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iPhone 7 To Start at 32GB Storage, Says WSJ
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '16 at 08:11 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's finally department:
An anonymous reader writes: It appears Apple has finally decided to do something about the not-so-enough 16GB storage on its base iPhone model. According to a report on WSJ, the Cupertino-based company's next smartphone -- expected to be named iPhone 7 will have 32GB internal storage on the base model.For years, Apple has offered a 16GB iPhone version for those who were on a budget or just didn't necessarily need too much storage. But as we moved forward -- the iPhone got better cameras and improved video recording capability and apps became more sophisticated and ate more storage -- we really reached a point where 16GB wasn't enough for most people. In many cases, people were unable to update their iPhone to the latest version of iOS because there wasn't enough storage left on the device. It's a welcome move, and something millions of people will appreciate.

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Millions of Chinese Stream Reality Shows Starring Themselves
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '16 at 06:56 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's things-people-do department:
Lulu Yilun Chen, reporting for Bloomberg: Pole dancing, bungee jumping, a woman eating maggots: at any given hour, millions of Chinese are live-streaming all of this and much more on their smartphones. Crazes come and go at neck-snapping speed in the world's largest online marketplace, but China's live-streaming phenomenon shows staying power and is already a significant business. Tiny startups and internet giants alike are making money selling virtual gifts -- flowers, cars, toys -- to people keen to reward their favorite live-streamers. As the business matures, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and others may start selling ads on the most popular streams. "This isn't a fad that will disappear, as the business model has proven to be viable," said Zhu Xiaohu, managing partner at GSR Ventures Management Co., who invested in Inke, one of about 200 live-streaming startups that have attracted an estimated $750 million in venture capital. "But the amount of interest in this sector is so high, bubbles could be forming and many will fail."

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AMD Details Driver Fix For Radeon RX 480's Controversial, Spec-Exceeding Power Draw
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '16 at 06:56 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's fixing-things department:
AMD's 150-watt Radeon RX 480 apparently draws more power than it is supposed to. According to Tom's Hardware blog, AMD's new graphics card used an average of 168W under load. Furthermore, the publication found that card pulled up to a whopping 90W over the motherboard's PCI-E slot, far exceeding the 75W maximum the slot it rated for. PC Perspective's findings were similar, with Witcher 3 title consuming over 190W of sustained power draw when the RX 480 was overclocked. Worse, the blog discovered that AMD's card drew 7 amps over the PCI-E slot's +12v rail, which is rated for 5.5 amps maximum. These issues could theoretically (but not likely) damage lower-end motherboards in extreme circumstances, writes PCWorld. The chip company last week addressed the concerns, noting that it will soon release a software fix. In a new statement to PCWorld, the company adds:"We promised an update today (July 5, 2016) following concerns around the Radeon RX 480 drawing excess current from the PCIe bus. Although we are confident that the levels of reported power draws by the Radeon RX 480 do not pose a risk of damage to motherboards or other PC components based on expected usage, we are serious about addressing this topic and allaying outstanding concerns. Towards that end, we assembled a worldwide team this past weekend to investigate and develop a driver update to improve the power draw. We're pleased to report that this driver -- Radeon Software 16.7.1 -- is now undergoing final testing and will be released to the public in the next 48 hours. In this driver we've implemented a change to address power distribution on the Radeon RX 480 -- this change will lower current drawn from the PCIe bus. Separately, we've also included an option to reduce total power with minimal performance impact. Users will find this as the "compatibility" UI toggle in the Global Settings menu of Radeon Settings. This toggle is "off" by default. Finally, we've implemented a collection of performance improvements for the Polaris architecture that yield performance uplifts in popular game titles of up to 3%. These optimizations are designed to improve the performance of the Radeon RX 480, and should substantially offset the performance impact for users who choose to activate the "compatibility" toggle.

