OCC TECH NEWS
September 22, 2014
Back in July, Gearbox Software and Take-Two Interactive Software announced Battleborn, an FPS-MOBA hybrid that Gearbox refers to as a "hero shooter". Battleborn consists of five factions of heroes: Peacekeepers, Eldrid, Jennerit, L.L.C., and Rogues. Each faction works together against a common enemy, the Varelsi, but they all have different playstyles and narrative motives, such as the Peacekeepers being your soldiers while the Eldrid are your fantasy tropes. Along with some 5v5 competitive multiplayer that shares similarities with MOBAs, Battleborn features a five-player cooperative campaign, which Gearbox has shared in a new gameplay walkthrough video:
The video above features five unique characters: Oscar Mike, Montana, Thorn, Miko, and Rath. Each character is quite different, both aesthetically and in the way they play. Every time a character levels up, players get to choose one of two new abilities/skills. It's an interesting system that reminds me more of Starcraft II or the new XCOM games more than your typical MMO, MOBA, or RPG. That being said, at Level 7, each character unlocks his or her Ultimate ability, which is certainly more MOBA-like; though something that has also been a part of each Borderlands game as well. Like Borderlands, the game also features a rather unique aesthetic, which you can see in both the video above and the fifteen new screenshots below.
Battleborn is expected to arrive sometime in 2015 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. While it may borrow aspects of MOBAs, the game is not free-to-play, and in fact is already available for pre-order at major retailers for a whopping $59.99 – yes, even the PC version has that price tag. The game looks sweet, but Gearbox may find it rather difficult to convince gamers to spend that much on an FPS-MOBA, especially on the PC where there are so many other free alternatives.
Source: Facebook and Official Site
As we approach the limits of silicon circuitry, more and more replacements are appearing to claim the element's throne. Hopefully silicon's reign will last long enough for a clear successor to be found. Researchers at Harvard though have discovered a new material that could be that successor.
This new material is what is called a correlated oxide and uses quantum mechanics to challenge silicon. The base material is samarium nickelate, but by doping it with hydrogen or lithium, the researchers were able to manipulate its band gap. The band gap is a very important characteristic of many materials as it determines the energy difference between conducting and non-conducting electrons. Silicon transistors require the ratio between conducting and non-conducting, or on/off states, to be 104. Previous attempts with correlated oxides have only had an on/off ratio of 10 or 100, but the Harvard researchers were able to achieve a ratio greater than 105, putting it near state-of-the-art silicon transistors. This ratio is present when the material is at room temperature, or even hundreds of degrees above it.
One would expect that a material to potentially replace silicon would come from a lab investigating such replacements. This discovery actually came out of a fuel cell lab though, where the researcher's experience with thin films and ionic transport was used to create the correlated oxide.
Source: Harvard University
NVIDIA has just made the GeForce 344.16 drivers available for its newly released GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 GPUs. The latest drivers, which are in beta, comes just days after NVIDIA released the WHQL certified GeForce 344.11 drivers. The new GeForce 344.16 drivers are only compatible with the GTX 980 and GTX 970, and while a release notes link is available on the NVIDIA website, it is nonfunctional at this time. No information has been released surrounding bug fixes and performance improvements that the GeForce 344.16 drivers may bring to the table.
Those willing to download and use the latest GeForce beta drivers for the GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 can do so through the NVIDIA website.
September 21, 2014
Namco Bandai Games has released a TGS 2014 Trailer for Dragon Ball Xenoverse, and in doing so confirmed that the game will now be coming to PC via Steam, alongside the previously announced console versions. While this is the 15th Dragon Ball fighting game released on home consoles (and thus why it's abbreviated Dragon Ball XV), Xenoverse marks the first time a Dragon Ball game will be released on PC. The announcement comes less than a week after NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja STORM Revolution launched on Steam; another popular manga fighter published by Namco Bandai.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse is planned for a March 2015 release on Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.
Source: Namco Bandai
iBUYPOWER, a company that boasts superior performance, reliability, cutting edge technology, and timely production, has announced that a full range of gaming systems that carry the newly released NVIDIA GTX 980 GPU are now available. With the latest high-performance video card from NVIDIA, which features the impressive Maxwell architecture, gamers can expect an unparalleled gaming experience with PC titles that are currently available, as well as titles that will be released in the future. The Senior Vice President of iBUYPOWER, Darren Su, stated that "iBUYPOWER always guarantees its customers that we carry and support the latest technology and NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 980 and 970 are no exception."
Information about the technology and performance that the NVIDIA GTX 980 offers, as well as a selection of systems that feature the latest graphics card from NVIDIA, can be found on the iBUYPOWER website.
September 20, 2014
Since OverclockersClub is predominantly a computer site, we tend to only post gaming news that involve or affect the PC gaming landscape. I mention this because right now Final Fantasy XV is only confirmed for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. But with the new-gen consoles basically (watered-down) PCs, the recent announcement of all three Final Fantasy XIII games coming to Steam, the high likelihood of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD coming to PC, and all the other Final Fantasy games that have been brought to PC (and well received, I might add), it seems almost guaranteed that Final Fantasy XV will be making its way to PC eventually.
