Mobile ad company Appodeal acquires game platform Corona Labs

Appodeal is announcing that it has acquired Corona Labs, creators of the Corona SDK for building cross-platform games and apps.

The companies say the framework has been used to build more than 10,000 games including The Lost City by Fire Maple Games and HoPiKo by Laser Dog. Appodeal, meanwhile, is a mobile ad mediation company — in other words, it helps app developers manage multiple ad networks.

As a result of the deal, Appodeal says the enterprise version of the Corona framework will be made available for free (other versions were already free), and that the framework will also become open source. At the same time, developers building on Corona won’t be limited to Appodeal — they’ll still be able to use any monetization platform that was previously supported, with the Corona team working to build even more ad partnerships.

“We decided to make even more of the Corona platform free because we believe that there should be more opportunities to develop mobile games of high quality on the market,” said Appodeal founder and CEO Pavel Golubev in the acquisition release. “Additionally, Corona will gradually be transformed into an open-source framework with the first components released as open-source soon after the acquisition formalities are complete.”

 Corona Labs has had a rather complicated history. Founded as Ansca Mobile in 2008, it was first acquired by Fuse Powered, then by Perk.com, whose co-founder Roj Niyogi bought Corona when he left Perk last year. Niyogi said he will remain involved as a strategic advisor, while the Corona engineering team joins Appodeal.

Top Tech Conferences: The Ultimate B2B Tech Events Guide 2017

Love it or loathe it, events and conferences are often where wheelers and dealers in the world of technology meet to decide on the future of the industry.

Ironically, technology itself has accelerate the demise of some massive tech events (like Comdex) but the remaining ones are more focused, alive and bustling than ever before.

Techradar Pro and ITProPortal have joined forces with the tech B2B PR industry to curate a list of national and international technology events, conferences and happenings, focusing on B2B.

Featured:  Mobile World Congress 2017

MWC is a B2B event for anyone and everyone in mobile and those in adjacent industries who want to discover how mobile technology can benefit their industries. In short, anyone in business will find relevant learning and networking opportunities to make the trip to Barcelona worthwhile.

QuickBooks Connect London

March 6th-7th 2017, London, UK

Bring your future into focus at QuickBooks Connect. Learn from influential advisors, network with peers, and immerse yourself in interactive workshops — all designed to put you on the fast track to growth.

Citrix Summit

January 8-10 2018, Anaheim, USA

Citrix Summit is the essential business development conference for partners. Partners who attend gain firsthand insight into Citrix strategy for digital business transformation through intensive technical, sales and business training that delivers the tools to strengthen relationships, take advantage of market opportunities and pave the way for new deals.

MVNOs Networking Congress 2017

November 2017, London, UK

The 2016’s edition of the event focused on the challenges and opportunities for the European market. It attracted the full spectrum of MVNOs in Europe with over 50% of the audience made up from first time attendees.

Key topics included the regulatory landscape in Europe, the challenges and opportunities from network consolidation, winning in saturated markets, monetizing emerging technologies as well as many more.

Smart Home Summit 2017

November 2017, Silicon Valley, USA

Smart Home Summit brings together leading decision makers looking to take the smart home from a niche prospect for the tech savvy consumer into a mass market reality through collaboration and partnerships. Download the brochure to find out more about who will attend, topics being covered, speakers and other features taking place.

LTE Voice Summit 2017

October 2017, London, UK

Virtualization is the biggest industry game-changer of the past 20+ years, and operators are debating and best-practice sharing in order to ascertain the benefits it will bring their networks and services.Voice virtualization poses numerous complex decisions and there is no clear route as yet…top experts spoke at the Voice Virtualization Summit, allowing attendees to ascertain how their business will proceed in this brave new virtualized era for the industry.

IP Expo Europe 2017

October 4th-5th, London, UK

It’s the ONLY enterprise IT event that brings everything together under one roof. All the key players. All the information across the entire technology stack. All the key product launches, demos, solutions and educational seminars.

CeBIT 2018

March 20th-24th, Hannover, Germany

CeBIT is THE platform for experts and top decision-makers from all areas of digital business along the B2B value chain. The global market is present here – make sure you are, too! CeBIT is one of the world’s most important investment platforms for digital business processes. No other place can boast as many IT decision-makers and managers at the same time – or with such a strong focus on SMEs.

