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Amazon’s Alexa could soon mimic voice of dead relatives

Amazon Echo and Echo Plus devices, behind, sit near illuminated Echo Button devices during an event by the company in Seattle on Sept. 27, 2017. Amazon’s Alexa might soon replicate the voice of family members – even if they’re dead. The capability, unveiled at Amazon’s Re:Mars conference in Las Vegas Wednesday, June 22, 2022, is in development and would allow the virtual assistant to mimic the voice of a specific person based on a less than a minute of provided recording. Credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File

Amazon’s Alexa might soon replicate the voice of family members—even if they’re dead.

The capability, unveiled at Amazon’s Re:Mars conference in Las Vegas, is in development and would allow the to mimic the voice of a specific person based on a less than a minute of provided recording.

Rohit Prasad, and head scientist for Alexa, said at the event Wednesday that the desire behind the feature was to build greater trust in the interactions users have with Alexa by putting more “human attributes of empathy and affect.”

“These attributes have become even more important during the ongoing pandemic when so many of us have lost ones that we love,” Prasad said. “While AI can’t eliminate that pain of loss, it can definitely make their memories last.”

In a video played by Amazon at the event, a asks “Alexa, can Grandma finish reading me the Wizard of Oz?” Alexa then acknowledges the request, and switches to another voice mimicking the child’s grandmother. The voice assistant then continues to read the book in that same voice.

To create the feature, Prasad said the company had to learn how to make a “high-quality voice” with a shorter recording, opposed to hours of recording in a studio. Amazon did not provide further details about the feature, which is bound to spark more and about consent.

Amazon’s push comes as competitor Microsoft earlier this week said it was scaling back its synthetic voice offerings and setting stricter guidelines to “ensure the active participation of the speaker” whose voice is recreated. Microsoft said Tuesday it is limiting which customers get to use the service—while also continuing to highlight acceptable uses such as an interactive Bugs Bunny character at AT&T stores.

“This technology has exciting potential in education, accessibility, and entertainment, and yet it is also easy to imagine how it could be used to inappropriately impersonate speakers and deceive listeners,” said a blog post from Natasha Crampton, who heads Microsoft’s AI ethics division.


Alexa Together: Amazon launches service to help care for seniors


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Researchers Develop Nanoparticles That Can Deliver Chemotherapy Drug to Brain, Help Kill Cancer Cells

A team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created a human tissue model to demonstrate the functioning of nanoparticles. Cancer types like glioblastoma have a high fatality rate and treating them is difficult due to the blood-brain barrier. The barrier doesn’t allow most chemotherapy drugs to penetrate through the blood vessels around the brain, hence hampering the efforts to treat cancer.

Now, the team of researchers has developed nanoparticles that can carry the drug and enter tumours, killing the glioblastoma cells.

To test the efficiency of the nanoparticles, researchers have devised a method and created a model that replicates the blood-brain barrier. The brain tissue model has been described in a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We are hoping that by testing these nanoparticles in a much more realistic model, we can cut out a lot of the time and energy that’s wasted trying things in the clinic that doesn’t work,” said Joelle Straehla, the Charles W. and Jennifer C. Johnson Clinical Investigator at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and lead author of the study.

To replicate the complex structure of the brain, researchers used patient-derived glioblastoma cells by growing them in a microfluidic device. Then, human endothelial cells were used to grow blood vessels in tiny tubes surrounding the sphere of tumour cells. They also included two cell types namely pericytes and astrocytes that are associated with the transportation of molecules through the blood-brain barrier.

To create the nanoparticles, a layer-by-layer-assembly technique was used in a lab. The particles used in the study are coated with a peptide called AP2 which was found to be effective in helping nanoparticles penetrate the blood-brain barrier.

Researchers have tested the nanoparticles in tissue models of both healthy brain tissue and glioblastoma tissue. It was observed that particles coated with AP2 peptide efficiently got through the vessels surrounding the tumours.

Subsequently, the particles were filled with a chemotherapy drug known as cisplatin and coated with the targeting peptide. Researchers noted that the coated particles were able to kill glioblastoma tumour cells in the model while the ones not coated by AP2 damaged healthy blood vessels.

