Future Tech Winter Edition: Featuring an autonomous car that braves the snowy roads & a smart mug to keep you warm.
Visa unveils easy pay gloves for Winter Olympics
Visa is very fond of showing off its tap-to-pay technology at the Olympics, and that’s truer than ever with the 2018 Winter Olympics around the corner. The payment giant is selling a trio of NFC-equipped gadgets to help you shop at the PyeongChang games, most notably a set of winter gloves.
Yes, you can pay for that souvenir without freezing your hands as you reach for a credit card or even your phone. You won’t have to use them or the other devices at the games, but they’ll come with prepaid values of between 30,000KRW to 50,000KRW ($27 to $45) to encourage shopping in South Korea. Visa hasn’t offered pricing.
The other two items are considerably subtler. There are four commemorative lapel pins ($4.50 each) that you can load with prepaid funds, and a flexible NFC sticker that you can attach to all kinds of objects and accepts prepaid values as high as $180.
This self-driving car faces its biggest test yet — winter road conditions
From Tech Crunch:
Russian software giant Yandex took its prototype self-driving taxi out for its first real-world snow test last weekend. It says the Prius model prototypes clocked up 300 km in total during the test. It’s put out (this) video demoing the two cars in action.
“We have been working to prepare algorithms for winter ‘at garage’ for a while, so last weekend tests in the real world was just the first time we got all confirmations,” Dmitry Polishchuk, head of Yandex.Taxi’s self-driving project told us.
Computer vision systems for autonomous vehicles can’t, of course, be engineered to only encounter perfect road conditions. Just like human drivers these systems need to be ready and able to adapt, come rain or shine.
On the weather front, snow is considered especially challenging, given it can mask road markings which could confuse navigation systems, while also adding a potentially slippery surface to the driving mix. So it’s an important step in the testing process.
Your coffee will always stay warm this winter in a hi-tech mug
From Popular Science:
A few weeks ago, I got a product that spoke to the very heart of me. It spoke to the part of me that has always hated tepid coffee. …
The Ember ceramic mug changed the way I’ll drink coffee, and it can do the same for anybody who hates lukewarm swill and the flavor of overcooked coffee sludge. Here’s the deal: within the mug, a microprocessor-controlled heating system gathers information from four separate temperature sensors and activates its adaptive dual heating mechanism. This means no more unintentional cold brew. …
The Ember mug (10 oz.) is made of reinforced stainless steel and coated with a white ceramic. It comes with a matching coaster that acts as a charger—the cup holds a charge for about an hour—and has a built-in LED light to notify you when your drink is at the optimal temperature or running low on batteries. The LED light even has color options for multiple users or drinks.
Unlike the brand’s previous product—the Ember Travel Mug, which has an adjustable dial on the bottom of the device—the new mug connects to your smartphone or Apple Watch to adjust the temperature. It senses when there is no liquid inside, puts itself into sleep mode when not being used, and then uses a three-axis accelerometer to recognize movement and wake the mug back up.
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