Categories
GeekWire

Xinova and Aetho join forces on AR and VR

Aetho Thrive
Aetho’s telepresence platform, known as Thrive, creates a virtual space in which participants can converse and share documents. (Aetho Illustration)

A Seattle-based invention factory called Xinova has made a deal to collaborate with Aetho, a San Francisco-based venture, on new technologies in augmented reality and virtual reaility.

The agreement, announced today, sets the stage for Aetho to license intellectual property from Xinova in support of its push into AR and VR products.

Xinova was spun off from Intellectual Ventures last year. It’s a standalone company that focuses on the co-development of innovations  by a network of 10,000 inventors in more than 30 countries.

Some of the intellectual property managed by Xinova is critical to Aetho’s plans.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Jumping Jupiter! What a view from Juno!

Jupiter as seen by Juno
The JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno probe snapped this shot of Jupiter’s northern latitudes on Dec. 11, 2016, as the orbiter performed a close flyby. The spacecraft was 10,300 miles above Jupiter’s cloud tops. (NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS Photo / Gerald Eichstaedt / John Rogers)

If you need an interplanetary pick-me-up, this picture of Jupiter from NASA’s Juno orbiter could be just the ticket.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Elon Musk talks about Trump, taxes and tunnels

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the SolarCity merger will lead to increased synergies. (Tesla via YouTube)
Elon Musk has repeatedly spoken out about the need for a carbon tax. (Tesla via YouTube)

Billionaire brainiac Elon Musk already has a lot on his hands with Tesla, SpaceX and the quest to make humanity a multiplanet species, but now he’s delving other deep subjects, ranging from politics to his top-secret tunnel plan.

First, let’s check in on the politics: Before the election, Musk said he thought Donald Trump was probably “not the right guy” to become president. But after the election, he joined the president’s Strategic and Policy Forum – which met with Trump at the White House this week.

This week, Musk tweeted his support for Rex Tillerson, the former ExxonMobil CEO whom Trump picked to become secretary of state. Today, Musk explained his thinking via Twitter in an exchange of direct messages with Gizmodo.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Boeing reboots spacesuits for Starliner

Chris Ferguson in spacesuit
Boeing’s Chris Ferguson, a former astronaut, models the Starliner spacesuit. (Boeing via YouTube)

The spacesuit designed for astronauts riding Boeing’s Starliner space taxi makes a fashion statement for the 21st century, from its touchscreen-sensitive gloves to its color-coordinated shoes.

And all of it in Boeing blue.

The spacesuit made its public debut today during a media extravaganza at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with former NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson as one of the emcees.

“I was essentially the model for this as they built the suit around me,” said Ferguson, who commanded the final space shuttle mission in 2011 and now serves as Boeing’s director of crew and mission systems.

The CST-100 Starliner is being developed as a transport vehicle for NASA crews heading to and from the International Space Station.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

USDA scales back limits on scientists’ contacts

Rangeland scientist
Emilio Carillo, a rangeland scientist with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, tests the new LandPKS mobile app on his smartphone. A report about the app was the subject of a tweet sent out after the USDA information ban was lifted. (USDA Photo / Jeffrey Herrick)

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials have rescinded an order that barred its researchers from releasing “public-facing documents,” ranging from news releases and photos to social media posts.

Reports about the order, which first arose on BuzzFeed News, sparked widespread complaints on Jan. 24 about a Trump administration crackdown – particularly in light of similar limits that were placed on communications from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Late that day, the USDA issued a statement saying that the original email from ARS chief of staff Sharon Drumm “was released without Departmental direction, and prior to Departmental guidance being issued.”

“ARS will be providing updated direction to its staff,” the statement said. “ARS values and is committed to maintaining the free flow of information between our scientists and the American public.”

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Amazon patents drone with foldable wings

Foldable drone
A diagram shows Amazon’s foldable-wing drone in its configuration for takeoff and landing. (Amazon Illustration via USPTO)

Amazon has sought patents for hitchhiking drones, mini-drones that can sit on shoulders, drones that assemble themselves like Lego toys – and now drones that flip their wings to go from vertical to horizontal flight.

The hybrid foldable-wing design is covered in a patent that was published Jan. 24, following up on an application filed back in 2014.

When the drone takes off, the robo-plane’s jointed wings would be folded around to provide a stable base for a vertical takeoff, with the rotors spinning in a horizontal plane.

But once the drone gets up in the air, the wings and tail would stretch out to create an airplane-style configuration. The rotors would then be spinning in a vertical plane, like a traditional airplane’s propellers, to push the drone forward.

When it’s time to land, the drone’s wings and tail would fold up again for a vertical landing.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Boeing earnings beat quarterly expectations

Boeing logo
The Boeing Co. has its corporate headquarters in Chicago. (Boeing Photo)

The Boeing Co. reported quarterly revenue that went beyond what analysts were expecting, and the company’s CEO said he expected new airplane orders to come in at a “moderated but healthy pace” over the next year.

Fourth-quarter revenue was $23.3 billion, which translated to core earnings per share of $2.47. Even though total quarterly earnings were down about 1.2 percent year over year, the per-share figure is higher than analysts’ average predictions of $2.34 per share.

Revenue for the full year was $94.6 billion.

The bright spot came in commercial airline revenue, which beat expectations due to a delivery volume and mix that was higher than anticipated, Boeing said in today’s report.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Diarrhea linked to telomere troubles later in life

Image: Telomeres
Telomeres, highlighted in green, serve as protective DNA caps for the cell’s chromosomes. (Illustration courtesy of BioViva USA)

Frequent bouts of diarrhea can be bad news for babies, even decades later: A new study has found a correlation between childhood infections and significant shortening of telomeres, a phenomenon that’s linked to the cellular aging process.

The findings, published today in the American Journal of Human Biology, point to a potential linkage between the environmental and genetic factors that play a role in human health.

They also point to the importance of initiatives aimed at curbing infant diarrhea, such as those funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Scientists use bands and Bing for sleep study

Sleepy woman
A study based on data from 30,000 users of Microsoft Bands confirms that sleep deprivation leads to reduced cognitive performance, at least when using the Bing search engine. (Bigstock Photo)

It may not be surprising that lack of sleep leaves you less sharp, but researchers have now quantified the effect with a surprisingly large sample: More than 30,000 people who wear Microsoft’s fitness bands and use Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

The results of the study suggest that a couple of short nights can slow you down for days afterward.

“When you don’t sleep well, it affects your cognitive performance, which means your work performance and lots of other things,” lead study author Tim Althoff said in a report on the Microsoft Next blog.

Althoff, who’s working on his Ph.D. in computer science at Stanford University, led the research team last summer during an internship at Microsoft’s research lab in Redmond, Wash. The resulting paper is to be presented in April at this year’s World Wide Web Conference in Perth, Australia.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

National park goes rogue with climate tweets

170124-badlands2

Badlands National Park tweeted the inconvenient truth about climate change today, despite the Trump administration’s crackdown on environmental outreach. And the Twittersphere went wild.

The South Dakota park’s staff typically focuses its Twitter account on bighorn sheep and the like, but at least one of the account’s keepers delved into atmospheric carbon dioxide readings.

Get the full story on GeekWire.