Sunscreens, new avatars, dual-screen laptops and more

Say hello to your new photo

Meta has launched an updated 3D avatar for Facebook and Messenger in India, adding new face shapes and assistive devices for people with disabilities in an effort to make avatars more expressive, customizable and diverse, “to better reflect the billions of unique people on the planet”. Avatars, which people often use to respond to Facebook messages and Messenger texts, will now also be available for use on Instagram Stories and DMs. Some of the optional added elements to create an avatar include cochlear implants, hearing aids and an over-the-ear wheelchair, and has already been rolled out to users in India, as evidenced by the addition of a number of options for modes Indian and skin tones, even accessories like the red bindi.

NASA announces it is moving forward with the solar sail project

The scattered solar sails, shown in this concept illustration, could enable missions in hard-to-reach places, such as orbits above the sun’s poles.

As NASA exploration continues to push the boundaries, the new solar sail concept the agency has chosen to develop for a demonstration mission could take science in new directions. Like a sailboat that uses the wind to cross the ocean, a solar sail uses the pressure exerted by the sun’s rays to propel an aircraft through space. Existing reflective sunscreen designs are typically very tall and very thin, and are limited to sunlight, dictating a trade-off between power and navigation. Scattered light displays use tiny grids embedded in a thin film to take advantage of a property of light called diffraction, which causes light to scatter as it passes through a narrow slit. This will allow the spacecraft to use sunlight more efficiently without compromising maneuverability.

The fission solar sail project has been selected for a phase three study under NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. Phase III aims to strategically transfer the NIAC concept with the greatest potential impact to NASA, other government agencies, or commercial partners.

imagine the future

Software generated image of input text “Space octopus floating through portal reading newspaper”
(To imagine)

Imagine Stock Image Creator You can request any image your mind can create, be it silly, specific or contrived. A Shiba Inu dog with a red shirt skateboard? Do. An art gallery flooded with robots floating on boats? Why not? Google has just announced that it has created an artificial intelligence (AI) system called Imagen that creates photorealistic images from text input, using a text-to-image posting model with a “level of realism without precedent and a deep level of language understanding”. However, there is a problem: although the company has announced its ability to do so, the technology is not yet available to the public, as it recognizes that the software relies on datasets retrieved from the Internet which reflect often harmful stereotypes. Additionally, there is a lingering fear that software is being used to create images promoting false information.

Double your screen time

ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED

ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED

Inside Review: The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED might be the dual-screen laptop you’ve been waiting for. Although this variant of the laptop has been around for a while, most older models have been inefficient in several respects – most complaints were about the second screen not tilting to the right angle or difficulty in navigate with the tiny internal touchpad. ASUS seems to have overcome these complaints with the new model, which features a 4K OLED HDR touchscreen and a new “ScreenPad™” that provides an easy work environment and seamless workflow. Why would anyone need two screens on a laptop, you ask? Well, useful for people who write or code, to view reference material on a second screen instead of having to constantly switch tabs and windows. Other than that, you can still use the second screen to watch Netflix while performing normal tasks.

By Sharponte Bagci

Jordan Carlson

"Zombie geek. Beer trailblazer. Avid bacon advocate. Extreme introvert. Unapologetic food evangelist. Internet lover. Twitter nerd."

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