While people argue back and forth regarding Western RPGs versus JRPGs, the one thing that is almost universally accepted is that, when it comes to graphical fidelity, Western RPGs have always been far superior. Western RPGs like the Elder Scrolls, Witcher, and Dragon Age franchises have been leading the charge for quite awhile now, but Square Enix is about to change that with Final Fantasy XV. While it still has the Japanese styling, particularly for its characters, everything else about FF XV looks more akin to those aforementioned Western RPGs than JRPGs of the past.
Source: Press Release
Apple recently announced the next generation of the iPhone, the iPhone 6, which was able to set a sales record for the company after four million phones were preordered by eager customers. Although iPhone 6 pre-orders were set to ship out yesterday, it has come to light that the iPhone 6 Plus is experiencing massive shipping delays. According to Verizon Wireless, iPhone 6 Plus orders will not ship out until October 24, 2014. AT&T has noted that it could not promise iPhone 6 Plus orders until November, while Sprint failed to provide a shipping timeline and T-Mobile simply stated that it would honor all preorders. Even the Apple retail store is currently listing a three to four week shipping timeframe, which seems to be the shortest of all delays announced.
As more orders come in for the iPhone 6 Plus, which seems to be the more popular model when compared to the iPhone 6, the delays will likely continue until additional units can be manufactured.
NVIDIA's debut of the GTX 900 Series graphics cards issued in the first wave of Maxwell-based GPUs; an architecture that is pretty damn impressive. Among its many features (such as Dynamic Super Resolution), NVIDIA "designed Maxwell to solve some of the most complex lighting and graphics challenges in visual computing." NVIDIA's game demo team decided to test the capabilities of its new technology in a rather unique way, recreating the moon landing scene in Unreal Engine 4 using one of Maxwell's key technologies – Voxel-Based Global Illumination, or VXGI.
VXGI is a new and improved representation of the way light bounces from one object to another in real time, by breaking a scene's geometry into many thousands of tiny boxes called voxels (essentially a pixel in 3D). Maxwell accelerates the creation of these voxels using a technology called "multi-projection", which lets the GPU process the geometry just once for each box's six sides. So how did the demo team use this technology to prove the legitimacy of the moon landing?
Conspiracy theorists have argued for decades that Buzz Aldrin's suit must have been lit from something other than the sun, since the sun was behind the lunar module. The only explanation was that it was an auxiliary light source... in a studio. The photo was just too perfect. After NVIDIA's demo team "researched the rivets on the lunar lander, identified the properties of the dust coating the moon's surface, and measured the reflectivity of the material used in the astronauts' space suits," NVIDIA got to work on recreating the scene. Not only was the demo team able to reproduce how the light illuminated Aldrin, proving there was no artificial light source, it was also able to prove that the reason there were no stars in the photo was simply due to the exposure level of the camera.
NVIDIA's demonstration is quite the fascinating and unique use of a technology we typically think as only applicable to gaming or rendering. So now that one of the top conspiracy theories has been debunked, what's next for the green team? The Kennedy Assassination?
Source: Press Release and NVIDIA Blog
Sony has recently revealed that users of the Sony Entertainment Network online store can now watch the latest Hollywood blockbusters and hit TV episodes from the newly launched Video Unlimited web player. The new web player eliminates the need to download content through a separate application, and boasts support for Windows and Mac machines. Easy to use playback controls have been integrated into the Video Unlimited web player, and full screen mode is supported as well. Owned and previously rented content is also available for immediate viewing. In order to access the Video Unlimited web player, users simply need to navigate to the Sony Entertainment Network online store, rent or purchase an available video, and then select the “Watch Now” button.
The new web player is currently available to all Video Unlimited countries, which include Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States.
Google Maps, which provides Android and iOS users with free driving, walking, and bicycling directions, has announced that it has expanded to support 20 additional countries. The countries that are now able to use the navigation feature found within Google Maps, which still happens to be in beta, include Angola, Bahamas, Bolivia, Botswana, Fiji, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Tobago, and Trinidad. While those residing in these countries will benefit the most from this announcement, travelers who visit these countries will also benefit from being able to find their way through areas that are unknown to them.
Source: Android Central
September 19, 2014
We have known that a sequel to Sleeping Dogs has been in the works for quite some time now, but until now all we had was a name: Triad Wars. Most people assumed, reasonably so, that Triad Wars would be like its predecessor – a third-person, open-world action game for PC and consoles. Well, not so fast. According to developer United Front Games, Triad Wars is an "upcoming PC online game." Nothing else was divulged, but the studio did post an interesting Vine video:
According to Triad Wars Community Manager James Baldwin, more will be unveiled on Tuesday, September 23 at 12PM PST via a reddit AMA.