“We saw increased cell death in tumours that were treated with the peptide-coated nanoparticle compared to the bare nanoparticles or free drug. Those coated particles showed more specificity of killing the tumour, versus killing everything in a nonspecific way,” said Cynthia Hajal, another lead author of the study.

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To beat the summer heat, passive cooling really works

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Opening the windows at night and pulling down shades during the sunniest part of the afternoon can keep homes from becoming dangerously hot during extreme heat waves.

New research from the University of Oregon measures just how big of an impact these strategies can have, especially in the Pacific Northwest.

In simulations using weather data from a 2021 severe wave, a combination of shading and kept apartment temperatures out of the danger zone during the entirety of the three-day event, even without air conditioning. And it reduced the load on air conditioning by up to 80 percent.

The findings could inform to protect renters from the effects of severe heat: Cities could mandate that apartments have operable windows that can be safely left open overnight, as well as working shades.

“In the Pacific Northwest, where we get such cool night air, we have an amazing climate for passive cooling,” said Alexandra Rempel, a UO building scientist who led the study. “And we should take advantage of it.”

Rempel and her research group will publish their results in the September issue of the journal Applied Energy.

In June 2021, an extreme heat wave roasted Oregon and Washington. Temperatures hit 116 degrees Fahrenheit in Portland and 111 degrees in Eugene, breaking previous records. The prolonged heat was deadly, and the impact was especially great on people living in apartments in dense urban areas.

Such extreme heat events are only expected to become more frequent thanks to climate change. So figuring out how to make homes livable during intense summer heat is becoming an increasingly urgent problem.

But buildings in the Pacific Northwest are usually designed to keep heat in. Many homes don’t have air conditioning, given the typically mild summer weather, or only have units.

While strategies like drawing the blinds and opening the windows are time-tested ways to cool down homes, there wasn’t much solid evidence showing whether they could make a meaningful difference in the face of triple-digit temperatures, Rempel said.

Armed with collected from cities like Eugene, Portland and Seattle during the 2021 heat wave, the researchers used a computer program to simulate conditions inside a hypothetical west-facing, two-bedroom apartment with different cooling strategies.

“Without any shades or ventilation, you’ll quickly be in ,” said undergraduate student Jackson Danis, a co-author of the study.

But even opening windows a little bit lessened the amount of time the apartment was dangerously hot. And strategically using a combination of passive cooling techniques could make the apartment surprisingly livable, even in the face of triple-digit outdoor temperatures.

Opening the windows made the biggest difference at night and in the early morning, when the outside air is the coolest, researchers found. Meanwhile, using blinds or window shades helped the most during the late afternoon, when the sun was directly shining on the windows. Thick outdoor shades were most effective, but standard indoor pull-down shades or blinds, which renters are more likely to have, still made a difference, especially if their edges were sealed with side tracks.

The impact was even greater with a fan in the window to help circulate air.

While the advice seems intuitive, “the magnitude of the improvement is something that we didn’t expect,” said Alan Rempel, an applied mathematician and a co-author of the study.

Passive cooling strategies can be a lifeline for people without air conditioning. But even people with AC could use the techniques to lower their summer energy bills, added Michael Fowler, a building scientist at the Seattle firm Mithun Inc. who co-directed the study.

Reducing use relieves stress on the , lowering the risk of power outages during heat waves. It’s good for the environment, too, Alexandra Rempel added.

“It helps keep AC demand within the reach of renewable energy sources,” she said.


Deadly US Northwest heat prompts legislation aimed at relief


More information:
Alexandra R. Rempel et al, Improving the passive survivability of residential buildings during extreme heat events in the Pacific Northwest, Applied Energy (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2022.119323

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To beat the summer heat, passive cooling really works (2022, June 24)
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Toyota Recalls 2,700 Electric Cars Produced Between March and June for Faulty Wheel That May Detach

Toyota is recalling 2,700 bZ4X crossover vehicles globally for wheel bolts that could become loose, in a major setback for the Japanese automaker’s ambitions to roll out electric cars.

Toyota Motor said on Friday the cause is still under investigation, but the whole wheel could come off, risking a crash.

“Until the remedy is available, no one should drive these vehicles,” the company said in a statement.

Among the vehicles subject to the latest recall, about 2,200 were destined for Europe, 270 for North America, 112 for Japan, and 60 for the rest of Asia, according to Toyota. They were produced between March and June.

