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‘Robo Recall’ for Oculus Touch is fun, frantic and completely free

At Oculus Connect 2 last year, Epic Games’ Bullet Train demo stole the show — leaning heavily on the “bullet time” effect popularized by the Matrix films to create a smooth, action-packed shooter that let players take down multiple enemies in slow motion. It had a neat gimmick: it used virtual reality to bend reality in a way we’ve only seen in the movies. The team brought the concept back to Oculus developer conference again this year as the heavily refined Robo Recall: a frantic, physics-based shooter with a sense of humor. Hands-down, it’s one of the best Oculus Touch experiences I saw at the show. Even better? When it launches early next year, it will be absolutely free.

There’s no shortage of VR shooting gallery demos out there, but Robo Recall won me over by making firearms just part of the players arsenal. The rest of it? Well, that’s everything around you. The game tasks the player with “recalling” rogue robot servants — tracking down the rebellious automatons and deactivating them by force. Shooting them works, but it’s a lot more fun to pick up one attacking robot and simply throw it at another. Run out of bullets? Throw your gun at the offending machine, it’s just as effective. Half of the fun of the game is to find less obvious ways to defeat your enemies.

The remnants of Bullet Train are here too: if the player is moving slowly, the flow of time slows down to match — giving you plenty of time to snatch a bullet out of mid-air and fling it back an enemy. It’s a lighthearted, but action-packed experience, and a great showcase of the kind of physicality the Oculus Touch controllers can add to a game. It’s not due to launch until a few months after the motion controllers ship, but if you’re going to go all-in and buy Oculus Touch, you may as well check it out. After all, you can’t beat free.

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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