If you were dreaming of having your next grande no-whip soy latte delivered by drone, you can forget about it. Project Wing's wings were clipped by Google parent Alphabet as it tightens budgets across the board, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, quoting people familiar with the decision. Bloomberg said the decision to end the proposed venture with Starbucks followed the departure of project leader Dave Vos, who has not been replaced. Hiring also was frozen, and some people were urged to seek employment elsewhere in the company, Bloomberg reported. The Alphabet decision comes as other companies are ramping up drone programs despite a lack of Federal Aviation Administration approval for deliveries outside test zones.
Fifty years ago, the first industrial robot arm (called Unimate) assembled a simple breakfast of toast, coffee, and champagne. While it might have looked like a seamless feat, every movement and placement was coded with careful consideration. Even with today's more intelligent and adaptive robots, this task remains difficult for machines with rigid hands. They tend to work only in structured environments with predefined shapes and locations, and typically can't cope with uncertainties in placement or form. In recent years, though, roboticists have come to grips with this problem by making fingers out of soft, flexible materials like rubber.
A new anonymous texting bot program is aimed at helping children, teenagers and young adults quit using Juuls and other e-cigarettes. Developed by the large anti-smoking and public health non-profit the Truth Initiative, the text-based coaching is being integrated into the group's This Is Quitting and BecomeAnEx online quitting aids. The need for adolescent-focused programs is dire, according to a slew of recent studies and declarations of a youth vaping'epidemic' from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Surgeon General. FDA Commissioner Gottlieb called for cessation drugs for teens last month, but in the mean time the Truth Initiative's program hopes to help fill that void with text-coaching designed with teens in mind. Truth Initiative's new program texts encouragement geared toward teenagers who are trying to quit vaping in general - but focuses on the addictive Juul in particular Between 2017 and 2018, the number of high school students using e-cigarettes double, according to a University of Michigan study published in December.