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News Source Slashdot:Hardware

US Bans Export of Tech Used In 3nm Chip Production On Security Grounds
The United States is formally banning the export of four technologies tied to semiconductor manufacturing, calling the protection of the items "vital to national security." The Register reports: Announced Friday (PDF) by the US Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and enacted today, the rule will ban the export of two ultra-wide bandgap semiconductor materials, as well as some types of electronic computer-aided design (ECAD) technology and pressure gain combustion (PGC) technology. In particular, the BIS said that the semiconductor materials gallium oxide and diamond will be subject to renewed export controls because they can operate under more extreme temperature and voltage conditions. The Bureau said that capability makes the materials more useful in weapons. ECAD software, which aids design for a wide range of circuits, comes in specialized forms that supports gate-all-around field effect transistors (GAAFETs), which are used to scale semiconductors to 3 nanometers and below. PGC technology also has "extensive potential" for ground and aerospace uses, the BIS said. All four items are being classified under Section 1758 of the Export Control Reform Act, which covers the production of advanced semiconductors and gas turbine engines. Those types of technology are also covered by the Wassenaar Arrangement, made in 2013 between the US and 41 other countries, which functions as a broader arms control treaty. "We are protecting the four technologies identified in today's rule from nefarious end use by applying controls through a multilateral regime," Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration Thea D Rozman Kendler said in a statement. "This rule demonstrates our continued commitment to imposing export controls together with our international partners." The reason for the addition of the four forms of technology to export controls is a change made in May to how the BIS characterizes emerging and foundational technologies. Under the change, such tech was reclassified to be covered by Section 1758. The BIS statement announcing the export ban made no mention of the countries, but recent events make it clear the target is China -- the US has been considering other tech export bans (and investment freezes), recently all of which appeared tailored to target China. Analysts in the Middle Kingdom have claimed the ban would have little short-term impact on China's chipmaking industry as no one in China has yet managed to design chips as advanced as those targeted by the ban.

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Russian Army Expo Shows Off Robot Dog Carrying Rocket Launcher
At a military convention in Russia, a local company is showing off a robot dog that's carrying a rocket launcher. From a report: Russian news agency RIA Novosti today filmed the four-legged bot at the Army 2022 convention, which is taking place near Moscow and sponsored by the country's Ministry of Defense. The robot was recorded trotting along on the convention floor while wielding a rocket-propelled grenade launcher on its back. The robot is also capable of crouching on the floor, making it harder to spot, while it presumably waits to fire off a rocket. It remains unclear if the robot will ever be used on the field when Russia is locked in a war with Ukraine, and already using air-based drones at least for recon and targeting purposes. But according to RIA Novosti, the bot is dubbed the M-81 system and comes from a Russian engineering company called "Intellect Machine." The developers say the robot dog is being designed to both transport weapons and ammunition and fire them during combat missions.

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Canada Plans Massive Wind-Powered Plant Producing Hydrogen for Germany
The leaders of Canada and Germany will sign a multibillion-dollar green energy agreement this month "that could prove pivotal to Canada's nascent hydrogen industry," reports CTV News:The German government on Friday issued a statement confirming the agreement will be signed August 23 in Stephenville, where a Newfoundland-based company plans to build a zero-emission plant that will use wind energy to produce hydrogen and amonia for export. If approved, the project would be the first of its kind in Canada. Germany is keen to find new sources of energy because Russia's invasion of Ukraine has led to a surge in natural gas prices.... Meanwhile, the company behind the Newfoundland project, World Energy GH2, has said the first phase of the proposal calls for building up 164 onshore wind turbines to power a hydrogen production facility at the deep-sea port at Stephenville. Long-term plans call for tripling the size of the project.... "The development of large-scale green hydrogen production facilities is just starting, providing (Newfoundland and Labrador) and Canada with the opportunity and advantages of being a first mover in the green energy sector," the proposal says.... The company says construction of its first wind farm is slated for late next year on the Port au Port Peninsula. Thanks to Slashdot reader theshowmecanuck for sharing the article.

