Nintendo has just unveiled a new gaming system, called Switch. It looks pretty sweet, though. It’s a hybrid system, consisting of a dock, a regular-sized controller, and two mini controllers that slide onto each side of a portable LCD screen that looks to be about 7 inches across.
The small controllers will also dock with a centerpiece so they can be used like a full-size controller handset. Pretty slick. You can game on your own home TV, or on the road using the small screen. There’s even a little post that will mount the screen to a headrest for those backseat sessions. You can also go head to head wirelessly against other players who have a Switch system. Switch hits stores in March of 2017. No price was specified but we’ll know more soon, so stay tuned.
In Elon’s world, we’re just along for the ride
Most car companies would go back to the drawing board and put their tech on hold if they had as many high-profile problems as Tesla has had with their Autopilot driver assist system. But Tesla is not most car companies, and CEO Elon Musk has now doubled down on his autonomous tech suite by including it in every car the company makes going forward, including the “affordable” new car, the Model III.
Despite a fatal crash and several other incidents that have prompted investigations and outright criticism, Musk is undeterred about making self-driving cars a reality, and yesterday he detailed a beefed up Autopilot system that includes multiple cameras, ultrasonic sensors, radar systems, and a souped-up computer system to run it all.
Despite the incidents with Autopilot, Musk does like to remind everyone that Tesla cars have driven millions of incident-free miles using the old system, and he says this new, updated Autopilot tech is another step forward to the day when you can simply get in your Tesla futurecar and it’ll drive you anywhere you want, all by itself.
Did they not know about the giant sand worms?
It’s a sad day at the European Space Agency as there’s still no word on the fate of the ExoMars Schiaparelli lander that was supposed to touch down on the Red Planet yesterday. According to data received by the ESA from the probe, it completed most of the steps toward touchdown on the planet surface, but seconds before it was to have landed, the data stream suddenly went dark.
The ESA says its preliminary analysis indicates the parachute system and the thrusters that were to set the probe down both activated early, possibly resulting in the probe free-falling from an as-yet undetermined altitude. The plan was for the system to bring the probe to within about six feet of the planet’s surface, at which point it would then plop down for a safe “soft” landing. It looks like things didn’t go as planned.
It’s not a total loss as the probe’s mothership, known as the Trace Gas Orbiter, did successfully enter orbit around Mars. It will continue to do science, which will center around analyzing Mar’s atmosphere in detail. However, the probe landing was a trial run of sorts for a planned 2020 landing of a more ambitious craft, so it looks like it’s back to the drawing board for team ESA. Mars is notoriously difficult to reach and land on, so we wish them luck going forward.
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