Every day we wake up, drink a cup of coffee, and get ready for work. Following are a handful of stories from around the tech world condensed to fit into one single cup of coffee. These are the things you need to know before you step foot out of your door (or in front of a webcam) and into the real world this morning.
So sit back, grab a cup, and start your morning off right with a few “Quick Bytes” from Innovation & Tech Today.
Google Competitors Take a Pro-Privacy Route
Google’s competitors, battling the long industry standard in website analytics measuring tools, is taking an entirely different approach. In a slight to Google’s use of the slogan “don’t be evil,” its competitors are riding under a different banner: “Don’t be Google.”
The companies are going to blows with Google Analytics, the global standard for understanding “how” people browse the internet. While the data is largely anonymous, many companies believe it is still a step too far.
The global push to protect individual privacy has opened a sort of hole for companies like Plausible Analytics to slide into and carve out a niche.
Elon Musk Donated $5.7 Billion in December, but to Whom?
In December, Elon Musk and the UN World Food Program got into a Twitter discussion after the UN World Food Program called out the world’s billionaires. The tweet suggested that $6 billion could save literally 42 million people from dying.
Musk called them out, insisting if they could prove their math, he’d transfer the money right over. The two conversed a bit on Twitter, before eventually the story kind of fizzled out … or so we assumed.
According to an SEC filing, Musk transferred $5.7 billion in Tesla shares to an unnamed charity. There’s no way to determine if the money went to the UN World Food Program or his own personal charity foundation, but the timing is definitely curious.
New Haptic Robot Hands Can be Controlled from Anywhere in the World
Shadow Robot Company, in collaboration with HaptX and Tangible Research, has created robotic hands that can be controlled by humans from anywhere in the world.
A recent video has surfaced showing a fascinated Jeff Bezos trying out the gloves that control the robotic hands.
The “Tactile Telerobot” contains “biomimetic sensors which capture force, temperature, pressure, and vibration with equal resolution to a human finger,” according to Shadow Robot.
The real-time touch feedback allows the operator to feel exactly what the robotic hand is feeling, so the telerobot can be as dextrous as the user, while still possessing more than 5 times the strength.
There are myriad potential applications for the robotic equipment, such as performing surgeries from anywhere in the world remotely and industrial use that would take the human element out of dangerous tasks. But the most enticing of these, by far, is the possibility of real-life Avatar-style mechs being only a few years away.
Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit Movie and Game Rights for Sale
The Lord of the Rings franchise could be getting a boost, with the sale of various JRR Tolkien properties set for later this week. The Saul Zaentz Company will auction The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit game, movie, and TV rights for around $2 billion, with Amazon looking to be the front-runners to buy the famous Tolkien works.
The announcement comes off the heels of the first teaser trailer for Amazon’s The Rings of Power TV series. Set in the Second Age, the series delves into the backstory of Middle Earth, giving further cinematic context to award-winning movie franchises The Hobbit and LOTR.
With Amazon’s vast resources, fans could see a resurgence of game titles, TV series, merchandise, and feature films based on Tolkien’s epic novels.