Weekly News Roundup 4/4/2016

We look back on the tech week that was. April fools day tech hits and misses, Tesla launches the electric car for everyone and there may be a cure for VR motion sickness already!

Star Trek White Noise Sleep Machine
Star Trek White Noise Sleep Machine

April Fools Day 2016.

April fools day 2016 brought the usual collection of pranks from one of my favourite tech-pranksters ThinkGeek which includes items like the Attack on Titan lawn ornament, The Flavour of the Day desktop calendar, the Useless Light Switch and the Start Trek White Noise Sleep Machine. Sometimes these fake products actually go beyond being just a joke to being real products like the Flux Capacitor USB Car Charger currently on sale with other cool TG exclusives here.

There were however a few April Fools pranks that went kind of sideways.

Most notably one from Google where Gmail added the “Mic
Drop” function to sending emails. The added button included an animated GIF of a Minion dropping a microphone and walking away while also hiding all future responses to the email thread of conversations.
It did not take long for the flaw in Google’s prank to become apparent if you accidentally clicked the wrong button when sending an email because sometimes you need your email to be very serious and you may want replies.
Of course, the “feature” was quickly removed according to The Guardian.

Of course, there are the tried and true April Fools Day office pranks that include putting tape over the sensor of a mouse or rearranging the keys on a keyboard as well as some of these other tech-pranks from Makezine.com.

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Tesla Model 3 – People go crazy over an electric car.

And I don’t blame them.

Tesla 3 in matte black.
No grille? No problem.

The much anticipated announcement of Tesla’s USD$35000 “car for the people” happened on March 31 and was live cast around the world via the Tesla Motors website where Planet Earth’s closest thing to Tony Stark, Elon Musk took to the stage to present the next product in Tesla’s stable of vehicles.

Leaning heavily on the concept of combating emissions and the benefit electric vehicles could bring to the environment, Musk led the audience through the progress Tesla has made in not only vehicles but battery manufacture including the positively huge Giga-Factory that has the largest footprint for any single factory in the world at 510,000 square meters which is almost 3 times the size of the WACA and is the main production facility of Tesla Vehicles including their components and the Tesla Wall battery systems.

Model 3 Interior
A peek inside. Very different.

After revisiting the Roadster, Model S and Model X, Musk stepped off the stage to allow 3 brand new Model 3 cars to come to the stage among fanfare you would have expected for the presentation of a new phone or tablet a few years ago. The hype was pretty big as the packed Hawthorne design studio erupted in cheers as the cars rolled out with complete with dramatic video backdrops. I was kind of expecting a hyperbole-laden spiel in a British accent.

Tesla Model3 key points
Key points for the Model 3.

I won’t lie. I actually would want a Model 3 to be my next car. It accelerates from 0-100km/h in under 6 seconds*, has a range of at least 300km per charge*, is loaded to the gills with technology including the Autopilot hardware indicating that there are plans for this car to be self-driving in the future and able to avoid collisions as soon as it is released at the end of 2017, a glass roof sweeping from front to back, enough room to fit 5 adults comfortably (as stated by Musk) and my critical feature, enough interior room to fit a 7-foot surfboard.

The idea of never having to pull up to a fuel bowser ever again is very attractive and being able to charge at home or at parking stations along with driving one of the world’s most technologically advanced cars gets me pretty excited.

If you want to get excited too, you can watch the unveiling in the video below.

*These figures are stated minimums. Tesla expects to exceed these figures when the Model 3 ships in late 2017.

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Worried that VR will make you puke? The Mayo Clinic may have found a fix for that.

mayoclinicanIt is the looming issue to people wanting to use the latest in technology. Feeling nauseous due to motion-sickness brought on by using VR is a problem for some. Even in the most resistant of people there are some cases where operators can feel woozy when the shifting images don’t match up with the signals coming back from your inner ear.

The Mayo Clinic however might have found a way to trick the brain with a technique known as Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation. In English it means that electrodes behind each ear, on the forehead and at the base of the skull, the system is able to simulate the kind of inner ear responses that the brain would be expecting when viewing a changing view in the VR headset.

When the vestibular (inner ear) sensations are able to match the visual sensations, the effects of motion sickness and disorientation is greatly reduced.

Unfortunately, it might not be in the brand new Oculus Rift, Gear VR or Playstation VR on release date but it does provide manufacturers with a way to open their products up to previously unavailable markets and of course will allow more people to experience new technology without the hassle of feeling sick to their stomachs.

Original story from Engadget.

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