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Sony Debuts First PS5 Controller For Disabled Gamers

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Sony has collaborated with accessibility specialists to create a PlayStation 5 controller designed for impaired gamers.

The Access Controller is a “highly customisable kit” with various buttons, triggers, and sticks that allow users to construct a setup that best meets their needs.

Microsoft’s Adaptive Controller, which works on both Xbox and PC, has been available since 2018.

However, this is the first device created particularly for the PS5.

“The idea is that you unbox it and you can start using it right away as a PlayStation controller,” Sony Interactive Entertainment Senior Technical Program Manager Alvin Daniel told the BBC.

“If this works for you and is comfortable for you, there is no need for you to buy additional third-party accessories and buttons and wire it all together.”

controller

Sony Debuts First PS5 Controller For Disabled Gamers

“We wanted an all-inclusive kit in a box.”

However, building accessible goods is a tremendous effort because each disabled person’s impairment is unique, and gaming technology is constantly evolving.

Sony’s solution to this challenge is personalization, allowing each person to modify the solution to their specific needs.

Mr Daniel stated that the company had collaborated with accessibility experts AbleGamers in the United States to solve the problem.

“When they created their own custom solutions for different players, they would inevitably try to address three issues: thumbsticks, pressing buttons, or having to hold the controller.”

“If you have challenges in those three areas, this controller will help regardless of your underlying condition.”

controller

All aspects of the Access Controller were built with the disabled people in mind.

Even the package is user-friendly, and the setup process, while occasionally clumsy, allows consumers to customize the controller to their specific needs and even create various profiles for different games or scenarios.

As a disabled gamer, I waited years for button remapping to become the norm so that I could play games that rely heavily on the trigger buttons typically found at the back of a regular controller and map them to a more accessible button.

This, however, was always a workaround rather than a solution. That is now a more accessible reality, thanks to this controller.

However, there are one or two design decisions that are, at best, perplexing – for example, it lacks a right stick, which is common on all modern controllers and quite necessary in many game genres.

I attempted to play Spider-Man 2, which featured a Deaf character and was virtually unusable. The only choices are to utilize the Access Controller alongside a conventional PS5 controller, which is a cumbersome setup, or combine two Access Controllers, which becomes costly.

controller

Sony Debuts First PS5 Controller For Disabled Gamers

This tool, and others like it, are a step forward for impaired gamers. Its existence, as well as the fact that it was co-designed with and for disabled people, demonstrates that gaming accessibility is now a popular concern.

This is the beginning of the evolution of these types of devices, and manufacturers continue to iterate and innovate in response to feedback.

The grey line for presentation
The gaming industry has been pressed to offer accommodations for disabled gamers.

In recent years, racing sim Forza Horizon 5 added a sign language function, The Last of Us Part II offers a mode for blind and deaf players, and Just Dance has a wheelchair-friendly routine.

However, the hardware alternatives for persons with impairments have been limited, and Mr Daniel stated that Sony’s new controller aims to remedy this.

“I think particularly if you’re a young person today, gaming is such a big part of popular culture that you are socially isolated or you’re left behind if you can’t participate in the same experiences your friends or your schoolmates are doing,” he went on to say.

“We have seen that we bring joy to players who couldn’t play before.”

SOURCE – (BBC)

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Electronics

Elon Musk Says Neuralink Implanted Wireless Brain Chip

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A tech tycoon, Elon Musk, has claimed that his Neuralink company has successfully implanted one of its wireless brain chips in a human.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, he stated that “promising” brain activity had been observed following the treatment and that the patient was “recovering well”.

The company aims to connect human brains to computers to better treat complex neurological diseases.

A handful of competitor companies have already implanted similar devices.

neuralink

Elon Musk Says Neuralink Implanted Wireless Brain Chip

“For any company producing medical devices, the first test in humans is a significant milestone,” said Professor Anne Vanhoestenberghe of King’s College London.

“For the brain computer interface community, we must place this news in the context that whilst there are many companies working on exciting products, there are only a few other companies who have implanted their devices in humans, so Neuralink has joined a rather small group.”

However, she cautioned that “true success” could only be measured over time.

“We know Elon Musk is very adept at generating publicity for his company,” she said.

Other firms that have made similar achievements in the sector include Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne (EPFL), which has enabled a paralysed man to walk simply by thinking.

Electrical implants in his brain and spine that wirelessly transfer thoughts to his legs and feet allowed for this.

neuralink

Elon Musk Says Neuralink Implanted Wireless Brain Chip

The breakthrough was reported in the peer-reviewed journal Nature in May 2023.

