Starlink Sat Dishes; Vitals by Smartphone; TikTok Gets Captions; Chip Shortage

SpaceX has been shipping satellite dishes to Starlink customers that are actually worth far more than the $499 it’s charging its customers. It initially cost the company $3,000 to produce each satellite dish, according to CNBC.The company has since reduced the manufacturing cost to $1,500, and then down to $1,300. The manufacturing costs are expected to fall even further to “the few hundred dollar range within the next year or two.”  The $499 for the Starlink dish and Wi-Fi modem is a one-time fee. Users must also pay $99 a month to receive the internet service. 

Scientists with the University of Washington and Microsoft Research have new technology that allows medical providers to remotely check a patient’s pulse and heart rate.The tool uses the camera on a smartphone or computer to capture 18 seconds of video of a person’s face. Geekwire.com says that the video is analyzed to measure changes in the light reflected by a patient’s skin, which correlates to changes in blood volume and motion that are caused by blood circulation. 

TikTok has announced the launch of a new feature designed to make its app accessible to people who are hard of hearing or deaf. The company is today debuting auto captions — a feature that, when enabled, will automatically transcribe the speech from a video so viewers can read what’s being said in the video as an alternative to listening. Techcrunch.com reports that initially, auto captions will support American English and Japanese, with additional languages coming in the months ahead. 

Auto manufacturers and other companies are hoping that the global chip shortage will end soon, but snarled semiconductor supply chains may not untangle until 2022. According to arstechnica.com, the pandemic upended the market for semiconductors. As demand for cars plummeted, automakers slashed their orders. But at the same time, demand for chips that power laptops and data centers skyrocketed. Shortages of wafers and packaging substrates are compounding the problem. 



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