These Are the Best Game Consoles You Can Buy Right Now

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It’s an interesting time to be buying a game console. More than four years into the current console generation, we are seeing (and hearing) about a new array of incrementally improved hardware, such as Sony’s PS4 Pro, Microsoft’s Xbox One X, and sub-platforms like PlayStation VR.

The stratification can become problematic, as the primary benefit of a gaming console is its simplicity. There are many compelling arguments as to why players who care about performance or want access to the greatest number of games should invest in a gaming PC — the ability to mod games, change intricate performance settings, and Steam sales all come to mind — but there’s a large contingency of people deaf to those arguments. They simply want to buy a game and play, and consoles offer the best way to do that.

Our pick

PlayStation 4 Pro review

Why should you buy this? It’s the best version of the most popular console, and has the highest number of high-fidelity games.

Who’s it for? Everyone, but especially players with a 4K TV.

How much will it cost? $400

Why we picked the PlayStation 4 Pro:

The PlayStation 4 Pro is the best version of the most popular game platform available today. With 4K and HDR 10 compatibility, as well as the most powerful components in a dedicated gaming platform, it is the best plug-and-play gaming platform.

A very large majority of both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One libraries are available on both platforms. Though both platforms have popular exclusive franchises, the PlayStation 4 (Pro or standard) generally gets more exclusive games each year. The PS4 also gets access to small number of less well-known indie games and niche titles, such as Japanese role-playing games, that the Xbox One does not.

Picking PlayStation 4 also opens the door for you to pick up PlayStation VR, which, as we’ve noted, is the most affordable premium VR headset available. While there are rumors of Rift support for the Xbox One, PSVR is the only option for console VR right now – and it’s a good one.

While it can be difficult to take advantage of the PlayStation 4 Pro’s advanced features, namely HDR support, the improvements it provides to even unoptimized games make it the most technically impressive way to play the largest number of games on a console. Depending on how well its adopted by developers — and whether 4K and HDR catch on — the PS4 Pro could represent the future of console gaming.

Our full review

The best console for 4K gaming

Xbox One X review controller system

Why should you buy this? With a 4K Blu-Ray player and HDR, it offers access to both great new games and high-resolution video.

Who’s it for? Players who want to to play games and watch movies at the highest possible image quality.

How much will it cost? $499+

Why we picked the Xbox One X: 

Sony led the charge on the intrageneration console update with the PS4 Pro, but, by taking its time, Microsoft gave us the better hardware in the Xbox One X. It offers the same 4K Blu-ray and HDR video playback that the One S does, while also bringing that visual enhancement to games. Microsoft wasn’t exaggerating when they told us that the Xbox One X is the most powerful home gaming console ever sold.

The PS4 may still have a stronger gaming library than the Xbox One, but the Pro’s improvements are only really noticeable in games that have been specifically enhanced for it. The Xbox One X has proven far better at using its extra horsepower to improve the visuals of all games on the platform, enhanced or not. Microsoft is also doubling down on investing in first-party studios, such as Rare, which could make the Xbox exclusive library more appealing to start with.

For those of us who haven’t made the jump to 4K, both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are great consoles with large game libraries. You will be able to play the vast majority of new and upcoming games, including a few exclusive franchises like Halo, Gears of War, and Forza. Plus, if you are (or were) an Xbox 360 owner, a very large number of last-gen console’s games are now compatible with the Xbox One, which could expand your game library and keep at least some of your old games in rotation.

Our full review

The best portable game console

why we buy games twice on the nintendo switch mario kart lifestyle portability

Why should you buy this? You want a full, console gaming experience, but on the go.

Who’s it for? Everyone

How much will it cost? $300+

Why we picked the Nintendo Switch:

Nintendo has struggled to keep up with Sony and Microsoft for the last decade. For all its explosive, mainstream popularity, the Wii traded graphical horsepower for the motion control gimmick, and thus took Nintendo out of the third-party AAA platform running for a whole hardware generation. The Wii U tried to bridge the gap, but floundered for lack of identity.  Nintendo’s latest console, the Switch, turned all of that around. Nintendo sidestepped the arms race by changing not how you use your console, but where. The Switch is a “hybrid” device that plugs into a television like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but also works as a handheld device.

