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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Can Tech 'Objectively' Assess Pain?

Some combination of data and machinery may finally provide an objective marker of pain—but beware of bias.
Source: Wired

The True Victims of the Opioid Crisis Are Starting to Rebel

The push to end opioid abuse has ended up hurting the people who use the drugs legitimately. Now those chronic pain patients are starting a movement of their own.
Source: Wired

Oculus Quest review: Facebook's new VR headset is the best thing I've tried this year – CNET

The most unique game console of the year is here. Is it for you?
Source: CNET

Galaxy Note 10: Release date, leak details, design, specs and more – CNET

If the uncertain release of the Galaxy Fold has you on edge, rumors are already swirling around Samsung’s ultra-luxe Note 10.
Source: CNET

Game of Thrones season 8 finale recap: The Iron Throne – CNET

Win or die.
Source: CNET

The USPS Tests Out Self-Driving Trucks for Hauling Mail

In a two-week test, startup TuSimple will transport mail for the US Postal Service between Phoenix and Dallas.
Source: Wired

Abortion Bans Create a Public Health Nightmare

Making abortion mostly illegal will kick off an unintentional, vast experiment in public health—one where the outcomes are sick or dying women and children.
Source: Wired

ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, plans to launch a free music streaming app

Does the overcrowded and cut-throat music streaming business have room for an additional player? The world’s most valuable startup certainly thinks so.

Chinese conglomerate ByteDance, valued at over $75 billion, is working on a music streaming service, two sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. The company, which operates popular app TikTok, has held discussions with music labels in recent months to launch the app as soon as end of this quarter, one of the sources said.

The app will offer both a premium and an ad-supported free tier, one of the sources said. Bloomberg, which first wrote about the premium app, reported that ByteDance is targeting emerging markets with its new music app. A ByteDance spokesperson declined to comment.

For ByteDance, interest in a music app does not come as a surprise. Snippets of pop songs from movies and albums intertwined with videos shot by its humongous userbase is part of the service’s charm. The company already works with music labels worldwide to licence usage of their tracks on its platform. In China, where ByteDance claims to have tie ups with over 800 labels, it has been aggressively expanding efforts to find music talents and urge them to make their own tracks.

Besides, ByteDance has been expanding its app portfolio in recent months. Earlier this year, the company released Duoshan, a video chat app that appears to be a mix of TikTok and Snap. This week, it launched Feiliao, another chat app that is largely focused on text-driven conversations. At some point, the company may have realized the need for a standalone music consumption app.

When asked about TikTok’s partnership with music labels last month, Todd Schefflin, TikTok’s head of global music business development, told WSJ that music is part of the app’s “creative DNA” but it is “ultimately for short video creation and viewing, not a product for music consumption.”

The private Chinese company is likely eyeing India as a key market for its music app. The company has been in discussion with local music labels T Series and Times Music for rights. Moreover, its apps are estimated to have over 300 million monthly active users in the nation, though there could be significant overlaps among them.

India may have also inspired ByteDance to consider a free, ad-supported version of its music app. Even as more than 150 million users in India listen to music online, only a tiny portion of this user base is willing to pay for it.

This has made India a unique battleground for local and international music giants, most of which offer an ad-supported, free version of their apps in the market. Even premium offerings from Apple and Spotify cost under $1.2 a month. India is the only market where Spotify offers a free version of its app that has access to the entire catalog on-demand.

The launch of the app could put the spotlight again on ByteDance in India, where its TikTok app recently landed in hot water. An Indian court banned the app for roughly a week after expressing concerns over questionable content on the platform. Ever since the nation lifted the ban on TikTok, the company has become visibly cautious about its movement.


Source: TechCrunch

Ravin.ai raises $4M to use computer vision for vehicle damage inspections

Ravin.ai, an Israel and U.K.-based startup developing AI to autonomously inspect vehicles for damage, has closed a $4 million seed round. The investment is led by Pico Venture Partners, with participation from Shell Ventures and “automotive entrepreneur” Adam Draizin. It marks Shell Ventures’ first Israel investment.

