AR at the VMAs and Fostering Robo-Dogs
The Quantious team’s top picks for timely trending news in the tech world.
This week in tech: Stellantis Shares Plans to Make EV Batteries 50% Lighter, Researchers Create Martian Map Using UAE’s Hope Probe Images, Sony Will Repair Aging Aibo Robot Dogs to Help Them Find Their Forever Homes, Snapchat Partners With MTV to Let Users Vote for VMAs Through Lenses, AI App Character.ai is Catching Up to ChatGPT in the US, Apple Unveils iPhone 15 and Apple Watch Series 9, and Microsoft Improves and Updates U.S. Army Goggles.
Stellantis Shares Plans to Make EV Batteries 50% Lighter
(Interesting Engineering, September 9)
Automotive manufacturer Stellantis has recently demonstrated its commitment to advancing electric vehicle (EV) technology through strategic investments and innovative partnerships. The company recently invested in Lyten, a pioneering advanced materials business, emphasizing its support for affordable, domestically-produced EV batteries. Stellantis also collaborated with CNRS and Saft to unveil a groundbreaking battery prototype — ultimately contributing to enhanced sustainability in electric vehicles.
Researchers Create Martian Map Using UAE’s Hope Probe Images
(Interesting Engineering, September 11)
Researchers have developed a Mars Atlas using data from the United Arab Emirates’ Hope probe, which has been orbiting the planet since 2021. The atlas will be instrumental in identifying optimal regions for potential human settlements on Mars, taking into account factors such as geography, climate, and available resources. Notably, NASA has incorporated this NYUAD map into its Mars 24 software, which offers a comprehensive representation of Martian time through various maps and data sources.
Sony Will Repair Aging Aibo Robot Dogs to Help Them Find Their Forever Homes
(Engadget, September 11)
Sony has introduced the “Aibo Foster Parent” program, allowing owners of its $2,900 robot dogs to donate them. Sony plans to refurbish and donate these units to medical facilities, foster homes, and other organizations with the goal of enhancing the sustainability of the product. The Aibo robot dogs included in this program are the newer 2019 ERS-1000 models, and Sony will charge “foster parents” an undisclosed service fee. Some donated units may even be used as parts for other Aibo robots, depending on their condition.
Snapchat Partners With MTV to Let Users Vote for VMAs Through Lenses
(Tech Crunch, September 11)
MTV has joined forces with Snapchat to introduce voting for Video Music Awards via Snapchat’s Lenses. Once the three finalists for the Best New Artist category are determined, users can cast their votes using a special Lens created by Saucealitos, allowing them to select an artist by signaling one, two, or three with their fingers. Snapchat continues to emphasize branded and AR-based camera solutions to drive revenue.
AI App Character.ai is Catching Up to ChatGPT in the US
(Tech Crunch, September 11)
Character.ai, a company that enables users to create AI characters, is rapidly gaining traction in the mobile app market. The company’s iOS and Android apps are now boasting 4.2 million monthly active users in the U.S., closely trailing behind the user count of ChatGPT’s mobile apps. The startup celebrated over 1.7 million installs in its first week after launching, indicating its increasing popularity and user engagement in the AI character design space.
Apple Event 2023 Recap: iPhone 15 Price, Colors Announced; Apple Watch Series 9 Unveiled
(USA Today, September 12)
Apple announced its latest lineup at its annual September event, introducing the iPhone 15 series and Series 9 Apple Watch. The iPhone 15 models include the standard version starting at $799, the larger 15 Plus at $899, the Pro version starting at $999, and the larger Pro Max at $1,199 — all available for pre-order on September 15 and in stores on September 22. Notable upgrades include the iPhone 15 Pro’s titanium sides and the A17 chip, promising enhanced mobile gaming performance.
Microsoft’s Tweaked Army Goggles Worked Well in New Test, US Says
(Bloomberg, September 13)
Following successful initial testing, the U.S. Army has expanded its order of Microsoft’s latest HoloLens-based combat goggles, addressing previous issues with nausea and dizziness. In August, the Army tested 20 new prototypes, focusing on comfort, reliability, and low-light performance improvements. These HoloLens-based devices offer enhanced battlefield awareness, featuring night vision, health data, and infantry position tracking. The new pre-production models are reported to be slimmer, lighter, and better balanced. The Army has recently granted Microsoft a new contract for additional units, aiming to assess the company’s capacity for large-scale production.