Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Leaks Detail the Flagship SoC Ahead of Its CES 2017 Launch

Chipmaker Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 835 mobile processor, set to power most of the premium smartphones in 2017, has been detailed in several leaks ahead of its showcase at CES 2017 on Tuesday (Wednesday morning, in India). The company officially announced the processor in November last year but did not provide specific details. As per the latest leaks, the processor will be smaller and more power efficient than its predecessor and will come with support for VR and AR content.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Leaks Detail the Flagship SoC Ahead of Its CES 2017 LaunchThe Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 thus far has been officially detailed to be built on the 10nm FinFET fabrication process by Samsung, support Quick Charge 4.0, and also deliver 27 percent higher performance while consuming 40 percent less power than the Snapdragon 821.

Since then however, and ahead of Tuesday’s launch, a leaked blog post tips the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 is expected to pack an Adreno 540 GPU, and be 30 percent smaller than the Snapdragon 820. “This pivotal size reduction and efficiency boost allow OEMs to manufacture thinner phones with larger batteries that run on less power and last longer,” the blog post reads.

The Snapdragon 835 processor has further been tipped to have improvements in three key departments specifically for VR, i.e. accurate audio, vibrant visuals, and intuitive interactions. The company is also touting improved machine learning capabilities. “Designed to meet VR processing demands within strict thermal and power constraints, Snapdragon 835 offers 25 percent faster 3D graphic rendering and 60X more display colours when compared to Snapdragon 820,” the leaked blog post said.

It adds, “the Snapdragon 835 supports scene- and object-based audio and audiophile-grade DSD audio. And for the most intuitive and comfortable user experiences on VR, the new SoC produces a 20 percent reduction in motion-to-photon latency and six-degrees-of-freedom for precise and pleasant motion tracking.”

Detailing the battery life improvements, Qualcomm’s leaked blog post said the chipset can provide “1+ day of talk time, 5+ days of music playback, and 7+ hours of 4K video streaming.”

Apart from the improvements to battery life and the support for alternate-reality experiences, the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC is expected to provide improvements to photography, video-recording, and video playback as well. The processor has been tipped to carry several improvements in the optics department including 4K video stabilisation through advanced yaw, roll, and rolling shutter correction, apart from EIS 3.0. Also on board is support for Dual Photodiode (2PD), improving autofocus alongside enhancements to the hybrid autofocus framework for intelligent phase and lighting detection.

In terms of security, the processor features Qualcomm Haven Security Platform to provide three layers of security (SoC, device, system), with support for a full biometric suite and complete device attestation for software, apps, OS, and hardware.

Recently, some slides were leaked on Chinese micro-blogging website Weibo that suggested similar performance improvements and specifications on the Snapdragon 835 SoC as suggested in the leaked blog post. It adds that the Snapdragon 835 has half the power consumption as the Snapdragon 801.

As per the slides, the chipset will sport four Kyro 280 cores clocked up to 2.45GHz, and four ‘efficiency’ cores clocked at 1.9GHz. The leaked slides further suggested that Snapdragon 835 will be the first chipset to have a Gigabit-class LTE modem in the form of X16 LTE. It is also seen to sport a Spectra 180 ISP (with smooth zoom, fast autofocus, and ‘True-to-Life colours’) and Hexagon 690 DSP (with Tensorflow and Hallide support). In terms of connectivity, the processor is expected to feature Wi-Fi 802.11ad connectivity Fi apart from the 256-QAM support for 4×4 MIMO and 4X carrier aggregation.

Separately, the Adreno 540 GPU is seen to support DX12 graphics, along with OpenGL ES and Vulkan apps. 10-bit 4K video can be processed at 60fps, alongside Q-Sync and wide colour gamut support. Finally, the GPU can also support 4K HEVC 10-bit playback as well as foveated video.

LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8 are among the alleged smartphones that can be the first to feature Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. However, we will have to wait for Qualcomm to make the official announcement till we can confirm the specifications.