While it doesn’t quite have the computational oomph to play the latest 4K, 60 fps releases for Xbox One or PS4, the Switch can play Doom (2016) at a smooth 30 fps anywhere you want to, and that’s more than good enough for a lot of gamers. In addition to contemporary titles like the upcoming Wolfenstein II port, the Switch has also proved itself as a fantastic venue for reviving modern classics, such as Skyrim, L.A. Noire, and the recently announced Dark Souls Remastered.

More than just a clearance house for lightly-aged AAA titles, the Switch also offers an ever-growing catalog of fantastic first-party games like Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, as well as excellent indies such as Stardew ValleyCeleste, and Battle Chef Brigade. Add in some forward-looking experiments with Nintendo Labo, and the Switch is looking like an incredibly well-rounded platform with something unique to offer everyone.

Our full review

The best complementary console

Nintendo 3DS XL hands on 9

Why should you buy this? Nintendo makes unique games you can’t play anywhere else, and this is the best way to play them right now.

Who’s it for? Anyone who loves Nintendo and wants access to their quirky, family friendly games.

How much will it cost? $200

Why we picked the New Nintendo 3DS XL:

For the last decade, more or less, Nintendo’s consoles have offered fresh and fun games, but not much in the way of third-party support. As great as they are, consoles like the Wii U and 3DS lack the developer support and diversity of game experiences necessary to be the number one game machine in your life.

However, if you already own a game console (or a gaming PC) and you’re looking to expand your horizons, the Nintendo 3DS will give you access to an entirely new library of games that you can’t get anywhere else, including Mario, Zelda, Pokémon, and Animal Crossing. The console also has its own version of Nintendo’s “virtual console” store, where you can grab games from some of Nintendo’s beloved old-school consoles like the NES, SNES, and Game Boy.

While similar things can be said of the Wii U, its price tag is a bit higher, and its catalog of great games is arguably thinner. There are many great franchises, like Rune Factory, Animal Crossing, and Phoenix Wright, that are available on 3DS but not on Wii U.

One word of warning: Nintendo is expected to launch a new console, the Nintendo Switch, in March, 2017. The Switch will be a “hybrid” console that can be played as a portable like the 3DS, but can also be played on a TV using a docking station. The company said it plans to continue supporting the 3DS after the Switch launches, as it considers the Switch a “home console,” but there is reason to question whether new games will be coming to the 3DS in 2018. That said, after more than five years, the Nintendo 3DS has already built up quite a library for you to work your way through.

Our full review

The best introduction to gaming

Nintendo NES Classic Edition

Why should you buy this? It’s a concentrated dose of retro gaming for a very affordable price.

Who’s it for? Nintendo lovers who don’t own a Wii U or Nintendo 3DS, new gamers who never had an NES.

How much will it cost? $60

Why we picked the NES Classic Edition:

If you’re new to video games — or want to introduce the form to someone — there’s something to be said for starting with the classics. Nintendo’s new mini-emulator box offers 30 first- and third-party games from the company’s beloved NES console in a small, standalone package, including the first three Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Mega Man II, Castlevania, and Final Fantasy.

The device lacks many of the features we’ve come to expect from a game console: It does not connect to the internet, and is not expandable or customizable in any official way. While many argue that’s a failing, we appreciate the opportunity to play games in a space without connectivity issues and free of in-game advertising. On the NES Classic, what you see is what you get, and that’s great.

It’s totally reasonable to expect that someone new to games might play with this, and quickly find themselves ready to move to a modern console. Luckily, at $60 and zero extra cost for games, the console requires less investment than any other console out there.

Our full review

How we test

Choosing the best video game console is, honestly, more philosophical than technical. Since gaming PCs currently produce the highest framerate and highest resolution, picking the best gaming console comes down to a number of factors including its design, features, and game library.

We do test them, of course. We’ve spent a lot of time playing video games on these consoles and we even more thinking about what they can do. We make sure that everything we like about these game consoles works and delivers what’s advertised. That includes playing all kinds of games, checking the console’s internet connectivity, looking at the console’s exclusives, and checking if developers are making games for the platform.

4K, HDR, and buying game consoles

Two of our recommendations, the PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox One X, support high-resolution gaming that can take advantage of emerging display standards, 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR). Most people, aside from enthusiastic A/V fans, do not have a 4K TV yet, and fewer still have HDR, which is currently broken down into some sub-standards.