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'New Way of Stealing Cars': Hacking Them With A Laptop
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '16 at 05:33 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's there's-an-app-for-that department:
retroworks writes: The Wall Street Journal (Warning: source may be paywalled), CBS and Marketwatch all lead the morning with stories about the newest method of stealing (late model) cars. No need for hacking off the ignition switch and touching the wires to create a spark (controversial during broadcasts in 1970s television crime criticized for "teaching people to steal cars"). Thieves now use the laptop to access the automobile's computer system, and voila. "Police and car insurers say thieves are using laptop computers to hack into late-model cars' electronic ignitions to steal the vehicles, raising alarms about the auto industry's greater use of computer controls. The discovery follows a recent incident in Houston in which a pair of car thieves were caught on camera using a laptop to start a 2010 Jeep Wrangler and steal it from the owner's driveway. Police say the same method may have been used in the theft of four other late-model Wranglers and Cherokees in the city. None of the vehicles have been recovered." The article concludes with the example filmed of a break-in in Houston. The thief, says the NICB's Mr. Morris, likely used the laptop to manipulate the car's computer to recognize a signal sent from an electronic key the thief then used to turn on the ignition. The computer reads the signal and allows the key to turn. "We have no idea how many cars have been broken into using this method," Mr. Morris said. "We think it is minuscule in the overall car thefts but it does show these hackers will do anything to stay one step ahead." No details on modifying the program to run on Android or iPhone -- there's not yet "an app for that."

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Pod Planes Could Change Travel Forever
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '16 at 02:42 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's flying-bus department:
Max_W writes: Every year we hear about people dying in plane crashes. This does not have to continue as there is a new revolutionary pod plane design [in the works via the Clip-Air project]. A passenger pod is not heavy because it does not contain fuel, engines, avionics, etc., so in case of an accident it can be ejected and land on parachutes. The obstacle to this new invention is that the whole obsolete airport and airline infrastructure must be rebuilt. So what? Shall we continue to get killed because it is easier to produce aircraft with a design from 1950s? The Clip-Air project is created by Switzerland's Federal Polytechnic Institute and consists of the flying component, which includes airframe, cockpit and engines, and the capsules, which are a number of detachable pods that can act as cabin or cargo hold, depending on the chosen configuration. What's particularly noteworthy about them is that they can allow passengers to board capsules well before a flight, and at a location besides an airport, such as a local bus station. As with any concept, many years of research and tests will be needed to validate the concept and turn it into a reality. Claudio Leonardi, manager of the Clip-Air project, and his team are preparing to build a small-scale Clip-Air prototype. They have already initiated some contacts with the aerospace industry.

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KDE Plasma 5.7 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '16 at 12:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Neowin: Earlier today, the KDE project released KDE Plasma 5.7, its popular Linux desktop environment. The update brings improved workflows, better kiosk support, a new system tray and task manager, and further steps towards Wayland windowing system. New live images of KDE Neon have been spun which feature the all-new Plasma 5.7, and other distributions will get the new software sometime in the future based on their release model. Plasma 5.7 builds on the jump List Actions that were introduced in Plasma 5.6, which allowed users to use certain tasks within the application; now the feature has been extended and those actions are present in Krunner. Another change which improves workflow is the return of the agenda view in the calendar, providing users with a quick and easily accessible overview of upcoming appointments and holidays. The volume control applet in the system tray is now able to control volume on a per-application basis; it even allows the user to move application sound output between devices by just drag and dropping. The Wayland window manager -- which has been kicking around for at least half a decade -- still isn't the default window manager on many Linux distributions, mainly because desktop environment (DE) developers are still making their DE work properly with it. With KDE Plasma 5.7, support for the windowing system is greatly improved, especially when it comes to tear-free and flicker-free rendering, as well as security. The image can be found here via KDE.

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Theranos Faces Congressional Inquiry Over Faulty Blood Tests
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '16 at 08:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's snail-mail department:
An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to blood analysis startup Theranos asking for them to explain their failure in providing accurate results to patients using its proprietary blood test technology. The company has faced serious backlash after government and regulatory agencies questioned the results of their proprietary 'Edison' machine, that the company claimed could detect hundreds of diseases using a single drop of blood. Not only have the feds proposed banning founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes and the company president Sunny Balwani from the blood-testing business for two years, but Holmes' net worth has been cut from $4.5 billion to zero. Most recently, Walgreens decided to cut ties with the company. House Democrats Frank Pallone, Gene Green and Diana DeGette sent the letter on June 30th, asking Holmes to explain what went wrong, what steps the company is taking to help medical professionals and patients who might have been affected by the manipulated results, and how Theranos plans to comply with regulators. "Given Theranos' disregard for patient safety and its failure to immediately address concerns by federal regulators, we write to request more information about how company policies permitted systemic violations of federal law," reads the letter. Theranos says it plans to clear things up with these lawmakers.