The bZ4X, which went on sale about two months ago, is a key model in Toyota’s plans to strengthen its electric lineup.

Toyota is planning to have 30 EV models by 2030, selling 3.5 million electric vehicles globally that year. Toyota is also investing 2 trillion yen ($17.6 billion or nearly Rs. 130 crore)) in battery research and development to achieve such goals.

The “bz” in the recalled model’s name, as well as others in the works, stands for a “beyond zero” series, including sport-utility vehicles of all sizes, pickup trucks and sportscars, according to Toyota.

The maker of the Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury models has been seen by some critics as a straggler in pushing electric vehicles, partly because it has been so bullish, and successful, in other green technology, such as hybrids and fuel cells, as well as efficient gas engines.

Demand for electric cars is expected to continue growing, especially with gas prices soaring recently, amid worries about inflation and the war in Ukraine, and people around the world become more conscious about climate change and the environment.


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‘Smart’ water meters coming to San Jose, other Bay Area cities

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

You’ve got a smartphone. Maybe a smartwatch. Or even a smart doorbell.

In the coming months and years as California struggles with worsening droughts, millions of Bay Area residents will soon be getting a smart water meter.

Water meters—the clunky brass devices that sit in underground boxes near the sidewalks outside most homes and businesses, measuring water use—have been around since the 1820s. But in many areas, utilities only send out water bills every two months, or maybe once a month.

That means unless residents go out, lift the heavy concrete lid and dutifully write down the numbers on their analog water meters, most people don’t know until weeks have gone by that they have a major leak from , old pipes or toilets, wasting thousands of gallons of water and running up their bill.

Smart meters instead send wireless signals in real time so residents and utilities can better track water use hourly, daily or weekly, making it easier to hit conservation targets and detect leaks.

“We are trying to get our customers over the ignorance-is-bliss mentality to the knowledge-is-power mentality,” said Nelsy Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the East Bay Municipal Utility District, which provides water to 1.4 million people in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

San Francisco installed smart water meters in 2014 during California’s last drought. Boston, Washington D.C. and New York City have them. But smart meters are expensive to install. The technology changes every year. Some utilities have been reluctant to take the plunge.

As California’s latest drought stretches into its third year, water supplies continue to tighten and state conservation rules increase, so a growing number of water agencies are deciding to upgrade.

On Friday, the San Jose Water Company, a private firm that provides water to 1 million people in San Jose, Cupertino, Campbell, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga, received final approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to install smart meter technology on the 230,000 water meters at homes and businesses in its service area.

Work on the $100 million project will begin in two years and will finish in 2026, with the average water bill going up about $5 a month to pay for it, company officials say.

The company ran a in San Jose’s Willow Glen neighborhood and found homes with the technology cut water use 7% on average, and the duration of leaks fell 38%.

“It went well,” said Liann Walborsky, a San Jose Water spokeswoman. “The customers who were in the pilot really enjoyed that they were able to see their water usage, and we saw results in conservation.”

To the east, the Alameda County Water District, which serves Fremont, Union City and Newark, is spending $41 million to upgrade its 86,500 meters by 2025. It already has finished 17,500, said spokeswoman Sharene Gonzales.

To the north, the Marin Municipal Water District is moving forward with plans to replace its 58,000 analog meters over three years at a cost ranging from $20 million to $25 million.

And East Bay MUD has installed smart meter technology on about 19,000 homes and businesses. The district’s board, based in Oakland, is scheduled to decide in September whether to expand the program.

“Just about every utility I know has a full smart meter system, or is investigating it, or is in the process of deploying it,” said Dave Wallenstein, an associate engineer with East Bay MUD.

The technology is not without controversy. When Pacific Gas & Electric installed smart gas and electricity meters across Northern California a decade ago, a small but vocal group of protesters fought the idea. They raised concerns about privacy and potential health risks.

In 2011, the California Council on Science and Technology, which advises on technology issues, concluded the radio frequency emissions from smart meters were well within federal safety standards for cellphones and microwave ovens.

Still, most agencies, including PG&E, allow customers to opt-out. Walborsky said San Jose Water will do that when specific plans are finished in the next two years and installation begins.