Given that there’s a relatively small selection of games for each console that take full advantage of these features, we currently do not recommend that you buy a new TV for the sake of high-resolution console gaming. Currently, no game console requires you to own a 4K or HDR-compatible TV, so you can buy that new console and hold off on buying the TV until you’ve done more research, found games you feel are worth upgrading for, or are otherwise ready to commit.

If you do decide to purchase a new TV for the sake of the console, you should look for a 4K TV that runs at 60Hz and supports HDR 10, as opposed to HDR “Premium.”







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Wyze’s new smart home security camera, the Wyze Cam v2, gains Alexa functionality

wyzes new smart home security camera wyze cam v2 gains alexa functionality mcraft wyzecam 364 dog kitchen preview

The upcoming Wyze Cam v2, the latest version of the affordable smart home security camera from Wyze Labs, will be getting a firmware upgrade in March that will add Alexa functionality and allow actions through IFTTT.

With the upgrade, users will be able to view their Wyze Cam on any Alexa-enabled device that has a screen. During viewing, the Motion Tagging feature will detect and highlight movement in live-stream and replay modes, making it easier to tell who or what may have triggered the motion alert.

The image quality will also be improved, thanks to a powerful new CMOS sensor that will provide better clarity and smoother 1080p HD footage both day and night. Users can also expect better sound quality, due to a new Class-K audio power amplifier and new audio chip that help to reduce electro-magnetic interference. As for the aesthetics of the camera, the new Wyze Cam will have a non-reflective matte finish, in contrast to the original version’s glossy finish.

The Wyze Cam v2 will still have most of its predecessor’s features, including live-streaming capabilities that allow users to view what’s happening in real time and to take pictures or record video directly to a smartphone. Users will have free access to saved motion-triggered alert videos for 14 days, and the WyzeCam uploads the encrypted videos to the AWS cloud. Want to record all footage at all times? Simply insert a microSD card, and the camera will record continuous footage, automatically overwriting older files once the card is full.

Users can also move the Wyze Cam v2 to different rooms or record from different spots in the house, thanks to the 3-axis design that allows the security camera to be swiveled or raised in any direction. The WyzeCam comes equipped with smart sound recognition, which means it will recognize the sound of a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector going off and immediately send you an alert about the emergency.

The price remains unchanged — you can still get the Wyze Cam for $20. The WyzeCam v2 will begin shipping by the end of February.

The WyzeCam is the first product from Wyze Labs, which was founded by former Amazon employees in Seattle.







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Elon Musk wants to whisk you from NYC to DC in 30 minutes with a new Hyperloop

Boring Company's first photo

The Boring Company

Elon Musk’s next project may be a bit more … boring than his previous endeavors.

The founder of SpaceX and Tesla is accustomed to flashy enterprises and larger-than-life dreams (that all seem to be coming to fruition), and now, he’s turning his attention to a simple problem that plagues all of us: Traffic. Because why shouldn’t it take us 29 minutes to get from New York to D.C.? With Musk’s Boring Company, this could be our new reality, especially now that Musk has attained written permission to begin digging in D.C.

In July 2017, Musk tweeted that he’d been given the green light to build the New York to D.C. route, but had no proof to back up his 140 (or so) characters. But now, he’s has the paper to prove it. As the Washington Post reported, “The Boring Company team has received an early, and vague, building permit from the D.C. government that will allow some preparatory and excavation work at the fenced-off parking lot at 53 New York Avenue NE beside a McDonald’s and amid the construction cranes of Washington’s booming NoMa neighborhood.” A spokesperson for the company also noted that “a New York Avenue location, if constructed, could become a station.”

The approval comes a few months after Musk received approval to begin digging in Maryland, which will be one of the stops along the new northeastern route. The state gave Musk the go-ahead to begin digging a 10.3-mile tunnel beneath the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in October, marking the first part of the New York to D.C. route.

“This thing is real. It’s exciting to see,” Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn said at the time. “The word ‘transformational’ may be overused, but this is a technology that leapfrogs any technology that is out there today. And it’s going to be here.”

Obviously, the man who conceptualized the Hyperloop has never had the patience for sitting in gridlock, and in December 2016, the entrepreneur took to Twitter to express his frustration, and more important, his solution. “Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…” he wrote cryptically on December 17 of last year. And just for good measure, he added later, “I am actually going to do this.”

