It was a top notch week in terms of longing for the simpler times of yesteryear. The action was capped off with a ringing endorsement from none other than Clint Eastwood himself. But while that angry old man busied himself with yelling at clouds, Sony put the Kibosh on its helpless superhero series. The US announced it will let a private company land on the moon. Archive.org posted a gaggle of old Nintendo Power issues. And Apple stayed insanely rich. Numbers, because how else are you going to know how long it’s been since you could get away with being openly racist?
With the return of BattleBots and Robot Wars, The Ben Heck Show team produce a real-life Nintendo Mario Kart battle arena with robot kits. In this first of a three-part series, the robots are assembled — and weaponized — without instructions. Join Ben as he shows us how to combine motor controller driver hardware with a custom LiPo battery pack. Meanwhile, Felix introduces us to XBee to wirelessly remote control the robots, and considers using Bluetooth with an Intel Edison chip. However, Felix is keeping his weaponizing details under wraps; it’ll have to be something good since Karen has something crazy in mind! Tell us your ideas for your battling robots over at the element14 Community.
The Good The M705 wireless mouse has a contoured shape that fits the natural ergonomics of your hand. Its Unifying Receiver makes it easy to pair with any computer (along with other Logitech peripherals), and the laser sensor offers precise, smooth scrolling across most surfaces.
The Bad Users with large hands may feel cramped on the surface of the mouse.
The Bottom Line The Logitech M705’s adaptive laser sensor and sculpted body will make your wrist happy for less than the cost of a few lattes.
Given the amount of time we all spend sitting at computers, it’s never too early to pay attention to your daily ergonomics — because, well, #wellness. You can stave off the impending doom of repetitive stress injury just by switching up your typical usage patterns, so take a second right now to survey your workspace.
If it’s time to upgrade your mouse to a design that follows the natural curve of your hand, the Logitech Marathon Mouse M705 will make your joints happy for less than the cost of a few lattes. It lists for $50 in the US, £45 in the UK and AU$80 in Australia, but you can find it online for $36, £36 and $AU59.
Your wrist should never be the pivot point for mouse movements so Logitech designed the M705 with a smooth contour that skews slightly left so your elbow does the work instead. The top surface is wide to accommodate a range of hand sizes but if you’re looking for something bigger, the company’s flagship MX Master Mouse is so big and comfy that it feels like a Lay-Z-Boy for your hand.
Logitech M705 Mouse (pictures)
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The mouse has six extra buttons in addition to the standard left and right clickers on top. You get two directional thumb buttons on the side that move you “back” and “forward” in a web browser or media player, a hidden button underneath the thumb pad on the left and three separate buttons on the scroll wheel that engage by clicking left, right and down.
The mouse works via plug-and-play as soon as you insert the USB dongle but — on Windows PCs, Macs and Chromebooks –you can also install Logitech’s SetPoint software to re-map the buttons to commonly used tasks like opening applications, navigating media or engaging shortcuts like full screen video. (The M705 will also work with Chromebooks, sans the custom software.)
One feature that stands out on the M705 is its speed-adaptive scroll wheel that lets users toggle between smooth and notched scrolling using the button on top. I generally prefer to have a notched wheel that navigates down a page click-by-click, but the ability to switch to a free-scrolling wheel is perfect for jumping back to the top of a long page with a flick of a finger.
No matter where you’re going, the Homido Mini can come with you.
Google Cardboard kits brought VR into a far more accessible space. By using your phone, and a headset to dive into VR, anybody with a compatible phone suddenly had the option of checking out VR. Now, Homido Mini is bringing that accessibility a step further with their travel sized Homido Mini. This tiny, and excellent, Carboard kit will make jumping into VR easier than ever.
Read More on VR Heads!
So far Tesla has launched a sexy sportscar, a luxe sedan, a powerful SUV, and an affordable electric car. What’s next? Think bigger. According to Elon Musk, the company is set to unveil an electric Minibus next year, and it will drive itself. Speaking of buses, China just unveiled the craziest one we’ve ever seen: It’s suspended above the ground, and is tall enough to fly right over traffic jams. A team of students created the world’s most efficient electric car, which gets an outrageous 26,135 MPGe. Gogoro launched a new electric scooter sharing service in Berlin, and the world’s first Hyperloop factory opened for business.
In other news, Tesla is broadening its portfolio beyond electric cars. This week the company announced a $2.6 billion merger with SolarCity, and Musk revealed plans to build gigantic battery Gigafactories all around the world. California gets a lot of its energy from renewables — and that figure is set to skyrocket, as the Golden State just announced plans for the world’s largest floating wind farm. And researchers have developed living bricks that could be used to build energy-generating houses.