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Is Germany Ready To Lean Back Into Nuclear Power?
The German news magazine Der Spiegel spoke to a 54-year-old who had always been in favor of the company's plan to phase out nuclear power by the end of 2022. Until now — with fears about Russia curtailing supplies of natural gas. And he's not the only one:A poll commissioned by DER SPIEGEL has revealed some rather shocking numbers. According to the survey carried out by the online polling firm Civey, only 22 percent of those surveyed are in favor of shutting down the three nuclear plants that are still in operation in Germany...as planned at the end of the year. Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed are in favor of continuing to operate the plants until the summer of 2023, a variant that is being discussed in the political sphere as a "stretch operation" — in other words, continuing to keep them online for a few months, but without the acquisition of new fuel rods. Even among Green Party supporters, a narrow majority favors this approach.... The answers suggest that the attitude of Germans toward nuclear power has changed significantly. Sixty-seven percent are in favor of continuing to operate the nuclear plants for the next five years, with only 27 percent opposed to it. The only group without a clear majority in favor of running the plants for the next five years are the supporters of the Green Party.... On the question of whether Germany should build new nuclear power plants because of the energy crisis, 41 percent of respondents answered "yes," meaning they favor an approach that isn't even up for debate in Germany. The results are astounding all around, especially compared with past surveys. Thirty-three years ago, a polling institute asked a similar question on behalf of DER SPIEGEL. At the time, only a miniscule 3 percent of respondents thought Germany should build new plants. Officially, Germany is supposed to be transitioning to green energies, but these polling figures suggest that people may be interested in returning to the old energy status quo.... It had already become clear in recent years that support for the nuclear phaseout was already slowly crumbling. The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has now accelerated this shift, calling into question many old certainties, or overturning them completely.... The energy security that people took for granted for decades in Germany has been shaken ever since Russia cut gas deliveries and costs rose. The result being that an old German dogma now seems to be crumbling: the rejection of nuclear energy. Concerns are either being put on the backburner or are evaporating. Radiation from nuclear waste? Safety risks? Danger of large-scale disasters? Who cares. Those are things you worry about when you have working heat. Electricity first, then ethics. Thanks to Slashdot reader atcclears for sharing the article

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California Startup Sells 'Subscriptions' to Electric Vehicles
In January a California startup named Autonomy began "stocking up on EVs from pretty much every company that makes them," reports Bloomberg (including Tesla, Ford, and Polestar). Their plan? Collect a $5,900 "start fee," then charge $490 to $690 a month for an electric vehicle subscription with up to 1,000 miles of driving (but with no maintenance or registration fees):The subscription model has some logic for consumers. In part because of fast-evolving technology, EVs have traditionally shed value much quicker than gas-powered cars. On a depreciation scale, consumers typically lump them in with cell phones.... But EV ownership is also looking better by the day. The depreciation curve is flattening thanks to longer-range machines, and car companies are getting more vocal about things like battery longevity. A three-year-old Chevrolet Bolt, for example, will recoup 84% of its value today, in line with the average resale of all three-year-old cars in North America, according to CarEdge.com, a consumer-facing market research platform. That could be why auto executives are pushing to round up that sweet, sweet software revenue in smaller chunks. BMW, to much outcry, is selling an $18-a-month subscription for heated seats in the UK, and General Motors turned its OnStar voice navigation into a $1,500 "mandatory" subscription on every new Buick, GMC and Cadillac Escalade. Even without a la carte add-ons, one of the major forces propping up prices for used EVs is, ironically, their ability to update remotely — the same technology carmakers are using to nickel-and-dime drivers with subscription services. A contemporary car is nothing if not a dense stack of software, which means subscriptions on wheels are not entirely bonkers. But a car is also an appliance, and consumers aren't accustomed to renting a refrigerator, let alone paying a monthly fee to use the ice-maker. Luckily for Autonomy, the simplest pitch may be the best one. If it can bigfoot individual EV orders by jumping to the head of the queue, the startup could find scads of subscribers — simply because it will have available cars.