Nasa’s Scott Kelly Shares Photo of First Flower Grown in Space

Nasa's Scott Kelly Shares Photo of First Flower Grown in Space

Over the weekend, Nasa astronaut Scott Kelly shared an image of a blooming flower that the crew of the International Space Station has managed to grow. This is the first flower that has been grown in space. The space organisation announced plans to grow flowers last November.

A flower has bloomed in the zero gravity of space. Kelly made the news public on Twitter on Saturday, adding that a zinnia plant flowered. “First ever flower grown in space makes its debut! #SpaceFlower #zinnia #YearInSpace,” he wrote, adding: “Yes, there are other life forms in space!”

The team grew zinnia, a genus of plants of the sunflower tribe within the daisy family, late last year. In August last year, team sampled the first lettuce it had grown in space, and said it tasted “awesome.”After starting the zinnia flower project in November, Kelly noted the plants’ condition started to wither amid excessive humidity and limited air flow. Kelly said he had to channel his inner Mark Whatney, a reference to the popular 2015 motion picture, and made some alteration to the way the plant was taken care of including changing when to water the plant.

“The zinnia plant is very different from lettuce,” said Trent Smith, Veggie project manager. “It is more sensitive to environmental parameters and light characteristics. It has a longer growth duration between 60 and 80 days. Thus, it is a more difficult plant to grow, and allowing it to flower, along with the longer growth duration, makes it a good precursor to a tomato plant.”

The mission of Kelly and his team is to study the effects of a long-term stay in space. The ability to grow plants beyond Earth’s boundary is a small step toward setting up human colonies in space, Mars and other planets.

Nasa announced Veggie project in 2014 to produce plants and flowers in Nasa. As you can imagine, there are a number of challenges, including pouring water, in growing anything in space. For this, the team has a special irrigation system that delivers moisture to the plant pillows from below.

What are the ingredients to the smart kitchen?


I returned from my first CES exhausted and underwhelmed. I spent a week walking miles (so said my FitBit) of exhibit space to explore the newest tech products with an eye on cooking gadgets. Other than the addition of Wi-Fi to some Samsung and Whirlpool ranges, there were slim pickings for new innovations in cooking. But it turns out that this seemingly slow year for cooking tools at CES was our chance to take a deep breath before the pieces of the connected kitchen begin to come together.

With the addition of cameras, Wi-Fi and software to large kitchen appliances, manufacturers are poised to deliver a connected kitchen in the next couple of years that will change our relationship with food — if they can nail the technology.

Large kitchen appliances have straggled behind other gadgets in the connected home. It takes a lot longer to design, produce and upgrade large appliances as opposed to smaller smart products such as a frying pan or coffee maker. You don’t replace large appliances nearly as often as, say, a smartphone, so manufacturers have to make smart white goods that will have decent staying power. And convincing consumers to add new technology or adopt new cooking practices is a tough proposition, said analyst Michael Wolf, the founder of the Smart Kitchen Summit.

“There’s connectivity and there’s reinventing core cooking, and both are moving along at a relatively slow pace,” Wolf said.

But the past few years have shown significant, but subtle, strides in the appliances that store and cook our food. Though Whirlpool and Samsung both debuted ovens with Wi-Fi at CES, we’ve seen that upgrade in ovens for at least three years. Samsung, LG and Bosch have created refrigerators equipped with cameras that let you get an inside view of what groceries you do (or don’t) have on hand. We’ve seen cameras in ovens, too — an Electrolux wall oven we saw at the IFA show in Berlin and the yet-to-be released June Intelligent Oven. And with companies eager to bring new software into these appliances, we’re a year or two away from seeing significant innovation in the smart kitchen.

“This is going to be a great year for this category,” Wolf said.

So what will make a smart kitchen succeed in real-life homes?

Food recognition

We can take pictures of the contents of our refrigerator and oven, so the next step of smart appliances will be to tell you what those contents are and what you should do with them. For example, the company Innit has built a software platform that will identify the food in your refrigerator and tell you when it expires. Innit also wants to use its software to identify the food in your oven and tell you how to cook it. The June Intelligent Oven, a countertop unit that is scheduled to ship this year, promises to recognize a selection of foods and recommend cook settings for them.


