Walmart Learns from Amazon; Aurora to Clean Space Debris; Apple Patents Tunable Glasses Lenses; Mastercard-Mag Strips Going Bye-Bye

Taking a page from Amazon’s playbook, Walmart is now reporting a 95% increase in ad sales. Geekwire.com reports that the giant retailer’s push into ads online has meant they have increased the number of active advertisers by 175%. Overall, Walmart has grown its e-commerce business in the 2nd quarter to $11 billion….a 90% increase year over year (when we were at the height of the pandemic in 2020.) Walmart is saying they want to become ‘completely indifferent’ as to where and how customers shop. 

There is an enormous amount of ‘space junk’ orbiting the planet after decades of satellite launches and such. Now, Aurora Propulsion Technology is going to be ending space junk removing tech on Rocket Lab’s Electron later this year. According to techcrunch.com, the AuroraSat-1 CubeSat will have six ‘resistojet’ thrusters which will help the unit to quickly de-tumble and adjust attitude control. The unit will also test out Aurora’s Plasma Brakes, which are an electrically charged microtether intended to de-orbit satellites. It will eventually take a fleet of these to clear substantial amounts of space junk floating around our planet.

Patentlyapple.com has picked up on a fascinating patent granted to Apple. It is for tunable lenses for glasses (or a mixed reality headset, more likely.) The lenses adjust to varying visual impairments like myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, astigmatism, higher-order aberrations, and more. Apple does the trick using a layer of liquid crystal that is controlled by electrodes controlled by circuitry. The lenses would even allow sharing of a headset between a couple people with different vision defects. In addition to use in corrective lenses, the tunable ones could move augmented reality content to different focal points from the user’s perspective. 

In a farewell that has been a long time coming, Mastercard will start phasing out magnetic strips on credit and debit cards in 2024. With all new cards utilizing the more secure chip tech, Mastercard says it will add fingerprint verification to the chips for identity verification. Cnet.com reports that the government will no longer require US banks to issue cards with mag strips by 2027, and by 2029 no cards will have them. The venerable mag strip has been around since the 1960’s…heck, Mastercard was first introduced to the public in ads featuring Ozzie and Harriet! it’s time to embrace more secure identification tech, the combo of fingerprint and the chip is a step in that direction. 



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