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Parts of Europe's Largest Nuclear Plant 'Knocked Out' By Russia-Ukraine Fighting
On Thursday the International Atomic Energy Agency's director "warned that parts of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant had been knocked out due to recent attacks, risking an 'unacceptable' potential radiation leak," according to CNN:"IAEA experts believe that there is no immediate threat to nuclear safety," but "that could change at any moment," Grossi said.... Ukraine's nuclear agency Energoatom said 10 shells landed near the complex on Thursday, preventing a shift handover. "For the safety of nuclear workers, the buses with the personnel of the next shift were turned back to Enerhodar," the agency said. "Until the situation finally normalizes, the workers of the previous shift will continue to work." Energoatom said radiation levels at the site remained normal, despite renewed attacks. Several Western and Ukrainian officials believe that Russia is using the giant nuclear facility as a stronghold to shield their troops and mount attacks, because they assume Kyiv will not return fire and risk a crisis. Later CNN added:Ukraine and Russia again traded blame after more shelling around the plant overnight on Thursday, just hours after the United Nations called on both sides to cease military activities near the power station, warning of the worst if they didn't. "Regrettably, instead of de-escalation, over the past several days there have been reports of further deeply worrying incidents that could, if they continue, lead to disaster," UN secretary general, António Guterres, said in a statement.... Energoatom, Ukraine's state-run nuclear power company, accused Russian forces on Thursday of targeting a storage area for "radiation sources," and shelling a fire department nearby the plant. A day later, the company said in a statement on its Telegram account that the plant was operating "with the risk of violating radiation and fire safety standards." Ukraine's Interior Minister, Denys Monastyrskyi, said Friday that there was "no adequate control" over the plant, and Ukrainian specialists who remained there were not allowed access to some areas where they should be.... Last weekend, shellfire damaged a dry storage facility — where casks of spent nuclear fuel are kept at the plant — as well as radiation monitoring detectors, making detection of any potential leak impossible, according to Energoatom. Attacks also damaged a high-voltage power line and forced one of the plant's reactors to stop operating. Tonight the BBC reported on a response from Ukraine's president.In his nightly address on Saturday, Volodymyr Zelensky said any soldier firing on or from the plant would become "a special target" for Ukraine. He also accused Moscow of turning the plant into a Russian army base and using it as "nuclear blackmail"... Zelenskiy added that "every day" of Russia's occupation of the plant "increases the radiation threat to Europe".... A BBC investigation revealed earlier this week that many of the Ukrainian workers at the site are being kept under armed guard amid harsh conditions. UPDATE (8/14): "Ukraine's military intelligence agency said that on Saturday, Russian artillery fire hit a pump, damaged a fire station and sparked fires near the plant that could not be immediately extinguished because of the damage to the fire station," reports the New York Times:Engineers say that yard-thick reinforced concrete containment structures protect the reactors from even direct hits. International concern, however, has grown that shelling could spark a fire or cause other damage that would lead to a nuclear accident. The six pressurized water reactors at the complex retain most sources of radiation, reducing risks. After pressurized water reactors failed at the Fukushima nuclear complex in Japan in 2011, Ukraine upgraded the Zaporizhzhia site to enable a shutdown even after the loss of cooling water from outside the containment structures, Dmytro Gortenko, a former plant engineer, said in an interview.... "Locals are abandoning the town," said the former engineer, who asked to be identified by only his first name, Oleksiy, because of security concerns. Residents had been leaving for weeks, but the pace picked up after Saturday's barrages and fires, he said.

