Light Start: Brain-linking a pig, Apple drops Epic, Facebook’s Horizon beta goes public and new GoPro looks sick

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Elon Musk shows off a brain chip in a pig in a Neuralink demo

Following Neuralink’s recent demo, it seems clear that the world is still a way off from implementing chips in human brains and them having actual use. Last week, Elon Musk demonstrated Neuralink’s brain-machine interface using a pig outfitted with the company’s device. The whole thing was streamed on Youtube, and was pitched as a recruitment drive for the company. 

At the beginning of the video, Elon Musk makes it clear that it was less a product demonstration and more a push to find people who would like to join the company, able to offer new ideas and technology. But all anyone was really there to see was the new device in action — how would a brain chip help humans? Musk details how the chip will help people with spinal and neurological issues. Turns out, this endeavour is aimed at helping people with medical issues, and won’t just help you control gadgets with your mind. During the demo, they trotted out a pig called Gertrude, who had a device that could record signals from an area of the brain linked to her snout. She’d had the implant for two months at the time of the demonstration.

“As Gertrude’s snout touched things, an array of dots and a series of noises indicated when more neurons were firing. Pigs have large parts of their brains that are devoted to the snout, a sensitive sensing instrument,” The Verge details. Even though fairly boring, the demo showed where the tech could go and how the company is working to get to a point where the tech could help humans. It does seem that human trials are still far off, but we’ll have to wait and see. 

Source: The Verge

Apple terminates Epic Games’ App Store account

After all that… Following the grind to get to court in time and a judge ruling that Apple may not revoke Epic’s developer tool access for Unreal Engine, Apple has gone ahead and done just that for Epic Games, according to reports. 

Last week Friday, Apple decided to terminate Fortnite developer Epic Games’ account on its App Store amid the legal battle over the Apple’s in-app payment guidelines and accusations that Apple’s store constitutes a monopoly. It’s been a long two weeks for both companies, who took the case to court shortly after Apple delisted its app from the App Store for trying to bypass the 30% Apple Tax. “Apple said its move will not affect Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, a software tool relied on by hundreds of other app makers. But the move means iPhone users will not be able to download Fortnite or other Epic titles through the Apple App Store,” TechCentral reports. If you happen to own an iPhone, and have the app on your device, you’ll reportedly still be able to play the game, but you won’t receive any new updates or access to the new Season of the game. They also won’t be able to make any payments or buy skins through the app. 

Apple has officially terminated Epic’s developer accounts for the Apple App Store, but according to the ruling, they couldn’t do anything to the Unreal Engine’s access to the tools. 

Source: TechCentral

Facebook’s VR playground enters public beta

Facebook has been building a multiplayer social VR space known as Horizon for quite some time now. The promise seems very similar to the Oasis, a fantasy world in the Ready Player One books. Now, Facebook is ready to show the world its VR world in the first public beta of Horizon. 

According to Facebook, the public beta will feature new games and environments while introducing new sets of tools to help combat abuse on the social VR environment. Which is a welcome addition, in that it will include a safety specialist who will monitor reports of abuse in real-time and act on them. It’ll also include a feature called the “Personal Safe Zone” where a user will have the powers to mute, block and report abusers and content around them. If moderators find a specific user that is being muted or blocked by other users, mods or safety specialists are able to listen in on the VR experiences and review some of the culprit’s recorded world data. If they discover any violations, they can ban the user outright. “Horizon is interesting in and of itself as a big experiment into the future of online socialization. But it’s also possible Facebook wants to make more of the tool at a time when in-person socializing is so much more challenging,” The Verge explains. 

The people over at Oculus and Facebook have been working on this multiplayer social VR space for quite a few years now, so it’s nice to see the app become more widely available. The invite-only public beta was announced over the weekend, and anyone can join the public queue for the Horizon VR playground by heading here. We’ll probably see more of the Horizon platform at Facebook’s global VR event, Facebook Connect, on 16 September. 

Source: The Verge

GoPro’s upcoming Hero 9 Black leaks

Would you look at that? It’s almost September, and no-one knows where this year has gone. That means we’re almost smack bang in the midst of Techtember, which is when GoPro (among many others) will announce its newest tech. And we’ve got a pretty good idea of what it’ll look like thanks to a recent leak. 

The GoPro Hero 9 Black’s front panel was leaked back in July on Reddit, where it showed off a large cutout up front, which could have indicated that it’ll have a big display on the front similar to the Osmo Action. It has now apparently been confirmed by another leak. German publication Winfuture has shown off what they claim to be “official” product images of the upcoming action camera, all from different angles, showing off a massive colour front-display. Even more, reports suggest that the GoPro Hero 9 Black will come with 5K video capability and fold-out mounting arms on the bottom let it attach to mounts without extra housing. That’s about what we know about solid specs at the moment, although it’s all speculation and leaks. “This could be a particularly important launch. GoPro made significant job cuts in the spring as the COVID-19 pandemic hit and hurt both retail sales as well as the size of its customer base… If the front display helps with video, this and the company’s Twitch-like streaming service could expand the audience for the Hero line to include more vloggers and social media enthusiasts who want to document their lives,” Engadget details. 

It’s not certain when the Hero 9 Black will ship or how much it will cost, provided the leak is accurate. We’ll have to wait for the official announcement later in September to see exactly what it’s all about. 

Source: Engadget

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Deputy Editor at Stuff. Nevermind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.

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