Category Archives: High Tech

Comcast says Internet fast lanes may encourage self-driving innovation

/ Leave a Comment


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning to gut the 2015 net neutrality laws, which declared that internet service providers (ISPs) could not offer paid prioritization to web companies and lower speeds for other services.

Comcast is happy to see the regulations go, it was one of the ISPs that introduced fast lanes, most notably forcing Netflix to pay or face slower service. However, it is no longer looking to tax web companies, instead it has set its sights on developing businesses that require faster speeds.

See Also: Volvo, Autoliv and Nvidia aim for self-driving car debut by 2021

One of those, according to Comcast’s filed comments, is autonomous cars.

“The Commission also should bear in mind that a more flexible approach to prioritization may be warranted and may be beneficial to the public,” said Comcast. “For example, a telepresence service tailored for the hearing impaired requires high-definition video that is of sufficiently reliable quality to permit users “to perceive subtle hand and finger motions” in real time. And paid prioritization may have other compelling applications in telemedicine.”

“Likewise, for autonomous vehicles that may require instantaneous data transmission, black letter prohibitions on paid prioritization may actually stifle innovation instead of encouraging it.”

Comcast is not the first to assert that fast lanes may be required for intensive tasks like self-driving and telemedicine. German Chancellor Angela Merkel made similar comments in 2014, arguing that special priority service was required for services that have an impact on everyday life.

While creating fast lanes for services that aren’t touched by everyday consumers might generate less income for Comcast and other ISPs, it may also reduce the amount of backlash. Consumers hate when Netflix is slow, but they won’t have the same connection to a Waymo or Uber self-driving car, at least not until the cars are available to most U.S. consumers.

The post Comcast says Internet fast lanes may encourage self-driving innovation appeared first on ReadWrite.


Fitbit hit with lawsuit over haptic feedback patents

/ Leave a Comment

Fitbit hit with lawsuit over haptic feedback patents

Fitbit has been hit with a lawsuit from Immersion, a developer of haptic feedback technology, claiming that the Alta HR and Charge 2 maker has infringed on its patents.

Immersion asks for Fitbit to cease manufacturing of all infringing devices, which, we suspect, includes all fitness trackers currently on the market. Fitbit makes use of haptic feedback for notifications, breathing exercises, and touch control, found on all trackers.

See Also: Apple drives wearables to $6 billion in first quarter sales

“We are disappointed that Fitbit rejected our numerous attempts to negotiate a reasonable license for Fitbit’s products, but it is imperative that we protect our intellectual property both within the U.S. and through the distribution chain in China,” said Immersion CEO, Victor Viegas.

It should be noted it is not the first time Immersion has taken a large tech company to court over haptic feedback technology. In 2016, it took Apple to court over its 3D Touch technology; some media outlets have labelled Immersion a patent troll.

It has taken Motorola and Sony to court as well, over similar alleged infringements.

Fitbit has been struggling to maintain its dominance in the wearable market, slipping to third in sales to Apple and Xiaomi in the first quarter of 2017. There have been rumors that the company is struggling to build a smartwatch to compete with the Apple Watch, and may be looking at the health industry as a possible route to increase profits.


Self-driving cars pass first federal hurdle with House panel approval

/ Leave a Comment


A bill to standardize self-driving across all states and exempt tens of thousands of cars every year from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rules has unanimously passed a House panel vote, paving the way for a full House vote in after the August recess.

The full House Energy and Commerce Committee may vote on it as soon as next week, according to Bloomberg, and there’s a high chance it will make its way through the full House vote.

See Also: Waymo narrows case against Uber as court date nears

It received bipartisan support after Democratic proposals were accepted, including a directive for the NHTSA to write the rules for self-driving cars in 18 months. Automakers also need to show that the autonomous technology is fit for public roads.

“Today’s markup represents the most significant step this subcommittee has taken to date to ultimately enact comprehensive legislation on self-driving technologies and services,” said Bob Latta, the Ohio Republican who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection panel. “Our work is not done and we will continue to perfect language as we prepare to move quickly to full-committee markup.”

The legislation would ban all states from regulating self-driving cars, software, and services. Google, Tesla, and other stakeholders want to see the legislation pass, as some states have been slower to legalize parts of self-driving, while others have asked for a lot of private data in return for access to public roads.

The post Self-driving cars pass first federal hurdle with House panel approval appeared first on ReadWrite.


Apollo 11: Catching Some Sun

/ Leave a Comment

Bright sunlight glints and long dark shadows mark this image of the lunar surface. It was taken July 20, 1969 by Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first to walk on the Moon. Pictured is the mission’s lunar module, the Eagle, and spacesuited lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin unfurling a long sheet of foil also known as the Solar Wind Composition Experiment. Exposed facing the Sun, the foil trapped particles streaming outward in the solar wind, catching a sample of material from the Sun itself. Along with moon rocks and lunar soil samples, the solar wind collector was returned for analysis in earthbound laboratories. via NASA

RT @NASAGoddard: .@NASAWebb has the capacity to detect the heat of a bumblebee if it were on the moon. #FollowFriday to learn more:…

/ Leave a Comment

RT @Astro2fish: We get to see 16 days & nights every 24 hours up here and that makes for a lot of pretty sunrises and sunsets.

/ Leave a Comment

What happened ‘This Week @NASA’? We celebrated @NASA_Langley’s centennial, heard electrons whistling in space + mor…

/ Leave a Comment