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Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough Confirmed: California Team Achieved Ignition. Research Continues
"A major breakthrough in nuclear fusion has been confirmed a year after it was achieved at a laboratory in California," reports Newsweek:Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility (NIF) recorded the first case of ignition on August 8, 2021, the results of which have now been published in three peer-reviewed papers.... Ignition during a fusion reaction essentially means that the reaction itself produced enough energy to be self-sustaining, which would be necessary in the use of fusion to generate electricity. If we could harness this reaction to generate electricity, it would be one of the most efficient and least polluting sources of energy possible. No fossil fuels would be required as the only fuel would be hydrogen, and the only by-product would be helium, which we use in industry and are actually in short supply of.... This landmark result comes after years of research and thousands of man hours dedicated to improving and perfecting the process: over 1,000 authors are included in the Physical Review Letters paper. This week the laboratory said that breakthrough now puts researchers "at the threshold of fusion gain and achieving scientific ignition," with the program's chief scientist calling it "a major scientific advance in fusion research, which establishes that fusion ignition in the lab is possible at the National Ignition Facility." More news from this week's announcement by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory:Since the experiment last August, the team has been executing a series of experiments to attempt to repeat the performance and to understand the experimental sensitivities in this new regime. "Many variables can impact each experiment," Kritcher said. "The 192 laser beams do not perform exactly the same from shot to shot, the quality of targets varies and the ice layer grows at differing roughness on each target...." While the repeat attempts have not reached the same level of fusion yield as the August 2021 experiment, all of them demonstrated capsule gain greater than unity with yields in the 430-700 kJ range, significantly higher than the previous highest yield of 170 kJ from February 2021. The data gained from these and other experiments are providing crucial clues as to what went right and what changes are needed in order to repeat that experiment and exceed its performance in the future. The team also is utilizing the experimental data to further understanding of the fundamental processes of fusion ignition and burn and to enhance simulation tools in support of stockpile stewardship. Looking ahead, the team is working to leverage the accumulated experimental data and simulations to move toward a more robust regime — further beyond the ignition cliff — where general trends found in this new experimental regime can be better separated from variability in targets and laser performance. Efforts to increase fusion performance and robustness are underway via improvements to the laser, improvements to the targets and modifications to the design that further improve energy delivery to the hotspot while maintaining or even increasing the hot-spot pressure. This includes improving the compression of the fusion fuel, increasing the amount of fuel and other avenues. "It is extremely exciting to have an 'existence proof' of ignition in the lab," said Omar Hurricane, chief scientist for the lab's inertial confinement fusion program. "We're operating in a regime that no researchers have accessed since the end of nuclear testing, and it's an incredible opportunity to expand our knowledge as we continue to make progress." Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader hesdeadjim99 for sharing the news.

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California's Governor Proposes Extending the Life of Its Last Nuclear Plant
"California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday proposed extending the life of the state's last operating nuclear power plant by five to 10 years," reports the Associated Press, "to maintain reliable power supplies in the climate change era."Newsom's draft proposal includes a potential forgivable loan for PG&E for up to $1.4 billion and would require state agencies to act quickly to clear the way for the reactors to continue running. The seaside plant located midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco produces 9% of the state's electricity. The proposal says its continued operation beyond 2025 is "critical to ensure statewide energy system reliability" as climate change stresses the energy system.... Newsom clearly wants to avoid a repeat of August 2020, when a record heat wave caused a surge in power use for air conditioning that overtaxed California's electrical grid. That caused two consecutive nights of rolling blackouts for the state, affecting hundreds of thousands of residential and business customers. The Newsom administration is pushing to expand clean energy, as the state aims to cut emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Nuclear power doesn't produce carbon pollution like fossil fuels, but leaves behind waste that can remain dangerously radioactive for centuries. The California Legislature has less than three weeks to determine if it will endorse the plan and attempt to extend the life of the plant — a decision that would be made amid looming questions over the costs and earthquake safety risks.... The Democratic governor, who is seen as a possible future White House candidate, has urged PG&E for months to pursue a longer run beyond a scheduled closing by 2025, warning that the plant's power is needed as the state transitions to solar, wind and other renewable sources of energy. One concerned Democratic state Senator (from the district housing the plant) argued that another earthquake fault was discovered near the plant in 2008, and reminded the Associated Press that "seismic upgrades were never totally completed. Will they address that?"

