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Mercedes looks to new sensors so lavish S-Class is more user-friendly

Mercedes will use cabin cameras to figure out not only who’s inside the car but where they’re sitting, and what they’re looking at, with the upcoming 2023 S-Class promising new levels of tracking – and convenience – for its high-tech interior. Expected to make its official debut later in 2023, the new S-Class will be Mercedes-Benz’s most lavish and technically-complex vehicle so far, though you won’t need to read the user guide to figure it out.

In fact, the automaker promises, part of what will make the new S-Class special is just how intuitive it is to use. Once upon a time that meant a dedicated, labeled button for every feature, but as modern vehicles have become more complex that’s no longer possible.

Instead the 2023 S-Class will feature Mercedes’ newest My MBUX infotainment system on a sizable central touchscreen. That’ll be one way to interact with the car’s systems – whether that’s adjust the drivetrain settings, cabin comfort, or multimedia – but it won’t be the only one. As many as five displays can be included, three of which feature in the rear. Voice-activated assistance, using the “Hey Mercedes” wake-phrase, will be supported too, but the luxe sedan will even know where you’re looking.

Face and eye-tracking cameras built into the dashboard will be able to figure out where the driver is staring. That way, My MBUX will be able to intuit what you might want to do: rather than having to select which side-mirror to adjust before you change the angle, for example, you could merely look at the mirror and twiddle the directional pad. The S-Class itself will understand your intention, and set the correct mirror accordingly. Turn to look back over your shoulder, and the car will automatically open the rear blind for maximum visibility.

It’s part of a greater focus on usability that, Mercedes execs say, existing S-Class owners have been asking for. Part of the automaker’s response to that is making the multiple systems in the car work more cohesively. That same tracking camera could also be used for driver monitoring, for instance, for assisted driving systems, as well as for facial recognition.

When someone gets into the car, the S-Class will recognize them, either from their face, their voice, or their fingerprint. Biometric data will be saved locally, only stored in the vehicle itself, but each user will have a profile that’s saved in Mercedes’ cloud. That will have everything from seat position preferences to favorite destinations and more, and can be instantly loaded into any compatible vehicle.

If you switch between Mercedes’, for instance, your MBUX profile will bring your infotainment and comfort settings with you. Even if you switch seats in the car – moving from the driver’s seat, perhaps, to the rear – that profile will be able to establish all your favored settings automatically.

Eventually, Mercedes promises, the S-Class will be able to predict what you might do – and step in if that presents a potential danger. Using the cameras, the car will be able to detect intention: if you’re shifting as through you’re about to reach for the door handle, and there’s a vehicle coming up behind you that could cause a collision, the S-Class will be able to flash its door lighting to warn you to wait.

Even the new head-up display, which will support augmented reality graphics that can shift their virtual depth in the driver’s field of view, will rely on the cameras. That way, there’ll be no configuration of the 3D feature, and it’ll be able to adjust itself to whoever is at the wheel.

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Mercedes To Launch Hydrogen Fuel

Mercedes-Benz says it will build a hydrogen-fueled version of its European B-Class hatchback. The F-Cell will get electric power from a hydrogen cell, giving it the performance of a 2-liter economy car. An inaugural run of 200 units will arrive in the US and Europe by early 2010. Mercedes-Benz

Just like its counterparts at Honda and GM who’ve announced they’ll produce hydrogen fuel-cell cars, Mercedes-Benz hopes the whole “if you build it” thing doesn’t just apply to Shoeless Joe Jackson. Mercedes announced today the company will build a hydrogen-fueled version of its European B-Class hatchback called the F-Cell for the US and Europe. It’ll arrive by early 2010, far ahead of the massive hydrogen infrastructure the company acknowledges will be required for wide adoption of such cars.

The company says it will build 200 units of the F-Cell, a car powered by a 136-horsepower electric motor with current generated by a fuel-cell generator. Power storage comes by way of a lithium-ion battery (35 kW output / 1.4 kWh capacity) supporting a driving range of 250 miles and a top speed of 106. According to a press release, the F-Cell will perform similarly to an economy car with a 2-liter, four-cylinder engine. The company also touts good cold-start capability at temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit. Not likely a problem in California, where most of the country’s hydrogen refueling stations are.