Is the singularity upon us? This week IBM created the world’s first artificial neurons, which process and transmit signals just like the ones in your brain. In other tech and design news, researchers created a fog harvester that sucks water out the air like a cactus. A new smart beehive could fight colony collapse by monitoring the health of bees. A high-tech pen scans the colors of objects and lets you draw with over 16 million hues. And an avant-garde face mask uses spiderwebs to clean the air that you breathe.
What are the essential accessories for the Moto Z Force?
Now that you’ve got your shiny new Moto Z Force, it’s time to shop around for the must-have accessories to match it. Not to worry, we’ve done the digging, and we have a rundown of the absolute essentials for your Moto Z Force!
- Moto Mods
- Vinsic USB-C car charger
- APLUS desktop charging cradle
- Cambond 6.6 foot USB-C to USB-C cable
- PLESON ultra slim crystal clear case
Motorola wins the mod game with the first three Moto Mods that are available for the Moto Z Force. Using powerful magnets, they snap right onto the back of the phone and then snap off when you want to attach the next one. Get one or get them all!
- Incipio offGRID Power Pack
- JBL SoundBoost
- Moto Insta-Share Projector
Incipio offGRID Power Pack
This slim power pack will add to the battery life of your Moto Z Force – up to 20 additional hours before the phone’s internal battery needs to kick in.
It also adds a little bit of weight and protection to the back of your phone, which is helpful since it’s a slim and slightly slippery fella. Keep it nearby for those long days (that turn into long nights) when you know you’ll be using your Moto Z Force nowhere near an outlet or computer.
See at Motorola
Forget about having to pair a portable Bluetooth speaker to your Moto Z Force; the JBL SoundBoost is a powerful speaker that’s automatically recognized by your phone when you snap it into place.
It has up to 10 hours of independent battery life, so the party can go on and on. The built-in kickstand lets the speaker have its full sound range without you placing your Moto Z Force face-down. It’s also great for speakerphone conference calls with multiple listeners in the room.
See at Motorola
Moto Insta-Share Projector
Why crowd around your phone screen to watch a video when you can turn your Moto Z Force into a stellar projector? The Moto Insta-Share Projector will do just that in any space.
The integrated kickstand means you can watch videos hands-free and this tiny projector will make any flat surface into a flat screen that can measure up to 70 inches; hang a sheet in the backyard or use that blank wall space in the living room for a massive movie night anytime you like. It also adds up to an hour of projection time beyond your phone’s battery life.
See at Motorola
Vinsic USB-C car charger
Always in the car and concerned about keeping a strong battery charge? Not to worry; the Vinsic USB-C car charger has you covered.
It features over-voltage and short circuit protection, so you have very little (if anything) to be concerned about. It also has 5V/3A output, so your Moto Z Force will charge quickly while you’re on the go. The additional USB-A port allows you charge a second device while you’re at it and it’s small enough to tuck into the glove compartment when it’s done.
See at Amazon
APLUS desktop charging cradle
Keep your desktop organized and your Moto Z Force always in your sights with the APLUS desktop charging cradle, designed especially for your new phone.
This USB-C dock charges your Moto Z Force and makes it easy to sync the phone to your computer. How’s that for multitasking? It also keeps your phone at an ideal angle for viewing and hands-free usage, whether it’s charging, or you just want to use it as a hands-free helper and safe place to put your phone so you don’t misplace it.
See at Amazon
Cambond 6.6-foot USB-C to USB-C cable
An extra cable is always a good idea, and whether you just need another one around the house because you can never seem to find one, or you’d like to have a spare at the office, the Cambond 6.6 foot USB-C to USB-C cable is a great choice.
The cord is wrapped in nylon fiber, which helps to prevent fraying over time. It’s also a little longer than some standard cables, so you don’t have to feel stuck while your Moto Z Force is plugged in.
See at Amazon
You have a couple of options when it comes to headphones for the Moto Z Force. You can opt for Bluetooth connectivity, or you can use the headphone jack adapter for a wired pair. You choose, and we’ve got an excellent pick from each category.
Jaybird X2 Sport wireless Bluetooth headphones
There’s much to love about the Jaybird X2 Sport wireless Bluetooth headphones. Let’s start with the lifetime sweatproof warranty; that’s a great feature by itself, but we’re not going to stop there.
These headphones give you up to eight hours of music and talk time with your choice of over-or-under ear fit. They ship with a variety of in-ear tips so you’re virtually guaranteed to find a comfortable fit. They also come in a wide range of colors that will be as subtle or stand out as you like.
See at Amazon
Ghostek Turbine Series wired earbuds
If you prefer a wired headphone option, have a look at the Ghostek Turbine Series earbuds. They’re available in either black or white (so they match everything) and they come with a one-year warranty.
