These days, it’s just as important to have communication up and running after a major disaster as it is to have power, food and drinkable water. The FCC approved $77 million to fix communications in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, while Project Loon (a collaboration with AT&T, Alphabet and T-Mobile) has found ways to get the internet up and running via LTE-providing balloons. Now, AT&T has deployed its helicopter Flying COW (Cell on Wings) to temporarily provide data, voice and text services to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
AT&T claims that this is the first time such a device has been deployed. The Flying COW hovers 200 to 400 feet above the ground and offers wireless connectivity in an up to 40-square-mile area, a distance that AT&T says is farther than other temporary cell sites. The drone is currently in the San Juan area of Puerto Rico and the company plans to relocate it to various other areas, including a military hospital at Manati Coliseum.
Microsoft’s future vision videos gave us previews of the Surface Hub, Studio, HoloLens and more. Are there hints of an ultra-mobile Surface (phone) as well?
Source: Did Microsoft give us a glimpse of its Surface “phone” vision? | Windows Central
Following hurricanes Irma and Maria, millions of Puerto Rico residents were left without electricity and it’s expected to take months for power to be restored. Well one person mused on Twitter whether Elon Musk could help out by rebuilding the island’s electricity grid with solar and battery systems and Musk responded that it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Like he said in his tweet, Musk and his companies have done this before. After Tesla acquired SolarCity last year, the company revealed that it had converted the island of Ta’u from diesel generator-based power to solar energy using thousands of solar panels and Tesla Powerpacks for energy storage. Tesla also brought its solar power and energy storage system to the Hawaiian island of Kauai as well as California earlier this year. And these systems don’t take terribly long to get up and running. In the case of California, the Ontario station only took three months between groundbreaking and running.
The potential must have sounded appealing to Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello who tweeted at Musk that they should talk. Tesla has already shipped hundreds of its Powerall battery systems to the island and maybe that will be just the beginning. We could hear more very soon since it looks like Rossello and Musk will be talking today.
Source: Puerto Rico governor will discuss Tesla solar systems with Elon Musk
Michigan’s struggles have played out on the world’s stage. Just after the turn of the century began what’s referred to as the state’s lost decade, the economy faltered, oil prices skyrocketed and the housing market crashed. Nearly a million jobs left the state between 2000 and 2013, many of them in manufacturing and the automotive industry. For a state of just under 10 million people, the impact was devastating: Unemployment was higher than the national average by more than four percent.Bailouts for Chrysler and General Motors were followed by Detroit’s record-setting municipal bankruptcy, but through grit and determination, Michigan started clawing its way back from the brink. Now multimillion-dollar investments in the city from tech titans like Amazon, Facebook and LG make headlines with startling frequency, and a host of tech startups have begun to fill the gaps left by plant closures. CLICK BELOW FOR FULL STORY
Source: Michigan’s manufacturing past is fueling its tech future
We know what Star Wars fans will be wishing for this Christmas — aside from Sphero’s R2-D2 and BB-9E toys. Ubtech, the company behind the dancing Lynx robot, is releasing a Stormtrooper bot. Although it can’t teach you yoga, you can use voice commands to instruct it to ward off intruders (hopefully not with an actual blaster). Its facial recognition tech also allows it to store up to three faces in its memory bank. That way, it can shout at any uninvited guests that keep barging into your room. And, its accompanying mobile app packs an augmented reality game that lets you fight off the Resistance and launch First Order attacks. The robot is available for pre-order from Ubtech right now, and will ship in November. It will set you back $300.
Those keen to snap up the Stormtrooper should be aware that its manufacturer has previously come under fire from the security community. In August, cybersecurity firm IOActive claimed that Ubtech’s Alpha series models did not encrypt the data they stored, making it easy for hackers to steal the info. Tinkerers even managed to turn the cute little bots into screwdriver-wielding, stab-happy maniacs. Not exactly stocking filler material, then. But, no such claims have been made about the Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper.
Source: Stormtrooper bot with facial recognition guards against intruders