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Space startup Lynk uses satellite to send text message to unmodified Android phone

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An aerospace startup that plans to launch hundreds of satellite tv for pc “cell towers” into house says it has efficiently despatched a textual content message to a typical Android smartphone utilizing one in every of its satellites in orbit. The corporate claims it’s the primary time a textual content message has ever been despatched to an unmodified cell phone from house, and it demonstrates the expertise wanted to offer international cellphone connectivity from orbit.

The corporate behind the breakthrough house textual content known as Lynk, which used to go by the title UbiquitiLink. Lynk is one in every of a number of house firms in the meanwhile planning on constructing a constellation of hundreds of satellites to offer some form of connectivity to people on the bottom. However relatively than present broadband web protection, Lynk is targeted on offering cell service for the typical cell phone with its satellites, with out the necessity for patrons to offer any further {hardware}.

“Nobody ever in human historical past has used a satellite tv for pc to ship a message on to an unmodified cell phone on the bottom,” Charles Miller, co-founder and CEO of Lynk, tells The Verge. To be able to get service from a satellite tv for pc now, individuals must both purchase a specialised satellite tv for pc telephone or buy an adjunct that permits a typical smartphone to hook up with a automobile in orbit. The Lynk group say they’ve developed software program for his or her satellites that “tips” the typical cellphone into connecting with the autos orbiting overhead at any time when the telephone is out of vary of an everyday cell tower.

To check out this expertise, Lynk launched its third take a look at payload to the Worldwide Area Station in December aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Astronauts on board the ISS then hooked up the payload to a Cygnus cargo spacecraft on the skin of the station. The Cygnus indifferent from the ISS on January 31st and has lingered in orbit ever since, permitting the Lynk group to check out their expertise. And on February 24th, Lynk despatched its first textual content with the payload, a message that learn “It is a take a look at” (although the primary three letters have been really lower off within the message for some purpose). It was obtained by an Android telephone positioned on the Falkland Islands whereas the Cygnus capsule handed overhead.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch (L) and Jessica Meir (R) after attaching the Lynk payload to the Cygnus cargo capsule
Picture: NASA

Miller says it was an important expertise demonstration that permits Lynk to maneuver ahead in constructing out its constellation. “We expect if we are able to get the regulators to log out, and with the help of our cellular community companions, there’s no purpose tactically that we are able to’t implement the primary international providers by the top of the yr,” says Miller. The plan is to start out launching Lynk’s mini-satellites, which weigh about 55 kilos (25 kilograms) and can orbit at about 310 miles (500 kilometers) excessive. The corporate is able to offering business providers with just some dozen satellites, however to offer 4G protection, Lynk might want to launch hundreds of its small autos. Quite a few considerations have been raised concerning the sorts of impacts these constellations can have on the house atmosphere, however Miller says Lynk’s footprint shall be smaller than different constellations as its satellites are pretty tiny.

Miller’s goal with Lynk is to basically flip all present cellphones into satellite tv for pc telephones, with out requiring shoppers to buy any further add-ons. As a substitute, present cellular community operators would purchase this functionality from Lynk and supply it of their buy plans to clients — making it a seamless course of for the typical cell phone consumer. It’s this technique that units Lynk other than different mega-constellation operators, equivalent to SpaceX or OneWeb. To be able to patch into these mega-constellations, clients might want to purchase particular gear referred to as “consumer terminals” to obtain sign relays from the satellites. With Lynk, the cell phone is the consumer terminal, says Miller.

Regardless of these variations, Miller says Lynk isn’t in direct competitors with these different mega-constellations and even standard mobile networks. The purpose is to offer international cell service at any time when an individual is out of vary of all these different choices. “Once you stroll away from the Wi-Fi in your house or that [user terminal] antenna and also you’re disconnected, you then’ll use us,” says Miller. “So we complement every part that they don’t cowl.”

However identical to different mega-constellations, Lynk’s purpose is similar: present connectivity to the world, particularly areas the place individuals are out of vary of cell towers or don’t have many connectivity choices. “You’re speaking immediately 5 billion clients who want your service in some quantity — some extra, some much less,” says Miller. One main purpose of Lynk is to offer “Everybody All over the place Emergency” alerts to anybody on the globe, warning individuals of potential disasters equivalent to tsunamis, hurricanes, and extra.

In the end, Miller argues what Lynk is doing is extra vital than racing to 5G. “What we’re doing is basically bringing connectivity to greater than a billion individuals who have zero connectivity; that’s life altering,” he says.

“We expect that’s a very massive deal — as massive or an even bigger deal than 5G.”

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CDC recommends people wear cloth masks to block the spread of COVID-19

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The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) launched new guidelines at present recommending that folks within the US put on home made face coverings to stop the unfold of the novel coronavirus.

“The CDC is moreover advising easy fabric coverings to assist individuals who could have the virus and have no idea it preserve from from transmitting to others,” stated US Surgeon Normal Jerome Adams in a press convention on the White Home at present.

When instances of COVID-19 had been first reported within the US in January, the CDC stated that solely well being care suppliers and people who find themselves acutely ailing ought to put on face masks. Well being care suppliers use surgical masks and N95 respirators, which filter out tiny particles within the air, to guard themselves once they’re working carefully with sick sufferers.

The White Home process power and the CDC have been re-evaluating their masks suggestions over the previous few days. Analysis exhibits that people without symptoms can infect others, and that the virus could unfold when folks speak or breathe — not simply once they cough or sneeze. “In mild of this new proof, the CDC recommends and the duty power recommends folks put on fabric face coverings in public settings the place different distancing measures are tough to keep up,” Adams stated.