Smart large appliances can become as useful as a microwave or as passé as a fondue set, Wolf said. Companies will have to educate consumers on how to incorporate technology into their kitchen routine. For example, the food and technology companyChefSteps has built a community around its online cooking resources. The Pantelligent, a smart frying pan, walks you step-by-step through a recipe. Smart large appliances will need this same level of instruction for more universal appeal.

Third-party partnerships

Manufacturers would do well to stick with what they know (making goods) and team up with companies that have proven experience in areas that will upgrade the smart kitchen. The behemoth Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator we saw at CES, for example, will let you use the MasterCard grocery application to purchase food and ingredients from the fridge. Samsung also plans to add compatibility with Instacart so you can have your groceries delivered direct from Whole Foods (if you live in certain cities). Wolf liked the example Whirlpool set at CES: One of the brand’s connected dishwashers works with Amazon Dash to automatically order detergent refills when it needs them. That dishwasher and a connected oven from Whirlpool also work with Nest.

Features that solve real problems

At this point, there’s not much you can do with an oven’s Wi-Fi capabilities. The biggest capabilities are the ability to set cook times and turn your oven on or off with an app. Smart appliances should have more helpful tools, such as an oven that will alert you if your food is burning.

Design that makes being in the kitchen fun

Wolf liked LG’s door-in-door refrigerator at CES on which you could knock to see the food inside. It’s an example of an interactive design that makes improves the experience of being in a kitchen and adds a little fun to food. Manufacturers should keep effective design in mind as they continue to add more technology to large kitchen appliances.


Japanese mattress adjusts air pressure for better rest


There are plenty of apps that aim to give you a better night’s sleep, but Japanese manufacturer Molten Corp has gone one step further and made a smart mattress.

The Hiroshima-based company’s Leios air mattress has smart technology that knows when you’re not in the best resting position. Marketed mainly towards the elderly and the injured, the Leios’ “body pressure control” function adjusts the pressure of the air cells within to shift parts of an occupant’s body that may not be in an optimal position. This shift prevents strain and reduces bedsores while also promoting better blood circulation throughout, all of which bring relief to those rehabilitating from injuries and the country’s ageing population.

The result of collaborative research between Molten Corp and the University of Tokyo, the Leios comes equipped with a combination monitor and controller. The display offers real-time analysis of the body resting on the mattress, highlighting areas most in-need of relief, while the controller can be used to adjust the position of the occupant’s body parts accordingly.

The monitor also displays recorded physical movements of the sleeper and, like many sleeping apps for smartphones, logs his or her sleeping patterns.

The smart mattress comes with other comfort features, such as cooling and heating as well as position adjustment in conjunction with an electric bed. The body position control can be turned off, rendering the surface flat for moments such as emergency CPR.

A setback may be the size of the Leios, as at 80cm wide, 193cm long and 17cm high (31 by 76 by 7 inches), it looks to be on the narrow side. The product is expected to be sold at ¥800,000, which translates to roughly US$6,795, AU$9,800 and £4,700.

U.S. regulators could waive some safety rules for self-driving cars

U.S. regulators could waive some safety rules for self-driving cars

The U.S. Transportation Department said on Thursday it may waive some vehicle safety rules to allow more driverless cars to operate on U.S. roads as part of a broader effort to speed up development of self-driving vehicles.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx unveiled the new policy guidance for self-driving vehicle testing in Detroit.

Major automakers, and technology companies led by Alphabet Inc’s Google, are racing to develop and sell vehicles that can drive themselves, but they have complained that state and federal safety rules are impeding testing and ultimate deployment of such vehicles.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which Foxx oversees, told automakers it is willing to exempt up to 2,500 vehicles industry-wide from some auto safety standards for up to two years in a move that could allow Google to get its self-driving cars on U.S. roads.

Safety regulators will write guidelines for self-driving cars within six months, Foxx said. The administration may seek new legal authority to allow deployment of autonomous vehicles “in large numbers,” when they are deemed safe, the department said.