Infosecurity 2017

June 6th-8th, London, UK

Infosecurity Europe is the region’s number one information security event featuring Europe’s largest and most comprehensive conference program and over 360 exhibitors showcasing the most relevant information security solutions and products to 13,500 visitors.

AT&T, Apple, Google to work on ‘robocall’ crackdown

An AT&T Logo is pictured on the side of a building in Pasadena, California, January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Mario AnzuoniMore than 30 major technology and communication companies said on Friday they are joining the U.S. government to crack down on “robocalls,” automated, prerecorded phone calls that regulators have labeled a “scourge.”

AT&T Inc (T.N), Google parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) and Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) are among members of the “Robocall Strike Force” that held its first meeting with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

The strike force will report to the FCC by Oct. 19 on “concrete plans to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions,” said AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson, chairman of the group.

The strike force hopes to implement Caller ID verification standards to help block calls from spoofed phone numbers and consider a “Do Not Originate” list that would block spoofers from impersonating legitimate phone numbers from governments, banks or others.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in July urged major companies to take new action to block robocalls, which often come from telemarketers or scam artists.

“This scourge must stop,” Wheeler said on Friday, calling robocalls the No. 1 complaint from consumers.

“The bad guys are beating the good guys with technology,” Wheeler said. In the past, he has said robocalls continue “due in large part to industry inaction.”

Stephenson emphasized “the breadth and complexity” of the problem.

“This is going to require more than individual company initiatives and one-off blocking apps,” Stephenson said. “Robocallers are a formidable adversary, notoriously hard to stop.”

The FCC does not require robocall blocking and filtering but has strongly encouraged phone service providers to offer those services at no charge.

The strike force brings together carriers, device makers, operating system developers, network designers and the government.

“We have to come out of this with a comprehensive play book for all of us to go execute,” Stephenson said. “We have calls that are perfectly legal, but unwanted, like telemarketers and public opinion surveyors. At the other end of the spectrum, we have millions of calls that are blatantly illegal.”

Stephenson said technical experts representing the companies have had “preliminary conversations about short- and longer-term initiatives.”

Joan Marsh, AT&T vice president of federal regulatory issues, called the problem complicated. “We have been wrangling with this problem long enough to know there is no silver bullet,” she said. “Nothing by itself is going to do it.”

Other companies taking part include Blackberry Ltd (BB.TO), British Telecommunications Plc [BTCOM.UL], Charter Communications Inc (CHTR.O), Frontier Communications (FTR.O), LG Electronics Inc (066570.KS), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), Nokia Corp (NOKIA.HE), Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O), Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS), Sirius XM Holdings Inc (SIRI.O), T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) and U.S. Cellular Corp (USM.N).

Consumers Union, a public advocacy group, said the task force is a sign “phone companies are taking more serious steps to protect their customers from unwanted calls.”

Nasa Selects Six Firms to Develop Habitats for Mars Mission

Nasa Selects Six Firms to Develop Habitats for Mars Mission

Nasa has selected six US companies to help develop prototypes and concepts of deep space habitats for future manned missions to Mars.

Habitation systems provide a safe place for humans to live as we move beyond Earth on our journey to Mars, Nasa said.

“Nasa is on an ambitious expansion of human spaceflight, including the journey to Mars, and we’re utilising the innovation, skill and knowledge of the both the government and private sectors,” said Jason Crusan, director of Nasa’s Advanced Exploration Systems.

“The next human exploration capabilities needed beyond the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion capsule are deep space, long duration habitation and in-space propulsion,” said Crusan.

“We are now adding focus and specifics on the deep space habitats where humans will live and work independently for months or years at a time, without cargo supply deliveries from Earth,” he said.

The selected companies are Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems and NanoRacks.

 The six partners will have up to about 24 months to develop ground prototypes and conduct concept studies for deep space habitats.

Nasa has estimated that the combined total of all the awards, covering work in 2016 and 2017, will be about $65 million.

Selected partners are required to contribute at least 30 percent of the cost of the overall proposed effort.

The ground prototypes will be used for three primary purposes: supporting integrated systems testing, human factors and operations testing, and to help define overall system functionality.

These are important activities as they help define the design standards, common interfaces, and requirements while reducing risks for the final flight systems that will come after this phase.