Still, with the number of such stations in California still in the low double digits, and few stations elsewhere in the country, the F-Cell’s limited rollout will likely remain centered on the Golden State. Mercedes-Benz officials say the company is working with oil companies, utilities and government agencies in California and Germany to expand the hydrogen infrastructure to support F-Cell drivers.

Mercedes-Benz F-Cell Hydrogen Car

Mercedes-Benz says it will build a hydrogen-fueled version of its European B-Class hatchback. The F-Cell will get electric power from a hydrogen cell, giving it the performance of a 2-liter economy car. An inaugural run of 200 units will arrive in the US and Europe by early 2010.

Mercedes-Benz F-Cell Hydrogen Car, Coming in 2010

Mercedes-Benz officials say the F-Cell will be fitted with a 136-hp electric motor with power generated by a fuel-cell generator. Power storage comes by way of a lithium-ion battery (35 kW output / 1.4 kWh capacity) supporting a driving range of 250 miles and a top speed of 106.

Mercedes-Benz F-Cell Hydrogen Car, Good in the Cold

MB touts the F-Cell’s cold-start capability. While early fuel cells balked at starting in sub-freezing temperatures, the F-Cell’s unit can operate in temps as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mercedes-Benz F-Cell Hydrogen Car, Working on the Infrastructure

Mercedes-Benz officials say the company is working with oil companies, utilities and government agencies in California, Hamburg and Stuttgart on joint projects to expand the network of hydrogen filling stations to support F-Cell drivers.

Mercedes-Benz F-Cell Hydrogen Car, Dash-Mounted Fuel-Cell System Monitor

As in many hybrid cars, the Mercedes-Benz F-Cell hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle has a dashboard-mounted screen on which to monitor drive-system performance. In the compact fuel cell system, gaseous hydrogen reacts with atmospheric oxygen at 700 bar to generate a current for the electric motor. A lithium-ion battery with an output of 35 kW and a capacity of 1.4 kWh boosts power and recovers braking energy.

Ios 9’S Best & Worst Hidden New Features

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iOS 9 Best/Worst Features

Here’s what you can and cannot look forward to in iOS 9

Apple’s iOS 9 has finally come to an iPhone near you. Available on the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus and old models of iDevices going all the way back to the iPhone 4S and iPad 2, the updated software brings a long list of new features you’ve likely heard about by now. Siri has been enhanced with Proactive features that pull in data about your contacts and location, transit has been added to Apple Maps, and a lower power mode has been included to preserve your battery.

“Back To” options in the top-left your iOS 9 screen make using Apple’s devices more fluid and the new option to install ad-blockers in the default mobile Safari web browser has many publishers worried about how they’ll pay the bills. The iPad receives among the most exciting updates with Split Screen, Picture in Picture and cursor movement using the keyboard. So what’s left?

Best Hidden:

Continuity, Everywhere**

Continuity

Your devices no longer need to be on a similar wifi network in iOS 9’s iteration of Continuity

Apple first introduced the ability to send SMS messages and receive phone calls from non-iPhone devices back in 2014. With Handoff and Continuity, texts sent and received on your iPhone were pushed to your iPad and Mac when on the same Wi-Fi network. Similarly, call forwarding would ring all your devices when receiving a phone call to your iPhone’s number. Now with iOS 9, devices need not be on the same Wi-Fi network.

If your iPhone is at home, for example, you’ll still be able to receive calls and texts from the number at your work computer—provided that computer is a Mac and you’re logged into your iCloud account. As long as all devices are connected to the internet (and not in low power mode), talking on the phone can take place anywhere. Provided your carrier supports it. T-Mobile remains the only carrier ready for the feature.