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Hyperloop One Says It Can Connect Helsinki To Stockholm In Under 30 Minutes
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '16 at 06:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hefty-price-tag department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: Hyperloop One released a new study today that says a hyperloop connecting Stockholm, Sweden, and Helsinki, Finland, could turn a 300-mile trip that would normally take 3.5 hours flying into a breezy 28-minute ride. How much would they need to accomplish this? Only $21 billion (19 billion euros) to build it. That price includes $3.3 billion (3 billion euros) for one of the world's largest marine tunnels through the Aland archipelago, a chain of islands in the Baltic Sea. But the company did say the total cost would be offset by the rise in property values and productivity as facilitated by the new, super-fast transit system. Homes built nearby would be worth more, freight shipments would arrive sooner, and workers traveling between the two cities would spend less time commuting and more time working. The study claims the Nordic Hyperloop would start generating a surplus after 10 years thanks to its economic benefits. As for where it expects to receive the money, Hyperloop One envisions a combination of public funds and private investment, with the study authors recommending capturing some of the value from increased property values. Hyperloop is expected to generate somewhere between $969 million (875 million euros) and $1.1 billion (1 billion euros) in ticket sales annually. "We've said that, generally speaking, a Hyperloop system can be built at 50 [percent] to 60 [percent] of the cost of high-speed rail because Hyperloop technology requires less intensive civil engineering, its levitated vehicles produce fewer maintenance issues and its electric propulsion occupies far less of the track than high-speed rail," the company says. "With Hyperloop, passengers glide most of the way above the track in a near-vacuum tube with little air resistance." A hyperloop between Sweden and Finland would take up to 12 years to complete. Hyperloop One conducted the first successful test of its high-speed transportation technology in the desert outside Las Vegas in May.

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Japan Says Yes To Mirrorless Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '16 at 05:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it department:
An anonymous reader writes: Last month, Japan became one of the first countries to allow vehicles to use cameras instead of mirrors. "Video mirrors" will no longer be reserved for concept cars. They will likely turn into a huge marketplace for tech businesses and suppliers now that the "Land of the Rising Sun" gave Japanese companies the green light by allowing mirrorless vehicles. While many would argue that glass mirrors work just fine, video mirrors do have some real-world advantages. They can reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency (Warning: source may be paywalled) while improving the looks of a vehicle in the process. In addition, they can capture a wide-angle view that can see blind spots, and they can improve visibility by digitally compensating for glare, darkness or even rainy weather. The first company to supply digital mirrors will be Ichikoh. Their first product will be an interior rear-view mirror named the Smart Rear View Mirror that will enter production on June 28th.

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Man Builds Giant Homemade Computer To Play Tetris
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '16 at 05:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's classic-arcade-games department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BBC: A man has finished building an enormous computer in the sitting room of his bungalow in Cambridge. James Newman started work on the "Megaprocessor," which is 33ft (10m) wide and 6ft (2m) high, in 2012. It does the job of a chip-sized microprocessor and Mr Newman has spent $53,000 creating it. It contains 40,000 transistors, 10,000 LED lights and it weighs around half a ton (500kg). So far, he has used it to play the classic video game Tetris. Mr Newman, a digital electronics engineer, started the project because he was learning about transistors and wanted to visualize how a microprocessor worked. The components all light up as the huge device carries out a task. Mr Newman hopes the Megaprocessor will be used as an educational tool and is planning a series of open days at his home over the summer. You can watch a video demonstration of the monstrosity here.

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Tesla Autopilot 2.0 Is Coming This Year, Source Confirms
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '16 at 03:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via TechnoBuffalo: A source close to Tesla Motors confirmed to TechnoBuffalo that Tesla Autopilot 2.0 is coming soon. Other media outlets like Teslarati have reported on prototype Model S and Model X vehicles operating in the wild sporting two forward facing cameras, which may indicate part of the new hardware necessary to take advantage of Autopilot 2.0's additional features. "The dual camera system is capable of recognizing and reacting to stop signs and traffic lights with no driver input," said the source. The current Autopilot software cannot simply stop itself at a light or a stop sign on its own -- it needs a car in front of it in order to automatically slow down or stop. The added cameras should help Autopilot 2.0 read and react to traffic lights and stop signs, and thus bring Tesla's cars closer to autonomous driving. The source did mention that Tesla's current test vehicles with Autopilot 2.0 are running "very beta" software that was likely the precursor to v8.0. U.S. regulators are actively investigating 25,000 Tesla Model S cars after a fatal crash involving a vehicle using the "Autopilot" mode was reported. Despite the tragedy, Elon Musk recently said that Autopilot could save half a million lives every year if Tesla Autopilot was universally available.

