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Meitu’s new phone uses AI to snap better selfies

Chinese selfie app and smartphone company Meitu has unveiled its newest flagship, and it’s all about making you look better. The T8 includes a front-facing camera with optical image stabilization and dual-pixel phase detection autofocus (PDAF) similar to Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom — rare components in a selfie camera. It also has a feature called Magical AI Beautification. Like Meitu’s popular beauty apps, it can detect your skin tone, age and gender, then touch up your selfie accordingly.

According to Meitu, Magical AI Beautification will enhance group photos as well as selfies, detecting and adjusting each face individually. It will whiten your teeth, get rid of those bags under your eyes, smooth your skin, add radiance to your face and apply some stylish filters. The feature works on real-time videos too.

Over a billion people have downloaded and installed the Meitu app. It was a viral hit on social media last year, turning everyone’s selfies into kawaii anime characters. But, the fun ended quickly when people discovered the app asks for access to a lot of personal data, including your calendar, contacts, SMS messages and location. Meitu claims it collected the data because it needed a workaround for Apple and Google’s tracking services, which are blocked in China.

The T8 is not the first “selfie smartphone” to come out of China. Both Lenovo and Oppo released low-to-mid range devices last year with powerful front-facing cameras, but Meitu says the T8 is the first smartphone to offer DSLR-type performance and photo quality through its dual pixel technology.

The T8’s other specs include a full metallic body, a 21-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 2.3GHz processor, a 5.2-inch AMOLED display, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. And yes, it has a headphone jack. It’s currently available on Meitu’s website (accessible in China only) and costs 3299 RMB ($479 USD). It’ll be available to buy at online retailers Tmall, suning.com and jd.com on February 22nd. There’s no word yet on whether the T8 will make it to the US.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: Meitu

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Existing EV batteries could be recharged five times faster

Lithium-ion batteries have massively improved in the last half-decade, but there are still issues. The biggest, especially for EVs, is that charging takes too long to make them as useful as regular cars for highway driving. Researchers from the University of Warwick (WMG) have discovered that we may not need to be so patient, though. They developed a new type of sensor that measures internal battery temperatures and discovered that we can probably recharge them up to five times quicker without overheating problems.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery anode can lead to lithium buildup, which can break through a battery's separator, create a short-circuit and cause catastrophic failure. That can cause the electrolyte to emit gases and literally blow up the battery, so manufacturers impose strict charging power limits to prevent it.

Those limits are based on hard-to-measure internal temperatures, however, which is where the WMG probe comes in. It's a fiber optic sensor, protected by a chemical layer that can be directly inserted into a lithium-ion cell to give highly precise thermal measurements without affecting its performance.

The team tested the sensor on standard 18650 li-ion cells, used in Tesla's Model S and X, among other EVs. They discovered that they can be charged five times faster than previously thought without damage. Such speeds would reduce battery life, but if used judiciously, the impact would be minimized, said lead researcher Dr. Tazdin Amietszajew.

Faster charging as always comes at the expense of overall battery life but many consumers would welcome the ability to charge a vehicle battery quickly when short journey times are required and then to switch to standard charge periods at other times.

There's still some work to do. While the research showed the li-ion cells can support higher temperatures, EVs and charging systems would have to have "precisely tuned profiles/limits" to prevent problems. It's also not clear how battery makers would install the sensors in the cells.

Nevertheless, it shows a lot of promise for much faster charging speeds in the near future. Even if battery capacities stayed the same, charging in 5 minutes instead of 25 could flip a lot of drivers over to the green side.

Via: Clean Technica

Source: University of Warwick

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