For people who already track their electricity use closely or watch their gas mileage in real time while driving, a smart water meter is another tool to “geek out” on, say some experts. Most systems, like San Francisco’s, allow people to log on to a website and track their water use. Some have smart phone apps. Some send text messages when there are big spikes in .

“I remember a project I was working on in Coachella Valley where somebody had a really high water bill,” said Lon House, a veteran energy and water consultant who works in Arizona and California. “They got irate. The water company said, ‘You used a lot of water in this particular week.’ They said, ‘Oh yeah, we went on a trip and left the hose running.’ “

On privacy, as part of its approval from the state PUC, San Jose Water and its contractors are required to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act and not transmit specific information, such as customer names or bill payment status, over the wireless network.

Some East Coast utilities have installed to cut down on labor costs. With sent from meters directly, they no longer need employees to manually read the meters.

Some water experts say that as climate change continues to heat up the already arid West, nearly every city will have smart water meters, which also can detect large leaks in distribution pipes and, in some cases, more easily locate people who are watering lawns over the limited number of days in droughts.

“In a drought, a utility can either say, ‘You can never water your grass again,’ or you can say, ‘Here’s how much you can use, you decide when you use it and how you use it,’ ” House said. “It’s a two-edged sword. It can be a bludgeon from the government, or it can be enabling for customers. But given what California is facing, they have to do this.”


Unprecedented water curbs kick in for drought-hit Los Angeles


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iQoo Neo 6 Review: Mighty Performance at a Great Price

iQoo has brought its Neo series to India with the launch of the Neo 6 in the super-competitive sub-Rs. 30,000 price segment. In order to give the phone a fighting chance, iQoo has equipped it with powerful hardware such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC, and has bolstered its features by giving it 80W fast charging and a 120Hz AMOLED display. The charging speed especially is a lot higher than what you generally get in this price range. But does this make the iQoo Neo 6 undefeatable? My first impressions of this phone has been pretty positive, and now it’s time to see if it’s actually as good as it looks.

iQoo Neo 6 price in India

The iQoo Neo 6 is priced at Rs. 29,999 for the base variant which comes with 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage. The higher variant with 12GB of RAM and 256GB storage, which is the one I have, is priced at Rs. 33,999. The iQoo Neo 6 is offered in two colours, Dark Nova and Cyber Rage.

iQoo Neo 6 design

The iQoo Neo 6 is a rebranded iQoo Neo 6 SE which launched in China earlier this year. The Neo 6 is a big smartphone and weighs 190g. It sports a 6.62-inch AMOLED display with a hole-punch at the top for the selfie camera. It has fairly thin bezels all around. The frame of the phone is made out of plastic and is flattened at the top and the bottom.

iQoo has added an IR (infrared) emitter on the Neo 6, that sits on the top next to the secondary microphone. The bottom of the frame has the USB Type-C port, speaker, and the SIM tray slot. The back panel is also made out of plastic and has curved sides, which makes the phone comfortable to hold. The right side of the frame is narrow and features slim power and volume buttons.

This Dark Nova colour of the iQoo Neo 6 looks classy

 

The Dark Nova trim of the iQoo Neo 6 looks classy, in my opinion. It has a gradient finish with mixed hues of dark blue and bright teal. This latter shade shines through when light hits it at certain angles. If you prefer something more flashy, the Cyber Rage colour might be to your liking. The camera module on the iQoo Neo 6 will also grab your attention. It has a two-step design with a prominent Neo branding on it.

iQoo ships the Neo 6 with a transparent case in the box. The back panel of the phone does have a matte finish, so fingerprints aren’t really an issue but the case should provide some added protection. You also get a USB Type-C to 3.5mm audio adapter, which is a good addition.

iQoo Neo 6 specifications and software

The iQoo Neo 6 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC which is one of the most powerful SoCs in this price range. The Mi 11X (Review) which directly competes with this phone, is also powered by the same SoC. iQoo says it has used a liquid cooling system to keep the SoC running cool. 

The Neo 6 sports a full-HD+ E4 AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. It has a 360Hz touch sampling rate which can boost up to 1,200Hz in a few games. The panel is also HDR10+ certified and has a brightness of 800 nits. iQoo has also added stereo speakers to the Neo 6 but it misses out on an IP rating.

