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Snapchat’s huge redesign will reportedly arrive next month

By its own account, Snapchat isn’t attracting anywhere near the amount of users it should be. To ensure its app isn’t fully eclipsed by Instagram, it’s planning a major redesign that will make the notoriously difficult service “easier to use.” Although CEO Evan Spiegel said the revamp would focus on Story playback and surfacing original shows, he stopped short of announcing a launch date. Regardless, we now have a tentative ETA, courtesy of Business Insider’s sources. The update will reportedly land on December 4th and (naturally) will bring with it some major changes.

Whereas, the app will still open to the camera, it will reportedly no longer separate your friends’ messages and stories in tabs to the left and the right. Instead, the redesign will bundle user communications in a feed on the left. A swipe to the right, will lead to crowdsourced stories (from music, sports, and global events), along with content from Snapchat’s media partners (like MTV and CNN). This section will reportedly also include celeb stories. That’s a lot to cram into one tab, but Snap will reportedly employ algorithms to curate the “endless feed of videos” to your tastes. Whether that will result in an outcry from its media partners remains to be seen — right now they’re all stacked equally on the far-right Discover section.

Snap didn’t confirm the details in the report, but the info seems to follow what the company hinted at in its earnings call on Tuesday. Still, the planned launch date and inner workings could change abruptly.

Via: Business Insider

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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