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ALI Technologies Attracts Supercar Fans With a Limited Edition Hoverbike

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A drone start-up based in Tokyo hopes to convince supercar collectors to trade their cars for a futuristic hoverbike worth $680,000 (£495,000).

A black and red XTurismo Limited Edition hoverbike went on sale in the city on Tuesday, October 26, 2021. ALI Technologies’ project is supported by Mitsubishi Electric and famous soccer player Keisuke Honda. Each hoverbike has a conventional engine and four battery-powered motors. The new toy car can fly for 40 minutes at a maximum speed of 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles/hour ) on a single charge.

ALI Technologies and its partners demonstrated the drone-like hoverbike with a short flight a few meters off the ground. The test flight was conducted at a racetrack near Mount Fuji. The company wishes to offer a new method of movement. Until now, the option has been to move on the ground or at scale in the sky, ALI Technologies chief executive Daisuke Katano said during the launching event. 

How promising is this Japan-made hoverbike? Is it worth the price tag? Let’s have a closer look at the main features of the XTurismo Limited Edition.

Features of the ALI Technologies XTurismo

  • Weight-Reduction Technologies

Xturismo has lightweight, tough, and non-corrosive Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP) used in almost all airframe components. It’s to significantly reduce the airframe’s weight and minimize driving energy consumption. 

The main body of the hoverbike is developed in collaboration with Toray Carbon Magic Co., Ltd., which has world-class lightweight design technology and CFRP molding technology.

  • High Efficiency Drive System

A highly efficient, tough, and lightweight drive system suitable for advanced air mobility.  Co-developed with Toda Racing, which boasts a high track record in the world of motorsports and has unique processing technology.

  • Internal Combustion Engine  

Supplied by Kawasaki Heavy Industries Group, Kawasaki Motors, Ltd., the engine has top-class engine combustion technology in the field of motorcycles and has the industry’s highest level of performance, reliability, and quality.

  • Motion Control Unit

It has a newly developed control unit that manages the movement of the hoverbike specialized for air mobility.

In addition to high performance and abundant functional safety with a strong record in mobility models, multiple RH-850 series manufactured by Renesas Electronics Corporation, which has built-in security functions required for advanced mobility applications, are installed.

  • Edge Computing Unit

Newly developed edge computing unit that oversees system control and connects to the cloud for a new era of air mobility. NVIDIA® Jetson AGX XavierTM series, manufactured by NVIDIA, includes hardware acceleration of the entire AI pipeline, has excellent scalability and flexibility, and is ideal for autonomous machines.

           Source: ALI Technologies XTurismo Catalog

The Problem XTurismo Wants to Solve

Overcrowding is a significant problem in Tokyo. Based on the 2021 World Population Review, Tokyo is the most populated city in the world. Unfortunately, current laws will not allow hoverbikes to fly over Japan’s busy roads. Mr. Katano envisions that rescue teams can use his hoverbikes to reach hard-to-access locations. 

Strict regulations in Japan regarding safety concerns prevented the growth of the transportation sector, particularly ride-sharing services. Mr. Katano also said that the pending amendment of laws could extend the hoverbike’s potential applications. ALI Technologies will manufacture a limited number of  200 units of single-rider 300-kilogram hoverbikes for delivery by the first half of  2022. They will start accepting reservations from prospective customers globally in January.

Yes, Hoverbikes Are Real! 

Flying vehicles are only seen in Hollywood sci-fi movies until recently. Since 2014, an increasing number of companies are trying to commercialize their version of hoverbikes. As for potential customers, even the US Army is looking at how to use them. 

Ben Gardner of Pinsent Masons said that vehicles that once seemed like the far-distant future were becoming more tangible every year. Soon, vehicles similar to Japan’s hoverbike will be seen in the United Kingdom. It’s not roadworthy yet under the existing laws in the UK. But, Mr. Gardner said investing in new technologies could prompt some changes soon. 

The ongoing studies intended for emerging technologies such as driverless cars, autonomous robots, and drones prove that there will be new modes of transport available. When that happens, we will move out from the sphere of science fiction into the real world, Ben Gardner added.

The Future of XTurismo Limited Edition Hoverbike

The start-up taps the engine maker Kawasaki Heavy. Commercial success for ALI technologies would strengthen Japan’s industrial capabilities amidst the shift towards new technology such as autonomous and electric cars. The only downside, though, is the reportedly loud sound of the XTurismo’s engine. It is so loud that bystanders need to use earplugs to protect them from too much noise before the hoverbike takes off. ALI Technologies plans to manufacture a limited number of the featured model. 

This hovercraft won’t enter the worldwide market anytime soon.  ALI Technologies still have to conduct more safety and regulatory testing.  Therefore, the company needs a few more months to make some modifications prior to offering XTurismo to the global market.

Funding Support

Funding is flowing to support the innovation. Venture capitalists, aviation corporations, even ride-sharing company Uber, with its Uber Elevate, are banking on the success of the promising automotive industry. Analysts say that the industry could reach as much as 1.5 trillion US dollars by 2040.

