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Amazon updates Echo Buds to fix overheating issue

Engadget

Amazon is asking Echo Buds owners to update the firmware on their true wireless device ASAP. First reported by Android Central, the company emailed users today (July 15th) to alert them of a potential safety issue with the buds. Amazon says it "determined in very rare cases it is possible for the Echo Buds to overheat while in the charging case." The company says it has already released a software update that fixes the problem, eliminates any risk and improves the long-term battery performance of the Echo Buds. If you own a pair of these, you can check on the update through the Alexa app.


Miniature robotic camera backpack shows how beetles see the world

Engadget

After creating tiny sensor backpacks for bees, researchers from the University of Washington have built a more advanced model for beetles. Dubbed "a GoPro for beetles," the robotic backpacks carry a tiny steerable camera that can stream video at 1 to 5 fps and pivot up to 60 degrees. On top of getting an interesting bugs-eye view of the world, the devices could power future biological studies and allow us to "explore novel environments," according to the team. The backpack was designed to be carried by two species: A "death-feigning" beetle and Pinacate beetle. Both of those have been observed carrying up to half a gram at a time.


Researchers built robotic skin with a sense of touch

Engadget

Using Intel's neuromorphic chip, Loihi, researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) developed an artificial skin that allows robots to detect touch 1,000 times faster than the human sensory nervous system. The system can also identify the shape, texture and hardness of objects 10 times faster than the blink of an eye. The researchers believe this work could improve human-robot interaction, making things like caregiving robots and automated robotic surgery more feasible. The NUS team first taught a robotic hand fitted with their artificial skin to read Braille. The robotic hand passed the tactile data to Loihi, which translated it.


The Morning After: Lego's NES replica comes with a 'playable' Mario game

Engadget

This console generation is on its way out, but Andrew Tarantola believes one of the PS4's best games ever is about to appear. That game, of course, is Ghost of Tsushima, which takes place during the Mongol invasion of Tsushima Island in the 13th century. It's not breaking a lot of new ground gameplay-wise, though, with elements cribbed from other third-person Sony games you've played before, like Horizon: Zero Dawn and Uncharted, as well as third-party titles like Batman Arkham and Sekiro. Still, he said that "Sucker Punch has managed to seamlessly meld them together, hone and polish the overarching gameplay experience into something truly phenomenal," so I guess there's one good reason to give your PS4 another go before it's replaced this fall. Just as we were getting used to the Lego Super Mario kits, the company has officially unveiled a brick-based replica of an entire Nintendo Entertainment System (which just so happened to turn 37 today).


Your next White Castle slider could be cooked by a robot

Engadget

While robotic short-order cooks have been in development for a few years, their use in actual customer-facing businesses has been largely restricted to either independent or gimmick restaurants. But that changes today as Miso Robotics, maker of Flippy, and White Castle, maker of sliders, announce an Indiana-based pilot program that could one day see burger-flipping robots slinging patties and dunking fries all across the country. "The industry is facing some real, fundamental challenges," Buck Jordan, Miso Robotics CEO and Co-founder, told Engadget. "There's labor challenges due to self-sufficiency in kitchens, there's been a massive increase of delivery and now, of course, shifting consumer preferences towards low-touch establishments. These are all challenges that can be solved through automation."


Lenovo discounts its Google Assistant-powered Smart Clock to $40

Engadget

Lenovo's excellent Smart Clock with the Google Assistant hit $40 today, which is 50 percent off its normal price. It's a great deal on the smart display that would make a good upgrade to your regular alarm clock with its sunrise alarm feature, ambient light sensor and minimalist design. You can buy it at the sale price on Lenovo's website, but bare in mind that only the charcoal model (not the gray model) is $40 when you use the code CMTABFDEALS1 at checkout. The Lenovo Smart Clock has fallen to $40 in the past and we recommend waiting for it to hit this price (or close to it) before buying it. It's a much easier buy at $40 than at $80, and it's arguably one of the best smart alarm clocks you can get.


The Morning After: Ubisoft's big gaming showcase reveals 'Far Cry 6' and more

Engadget

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I spent the last few hours of my Sunday watching embattled games publisher Ubisoft tease its latest games, including Watch Dogs: Legion and Assassin's Creed Valhalla, while sidestepping controversy regarding allegations of misconduct, ingrained sexism and sexual harassment. Hours before the showcase, several more senior executives left the company. Given the whole 45-minute stream was recorded in advance, it's disappointing, but not shocking, that the issues weren't mentioned, let alone addressed. The stream didn't reveal any major gaming news we didn't already know about.


MIT researchers create robotic gripper that can untangle thin cables

Engadget

Researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have developed a robotic gripper with the dexterity to handle thin objects like ropes and cables, the university announced. The technology could one day be used by robots to perform household tasks such as folding clothes, or for more technical purposes like wire shaping. Humans can find it challenging to manipulate thin flexible objects, and doing so can be "nearly impossible" for robots, MIT spokeswoman Rachel Gordon said in an email. The standard approach had been for robots to use "a series of slow and incremental deformations," plus mechanical fixtures, to handle these objects. MIT researchers approached the problem from a different angle, building a two-fingered gripper that's meant to more closely resemble human fingers. The fingers are outfitted with high resolution tactile sensors, known as "GelSight" sensors, made of soft rubber with embedded cameras and mounted on a movable robot arm.


A life-size Gundam statue will be completed outside of Japan in 2021

Engadget

You won't have to visit Japan to see a life-size Gundam statue in the months ahead, although you may still have to book a lengthy trip. Our Engadget Chinese colleagues report that Bandai Namco will debut an 18-meter (about 59ft) Freedom Gundam statue at the LaLaport Mall in Jinqiao, Shanghai, China sometime in 2021. It's the first large Gundam robot statue to be built outside of Japan, Bandai Namco said. It's unclear if this robot will have any movement like the recent Yokohama statue, but it won't be surprising if that's the case. These statues have been cultural draws for years in Japan, and movement (however limited) might draw more people. The pandemic complicates matters -- it's unclear how many people will want to venture outside to see a robot statue in 2021.


Assassin's Creed Valhalla made me want to visit East Anglia

Engadget

Ahead of Ubisoft's Forward gaming event, the company offered us some remote demos of two of its AAA releases this year. While my colleague had no issues playing Watch Dogs Legion, my substandard internet connection meant my session with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was taxing. After losing its way with back-to-back-to-back releases in the early-to-mid ‘10s, 2017’s Egypt-based Origins was a return to form for the Assassin’s Creed series, followed a year later by the similarly good Odyssey, which mapped mainland Greece and its many Aegean islands.