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Sony has given gamers a first look at the design of its next console as well as some of the titles it will play.

The PlayStation 5 has a black core surrounded by curved white edging, and a blue glow.

Two follow-ups to bestselling PS4 releases were among the standout games announcements – Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and Horizon: Forbidden West.

Sony’s machine will launch alongside Microsoft’s rival Xbox Series X before the end of the year.

“While there’s still a lot of unanswered questions about the PS5, namely price and release date, I think Sony did exactly what they needed to with this reveal event,” commented Laura Kate Dale, a freelance games critic.

“It showed off an hour of games, mixing sequels to popular titles, and new franchises from its biggest first-party studios, for a solid hour.

“People on Twitter are very split on whether they like or hate the look of the box, but overall Sony spent an hour getting people excited.”

So many people remarked that the console looked like a “wi-fi router”, that the term trended on Twitter shortly after the event.

More than two dozen new games were shown off in total.

Other highlights included a first look at Sony’s racing game Gran Turismo 7 and a brief look at Capcom’s zombie horror game Resident Evil 8.

It was not always clear during the event which titles were PS5 exclusives and which were not.

Pre-recorded show

The PlayStation 5 is set to go on sale later this year, seven years after the PS4.

In addition to being able to deliver improved visuals, the new machine also has a customised hard drive that will make it possible to radically reduce load times.

Sony is building a library of launch titles that will only be available on its next-generation machine. This contrasts with Microsoft’s approach, which is to initially release new first-party games on both its current and next-gen consoles.

Sony opted to stream a pre-recorded video rather than a host a live event because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The video was broadcast at 1080p resolution, much lower than the PS5 is capable of.

The PS4 outsold the Xbox One globally by more than a 2:1 margin, although the gap was much closer in the US.

In advance of Thursday night’s event, one industry insider said there were two things he was most excited about.

“The first is the new controller – the adaptive triggers offer deeper and more meaningful feedback for gameplay,” explained Robert Karp, development director at UK developer Codemasters.

“The other is the super-fast loading. On PS5, waiting to get into the action is a thing of the past.”

Returning heroes

The new Spider-Man game acts as a follow-up to 2018’s action-adventure game based on the Marvel superhero.

But this time round the protagonist appears to be the Afro-Latino teenager Miles Morales rather than Peter Parker. The brief trailer showed him fighting and web-slinging through New York, showing off snow and electricity particle effects that would not have been possible in such detail on the PS4.

Hours after the announcement, Sony executive Simon Rutter told the Telegraph that it was not, in fact, a wholly new title, but an “an expansion and an enhancement to the previous game”.

“There’s a substantial Miles Morales component-which is the expansion element-but also within the game as well there’s been major enhancements to the game and the game engine, obviously deploying some of the major PlayStation 5 technology and features,” he told the newspaper.

But that was later disputed by developer Insomniac Games, which called the new title “the next adventure” and a “standalone game”.

Several of the other reveals reintroduced familiar characters.

Aloy is back in the follow-up to Horizon: Zero Dawn.

In Forbidden West, the heroine was shown swimming underwater as what appeared to be a robot crocodile passed overhead, and battling against robot dinosaurs.

Assassin Agent 47 returned in Hitman III, IO Interactive’s stealth series. It is not due to go on sale until January 2021, however, so will miss out on launching alongside the PS5.

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart marked a return to Insomniac Games’ cartoon-like third-person action franchise.

Coronavirus challenge

Sony also highlighted new features of the PS5’s hardware including 3D Audio and a 4K Blu-ray player. It also said the the new console would be released in a version that lacked a disc drive.

While Sony and Microsoft’s next-generation consoles will battle for sales, they both face the challenge of launching at a time when the coronavirus pandemic may not be over.

Although both firms have said that production is on track for winter 2020 releases, it is unclear what level of demand there will be.

“Console gaming has proven to be resilient to economic downturns because it continues to offer good per-hour entertainment value,” Piers Harding-Rolls wrote in a research note for Ampere Analysis.

“Even so, the recession and growing unemployment in key sales territories will undermine adoption – less so at launch [but] more significantly after mid-2021.”

