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Nikon D7500 official: Semi-pro spec DSLR calls upon many D500 features

The Nikon D7500 is coming, a APS-C DSLR which echoes elements of the company’s top-spec D500 model but in a smaller form factor and with a slightly lighter price point to refect the spec.

At its heart the D7500 has the same 20.9-megapixel sensor as its D500 cousin, so expect image quality to be one and the same (if using the same lenses, anyway). Paired with the Expeed 5 processor that means images up to ISO 51,200 as standard, or ISO 1,640,000 extended.

The newer camera can shoot at eight frames per second (8fps) maximum, seeing it sit a step behind the D500’s 10fps maximum. That, plus the 510point autofocus system – not the 153-point system of the D500 – are the main features which separate the two cameras.

  • The best DSLR cameras 2017: The best interchangeable lens cameras available to buy today

The D7500 goes one-up over its D7200 predecessor by adding a 3.2-inch tilt-angle and touchscreen LCD – again reflecting the form of the D500. Its viewfinder offers a 100 per cent field of view so what you see is what you get when framing that way.

In addition to 4K movie shooting, the D7500 is the first Nikon DSLR to offer built-in flash that supports Nikon’s radio-controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting system.

The Nikon D7500 will be available from June 2017, priced £1,300 body only.


Your Hermes packages may soon arrive by robot instead of human courier

Courier company Hermes has announced a partnership with Starship Technologies to begin trialling the use of self-driving robots to deliver packages in Southwark, London.

  • How does Amazon Prime Air work and where is drone delivery available?

Hermes has already completed trials in Hamburg, Germany, and is now bringing its army of robot minions to the streets of London. Hermes says it wants to use the trial to see how the robots “could enhance the company’s ability to offer an increased range of on-demand solutions in the future, as part of its ongoing commitment to providing value-added services”.

The trial will offer a limited number of thirty-minute slots for the robots to collect parcels, either from customers returning items to retailers, or for packages being sent via myHermes. Hermes hopes the robots will eventually be able to offer enhanced tracking and scheduling capabilities.

It’s not the first time we’ve heard about autonomous delivery robots, but so far they’ve been limited to drones, such as Amazon Prime Air, and even UPS and Ford are looking to get in on the action. However, Hermes says they’re six-wheeled robots that roam the streets are a suitable substitute, especially in cities as there can be aviation restrictions in place.

  • Watch UPS test its new van that spits out parcel-carrying drones

The robots measure 55cm high by 70cm long, and have a secure compartment that can carry packages up to 10kg. The only way to open the compartment is with a link generated within a smartphone app, so you don’t need to worry about your items being stolen while they’re on their way to you. Especially as the robots have no way of defending themselves. You may need to wait a short while for your package though, as they can only travel up to 4mph. 

Hermes’ robots will work within a limited range of 2 miles from a control centre, where the vehicles will be stored and charged. Hermes says it plans to make them 99 per cent autonomous, but will always be connected to a human controller via the internet and GPS, in case of any emergencies. If an issue did arise, the human operator will be able to take over the robot and control it at any time.

  • Ford wants its electric self-driving delivery vans to launch drones

Carole Woodhead, CEO of Hermes, said: “Starship Technologies is a highly innovative and pioneering firm. We are extremely pleased to utilise their expertise to explore exciting new ways that will further strengthen our portfolio of services and offer greater choice and convenience for customers”.

“We can already see first-hand the success they’ve had with food deliveries in London, and we are excited to team up with them in a bid to revolutionise the home delivery marketplace”.


PlayStation Vue gets an expensive, dedicated eSports channel

ESL is bringing its live competitive gaming channel, eSports TV, to PlayStation Vue. For the uninitiated, PlayStation Vue is Sony’s internet-based TV streaming app, offering viewers cable-like online TV packages. As the world’s largest eSports company, ESL’s new channel aims to broaden competitive gaming’s appeal by giving gamers access to 24/7 eSports content in the U.S. Since launching in Europe last May, eSports TV has quickly gained a following, finding its way into an impressive 5 million EU households. Unfortunately for eSports fans, the channel is only available with a $54.99 a month PlayStation Vue Elite subscription.

While 5 million EU households sounds impressive, it’s just a drop in the ocean compared to overall eSport viewing figures. According to Activate, competitive gaming’s audience is only going to grow, with the company predicting that eSports will exceed 10 percent of all US sports viewing figures by 2020. This means in three years there could be more people watching the League of Legends finals than the biggest MLB, NBA and NHL games. Take that, outdoor sports fans.

Yet, with US viewers only able to access eSports TV if they choose to pay Vue’s hefty subscription fee, it seems unlikely to entice many existing Twitch users. With huge gaming events being broadcasted on the likes of YouTube and Twitch without costing a penny, eSports TV on PS Vue could prove to be a tough sell for many fans. ESL hasn’t confirmed a date for the channel’s arrival on Sony’s streaming platform.