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UK Police Accessed Civilian Data For Fun and Profit, Says Report
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '16 at 03:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's power-corrupts department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Motherboard: A report from activist group Big Brother Watch surfaced that says more than 800 U.K. police staff inappropriately accessed personal information between June 2011 and December 2015. Motherboard reports: "The report says some police staff used their access to a growing trove of police data, which includes personal information on civilians, for entertainment and personal and financial gain. In several notable incidents, one Metropolitan Police officer found the name of a victim so funny that he attempted to take a photo of the driving license and send it to his friend over Snapchat. A Greater Manchester Police officer tipped someone off that they would be arrested, and one from North Yorkshire Police conducted a check on a vehicle on his phone whilst off-duty. The report also includes incidents of staff distributing other types of police data. Someone from South Wales Police was dismissed after photographing and distributing restricted documents "for personal gain," the report said. Not only was some information not needed for official police work, according to the report, but was shared with third parties outside the police, including some organized crime groups, 877 times. In total, 2,315 incidents of inappropriate access or distribution of data were reported. The majority of incidents, 1,283, ended up with no disciplinary action taking place, while 297 ended in a resignation or dismissal, 258 resulted in a written or verbal warning, and 70 led to a criminal conviction or caution."

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73% of Subscribers Would Download Netflix Content, Says Survey
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '16 at 02:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's scale-of-one-to-ten department:
An anonymous reader writes: A report surfaced a couple weeks ago suggesting Netflix is soon going to let users download videos for offline playback. AllFlicks decided to poll 1,000 stakeholders to see what they think of the bold new idea. In their survey, they asked respondents to tell them how important offline viewing was to them. Nearly two thirds of Netflix subscribers said offline support was either "Important" or "Very Important" to them. About a quarter of all respondents chose the most enthusiastic option, "Very Important." Just plain "Important" was the most popular answer, at 39%, and "Not Important" netted a significant minority at 34%. They followed up by asking subscribers if they think they will download Netflix videos if offline viewing becomes possible. The respondents agreed overwhelmingly that they would download Netflix videos if it became possible. A whopping 73% said they would, while only 16% were confident that they would not. In an open-ended question, AllFlicks asked when would they use the feature. Respondents said they'd need offline support when traveling (in particular, air and car travel), camping, and working out in the gym. They did also mention public transit and train commutes. In addition to offline playback, Recode reports that Comcast will allow Netflix onto its X1 platform.

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Elon Musk: Tesla's Autopilot Software Could Save Half a Million Lives Every Year
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '16 at 02:32 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's fighting-odds department:
An anonymous reader writes: In the wake of a deadly crash involving a Model S that was driving with its Autopilot software turned on, Tesla CEO Elon Musk issued a few interesting remarks on the technology to Fortune. Notably, the publication recently ran a piece attempting to portray Tesla in a bad light by noting that Musk sold more than $2 billion worth of Tesla stock just 11 days after the aforementioned May, 2016 accident. And all the while, shareholders were kept in the dark up until recently. "Indeed, if anyone bothered to do the math (obviously, you did not) they would realize that of the over 1M auto deaths per year worldwide, approximately half a million people would have been saved if the Tesla autopilot was universally available. Please, take 5 mins and do the bloody math before you write an article that misleads the public.

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Apple To Encourage Organ Donation With Health App
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '16 at 01:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's head-shoulders-knees-and-toes department:
An anonymous reader writes: Apple announced today that its updated Health app, which will be available as part of iOS 10, will allow people to sign-up to be organ donors. The app will use its Medical ID feature, which has been used in the past to keep track of medical and health information, to include the ability to register as a donor of organs, eyes and tissues. The registrations will be forwarded to the National Donate Life Registry, an organization managed by Donate Life of America. All you need to do is tap the registration button in the Health app to volunteer as an organ donor. That adds your status as a donor to an "emergency information" screen that can appear even when the phone is locked. Tapping another button brings up information on organ donation. The demand for organs greatly exceeds the supply, as more than 120,000 Americans are currently waiting for a transplant -- every 10 minutes a new person is added to that waiting list, according to Apple. The feature is currently available for developers, but will be rolling out to the public in the public beta soon.

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BlackBerry's 'Classic' Smartphone Is About to Disappear
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '16 at 01:11 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's good-riddance department:
From a Reuters report:The beleaguered tech company continues its shift to software. BlackBerry will stop making its Classic smartphone, 18 months after launching it in an effort to entice users who prefer physical, rather than touch, keyboards, the Canadian technology company said on Tuesday. The Classic was launched early last year, with a physical keyboard in the vein of its Bold predecessor and powered by the company own overhauled BlackBerry 10 operating system. BlackBerry has since launched a phone powered by Alphabet's Android software and plans several more, and BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen last month expressed confidence the company's trimmed-down handset business can turn a profit by a self-imposed September deadline.

