Biden Plan Aims to Build U.S. Semiconductor Manufacturing

President Joe Biden stated that investing in the manufacturing of semiconductors is part of his administration’s effort to improve the nation’s infrastructure, in order to “build the infrastructure of today and not repair the one of yesterday … [as well as] protect our supply chain and revitalize American manufacturing.” A shortage of semiconductors has impacted industries worldwide and hit the automotive industry particularly hard, forcing a slowdown or cessation of production across the U.S. To assess the problem, White House officials met with 20 chief executives from tech and automotive companies this week. Continue reading Biden Plan Aims to Build U.S. Semiconductor Manufacturing

Countries Plan to Invest in New Chip Manufacturing Facilities

Due to a global semiconductor shortage, the United States, European Union countries and Japan are planning to spend billions of dollars to build chip fabrication plants (“fabs”). These countries also face the fact that more than two-thirds of the world’s chips are made in Taiwan. China is offering subsidies to its domestic chip industry, as industry-leaders Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Samsung Electronics plan to build U.S.-based fabs, potentially aided by significant U.S. government subsidies. Continue reading Countries Plan to Invest in New Chip Manufacturing Facilities

Biden Orders an Evaluation of Semiconductor Supply Chains

In response to a worrying shortage in chips, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to conduct a 100-day review of the supply chains for semiconductors for various products, large-capacity batteries for electric vehicles, pharmaceuticals, and rare-earth elements crucial to technology and defense. Biden is also seeking $37 billion in funding to “supercharge” chip manufacturing and urged a separate one-year review of supply chains of six “broader sectors” including food production and technology. Continue reading Biden Orders an Evaluation of Semiconductor Supply Chains

New Meta-Optic Lens Tech Enters Commercial Development

Massachusetts-based startup Metalenz, just out of stealth mode, is readying the debut of an entirely new lens system for smartphones. Its single flat lens system, based on optical metasurfaces, reportedly produces an image of the same or better quality as traditional lenses, while enabling brighter photos by collecting more light, and offering new forms of sensing. The company just announced a $10 million investment that will enable it to scale production and speed up development of miniature optics and a new lens system targeting smartphones, consumer electronics and applications in the automotive and healthcare industries. Continue reading New Meta-Optic Lens Tech Enters Commercial Development

Google Breaks Revenue Records, Boosts Cloud Investments

Due largely to robust online holiday shopping, Google’s parent company Alphabet reached a record-breaking $56.9 billion in revenue for Q4, up from $43.2 billion in the same quarter last year. The numbers represent an ongoing recovery in ad spending, which was hard hit in early 2020. FactSet reports that analysts predicted the company would post $52.7 billion in revenue, including $42.3 billion from advertising. Chief financial officer Ruth Porat said Google Search and YouTube led the positive performance numbers. Continue reading Google Breaks Revenue Records, Boosts Cloud Investments

CES: Samsung Intros New Version of Digital Cockpit for Cars

At the recent CES 2021, Samsung showcased its Digital Cockpit, a 49-inch QLED screen with a sound system that can be pulled up in front of a car’s windshield to turn the vehicle into an office, gaming room or video recording studio. The concept was first introduced at CES 2018 and has been exhibited in an updated version every year since then. This year’s Digital Cockpit was developed with Harman. Samsung stated that the 2021 Cockpit aims to “focus on simplifying communication and delivering fun on-the-go experiences.” Continue reading CES: Samsung Intros New Version of Digital Cockpit for Cars

CES: Airpeak Drone Designed for Capturing Photos and Video

First announced in November of last year, Sony unveiled a drone at CES 2021 that the company says is the smallest of its kind capable of accommodating a Sony Alpha mirrorless camera for professional photography and producing video projects. While Sony did not reveal pricing or specs, the drone is is said to be shipping sometime this spring. The quadcopter design shown during the all-digital CES featured two landing gear extensions that are designed to retract during flight so they do not get in the way of shooting stills or video. Continue reading CES: Airpeak Drone Designed for Capturing Photos and Video

AMD Acquires Xilinx: Opens Door for 5G, Data Center Chips

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) agreed to pay $35 billion in stock to acquire Xilinx, which will enable it to diversify into chips for 5G wireless communications and automotive electronics. The company, which has some of the strongest sales in its 51-year history, has traditionally been Intel’s rival for computer chips. With Xilnix, AMD could also provide components for data centers and compete with Nvidia in that space. The all-stock deal is still topped by Nvidia’s plan to purchase UK chipmaker Arm for $40 billion. Continue reading AMD Acquires Xilinx: Opens Door for 5G, Data Center Chips