About ALI Technologies

ALI Technologies Inc. was established in September 2016 in Tokyo, Japan, led by Chairman Shuhei Komatsu and President / Chief Executive Officer Dausuke Katano. Presently, the group takes part in developing and operating manned and unmanned aerial vehicles, AI software, blockchain technologies, and cloud GPU services. Its growing clients include Hitachi Corporation, Kyocera Corporation, Mitsubishi, Kyushu Railway Company, and Misawa Homes Co. Ltd, Nagoya Railroad, Co., Ltd., TechnoPro Construction, Inc., and West Japan Railway Company. 

ALI Technologies aspires to become a leader in advanced technology that opens new opportunities for both businesses and consumers.

For other tech news, read more here at Owner’s Mag!

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The Best Telescopes of 2022 for the BEST Viewing Experience

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blue sky

Astronomers and physicists get the best views of the stars and planets through giant telescopes like the James Webb Telescope or the Thirty Meter Telescope. But stargazers that want a glimpse of the stars and planets may not get access to those giant telescopes. However, that wouldn’t stop them from admiring celestial bodies with good ol’ regular telescopes, even in the comfort of their home. And if you’re curious about what to buy and where to buy one, here’s the list of the best telescopes of 2022.

1. Celestron AstroMaster 102AZ

black telescope

If you’re new to stargazing and planet viewing, the Celestron AstroMaster 102AZ is one of the best telescopes in 2022. Many experts recommend this telescope for beginner and experienced stargazers. It’s easy to set up because of the tripod and user-friendly controls. 

Technical specs and inclusions:

  • 102 mm primary mirror
  • StarPointer red dot finderscope
  • Two eyepieces
  • Lightweight and sturdy frame
  • Tripod

Price: $299.46

Buy it on Amazon here.

2. Sky-watcher Skymax 127 

telescope

Sky-watcher is another popular name in the telescope biz. Astrophotographers can surely get a bang for their buck with this telescope because of the crisp images it produces. Even on the darkest nights, stargazers can definitely see planets and stars thanks to a coated corrector plate.

Technical specs and inclusions:

  • Borosilicate primary mirror
  • Vixen-style dovetail
  • 2-in 28 mm eyepiece
  • 90-degree star diagonal
  • 6×30 finderscope

Price: $844.60

Buy it on Amazon here.

3. Vaonis Stellina

small white telescope

Although many stargazers swear by traditional telescopes, The Vaonis Stellina changed the game on its release. It’s an automatic telescope that takes photos of the sky for you. You can see beautiful views of deep-sky objects like galaxies and nebulae. Plus, you’ll even get a better glimpse of the moon.

Unlike most telescopes, the Stellina isn’t heavy. It’s so small and light you can pretty much bring it anywhere. However, it being an automatic telescope means you will have to pay a much higher price than its competitors. Still, it’s considered one of the best telescopes in 2022.

Technical Specs and inclusions:

  • 5 hours of use
  • Tripod
  • 80 mm aperture
  • 400 mm focal length
  • 3096 x 2080 px images

Price: $3,999

Buy it on Adorama here.

4. Celestron Starsense Explorer DX 130AZ

silver telescope

Here’s another Celestron that made this list. But what makes the Celestron Starsense Explore DX 130 AZ different from the AstroMaster AZ? You can connect the Starsense Explore to an app, and it tells you the locations of certain stars in space. Plus, you’ll know what stars and planets are in the sky, depending on where you’re pointing this telescope at.

The app is compatible with all iOS and Android devices.

Technical Specs and inclusions:

  • 130 mm optical tube
  • two eyepieces (25 mm and 10 mm Kellner eyepieces)
  • Red dot finderscope
  • Smartphone dock
  • Tripod

Price: $449

Buy it on Amazon here.

5. Orion SpaceProbe II

blue telescope

If you want another beginner-friendly telescope, the Orion SpaceProbe II is one of your best options. It’s one of the most affordable telescopes, and kids and adults can use the SpaceProbe II to navigate the skies and watch stars and planets. You can even see a better view of the Moon, Saturn rings, and Jupiter’s moons!

Technical Specs and inclusions:

  • 76 mm aperture reflector
  • Tripod
  • Two eyepieces (both Kellner eyepieces – 25 mm and 10 mm)
  • Red-dot reflex sight
  • MoonMap 260

Price: $89.99

Buy it on Amazon here.

And for other stories and news, read more here at Owner’s Mag!

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Netflix reveals account sharing struggle; to launch “add a home” as potential fix

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netflix logo

Netflix is one of today’s most influential companies. It has changed how we consume content and made us question what we want from our entertainment experiences. With its library of TV shows, movies, and documentaries available on demand across all media platforms, from mobile devices to TVs to computers, Netflix has become a go-to option for anyone wanting to watch their favorite shows on-demand. 

With over 100 million subscribers, Netflix has become a household name in the entertainment world. However, Netflix has been experiencing some problems lately. The company has announced that its subscriber growth rate is slowing down and that they are losing subscribers more rapidly than it did in previous years. The culprit – Netflix account sharing. 