Digging a bunch of tunnels does hold the prospect of adding additional lanes to urban areas that can’t easily accommodate more lanes above ground. And given Musk’s track record in other areas, we can at least hope his solution is feasible.

The tunnels for the Boring Company are slated to begin “across from my desk at SpaceX,” which is located near “Crenshaw and the 105 Freeway,” about five minutes from LAX, Musk said earlier this year. He’s also addressed concerns about earthquakes, noting that these natural phenomena “tend to have the biggest effect on the surface, like waves on water. That’s why LA can have a (lame, but getting better) subway.”

In late April, he spoke at a TED conference where he outlined more concrete plans for his underground company. Per a concept video, Musk intends to drop cars (gently, of course), beneath Earth’s surface by way of a system of elevator platforms. Cars will drive onto designated areas, which will then be lowered beneath the ground. Once underground, however, the cars won’t be driving themselves. Rather, they will be controlled autonomously by the system at large and sent to their final destinations at speeds of up to 130 miles per hour.

Fingers crossed, we’ll soon be able to put Musk’s claims to the tests. And honestly, anything that can help us east coasters avoid the horrendous traffic that is the northeastern corridor is a win in our book.

Update: The Boring Project has written approval to begin digging in Washington, D.C.







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Uber focuses on safety improvements as it battles to regain its London license

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Uber lost its operating license in London in September 2017 but can continue to operate ahead of an appeal in the spring.

Regulator Transport for London (TfL) told Uber that it is “not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license,” citing a number of issues, including its approach to reporting serious criminal offenses.

But with the appeal hearing just a few months away, Uber is keen to fix those issues to show itself as a responsible operator for the estimated 3.5 million Londoners who use the service, and the 40,000 drivers who make a living from it.

The ridesharing giant on Friday announced a number of measures, including how it reports suspected crimes to the police.

“While we previously encouraged and supported individuals to report to the police serious incidents related to a trip booked through our app, we will now pro-actively make the reports,” Tom Elvidge, the U.K.’s general manager, wrote in a post explaining the changes.

Elvidge promised that Uber will now “pass directly to the police information about any serious incident reported to us by riders,” adding that it will also do the same for drivers if they would like the company to make a complaint on their behalf rather than in person.

The new policy is already live in London with plans to launch it in other U.K. cities following discussions with local police departments.

The company is also making plans for a 24/7 helpline for both riders and drivers. “Whenever there’s an issue like an incorrect cancellation fee, riders and drivers alike often find it’s easy and simple to get it sorted through the app,” Elvidge said. “But drivers and riders have told us that they would like the option to give us a call, especially if something more serious happens.” Uber will soon begin training new recruits for the service, which will launch “later this year.”

Other changes include the introduction in the Uber app of a live map for drivers so that a family member or friend can see where they are when they’re on the road, a feature already available to riders.

Uber’s announcement came the day after TfL unveiled a set of stringent guidelines for any app-based taxi service seeking licensing in the capital, with Uber already addressing some of them.

Despite TfL’s severe criticisms of the ridesharing service in 2017, Elvdige insisted “the safety of riders and drivers using Uber is a top priority.”

“Over the last few years we’ve led the way with pioneering technology which enhances safety, like GPS tracking of every trip and our two-way rating system. But we recognize we can use our technology to go even further in setting a higher standard for private hire and other transport options.”

He added that Uber will “carry on listening and plan to make other improvements over the coming months.” We’ll have to wait and see whether its renewed efforts are enough to persuade TfL to renew the company’s license.







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Tokyo is planning to build the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper

skyscraper

Sumitomo Forestry

The Japanese architectural and construction firm Sumitomo Forestry Co. has announced plans for a 70-story tall skyscraper in Tokyo constructed of wood. Known as the W350 project, the structure will be 1,148 feet tall and will include residential apartments and public spaces on multiple floors, mixed with hotel, office, and retail space.

The Guardian, which dubbed it the “Plyscraper,” noted that the $5.6 billion cost of the project will be nearly twice that of a similar glass-and-steel conventional building. The company says that the cost of the project will decline due to technological advances, as the high-rise is not scheduled for completion until 2041.

In an outline of the project, Sumitomo said the structure would be made of 90 percent wooden materials, with crisscrossing steel braces to better withstand Japan’s high seismic activity.

