This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commission. Although flying a drone might sound like the biggest risk in operating one, dealing with the batteries is potentially more explosive. At the 100 hospital emergency rooms that report electronics-related injury cases to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200 incidents (PDF) involving drone batteries, stemming from fire, smoke, and explosions, were recorded between 2012 and 2017. Not every drone-battery incident results in an injury, but each pilot and expert I interviewed had a story about an exploding or fiery lithium battery going off especially after it had repeatedly crashed to the ground inside a drone.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I'll be very glad to tell my story. I am a smart fellow as I have a very fine brain of 48 electrical relays." This is how Elektro the robot introduced itself to crowds at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Standing 2.1 meters tall and weighing 118 kilograms, Elektro performed 26 different tricks, including walking, talking, counting, and singing. It had a vocabulary of approximately 700 words, although its responses were all prerecorded and played back from 33⅓-rpm records.
Vespa's first electric scooter will go on sale in Europe in October and in the US at the start of 2019. The silent, battery-powered scooter is an electric version of the much-loved retro Vespa which was first released back in 1946. The re-imagined all-electric scooter, known as the Vespa Elettrica, has a maximum range of 62 miles (100km) and takes around four hours to charge the battery. Manufacturer Piaggio Group has remained tight-lipped about the price of its new scooter, as well as its top speed. It has previously revealed the Vespa Elettrica will be limited to 19pmh (30km/h) when set in Eco driving mode.
I started out by just wanting to make a very small drone. But I quickly realized that there was a limiting factor in just how small and light I could make any design: the motors. Even small motors are still discrete packages that have to be attached to all the other electronic and structural elements. So I began wondering if there was a way to merge these elements and save some mass. I drew inspiration from how some radio systems used antennas made from the copper traces on a printed circuit board (PCB).
We know surprisingly little about life in the deep ocean, one of the last unexplored realms on our planet. ROVs capable of deep ocean exploration have begun to open up this mysterious realm, but sea life is elusive and difficult to study in the field. Many deep sea creatures are soft-bodied, as they don't need hard shells to protect them from larger predators. Catching these creatures typically means killing them. A robotic hand developed by researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and Radcliffe's Institute for Advanced Study may help.
Apple unveiled some refreshed MacBook Pros this week, and I promised we'd be getting a unit to review ASAP. Sure enough, look what arrived in the mail today: a shiny, new 13-inch Mac. As you can see, the exterior design is the same as the previous-gen MacBook Pro's, from the unibody aluminum enclosure to that giant Force Touch trackpad. Most of the changes here are under the hood (think: quad-core processors on the 13-inch model), so it's going to take a few days to test things like speed, graphics performance and battery life. We'll post a full review next week (and, ya know, spend the weekend indoors putting this thing through its paces).
Well, the Chinese startup is happy to announce that they've started to deliver the ES8 all-electric SUVs to its customers. One of the USPs of the ES8 is that the SUV has something called NOMI artificial intelligence technology, claimed to be the world's first in-car AI system for production vehicles. The NOMI can see her owner's arrival and quickly setup the seats and steering wheel position. She can also do things like take a selfie via roof mounted camera or play the desired music, when asked to do so. Another USP is that the ES8 features swappable battery technology, where the SUV can go into a swapping station to get its entire battery pack swapped within 3 minutes.
Lying in the space 650 to 3,200 feet below the surface of the ocean is the mesopelagic zone. It's here that sunlight begins to fade away, earning it the nickname the "twilight zone." This twilight zone is home to critical ecosystems like coral reefs that are home to the diverse fish species that maintain them. Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and invasive techniques have previously been used to study the complex systems. But a new invention is helping divers bring fish to the surface, where they can be more easily studied.
Android P: Google launches first developer preview. Google's Android developers have teamed up with Alphabet's DeepMind researchers to bring deep neural-net enhancements to Android P. The enhancements, which target battery life and screen performance, have been unveiled alongside the launch of the first Android P beta, which is now open to six more handset models beyond Google's Pixel devices. The beta follows the first Android P developer preview in March. Owners with a Sony Xperia XZ2, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, Nokia 7 Plus, Oppo R15 Pro, Vivo X21UD and X21, and Essential PH‑1 can now join the Android P beta program. This beta program will be the fastest route to testing Android P's new Adaptive Battery feature, which was developed with researchers from the unit at Google parent Alphabet's AI firm, DeepMind, dedicated to delivering AI breakthroughs just for Google.
Today at the Google I/O keynote, the search giant took the opportunity to showcase all the new ways artificial intelligence will revolutionize its phone OS with the upcoming Android P. One of the least sexy AI applications might benefit the most users. Adaptive Battery, as its called, takes note of user behavior to cunningly switch off apps when it predicts you'll need them least -- and will result in a 30 percent reduction in CPU app wakeups, which should save you some juice. In other words, if it knows you only click through Instagram during your morning and afternoon coffee breaks, it'll close it in the interim -- and save you some battery life. Similarly, Android P has a feature called Adaptive Brightness that dims the screen when it predicts you won't need it lit up so much. Click here to catch up on the latest news from Google I/O 2018!