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Mario gets Deluxe treatment for Nintendo Switch

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Players will be able to take to the track and race against each other when Mario Kart 8 Deluxe launches for the Nintendo Switch on 28th April.

Friends can instantly compete in thrilling multiplayer races wherever they are, simply by handing one of the two Joy-Con controllers included with the Nintendo Switch console to an opponent and competing on the console’s built-in screen. Extend the invite and place the console in the Nintendo Switch dock to play in TV mode, where up to four players can settle scores over split-screen action. Test your skills online and challenge players across the globe, or go solo by playing in handheld mode – anytime, anywhere. Experience precise motion controls that players of any skill level can enjoy by adding Joy-Con to the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Wheel, available separately in pairs. With so many different ways to play and a plentiful number of courses and modes, this is the biggest and most accessible Mario Kart game yet.

In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, familiar characters from the Super Mario series compete in races set around the world of the Mushroom Kingdom and beyond. Racers have to be prepared to get ahead of their rivals through the use of items such as the Super Star – which makes players invincible for a short period of time – and the notorious Spiny Shell, which will hunt down and attack the player in first place. Adding to the frantic racing action is the use of antigravity, allowing vehicles to race along the sides of buildings, up astonishing waterfalls, and nudge opponents for a satisfying speed boost.

Budding racers who are new to the series and wish to learn the tracks can now make use of the new Smart Steering feature, which will help prevent them from driving off the course. In addition, the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Wheel Pair will be sold separately on 28th April, so friends and siblings alike can compete using motion control. Mario Kart veterans, meanwhile, can enjoy a more conventional playing style by using either a Joy-Con Grip or the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller for more precise controls.

As well as more accessible control methods, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will have 48 courses available from the start, as well as five speed classes, including the expertly challenging 150cc Mirror Mode and the high-octane, ultra-fast 200cc mode. In addition, players will now be able to choose from 42 racers, including returning fan favourites King Boo, Dry Bones, and Bowser Jr. For those seeking a challenge, Gold Mario awaits the finest players who can complete all cups in 200cc. Friends can also suit up and take to the asphalt with the ability to bring their Mii into the game as a racer. Also new to the series are the Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl from Splatoon 2, who bring new vehicle parts and the new Urchin Underpass course for battle mode, all based on the multiplayer shooter.

Battle mode has been revamped and expanded in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, with eight dedicated courses to choose from, including selections from previous titles such as Mario Kart 7. On top of Balloon Battle, both Bob-omb Blast and Shine Thief modes return from Mario Kart Double Dash!!, while Coin Runners makes a comeback from Mario Kart Wii. Battlers can also enjoy a brand new cops and robbers-style mode known as Renegade Roundup.

Multiplayer mayhem can be enjoyed in a variety of different ways on Nintendo Switch consoles, with four different methods available to play with friends.

  • Up to four friends can play on a single Nintendo Switch console in TV mode, or in tabletop mode by using the stand at the back of the console and placing it on a flat surface
  • Online multiplayer makes a return, allowing for up to two local racers to get involved in 12-player races with others around the world
  • Through Wireless Play, multiple Nintendo Switch consoles can be connected to each other, allowing up to eight people to play together in the same room
  • Up to 12 consoles in TV mode can be connected via LAN Play, with one or two players per connected Nintendo Switch

Players can also create highlight reels and watch them again via the in-game mode Mario Kart TV, allowing them to save the memories of their greatest successes, or their most glorious failures. Should players wish to race in style, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe comes with a wide range of amiibo compatibility, including all the Animal Crossing series and Super Mario series, while Splatoon series amiibo grant a new racing suit for Mii characters.

 

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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