In 2010, Japan enacted an ordinance requiring construction companies to use wood for public buildings. Sumitomo aims to take that a step further and “Change Cities into Forests” by using materials that are more environmentally friendly.

Wooden high-rise structures are gaining popularity around the world. Portland recently approved construction of the tallest all-wood building in the U.S., an 11-story office and apartment building known as Framework.

Brock Commons, a residential structure at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, is currently the tallest wooden building in the world at 174 feet tall. The building speed was a big factor, John Metras of UBC explained to ArchDaily. “We found that working with wood, we could reduce timelines for construction,” he said. “The assembly of the wood structure went up incredibly quickly, faster than we even expected.”

Vancouver may not hold the record for long, however, as an ambitious new project planned for Chicago is a residential high-rise that’s 800 feet and 80 stories tall.

The W350 project is scheduled for completion to coincide with the company’s 350th anniversary. Balconies on all four sides will help vegetation grow along the outside of the high-rise, all the way to the top floor. The company says the new building will be an example of “urban development that is kind for humans,” with more high-rises constructed from wood and covered with greenery “making over cities as forests.”







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Should Governments Moderate Social Media — or the Networks?

social networking government holding phone

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Criticism for hate speech, extremism, fake news and other content that violates community standards has the largest social media networks strengthening policies, adding staff, and re-working algorithms. In the Social (Net)Work Series, we explore social media moderation, looking at what works and what doesn’t, while examining possibilities for improvement.

Social media moderation is often about finding a balance between creating a safe online environment and inhibiting free speech. In many cases, the social media platform themselves steps up to protect users, like with Twitter’s recent rule overhaul, or to keep advertisers, like in YouTube’s recent changes after big advertisers boycotted the video platform. But, in other cases, such as Germany’s new hate speech law and a potential new similar European Union law, moderation is government mandated.

Research suggests the platforms can — and should — do more to regulate content.

Earlier in January, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube testified before a Senate committee on what steps the platforms are taking to keep terrorist propaganda offline. While the hearing appears to be uncommon, the same groups also testified before Congress on Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. election.

So should the government regulate social media platforms — or is there another option? In a recent white paper, the New York University Stern Center for Businesses and Human Rights suggested another option based on their research — moderation from the social media companies themselves, with limited government involvement. The report, Harmful Content: The Role of Internet Platform Companies in Fighting Terrorist Incitement and Politically Motivated Disinformation, looks specifically at political propaganda and extremism. While the group says social media platforms shouldn’t be held liable for such content, the research suggests the platforms can — and should — do more to regulate content.

The group suggests that, because social media platforms have already made progress in preventing or removing such content, such moderation is not only possible, but preferable to government interference. Social media platforms have previously leaned towards no moderation at all, which, unlike a newspaper that chooses what news to publish, meant the platforms had no legal liability. Recent laws directed at social media have that changing — in Germany, social networks could pay up to $60 million in fines if hate speech isn’t removed within 24 hours.

The report doesn’t push to make social networks liable for information users share on the platform, but suggests a new category outside the categories of traditional news editors and publishers that don’t regulate content at all. “This long-standing position rests on an incorrect premise that either the platforms serve as a fully responsible (and potentially liable) news editors, or they make no judgements at all about pernicious content,” the white paper reads. “We argue for a third way — a new paradigm for how internet platforms govern themselves.”

social media moderation stats

The spread of misinformation with a political motivation is hardly new, the group points out, as evidenced by the “coffin handbills” handed out during Andrew Jackson’s campaign in 1828 that accused the future president of murder and cannibalism. At one time, misinformation could potentially be countered with, as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “more free speech.” The faster speed at which information travels on social media, however, changes that. The top 20 fake news reports on Facebook during the 2016 election had more engagement than the same number of stories from major media outlets, according to BuzzFeed News.

“The problem with turning to the government to regulate more aggressively is that it could easily, and probably would, result in an overreaction by the companies to avoid whatever punishment was put in place,” Paul Barrett, the deputy director at the NYU Center for Business Rights and Human Development, told Digital Trends. “That would interfere with the free expression that is one of the benefits of social media… If the platforms do this work themselves, they can do it more precisely and do it without government overreach.”

If the platforms do this work themselves, they can do it more precisely and do it without government overreach.

