5 Things You Missed: Intel Inside Self-Driving Cars, Reversing Paralysis, and More

1. Intel Inside Self-Driving Cars

Intel is buying Mobileye, the Israeli robocar firm, for $15.3 billion. It’s one of the largest robocar acquisitions in a two-year buying frenzy that has swept both the auto industry and the tech companies that want to eat its lunch. Intel has thus bought itself not only a full suite of robocar technology but also wide-ranging contacts in the auto industry. Its newly established self-driving unit also incorporates a 15 percent stake in Here, a mapping company.  

 

2. Tesla Batteries Propel Renewable Energy Project

A 33,000-member electric power cooperative on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, is using 272 Powerpack energy storage units—which use a design derived from the Tesla Model S electric vehicle—to make solar power produced during the daytime available to customers well into peak demand periods after sunset.

 

3. Smartphone Accelerometers Can Be Fooled by Sound Waves

The accelerometers in your smartphone—the ones that help track the distance you walk and automatically rotate the view when you turn the phone sideways—can be remotely hacked. A research team figured out that they could fool a smartphone’s accelerometers using sound waves. What’s more, they were able to cause two signal processing components within a phone to generate a false report of the accelerometer’s behavior.

 

4. Why Mary Lou Jepsen Left Facebook

Mary Lou Jepsen, well known for stints at Facebook and Google, went to this year’s SXSW Interactive to talk about her latest project, a startup called Openwater. The new company is the vehicle by which Jepsen plans to transform health care and telepathy. What is Openwater bringing to the game? A new type of imaging with resolution as good as that produced by massive and expensive MRI machines, but accomplished with components that fit inside a ski hat or a bandage that wraps around a body part. 

 

5. A Big Step Toward Reversing Paralysis

In a hospital in Switzerland, a permanently paralyzed people are now learning to walk again with the help of stimulating electrodes implanted in their spines. With electrical stimulation and physical training, the few nerve fibers around spinal cord injuries that had been spared from damage regrew and reorganized to bring commands from the patients’ brains to their legs.

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