The selections are part of a phased approach that will catalyse commercial investment in low-Earth orbit and lead to an operational deep space habitation capability for missions in the area of space near the moon, which will serve as the proving ground for Mars during the 2020s.

These missions will demonstrate human, robotic and spacecraft operations in a true deep space environment that is still relatively close to Earth and validate technologies for the longer journey to Mars.

The activities of these awards will inform the acquisition and deployment approach for the next phase of flight systems for deep space including important aspects, such as standards and interfaces, module configurations, and options for deployment.

 

Maharashtra Government to Deploy Drones to Monitor Traffic

Maharashtra Government to Deploy Drones to Monitor Traffic

Maharashtra government is considering the use of drones to monitor, identify and control vehicles breaking traffic rules.

Minister of State for Home (Urban) Deepak Kesarkar said initially, drones would be put in place on a pilot basis on the Mumbai-Pune expressway.

A meeting was held between officials of the Home department and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation earlier this week at the Mantralaya in Mumbai, which was attended by Kesarkar and PWD (undertakings) minister Eknath Shinde.

Kesarkar said Mumbai-Pune expressway has become a “death trap” with a large number of road casualties reported lately.

“Incidents of road accidents have increased due to indiscipline and rash driving. We do not have control over rash driving as the length of the express way is long and there is insufficient police staff for surveillance,” Kesarkar said.

He said while there is a need to control vehicular traffic, doing so by using a CCTV camera has its own limitations. Thus, the idea of using drones has been mooted.

“The drones will be used at load line of the ‘ghat’ on expressway where setting up of CCTV cameras is not possible,” he said.

“Mostly heavy loaded trucks jump lanes to overtake other big vehicles. This causes a traffic jam. The drones would click photos of such instances and the the Transport department will take action against errant drivers,” he added.

The minister said that even small vehicles would not be spared if found violating lane discipline.

He said the site of using drones has not been decided as yet but the MSRDC would submit its report suggesting requirement within the next 15 days.

“Initially, four to five drone will be hired from private companies for the expressway. Depending upon the result, the Home department is considering to use drones across Mumbai,” he said.

Along with CCTVs, usage of drones in the island city would take the burden of traffic police riddled with various woes, Kesarkar said.

 

Flooded Canyons Found on Saturn’s Moon Titan

Flooded Canyons Found on Saturn's Moon Titan: Nasa

US space agency Nasa on Wednesday said its Cassini spacecraft has found deep, steep-sided canyons on Saturn’s largest moon Titan that are flooded with liquid hydrocarbons.

“The finding represents the first direct evidence of the presence of liquid-filled channels on Titan, as well as the first observation of canyons hundreds of meters deep,” Xinhua quoted Nasa as saying.

The discovery, published in the US journal Geophysical Research Letters, was based on data collected from a close flyby Cassini made over Titan in May 2013, during which the spacecraft’s radar instrument focused on channels that branch out from the moon’ s second largest hydrocarbon sea Ligeia Mare.

Previously, the branching channels appear dark in radar images, much like Titan’s methane-rich seas, but it was not clear if the dark material was liquid or merely saturated sediment, which at Titan’s frigid temperatures would be made of ice, not rock.

So during the 2013 pass, the Cassini spacecraft pinged the surface of Titan with microwaves, and the returned signals indicated the surface of the channels is extremely smooth, meaning they are currently liquid filled.

 The Cassini observations also revealed that the channels – in particular, a network of them named Vid Flumina – are narrow canyons, generally a bit less than a kilometre wide, with slopes steeper than 40 degrees.

The canyons also are quite deep with those measured 790 to 1, 870 feet (240 to 570 meters) from top to bottom, Nasa said.

The presence of such deep cuts in the landscape might be the result of uplift of the terrain, or changes in sea level, or perhaps both.

“It is likely that a combination of these forces contributed to the formation of the deep canyons, but at present it is not clear to what degree each was involved,” said Valerio Poggiali of the University of Rome, a Cassini radar team associate and lead author of the study.

“What is clear is that any description of Titan’s geological evolution needs to be able to explain how the canyons got there,” Poggiali added.

 

Researchers Develop Stretchable, Wearable Touchscreens

Researchers Develop Stretchable, Wearable Touchscreens

Researchers have developed a wearable touch screen panel that is highly stretchable and can be used to write words and play electronic games.