The group isn’t suggesting that the government stay out of social media entirely — the legislation to apply the same laws to social media ads that apply to political ads on the TV and radio, Barrett says, is one example of laws that wouldn’t overreach. But, the paper argues, if social media companies step up their efforts against politically motivated misinformation and terrorist propaganda, government involvement wouldn’t be necessary.

The white paper suggests social networks enhance their own governance, continue to refine the algorithms, use more “friction” — like warnings and notifications for suspicious content — expand human oversight, adjust advertising, and continue to share knowledge with other networks to reach those goals. Finally, the group suggests identifying exactly what the government role is in the process.

Barrett recognizes that those suggestions aren’t going to be free for the companies, but calls the steps short-term investments for long-term results. Those changes are, in part, already in motion — like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s comment that the company’s profits would be affected by safety changes the platform plans to implement, including an increase in human review staff to 20,000 this year.

The expansion of Facebook’s review staff joins a handful of other changes social media companies have launched since the report. Twitter has booted hate groups, YouTube is adding additional human review staff and expanding algorithms to more categories, and Zuckerberg has made curbing abuse on Facebook his goal for 2018.

“The kind of free speech that we are most interested in promoting — and that the first amendment is directed at — is speech related to political matters, public affairs and personal expression,” Barrett said. “None of those kinds of speech would be affected by an effort to screen out disguised, phony advertising that purports to come from organizations that don’t really exist and actually attempt to undermine discussions on elections. There will be some limitations on fraudulent speech and violent speech, but those are not the types of speech protected by the first amendment. We can afford to lose those types of speech to create an environment where free speech is promoted.”







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The Dark Night journeys to feudal Japan in the epic anime ‘Batman Ninja’

The Caped Crusader takes a journey through time and space, along with the usual cast of sidekicks and supervillains, to feudal Japan in the new anime Batman Ninja. While subtitled previews have popped up at various expos going back to the San Diego Comin-Con, this is the first English-language trailer, along with announcements of the voice cast.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the story of Batman Ninja comes from writer Kazu Nakashima (Futagashira) and character designer designer Takashi Okazaki (Afro Samurai). It’s directed by Junpei Mizusaki who last helmed the 2005 anime Zoo.

The script was then reinterpreted and rewritten for English-language distribution by award-winning screenwriters Leo Chu and Eric Garcia (Supah Ninjas, Afro Samurai).

This is the first full-length anime film for the Batman franchise. “Batman Ninja is an absolute feast for the senses, a stunning spectacle of anime wrapped around a thrill ride of a Batman story,” Warner Bros. said in a statement announcing the release. “We can’t wait for fans to see this film.”

Voicing Batman is Roger Craig Smith, who gamers will recognize from Batman: Arkham Origins. Tony Hale of Veep and Arrested Development plays the Joker, with Grey Griffin and Tara Strong as Catwoman and Harley Quinn, respectively.

The storyline revolves around a time displacement machine created by Gorilla Grodd, a rather obscure character in the Batman universe, who’s voiced by Fred Tatasciore from Family Guy. Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, and the other villains are feudal lords in medieval Japan, and the Dark Knight sets out on a quest without his Batmobile or array of Bat-gadgets to restore order and return to modern-day Gotham City.

The title says it all — what more do you need? The trailer features samurai sword fights, thundering chariot races, pirate ship battles, and even a cameo from a giant robot.

The film will be released digitally on April 24, followed by the DVD ($20) and Blu-ray ($25) versions on May 8. Batman Ninja will also be available in 4K UHD for digital only, with a release planned for Summer 2018. A Blu-ray steelbook package is also available for $30, which includes some features about the portrayal of Batman in anime as well as the New York Comic-Con discussion of the movie.







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Cooking burgers may not be a human job for much longer if Flippy has its way

It’s never been a particularly sought-after job, but now it appears that flipping burgers may not be a task for humans at all. Meet Flippy, a new “robotic kitchen assistant” from Miso Robotics that, as its name suggests, will automate the process of cooking those juicy patties. And Flippy is apparently quite sought after itself — Miso Robotics has just raised another $10 million, bringing the company’s total disclosed funding to $14 million, and boosting its goal of delivering the robot to a total of 50 CaliBurger locations.

