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The Morning After: Lucasfilm hired a YouTuber with deepfake skills

Making the Star Wars universe a less uncanny place.

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Mat Smith
July 27, 2021 7:17 AM
In this article: themorningafter, gear, newsletter
A side-by-side image comparison of a deepfake Luke Skywalker.

The power of deepfake tech to hone digital effects into incredibly realistic video can’t be underestimated. We’ve seen a top-level Tom Cruise impersonator transformed with a high-level deepfake artist, and now companies — and film studios — are taking notice.

Luke Skywalker's CGI face in The Mandalorian was met with a lot of criticism, and one fan’s efforts to improve it resulted in a new job. Lucasfilm has hired YouTuber Shamook to ensure future projects won’t have wobbly representations of actors that are either much older or perhaps even deceased now. The latter, however, remains an ethical conundrum in itself, as demonstrated by the recent Anthony Bourdain documentary.

— Mat Smith

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A magnetic helmet shrunk a deadly tumor in world-first test

The user-friendly medical device can be operated at home.

We've seen helmets and AI that can spot brain tumors, but a new magnetic hard hat can actually treat them, too. Researchers used a helmet that generates a magnetic field to shrink a deadly tumor by a third. The 53-year-old patient who underwent the treatment ultimately passed away due to an unrelated injury, but an autopsy showed that the procedure had removed 31 percent of the tumor mass from his brain. Continue reading.

The best Apple AirTag accessories you can buy

Accessories for your accessory.

Apple AirTags with cases
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

Apple’s tiny Bluetooth trackers have one critical flaw: no built-in keychain hole. That means anyone who buys AirTags has to buy holders or cases to attach them to their stuff.

It’s a very Apple way of milking as much money out of a new product as possible since many will simply buy Apple’s own AirTag holders. But those aren’t the only options available — plenty of accessory companies have already made AirTag cases. We take a look at all the options. Continue reading.

A new Microsoft Surface Duo might come with a big camera upgrade

And possibly a new color.

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 leak
Tech Rat

Microsoft's double-screen Surface Duo landed with outdated specs and a hard-to-swallow price, but the company might be looking for a do-over. A Tech Rat leak suggests a Surface Duo with a new conspicuous rear camera bump with three sensors might be on the way — as well as a new black look. Continue reading.

LG's new Tone Free earbuds have a case that plugs into headphone ports

They also feature spatial audio.

LG Tone Free FP
LG Tone Free FP

LG has revealed a new family of wireless earbuds, and while germ-killing UV tech is still on board, the coolest part may be backward compatibility. The high-end FP9 model has a charging case that plugs into a headphone jack to work as a Bluetooth dongle. The feature could be handy during flights and when dealing with wired environments of yesteryear, like gym treadmills. The headphones feature active noise cancellation and spatial audio compatibility, too. The LG Tone Free FP series will be available this month, price still TBC. Continue reading.

iOS 14.7.1 arrives with fix for Apple Watch unlocking bugIt also fixes a security vulnerability Apple says may have been exploited.

Apple has pushed out a new update to iOS 14 for iPhone and iPad owners. While there are no new features, it addresses a bug that broke Apple's Unlock with iPhone integration, preventing Touch ID-equipped phones from unlocking Apple Watch devices. So if you use an older iPhone with your Apple wearable, you'll want to download the update as soon as possible. Continue reading.

Why every robot needs a spiffy hat

If you thought the classic ‘pants on a dog’ problem was tricky, try it with treads.

As robots increasingly move into our everyday lives, a new kind of clothing revolution could soon be upon us once again, according to a new research study out of New York’s Cornell University.

“We believe that robot clothes present an underutilized opportunity for the field of designing interactive systems,” the team argues in What Robots Need From Clothing. It’s not simply a matter of tossing human clothing on a robotic chassis. “What robot clothes are is integrally tied to what robots need from clothing. Robot clothing should analogously fulfill needs robots have, rather than just being human clothes on a robot,” the researchers wrote. What will that entail? Continue reading.

But wait, there’s more...

Intel's revised roadmap looks beyond 1-nanometer chips

Blue Origin offers NASA $2 billion in last-ditch attempt at lunar lander contract

Samsung's 'The Wall' will be used to form a virtual movie studio

Hubble finds evidence of water vapor on Jupiter's largest moon

Turtle Beach's first gamepad pairs its audio expertise with great ergonomics

Autonomous quadrotor beats two human pilots in a drone race

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