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Acer goes for a Spin

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Acer today announced the latest version of its popular Spin 1 convertible notebook. With a sleek all-metal chassis, the Windows 10 device is lightweight, portable and supports Windows Ink through an Acer Active Stylus1 for creative users on the go.

Acer has announced the latest version of its popular Spin 1 convertible notebook. With a sleek all-metal chassis, the Windows 10 device is lightweight, portable and supports Windows Ink through an Acer Active Stylus.

Acer provided the following information:

Weighing in at just 1.25 kg, the 14 mm-thin chassis sports the latest Intel Pentium or Intel Celeron processors, 4 GB DDR3L memory as well as a choice of 32 / 64 / 128 GB eMMC storage. Its crisp 11.6-inch Full HD (1920×1080) touch-enabled screen with IPS technology displays vibrant colours at 178-degree viewing angles. Eight hours of battery life allows users to work, play, share, and draw all day with four versatile modes (laptop, display, tablet and tent).

The Spin 1 combines superb hardware with innovative features to make the user experience really pop. On all models the Precision Touchpad, which supports Windows 10 gestures, allows users to work faster and smoother due to accurate tracking of their fingertips and movements. To help with more complex projects, the Spin 1 is fully ready to work with the Acer Active Stylus1 accessory which enables precise and direct on-screen input, providing a natural pen-on-paper experience. Users can quickly turn thoughts into action, capture ideas swiftly and naturally with Windows Ink.

With fast and reliable wireless connectivity through 802.11ac 2×2 technology, the Spin 1 is capable of providing up to three times faster downloads compared to traditional 802.11n 2×2 devices. The device also features Acer BluelightShield which may help to reduce eye strain from prolonged screen viewing.

Speakers with Acer TrueHarmony technology are located on both sides of the device. Audio channels automatically reverse to ensure optimal sound quality in any mode, and are paired with a HD webcam for video chats. Additional connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.0, one USB 3.1 port, one USB 2.0 port, one HDMI port and one microSD (SDXC) card slot.

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Kenya tool to help companies prepare for emergencies

After its team members survived last week’s Nairobi terror attack, Ushahidi decided to release a new preparedness tool for free, writes its CEO, NAT MANNING

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On Tuesday I woke up a bit before 7am in Berkeley, California where I live. I made some coffee and went over to my computer to start my work day. I checked my Slack and the news and quickly found out that there was an ongoing terrorist attack at 14 Riverside Complex in Nairobi, Kenya. The Ushahidi office is in Nairobi and about a third of our team is based there (the rest of us are spread across 10 other countries).

As I read the news, my heart plummeted, and I immediately asked the question, “is everyone on my team okay?”

Five years ago Al-Shabaab committed a similar attack at the Westgate Mall. We spent several tense hours figuring out if any of our team had been in the mall, and verifying that everyone was safe. We found out that one of our team member’s family was caught up in the attack. Luckily they made it out.

At Ushahidi we make software for crisis response, including tools to map disasters and election violence, and yet we felt helpless in the face of this attack. In the days following the Westgate attack, our team huddled and thought about what we could build that would help our team — and other teams — if we found ourselves in a similar situation to this attack again. We identified that when we first learned of the attack, nearly everyone at Ushahidi had spent that first precious few hours trying to answer the basic questions, “Is everyone okay?”, and if not, “Who needs help?” 

People had ad-hoc used multiple channels such as WhatsApp, called, emailed, or texted. We had done this for each person at Ushahidi (their job), in our families, and important people in our community. Our process was unorganised, inefficient, repetitive, and frustrating.

And from this problem we created TenFour, a check in tool that makes it easier for teams to reach one another during times of crisis. It is a simple application that lets people send a message to their team via SMS, Slack, Voice, email, and in-app, and get a response. It also works for educational institutions, companies with distributed staff, as well as part of neighbourhood networks like neighbourhood watches.

This week when I woke up to the news of the attack at Riverside, I immediately opened up the TenFour app.

Click here to read how Nat quickly confirmed the safety of his team.

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Kia multi-collision airbags

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The world’s first multi-collision airbag system has been unveiled by Hyundai Motor Group subsidiary KIA Motors, with the aim of improving airbag performance in multi-collision accidents.

Multi-collision accidents are those in which the primary impact is followed by collisions with secondary objects, such as other vehicles, trees, or electrical posts, which occur in three out of every 10 accidents. Current airbag systems do not offer secondary protection when the initial impact is insufficient to cause them to deploy. 

However, the multi-collision airbag system allows airbags to deploy effectively upon a secondary impact, by calibrating the status of the vehicle and the occupants.

The new technology detects occupants’ positions in the cabin following an initial collision. When occupants are forced into unusual positions, the effectiveness of existing safety technology may be compromised. Multi-collision airbag systems are designed to deploy even faster when initial safety systems may not be effective, providing additional safety when drivers and passengers are most vulnerable. By recalibrating the collision intensity required for deployment, the airbag system responds more promptly during the secondary impact, thereby improving the safety of multi-collision vehicle occupants.

“By improving airbag performance in multi-collision scenarios, we expect to significantly improve the safety of our drivers and passengers,” said Taesoo Chi, head of the Hyundai Motor Group’s Chassis Technology Centre. “We will continue our research on more diverse crash situations as part of our commitment to producing even safer vehicles that protect occupants and prevent injuries.”

According to statistics by the National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System (NASS-CDS), an office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in USA, about 30% of 56,000 vehicle accidents from 2000 to 2012 in the North American region involved multi-collisions. The leading type of multi-collision accidents involved cars crossing over the centre line (30.8%), followed by collisions caused by a sudden stop at highway tollgates (13.5%), highway median strip collisions (8.0%), and sideswiping and collision with trees and electric poles (4.0%). 

These multi-collision scenarios were analysed in multilateral ways to improve airbag performance and precision in secondary collisions. Once commercialised, the system will be implemented in future new KIA vehicles. 

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