Sen. John Thune, (R-South Dakota), chairman of the Senate committee that oversees transportation, said in a statement on Thursday that Congress and the Obama administration should collaborate on efforts to accelerate vehicle automation.

Automakers backed the changes, including General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co. “We are committed to working with the government and the rest of the industry on standards,” GM said in a statement.

“Good roads need a clear path and they need guardrails,” said John Krafcik, head of Google’s self-driving project. “What we heard from the secretary today was their willingness to provide both of those things.”

The agency will also consider requests by automakers for approval to go ahead with specific technology. NHTSA said a BMW remote self-parking feature meets federal safety standards.

Regulators will require that companies demonstrate that their autonomous cars can operate safely.

Under current California rules, for example, Google test cars must have steering wheels and pedals – a requirement the company said excluded people “who need to get around but cannot drive.”

Krafcik would not say whether Google will ask regulators to allow vehicles without brake pedals and steering wheels.

“Our obligation is to make sure that everyone who is going to inform the discussion and decision on this really understands how our technology works,” Krafcik said.

New Sensor May Detect Cancer From Breath

New Sensor May Detect Cancer From Breath

In the future, it may become possible for an individual to easily check their health by connecting a sensor to a smartphone or other device. There are also hopes that the nation’s growing medical expenditures could be curbed by the early detection of disease.

The National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), based in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, played the leading role in developing the small sensor, which is capable of detecting substances in a person’s exhalations with high accuracy by analysing the odour of the breath.

To put this technology into practical use, the institute has been working with Kyocera Corp., NEC Corp., Sumitomo Seika Chemicals Co., Osaka University and a precision equipment maker in Switzerland.

A “film” installed in the sensor, which is a tiny chip a few millimetres square, determines whether there are substances peculiar to cancer patients’ breath and calculates whether a person is suspected to have cancer. By just exhaling into the sensor, which is connected to a smartphone or other device, the result can be displayed on the screen of the device in a graph or other form.

According to NIMS, it is highly likely that the sensor will be able to distinguish what kind of cancer a person has if the sensor’s accuracy is improved and data on odour are collected.

Peculiar odours are said to be found in the respiration of patients who are suffering from diabetes, kidney and liver diseases, asthma and those with Helicobacter pylori. The sensor may make it possible to judge what kind of diseases people have, and is being considered for use not only for examinations at medical institutions but also for self-checks by individuals.

The sensor costs a few hundred yen to make and can be produced in large quantities. It is expected to take about six years to develop it for practical use, as it is necessary to collect data on the odours associated with various cancers, improve the sensor’s precision and have it certified as medical equipment by the government, according to sources.

Cancer is the leading cause of death among Japanese people, with nearly 400,000 people dying each year. According to a 2014 survey by the Cabinet Office, the medical examination rate for cancer screening in Japan is about 40 percent – said to be about half that in the United States and some European nations.

Major reasons cited for not receiving cancer screening in the survey were having no time; the cost involved; and feeling uneasy about pain. Examinations of people’s exhalations would likely improve the medical examination rate. However, it would still be necessary for people to undergo further examinations at medical institutions to confirm whether they have a disease.

Nippon Medical School Prof. Masao Miyashita, an expert on digestive surgery and cancer, said: “It’ll be epoch-making if such a simple examination of exhalations becomes widely available.”

Research on diagnosing various diseases through exhalations started in Europe and the United States more than 10 years ago, and the research has attracted attention in Japan in recent years.

A group of researchers, including some at Kyushu University, submitted a report to a British medical journal in 2011 stating that cancer patients have peculiar odors in their respiration that can be detected by a dog specially trained to sniff out the exhalations of cancer patients.

Also, researchers at Juntendo University are studying a method of identifying esophageal cancer patients through their exhalations.

Nanowall 3D Technology to Improve Touchscreen Experience

Nanowall 3D Technology to Improve Touchscreen Experience: Study

In a first, a team of researchers has used 3D print technology to create a new type of transparent electrode to enhance the display quality and touchscreen experience.

