Not everyone's compelled to backflip across a canyon on a BMX bike or dive from suborbital space in search of extreme sports thrills. In fact, most of us armchair enthusiasts prefer to get our kicks secondhand. And, more often than not, that footage comes from the likes of a helmet-mounted GoPro camera. Action sports enthusiasts have been wearing these nearly "invisible cameras" (as GoPro calls them) since the company launched in 2004. It's proven to be a very a lucrative niche for founder and CEO Nick Woodman, too, considering the company's recent IPO filing pegged its valuation at $3.86 billion dollars.
Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green.
Self-driving cars are set to become a common sight on roads and highways around the world in the coming years, and Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, is taking the lead. The company recently announced plans to launch a self-driving semi truck on the market by 2025. In architecture news, this week a large lotus flower-shaped building sprouted in Wujin, China. The striking building is located in the middle of an artificial lake, and it is cooled with geothermal piles.
Digital Revolution is an art exhibition currently running at London's Barbican Centre. Part of the exhibition is Google's "DevArt" project -- a selection of code-based installations. Google commissioned three established artists for the show, and ran a competition to find an up-and-coming artist to join them. Below we take a look at how an idea goes from concept, to code, to creation.
Navigation apps can tell you how to get across town using only public transportation, but they don't make it a seamless experience. Wouldn't it be nice if you could pay for bikes, buses and trains from a single app? If Helsinki has its way, you might. The Finnish city plans to test a transportation mesh that will not only show you how to get from point A to point B using multiple public methods, but let you pay for it all in one shot through software or a website. A few companies will help launch the trial run in the Vallila neighborhood around the end of the year, with expansions to other areas over time.
Soldiers have long dreamed of smart bullets that always hit their targets, and it looks like they're now much closer to getting their wish. DARPA has posted the first footage of EXACTO (Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance), a .50-caliber bullet that uses optical guidance and sensors to home in on its prey. As you see in the fuzzy-looking video below, the projectile compensates for movement, weather and wind with all the agility of a missile -- even if you try to miss, it easily swerves back on track. The project is still young, but it could prove a tremendous help to long-distance snipers for whom even the tiniest slip-up could ruin a shot.
This week, we dove into the history of DARPA, explored the hand-drawn world of Cuphead, took an in-depth look at Google's 3D-mapping tablet and interviewed two people who managed to cut ties with technology. Read on for Engadget's news highlights from the last seven days. Oh, and be sure to subscribe to our Flipboard magazine!
If you're determined to catch up on South Park episodes without downloading them, you'd better get used to Hulu -- you'll be using it a lot. The service has just unveiled a deal that gives it exclusive US rights to stream the series' complete catalog for the next three years, including new episodes as soon as they've finished airing on TV. The official South Park website will still host both 30 older segments as well as new releases, but you won't be (officially) streaming the classics anywhere else. It's a definite coup for Hulu, which has frequently had to watch as Amazon and Netflix score big exclusives of their own. It's not grand news for Americans, though, as you'll only have one streaming source for the full escapades of Cartman, Kenny, Kyle and Stan.
You can pick up a Chromebook for a dirt-cheap $200, if you know where to shop. However, there are now signs that these Google-powered portables could get even cheaper. MediaTek has contributed code to Chromium OS (the base for Chrome OS) for a test device with an entry-level ARM Cortex-A7 processor -- a big step down from the relatively inexpensive Cortex-A15/A7 hybrid that Samsung uses, not to mention the Intel Celeron chips in other Chrome devices. Theoretically, this leads to Chromebooks and Chromeboxes that cost significantly less than $200, albeit after a big speed hit. Just as with phones and tablets, a Cortex-A7 system is likely to be pretty sluggish.
If you love Brazilian futebol, this has been an especially tough week; that devastating loss to Germany in the World Cup semi-finals was a shock to fans used to victory. Thankfully for you, Google feels your pain. The internet giant has revealed to NPR that its experimental social newsroom for the Cup avoided covering some of the bigger Brazilian search trends during the lopsided match, such as "shame," because they were simply too negative. As producer Sam Clohesy explains, the decision was motivated both by a desire to go viral as well as pure sympathy. People tend not to respond well to bad news on social networks, and Google would rather not "rub salt into the wounds" -- unlike a regular news outlet, it has more incentive to write about cheerful happenings than calamities. The filtering isn't going to restore Brazil's lost chance at football glory, but it might make the next four years a little more bearable.
[Image credit: AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo]
Update: Google believes that the original characterization isn't accurate -- it tells us that it's simply focused on highlighting interesting events, not downplaying bad news. It also adds that you can always visit Google Trends to see exactly what's going on. Check out the company's official statement below.