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US robot company offers $200,000 to use volunteer’s face for robot

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2021)

A US robot manufacturer said it will offer $200,000 to volunteers to allow the company to use their face on its robots that will work as assistants for airports, hotels, and shopping malls.

Promobot, which is making new realistic robots, said that the volunteers should be willing to transfer the rights to use of their face forever.

“The condition regarding appearance is set due to the project specifics as the robot will function as a consultant within crowded places. Gender and age do not matter,” Promobot said in a statement.

“Our company is developing technologies in the field of speech and facial recognition, autonomous navigation, and artificial intelligence, among other areas of robotics.”

“We have been actively building and supplying humanoid robots to the market. Our new clients want to launch a large-scale project,” the statement added.

By Monday afternoon, however, Promobot had closed the application process, noting it had received over 20,000 applications.

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French justice ministry hit by cyberattack, investigation ongoing

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(Last Updated On: January 29, 2022)

France’s justice ministry on Friday was hit by a cyberattack of unknown scale and an investigation has been launched, news agency AFP reported, citing multiple sources.

“There was something, but not of large extent, no criminal files have been affected”, a report cited a source close to the investigation as saying.

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Chinese hackers target German pharma and tech firms

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(Last Updated On: January 27, 2022)

Chinese hacker group APT 27, long suspected of launching attacks on Western government agencies, has started targeting German companies in sectors such as pharmaceuticals and technology, Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

In addition to stealing trade secrets and intellectual property, the hackers may be trying to penetrate customers’ and service providers’ networks to infiltrate several companies at once, the BfV said in a circular to companies.

According to Reuters in its annual constitutional protection report from 2019, the BfV had pointed out the group’s acronym APT 27 is an alias for a Chinese hacker group also known as the “Emissary Panda,” which is believed to target foreign embassies and critical sectors.

Last year, the United States and its allies accused China of a carrying out a global cyberespionage campaign. China has denied the allegation, read the report.

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NASA’s new space telescope nears destination in solar orbit

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(Last Updated On: January 24, 2022)

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, designed to give the world an unprecedented glimpse into the earliest stages of the universe, neared its gravitational parking space on Monday in orbit around the sun, almost 1 million miles from Earth.

With a final course-correcting maneuver by onboard rocket thrusters set for 2 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT), Webb is expected to reach its destination at a position of orbital stability between the Earth and sun known as Lagrange Point Two, or L2, arriving one month after launch.

The thrusters will be activated by mission control engineers at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, and the ground team will use radio signals to confirm when Webb has been successfully “inserted” into orbit, said Eric Smith, NASA’s program scientist for Webb.

From its vantage point in space, Webb will follow a special path in constant alignment with Earth, as the planet and telescope circle the sun in tandem, enabling uninterrupted radio contact.

By comparison, Webb’s 30-year-old predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, orbits the Earth from 340 miles (547 km) away, passing in and out of the planet’s shadow every 90 minutes.

The combined pull of the sun and Earth at L2 can hold the telescope firmly in place so it takes little additional rocket thrust to keep Webb from drifting.

Utilized by several other deep-space satellites over the years, and L2 position allows a “minimum amount of fuel to stay in orbit,” Smith said.

The operations center has also begun fine-tuning the telescope’s primary mirror – an array of 18 hexagonal segments of gold-coated beryllium metal measuring 21 feet, 4 inches (6.5 meters) across – far larger than Hubble’s main mirror.

Its size and design to operate mainly in the infrared spectrum will allow Webb to peer through clouds of gas and dust and observe objects at greater distances, thus farther back in time, than Hubble or any other telescope.

These features are expected to usher in a revolution in astronomy, giving the first view of infant galaxies dating to just 100 million years after the Big Bang, the theoretical flashpoint that set the expansion of the known universe in motion and estimated 13.8 billion years ago.

Webb’s instruments also make it ideal to search for signs of potentially life-supporting atmospheres around scores of newly documented exoplanets – celestial bodies orbiting distant stars – and to observe worlds much closer to homes, such as Mars and Saturn’s icy moon Titan.

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