A research team led by Dimos Poulikakos, professor of thermodynamics at ETH University in Zurich, Switzerland, created a transparent electrode that takes the form of a grid made of gold or silver “nanowalls” on a glass surface.

The walls or electrodes, hardly be seen with the naked eye, have a higher conductivity and are more transparent than those made of indium tin oxide the standard material used in smartphones and tablets today – giving a better the screen quality and precision to the touchscreen.

“Indium tin oxide is used because the material has a relatively high degree of transparency and the production of thin layers has been well researched, but it is only moderately conductive,” said Patrik Rohner, a PhD student in Poulikakos’ team.

In order to produce more conductive electrodes, the team opted for gold and silver, which conduct electricity much better.

Since these metals are not transparent, the scientists had to make use of the third dimension.

“If you want to achieve both high conductivity and transparency in wires made from these metals, you have a conflict of objectives. As the cross-sectional area of gold and silver wires grows, the conductivity increases, but the grid’s transparency decreases,” Poulikakos said.

To make the plan work, the team used metal walls only 80 to 500 nanometres thick. Since the walls are two to four times taller than they are wide, the cross-sectional area, and thus the conductivity, was found sufficiently high.

The researchers used printing process known as Nanodrip to produce these tiny metal walls.

Nanodrip, that Poulikakos and his colleagues developed three years ago, is a process in which they used inks made from metal nanoparticles in a solvent.

An electrical field draws ultra-small droplets of the metallic ink out of a glass capillary. The solvent evaporates quickly, allowing a three-dimensional structure to be built up drop by drop.

Einstein’s Mass-Energy Equation Inadequate, Claims Indian Researcher

Einstein's Mass-Energy Equation Inadequate, Claims Indian Researcher

Einstein’s mass-energy equation (E=mc^2) is inadequate as it has not been completely studied and is only valid under special conditions, an Indian researcher has claimed in an international paper.

Einstein considered just two light waves of equal energy emitted in opposite directions with uniform relative velocity, Ajay Sharma, a Shimla-based researcher who challenged Albert Einstein’s derivation mass-energy equation, said on Sunday.

The equation was given by Einstein in 1905.

His technical paper “The mathematical derivation or speculation of E=mc^2, in Einstein’s September 1905 paper, and some peculiar experiments” was published by Bauman Moscow State Technical University in Moscow last month.

E=mc^2 means energy is equal to mass multiplied by the speed of light squared.

Sharma, an assistant director for education with the Himachal Pradesh government, told IANS that Einstein’s theory has not been studied completely.

“It’s only valid under special conditions of the parameters involved, e.g. number of light waves, magnitude of light energy, angles at which waves are emitted and relative velocity,” he said.

Einstein considered just two light waves of equal energy, emitted in opposite directions and the relative velocity uniform. There are numerous possibilities for the parameters which were not considered in Einstein’s 1905 derivation, said Sharma’s paper.

This equation expresses the fact that mass and energy are the same physical entity and can be changed into each other, the paper said.

It said E=mc^2 is obtained from Lmc2 by simply replacing L by E (all energy) without derivation by Einstein. “It’s illogical,” he said.

The paper said Fadner correctly pointed out that Einstein did not mention E in the derivation.

Sharma’s book, ‘Beyond Einstein and E=mc^2’ published by the Cambridge International Science Publishers, says Einstein was not the original propounder of the theory of relativity — rather he took work from existing literature and published it in 1905 in German journal ‘Annalen de Physik’.

“Many people will be surprised that Einstein’s work was not peer reviewed before publication. The first postulate of relativity was given by Galileo in 1632 in his book ‘Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems’,” the 51-year-old Sharma said.

According to him, Einstein took this opportunity to publish the work of Galileo (1632, Principle of Relativity), Poincare (1898, Constancy of Velocity of Light), Lorentz (1892, Variation of Mass etc), Larmer (1897, Time Dilation), and Fitzegerald (1889, Length Contraction) in his own name.

Although Einstein’s theory is well established, it has to be critically analysed and the new results would definitely emerge, a beaming Sharma added.


