Micromax Vdeo 1, Vdeo 2 With VoLTE Support, Video Calling Feature Launched

Micromax Vdeo 1, Vdeo 2 With VoLTE Support, Video Calling Feature LaunchedMicromax on Wednesday launched a new series of smartphones that it claims are designed to popularise video calling among Indians. Micromax has launched Vdeo 1 and Vdeo 2 smartphone with Google Duo preloaded, and also boast of 4G VoLTE support. The Vdeo 1 and Vdeo 2 are priced at Rs. 4,440 and Rs. 4,990 respectively, and come bundled with Reliance Jio SIMs. The company is also touting that the smartphone sport a ‘metal back cover’.

The Micromax Vdeo 1 and Micromax Vdeo 2 come with Android 6.0 Marshmallow running out-of-the-box. Both the smartphones bear 4G VoLTE capable dual SIM card slots, and are powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. The Vdeo 1 houses a 4-inch WVGA display, while the Vdeo 2 has a 4.5-inch FWVGA display.

For photography, the Vdeo 1 and Vdeo 2 have 5-megapixel cameras on the rear side while they have a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. The front-facing cameras can be used for video calling using Google Duo. Both the smartphones have 8GB of inbuilt storage that’s expandable via microSD card.

The Micromax Vdeo 1 houses a 1600mAh battery inside while the Vdeo 2 packs a 1800mAh battery under the hood. Both the devices come bundled with Reliance Jio SIM cards with its ‘Happy New Year Offer’ that gives unlimited data, call and SMS usage till March 2017.

Commenting on the smartphones launch, Shubhajit Sen, Chief Marketing Officer, Micromax Informatics said, “2016 has seen a marked slowdown in the long term trend of Feature Phones users shifting to smartphones. Two barriers we identified were perceived high cost of data and a lack of a differentiated mass-use case. With the launch of the Vdeo range we have focused on these issues. We believe Video calling that is as simple as making a voice call, in a stable environment, will be a strong use case especially in smaller towns. This feature, coupled with free internet connectivity with the pre-bundled Reliance Jio SIM is a compelling proposition that will accelerate the switch from feature phones to smartphones.”

iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus Photo Leaks Reveal Camera Design Changes

The camera hole is also a bit larger than its predecessor, and is placed near to the edge of the smartphone hinting at some changes in the camera hardware. It is rumoured that the iPhone 7 will come with a larger CMOS sensor, and these changes are a result of that upgrade.

The photos also show the bottom of the device, revealing the absence of the 3.5mm audio jack. With more free space, there are two speaker grilles alongside the Lightning port. A separate iPhone 7 Plus image reveals the dual camera setup at the back, something that has been rumoured on several occasions previously. On the iPhone 7 Plus, both the rear cameras are aligned horizontally right next to each other followed by the flash sitting beside it.


It is surrounded by the same protective casing ring seen on the iPhone 7. In the current versions, the camera protrudes out of the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, but without any protective ring for safety. Additionally, all the photos also attest to the antenna bands rumour, showing them placed on the edges of the smartphones.

While Hemmerstoffer’s leaks point to the absence of the 3.5mm audio jack, a separate leak from Weibo tells a different story. One more back casing photo was leaked on the social site, testifying to the larger camera on the back of the iPhone 7. However, in the post, the user postulates that the 3.5mm audio jack will not be removed from this year’s release.

In any case, we recommend that you take all of these leaks with a pinch of salt until the official announcement expected in September. The next iteration is expected to see minimal design changes with few but crucial upgrades. Apple is expected to unveil its upcoming offering in three variants – iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 7 Pro.

3D Printer, ‘Gecko Grippers’ Head to ISS

3D Printer, 'Gecko Grippers' Head to ISS

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket loaded with supplies and science experiments blasted off from Florida on Tuesday, boosting an Orbital ATK cargo capsule toward the International Space Station.

The 194-foot (59-meter) rocket soared off its seaside launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 11:05 p.m. EDT/0305 GMT. United Launch Alliance is a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

Perched on top of the rocket was a Cygnus capsule loaded with nearly 7,500 pounds (3,400 kg) of food, science experiments and equipment including a 3D printer to build tools for astronauts and non-stick grippers modeled after gecko feet.

The printer works by heating plastic, metal or other materials into streams that are layered on top of each otherto create three-dimensional objects.

“If we had a choice of what we could use that printer for, I’m sure we could be quite creative,” station commander Tim Kopra said during an inflight interview on Tuesday.

The experimental Gecko Gripper is a new kind of adhesive that mimics the way gecko lizards cling to surfaces without falling. It aims to test a method of attaching things in the weightless environment of space.