The phone supports Bluetooth 5.2, dual-band Wi-Fi, four 5G bands, dual-4G VoLTE, and five satellite navigation systems. There is no NFC. The iQoo Neo 6 packs a 4,700mAh battery and has support for up to 80W fast charging. iQoo also bundles a compatible charger in the box.

iqoo neo 6 bloatware gadgets360 iQoo Neo 6 Review

The iQoo Neo 6 does have a fair amount of bloatware apps preinstalled

 

On the software side, the iQoo Neo 6 runs Funtouch OS 12 on top of Android 12. iQoo promises two years of Android OS updates and three years of security updates. The user interface is nearly identical to the Vivo X80 that I recently reviewed since both use Funtouch OS 12. Sadly, I faced the same issue with bloatware like I did on the Vivo X80, as there’s simply too much of it. You can uninstall most of these apps to reclaim some storage space. On the iQoo Neo 6, I found that the browser app pushed unwanted notifications throughout the day, which got annoying very quickly.

iQoo Neo 6 performance and battery life

The iQoo Neo 6 uses a powerful SoC and delivers consistent performance without any signs of slowing down. I had the 12GB variant which comfortably allowed me to multitask without needing to kill any opened apps in the background. I could switch between different apps and games, and I never noticed the phone having to reload an app. iQoo also has an extended RAM feature that allowed me to allocate 4GB of system storage as virtual RAM.

Watching videos on the iQoo Neo 6 felt engaging on the crisp AMOLED display. The stereo speakers also added to the viewing experience. The higher refresh rate made scrolling in apps and menus much smoother. iQoo has set the refresh rate to Smart Switch by default and with this setting, the Neo 6 ran at 120Hz most of the time.

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The triple camera setup on the iQoo Neo 6 sits in a big camera module at the back

 

The iQoo Neo 6 has an in-display fingerprint scanner, which was reliable and never failed to unlock the device whenever I tried. I had also set up face recognition which worked equally well. The phone fared well in benchmarks. It managed 729,331 points in AnTuTu which was higher than the OnePlus Nord 2 (Review). In Geekbench 5, the Neo 6 scored 983 and 3074 points in single-core and multi-core tests. In the GFXBench graphics benchmark, the iQoo Neo 6 managed 50fps in the Car Chase test. Overall, the scores were on the higher side in this segment so those looking for good performance should be pleased.

I played Call of Duty: Mobile on the iQoo Neo 6 which defaulted to the ‘Very High’ graphics preset, while the frame rate was set to ‘High’ by default. I played the game for about 20 minutes which resulted in a five percent drain in battery level. The phone wasn’t warm to the touch which could be the result of the liquid cooling system doing its job.

I was happy with the battery performance on the iQoo Neo 6 as the phone easily lasted for beyond a day and a half without any issues. In our HD video loop test, the phone ran for 21 hours, 17 minutes which was impressive. The supplied 80W charger managed to charge the phone up to 83 percent in 30 minutes and was charged completely in under 50 minutes.

iQoo Neo 6 cameras

The iQoo Neo 6 sports a triple camera setup consisting of a 64-megapixel primary with OIS, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide with a 116-degree field of view, and a 2-megapixel macro. For selfies, it has a 16-megapixel camera. The camera app is fairly easy to use and is visually similar to the app on the Vivo X80, minus the Zeiss additions. The main camera pixel-bins photos to 16-megapixels by default, but you can shoot at the full resolution if needed.

Daylight landscape photos from the primary camera were detailed and objects at a distance were recognisable. Text on distant buildings were also legible. The phone has an AI scene optimisation option which occasionally bumps up the contrast in the output. The ultra-wide-angle camera offers a wider field of view and has a similar colour profile as the primary camera. However, the output was warped along the edges of the frame.

iQoo Neo 6 primary camera (top) and ultra-wide-angle (bottom) camera samples (tap to see full size)

 

Close-up photos looked crisp and the iQoo Neo 6 managed to capture minute details quite well. It also managed a soft, natural bokeh between the subject and the background. Shots taken in Portrait mode had good edge detection. The macro camera managed good extreme close-ups of subjects. However, the quality was limited by the resolution of the sensor.

iQoo Neo 6 close-up (top) and macro (bottom) camera samples (tap to see full size)

 