There has been no independent verification of Mr Musk’s assertions, and Neuralink has not disclosed any details about the technique he claims occurred.

BBC News has contacted Neuralink and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for comment.

Neuralink testing has been condemned, with Reuters reporting in December 2022 that the corporation killed almost 1,500 animals, including sheep, monkeys, and pigs.

In July 2023, the chairman of the US Department of Agriculture, which examines animal welfare allegations, stated that there had been no violations of animal research guidelines at the corporation.

However, the agency is currently conducting a separate probe.

The FDA allowed Mr Musk’s business to test the chip on humans in May 2023.

That cleared the way for the six-year project, in which a robot will surgically implant 64 flexible threads, thinner than a human hair, into a portion of the brain that governs “movement intention,” according to Neuralink.

neuralink
Elon Musk Says Neuralink Implanted Wireless Brain Chip

According to the company, these threads enable their experimental implant, which runs on a wirelessly rechargeable battery, to record and transmit brain impulses to an app that decodes how the person wishes to move.

“[It] has great potential to help people with neurological disorders in the future and is an excellent example of how fundamental neuroscience research is being harnessed for medical advances,” Professor Tara Spires-Jones, president of the British Neuroscience Association, stated.

“However, most of these interfaces require invasive neurosurgery and are still in experimental stages; thus, it will likely be many years before they are commonly available.”

In another post on X, Mr Musk stated that Neuralink’s initial product will be Telepathy.

He claimed Telepathy would allow “control of your phone or computer, and through them almost any device, just by thinking”.

“Initial users will be those who have lost the use of their limbs,” he said.

Referring to the late British scientist who suffered from motor neurone illness, he remarked, “Imagine if Stephen Hawking could communicate faster than a speed typist or auctioneer.” “That is the goal.”

While Mr Musk’s involvement enhances the visibility of Neuralink, several of his competitors have a history extending back two decades. In 2004, Utah-based Blackrock Neurotech implanted the first of many brain-computer connections.

Precision Neuroscience, founded by a Neuralink co-founder, likewise seeks to assist patients with paralysis. Its implant resembles a very thin piece of tape that rests on the surface of the brain and can be inserted through a “cranial micro-slit,” which it claims is a much simpler procedure.

Existing equipment also produced findings. In two independent recent US research investigations, implants were used to record brain activity while a person attempted to talk, which could subsequently be decoded to aid communication.

SOURCE – (BCC)

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Business

OpenAI Sets Rules To Combat Election Misinformation. It’s Been Tried Before

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As fears grow about the disruption artificial intelligence could cause in the 2024 elections, OpenAI said on Monday that politicians and their campaigns are not permitted to utilize the company’s AI technologies.

The limits also apply to impersonation. According to OpenAI’s standards, users are not permitted to construct chatbots posing as political candidates, government agencies, or authorities, such as state secretaries overseeing US elections.

openai

OpenAI Sets Rules To Combat Election Misinformation. It’s Been Tried Before

The initiative demonstrates OpenAI’s efforts to address concerns that artificial intelligence, which has already been exploited to propagate phoney images this election season, could damage the democratic process through computer-generated disinformation.

Other well-known tech platforms use similar policies to those of OpenAI. However, even social media companies far larger than OpenAI and devote vast teams to election integrity and content moderation have frequently demonstrated that they need help to enforce their standards. OpenAI is likely no different, and a lack of federal oversight forces the public to accept the firms’ word.

When it comes to so-called “deepfakes,” or deceptive information made by generative artificial intelligence, Big Tech platforms are gradually developing a patchwork of policies.

Last year, Meta said that it would prohibit political campaigns from utilizing generative AI tools in their advertising and force politicians to acknowledge the usage of any AI in their commercials. YouTube also declared that all content providers would be required to disclose if their films contained “realistic” yet modified media, including artificial intelligence.

openai

OpenAI Sets Rules To Combat Election Misinformation. It’s Been Tried Before

The varied sets of regulations, which apply to different content providers in different contexts, demonstrate that there is no universal norm controlling how artificial intelligence can or should be employed in politics.

The Federal Election Commission is considering whether US statutes prohibiting “fraudulently misrepresenting other candidates or political parties” apply to AI-generated content, but it has yet to decide.

Some members of Congress have advocated a national ban on the fraudulent use of artificial intelligence in all political campaigns, but the measure has yet to move forward. In a separate effort to establish AI safeguards, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has stated that AI in elections is an urgent priority but has spent much of last year giving closed-door briefings to get senators up to speed on the technology in preparation for legislation.

