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ISRO needs to find Vikram’s fate on moon: US expert

ISRO’s Istrac (satellite telemetry, tracking and command network centre lost contact with Vikram when it was descending and was just 2.1 km above the lunar service.

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Bengaluru, Oct 4 : The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has to find the fate of its Chandrayaan-2 lander Vikram on the moon and if “it would be able to talk again”, a US space expert said on Friday.

“It is for the ISRO scientists to find out if Vikram will be able to talk to them or Chandrayaan’s orbiter to restore the link,” said NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s spacecraft system engineering manager Ann Devereaux at an event, held to mark the World Space Week of the UN General Assembly.

Noting that ISRO scientists have not given up on contacting the lander nearly a month after they lost contact with it in the early hours of September 7, Devereaux said they need to scan the data they got from it till the link snapped.

ISRO’s Istrac (satellite telemetry, tracking and command network centre lost contact with Vikram when it was descending and was just 2.1 km above the lunar service.

Though the Indian space agency has set up a national committee of experts to find what went wrong with Vikram to lose communication link with it in the last minute, it is yet to confirm its fate on the lunar surface near the South Pole in hostile conditions.

“We don’t really know what happened then and how it (Vikram) hit the moon’s surface and where,” Devereaux said and red flagged the mission’s scale, time and space, which are as good as gone once it falters.

Devereaux, principal engineer for the Mars 2020 lead flight segment, has worked on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover project before becoming the lead system engineer for the flight system and fault protection and deputy lead for the entry, descent and landing team.

The UN observes the space week every year from October 4 to 10, coinciding with the launch of the first man-made earth satellite — Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957 — and the signing of the Outer Space Treaty on October 10, 1967.

JPL is a research facility which is part of the US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA), housed in California Institute of Technology (Caltech) carrying out roboticA space and earth science missions.

Visiting India as part of the US state department’s speakers’ programme, Devereaux has already visited Kolkata, Ahmedabad and New Delhi before Bengaluru to talk about space exploration and other opportunities with teachers, students and start-ups.

Business

Apple patents new MacBook Touch Bar with Force Touch technology

It was also made available on iPhones and it was known as 3D Touch. Later with iPhone XR, Apple decided to replace 3D Touch with Haptic Touch for a better experience.

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San Francisco: Apple is reportedly planning to add Force Touch sensors to the OLED Touch Bar on a future MacBook Pro.

A new patent published by the US Patent And Trademark Office, suggests Force Touch could have an expanded role in the future on the Mac, with the development of a new pressure-sensitive Touch Bar, reports MacRumors.

The patent offers visual examples of how force-sensing technology would be implemented in a MacBook Touch Bar, with Force Touch circuitry surrounding the touch-sensitive OLED strip.

“The secondary display and force-sensing circuitry may be encapsulated between two glass layers that are bonded to one another by a frit. In some embodiments, the force-sensing circuitry is formed from or constitutes part of, the frit,” reads the abstract of the patent application

Force Touch sensors were introduced for the first time with the first-generation Apple Watch and they allow the screen to identify the touch pressure in order to perform different actions based on touch intensity.

This technology was then introduced to the MacBook trackpad in 2015.

It was also made available on iPhones and it was known as 3D Touch. Later with iPhone XR, Apple decided to replace 3D Touch with Haptic Touch for a better experience.

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Business

Black Friday Deals: Realme to bring offers on Realme X3 Superzoom, X50 Pro, Buds Air Neo and more

The Black Friday sale will take place on Realme’s online store, Flipkart and Amazon.

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Realme X2 Pro

Over the last few years, online and offline retailers have been offering their Black Friday deals for almost an entire week ahead of Thanksgiving, and some of these deals and offers last well after the Cyber Monday sale.

Black Friday Sale is here!!

After Xiaomi, handset maker Realme on Thursday announced a Black Friday Sale that would arrive with several offers and discounts on a range of its products. The Black Friday Sale would be live for 24 hours and would start November 27, 12:00 AM. The sale would see massive discounts on a range of Realme smartphones including Realme 6i, Realme 6, Realme X3 Superzoom and X50 Pro, and various AIoT products such as Realme Buds Classic, Realme Smart Watch, Realme Buds Air Neo and Realme Smart Cam 360°.