The iQoo Neo 6 was quick to gauge the scene in low light and automatically kept the shutter open for longer. This resulted in a fairly detailed image. The phone also prompted me to switch to Night mode in very dark scenarios, which looked brighter and produced better details in the shadows.

iQoo Neo 6 low light (top) and Night mode (bottom) camera samples (tap to see full size)

 

Selfies taken with the iQoo Neo 6 were captured at the sensor’s full resolution. The app applies a beautification filter by default but this can be adjusted or even disabled if needed. Daylight photos had accurate skin tones. In low light, the phone enabled screen flash automatically which helped in getting a better output. Selfie’s taken in Portrait mode had good edge detection and I could fine tune the level of background blur before capturing the image.

iQoo Neo 6 daylight and low light Portrait selfies (tap to see full size)

 

Video recording topped out at 4K 60fps for the primary rear camera, as well as the selfie camera which is not something we see very often. Video footage was well stabilised in daylight, but low light footage had visible shimmer in the output when walking. The camera app also has a dual-video mode that allowed me to shoot using the primary and the selfie camera at the same time.

Verdict

If you are looking to buy a smartphone with a budget of around Rs. 30,000, the iQoo Neo 6 should definitely be high up on your list. It has very good performance that you would expect from a high-end Qualcomm SoC, along with excellent battery life and extremely fast charging. The promise of guaranteed Android OS and security updates make the iQoo Neo 6 future-proof to an extent. In my opinion, the base variant of the iQoo Neo 6 is the one to get since it offers better value than the 12GB variant.

I don’t have major complaints with the iQoo Neo 6 except for the preinstalled bloatware, which is definitely a concern. Those looking for good video recording performance should note that the iQoo Neo 6 doesn’t fare well when shooting videos in low light.

If you value clean software, then the recently launched Motorola Edge 30 (Review) is something you should consider. However, if you don’t want to compromise on performance, then the Mi 11X (Review) and the OnePlus Nord 2 (Review) are very good alternatives to look at in the same price range.


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Epoxy.ai, a Philadelphia tech start-up, aims to sync TV watching with sports betting

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Chris Reynolds and Jason Angelides developed the gizmo on the TV remote that brought deep-dive sports stats—tracking game momentum and player statistics—to millions of Xfinity subscribers.

Now, less than two years after leaving executive jobs at Comcast Corp., they want a piece of the online sports betting action.

Reynolds and Angelides have launched a start-up, Epoxy.ai, in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, that aims to personalize the betting experience for 75 million who experts say could place more than $20 billion a year in wagers as more states legalize online sports betting.

Epoxy’s first idea: to use the microphone on a to determine what game a sports fan is watching and to synchronize the game on the television with a recommended bet. Reynolds said that a sports bettor would agree to the synchronization through the terms of service of the company that licenses Epoxy’s technology. Epoxy’s first customer is betParx, which is a sister company to Parx Casino.

“Amazon, Instagram, Spotify, those businesses are built on knowing who you are, and putting the right things in front of you,” Angelides said. “It’s an expectation and the and gaming industry, while they recognize the need for that type of experience, they struggle to support that for a variety of reasons. One, because they’re extremely thinly spread technologically because they’re rolling out across states. Number two, they’re not technology companies.”

Too early for innovation?

In May 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, paving the way for the gold rush of online sports betting. Pennsylvania, New Jersey and 21 other states have legalized online sports betting. Pennsylvania sports fans placed more than $6 billion in online wagers in the last year.

Experts believe that the national volume of online sports betting, or the “handle,” will grow to $25 billion to $30 billion a year as more states legalize online sports wagering.

Chris Grove, a co-founding partner at Acies Investments, a venture fund for sports, gambling and technology start-ups in Las Vegas, called Epoxy’s founders “very talented.”

Comcast buys OneTwoSee sports info service

But Grove believes that sports books have more immediate issues to resolve before they think about the innovation that Epoxy offers, including launching sports books in new states, registering sports bettors more efficiently and handling deposits.

“It’s easy to be overly optimistic about the pace of innovation in regulated sports betting,” Grove said. “It’s kind of like talking about putting solar panels on the roof before you put the roof on.”

Ready for some football?

Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, which owns Parx Casino in Bensalem, is taking an early run with Epoxy under the leadership of Matthew Cullen, who was hired four years ago. He heads Greenwood’s 100-person digital gambling operation that includes overseeing the company’s online sports betting in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Michigan. Cullen expects to expand sports betting to an additional three states. Parx handled $147 million in online sports bets between last July and April, according to figures from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

“Personalization is the next big thing,” Cullen said, because “people are going to want to bet on what they bet in the past, or what they like, or what they like to watch.” But, Cullen added, echoing Grove, “it’s still early days.”

Cullen’s team will measure whether Epoxy leads to higher retention of bettors, affects the amount of money a bettor bets, and leads to higher engagement time on betParx.

The NFL football season drives television sales and ratings and, figures indicate, online sports betting. Pennsylvania online sports wagering jumped 65%, to $527 million, from August to September 2021, gaming board data show. September is the start of the NFL season. The month with the highest dollar volume in online sports waging in Pennsylvania was January, the month of NFL playoffs, with $737 million in bets.

Cullen said the plan was for the Epoxy app to launch on the betParx betting app for the NFL season.

Angelides said Epoxy would be ready. “It’s what we’re doing. Sports waits for no one. The game must go on.”

As to whether sports bettors would be comfortable with a mobile phone microphone that listens to them, Angelides said that Epoxy’s research shows that more than 90% of core and casual bettors report they “like it when the products they use tailor the content to them so it’s easier to find what they want and discover new things.”

From high-rise to start-up

Reynolds, 47, and Angelides, 54, have settled into post-Comcast life. At the media and telecom giant, they worked out of the 37th floor of the technology tower, Philadelphia’s tallest building.

Now, they rent the second floor of a quaint office building on the eastbound side of SEPTA’s Berwyn train station. It’s an easy commute for Epoxy’s employees who live in Philadelphia. The start-up employs 12, mostly a crew who followed Reynolds and Angelides from Comcast. The firm also uses six contractors.

Angelides said the plan over time is for 20 to 30 full-time employees.

Epoxy hopes to raise $7 million to $10 million in venture capital this summer, and it has filed for patents on their technology through Philadelphia law firm Morgan Lewis. The co-founders see Epoxy’s technology as offering three services: synchronization between the TV viewing and bets, visualization of sports data, and bet recommendations.

Angelides and Reynolds met in the 1990s at Traffic.com in Chesterbrook, a real-time traffic information service for radio and television stations. Traffic.com, bought by Nokia, took traffic data from road and highway sensors and sold it to television and radio stations. The business taught Angelides and Reynolds the importance of packaging real-time information for audiences.

OneTwoSee

At Traffic.com, they thought of other areas where real-time information could be valuable. It was in the early days of mobile phone apps. When the pair realized that sports fans were always looking up sports stats on their phones, they developed a business to access and visualize box-score sports data in real time. Fans could consume the data as they watched games.

“The idea was that if you were a sports fan and you were sitting there and you were watching the game and a player comes up and you don’t know who he is or what his stats are. How many home runs he has? What’s going to happen next? What’s the most likely outcome? You got to go through looking through box scores? It was a nightmare,” Angelides said.

In late 2011, Angelides and Reynolds launched OneTwoSee to provide sports data instantly. It was their first start-up. Over time, OneTwoSee developed the platform to display up-to-the-minute sports stats on cable television and integrated the service into Comcast’s X1 platform. Comcast viewed the sports data—accessed through a button on the TV remote—as a way to make its huge investment into sports rights more engaging for its subscribers. In 2016, Comcast bought OneTwoSee for an undisclosed price.

Inside Comcast, the OneTwoSee team stuck together and helped to deepen the sports platform for the OIympic games.

Reynolds and Angelides said they had a great experience at Comcast and they left on good terms. But they were restless and viewed online sports betting as the next big thing.

Angelides gave notice to Comcast that he was leaving in November 2020. Reynolds did the same in mid-2021. Of his decision to leave Comcast, Reynolds said that “once you start building stuff, it’s hard not to do it.”