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17-Year-Old Designed Electric Motor Without Rare-Earth Magnets
"A 17-year-old [named Robert Sansone] created a prototype of a novel synchronous reluctance motor that has greater rotational force -- or torque -- and efficiency than existing ones," writes Slashdot reader hesdeadjim99 from a report via Smithsonian Magazine. "The prototype was made from 3-D printed plastic, copper wires and a steel rotor and tested using a variety of meters to measure power and a laser tachometer to determine the motor's rotational speed. His work earned him first prize, and $75,000 in winnings, at this year's Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the largest international high school STEM competition." From the report: The less sustainable permanent magnet motors use materials such as neodymium, samarium and dysprosium, which are in high demand because they're used in many different products, including headphones and earbuds, explains Heath Hofmann, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Michigan. Hofmann has worked extensively on electric vehicles, including consulting with Tesla to develop the control algorithms for its propulsion drive. [...] Synchronous reluctance motors don't use magnets. Instead, a steel rotor with air gaps cut into it aligns itself with the rotating magnetic field. Reluctance, or the magnetism of a material, is key to this process. As the rotor spins along with the rotating magnetic field, torque is produced. More torque is produced when the saliency ratio, or difference in magnetism between materials (in this case, the steel and the non-magnetic air gaps), is greater. Instead of using air gaps, Sansone thought he could incorporate another magnetic field into a motor. This would increase this saliency ratio and, in turn, produce more torque. His design has other components, but he can't disclose any more details because he hopes to patent the technology in the future. [...] It took several prototypes before he could test his design. [...] Sansone tested his motor for torque and efficiency, and then reconfigured it to run as a more traditional synchronous reluctance motor for comparison. He found that his novel design exhibited 39 percent greater torque and 31 percent greater efficiency at 300 revolutions per minute (RPM). At 750 RPM, it performed at 37 percent greater efficiency. He couldn't test his prototype at higher revolutions per minute because the plastic pieces would overheat -- a lesson he learned the hard way when one of the prototypes melted on his desk, he tells Top of the Class, a podcast produced by Crimson Education. In comparison, Tesla's Model S motor can reach up to 18,000 RPM, explained the company's principal motor designer Konstantinos Laskaris in a 2016 interview with Christian Ruoff of the electric vehicles magazine Charged. Sansone validated his results in a second experiment, in which he "isolated the theoretical principle under which the novel design creates magnetic saliency," per his project presentation. Essentially, this experiment eliminated all other variables, and confirmed that the improvements in torque and efficiency were correlated with the greater saliency ratio of his design. [...] Sansone is now working on calculations and 3-D modeling for version 16 of his motor, which he plans to build out of sturdier materials so he can test it at higher revolutions per minute. If his motor continues to perform with high speed and efficiency, he says he'll move forward with the patenting process.

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DOE Digs Up Molten Salt Nuclear Reactor Tech, Los Alamos To Lead the Way Back
After more than 50 years, molten salt nuclear reactors might be making a comeback. The US Department of Energy (DoE) has tapped Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to lead a $9.25 million study into the structural properties and materials necessary to build them at scale. The Register reports: "The US needs projects like this one to advance nuclear technologies and help us achieve the Biden-Harris administration's goals of clean energy by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050," said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, director of the office of science, in a statement. The study, conducted as part of the Scientific Discovery though Advanced Computing (SciDAC) program, seeks to gain a better understanding of the relationship between corrosion and irradiation effects at the atomic scale in metals exposed to molten salt reactors through simulation. This isn't the first time the DoE has explored this reactor tech. In the middle of last century, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) took the lessons learned from the Aircraft Reactor experiment to build a functional nuclear aircraft power source and began construction of a molten salt test reactor. The experiments, conducted between 1957 and 1969, utilized a mixture of lithium, beryllium, zirconium, and uranium fluoride salts. Cooling was also achieved using a fluoride salt mixture, but it lacked the uranium and zirconium found in the fuel. The experiments proved promising, as molten salt reactors were generally smaller and considered safer compared to the pressurized water reactors still used today. But both proved too heavy for powered flight or materials design. Because cooling was achieved by circulating molten salt through a heat exchanger as opposed to water, the risk of a steam explosion is effectively nonexistent. However, as the Oak Ridge National Laboratory found during the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, fluoride salts are incredibly corrosive and required hardened materials to safely contain them. "ORNL's Molten Salt Reactor Experiment utilized specialized materials fabricated from Hastelloy-N -- a nickel-molybdenum alloy developed by the lab with a high resistance to corrosion even at high temperatures," adds the reports. "The research program announced this week will revisit the material choices and examine a variety of metals using higher-performance compute resources to simulate how they'll perform at scale in these reactors."

