Washington Post


This may be the most important Nintendo Switch release so far

Washington Post

That makes Arms -- Nintendo's completely new multiplayer, motion-controlled game -- perhaps the most important Switch launch so far. It's essentially a boxing game -- but one that gives players cybernetic limbs and the chance to brawl it out in a high-tech arena. Players put one of the Switch's palm-sized Joy-Con controllers in each hand, which makes the punching motion feel fairly natural. When you punch with your real arms, your character punches on-screen with extendible cybernetic limbs.


Tim Cook teases more details on Apple's car project

Washington Post

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has shed more light on his company's automotive efforts, revealing that the company is "focusing on autonomous systems," according to an interview with Bloomberg News published Tuesday. Are we looking at a future with two major autonomous vehicle systems just as we currently have two major smartphone systems? Automotive analysts say that building lots of working cars, and quickly, can be a far more complex endeavor than building a smartphone or laptop. All that could help explain why Apple, despite being one of the world's wealthiest companies, appears to be focusing more heavily -- for now -- on self-driving software.


No defect found in Tesla 'Autopilot' system used in deadly Florida crash

Washington Post

Federal regulators have closed the investigation into the crash that killed a Tesla driver in May, saying Thursday that officials found no defects in the semiautonomous Autopilot system being used at the time. The May collision occurred when a truck turned in front of a speeding Tesla driver in Williston, Fla. Tesla said at the time that "neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied." NHTSA investigators said their broader look at Tesla crashes included those that occurred when Autopilot was being used or within 15 seconds of a transition from Autopilot. "Many of the crashes appear to involve driver behavior factors, including traveling too fast for conditions, mode confusion, and distraction," the investigators wrote.


Seven automotive trends to watch in 2017

Washington Post

The average vehicle on American roads is nearly 12 years old, market research shows, as drivers hold on to their old, reliable wheels for longer stretches of time. The arrival of big data in the automobile has reason to give consumers pause. About 170,000 hybrid and plug-in vehicles were sold in 2016, a 25.2 percent decline from the year before, according to Kelley Blue Book. The Federal Reserve is also expected to increase interest rates, which could mean less attractive financing terms if automakers push that increase onto buyers.


Google spinoff Waymo has built its own self-driving sensors

Washington Post

Google's autonomous driving spinoff, Waymo, has developed sensors that pair with its self-driving software, potentially opening the door for the company to sell a comprehensive system that automakers build into future car models. It has been previously reported that Google was rolling back plans to build its own car, although the company initially developed a self-driving prototype, called Firefly, that had no pedals or steering wheel. "To solve these challenges, we're thinking bigger than a single use case, bigger than a particular vehicle, bigger than a single business model," Krafcik said. Google set out to create self-driving technology in 2009, and Krafcik said the sensors unveiled Sunday are the latest iteration of that research and development.


The big takeaway from this year's CES

Washington Post

I'm talking about the smart, central voice assistant. Techies have been talking about connected gadgets and the potential centralizing power of artificial intelligence for years now. At the show, voice assistants were being shown off in cars, refrigerators, in nightstand clocks -- they were just in everything. Even on the noisy show floor, few demos of the voice technology work smoothly -- those are followed by quick assurances that it worked perfectly well in the quiet of the morning set-up.


CES 2017: Your car wants to say hello. And that's only the start.

Washington Post

Start-ups and legacy automakers alike are testing applications for artificial intelligence and big data inside cars, and connecting those systems with your phone, home appliances and the other Internet-enabled devices that permeate our daily lives. Drivers who approach Toyota's Concept-i car will see "hello" projected on the car door, a greeting from Yui, an artificial intelligence bot that designers call "the person who rides shotgun with you." Smartphones have evolved into personal lifelines that facilitate human interactions, make people's lives more convenient, and store valuable information. In 2014, the two leading associations of automotive manufacturers published privacy principles that state data should only be collected for "legitimate business purposes" and stored only as long as necessary.


An emotional car, smart beds and other things to expect from the CES

Washington Post

The technology industry's annual CES convention kicks off this week and is expected -- as usual -- to broadcast what the tech industry considers to be the top trends of the year. Consumers should expect to see more services rather than gadgets coming out of this year's show, with products that offer them hardware and software systems rather than flashy gadgets. There are also new areas of the floor devoted exclusively to smart energy tech and sleep tech. Wearable technology exhibitors are up 100 percent, Shapiro said, while virtual reality, smart home, drones and robotics companies have upped their space on the show floor by more than 30 percent.


Can Alexa help solve a murder? Police think so -- but Amazon won't give up her data

Washington Post

While police have long seized computers, cellphones and other electronics to investigate crimes, this case has raised fresh questions about privacy issues regarding devices like the Amazon Echo or the Google Home, voice-activated personal command centers that are constantly "listening." When it detects the wake word, it begins streaming audio to the cloud, including a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word, according to the Amazon website. Undeterred by Amazon's refusal to turn over Bates's Echo data, detectives sought the help of a far closer source: the Bentonville utilities department. According to police records, a city utility billing and collections manager told detectives that, on the night of Collins's death, 140 gallons of water were used at Bates's home between 1 and 3 a.m., an amount of water usage that exceeded all other periods there since October 2013.


Did you just open a brand new home hub? Read this first.

Washington Post

Focusing on Amazon's Echo (or the smaller Echo Dot) and Google's Home devices, we've put together a few basic tips to help you go beyond the setup menu and get the most from these gadgets: One of the first things you should figure out is where it's best to place them. You can link your Netflix account to Google Home now, as well as YouTube. The bottom line is that if you want to get your money's worth, then you should connect the smart speakers to an Amazon or Google account if you have one. On Google Home, head into the settings menu for the hub and tap "More" to get a full list of the things your hub can do and the services with which it can connect.