Roomba maker iRobot sells defense robots business



iRobot is officially out of the military.

The 26-year-old robotics company sold the defense portion of its business to Arlington Capital Partners for $46 million on Thursday. While the deal will take a few months to finalize, the newly private company will focus on defense, public safety and the industrial market.

This means robots like the bomb-disposing PackBot and First Look, which some know as the “ThrowBot” for its ability to literally be thrown into dangerous situations, will now be part of the new iRobot Defense & Security (D&S) organization.

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Spotify users can now listen to their music on Amazon Echo



Echo, Amazon’s voice-controlled, wireless home speaker, can now play your Spotify tunes

The new feature, available for Spotify Premium subscribers in the U.S., lets you ask Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, to play an artist, playlist or genre from Spotlight’s catalog

“Music is one of the most popular features on Amazon Echo, and Spotify has been one of the most requested services, so we’re excited to bring it to our customers today,” Toni Reid, director at Amazon Alexa, said in a statement

With this move, Spotify joins Amazon Music, Prime Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and TuneIn, all of which are already available on the Echo. With Spotify being the largest streaming music service around, with more than 20 million paying subscribers, it’s a huge feather in Amazon’s cap. Read more…

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This strange-looking EV is powered by something called 'electrolyte fuel'



There are a lot of wacky electric vehicles out there. Nothing is quite like the QUANTiNO from nanoFlowcell.

It’s not just distinctive because of its yellow paint, round body lines or hypnotic wheels. The car’s powertrain is what sets it apart from the rest of the eco-friendly pack.

The powertrain carries the name of the company that builds the QUANTiNO: nanoFlowcell. Although the details are pretty slim, which makes me wonder if it’s more science fiction than fact, it’s supposedly a low-voltage electric powertrain that distributes energy to the four electric motors — one for each wheel — to propel the car efficiently down the road. Read more…

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Hackers break into more than 20 million accounts on China's largest marketplace



One of China’s largest web companies suffered a massive hacking attack last year, its owner said Thursday. Hackers managed to gain access to 20.59 million user accounts on Taobao.

The attack on China’s largest marketplace happened in October last year, where criminals managed to obtain a database of 99 million usernames and passwords for Taobao, according to Reuters.

They then started putting in the names and passwords into the site, and discovered 20.59 million were active user accounts with matching passwords.

Taobao’s owner, world’s largest e-commerce firm Alibaba, said Thursday the company caught the attack and blocked the majority of log-in attempts, then reported it to the police. It did not reveal what losses were suffered by affected users. Read more…

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Ford is entering a factory-fresh 2017 Raptor pickup in a desert racing series



To prove its toughness, Ford is taking its 2017 Ford Raptor desert racing.

Entering the 2016 Best in the Desert off-road racing series factory stock class does more than let Ford designers cover the courageous new performance truck in racing livery. It allows them to show off just how durable it really is.

2017 Ford Raptor

2017 Ford Raptor

Image: Ford

And it has plenty to prove. Unlike the last-gen Ford F-150-based Raptor pickup truck, which had a 6.2-liter V8 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission, the all-new 2017 has a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 and an automatic transmission with 10 — count ’em 10 — speeds. I don’t know about you, but, to me, that sounds pretty break-y … especially in the desert. Read more…

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Samsung to roll out screen-equipped trucks that show the road ahead



In June 2015, Samsung showed off an intriguing concept: The company attached a large screen onto the back of a semi-truck, showing the road ahead to drivers behind the truck

Now, the company is getting ready to roll out the system, called “Safety Truck,” to the global market

According to a company blog post Tuesday, Samsung’s Argentinian arm — together with partners Leo Burnett, Helvetica and Volvo Trucks — has produced the first prototype of the truck, scheduled to be on the roads for a year.

The video wall on the back consists of four Samsung full HD, OH46D displays, which are water- and dust-proof to IP56 specs, as well as very visible under direct sunlight, while the image is captured by two cameras built into the front of the Volvo-made truck Read more…

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