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Raspberry Pi-Powered Anti-Tracking Tool Checks If You're Being Followed
Matt Edmondson, a hacker and digital forensics expert, built a Raspberry Pi-powered anti-tracking tool that "scans for nearby devices and alerts you if the same phone is detected multiple times within the past 20 minutes," reports Wired. The device, which can be carried around or placed in a car, consists of parts that cost around $200 in total. From the report: The homemade system works by scanning for wireless devices around it and then checking its logs to see whether they also were present within the past 20 minutes. It was designed to be used while people are on the move rather than sitting in, say, a coffee shop, where it would pick up too many false readings. The anti-tracking tool, which can sit inside a shoebox-sized case, is made up of a few components. A Raspberry Pi 3 runs its software, a Wi-Fi card looks for nearby devices, a small waterproof case protects it, and a portable charger powers the system. A touchscreen shows the alerts the device produces. Each alert may be a sign that you are being tailed. The device runs Kismet, which is a wireless network detector, and is able to detect smartphones and tablets around it that are looking for Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections. The phones we use are constantly looking for wireless networks around them, including networks they've connected to before as well as new networks. Edmondson says Kismet makes a record of the first time it sees a device and then the most recent time it was detected. But to make the anti-tracking system work, he had to write code in Python to create lists of what Kismet detects over time. There are lists for devices spotted in the past five to 10 minutes, 10 to 15 minutes, and 15 to 20 minutes. If a device appears twice, an alert flashes up on the screen. The system can show a phone's MAC address, although this is not much use if it's been randomized. It can also record the names of Wi-Fi networks that devices around it are looking for -- a phone that's trying to connect to a Wi-Fi network called Langley may give some clues about its owner. "If you have a device on you, I should see it," he says. In an example, he showed WIRED that a device was looking for a network called SAMSUNGSMART. To stop the system from detecting your own phone or those of other people traveling with you, it has an "ignore" list. By tapping one of the device's onscreen buttons, it's possible to "ignore everything that it has already seen." Edmondson says that in the future, the device could be modified to send a text alert instead of showing them on the screen. He is also interested in adding the capability to detect tire-pressure monitoring systems that could show recurring nearby vehicles. A GPS unit could also be added so you can see where you were when you were being tracked, he says. [...] Edmondson has no plans to make the device into a commercial product, but he says the design could easily be copied and reused by anyone with some technical knowledge. Many of the parts involved are easy to obtain or may be lying around the homes of people in tech communities. For those interested, Edmondson open-sourced its underlying code and plans to present the research project at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas this week.

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Meta's Flailing Portal Repurposed As a Wireless Portable Monitor
On Wednesday, Meta announced that the Portal Plus Gen 2 and Portal Go now support Duet Display, an app that can turn a display into a secondary monitor for Macs and PCs. Ars Technica reports: The Portal Plus is the same size as some of the best portable monitors, so it makes sense to repurpose it for that function. Because it's built for video image quality, it has a decent resolution for a portable display -- 2160x1440. Duet Display doesn't require a display to be connected to a computer via a cable, so specific Portals are now portable wireless monitors, too. At a time when webcams are integrated into many laptops, and USB webcams are easier to find again, many consumers don't need a display dedicated primarily to web calls. But an extra monitor? That's more widely appealing. With the addition of Duet Display, Portal owners have further reason to think about their Portal when they're not on a video call. Meta also gave all Portals with a touchscreen -- namely, the Portal Go, Portal Plus, Portal, and Portal Mini -- a Meta Portal Companion app for macOS. The app enables screen sharing during video calls and provides quick access to video call features, like mute and link sharing in Zoom, Workplace, and BlueJeans.