Online bets on NFL games seen surging as season begins


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Epoxy.ai, a Philadelphia tech start-up, aims to sync TV watching with sports betting (2022, June 21)
retrieved 21 June 2022
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Moto Tab G62, Moto Tab G62 LTE Images and Specifications Leaked

Moto Tab G62 and Moto Tab G62 LTE specifications and images have been leaked online. The Moto Tab G62 is likely to be the Wi-Fi-only model and the other one will have 4G connectivity option. The tablets have reportedly surfaced on Google Play Console and their details were shared by a tipster. On the basis of the specifications listed, it is speculated that the new tablets will sit under the Moto Tab G70 LTE that made its debut in India in January this year.

Moto Tab G62, Moto Tab G62 LTE specifications

As per the details shared by tipster Abhishek Yadav, the Moto Tab G62 and the Moto Tab G62 LTE tablets have model numbers XT2261-1 and XT2261-2, respectively. Both these tablets from Motorola will be powered by dated Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoCs. The listing shows that the Wi-Fi version will be powered by the Snapdragon 678 SoC, which is a chip from 2020, and the 4G model will have a Snapdragon 665 (from 2019) under the hood.

The Moto Tab G62 and the Moto Tab G62 LTE will have at least one variant with 4GB of RAM, as per the listing. The information shared also suggests that both the tablets have displays with 2,000×1,200 pixels resolution and 240hdpi pixel density. The tables run Android 12 and sport a similar design.

As mentioned, the Moto Tab G62 tablets will sit behind the Moto Tab G70 LTE that was launched in India in January this year. It is to be noted that the Moto Tab G70 LTE features an 11-inch IPS 2K LCD display with 2,000×1,200 pixels resolution. It could be a possibility that the leaked Moto Tab G62 tablets also have an identical display as the Tab G70. It also has 4GB of RAM.


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Windows 11 Users Getting ‘Privacy Auditing’ to Look at Apps Accessing Microphone, Camera, Location Data

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US lawmakers push for universal chargers for smartphones, mobile devices

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A trio of U.S. senators is urging support for a universal charging standard for smartphones and mobile devices after the European Union recently agreed on new rules.

In a letter sent Thursday to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Senators Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Bernie Sanders of Vermont press for a plan to tackle the lack of a universal charger, which they say creates a financial burden for consumers and creates more electronic waste.

“We cannot allow the to prioritize proprietary and inevitably obsolete charging technology over and ,” reads an excerpt from the letter.

The senators did not specify the type of charging standard Commerce officials should consider as part of the plan.

Lawmakers cite money spent by consumers on various chargers for different products and waste created when obsolete chargers are tossed out as reasons for pushing to require a universal standard.

Last week, the EU agreed to rules which will take effect by fall 2024, which would allow consumers to only use a USB Type-C cable to recharge small and medium-sized portable electronics.

The rules cover smartphones, tablets, earbuds, headphones and portable speakers, among others.

More devices have shifted to USB-C to recharge, but one of the most popular portable devices, the iPhone, still uses Apple’s exclusive Lightning connector to recharge. The standard is also used on iPads and AirPods.


EU agrees single charger standard, in blow to Apple


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US lawmakers push for universal chargers for smartphones, mobile devices (2022, June 20)
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Bitcoin Drops Below $20,000 as Crypto Selloff Quickens

The price of Bitcoin fell below $20,000 (roughly Rs. 15 lakh) for the first time since late 2020 on Saturday, in a fresh sign that the selloff in cryptocurrencies is deepening.

Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, fell below the psychologically important threshold, dropping as much as 9 percent to less than $19,000 (roughly Rs. 14 lakh), according to CoinDesk.

The last time Bitcoin was at this level was November 2020, when it was on its way up to its all-time high of nearly $69,000 (roughly Rs. 53 lakh).

Bitcoin has now lost more than 70 percent of its value since reaching that peak.

Ethereum, another widely followed cryptocurrency that’s been sliding in recent weeks, took a similar tumble on Saturday.

It’s the latest sign of turmoil in the cryptocurrency industry amid wider turbulence in financial markets. Investors are selling off riskier assets because central banks are raising interest rates to combat quickening inflation.

A spate of crypto meltdowns have erased tens of billions of dollars of investors’ assets and sparked urgent calls to regulate the freewheeling industry.

Cryptocurrency lending platform Celsius Network said this month it was pausing all withdrawals and transfers, with no sign of when it would give its 1.7 million customers access to their funds.

Stablecoin Terra imploded last month, erasing tens of billions of dollars in a matter of hours.


Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.