The Download

What's up in emerging technology


Sony’s New Autonomous Car Camera Sees Road Signs at 160 Meters

Driverless cars need superhuman senses. And for the most part they seem to have them, in the form of lidar, radar, ultrasound, near-infrared, and other sensors. But regular cameras, often forgotten about in favor of more exotic technologies, are incredibly… Read more

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  • Sony

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Zombie devices are being enslaved by the Reaper.

A Bigger, Badder Botnet of Things Has Been Found, and It’s Primed to Ravage the Web

Actually, maybe you should fear the Reaper. At least the one that takes the form of a freshly discovered botnet, which threatens to become far larger than the one that took down a big chunk of the Internet last year.

Researchers from Chinese security… Read more

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  • Tim Mossholder
So many devices, so little security.

Arm Has a Plan to Secure the Internet of Things

The company that designed the chip in your smartphone hopes an entire industry will adopt its new set of rules to lock down connected devices.

When Japanese telecom company SoftBank acquired British chip designer Arm last year for $32 billion, it did… Read more

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  • Vladimir Kudinov | Unsplash
October 20, 2017 Tech giants may do more to police extremist content.

Tech Titans Promise to Do a Better Job of Fighting Extremist Content

Previous complaints about the complexity of the task appear to be crumbling, at least a little.

Last month, British prime minister Theresa May called for tech firms “to go further and faster in automating the detection and removal of terrorist content… Read more

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  • Rami Al Zayat | Unsplash
Is he shopping?

Walmart Has Seen the Future, and It’s VR Shopping

Forget the stores; just grab your headset. Retail Dive reports that the world's biggest retailer held a glitzy gala event in Los Angeles Thursday night to showcase the way it thinks people will buy its wares in the future. And that way, it seems, is… Read more

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  • Leonard Lin | Flickr
Pollution is a killer.

Pollution Causes 9 Million Premature Deaths a Year

So says a study by the Lancet, which found that one in every six deaths around the world is linked to toxic air, water, soil, or workplaces. That’s more deaths than are caused annually by smoking, AIDS, or malaria.

Sadly, though perhaps predictably,… Read more

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  • Ian Sane | Flickr
October 19, 2017

Next Up in Driverless Vehicles: Autonomous Excavators

Robotic earth movers are starting to break ground.

A startup called Built Robotics, founded by an ex-Google engineer and currently backed by $15 million of venture capital, has announced that it’s currently building a robotic tractor that digs and moves… Read more

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  • Built Robotics
T-cells like this can be engineered to fight cancer.

Why America’s Latest Commercial Gene Therapy Could Be a Big Money-Maker

The FDA has approved its second CAR-T cell therapy. This kind of treatment, which reprograms the DNA of a patient's T immune cells so that they attack cancer, has shown huge early success in trials and is widely anticipated to change the way many variants of… Read more

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  • NIAID | Flickr
Wind power, all out at sea.

The World’s First Floating Wind Farm Is Now Producing Energy

Over 15 miles from the coast of Scotland, a wind power project could foreshadow a major part of our clean-energy future. Hywind Scotland, situated in Buchan Deep, is the world’s first floating wind farm, with its five six-megawatt turbines now generating… Read more

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  • Statoil
October 18, 2017 Drones, soon flying over our heads.

The FAA Is Finally Letting Drones Fly Over Crowds

And, frankly, it’s about damn time. If you’ve been following the swift progress being made in using drones for commercial applications like delivery, you’ll have noticed few of the trials ever take place in the U.S. Iceland, Switzerland, Britain, Australia… Read more

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  • Caleb Woods | Unsplash