Incognito Mode For Your Camera Roll

Hide Photos

Hiding secret photos is now possible in the latest version

For when you want to show off vacation photos but your family members get a little too swipe-happy. iOS 9 users are now able to hide specific photos from the iPhone and iPad’s photo library. Tap “Select” in the top right and the summon the share sheet from the bottom left icon. On the bottom left of the menu, the option to “Hide” will appear.

By selecting one or multiple thumbnails, iOS 9 users’ photos and videos can hide in plain sight. While the picture won’t appear in the main camera roll, moments, collections, and years, it will still be available to view in previously assigned albums. To unhide, simply select and tap “Share” to reveal the “Unhide” option.

Secret iOS 9 App

iCloud Drive App

iOS 9 comes with an iCloud Drive app

iOS 9 comes with a new app that you might miss at first blush. That’s because it isn’t on any of the default homescreen pages. The latest iteration of Apple’s mobile OS comes with a hidden iCloud Drive app, here’s how to reveal it.

Head to the Settings app. Tap on “iCloud,” then “iCloud Drive.” The option that allows you to “Show on Home Screen” is what you’ll want to turn on. For those that don’t prefer Dropbox or Google’s apps, the iCloud Drive app could come in handy.

Screen Rotate Switch For The iPhone

iPhone Mute Switch

The mute toggle will now be able to act as a rotation lock switch

Now, similar to the iPad, iPhone users can make their vibrate switch a rotation toggle. In the General section of the Settings app, iOS 9 now lets you make your silent mode switch a rotation lock button.

Mail Attachments, Supercharged

Mail App

Any type of attachment can be added to an email in iOS 9

Apple is increasing the amount of photos you can attach to an email. Additionally, any type of file can now be included with your email, not just photos or videos. Bringing the default iPhone and iPad app closer to desktop-class mail clients.

Quick Reply For Any App

Quick Reply

iOS 9 will allow quick reply from more apps than just the default messaging application

iOS 8 brought the ability to quickly reply to SMS texts and iMessages from anywhere within the OS. Swiping down on a banner notification revealed a text box where texters could enter a response and send without leaving their current app. Now that functionality is coming to non-Apple apps.

Soon apps like Facebook Messenger, Twitter and more will offer the ability to send off text from anywhere within iOS 9.

iOS 9’s Worst Features

The New App Switcher

App Switcher

Not better or worse, just different

When Apple brought users the new app switcher in iOS 7, it offered users many useful changes from the previous version. When double tapping the home button on the older iPhone OS, a tray of icons were revealed. More recently, revealing the app switcher showed full thumbnails of app windows—allowing you to swipe up to easily quit an app or scroll to see what’s open. The app switcher in iOS 9 changes that —but not for the better.

While the new switcher isn’t worse, it feels like change for the sake of change. Large thumbnails and swiping up to quit are still available in this view, but iOS users must now relearn which direction to swipe for the rest of their apps. Though when looking at the various “Back To…” menus that appear in the top left of iOS 9 following an app-jump, the new switcher view makes slightly more sense. Though we still lament the departure of iOS 7’s and 8’s take on the switcher.

Default Apps Still Unremovable

The dreaded Newsstand may finally be gone, but default Apple apps still can’t be uninstalled from your iOS 9 device. Seldom used applications like Tips or the Apple Watch companion app may prove useful to some, but wastes space for those that have no need for it.

But luckily that may be changing soon. Tim Cook recently hinted at the ability to remove Apple’s default iOS apps in an interview with Buzzfeed, but only some. Let’s not get crazy.

Compatibility

Sweat Sensors Track Athletes’ Health

You might not know it, but your sweat is pretty valuable. The varying chemical concentrations in sweat reveal your blood sugar level, whether you’re dehydrated, or if your blood is not pumping fast enough to a particular tissue. Now a team of researchers led by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley has developed a Fitbit-like device that can detect and track the molecular components of sweat, according to a study published today in Nature. Devices like these could help doctors and fitness aficionados track multiple variables of athletes’ health, and could someday provide a non-invasive test for medical professionals working to diagnose disease.