The new $10 million funding round will also help bring Miso Robotics’ AI platform into other epicurean applications. As Zito noted, “The proceeds for this will allow us to build a robotic kitchen assistant. You’re not going to see BB-8 coming out of our shop; you’ll likely see us continue to refine this — the general hardware platform that we have, but then we will see it beginning to get more collaborative and adaptable.”

As for Flippy, the existing robot, this new kitchen assistant promises to be “portable, collaborative, and adaptable,” and “designed for real working kitchens.” The bot is a cart-like contraption that comes with a six-axis robotic arm and a “sensor bar.” Simply set up Flippy next to a standard grill or fryer, and it will detect necessary data from a thermal sensor, 3D sensors, and various cameras to help it detect its surroundings. It can even take your food orders directly thanks to a system that sends a ticket from the cashier straight to the kitchen.

While Flippy may not have the creativity of a chef, it does pretty well as a line cook. It’s capable of unwrapping burger patties, placing them on the grill, keeping tabs on the meat’s cook time and temperature, and letting its human counterparts know when they are ready to be taken off the heat. Of course, it still needs some help from our species, as Flippy isn’t (yet) able to add condiments or wrap up the finished products.

But Flippy is certainly pretty smart. Because it employs Miso Robotics’ artificial intelligence software, this robot is continuously learning and absorbing new recipes, which means that it can be helpful no matter what is on the menu. Still, if you’re looking to go to culinary school, don’t let Flippy discourage you. “Tasting food and creating recipes will always be the purview of a chef. And restaurants are gathering places where we go to interact with each other,” Zito concluded. “Humans will always play a very critical role in the hospitality side of the business given the social aspects of food. We just don’t know what the new roles will be yet in the industry.”

Update: Miso Robotics just raised $10 million to bring Flippy to more restaurants. 







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Minimally Branded Phone Ads : apples three minutes

Apple’s ‘Three Minutes’ Ad Was Shot on the iPhone X

Apple’s ‘Three Minutes’ ad is pulling on the heart strings of its viewers while offering a fresh take on product advertisement with a short film that features minimal branding, and no sign of the phone its attempting to sell.

The seven-minute video tells the story of a mother who has to work her train conducting job during the Lunar New Year, and her son, who’s waiting on the platform. The pair only have three minutes to see each other before the train pulls away from the station. The touching feature, directed by Peter Chan, was shot using the iPhone X, effectively highlighting the professional quality of the device. Meanwhile, the brand’s decision to not include imagery of the iPhone helps authenticate the narrative.

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Mercedes-Benz is about to launch its electric car offensive

Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ conceptBuried in the press releases for the seemingly endless array of models Mercedes-Benz and its various sub-brands plan to unveil at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show was a brief, but important, announcement. Mercedes will unveil the first production electric car from its new EQ sub-brand in Geneva, the first of what will be many new electric cars from the German automaker.

Mercedes did not disclose the identity of the new model, but it’s possible that it will be an SUV based on the Generation EQ concept (pictured above), which first appeared in 2016. With a claimed 310-mile range, the Generation EQ would give Mercedes a rival to the Tesla Model X in addition to the crop of electric SUVs being raised by the German automaker’s traditional rivals.

The Jaguar I-Pace will appear in production-ready form at the Geneva show, and Audi’s e-tron may show up as well. The Jag and Audi will go on sale later this year, but Mercedes may not get its new electric model into showrooms until next year.

After a false start, Mercedes is getting serious about electric cars. It plans to launch at least 10 all-electric models over the next few years under the EQ sub-brand, which will be analogous to rival BMW’s “i” division. Alongside the SUV, Mercedes will likely launch a production version of the smaller EQA concept that first appeared last year. Every Mercedes will have a hybrid or all-electric powertrain option by 2022.

Other luxury automakers, including Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover, Infiniti, and BMW, are also undertaking ambitious electrification plans. But talking about filling their lineups with hybrids and electric cars is one thing, while actually doing it is another. It is a good thing that we are getting some actual production models in the form of the new Mercedes, the Jaguar I-Pace, and the Audi e-tron. The floodgates may be opening.

Geneva 2018 will be a busy show for Mercedes. Besides the new electric car, Mercedes will unveil the new AMG G63 performance SUV, some new features for the Maybach S-Class luxury sedan, an updated version of the C-Class sedan, and the new AMG GT Coupe.







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