The built-in microphone and remote controls mean you don’t have to go fishing around in your bag for your Moto Z Force to take a call or bump up the volume. They come with several variations of in-ear comfort tips so that you find the fit that works for you, and they’re made of a durable ceramic material that gives them a solid, well-constructed feel.
See at Amazon
PLESON ultra slim crystal clear case
Show off the original hardware of the Moto Z Force with PLESON’s ultra slim crystal clear case. The flexible TPU case is anti-watermark and anti-fingerprint, so say goodbye to that foggy, muddy look your last clear case had.
This case offers some extra grip and drop protection for the slender Moto Z Force. The precise cutouts give you access to buttons and ports while protecting the camera lens and and screen edges.
See at Amazon
For more case options, including the Moto Style Shells, take a look at our rundown of the best cases for your Moto Z Force.
How do you accessorize?
What do you consider an essential accessory for your Moto Z Force? Already a fan of some of our picks? Tell us all about it in the comments below!
Moto Z and Moto Z Force
- Our Moto Z review!
- Moto Z specs
- Moto Mods custom backs
- Moto Z and Moto Z Force will be Verizon exclusives until the fall of 2016
- The latest Moto Z news
- Discuss in our Moto Z forums
Apparently, Pokémon Go’s launch in Japan signified a wider release in the region. Niantic’s hit app is now officially out in 15 more countries in Asia and Oceania, specifically Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau. A lot of people in those locations began playing way back when the application first launched by downloading its APK. But now that the game is officially available, they can get it straight from the App Store or from Google Play.
As TechCrunch noted, this latest Asian expansion leaves out three huge mobile markets: China, Korea and India. Niantic CEO John Hanke explained to Forbes in July that they’re having trouble expanding to Korea, because the country’s Google Maps info is pretty limited due to security concerns over the North’s activities. In China, the company still has regulatory hurdles to overcome. It’s unclear why the game’s still not out in India, but Niantic admitted in the past that its server problems have been slowing down the game’s rollout.
Source: Pokémon Go (Facebook)
IBM’s Watson has done everything from winning at Jeopardy to cooking exotic meals, but it appears to have accomplished its greatest feat yet: saving a life. University of Tokyo doctors report that the artificial intelligence diagnosed a 60-year-old woman’s rare form of leukemia that had been incorrectly identified months earlier. The analytical machine took just 10 minutes to compare the patient’s genetic changes with a database of 20 million cancer research papers, delivering an accurate diagnosis and leading to proper treatment that had proven elusive. Watson has also identified another rare form of leukemia in another patient, the university says.
It’ll likely take a long while before Watson and other AI systems are regularly providing advice at hospitals, and it won’t be all that useful in situations without readily comparable data. We’ve asked the school for more details of what happened. However, the diagnoses show just how useful the technology could be in the medical world. Human doctors wouldn’t have to spend ages sifting through research to identify an obscure disease, or hope that another hospital can offer insights — they’d just plug in the right data and start the healing process.
Source: NHK World
The galaxy-faring sci-fi fest No Man’s Sky isn’t out until next week but one enterprising fan has already made parts of the game perhaps a little less daunting. Reddit user Aleator83’s NMS Ally is a companion app that will, among other things, generate custom names for the planets you visit and creatures you find, and upload your screenshots to share with other users of the app. Polygon notes that it’ll also track where you find resources. It’s live for Android at the moment, and Aleator83 says that the iOS version is pending approval from Apple.
It isn’t the first fan-made app for a sprawlingly huge game, but let’s hope that like Rockstar, the teams at Sony and Hello Games won’t shut this down. If you’re feeling jealous of the people playing the game (and using the app) early, know that their progress isn’t permanent. Ahead of the game’s retail release on Tuesday, Sony and Hello Games have announced No Man’s Sky’s pre-release servers will be wiped on Sunday. That means that everyone will start with a clean slate whether they want to or not.
Servers are being wiped on Sunday pic.twitter.com/JTmzabmU1R
— Harry Denholm (@HarryDenholm) August 5, 2016
Source: Google Play, Reddit
A number of governments are already nervous about the security implications of Pokémon Go, but Iran is taking that fear one step further: it just became the first country to ban the critter catching game entirely. The nation’s High Council of Virtual Spaces wouldn’t say what prompted the decision besides “security concerns.” However, it comes after reports that Iran wanted to see what cooperation it could get from Niantic before taking action.
The move isn’t shocking. On top of concerns about players wandering near military bases and other sensitive areas, it wouldn’t be surprising if Iran was worried that Pokémon Go would encourage large-scale gatherings and thus protests against the powers that be. Whatever the motivations, the ban shows just how much the game has done to draw attention to location-based gaming — much to the chagrin of Iranian residents who just wanted to join in the fun.