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Bricked Epson Printers Make a Strong Case For User Repairability
Epson has gained some scrutiny in recent weeks after the company disabled a printer that was otherwise working fine, leading to accusations of planned obsolescence. Epson knows its printers will stop working without simple maintenance at a predictable point in the future, and it knows that it won't be cost-effective for many owners to send their home printers in for service. So why not build them to be user serviceable in the first place? The Verge: The inciting post from @marktavern mentions that his wife was unable to use her "very expensive Epson printer" after an end-of-service error message appeared. This isn't anything new for Epson printers, sadly. Reports going back several years mention an infamous error message that reads "parts inside the printer have reached the end of their service life." Epson confirmed to The Verge that the error is related to the printer's ink pads, which had likely become saturated through extended use and were now at risk of spilling into the rest of the printer mechanism. In a recently updated support document, Epson offers several solutions to resolve the problem. These include sending the printer into Epson to replace the ink pads or having a local certified technician do it. Previously (via Wayback Machine), just before the issue gained notoriety, Epson conceded that "repair may not be a good investment for lower cost printers because the printer's other components also may be near the end of usable life." It then added that "most consumers who are out of warranty elect to replace a lower-cost printer when they receive an end of life service message." Now, Epson suggests the feel-good option of sending the bricked unit in for recycling.

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Midwest Universities Unite To Support US Chip Industry Revival
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Register: A dozen US midwestern research colleges and universities have signed up to a project intended to bolster the semiconductor and microelectronics industries with combined research and education to ensure work for their students in high-tech industries. The "Midwest Regional Network to Address National Needs in Semiconductor and Microelectronics" consists of a dozen institutions, made up of eight from Ohio, two from Michigan, and two from Indiana. Their stated aim is to support the onshoring efforts of the US semiconductor industry by addressing the need for research and a skilled workforce. According to Wright State University, the network was formed in response to Intel's announcement that it planned to build two chip factories near Columbus, Ohio, and followed a two-day workshop in April hosted by the state. [...] However, the university network was also formed to help address the broader national effort to regain American leadership in semiconductors and microelectronics, or at least bring some of it back onshore and make the US less reliant on supplies of chips manufactured abroad. The president of each institution has signed a memorandum of understanding to form the network, and the expectation is that the group will expand to include more than these dozen initial members. The intention is that the institutions taking part will be able to make use of each other's existing research, learning programs, capabilities, and expertise in order to boost their collective ability to support the semiconductor and microelectronics industry ecosystems. Challenges for the network include developing mechanisms to connect existing research, and training assets across the region, and developing a common information sharing platform to make it easier to identify opportunities for joint programming and research across the network. The institutions involved in the network include: Wright State University, Columbus State Community College, Lorain County Community College, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, Sinclair Community College, University of Cincinnati, University of Dayton, University of Michigan, and the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. Further reading: Biden Signs China Competition Bill To Boost US Chipmakers

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Hacker Finds Kill Switch For Submachine Gun-Wielding Robot Dog
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: In July, a video of a robot dog with a submachine gun strapped to its back terrified the internet. Now a hacker who posts on Twitter as KF@d0tslash and GitHub as MAVProxyUser has discovered that the robot dog contains a kill switch, and it can be accessed through a tiny handheld hacking device. "Good news!" d0tslash said on Twitter. "Remember that robot dog you saw with a gun!? It was made by @UnitreeRobotic. Seems all you need to dump it in the dirt is @flipper_zero. The PDB has a 433mhz backdoor." In the video, d0tslash showed one of the Unitree robot dogs hooked up to a power supply. A hand comes into the frame holding a Flipper Zero, Tamagotchi-like multitool hacking device that can send and receive wireless signals across RFID, Bluetooth, NFC, and other bands. A button is pushed on the Flipper and the robot dog seizes up and falls to the ground. Motherboard reached out to d0tslash to find out how they hacked the robot dog. The power supply in the video is an external power source. "Literally a 24-volt external power supply, so I'm not constantly charging battery while doing dev," d0tslash said. d0tslash got their hands on one of the dogs and started going through the documentation when they discovered something interesting. Every dog ships with a remote cut-off switch attached to its power distribution board, the part of a machine that routes power from the battery to its various systems. The kill switch listens for a particular signal at 433mhz. If it hears the signal, it shuts down the robot. Some of the Unitree robot dogs even ship with the wireless remote that shuts the dog down instantly. d0tslash then used Flipper Zero to emulate the shutdown, copying the signal the robot dog's remote broadcasts over the 433MHz frequency. Anyone with a Flipper Zero or similar device can shut down these robot dogs, thanks to the work d0tslash has shared on Github.

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