The thin flexible ionic touchpad that is highly transparent, can be placed on one’s arm to play video games, draw, write words as well as to play the piano, the study said.

The touchpad is made of hydrogel, a network of hydrophilic polymers that are soft and very stretchable, unlike the hard materials such as carbon nanotubes and metal nanowires earlier explored for the stretchy touchpads.

Moreover, the touchpad was still able to operate when it was stretched to more than 1,000 per cent of its normal area.

However, the resistance was found to increase slightly after 100 cycles, which may be due to water evaporation in the gel, said Chong-Chan Kim from the Seoul National University in South Korea, in a paper published in the journal Science.

For the stretchy touchpad, the team used a polyacrylamide hydrogel containing lithium chloride salts, which act as conductor and help retain water in the hydrogel.

Electrodes on the ends of the hydrogel panel apply similar voltages, which creates a uniform electrostatic field across the system.

When a finger touches the panel, it closes the circuit within the hydrogel, allowing current to flow from both ends of the strip to the touch point.

At each corner of the strip, meters that capture current detect the electrical signals.

Because human-computer interactions are increasingly important, touch panels may require stretchability and biocompatibility in order to allow integration with the human body, the researchers said.

The team also developed a controller board to facilitate communication between the ionic touch panel and a computer.

 

Nasa Mulls Russia’s Idea to Cut Staff at International Space Station

Nasa Mulls Russia's Idea to Cut Staff at International Space Station

Nasa is weighing a Moscow proposal to cut the number of Russian cosmonauts at the International Space Station from three to two, particularly its potential risk to the crew, an official said Monday.

Typically, six crew members live at the orbiting outpost, a hallmark of global cooperation that is meant to stay in operation until at least 2024.

Asked during a news conference about media reports that Russia was considering reducing its staff there to two, Nasa’s Kenneth Todd said the ISS partners – which include Canada, Japan and theEuropean Space Agency – are aware of the proposal.

“They are exploring the option of going down to two crew on the Russian segment,” said Todd,International Space Station Operations Integration manager.

“They have made that known to the partnership.”

Russian media reports have quoted a Roscosmos official as saying the proposal comes as Russia is sending fewer cargo ships to the ISS, and could be a cost-cutting measure.

Meanwhile, the United States is ramping up its supply missions to the orbiting lab, with US astronauts preparing a spacewalk Friday to install a commercial docking adaptor at the ISS so that more private spaceships can park at the research lab in the years to come.

Todd said the ISS partners are aware that Russia has committed to the ISS program at least through 2024.

“There is no doubt they are keeping that in mind as they work through whatever challenges they have with their system,” Todd said.

“We will look at it, as we do with all these kinds of things. We will trade it against whatever risk that might put into the program,” he said.

“First and foremost, the risk to our crew on board and the station itself.”

Next, Todd said the international partners will see “what we can do as a partnership to try to either accommodate it, or help them realize why that is a bad thing.”

For now, he cautioned that “it is strictly a proposal they have put on the table and we will look at it.”

The first section of the ISS station, called Zarya, or Dawn in Russian, was launched into space on November 20, 1998.

From two modules, the space station has grown to 15 modules, occupying a space the size of an American football field and representing around $100 billion (roughly Rs. 6,69,155 crores) in investment.

Since 2000, the station has been continuously occupied by a rotating staff of astronauts who typically stay for six months at a time before returning to Earth.

 

China’s Launch of First Quantum Satellite Major Step in Space Race

China's Launch of First Quantum Satellite Major Step in Space Race

China’s launch of the first quantum satellite Tuesday will push forward efforts to develop the ability to send communications that can’t be penetrated by hackers, experts said.

The satellite launched into space from the Jiuquan launch base in northwestern China’s Gobi desert will allow Chinese researchers to transmit test messages between Beijing and northwestern China as well as other locations around the world.

If the tests are successful, China will take a major step toward building a worldwide network that can send messages that can’t be wiretapped or cracked through conventional methods.

“It moves the challenge for an eavesdropper to a different domain,” said Alexander Ling, principal investigator at the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore. “Lots of people around the world think having secure communications at a quantum level is important. The Europeans, the Americans had the lead, but now the Chinese are showing the way forward.”

