Apple Watch Detect Coronavirus? Top Google Pixel People Leave; Waymo AI-Vectors to Predict Pedestrians & Bikes; Senate Votes Against Ban on Snooping on Internet History

Stanford is gearing up for a wearables study to determine if the Apple Watch could detect the coronavirus. According to 9to5mac.com, they want to see if data like ECG and respiration rate can be used to track COVID-19 and other infectious diseases…even before any symptoms present themselves. If you have An Apple Watch Series 4 or other wearable like a Fitbit that can detect ECG, and are interested, hit this link: https://redcap.stanford.edu/surveys/?s=YJ3FRCWX8X. In order to participate, you’ll need to agree to three things:
1 Wear your device continuously
2 Download an app
3 Fill out a daily symptom survey (which takes 1-2 minutes)
The study will run for up to two years, but they hope to complete the first phase in a matter of weeks.

A couple of major members of the Pixel team, Marc Levoy and Mario Queiroz, have left. Techcrunch.com reports that both Levoy and Queiroz were key members of the imaging team, and were widely believed to be major players in developing the Pixel’s amazing camera capabilities. Some observers believe the two were pushed out after Google was disappointed with the penetration of the Pixel into the smartphone market. The budget Pixel 3A has gotten decent numbers, as opposed to the hero model. The upgrade to the Pixel 4A has been delayed due to the coronavirus.

As is obvious…even to cameras with a speck of programming behind them…cars and trucks are big. Pedestrians and bicyclists are harder for self-driving AI to pick up. Now, venturebeat.com says Google’s Waymo has taken the wraps off an AI model it claims will “significantly” improved its driverless systems’ ability to predict the behavior of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. Called VectorNet, it ostensibly provides more accurate projections while requiring less computing compared with previous approaches. VectorNet helps predict movements of road users using info from maps and sensor data to alert the ‘full-stack’ driverless system. The VectorNet system essentially adds info to maps like traffic signs, lanes, and round boundaries. The system has an added bonus of taking computing load from the primary driving stack. Waymo just resumed road testing its self driving cars a week ago, after a pause due to the shelter-in-place.

Yesterday, the Senate failed by a single vote to approve an amendment to parts of the Patriot Act that would explicitly bar law enforcement from using it to justify collecting individuals’ internet browser and search history without a warrant. According to Mashable.com, the amendment needed 60 votes to pass, and got 59. 24 Republicans voted for it, 10 Democrats…somewhat amazingly…voted against it, including normally progressive Senators Dianne Feinstein and Sheldon Whitehouse. Senator Bernie Sanders was not present for the vote, which could have made the difference. The amendment was sponsored by Senator Ron Wyden. The Act itself doesn’t specifically allow warrantless searches, but not passing this amendment leaves a great area that is ripe for abuse by police and government authorities…including action against potential political rivals.



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