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Skype Meetings Is Microsoft's New Free Video Conferencing Tool For Small Businesses
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '16 at 11:41 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's if-an-app-was-preventing-you-from-talking department:
Microsoft is launching a free tool to make it easier for people to make video conference calls. The company on Tuesday released Skype Meetings, which is largely similar to using the traditional Skype app, but comes with features that make it easier to set up video calls and collaborate with colleagues. TechCrunch reports:The more fully featured Skype for Business product allows you to host meetings with up to 250 people and it's deeply integrated into Outlook, Word and PowerPoint. Skype Meetings, on the other hand, only allows for PowerPoint collaboration (screen sharing, laser pointer, etc.) and screen sharing. Video calls are also limited to a maximum of 10 people during the first two months. After that, the maximum number of participants drops to three people. Participants can join Skype Meetings from virtually any device with the help of a personalized URL and the calls are powered by the same technology as Skype for Business calls. That means you will get to take advantage of Skype's head tracking feature, for example, which ensures that a face will always be in the center of the screen, no matter where it is in the actual video image.

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Linux Letting Go: 32-bit Builds On the Way Out
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '16 at 11:41 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's good-riddance department:
An anonymous shares a report on The Register:Major Linux distributions are in agreement: it's time to stop developing new versions for 32-bit processors. Simply: it's a waste of time, both to create the 32-bit port, and to keep 32-bit hardware around to test it on. At the end of June, Ubuntu developer Dimitri Ledkov chipped into the debate with this mailing list post, saying bluntly that 32-bit ports are a waste of resources. "Building i386 images is not 'for free', it comes at the cost of utilising our build farm, QA and validation time. Whilst we have scalable build-farms, i386 still requires all packages, autopackage tests, and ISOs to be revalidated across our infrastructure." His proposal is that Ubuntu version 18.10 would be 64-bit-only, and if users desperately need to run 32-bit legacy applications, the'll have to do so in containers or virtual machines. [...] In a forum thread, the OpenSUSE Chairman account says 32-bit support "doubles our testing burden (actually, more so, do you know how hard it is to find 32-bit hardware these days?). It also doubles our build load on OBS".

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Google's DeepMind AI To Use 1 Million NHS Eye Scans To Spot Diseases Earlier
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '16 at 10:22 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's interesting-advances department:
Google DeepMind has announced its second collaboration with the NHS, as part of which it will work with Moorfields Eye Hospital in east London to build a machine learning system which will eventually be able to recognise sight-threatening conditions from just a digital scan of the eye. The five-year research project will draw on one million anonymous eye scans which are held on Moorfields' patient database, reports Ars Technica, with the aim to speed up the complex and time-consuming process of analysing eye scans. From the report:The hope is that this will allow diagnoses of common causes of sight loss, like diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, to be spotted more rapidly and hence be treated more effectively. For example, Google says that up to 98 percent of sight loss resulting from diabetes can be prevented by early detection and treatment. Two million people are already living with sight loss in the UK, of whom around 360,000 are registered as blind or partially-sighted. Google quotes estimates that the number of people suffering from sight loss in the UK will double by 2050. Improvements in detection and treatment would therefore have a major impact on the quality of life for large numbers of people in the UK and around the world.

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Uber Hires a Robot To Patrol Its Parking Lot and It's Way Cheaper Than a Security Guard
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '16 at 10:22 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's humans-need-not-apply department:
Fusion's Kashmir Hill is reporting about a five-foot-tall, white, egg-shaped robot that one can find at the company's inspection lot near Mission Bay in San Francisco. The K5 robot is a stand-in for a human security guard, and it sports multiple high-definition cameras for 360-degree vision, a thermal camera, a laser rangefinder, a weather sensor, a license-plate recognition camera, four microphones, and person recognition capabilities. The report adds:If someone suspicious comes into the lot, or starts messing with a car, the robot can't tase them or break out any weapons. Instead the robot can set off an alarm, send a signal to human security personnel, and record everything that person does to be used against them later by police. Customers of Knightscope, the company that manufactures the aforementioned robot don't buy the machines. They rent them, usually two at a time, so one can charge its battery while the other patrols. The cost is $7 an hour. "For the cost of a single-shift security guard, you get a machine that will patrol for 24 hours a day 7 days a week," said Stephens, citing wages of $25 to $35 hour for a human security guard.

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