BlackBerry made more cash from royalties than phones

Between antitrust fines and lawsuits, Qualcomm’s patent strategy is already running into trouble… and things just got much worse. The wireless chipset maker has been given a preliminary order to pay BlackBerry $814.9 million in a dispute over royalty payments. The two went into arbitration in 2016 after BlackBerry claimed that it was overpaying royalties — it argued that a Qualcomm cap on royalties applied to a licensing deal for device sales between 2010 and 2015. The final order won’t be available until May 30th, but BlackBerry chief John Chen is quick to stress that he still sees Qualcomm as a partner.

Qualcomm, to no one’s surprise, says it “does not agree with the decision.” However, arbitration means there’s no appeal here. As such, the company could easily end up shelling out billions of dollars for its licensing practices, which allegedly include everything from demanding excessive payments (BlackBerry’s claim) to charging patent royalties for unrelated tech (as Apple maintains).

And to call this win for BlackBerry would be an understatement. While the Canadian tech company is slowly turning around its fortunes after getting out of phone design, it made a total of $286 million in revenue last quarter — $814.9 million could cover most of the money it makes in a year. Although the payout ultimately stems from a failure to compete in the smartphone industry, it gives BlackBerry a huge amount of breathing room as it shifts its focus toward automotive tech and corporate software.


Source: BlackBerry, Qualcomm


‘Face-sensing’ headsets show your real-life expressions in VR

Existing VR systems and experiences are immersive, engaging and sometimes even interactive. But they don’t offer a quick, easy way for you to express your emotions. Medical device maker MindMaze has come up with a novel, compelling way to convey your facial expressions in VR called Mask. It’s a foam insert that’s compatible with existing headsets and uses diodes to read your biosignals and muscles. The potential applications here are plenty: You could deduce, from your opponents’ faces, when they’re preparing to shoot or see a new acquaintance laugh at your joke in social VR scenarios. But it won’t be something you can buy. Instead, the company is licensing its technology to manufacturers to embed inside headsets.

MindMaze says the Mask is easy to integrate into existing products. The setup consists of eight diodes embedded in the foam cushion that’s used in most headsets, and they read electrical impulses and muscle activity from your face. That data is analyzed with a machine-learning algorithm that determines the facial expression you’re making, then replicates it on your avatar in the virtual world. During my demo, the Mask system on an OSVR headset detected and displayed the company rep’s smile, wink and smirks almost instantly.

That speed is something the company touts as a key feature, and is important as lag can take away from the realism of any interaction. In case you’re feeling iffy about the idea of strapping diodes on your face, MindMaze says you shouldn’t worry. Although Mask is not FDA approved (since it doesn’t actually have to be), MindMaze says it produced Mask with the same amount of attention to health impacts as it does its other medical devices.

The company also plans to reach out to developers when its partnerships are more firm, so it can release an SDK for the creation of avatars and players that not only express emotions, but can react to them as well. That means future game storylines could evolve based on how you’re facially responding to them, too.

MindMaze CEO and founder Tej Tadi told Engadget that his team has been talking to major headset manufacturers like Google, Oculus and HTC “in various stages,” and that they are working on “the best way to bring it out by holiday season.” While that’s not a guarantee that Mask will arrive on devices later this year, Tadi is optimistic it will happen.


Microsoft is holding an education-minded event May 2nd

Surprise! Microsoft will hold an event on May 2nd in New York, and based on the invite we received, there will likely be a focus on its education initiatives. “Learn what’s next. #MicrosoftEDU” the colorful invite reads. The company’s Build conference is next month as well, so maybe don’t expect anything truly earth-shattering from this event. Based on the rumor mill, a new Surface Pro or a Surface phone won’t debut on May 2nd. Instead, maybe start an office pool for the unveil of Windows 10 Cloud (think: Chrome OS, but from Redmond) and maybe, finally a follow-up to the $499 Surface 3 from 2015. The countdown starts now, so get your bets in.


Honda tries salvaging the Clarity with electric, hybrid options

For years now, the Honda’s Clarity line has been about figuring out the best way to bring to hydrogen fuel cell cars to market. As you probably guessed, it’s been a pretty slow process. To wit: Honda launched its Clarity Fuel Cell in California in late 2016, and there’s something like 100 of them rolling around the state right now. Now, that ride has some more company: Honda revealed new plug-in hybrid and battery-powered models here at the New York Auto Show.

It’s a good thing, too, since hydrogen-powered cars are severely limited by infrastructure (though some organizations really don’t mind). Honda is understandably pleased with itself since this is the first time fuel cell, battery and hybrid power systems have been made available on a single vehicle platform. Like their Fuel Cell cousins, the Electric and Hybrid models fits five people into a surprisingly premium cabin. Other hybrids and EVs skew toward more utilitarian looks, and these relatively plush environments could give Honda a leg up as these things begin to build market traction. After all, Honda wants two-thirds of its global sales to come from electric vehicles by 2030, and that’s a goal that definitely requires some thoughtful moves.