Though sweat is mostly water, it also contains dissolved chemicals and minerals that can give scientists some insight into what is going on inside the body. The researchers designed their sensor to detect sodium, potassium, glucose, and lactate from sweat. Sodium and potassium concentrations can show if a person is dehydrated, lactate concentrations reveal muscle fatigue, and glucose levels in sweat correlate to glucose levels in the blood, which affect an athlete’s energy level and alertness. The researchers created a small plastic biosensor to pick up on these chemical concentrations.

Sweat sensing device in action

As senior study author Ali Javey rides a stationary bike, the device inside his sweatband sends information about his health to a nearby smartphone

But the levels of these compounds are often unsteady as a person sweats, so to counteract those small changes, the researchers included a calibrating tool on the microprocessor attached to the sensor.

The device, which is flexible and can be worn on the head or wrist, can also detect the temperature of the person’s body. Processors on the device analyze the data before wirelessly transmitting it to a nearby cell phone or computer.

This isn’t the first time scientists have developed sweat sensors as a way to understand what’s going on inside the body—doctors have used them for decades to diagnose cystic fibrosis in infants and to determine if a patient is addicted to drugs. But with the recent trend towards fitness monitoring devices, many researchers (including those on this competing team at the University of Cincinnati) have found new biomarkers in sweat to provide additional information to clinicians and athletes alike. But this device appears to be the most specific–and capable of measuring more biomarkers that correlate directly to health–to date.

That kind of real-time information can be useful for professional athletes during training or competitions to track their physical condition. But it could also be useful for doctors and researchers who need to monitor patients or research subjects. “A medical technician could get a reading on somebody instantaneously and follow that, instead of taking a blood sample then sending that to a laboratory and waiting several hours for a result,” says George Brooks, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley and one of the study authors.

Participants in scientific studies could generate a huge amount of data by wearing the sensors, which would help researchers better understand the relationship between biomarkers in sweat and a person’s overall health status.

The researchers don’t give a concrete timeline for when their device might go on the market, but with any luck, it could soon end up in clinical settings or even replace the Fitbit as the hobbyist’s fitness tracker.

5 Ways Windows 10’S New Edge Browser Beats Internet Explorer

Farewell, Internet Explorer. Make way for Microsoft’s next browser, Edge.

Edge, which won’t run in older versions of Windows, is a radical break from IE, despite sporting a similar logo. “We needed to do more than produce the next version of the browser. We needed a new way of doing things,” explained Charles Morris, Microsoft principal program manager lead on Edge, in a presentation at the Microsoft Build conference last week in San Francisco.

Here are five ways in which Edge promises to be a superior browser to the IE warhorse.

1. No legacy support (mostly)

The Internet Explorer logo.

Around since the dawn of the Web, IE carries a great amount of baggage in the name of backward compatibility. IE 11 comes with a variety of legacy modes, mostly to support enterprises who built internal applications around IE6 or some other older version.

The company needed to make a clean break, especially given how quickly Mozilla, Google and Apple were updating their own browsers with little worry about supporting older, outdated technologies. “It wasn’t a fair game,” said David Catuhe, Microsoft principal program manager, in another Build talk on Edge.

Edge will not support Microsoft’s ActiveX, Browsers Helper Objects (BHOS), VBScript and third-party toolbars built for IE11, all of which could crimp performance and bring security woes. It will support Adobe Flash and Personal Document Format (PDF).

2. Speedier, richer browsing

Thanks to Microsoft’s decision to throw the backward-compatibility baggage overboard, Edge has a leaner, more optimized code base than IE.

As a result Edge is zippier. Using the Google Canary benchmarking software, the current build of Edge ran twice as fast as IE 11 in recent tests, according to Microsoft. It also handily beat the latest beta 64-bit builds of the Chrome and Firefox browsers in this test.

WinBeta

This problem has been particularly noticeable on mobile devices, where IE on Windows Phone has struggled to render pages properly.

3. Support for extensions, finally

Unlike IE, Edge will support JavaScript-based extensions, allowing third parties to customize views of Web pages and add new functionality.