Nasa is looking at robotic versions of gecko feet to attach sensors and other instruments onto and inside satellites.

The Gecko Gripper technology may lead to terrestrial versions of grippers that could, for example, hold flat-screen TVs to walls without anchoring systems and adhesives, said lead researcher Aaron Parness with Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Cygnus also is carrying a telescope that will be used to chemically analyze meteors as they blast through Earth’s atmosphere and a prototype exercise station that is a fraction of the size of the equipment currently used by station crew members.

Cygnus is due to reach the station, which flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, on Saturday. It is expected to remain docked at the orbiting research laboratory, a $100 billion (roughly Rs. 6,68,474 crores) project of 15 nations, for two months.

Cygnus’ science mission will continue after it undocks from the space station, serving as a platform for a fire experiment. The capsule, which is not designed to return to Earth, will then plunge into the atmosphere and burn up itself.

New Technique Developed for 3D Imaging of Cells Under Your Skin

New Technique Developed for 3D Imaging of Cells Under Your Skin

Scientists have developed a new technique that can create a 3D real-time image of individual cells or molecules under the skin of a living animal, showing intricate details of the lymph and blood vessels.

The technique, called MOZART (for MOlecular imaging and characteriZation of tissue noninvasively At cellular ResoluTion), could one day allow scientists to detect tumours in the skin, colon or oesophagus, or even to see the abnormal blood vessels that appear in the earliest stages of macular degeneration – a leading cause of blindness.

The technique could allow doctors to monitor how an otherwise invisible tumour under the skin is responding to treatment, or to understand how individual cells break free from a tumour and travel to distant sites, said Adam de la Zerda, an assistant professor at Stanford University.

In other forms of microscopy, scientists have created tags that latch onto molecules or structures of interest to illuminate those structures and provide a detailed view of where they are in the cell or body.

Tiny particles called gold nanorods are analogous to organ pipes, because longer pipes vibrate at lower frequencies, creating a deep, low sound, said Elliott SoRelle, graduate student at Stanford.

Longer nanorods vibrate at lower frequencies of light.

Those vibrations scatter the light, which the microscope detects.

Researchers manufactured longer nanorods that were nontoxic, stable and very bright.

To filter out the nanorods’ frequency from the surrounding tissue, they developed computer algorithms that could separate out the frequencies of light scattered by nanorods of various lengths and differentiate those from surrounding tissue.

The resulting three-dimensional, high-resolution images were so big – on the order of gigapixels – that the team needed to develop additional algorithms for analysing and storing such large images.

The team tested their technology in the ear of a living mouse, where they were able to watch as the nanorods were taken up into the lymph system and transported through a network of valves.

They were able to distinguish between two different size nanorods that resonated at different wavelengths in separate lymph vessels, and they could distinguish between those two nanorods in the lymph system and the blood vessels.

In one study, they could watch individual valves within the lymph vessels open and close to control the flow of fluid in a single direction.

Having shown that the gold nanorods can be seen in living tissue, the next step is to show that those nanorods can bind to specific kinds of cells, like skin cancer or abnormal vessels in early stage macular degeneration.

Then, the technique could be used to learn more about how those diseases progress at the molecular level and also evaluate treatments in individual patients, something that previously had not been possible.

This Fungus Could Lead to Better Rechargeable Batteries

This Fungus Could Lead to Better Rechargeable Batteries

In a first, researchers have shown that a fungus can transform manganese into a mineral composite with favourable electrochemical properties – paving the way for a better rechargeable battery in the near future.

The findings suggest that fungus Neurospora crassa present in a red bread mold could be the key to producing more sustainable electrochemical materials for use in rechargeable batteries

“We have made electrochemically active materials using a fungal manganese biomineralisation process,” said Geoffrey Gadd from the University of Dundee in Scotland.

The electrochemical properties of the carbonised fungal biomass-mineral composite were tested in a supercapacitor and a lithium-ion battery.

The compound was found to have excellent electrochemical properties. This system, therefore, suggests a novel biotechnological method for the preparation of sustainable electrochemical materials.

Gadd and his colleagues have long studied the ability of fungi to transform metals and minerals in useful and surprising ways.

In earlier studies, they showed that fungi could stabilise toxic lead and uranium.

That led the researchers to wonder whether fungi could offer a useful alternative strategy for the preparation of novel electrochemical materials too.

“We had the idea that the decomposition of such biomineralised carbonates into oxides might provide a novel source of metal oxides that have significant electrochemical properties,” Gadd added in a paper published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology.