Quantum communications use subatomic particles to securely communicate between two points. A hacker trying to crack the message changes its form in a way that would alert the sender and cause the message to be altered or deleted.

Researchers around the world have successfully sent quantum messages by land. But a true satellite-based network would make it possible to send quickly encrypted messages in an instant around the world and open the door to other possible uses of the technology.

 Cyber-security has been a major focus in recent years for China, which has pushed regulations aimed at limiting technology imported from the US in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations of widespread surveillance by the US through the use of American hardware.

China has in turn been repeatedly accused by the US of hacking into computer systems to steal commercial secrets and information that could harm American national security. China has rejected claims that it runs a state-sponsored hacking program and says that it is among the leading victims ofcybercrime.

Quantum messaging could become a major defense against hackers and have applications ranging from military and government communications to online shopping.

The biggest challenge, Ling said, is being able to orient the satellite with pinpoint accuracy to a location on Earth where it can send and receive data without being affected by any disturbances in Earth’s atmosphere. The results of China’s tests will be closely watched by other research teams, he said.

“It’s very difficult to point the satellite accurately,” Ling said. “You’re trying to send a beam of light from a satellite that’s 500 kilometers (310 miles) above you.”

Hoi Fung Chau, a professor and quantum communications researcher at Hong Kong University, said that it was too soon to say if the tests will succeed, but added he expected quantum messages by satellite to become the global standard eventually.

“The theory is already there, the technology is almost there,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time.”

The launch is a major triumph for China, which has spent years researching quantum technology and developing the satellite and other uses for it. China has previously announced the construction of a quantum link between Beijing and Shanghai that would be used by government agencies and banks.

Pan Jianwei, chief scientist on the satellite project, was quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency as saying the launch proved China was no longer a follower in information technology, but “one of the leaders guiding future IT achievements.”

 

Nasa’s Asteroid Redirect Mission Gets Go Ahead for Next Stage

Nasa's Asteroid Redirect Mission Gets Go Ahead for Next Stage

In its bid to send a manned flight to Mars, US space agency Nasa has approved the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) to proceed to the next phase of design and development for the mission’s robotic segment.

ARM is a two-part mission that will integrate robotic and crewed spacecraft operations in the proving ground of deep space to demonstrate key capabilities needed for Nasa’s journey to Mars.

For ARM, a robotic spacecraft will capture a boulder from the surface of a near-Earth asteroid and move it into a stable orbit around the moon for exploration by astronauts, all in support of advancing the nation’s journey to Mars.

“There, astronauts will be able to select, extract, collect and return samples from the multi-ton asteroid mass, and conduct other human-robotic and spacecraft operations in the proving ground that will validate concepts for Nasa’s journey to Mars,” Nasa said in a statement.

The option to retrieve a boulder from an asteroid will have a direct impact on planning for future human missions to deep space and begin a new era of spaceflight.

 The agency plans to announce the specific asteroid selected for the mission no earlier than 2019, approximately a year before launching the robotic spacecraft.

Nasa has identified three valid asteroids for the mission so far: Itokawa, Bennu and 2008 EV5.

The milestone, known as Key Decision Point-B (KDP-B) was conducted in July and formally approved by the agency on August 15.

“This is an exciting milestone for the Asteroid Redirect Mission. Not only is ARM leveraging agency-wide capabilities, it will test a number of new technologies already in development,” said Nasa Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot.

The robotic ARM will demonstrate advanced, high-power, high-throughput solar electric propulsion and advanced autonomous high-speed proximity operations at a low-gravity planetary body.

It will also showcase touchdown and liftoff with a multi-ton mass from a low-gravity planetary body and astronaut activities for sample selection, extraction, containment and return – all key components of future in-space operations for human missions to Mars.

Before beginning its trip to lunar orbit, the ARM spacecraft will demonstrate a widely supported asteroid deflection technique called a gravity tractor.

The spacecraft plus the mass of the captured boulder will create a small gravitational attraction to alter the orbit of the large asteroid.

The robotic component of the ARM will demonstrate the world’s most advanced and most efficient solar electric propulsion system as it travels to a near-Earth asteroid (NEA).

NEAs are asteroids that are fewer than 121 million miles from the Sun at the closest point in their orbit.