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CES 2023 Day 2 recap: Sony, Google and a Ram 1500 concept

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Well CES is officially underway. The floor is open and hordes of PR reps, journalists and eager entrepreneurs are coursing through the arteries of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Of course even before the LVCC opened its doors today there’s been plenty of news coming out of CES 2023.

Sony

Sony held its big press conference Wednesday night, covering everything from high-end cinema cameras and nano satellites, to video game movies and accessible controllers. The company’s Project Leonardo controller will offer a variety of customizable buttons and other hardware in a kit built for those with limited motor ability. Like Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive controller, Project Leonardo reflects a growing trend in tech, especially in the gaming industry, to better serve those living with disabilities.

The Sony announcement that made the biggest splash though, might have been that the endlessly delayed Gran Turismo movie is coming out in 2023. Personally I’m not a big fan of the Gran Turismo series, or racing games in general, but even I got a bit excited watching the trailer. The camera work in the upcoming Neill Blomkamp film is shaping up to be pretty intense.

And in a weird bit of synergy, Sony also unveiled a car of its own, the newly christened “Afeela” concept which was born out of partnership with Honda. The first Sony Honda Mobility vehicle won’t be ready for the road until 2026 at least.

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AMD

AMD also made a splash two CPUs and a GPU. The beefiest of the bunch is definitely the new Ryzen 9 7950X3D CPU which packs an insane 144MB of cache using the company’s 3D V-Cache technology and reaches boost speeds of 5.7GHz. The other two AMD announcements focused on the mobile side, including the first RDNA 3 GPUs for laptops and a lineup of performance-focused Ryzen HX CPUs.

Razer

Another company focusing on raw power this CES was Razer which announced two new laptop models – the Blade 16 and Blade 18. They’re loaded to the brim with high-end components like Intel Core-i9 HX chips and NVIDIA’s top-of-the-line RTX 4090 graphics cards.

But personally I think the most interesting feature is the Blade 16’s dual mode screen that can run either 4K at 120Hz and peak brightness of 1,000 nits or full HD plus at 240Hz and 600 nits, depending on whether speed or resolution are more important at that particular moment.

Razer also finally gave us a release date for its Edge cloud gaming handheld which will land on January 26th.

Lenovo

Lenovo YogaBook 9i
Lenovo YogaBook 9i

The biggest dump of news, though, probably belongs to Lenovo. It announced two laptops, a giant tablet, an e-ink notepad and even a “Think” branded phone. The ThinkPhone finally brings some of Lenovo’s enterprise expertise to bear on Motorola mobile devices while the Smart Paper tablet syncs handwritten notes with audio recordings, so you can scrub through a lecture and immediately see the notes associated with that moment.

The most unique device, though, is the dual screen YogaBook 9i. Sure, we’ve seen plenty of concept dual-screen machines before, but the 9i isn’t a pipe dream, it’s an actual product that will go on sale later this year. Lenovo will even bundle all the accessories you need to make the most of its form factor, including a foldable stand, a stylus and a bluetooth keyboard.

You can simply use the foldable as is and pull up a virtual keyboard on the bottom screen, or you can attach the physical one to the screen and use the exposed bit of the display either as touchpad or to show widgets. But you could also set it up as basically a portable dual-screen workstation with the displays either side by side or stacked one over the other.

Google

Android AutoAndroid Auto
Android Auto

Switching to the world of automobiles, Google was finally ready to put its major overhaul of Android Auto on display and has started rolling it out to users. The new UI has a split screen mode and puts Maps in easier reach at all times.

And speaking of Maps, Google debuted a new HD version that will be coming to the Polestar 3. These higher-resolution maps will be useful for Pilot Assist, but might prove essential for future self-driving features. Unfortunately, no word on when or if the HD Maps will be coming to other vehicles.

Stellantis

Last, but not least, Stellantis revealed its Ram 1500 Revolution BEV Concept truck. In the grand tradition of truly outlandish concept vehicles showing up at CES the Revolution BEV has an augmented reality heads up display, a collapsable steering wheel, some sort of 3D animated avatar that the driver can interact with and will even follow you around like some sort of sad puppy dog if you want.

On the more practical side it also sports four wheel steering and an 800 volt architecture that would allow it to get up to 100 miles of charge in just 10 minutes. Of course, you’ll never actually be able to buy the Ram 1500 Revolution BEV Concept. But there is supposedly a Ram 1500 BEV coming in 2024 that will be loosely based on this.