Chengyi Long, Netflix’s Director of Product Innovation, announced in a press release in July that they’ve worked hard to build a streaming service over the past 15 years. And though it’s great that members love Netflix movies and TV shows they want to share more broadly, the widespread account sharing between households goes against their long-term ability to invest in and improve their service.

Netflix account sharing occurs when one person shares access to their Netflix subscription with multiple people—usually family members or friends. In this way, the person who pays for the Netflix service uses fewer accounts than they would if they paid for each account individually. It’s still an expensive subscription, but it doesn’t cost as much as multiple subscriptions would. 

This is a major concern for Netflix because it allows people who do not pay for the service to watch movies and TV shows at no additional cost. If this Netflix account-sharing practice continues, the company is apprehensive about how it will affect the company’s growth rate because it means less money coming into their system. It also means fewer people are paying for subscriptions, which means less money is coming into general circulation.

The bottom line is that Netflix must ensure that its subscriptions are maintained, if not exceeded, to continue growing at their current rate. 

Netflix Account Sharing Feature: ‘Add a Home’

man watching netflix on the tablet

The company has been trying to crack down on this practice of Netflix account sharing for the past months. 

They already tested an “add extra member” feature in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru in March of this year, allowing account holders on their Standard and Premium plans to have two additional subaccounts outside their household for an additional fee.

This August, they will begin testing a new feature in Dominican Republic, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala called “add a home”. This feature basically gives an option to add extra “home” accounts within your subscription, but for an additional fee. According to Netflix’s press release, they will ask subscribers to pay an extra – 219 Pesos per month per home in Argentina and $2.99 per month per home in the Dominican Republic, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.”

All plans include a single “home” account through which you can access Netflix on any of your preferred devices. When you want to share your account with someone not from the same household or physical location, you must add extra “home” accounts.

You’re probably wondering how Netflix will detect physical address variations. According to Netflix’s published FAQs, the company uses “information such as IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity from devices signed into the Netflix account”.

Aside from the “add extra member” and “add a home” features, which are only available in certain countries, the company has not stated whether or not they will implement a penalty for sharing Netflix account soon. Meanwhile, the type of member subscription defines the Netflix account sharing limit for most countries.

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Oppo Air Glass: A Ground-Breaking AR Experiment?

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oppo air glass

On March 3, 2022, Oppo launched the Air Glass, the company’s first Augmented Reality (AR) to pair with their smartphones. However, Oppo has no plans to launch the Air Glass outside China. And they sell it in limited quantities there, where the company is already planning on replacing it with a newer version. The price of an Oppo Air Glass is relatively steep at 4,999 yuan (approximately $745). Currently, it’s still more a demo than a product.

Main Features

woman wearing glasses
Credit: Oppo

While many AR experiments focus on pushing purely technical capability, the Oppo Air Glass accepts some clear hardware limitations to play with an exciting form factor. Adi Robertson of The Verge tested a set of glasses and a matching smartphone. Robertson found a design idea so obvious and still needs more improvement.  

Augment Reality is a spectrum, and the Air Glass is considered a “simple notification machine” aspect. It differs from those realistic holograms in products such as Microsoft HoloLens. 

Below are some of the noticeable features of Oppo Air Glass: 

  • The device is a single lens with a microLED display. The display can have a staggering peak brightness of up to 1400 nits!
  • The powerful Spark Micro Projector shows all the dual Sapphire crystal glass information.
  • Oppo Air Glass is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 SoC.
  • This innovative device is equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS with in-built speakers and microphone.
  • This device can turn into a mini teleprompter. Since the teleprompter displays any text you want, you can use it more creatively.   
  • Currently, automatic translation is still limited to English and Chinese.

When you pair the smart device over Bluetooth with a China-only Oppo smartphone, you’ll see a green heads-up display that covers a tiny but significant portion of your vision. But Robertson said she was amazed by the assumption behind Oppo’s design. It is because it’s a solid idea to offer lots of style options while mitigating the usual AR creepiness. 

Nine years ago, Google Glass conducted a similar experiment. They invented the expensive camera and projection system and let them wear them at all times. But it looked awkward.

Other Specs and Features

Oppo’s AR interface relies on widget-like applications in the form of “cards,” which the wearer can manage from the paired smartphone application. It can be controlled using a touchpad on its side. Hand gestures are also supported, as is the peculiar feature of using the motion of the head to control it. Moreover, voice control is also incorporated.

Meanwhile, the Air Glass looks like an earbud for your eyes. Oppo Air Glass weighs only 30 grams, making it incredibly lightweight to wear. Users can wear it over their frames, but only two specific sizes exist.

It’s a product that takes people’s concerns about privacy and distraction seriously instead of trying to hide what they’re worried about inside a smaller package. It also helps that this version of Air Glass doesn’t have to include a camera. But Oppo says it doesn’t rule the option out for future versions.

“Unfortunately, after my first few hours with the glasses, I became slightly motion-sick and developed a headache within minutes of putting them on. The discomfort seemed to improve over time, but my eyes still feel strained after wearing them”, says Robertson.

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