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3 tips for logistics companies to help maintain the supply chain during a crisis

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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, even the best supply chain and logistics companies have run into snags keeping up with demand and getting supplies to customers on time. The lessons learned can provide valuable insight.

Image: RistoArnaudov, Getty Images/iStockPhoto

As companies and institutions of all sizes and industries still grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, their supply chain and logistics teams need to be able to refocus their efforts to keep up with the continuing demands. 

Here are three things we’ve learned from the early days of the pandemic that can help logistics companies—or any other companies—when they struggle to keep up.

SEE: Inside UPS: The logistics company’s never-ending digital transformation (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Prioritize crisis-based essentials

Under normal circumstances, keeping customers happy means consumer and business products need to reach their destinations on time. But these aren’t normal circumstances. People and institutions around the world are relying on life-saving and sustaining items like food, medical supplies, and personal protective equipment (PPE). While there are no guaranteed delivery dates these days, some items simply need to be prioritized. 

SEE: Zoom vs. Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx and Skype: Choosing the right video-conferencing apps for you (TechRepublic)

With the increasing volume of online shopping, large e-commerce companies such as Amazon began prioritizing essential products, including household staples and medical supplies, as it struggled to deal with a surge in demand. Other items such as toilet paper, bleach, and sanitizing wipes have been taking top priority, and non-essential items such as flat-screen televisions were put on hold. Delivery service providers, like FedEx, Purolator, UPS, and others, also got behind in shipments and worked to focus on hospitals and care center needs. Leveraging its global network and logistics expertise to help organizations with mission-critical needs, FedEx focused some of its efforts on 1,000 special shipments delivering protective equipment from Direct Relief to help health centers, clinics, and hospitals. 

Focus on front-line workers and those most vulnerable

We’ve all heard about the impact of the pandemic on front-line workers such as doctors, nurses, care-aids, and also those most vulnerable, including the elderly and those with lower immunity. Some online grocers were prioritizing by delivering to those more vulnerable first, including the elderly and support workers. Some online grocers have offered free delivery to medical staff and volunteers. Recognizing how busy front-line workers have been, some grocery chains have been providing them with front-of-the-line access when shopping in person. While it may not seem fair to some, these prioritizing measures are helping to save more lives.

Keep logistics and supply chain workers safe

Keeping workers safe means logistics and supply chain companies are more likely to continue to keep pace with the escalating demands for essential and non-essential goods. One delivery worker whose wife is a nurse said that while the hospital is taking steps to protect its staff, his employer could be doing more. He said he interacts with about 75 to 100 people each day and never thought he or his coworkers would be front-line workers in a pandemic. With all of the doors, handles, railings, packages, and other things that they touch each day, PPE supplies and equipment are needed by all delivery company staff. Sanitizing wipes, gloves, masks, and other PPE are essential for front-line delivery, stocking, and other staff to ensure they can deliver PPE equipment to hospitals and care centers or food to the vulnerable. 

By prioritizing crisis-based essentials, especially for front-line workers and those most vulnerable, and keeping front-line staff safe, logistics and supply chain companies stand a greater chance of success during the pandemic.

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Should You Really Be Behind the Wheel After Concussion?

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Even after all of their symptoms are gone, people who have had a concussion take longer to regain complex reaction times, the kind you need in most real-life driving situations on the road, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s Sports Concussion Virtual Conference from July 31 to August 1, 2020. The preliminary results could have implications for how quickly experts recommend drivers get back behind the wheel after a concussion.

Should You Really Be Behind the Wheel After Concussion

Image credit: Pixabay (Free Pixabay license)

“People who have concussions often have slower reaction times as a result, and do more poorly on tests of thinking skills after their injury than their peers without concussions,” said Julianne D. Schmidt, Ph.D., ATC, of the University of Georgia in Athens. “Our study suggests that complicated driving skills, the kind involving split-second reaction times that could mean the difference between life and death, are the ones that may take the longest to regain after you have a concussion—even when all of your symptoms have resolved.”

The study involved 28 college students with valid drivers’ licenses and an average age of 20, including 14 with concussions and 14 without. Ten of the 14 concussed students experienced concussions while playing sports. All college students were matched by age, sex, and driving experience. Participants completed both a simulated driving reaction time test and a computerized neurocognitive test within 48 hours of their concussion symptoms resolving, which occurred an average of 16 days after the injury.