And don’t worry, there’s still plenty more to come from CES – We’ve only just begun scouring the floor for hidden gems. So for all the details on anything you might have missed, check out our comprehensive coverage on Engadget.com or our YouTube channel. And stay tuned more from CES 2023.

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A Quick Guide to Better CMM Maintenance

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CMM

A coordinate-measuring machine, also known as a CMM, is a specialized piece of equipment common in high-precision manufacturing. It uses coordinate technology to measure and replicate the dimensions of particular objects.

CMMs are a lot more accurate than regular measurement gauges. This characteristic makes them the equipment of choice for quality assurance in certain industries, like aerospace, defense, and medical manufacturing.

Despite being a powerful piece of equipment and the most versatile measuring tool in the metrology industry, CMMs can also be quite delicate. They require the right environment and proper maintenance practices to maintain accuracy and reliability.

The Importance of Proper CMM Maintenance

It’s essential to clean and inspect each part of your machine to ensure it stays efficient and accurate. Preventative maintenance ensures that your CMM remains accurate and performs at its best. It also improves your machine’s longevity.

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Without proper CMM maintenance, you could risk damaging your CMM. Repairs would involve operational delays and additional costs.

CMM Preventative Maintenance Tips

Preventative maintenance practices are ones your team could do by yourselves. It’s best to schedule regular maintenance checks for your CMM daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. These checks can alert you immediately to possible problems with your CMM.

Remove dust and dirt regularly

Clean and well-maintained air bearings ensure your CMM works as it should. These frictionless and stable bearings help ensure accuracy and efficiency. Dust and dirt can clog your machine’s air bearings, affecting its overall performance.

Aside from your machine’s air bearings, dust could also get into other surfaces and crevices. These tiny particles could affect your machine’s accuracy.

Handle Stylus Tips Properly

The stylus is the tip that makes contact with the object you want to measure with your CMM. Despite this significant role, the stylus can be fragile and require careful handling. Too much force could cause it to bend or break.

Clean your stylus with a cleaning agent and a lint-free cloth. Make sure to remove any residue from workplace materials.

Ensure Good Air Quality

Most CMMs use air bearings, and good air quality is essential to keep them running smoothly. Various air quality issues could affect machine performance and even burn out machine motors.

For air quality maintenance, ask and address the following questions:

  • Do the lines have condensation, oil, or other contaminants?
  • Is the airflow constant?
  • Are you using the proper pressure?

When To Call a Professional

Most preventative maintenance practices are simple enough to be performed internally. However, some issues require professional attention. You can also conduct regular professional maintenance checks to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Below are some procedures that require professional assistance. Many CMM suppliers also offer maintenance services alongside their machinery.

Conducting CMM Training

CMMs are highly specialized pieces of equipment. To handle them properly, your staff needs professional training.

Training courses allow you to get trained by CMM experts on the tools and knowledge necessary within your industry. Regular training sessions also help keep you updated on industry trends and standards.

Sensor Malfunctions

CMM sensors are critical to your machine’s speed and accuracy. They should be professionally inspected and calibrated annually.

Routine sensor maintenance can significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of your machine. CMM sensors include the following:

  • Scanning probe
  • Single point laser
  • Line laser
  • Electronic touch trigger probe
  • Video camera

Faulty Bearings

Neglected air bearings could cause them to falter in their accuracy and stability. Properly maintained air bearings ensure a smooth, stable, and accurate measurement process.

A professional metrology company can thoroughly inspect your air bearings to prevent further machine damage.

A CMM is a significant investment for any business. Good maintenance practices help your machine last and perform at its best, thus making the most out of this investment.

 

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Nintendo’s discounted Switch game vouchers are back

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Nintendo’s Switch Online service has become a better deal over time, offering more perks than just the ability to play games online. On top of getting access to SNES and NES classics, and cloud save backups (for most games, save a couple dozen), Nintendo announced an even bigger perk yesterday: discounted game vouchers.

All subscribers can buy a two-pack of these vouchers for $99.98, and a huge range of first-party (in other words, typically discount-averse) Nintendo games are looped in. I encourage you to check out the full list, but some highlights include the brand-new Fire Emblem Engage, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, Metroid Dread, Splatoon 3, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. Important note: you both have to be a subscriber to buy and use these vouchers.

It’s great that this list is more expansive than Nintendo’s first swing at this deal in 2019. But this perk could actually turn Switch Online into a must-have service because it allows you to pre-purchase up to four sets of vouchers (totaling eight games), and keep them for 12 months from the date of purchase. With $20 in savings with each pair of vouchers, buying four bundles will save you up to $80, assuming that each title normally costs $59.99. If you buy a lot of games, this is a smart way to save a little bit of money on every forthcoming purchase.