“We were surprised that the prepared biomass-Mn oxide composite performed so well,” he noted.

In comparison to other reported manganese oxides in lithium-ion batteries, the carbonised fungal biomass-mineral composite “showed an excellent cycling stability and more than 90 percent capacity was retained after 200 cycles,” the authors noted.

The team will continue to explore the use of fungi in producing various potentially useful metal carbonates.

Amazon Opening Another Physical Store In San Diego

amazonbooksAmazon’s push for retail stores has some baffled, since the online giant has put many out of business over the years. Whatever the reasons, but it’s looking to expand the presence of its physical stores.

Amazon is going to open its second physical bookstore in a San Diego mall. The store will be located opposite an Apple Store and right next to a Tesla store. At least they will be in good company with other major players.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that signs have already been erected on the location which states that the Amazon bookstore is going to arrive “this summer.” A spokesperson for Amazon confirmed that it’s opening a store in the mall and that the company is currently in the process of hiring a manager and other employees for the location. One has to wonder how many stores they are going to end up with.

In November Amazon opened its first physical bookstore in Seattle. The company’s hardware, which includes tablets and smart speakers will also be sold along with books. Maybe Amazon wants to have a bigger retail footprint in the United States. It will also be interesting to see which country Amazon picks to open its first physical bookstore in another country too as I am sure they will.

Skype Translator Gets Support For Arabic

Skype Translator

Skype has announced that their Skype Translator software now offers support for Arabic in the form of Modern Standard Arabic.

The Modern Standard Arabic is used in the Middle East and Northern Africa, this is the main standard form of Arabic that is used.

Each of Skype Translator’s language releases has been very important for us—bringing us one step closer to breaking down language barriers for people across the world. Human connection is at the core of everything we do at Skype.

The Arabic language release is especially important to us, because there is such a diverse Arabic speaking population all over the world. The ability to communicate with someone in their own language has the potential to enhance and build important relationships. For example, younger generations who speak a different language can communicate with extended family; or newly formed and migrating families are able to stay connected with family and friends back home; or educational institutions can tap the vast pool of knowledge between cultures.

You can find out more details about Skype Translator at the link below, it now supports English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese and Arabic.

New Portal Virtual Reality SteamVR Content Launching This Spring For Free, Reveals Valve


Valve has this week announced that it is preparing to showcase a “compilation of new VR experiments” that will be set in Portal’s Aperture Science universe during next week’s GDC 2016.

The virtual reality content will also be made available during the summer months via the SteamVR platform allowing those interested to amuse themselves inside one of Aperture Science’s “pocket universes.”

The content will be released for free for the HTC Vive headset via Steam this Spring, the HTC Vive virtual reality system is now available to preorder priced at $799. The Road To VR website explains :

In the now famous Aperture Robot Repair VR demo, the player opens a drawer full of tiny 2D stick-people which have been a recurring theme in Portal’s marketing. The narrator in the demo mentions this as being one of Aperture Science’s pocket universes, so it seems likely that we’ll see the little creatures return.

As soon as more information is announced during GDC 2016 or released by Valve we will keep you updated as always.

Smartphones may soon use our ears to verify identity with 99% accuracy

earWe have a number of different ways to verify one’s identity using a smartphone. The most commonly employed method is the fingerprint scanner. Fewer handsets rely on a laser reading of the user’s iris these days after all.

Well, they may have discovered the fastest and most accurate method. NEC has announced a new technology that takes advantage of the unique shape of everyone’s ears to verify identity. It turns out that it’s all in the ears.

The way sound resonates in our ear canal is a highly personal process, so NEC has come up with earbuds that include a microphone that measures how a transmitted sound travels through the inner ear. This identifies an individual. The verification process takes under one second, and is 99% accurate. That’s what is impressing people about this new method. The speed and accuracy.

NEC hopes to have this technology commercially available by 2018. They see it being applied during confidential calls when a person’s identity needs to be verified. It also sees potential for use in navigation. They might even want to replace a fingerprint scanner on a smartphone, which is a logical use. It will be interesting to see what other uses they come up with.

George Hotz’s Self Driving Car Startup Valued At $20 Million

George Hotz's Self Driving Car

Back in December George Hotz showed off his new self driving car technology called Comm.ai and he is looking to take on Google and their autonomous vehicles with his technology.

Comma.ai has now received some investment and whilst the amount of investment has not been revealed, it has given the company a valuation of $20 million.

George Hotz managed to score his investment from Andreesen Horowitz who have valued his company at $20 million based on their investment.

It will be interesting to see how Comma.ai develops and whether George Hotz is able to take on the big car companies and also Google with his new self driving car startup.