In this episode of MBT's Manufacturing Newswire, we discuss the latest on smartphone kill switches and Amazon’s Pay to Quit plan. We also talk about Porsche’s plug-in hybrid and take a look at a technology for the socially awkward.
Samsung announced it will be adding two safeguards to its soon-to-be-released Galaxy S5 smartphone. Users who purchase the device will be able to activate the free “Find My Mobile” and “Reactivation Lock” anti-theft features that will lock their device whenever there is an unauthorized attempt to reset it.
The announcement comes as district attorneys and other U.S. law enforcement officials demand that manufacturers create kill switches to combat surging smartphone theft across the country. Up to now, wireless providers have been against the idea citing vulnerability to hackers. But concerns are softening as it appears Verizon and U.S. Cellular are open to offering devices with this technology.
CEO Jeff Bezos recently offered a glimpse into Amazon's internal workings and what it is aiming for in the future. First, the company is offering employees money to leave the company in a program called Pay to Quit. Once a year, the company offers $2,000 to quit, adding $1,000 a year, up to a maximum of $5,000.Bezos said the goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want and that in the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don't want to be isn't healthy for the employee or the company.
Second, after making a hubbub about testing delivery by aerial drones in December, the company said its Prime Air team is testing fifth- and sixth-generation aerial vehicles and in the design phase on generations seven and eight. In December Bezos said Amazon was working on creating unmanned aircraft to deliver packages, but said it would take years to advance the technology and for the FAA to create the necessary rules and regulations.
Wisconsin's self-proclaimed "lemon law king" filed a lawsuit against Tesla Motors, accusing the company of refusing to give a Franklin doctor a refund on a defective electric sedan that cost nearly $100,000. According to the lawsuit, the car was in the shop for more than 30 days to repair various problems, including failure to start, power up and charge, as well as inoperable door handles, malfunctioning defrost and paint defects.
Tesla Motors officials questioned the lawyer's motivations in suing, saying the company did all it could to fix the car and suggesting someone may have tampered with it. Tesla also notes that attorney Vince Megna filed a similar lemon claim against another carmaker on behalf of the same doctor last year.
Porsche's 918 Spyder Plug-in hybrid is billed as the "genetic blueprint for the Porsche sports car of the future." The super sports car is designed to strike a balance between performance and efficiency, boasting acceleration of 0 to 62 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds.
Porsche pulled the engine design from its Le Mans Prototype 2 race car, the RS Spyder. This 4.6 liter V8, when combined with the two electric motors on board, puts out about 887 horsepower. But like all things super, this one is pricy and starts at $845,000.
Clip of the Week
Being a socially functioning human who expresses real emotions can be such a drain on your time and your day. If only there was a ridiculous, high-tech way to replace your creepy, expressionless gaze with a miniscule nugget of human warmth. I’m pleased to tell you there is and it’s called AgencyGlass.
Designed for those of us who can't manage to feign emotional responses, AgencyGlass uses a Bluetooth computer, a pair of OLED displays, and built-in gyroscopes that steer fake eyes to coincide with real head positions. A shirt-pocket camera tracks the faces of the people around you to maintain polite fake eye contact.
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