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Microsoft’s answer to Twitch is baked into Windows 10

Broadcasting live gameplay to Twitch or Facebook isn’t easy. It means setting up special capture software and navigating a mire of complicated bandwidth settings. Microsoft is trying to fix that: the next version of Windows 10 is going to integrate game broadcasting directly into the Xbox App. The streaming experience promises not only to be easy, but also to almost eliminate the communication lag between viewers and broadcasters — but don’t expect to use it on Twitch. Microsoft’s Windows 10 seems to be designed specifically for Beam.

If you’re not familiar, Beam was a start-up streaming service that let viewers more directly interact with a broadcaster’s game — allowing them to choose what weapon they might use next or select what weapon the player will have next. Microsoft bought the company earlier this year, and seems to be positioning it as the default streaming platform for Windows.

Starting with the Windows 10 creators update, gamers will be able to start a broadcast to Beam by pressing the Windows button and the ‘G’ key, giving them an instant streaming overlay with a preview of their stream and a community chat window. That’s great on its own, but the real selling point is Beam’s low latency streams — allowing players to watch gameplay in near-realtime and giving broadcasters the ability to respond to chat messages almost instantly. Beam users will also be able to send audio commands that ask the broadcaster to pay attention to the chat window, or take a specific action in the game.

Microsoft hasn’t said if the Xbox App’s streaming tools will work with other streaming services, but it definitely seems like a simpler way to broadcast gameplay. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait awhile before trying it out — the streaming update isn’t due to arrive until Windows 10’s Creators Update launches early next year.

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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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