressed concerns of Tesla’s technology of being a potential threat to the nation’s security.

Tesla’s chief Elon Musk addressed the issue on a video call with the government-backed China Development Forum. Musk said that no U.S. or Chinese company would risk gathering sensitive or private data and then sharing it with their home government. “Whether it’s Chinese or U.S., the negative effects if a commercial company did engage in spying—the negative effects for that company would be extremely bad,” Musk said.

Google To Invest $7 Billion

Image credits: Google blog

On Thursday, Google’s chief Sundar Pichai announced the company’s plans to invest over $7 billion in offices and data centers across the U.S. and create at least 10,000 new full-time Google jobs in the U.S. this year. This includes investing in communities that are new to Google and expanding in others across 19 states.

In 2020, wrote Pichai, Google Search, Google Play, YouTube and Google advertising tools helped provide $426 billion of economic activity for more than 2 million American businesses, nonprofits, publishers, creators and developers. Google’s decision to go heavy on real estate expenditure might come as a surprise in the times when the corporate world is getting accustomed to work away from offices. Google’s parent company Alphabet employs thousands of workers directly and indirectly through their products and services. The company’s strategy does shed some light on how the tech sector’s perspective of the post-pandemic world. “Coming together in person to collaborate and build community is core to Google’s culture, and it will be an important part of our future,” said Pichai.

Google Cuts Down Play Store Fees

On Tuesday, Google announced that it would be cutting their Play store fees to 15% on the first million dollars a developer makes in a year.  Once the developer touches the million dollar mark in sales, Google will charge the usual 30% fee for in-app purchases and downloads. “With this change, 99% of developers globally that sell digital goods and services with Play will see a 50% reduction in fees. These are funds that can help developers scale up at a critical phase of their growth by hiring more engineers, adding to their marketing staff, increasing server capacity, and more,” said the company.

However, PayTM’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma who has been vocal about Google’s “monopolistic” moves in the past, called this fee cut as a “PR stunt”. 

Microsoft Researcher’s Quantum Fumble

Microsoft is one of the big names in the tech industry, that publishes state-of-the-art quantum computing research. However, the company’s quantum supremacy ambitions took a hit when its researchers backtracked on their findings. Earlier this month, WIRED reported that Micorosft’s claim of Majorana particles breakthrough is actually an error. According to the reports, the retracted paper came from a lab headed by Microsoft physicist Leo Kouwenhoven who claimed to have found evidence of Majorana particles, which are considered to be key to building quantum computing hardware. “We apologize to the community for insufficient scientific rigor in our original manuscript,” wrote the researchers in a retraction note published in Nature.

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