Sony Debuts Its Spatial Reality Display with Glasses-Free 3D

Sony introduced its Spatial Reality Display aimed at professional users in the content creation industry and potential future applications for consumers. The display looks like an ordinary computer monitor but is fixed on a 45-degree recline with a triangular frame and combines a 15.6-inch screen with micro optical lens coating and an eye-tracking camera. The display offers 4K resolution, with the pixels split into two 2K arrays for left and right eyes. It also offers 3D images without glasses. Continue reading Sony Debuts Its Spatial Reality Display with Glasses-Free 3D

Nvidia, Mercedes-Benz Build AI-Powered Self-Driving System

Nvidia and Mercedes-Benz collaborated on an AI-enabled in-vehicle computing system, powered by Nvidia’s Drive AGX Orin and set to launch in 2024. The new system will be able to automate driving of regular routes and, via an over-the-air-in-car system, allow drivers to download in-car safety, convenience, entertainment and subscription apps and services. Drive AGX Orin relies on a system-on-chip built of 17 billion transistors that integrates with Nvidia’s graphics chip architecture and Hercules cores. Continue reading Nvidia, Mercedes-Benz Build AI-Powered Self-Driving System

Qualcomm and ZeroLight Introduce 5G Mixed Reality System

Qualcomm and ZeroLight are launching an end-to-end solution that uses the former’s 5G-ready Snapdragon XR2 mixed reality chipset to offer Boundless XR for high-bandwidth wireless connection for mixed reality headsets. Aimed at the enterprise market, Boundless XR will enable developers to create lightweight, low-power headsets with the rendering power of a 300-watt computer. The solution relies on WiGig (60GHz Wi-Fi) or 5G, if there are nearby 5G base stations, something that enterprises could access via private 5G networks. Continue reading Qualcomm and ZeroLight Introduce 5G Mixed Reality System

Google Bypasses Cloud to Offer AI to Enterprise Customers

AI can enable many important tasks from manufacturing to medicine, but only if the applications are speedy and secure. Communication via the cloud adds latency and risks privacy, which is why Google worked on a solution — dubbed Coral — that avoids centralized data centers. Coral product manager Vikram Tank described Coral as a “platform of [Google] hardware and software components … that help you build devices with local AI — providing hardware acceleration for neural networks … right on the edge device.” Continue reading Google Bypasses Cloud to Offer AI to Enterprise Customers

CES: Daimler, Cameron Unveil Avatar-Inspired Concept Car

At Daimler’s keynote address at CES 2020, filmmaker James Cameron unveiled concept art, including Pandora’s future world, for his upcoming feature “Avatar 2,” sequel to his 2009 sci-fi blockbuster. On stage, he joined Daimler AG chair Ola Källenius, who introduced a Mercedes-Benz, dubbed Vision AVTR, inspired by “Avatar” and designed in collaboration with Cameron. The two described their design work, which includes many sustainability features. Disney is slated to release “Avatar 2” on December 17, 2021, with three more “Avatar” films in 2023, 2025 and 2027. Continue reading CES: Daimler, Cameron Unveil Avatar-Inspired Concept Car

All About You: CES Products Highlight Personal Experiences

The display of Sony’s 360 Reality Audio at CES 2020 just might summarize the entire show: a personalized experience in a 360-degree spherical sound field, exactly as intended by artists and creators. Listeners optimize Sony’s object-based spatial audio technology with an app that captures an image and then analyzes their ears. With the app connected to one of the select new Sony headphones and a premium music service such as Deezer, nugs.net, and TIDAL they will hear individual instruments, vocals, and even the audience placed in the sound field. Continue reading All About You: CES Products Highlight Personal Experiences

Latest Progress of Autonomous Driving Showcased at CES

Since 2016, each edition of CES has touted the imminent arrival of “Fully Self-Driving” (SAE Level 5) autonomous vehicles. While some companies working on “mostly self-driving” offered rides around town (like Russian-based Yandex), this year’s show came with a dose of realism as companies focus on clearing the hurdles associated with lower levels of autonomy. Demonstrating these efforts, companies showcased sensor fusion, mapping technologies and new intelligent systems. Meanwhile, some companies are using this calm before the storm to focus on the user experience. Sony even built a car to jumpstart the conversation. Continue reading Latest Progress of Autonomous Driving Showcased at CES

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