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What does the future of driverless cars look like?

NPR Technology

Amazon's autonomous vehicle unit, Zoox, announced plans to test-drive "robotaxis" in downtown Seattle. NPR's David Folkenflik speaks with historian Peter Norton.


Scientists used a tiny brain implant to help a blind teacher see letters again

NPR Technology

Former science teacher Berna Gómez played a pivotal role in new research on restoring some sight to blind people. She is named as a co-author of the study that was published this week. Former science teacher Berna Gómez played a pivotal role in new research on restoring some sight to blind people. She is named as a co-author of the study that was published this week. A former science teacher who's been blind for 16 years became able to see letters, discern objects' edges -- and even play a Maggie Simpson video game -- thanks to a visual prosthesis that includes a camera and a brain implant, according to American and Spanish researchers who collaborated on the project.


The creator of 'Stardew Valley' announces his spooky new game: 'Haunted Chocolatier'

NPR Technology

Today in video game news: Pixelated ghosts who carry artisan chocolates. Game designer Eric Barone, who works under the alias ConcernedApe, announced Thursday that the game was in development, releasing a trailer and several colorful screenshots. Barone describes the game as being about "magical haunted ghost chocolate." Barone describes the game as being about "magical haunted ghost chocolate." Details on the project are scarce, but the gameplay video shows a mysterious castle filled with moody lighting and a chocolate shop attended by little ghost employees shaped like bonbons, carrying actual chocolate bonbons over their heads.


A drone company is working to airlift dogs stranded by the volcano in La Palma

NPR Technology

A dog lies on the ash-covered earth surrounded by volcanic lava following an eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, in the area of Todoque on the Canary Island of La Palma, Spain in this undated screen grab taken from a handout video. A dog lies on the ash-covered earth surrounded by volcanic lava following an eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, in the area of Todoque on the Canary Island of La Palma, Spain in this undated screen grab taken from a handout video. Several dogs that are stranded by lava from a volcano on the island of La Palma, Spain, could soon be rescued, if a drone company has its way. Aerocamaras says its team of drone operators has now received the permits it needs to try a unique rescue, in which a drone will drop a net on each dog, then whisk it to safety. "Our pilots are conducting tests together with the emergency teams at this moment," the company said on Tuesday, after it announced that the operation had been given the green light.


Self-driving Waymo cars gather in a San Francisco neighborhood, confusing residents

NPR Technology

A Waymo self-driving car pulls into a parking lot in Mountain View, Calif., on May 8, 2019. A Waymo self-driving car pulls into a parking lot in Mountain View, Calif., on May 8, 2019. It was a modern mystery. In a tiny neighborhood in San Francisco's Richmond District, self-driving Waymo cars have been converging at all hours of the day and night, mystifying neighbors, KPIX reported earlier this week. Most would drive to the dead-end on 15th Avenue, where they then had no choice but to turn around and leave, according to the outlet -- and neighbors have no idea why.


Team uses AI to complete Beethoven's unfinished masterpiece

NPR Technology

A group of musicians and scientists have used artificial intelligence to complete one of the great what-ifs in classical music: Ludwig van Beethoven's unfinished 10th symphony.


Researchers share drone footage of what it's like inside Hurricane Sam

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NOAA and Saildrone Inc. are piloting five specially designed surface drones in the Atlantic Ocean to gather data around the clock to help understand the physical processes of hurricanes. NOAA and Saildrone Inc. are piloting five specially designed surface drones in the Atlantic Ocean to gather data around the clock to help understand the physical processes of hurricanes. Researchers for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have dispatched a surface drone inside Hurricane Sam as it barrels toward the Caribbean, giving scientists a new perspective of what it's like inside such a storm. The video and images shared were the first of their kind gathered by an "uncrewed surface vehicle" from inside a major hurricane as it moved across the Atlantic Ocean. The onboard camera shows eerily gray skies and turbulent ocean waters.


Their Dad Transformed Video Games In The 1970s -- And Passed On His Pioneering Spirit

NPR Technology

A self-taught electrical engineer transformed the video game world in the 1970s. Before Gerald "Jerry" Lawson helped invent the first video game console with interchangeable game cartridges, players were limited to a preset selection of games built into systems. As such, Lawson has been called the "father of modern gaming." But to Karen and Anderson Lawson, he was first and foremost "Dad." Jerry died in 2011 at age 70.


The U.N. Warns That AI Can Pose A Threat To Human Rights

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The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet speaks at a climate event in Madrid in 2019. A recent report of hers warns of the threats that AI can pose to human rights. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet speaks at a climate event in Madrid in 2019. A recent report of hers warns of the threats that AI can pose to human rights. The United Nations' human rights chief has called on member states to put a moratorium on the sale and use of artificial intelligence systems until the "negative, even catastrophic" risks they pose can be addressed. The remarks by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet were in reference to a new report on the subject released in Geneva.


Put Down That PS5 And Pick Up Your Switch For The Pixelated Pleasures Of 'Eastward'

NPR Technology

An unlikely pair of adventurers fight their way through a mysteriously crumbling world in Eastward. An unlikely pair of adventurers fight their way through a mysteriously crumbling world in Eastward. The most nimble game developers borrow. Like Shakespeare himself, they rummage through venerated titles crafted by the old guard and snag anything useful to them. They ask themselves "How can we create a game as inventive as Fallout, as artistic as Zelda and as gripping as The Last of Us?" Shanghai developer Pixpil's newest title, Eastward, is a triumph that stretches the standard for indie game development; it masterfully combines popular tropes from older titles and genres without feeling hackneyed and stale. It's no easy feat, but Eastward passes the test with flying colors (and pixels).