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Mario Kart makes the Switch

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Get ready to put your foot down as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe launches for the Nintendo Switch across Europe and South Africa later this week.

Start your engines, put the pedal to the metal, and get ready for the kind of thrilling racing action that only Mario Kart can provide, as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe launches across Europe and South Africa this Friday for Nintendo Switch. Whether racing with family on the TV in the living room, playing a quick race in the park with friends, or visiting a friend’s place and playing online together, Nintendo Switch lets players enjoy Mario Kart in more ways than ever before.

People of all ages can play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe together, with several play styles to accommodate all experience levels. With the new, optional, Smart Steering feature, players can focus on enjoying the action and not worry about driving off-course, keeping the action enjoyable for everyone. Motion controls can also be enjoyed via the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Wheel, available in pairs and releasing across Europe on Friday.

In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, familiar and fan-favourite Nintendo characters including Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Link from The Legend of Zelda, and the newly-included Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl from the Splatoon series, and compete across 48 race tracks inspired by familiar Nintendo franchises, from the Super Mario series to Animal Crossing, and even the world of Hyrule in a track inspired by The Legend of Zelda. Some of these circuits will be familiar to veterans, as racers can experience blasts from the past with revived and updated classic circuits from previous titles, including Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart DS, and Mario Kart Wii.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will allow players to compete in frantic multiplayer races anytime, anywhere, and with anyone they choose. 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, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s multiple game modes can take place wherever players choose. Whether it’s played in tabletop mode while waiting for food at a restaurant, in handheld mode in the back of a car, or in TV mode at a party, there are plenty of ways for budding racers and veteran battlers to get stuck into wheel-to-wheel action.

As well as local and online multiplayer racing, players can also enjoy the new and revamped Battle Mode. Players will battle it out in one of eight dedicated arenas, including returning courses from titles such as Mario Kart 7, and engage in game modes returning from Mario Kart Double Dash!! and Mario Kart Wii, such as Bob-omb Blast and Shine Thief, alongside the classic Balloon Battle, and the brand new cops and robbers-style mode known as Renegade Roundup. Players can also make use of the returning Feather item to jump over obstacles in Battle Mode, the Boo to steal items from others, and can once again carry two items at once for more strategic battling and racing.

Joining a strong line-up of Nintendo Switch titles including Snipperclips – Cut it out, together!, 1-2-Switch, and  The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which has received more perfect scores than any game in Metacritic history*, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has already received acclaim with critics:

  • Metacritic 94%
  • Forbes 100%

Alongside 48 circuits, local and online multiplayer racing and the new battle mode, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe also features five speed classes to choose from, including the super-fast thrill-ride of 200cc mode, plus a wide range of amiibo compatibility. The multiplayer action 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 allows for up to two local racers to get involved in 12-player races with others around the world**
  • Through Local 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 for a maximum of 12 players

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the biggest, most accessible and versatile Mario Kart game yet hits the starting grid this Friday, 28th  April on Nintendo Switch.

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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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