I know what you might be thinking: “Can I use one on The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom?” Nintendo has not currently listed the deliriously anticipated sequel to Breath of the Wild, which is set to release on May 12th, 2023. Polygon has reached out to Nintendo to see if it’ll eventually become eligible, but did not hear back in time for publication.

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You can get a free seven-day trial for Switch Online here, and you can easily subscribe to the service directly from the Switch’s eShop (it costs $3.99 per month, $7.99 for three months, or $19.99 per year). However, you can purchase (or gift) a one-year subscription with a digital code via Best Buy for $19.99. With a family subscription that costs $34.99 per year, up to eight Switch accounts can reap the perks of Switch Online.

For players who want all the perks, access to Goldeneye 007 and other N64 and Sega Genesis games, and complimentary DLC for some Switch games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you’ll need Nintendo’s Switch Online plus the Expansion Pack tier, which costs $49.99 per year for one account, or $79.99 per year for a family subscription.

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Canadian discovery could help batteries last longer

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A chance discovery in a Canadian laboratory could help extend the life of laptop, phone and electric car batteries.

According to scientists from Dalhousie University in Halifax, common adhesive tape in batteries may be the reason many devices lose some of their power while off or not being used, which is a phenomenon known as self-discharge.

“In our laboratory we do many highly complex experiments to improve batteries, but this time we discovered a very simple thing,” Michael Metzger, an assistant professor in Dalhousie University’s physics and atmospheric science department, said in a news release. “In commercial battery cells there is tape—like Scotch tape—that holds the electrodes together and there is a chemical decomposition of this tape, which creates a molecule that leads to the self-discharge.”

The solution is simple, too, Metzger says: replace the polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, plastic tape commonly used inside batteries with something more durable and stable.

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“It’s a commercially relevant discovery,” Metzger said. “It’s a small thing but it can definitely help improve battery cells.”

Metzger and his team have been trying to understand why lithium-ion battery cells in inactive devices tend to lose some of their power and self-discharge, something that has long frustrated consumers and manufacturers alike.

“Every manufacturer of lithium-ion cells in the world wants to make self-discharge as small as possible,” Metzger told CTVNews.ca in a joint statement with graduate student Anu Adamson. “In every battery there is a small rate of self-discharge that slowly drains the battery. This is very inconvenient for users and a big headache for industry.”

The electrodes that power batteries are separated by an electrolyte solution that is usually a form of lithium. After exposing several battery cells to different temperatures, researchers were surprised to see that electrolyte solution had turned bright red when it normally should be clear, which was something they had never encountered. The discovery was made by Adamson and two other students.

Chemical analysis of the red electrolyte solution revealed that at higher temperatures, a new molecule had been created inside the battery through the decomposition of common PET adhesive tape, which is often used to hold components together inside batteries. Strong and lightweight, PET is also frequently used for plastic packaging, drink bottles, clothing fibres and more.

Researchers realized that the red molecule, dimethyl terephthalate, was acting as a redox shuttle, meaning that it can transport electrons between a battery’s positive and negative electrodes, creating self-discharge and depleting power even when a battery is not in use. Ideally, the shuttling of electrons within a battery should only happen when a device is on.

“It’s a very simple thing—it is in every plastic bottle and no one would have thought that this has such a huge impact on how the lithium-ion cells degrade,” Metzger said in the news release. “It’s something we never expected because no one looks at these inactive components, these tapes and plastic foils in the battery cell, but it really needs to be considered if you want to limit side-reactions in the battery cell.”

The findings are outlined in a pair of studies published on Jan. 20 and Jan. 23 in the peer-reviewed Journal of The Electrochemical Society. The researchers are now testing PET tape substitutes.

“Since the PET in the tape is the culprit that creates the redox shuttle, we need to replace it with a polymer that is more stable and does not decompose in the harsh chemistry of a lithium-ion battery,” Metzger and Adamson told CTVNews.ca. “So far, the results look very promising, and we plan to publish a new research paper on improved polymers for lithium-ion battery tapes soon.”

According to the researchers, their work has been attracting interest from “some of the world’s largest computer hardware companies and electric vehicle manufacturers,” which are eager to reduce self-discharge and improve battery performance.

“We visited some of these companies and they are planning to implement more stable polymers in their battery cells,” Metzger said.

In the release, Metzger noted: “One of the engineers said, ‘I heard you guys found out something is wrong with PET tape.’ So, I explained to him that it’s causing this self-discharge and asked him, ‘What are you using in your cells?’ He said, ‘PET tape.'”

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