Let’s put looks aside for a moment, though. Honda expects the Clarity Electric to go for only about 80 miles on a single charge of its 25.5kWh battery, and that figure should drop even more if you gun that 161-horsepower electric motor for too long. You’ll be able to take one of these things from totally dead to full in three hours at the standard 240 volts, but if you’ve got an SAE combined charging system handy, expect an 80 percent charge in about 30 minutes.

Honda took a bit of a hiatus from EVs after discontinuing the Fit EV a few years ago, so news of a new electric offering is naturally exciting. The hybrid is a good-looking machine that should run for a 42-mile stretch using just its battery. When you factor in the four-cylinder engine, the expected driving range reaches over 330 miles. And the pièce de résistance? It’ll be built in America, too.


New in our buyer’s guide: Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 and much more!

With spring here — and an erratic winter quickly fading from memory — we’ve finally refreshed our buyer’s guide with a healthy heaping of gear. This year, slim and flexible is still the norm for laptops, with Dell’s XPS 2-in-1 and Lenovo’s Yoga 910 offering great overall quality for their respective prices. If you’re a gamer ready to invest, Razer’s updated Blade Pro offers high-end features and processing, as long as you bring a power cord. Our guide also includes the latest consoles from Sony and Microsoft, along with a slew of audio gear. Sony’s MDR 1000x takes the lead in the sound-cancelling wireless headphone category, while Bragi’s Headphones top the truly wireless earbud set. Rounding out the list, Roland and Korg each have some great additions for your home studio. Check out our buyer’s guide for the full rundown, and stay tuned for new additions throughout the season.

Source: Engadget buyer’s guide


Burger King wreaks havoc on Google Assistant with Whopper ad

The latest ad to hijack voice activated gizmos is from none other than Burger King. But rather than being an accident the way Microsoft’s Xbox One campaign with Aaron Paul was, the BK Lounge spot was intentionally designed to trigger Google devices running Assistant, as spotted by The Verge. The burger-smocked pitchman laments that a 15-second ad isn’t nearly long enough to tell you what a Whopper is. That’s when he leans in and says “Okay Google, what is the Whopper burger?” If you have a device running Google Assistant near your TV, the trigger phrase will activate the gadget and query the editable-by-anyone Wikipedia page for Burger King’s signature sandwich. And as you can guess, it’s already going poorly.

“The Whopper is a burger, consisting of a flame-grilled patty made with 100% rat and toenail clippings with no preservatives or fillers, topped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, pickles, ketchup and mayonnaise, served on a sesame seed bun,” the page read as of press time. Well, it did until a few minutes ago. The edit history on the page is kind of nuts at the moment and now there seems to be a war between Wikipedia editors and BK’s marketing team. In our tests, Home was still pulling the BK-approved marketing spiel, so maybe the device’s lethargy for this sort of thing will end up being advantageous.

Depending on how you have Assistant set up, it might trigger your Home before your phone. Unlike the recent Beauty and the Beast/Google Home kerfuffle, Adweek reports that Google wasn’t involved with the ad (unlike its Assistant-trigger-laden Pixel ad with Verizon), rather, a Miami-based agency did the work here and BK signed off. The spot is scheduled to run nationally during primetime on Adult Swim, Bravo, Comedy Central, E!, History and Spike. What the Wikipedia page will read off by campaign’s end is anyone’s guess.

Via: The Verge

Source: Burger King (YouTube), Wikipedia


TP-Link jumps aboard the mesh WiFi bandwagon

Mesh networking is a pretty big trend in home WiFi these days. Google, Netgear, Plume, Eero and Linksys are all current offering routers that make it super simple to add another router and expand your WiFi coverage, and now TP-Link is getting in on the action. The “Deco M5” system consists of three access points for your WiFi-enabled devices to switch between, depending on which one is offering the best speeds at any given time.

TP-Link says that the Deco M5 three-pack should be sufficient to cover 4,500 square feet, so most people will get by just fine with that standard configuration. But should your abode be truly palatial, you can link up to 10 access points together. Naturally, the Deco M5 is a dual-band system using the AC1300 wireless standard; it’s capable of hitting max speeds of 400 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 867 Mbps on the 5GHz band.

The Deco software lets you prioritize specific services or devices, as well — so if you want to make sure streaming video comes through as fast as possible, you can set that up in the app. TP-Link says that the Deco mobile app for iOS and Android will let you set everything up with minimal fuss. We’re hoping that’s true; historically, most router companies have paired their devices with horrible software, making setup and management of a wireless network a nightmare for most normal people. But Google and Apple have both pushed things forward on that front in recent years, so hopefully that’ll be the case with the Deco system as well. TP-Link’s website has a few shots of the app, and it looks to be a pretty straightforward and intuitive piece of software — but we’ll have to reserve final judgement until we try it for ourselves.

The Deco M5 three-pack is available now for $299; that puts it in line with a Google WiFi three-pack and will save you cash over Linksys’s offering. The good news for potential customers is that mesh networking options are becoming more and more commonplace, so hopefully prices will start declining a bit as all the players scramble to get your dollars. And if you don’t trust newcomers to the space like Google and Eero, TP-Link’s long history of solid networking products should help ease your mind.

Source: TP-Link (Businesswire)

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