If folks cowl their faces with a fabric masks or one other barrier, it could blunt the quantity of virus-laden particles they launch, specialists say. There may be restricted proof that most of these makeshift masks stop the unfold of illness, although some analysis exhibits that they do reduce the amount of particles an individual carrying them spreads. Some specialists say that they’re higher than nothing. The CDC says folks ought to proceed to remain six ft aside when in public as a lot as potential, even when they’re carrying masks.

The US has a extreme scarcity of medical-grade masks, leaving medical doctors and nurses uncovered to an infection. In February, the US surgeon common warned that if most people purchased these masks, they put well being care employees in danger. The brand new steerage stresses that members of most people mustn’t use surgical and N95 masks, as a result of these must be reserved for well being care employees. As an alternative, they need to put on fabric masks or different makeshift face coverings.

Some cities and states, like Colorado and New York City, had already requested folks to cowl their faces when out in public.

The White Home response to the pandemic has been characterised by complicated, quick-changing insurance policies and messaging round public well being measures like masks and testing. Modifications are anticipated throughout a disaster, however the federal authorities didn’t adequately put together folks for these modifications.

The White Home and President Donald Trump additionally proceed to undercut messaging from the CDC. Trump stated throughout at present’s press convention that he wasn’t going to put on a masks. “That is voluntary. I don’t assume I’m going to be doing it,” he stated.

Primarily based on present estimates, the US is on pace to have the worst COVID-19 outbreak of any nation on the earth.

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Uber Eats is adding an in-app donate button for restaurants

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Uber Eats is including an in-app donate button for patrons who wish to contribute some further money to their favourite restaurant to assist in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. Uber additionally plans to match each contribution dollar-for-dollar as much as $2 million to the Restaurant Worker Aid Fund, with an extra $three million donation additionally going to the fund. Uber says that 100 % of buyer donations will go on to their restaurant of alternative.

Beforehand, Uber stated it will waive supply charges for impartial eating places in an effort to spice up companies which might be struggling whereas the coronavirus disrupts each day life. Uber’s meals supply service can be working to ship free meals to greater than 300,000 healthcare employees as a part of its effort.

The Restaurant Worker Aid Fund is managed by the tutorial fund of the 100-year-old National Restaurant Association, a serious lobbying group that represents over 500,000 eating places. The restaurant business workers and employees who’ve been impacted by COVID-19, together with a lower in wages or lack of employment, are eligible to use for grants from the aid fund. Grant cash shall be awarded “as quickly as attainable” to these affected employees after they’ve been “reviewed and verified by the NRAEF,” based on the group.

Uber is piloting a few completely different contribution quantities to supply as selections to prospects who wish to donate, a spokesperson stated. (Screenshots supplied by the corporate function a $2 possibility.)

New York Metropolis eating places that work with Uber Eats obtained communication from the corporate on Monday concerning the new donation effort. Eating places in Uberother markets shall be knowledgeable of the donation function within the weeks to come back. Uber is just not explicitly looking for consent from eating places earlier than establishing the donate button, however the firm says that eating places can simply opt-out in the event that they select.

Yelp, together with GoFundMe, just lately got here below hearth from restaurant and bar house owners for for mechanically opting tens of hundreds of small companies into fundraisers In contrast to Uber, Yelp arrange the fundraisers with out informing any of the members. And a few eating places stated the opt-out course of, within the occasion they had been internet hosting their very own fundraisers or just didn’t need one mechanically arrange by Yelp, was unnecessarily burdensome.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) recently criticized gig financial system corporations, together with Uber, for classifying drivers and supply employees as impartial contractors, which she says cuts them off from “vital rights and protections like minimal wage and advantages in the course of the coronavirus pandemic.”

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FDA authorizes first antibody-based test for COVID-19

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The Meals and Drug Administration has issued its first authorization for a COVID-19 check that appears for antibodies within the blood, somewhat than for the virus within the nostril or throat. Whereas the antibody strategy means this check could have limitations, it’s an necessary device that would assist in the response to the pandemic.

The check is produced by the biotechnology firm Cellex. Well being care suppliers have to attract blood from a affected person’s vein to run the check, and it may well solely be executed in licensed labs — not a health care provider’s workplace. It takes 15 to 20 minutes to get a consequence.

When somebody is contaminated with a virus for the primary time, their immune system begins producing antibodies particular to that virus. Checking to see if somebody has coronavirus-specific antibodies is nice proof that they’ve been contaminated. Nevertheless, the physique doesn’t begin to make these instantly, and they may not seem till somebody’s sickness has run its course. In consequence, antibody-based checks can inform docs whether or not somebody has already had COVID-19, however they’re not pretty much as good at testing if the affected person presently has it.

Nonetheless, the FDA authorization signifies that the company thinks the advantages of getting the check out there outweigh the dangers. “It’s cheap to imagine that your product could also be efficient in diagnosing COVID-19,” the company wrote within the letter, which approved the check for emergency use.

The FDA was already permitting firms to make and distribute antibody checks for COVID-19 with out formal authorization. Nevertheless, with out approval, they weren’t in a position to declare that their check may diagnose the illness.

Even when they’re not nice diagnostics, antibody checks are critical in the response to the pandemic. They’d assist determine who has already been sick — whether or not they had important signs or not — and subsequently, who might be immune sufficient to the virus to securely transfer around the globe usually. They’ll additionally assist public well being officers perceive how a lot of the inhabitants has been contaminated by the coronavirus. Dozens of firms are working to develop antibody checks, as are researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The US struggled to ramp up COVID-19 testing, and it’s nonetheless laborious for individuals to entry checks. Although there have been over 1 million checks run within the US, a milestone President Trump highlighted earlier this week, the testing charge per capita continues to be far behind different international locations. An simply out there antibody check would give individuals who weren’t in a position to get examined once they have been sick an opportunity to know if they really had COVID-19.

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