In a demonstration at the keynote, Microsoft showed how Edge could run a popular extension for Reddit, one that reformats the popular social news Web site in a much more visually appealing way. Like extensions for Chrome and Firefox, Edge extensions must be written using the Web languages of HTML and JavaScript.

4. More personal

Edge is tightly wired into Microsoft’s Bing search service, and with Cortana, the company’s virtual personal assistant service. When users opt into these services, they can keep track of your actions on the browser in order to gather more context that would, in theory, help you in your travels across the Web.

“Cortana is able to infer what you need,” said Sean Lyndersay, Microsoft principal program manager lead for Edge, in another Build presentation.

Cortana, Windows 10’s digital assistant, is baked into Microsoft’s Edge browser.

As you type a question in the URL address bar, Edge starts generating possible answers. Typing in the “msft” stock ticker will instantly return the current stock market price and company information.

In his demo, Lyndersay asked how old actor Brad Pitt was. The browser returned the correct answer: 51. It may even be able to answer technical support questions, according to Lyndersay.

Launching the browser will give you a new tab start page with links to your most visited sites, as well as links to news stories and content the user may find interesting, as estimated by your browsing habits.

5. More immersive

Edge takes a number of steps to improve the user’s reading experience.

Mercedes Autonomous Valet Garage: No Tips Required

Mercedes autonomous valet garage: No tips required

Mercedes-Benz’s cars could already pull themselves in or out of a parking spot; now, they can completely autonomously park themselves in a garage structure. The driverless parking system has been installed at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, as a trial for the new convenience technology. Built in collaboration between Mercedes and Bosch, it allows drivers to hand over their car to an automated valet to be parked.

Unlike in a science-fiction movie, mind, that valet isn’t a robot who physically clambers behind the wheel. Instead, the car drives itself, using the same semi-autonomous driver assistance aids like adaptive cruise control and steering assistance that offset owner involvement on the highway. At the same time, the car is communicating with the parking structure itself.

The building has been outfitted with various sensors to monitor how the garage is being used, including where there are free spaces. That’s then communicated to the car, which is responsible for navigating itself safely according to the commands from the parking garage infrastructure. It also uses its own sensors – the same ones which help you avoid scraping the bumper or reversing into a pedestrian – in case an unexpected hazard pops out.

Mercedes and Bosch have fitted a fleet of new cars with updated software to use the vehicle’s sensors. That means you can’t just show up with your own car and expect it to be driven off to a free space. Instead, users will be able to reserve a car with a smartphone app, and summon it to the pick-up area autonomously.

Once they return, and leave the car in the drop-off zone, they use the same app to hand the vehicle back over to the valet. That remotely starts the Mercedes up and whisks it off to the nearest empty space.

The hope is that the trial convinces the TÜV Rheinland technical inspection authority that driverless parking garages are not only practical but safe. It’s the gatekeeper to final approval, which will be required if Mercedes’ next intended phase of the program can go ahead. The goal is to turn automated valet parking on for everyone who uses the museum’s parking garage from the start of 2023.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an automated parking system like this attempted, mind. Volvo showed off a concept of its own back in 2013, also using existing semi-autonomous driver aids to pilot the vehicle without someone at the wheel. It, too, depended on infrastructure upgrades to the garage itself, and Volvo never commercialized the system.

NOW READ: 2023 Mercedes-AMG S63 first drive

Mercedes’ push for autonomous vehicles is two-pronged. On the one hand, the company has Level 2 self-driving integrated into its current car line-up, most recently with the 2023 S-Class luxury sedan. Although driver involvement is still required, it promises to ease some of the headache on extended journeys with a combination of adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance.

However at the same time the automaker is also exploring Level 4 and 5 autonomy, for what would be considered fully self-driving vehicles. Those are unlikely to go on sale until 2023-2025, the company warns, and will likely first go to taxi-style services where the huge initial investment would be more rapidly offset by service fees. Mercedes is also looking at so-called pontooning, where multiple trucks could form a road train allowing human drivers to rest while the AI handled monotonous highway navigation.

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