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The Morning After: Robot dog maker Boston Dynamics has a new owner

Engadget

If you haven't already bought a new gaming monitor in the online shopping chaos we like to call Prime Day, Samsung might have something to halt any rash purchases. It unveiled its latest batch of budget Odyssey gaming monitors, including a flat rather than a curved model that can do 4K at 144Hz. Unlike Samsung's curvy G9 and G7 models, the new Odyssey G7 28 (G70) has a flat panel and uses IPS rather than QLED tech, which means it won't be as bright. With HDMI 2.1 compatibility, it can do 4K resolution at up to 144Hz, so it'll support Sony's PS5 and the Xbox Series X models at 4K 120Hz with room to spare. Alas, Samsung hasn't offered prices for this, the most interesting model.


Save $500 or more on Samsung's 8K or LG's Gallery Design TVs

Mashable

No one should have to guess what's going on in that dark scene of The Handmaid's Tale. Since 2020, TV manufacturers have been pumping out large, affordable 4K panels at a wicked pace -- which means watching your favorite content with punchy colors, decipherable shadows, and smooth transitions doesn't have to be reserved for the movie theater. Each weekend, we'll be compiling a list of our favorite 4K and QLED TV deals from Samsung, LG, Sony, and more. Upgrading to 4K isn't as exciting when you've been watching a dated 4K TV for the past few years. The combo of accurate black uniformity, precise local dimming, crisp upscaling monitored by artificial intelligence, and robust brightness scale make this a one-of-a-kind watch experience that you won't get with 4K.


Samsung's new virtual assistant leaks online showing a Pixar-like character

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Samsung's new virtual assistant is called Sam and looks like a Pixar character, new promo images reveal. Brazil-based animation studios Lightfarm shared its renders of Sam online at the weekend before hastily taking them down. Sam will likely power Samsung's Galaxy powered smartphones and smart'things' like home appliances, as a replacement for Bixby, which Samsung revealed in 2017. Sam could also power Samsung's first commercially available smart speaker, which has been frustratingly delayed since it was first revealed in 2018. Digital assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri are disembodied voices that address users through devices like phones and speakers.


Standard digital camera and AI to monitor soil moisture for affordable smart irrigation

#artificialintelligence

Researchers at UniSA have developed a cost-effective new technique to monitor soil moisture using a standard digital camera and machine learning technology. The United Nations predicts that by 2050 many areas of the planet may not have enough fresh water to meet the demands of agriculture if we continue our current patterns of use. One solution to this global dilemma is the development of more efficient irrigation, central to which is precision monitoring of soil moisture, allowing sensors to guide'smart' irrigation systems to ensure water is applied at the optimum time and rate. Current methods for sensing soil moisture are problematic – buried sensors are susceptible to salts in the substrate and require specialised hardware for connections, while thermal imaging cameras are expensive and can be compromised by climatic conditions such as sunlight intensity, fog, and clouds. Researchers from The University of South Australia and Baghdad's Middle Technical University have developed a cost-effective alternative that may make precision soil monitoring simple and affordable in almost any circumstance.


Sony's new 3D speaker is a pricey work in progress

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Along with its smaller sibling, the RA3000, Sony's latest sonic hardware is first and foremost a vessel for the company's immersive music format, 360 Reality Audio. From its multi-directional, seven-driver configuration to support for high-resolution audio over Wi-Fi from 3D sound sources--and a sticker-shocking $700 price point--Sony's intentions for the RA5000 as a 360RA ambassador are clear from the get-go. Following Amazon's Echo Studio smart speaker, which supports the rival Dolby Atmos Music service, the RA5000 is tasked with helping Sony blaze its own trail in the 3D music landscape. However, while the RA5000 is an ambitious device with impressive sound quality, it's also got some serious limitations at the moment, including a half-baked app, an awkward design, and a highly limited collection of songs to make it sing. But before we get into the details, what exactly is 360RA?