New Smartphone-Based System Could Help Diabetics Control Blood Sugar

New Smartphone-Based System Could Help Diabetics Control Blood Sugar

Diabetics may soon be able to ditch constant finger pricks and insulin injections, thanks to a new smartphone-based system that can automatically control blood-sugar levels.

A smartphone, combined with a tiny sensor and wearable insulin pump, can stand in for pancreas, monitoring blood-sugar levels and delivering insulin as needed, researchers said.

The system will enter two final phases of international trials this year.

“We’ve been working on this specific artificial pancreas as it’s called since 2006,” said lead researcher Boris Kovatchev, director of the University of Virginia Center for Diabetes Technology.

The system works with a readily available blood-glucose sensor – about the size of a flash drive – that can be worn in a variety of places on the body, such as an arm, leg, or the abdomen, ‘Ars Technica’reported.

The sensor reads blood-glucose levels every five minutes and wirelessly reports the results to a specially designed app on a nearby android smartphone.

The app’s algorithm analyses the data and wirelessly controls a discreet, wearable insulin pump, which can be hooked to a belt or other piece of clothing. The pump has a very fine needle that delivers insulin into the blood stream.

For traditional management strategies and for Kovatchev’s original version of the smartphone app, the goal is to keep blood-glucose levels at a specific target number.

This makes it easy to under- or over-shoot that specific target during manual blood-sugar management, and it means an automatic system has to frequently tweak levels.

Researchers have come up with an improved version of the smartphone app algorithm that does not aim for a specific blood-glucose number, but rather a “zone.”

These patient-specific short ranges of healthy blood-glucose levels are easier targets that can be stably maintained, avoiding constant adjustments that can lead to swings, Francis Doyle III, dean of Harvard’s Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences said.

The new algorithm will be able to adapt to each patient’s sugar shifts and insulin sensitivity.

Scientists Create First ‘Growth Chart’ for the Milky Way

Scientists Create First 'Growth Chart' for the Milky Way

Researchers have created the first-ever ‘growth chart’ for Milky Way, which shows how our galaxy grew from its infancy to the bright spiral galaxy we see Monday.

The chart uses the ages of more than 70,000 stars and extends halfway across our galaxy to 50,000 light-years away.

“Close to the centre of our galaxy, we see old stars that were formed when it was young and small. Farther out, we see young stars. We conclude that our galaxy grew up by growing out,” said Melissa Ness from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg in Germany, who led the study.

“To see this, we needed an age map spanning large distances, and that is what this new discovery gives us,” she added.

Researchers mapped the galaxy by observing red giants, bright stars in the final stages of their lives that can be

observed out to large distances from our Sun, into the very inner and outer reaches of the Milky Way.

“If we know the mass of a red giant star, we know its age by using the fusion clock inside every star. Finding masses of red giant stars has historically been very difficult, but surveys of the galaxy have made new, revolutionary techniques possible,” said Marie Martig, co-author of the study.

Researchers started with spectra taken from one of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)’s component surveys, the Apache Point Observatory Galaxy Evolution Experiment (APOGEE).

“APOGEE is the ideal survey for this work because it can get high-quality spectra for 300 stars simultaneously over a large area of sky,” said Steve Majewski, principal investigator of the APOGEE survey.

“Seeing so many stars at once means getting spectra of 70,000 red giants is actually possible with a single telescope in a few years’ time,” he added.

The ages of stars cannot be measured with APOGEE spectra alone, but the APOGEE team realised that light curves from the Kepler satellite, a NASA space mission whose main goal is to find planets around stars, could provide the missing link between APOGEE spectra and stellar ages.

APOGEE therefore observed thousands of red giants that had also been seen by Kepler. After combining information from the APOGEE spectra and Kepler lightcurves, the researchers could then apply their methods to measure ages for all 70,000 red giant stars sampling all parts of the galaxy.

“In the galaxy we know best – our own – we can clearly read the story of how galaxies form in a universe with large amounts of cold dark matter,” said Ness.

“Because we can see so many individual stars in the Milky Way, we can chart its growth in unprecedented detail. This unprecedented, enormous map really is one for the ages,” she added.