“Realme would also be hosting the ‘Realme Days’ sale offering similar discounts on its own website Realme.com, Flipkart and Amazon.in,” the company said in a statement.

The Black Friday sale will take place on Realme’s online store, Flipkart and Amazon. In addition to the discounts, SBI credit cardholders can avail of 5% cashback on EMI transactions.

  • Realme is offering discounts from Rs 1,000 up to Rs 7,000 for its Black Friday sale. Realme X50 Pro has received the biggest discount of Rs 7,000 bringing its price down to Rs 34,999 from Rs 41,999. Realme X50 Pro with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage also gets a discount making its offer price Rs 40,999.
  • Realme X3 SuperZoom will be available with a Rs 4,000 discount on all three variants. Realme X3 has also received a Rs 3,000 discount on both its variants. Realme C3, Realme 6, Realme 6i, and Narzo 20 Pro can be purchased with a discount of Rs 1,000.
  • In the AIoT portfolio, Realme Buds Air Neo would be available at a discounted price of Rs 1999, along with the Realme Buds Wireless Pro for Rs 3199 and Realme Buds Air Pro at a special price of Rs 4299. These offers would be applicable on all purchases made through Realme’s official website Realme.com.
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India

India’s ban on 43 Chinese apps draws mixed reactions

While announcing the ban on 59 apps in June, the ministry also said that it received “many representations raising concerns from citizens regarding security of data and risk to privacy relating to operation of certain apps.”

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New Delhi: While Indian startups have largely welcomed the government’s move to ban 43 more Chinese apps, taking it to a total of 267 in a span of about five months, experts have also cautioned that users deserve more information and transparency about the reasons behind the actions.

Extending its support to the latest “digital strike” on Tuesday that banned 43 more Chinese apps, homegrown short video-sharing platform Chingari said that some of the apps in the new list “were banned earlier as well but they just cloaked themselves under a new identity to enter the Indian market.”

“The ban is a very smart move and sends out a clear message that Chinese apps cannot use such tactics to engage in activities that are ‘prejudicial to India’s sovereignty’. At the same time, we would like to assure our Chingari family that the safety of their data is our highest priority,” Sumit Ghosh, CEO, Co-founder Chingari, said in a statement.

One of the banned apps include Snack Video which offered homegrown short video apps, that gained traction following ban on TikTok, very tough competitions.

“This is yet another welcome move from the government to stand against Chinese apps that always have had serious privacy issues. We happily extend our support to all the language users and creators of Snack Video especially who are residing in tier 3/4 cities to come and join Bolo Indya,” said Varun Saxena, Founder and CEO, Bolo Indya.

However, Mishi Choudhary, Founder of SFLC.in, a legal services organisation working on law, technology and policy, said that the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology “has made it a practice of issuing orders banning websites citing vague reasons without offering details that users deserve when being deprived of access to information.”

Earlier on June, 29, the government had blocked access to 59 mobile apps and on September 2, 118 more apps were banned under section 69A of the Information Technology Act.

In addition, the government in late July, cracked down on 47 more mobile apps, most of which were reportedly clones or lite variants of the Chinese apps banned in June.

Launching the fresh assault on 43 Chinese apps on Tuesday, the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said the “action was taken based on the inputs regarding these apps for engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”

While announcing the ban on 59 apps in June, the ministry also said that it received “many representations raising concerns from citizens regarding security of data and risk to privacy relating to operation of certain apps.”

“What started with the ironical assertion that the government was worried about personal data — considering we are still dithering on a personal data protection law and stories about data theft are so rampant that they don’t even make it to front page news anymore — has now turned into an unfortunate trend,” Choudhary said.

“If these Chinese apps are indulging in notorious practices which they might be, more information and transparency would help users see these orders as necessary instead of what they look like now –a sign of controlling choice,” she added.

SafeHouse Technologies, a cyber security tech enterprise that provides solutions to secure mobile phones, has welcomed the government’s move to ban 43 more Chinese apps, saying that “the government has yet again proved that the security and hygiene in the Indian smartphone and app ecosystem needs to be maintained.”

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