Some campaign leaders are concerned about more clarity regarding regulating AI deepfakes. For example, President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign is working on a legal strategy for dealing with false media.

“The idea is we would have enough in our quiver that, depending on what the hypothetical situation we’re dealing with is, we can pull out different pieces to deal with different situations,” Arpit Garg, deputy general counsel for the Biden campaign, previously told CNN, adding that the campaign intends to have “templates and draft pleadings at the ready” that it could file in US courts or even with regulators outside the country to combat foreign disinformation actors.

openai

OpenAI Sets Rules To Combat Election Misinformation. It’s Been Tried Before

Efforts like the Biden campaign demonstrate how, while tech platforms claim to be prepared for AI’s impact on elections, there is little trust that the businesses can carry out their promises.

OpenAI is an artificial intelligence research lab that aims to develop and promote friendly AI for the betterment of humanity. Founded in 2015, OpenAI has made significant strides in the field of AI, with a focus on developing advanced technologies while ensuring their safe and ethical use.

The organization has gained attention for its work in natural language processing, reinforcement learning, and robotics and continues to push the boundaries of AI innovation. With a team of talented individuals and a commitment to transparency, OpenAI remains at the forefront of AI research and development.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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More Delays For NASA’s Astronaut Moonshots, With Crew Landing Off Until 2026

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida NASA – Astronauts will have to wait until next year to fly to the moon and at least two years to land there, according to the latest round of delays disclosed by NASA on Tuesday.

The space agency had intended to fly four men around the moon late this year, but the mission was pushed back until September 2025. The first human moon landing in over 50 years was also pushed out from 2025 to September 2026. NASA cited safety difficulties with its spacecraft and development issues with moon suits and landers made by private businesses.

“Safety is our top priority,” stated NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. The postponements will “give Artemis teams more time to work through the challenges.”

The announcement came about an hour after a Pittsburgh company abandoned its attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon due to a mission-ending fuel leak.

nasa

More Delays For NASA’s Astronaut Moonshots, With Crew Landing Off Until 2026

Astrobotic Technology’s Peregrine lander, launched on Monday as part of NASA’s commercial lunar program, was intended to serve as a scout for astronauts. A Houston-based startup will test it with its lander next month.

NASA relies largely on private corporations for its Artemis moon-landing program for astronauts, named after Apollo’s legendary twin sister.

SpaceX’s Starship mega rocket will be needed to transport the first Artemis moonwalkers from lunar orbit to the surface and back. However, the almost 400-foot (121-meter) rocket has only been launched from Texas twice; both exploded over the Gulf of Mexico. A third test flight is scheduled for February.

The longer it takes to place Starship in orbit above Earth, first with satellites and then with personnel, the longer NASA will have to wait before attempting its first moon landing with astronauts since 1972. During NASA’s Apollo program, twelve astronauts stepped on the moon. Previously, the competitor was the Soviet Union; now, it is China. Despite the recent delay, Nelson told reporters he is not concerned that China will beat America to the moon with a crew. Even so, “we don’t fly until it’s ready,” he insisted.

In November, the Government Accountability Office warned that NASA’s first astronaut lunar landing would likely be in 2027, citing Elon Musk’s Starship as one of the numerous technological obstacles. Axiom Space, based in Houston, is developing moonwalking suits.

nasa

More Delays For NASA’s Astronaut Moonshots, With Crew Landing Off Until 2026

“We need them all to be ready and successful in order for that very complicated mission to come together,” stated Amit Kshatriya, NASA’s deputy associate administrator. Despite the delay, he said that a moon landing in 2026 is “a very aggressive schedule.”

NASA has only conducted one Artemis moonshot thus far. In a test flight of its new moon rocket in 2022, the space agency launched an empty Orion spacecraft into lunar orbit and returned it to Earth. Engineers were surprised when some burnt material fell off the capsule’s thermal shield during reentry. Later, tests on another capsule revealed a design defect in the life-support circuitry and separate battery difficulties.

nasa

More Delays For NASA’s Astronaut Moonshots, With Crew Landing Off Until 2026

The same type of capsule will transport astronauts to and from the moon, connecting with Starship in lunar orbit for the journey down to the surface and back up.

Before travelling to the moon, the Starship must fill its fuel tank in orbit around Earth; SpaceX believes that 10 fuel transfers will be required. The business intends to do the job with an orbiting fuel depot, another essential part of the program that has yet to be shown.

NASA’s moon landing mission has been repeatedly postponed over the last decade, adding billions of dollars to the cost. Government audits estimate overall program expenditures to be $93 billion until 2025.

SOURCE – (AP)

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