Standard Digital Camera, AI To Monitor Soil Moisture For Affordable Smart Irrigation

#artificialintelligence

Adelaide (Australia): Researchers at the University of South Australia have developed a cost-effective new technique to monitor soil moisture using a standard digital camera and machine learning technology. The United Nations predicts that by 2050 many areas of the planet may not have enough fresh water to meet the demands of agriculture if we continue our current patterns of use. One solution to this global dilemma is the development of more efficient irrigation, central to which is precision monitoring of soil moisture, allowing sensors to guide'smart' irrigation systems to ensure water is applied at the optimum time and rate. Current methods for sensing soil moisture are problematic -- buried sensors are susceptible to salts in the substrate and require specialised hardware for connections, while thermal imaging cameras are expensive and can be compromised by climatic conditions such as sunlight intensity, fog, and clouds. Researchers from The University of South Australia and Baghdad's Middle Technical University have developed a cost-effective alternative that may make precision soil monitoring simple and affordable in almost any circumstance.


Vizio vs. TCL: TVs for every budget

Mashable

Vizio and TCL sell budget-friendly TVs that don't compromise on quality -- perfect for gaming, virtual workouts, and binge-watching Cobra Kai. Reviewers love them because they're not as expensive as TVs from other top brands, but have many of the same features. But what brand should you choose? Both TCL and Vizio offer models with 4K resolution and advanced gaming features to use with the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. To help you decide, take a look at our TV breakdown. Sure, they don't have 4K or 8K displays.


Samsung launches new flagship Galaxy S21 range

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Samsung has unveiled its latest range of flagship smartphones, with three models ranging in price from £769 ($799) to £1,149 ($1,199). The S21 range from the South Korean tech giant features an entry-level model, the mid-range Plus, and the Ultra – which is the first S Series phone to be compatible with the Samsung's S-Pen stylus. The stand-out feature on all three devices is the upgraded rear camera system, which was heavily leaked ahead of today's announcement and features night and portrait mode as well as its 100x'space zoom'. Pre-orders of the handsets open today, and the phones will be available as of January 29. The Ultra also comes with S-pen compatibility, the first Galaxy device to do so.


Presenting the Best of CES 2021 finalists!

Engadget

We'll admit, we weren't entirely sure what to expect when we agreed to judge the annual Best of CES Awards without an in-person show. How many companies would show up to an online-only show? What would we lose without being able to wander the halls of a massive convention center and see the products up close? As it turns out, we needn't have worried. More than 1,900 brands, big and small, turned up this year, according to the Consumer Technology Association, the industry group that organizes the show each year. What's more, many companies found socially distant ways to show us their latest and greatest in person, ahead of the show. In the end, we had enough fodder for 14 categories covering hardware and services in every sector from home theater to transportation to accessibility tech. We'll announce the winners tomorrow at 4:30pm ET during a ceremony on our virtual stage, which we'll livestream to Engadget.com We're also continuing tradition and opening up voting for our People's Choice Award -- our reader poll is live now and closes tomorrow, ahead of the ceremony. Please be sure to vote, and congrats to all of the finalists! The technology underpinning the Mudra Band might seem fanciful: sensors capture neural electrical impulses in the wrist and map them onto specific movements like a swipe or a tap, essentially letting you control an Apple Watch with subtle finger movements on one hand. There's no doubt the benefit of convenience -- you can operate your watch when your hands are wet or dirty, for instance.


Sony's first drone packs an imaging punch for pro content creators

Mashable

During its keynote at CES 2021, Sony gave us a glimpse at its very first drone: Airpeak. And, since Sony is essentially synonymous with sharp and cinematic image quality, it makes sense that Airpeak will first cater to professional photographers and videographers when it launches this Spring. The drone project was initially announced back in November via press release, but Sony clearly wanted to wait for a special occasion like CES to debut it in all its glory. Details are still scarce, but Sony did reveal that the Airpeak is the smallest drone yet for mounting and flying a DSLR or mirrorless camera (specifically its own lineup of Alpha mirrorless cameras). With Sony's drone, content creators can use more heavy-duty cameras to capture aerial footage rather than having to rely on built-in cameras that come equipped with most drones.