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September 9, 2017

Weekly Rewind: Apple’s new campus, Lilium’s flying cars, Lowe’s comic books

by John_A

A lot can happen in a week when it comes to tech. The constant onslaught of news makes it nigh impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top tech stories, from Watson’s role at the U.S. Open to how to get free Netflix  — it’s all here.

Sharp home appliance lineup at IFA includes washer that auto-dispenses detergent

Continuing to boost its arsenal of home appliances, electronic giant Sharp has released a variety of products ranging from a dishwasher that can wash your dishes in under 20 minutes to a washing machine that dispenses your laundry detergent for you. The products combine technology and hardware and have all kinds of bells and whistles built in. From air purifiers to washing machines, here’s a rundown of Sharp home appliances the Japanese electronics manufacturer has put on the floor this weekend at Berlin’s IFA 2017.

Read: Sharp home appliance lineup at IFA includes washer that auto-dispenses detergent

Michael Kors’ next-generation smartwatches are now available for purchase

Michael Kors, the luxury watch brand behind last year’s Access Bradshaw, announced a bunch of new smartwatches at the 2017 Baselworld conference in Switzerland in April. As of September 6, the Access Sofie and the Access Grayson are officially available for purchase on the Michael Kors website, along with its retail locations.

Read: Michael Kors’ next-generation smartwatches are now available for purchase

Watson tracked every serve, set, and save to show you the best of the U.S. Open

Last Thursday, 19-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer was taken to the limit in a five-set thriller against Mikhail Youhzny at the 2017 U.S. Open.

As the action played out at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Digital Trends was invited into the heart of the Arthur Ashe Stadium to see how IBM used its cutting edge technology to track every serve, set, and rally.

IBM has been a fixture at the U.S. Open since 1990, and the company’s ability to give fans better access to the biggest matches has evolved with every passing year. This year, artificial intelligence, computer vision, and a host of other technologies came together to curate the best play from each day of the tournament.

Read: Watson tracked every serve, set, and save to show you the best of the U.S. Open

Apple’s ‘Steve Jobs Theater’ looks stunning for next week’s iPhone event

Despite the lousy weather, Apple Park manages to look pretty darn impressive. The tech titan’s sparkling new campus recently began welcoming workers through its doors, while a new drone video shows that finishing touches to elements such as landscaping are heading toward completion.

Shot under gray skies in Cupertino, California, Duncan Sinfield’s aerial video shows off not only the striking “doughnut” design of the main building, but also the impressive-looking Steve Jobs Theater. It will be used for the first time next week, when Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to unveil new iPhones … hopefully along with some other goodies.

Read: Apple’s ‘Steve Jobs Theater’ looks stunning for next week’s iPhone event

Lowe’s prints comic books imagining sci-fi futures — then makes them real

Lowe’s isn’t just a lumberyard, it’s an incubator building our sci-fi future — thanks to Kyle Nel and his really weird job.

“We hire professional published science fiction writers, we give them all of our data, and then we send them out in all directions,” he told Digital Trends. “And then they come back with short stories … we turn these into unexpected manifestations — usually comic books.” Nel is executive director of the Lowe’s Innovation Lab and a behavioral scientist by trade. But his job is reading sci-fi literature and printing comic books.

“I literally make comic books for our executive team, and we sit down and literally read comic books. It sounds corny, but it works,” he said.

Read: Lowe’s prints comic books imagining sci-fi futures — then makes them real

How to get free Netflix as a T-Mobile customer

T-Mobile newest promotion provides free Netflix to all T-Mobile One unlimited customers with two or more lines on their account. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an existing T-Mobile or Netflix customer or not — either way, you can get in on the deal. Signing up couldn’t be easier, so follow this guide and you can be binge-watching in no time.

Read: How to get free Netflix as a T-Mobile customer

New gene editing tech promises to be even better than CRISPR

Just when we were getting used to the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing revolution, a new “fourth-generation” DNA base editor has come along, offering a new way to modify the genetic code that may be safer in terms of reducing potential mistakes.

Base editing is a relatively new approach to genome editing. It describes a technique in which a target point mutation is directly converted back to the normal DNA sequence on a permanent basis, without having to introduce a double-stranded cut in the DNA. Because most human genetic variants associated with disease are point mutations, base editing could offer a means by which to advance the study and future treatment of human genetic diseases.

The fourth-generation base editor offers a way to improve base editing efficiency, while greatly reducing undesired byproducts — thereby making the edits much “cleaner.”

Read: New gene editing tech promises to be even better than CRISPR

Electric jet company Lilium receives $90M to make flying cars a reality

How much money would you throw at a company promising to deliver Jetsons-like flying cars? If you’re anything like the venture capitalists involved with German aviation startup Lilium Aviation, the answer is $90 million. That is how much they invested in a recently completed Series B funding round.

Among the high-profile investors are Chinese internet giant and investment company Tencent, private banking and asset management firm LGT. They joined Twitter co-founder and former CEO Evan Williams and Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström as individuals with a vested interest in making Lilium’s flying cars take off. The $90 million brings the total investment in the company to more than $100 million — which is hopefully enough to deliver a sweet product to the market place in the not-too-distant future.

Read: Electric jet company Lilium receives $90M to make flying cars a reality

Digital actors will never replace humans, says Andy Serkis (and he would know)

Andy Serkis’ first love has always been acting. Serkis spent 14 years performing on the stage and British television before landing the coveted role of Gollum in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy, which took his career on a strange turn into the emerging art of motion and performance capture. Today, Serkis is known worldwide as the master of performance capture, having brought to life characters from Gollum to King Kong (in Jackson’s remake), to Captain Haddock in Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin, and a leading role as Caesar in the Planet of the Apes trilogy.

While Serkis continues to explore additional performance-capture roles like Supreme Leader Snoke in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Baloo in his directorial turn for Jungle Book: Origins, he’s also spent time recently as a consultant on the first-ever Planet of the Apes video game, Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier, for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this fall.

Read: Digital actors will never replace humans, says Andy Serkis (and he would know)




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