Founded in 2018 and based in Haifa and London, Ravin combines computer vision and deep learning to detect and analyse damage in vehicles via standard cameras, such as a smartphone or CCTV cameras. The startup is initially targeting car rental companies but also eyeing up other markets for its tech, including fleet companies within the shared mobility space, and used car marketplaces.

“We have all rented and bought used cars in our lives and there is always some discomfort associated with true car condition: Ravin’s mission is to create transparency around damage wherever vehicles operate or change hands,” Ravin co-founder and CEO Eliron Ekstein, who previously helped launch Shell’s digital business arm, tells me.

“Damage in vehicles is a massive problem, if you consider that vehicles get damaged almost every fice seconds. For the consumer it’s a big headache because you’re never really sure if the car you’re picking up for rental, or the one you just bought, has some kind of hidden damage. For car rental, dealers and insurance companies, this translates to losses of over $100 billion due to damage undetected in time, overestimated repairs and the overhead of dealing with claims. This problem will only get worse as more vehicles are shared and people buy their cars online”.

In contrast, Ekstein says Ravin provides the needed transparency to facilitate easier transactions. This is delivered via what he claims is an “objective” vehicle condition report generated via the startup’s AI using off-the-shelf cameras. Vehicles can be scanned via a mobile phone walk-around (similar to a panoramic view experience) or by driving through a set of CCTV cameras.

“From there we create a 360-degree view of the vehicle and expose any damages, and in many cases some underlying problems, reasons and repair action,” says Ekstein. “This leads to frictionless rental and sharing of vehicles and minimises unnecessary arguments as both sides know about the vehicle condition. It also helps car buyers verify a vehicle condition, and finally helps insurance companies validate claims quickly”.

More broadly, Ravin wants to provide an almost “Docusign-like” experience where people can hand cars over in confidence, which Ekstein says is really what the sharing economy is all about.

To that end, Ravin says it has commercial partners across the U.S. and Europe, including Avis’ Heathrow Airport location. It plans to use the new funding to further develop its technology products and to expand commercial reach across North America, Europe and Asia.


Source: TechCrunch

Oculus Quest and Rift S now shipping

Facebook -owned Oculus is shipping its latest VR headgear from today. Preorders for the PC-free Oculus Quest and the higher end Oculus Rift S opened up three weeks ago.

In a launch blog Oculus touts the new hardware’s “all-in-one, fully immersive 6DOF VR” — writing: “We’re bringing the magic of presence to more people than ever before — and we’re doing it with the freedom of fully untethered movement”.

For a less varnished view on what it’s like to stick a face-computer on your head you can check out our reviews by clicking on the links below…

Oculus Quest

TC: “The headset may not be the most powerful, but it is doubtlessly the new flagship VR product from Facebook”

Oculus Rift S

TC: “It still doesn’t feel like a proper upgrade to a flagship headset that’s already three years old, but it is a more fine-tuned system that feels more evolved and dependable”

The Oculus blog contain no detail on pre-order sales for the headsets — beyond a few fine-sounding words.

Meanwhile Facebook has, for months, been running native ads for Oculus via its eponymous and omnipresent social network — although there’s no explicit mention of the Oculus brand unless you click through to “learn more”.

Instead it’s pushing the generic notion of “all-in-one VR”, shrinking the Oculus brand stamp on the headset to an indecipherable micro-scribble.

Here’s one of Facebook’s ads that targeted me in Europe, back in March, for e.g.:

For those wanting to partake of Facebook flavored face gaming (and/or immersive movie watching), the Oculus Quest and Rift S are available to buy via oculus.com and retail partners including Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg, Walmart, and GameStop in the US; Currys PC World, FNAC, MediaMarkt, and more in the EU and UK; and Amazon in Japan.

Just remember to keep your mouth shut.


Source: TechCrunch

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