The driving reaction time test consisted of two simulated driving scenarios. The first scenario involved a stoplight reaction time simulation in which the stoplight changed from green to yellow and participants had to rapidly choose to brake or accelerate. The second scenario involved a child running in front of a vehicle and participants needed to brake or swerve to avoid collision.

The computerized test consisted of four measures of reaction time including simple, complex, and Stroop reaction time, which is the lag that occurs when you are asked to select a word like “blue” that is printed in a different color.

The drivers who had concussions demonstrated slower computerized complex reaction times than those who did not have concussions by an average of 0.06 seconds. When reacting to a change in stoplight color, it took those with concussions 0.24 seconds longer to react, or the equivalent of 15.6 feet in stopping distance, compared to those without concussions. During the driving simulation involving a child running in front of a car, it took those with concussions 0.06 seconds longer to react, or the equivalent of 3.3 feet in stopping distance, compared to those without concussions. Slower reaction time is a strong predictor of crash risk, and these additional split seconds and feet needed to change the vehicle’s movement could be critical for avoiding an accident. Interestingly, only the computerized complex and Stroop reaction times moderately related to the driving stoplight reaction time, and no other relationships were observed, suggesting computerized reaction time measures are not a perfect replacement for measuring real-life driving reaction times.

“Overall, after the symptoms of the drivers with concussions resolved, their reaction times were similar to drivers who didn’t have concussions. However, when we looked specifically at stoplight reaction time, we saw lingering deficits in the drivers who had concussions,” Schmidt said. “This could mean traditional reaction time tests aren’t the best measure of driving responsiveness and readiness. And that could have important public safety implications, considering more than three million people have sports-related concussions in the United States each year.”

Learn more about traumatic brain injury at BrainandLife.org, home of the American Academy of Neurology’s free patient and caregiver magazine focused on the intersection of neurologic disease and brain health.

Source: American Academy of Neurology




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watchOS 7 Public Beta for Apple Watch Released to Give Users a Glimpse of New Features

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Apple has released the public beta of watchOS 7 to provide Apple Watch users with a glimpse of all the new features that were announced at WWDC 2020 and are set to arrive this autumn – sometime in late September or early October. The watchOS 7 public beta includes features such as sleep tracking and automatic handwashing detection to deliver an advanced experience to all compatible Apple Watch models. Also, it brings additional customisation to watch faces including Chronograph Pro with the ability to a tachymeter and even allow users to download customised watch faces from websites.

This is notably the first time when Apple has released a public beta for watchOS. Up until now, the company offered its upcoming watchOS versions only through developer beta builds.

How to download watchOS 7 public beta

The watchOS 7 public beta can be downloaded on Apple Watch Series 3, Apple Watch Series 4, or Apple Watch Series 5 models. However, you won’t be able to get the new experience if you own an Apple Watch Series 1 or Apple Watch Series 2. Further, your iPhone must be running iOS 14 beta to let you install the new watchOS version on your Apple Watch.

To begin with the process, sign up for the Apple Beta Software Programme with your Apple ID. You can also check out our guide on how to download iOS 14 public beta if your iPhone is running on an earlier iOS version.

It is important to note that you won’t be able to move back to watchOS 6 after installing the public beta on your Apple Watch. Similarly, the beta version doesn’t include VoiceOver support. You may also encounter some bugs while using the public beta release.

watchOS 7 features

Apple introduced watchOS 7 in June with an enhanced personalisation. It lets you better configure watch faces and can even discover them through websites and social media posts. You can also add the tachymeter to the Chronograph Pro watch face. Further, Apple has provided support for developers to add more than one complication per app on a single watch face.

In addition to watch face-focussed changes, watchOS 7 brings the anticipated sleep tracking feature. It also uses the built-in motion sensors and microphone of the Apple Watch alongside on-device machine learning to enable automatic handwashing detection. Further, there are updates to the Noise app that debuted on watchOS 6 with the ability to answer how loudly users are listening to media through their headphones using their Apple devices and when these levels could impact their hearing.


WWDC 2020 had a lot of exciting announcements from Apple, but which are the best iOS 14 features for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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Google Maps Returns to Apple Watch to Ease Navigation Process



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