Source: United Front Games and Twitter
They say great things can come in small packages, and it appears that may be true, if you can think of a dwarf galaxy as 'small.' Researchers at the University of Utah have discovered that a dwarf galaxy may have at its center a supermassive black hole many times larger than the one at the center of our own Milky Way.
M60-UCD1 is a so-called ultracompact dwarf galaxy orbiting M60, which is one of the larger galaxies in our area. The researchers had previously examined the dwarf galaxy, noting the rate at which it was emitting X-rays. The rate matches that of gas falling into the supermassive black holes of other, much larger galaxies. Using the Gemini North telescope on Hawaii's Mauna Kea, the researchers determined that M60-UCD1 may have at its core a supermassive black hole weighing it at 21 million solar masses. With a total mass of 140 million solar masses, that black hole would make up 15% of the galaxy's mass. For comparison, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way comes in at 4 million solar masses, but our galaxy weighs 50 billion solar masses (50,000 million, to be clear).
The obvious question is how could a dwarf galaxy have such a large black hole at its core? The researchers suggest that the dwarf galaxy is possibly what remains of a once larger galaxy, where a supermassive black hole is more expected. When it passed by another galaxy, likely M60, most of the gas and stars were stripped off, leaving what looks like a dwarf galaxy behind. If this is accurate, then other dwarf galaxies may also house similarly large supermassive black holes.
Source: University of Utah
Earlier in the month, I posted that Final Fantasy Type-0 HD would likely arrive on PC via Steam following the console release. Many Final Fantasy games have been released on Steam over the past year or so, including the most recent release on Tuesday: Final Fantasy IV. But now perhaps the biggest piece of evidence that Square Enix is embracing PC gaming JRPG fans – the full Final Fantasy XIII trilogy is coming to Steam.
The first game, Final Fantasy XIII, will be arriving on Steam October 9 for a mere $15.99. Pre-ordering earns you a 10% discount, dropping the price to $14.39. Its sequel, Final Fantasy XIII-2, and the sequel to that, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, will also be coming to Steam next Spring. I'm sure once all three are released, there will be some sort of trilogy pack for purchase, but no word on that.
Source: Press Release
Netflix users have been able to use a variety of devices to view the popular video streaming service, and Ubuntu users will soon find themselves on that list as well. Support for Ubuntu can be enabled with a series of modifications, but this new update will enable native support. An update will be rolled out for the Network Security Services library to users of the current Long Term Support release, 14.04, within the next two weeks, while version 14.10 will have a compatible version from the start. Paul Adolph of Netflix recently posted to the Ubuntu Developer mailing list to explain the process, "Netflix will play with Chrome stable in 14.02 if NSS version 3.16.2 or greater is installed. If this version is generally installed across 14.02, Netflix would be able to make a change so users would no longer have to hack their User-Agent to play."
Source: OMG Ubuntu
NVIDIA has launched its newest king of the hill video card, with the GeForce GTX 980 offering some truly impressive numbers across the board. It runs on the GM204 Maxwell core, which has a maximum TDP of 165W. That is a crazy low wattage for a high-end video card, especially one that is rocking 2048 CUDA cores, 64 ROPs, 128 texture units, 4GB of GDDR5 memory, and 5.2 billion transistors. Core clock speed comes in at 1126MHz, while that 4GB of memory is running at 7000MHz. The cooler is the same style as NVIDIA's recent ones from the GTX 700 cards, yet should still have the same effectiveness as it is a pretty standout model. Enough talking, onward to the reviews!
NVIDIA GTX 980 @ OCC
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 @ Neoseeker
Maxwell Makes Its Debut: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 & GTX 980 @ TechSpot
Maxwell is Here! GTX 980 is Now Revealed! @ Bjorn3D
NVIDIA GTX 980 @ LanOC Reviews
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 @ Benchmark Reviews
The end of the week is upon us, and that means there are some reviews to help send you off right. We have a look at the ASUS Maximus VII Formula, which is the company's new ROG motherboard for the Intel Z97 chipset. There's also a review on the AMD Kabini APUs and how the company has brought back the Athlon nomenclature. The LUXA2 GroovyR 360° Micro Wireless Wall Mount Speaker gets put to the test to see how well it can handle all your tunes. Wrapping things up for the week is a new podcast looking back at the latest news and reviews.
Return of the Athlon: AMD Brings Kabini to the Desktop @ Bjorn3D
ASUS Maximus VII Formula @ Bjorn3D
LUXA2 GroovyR 360° Micro Wireless Wall Mount Speaker @ ThinkComputers
Podcast #318 @ PC Perspective
Many children once envisioned that when they grew up, their work attire would be a spacesuit. While it is easy to say that spacesuits are cool, future spacesuits may have a very different look to them in the future. Researchers at MIT are working on a design that could see modern bulky spacesuits replaced with suits that are effectively a second skin.
Spacesuits are really just small spacecraft with life support systems to keep the occupant warm and at a livable pressure. Modern designs achieve that pressure using gases, but the design the researchers are working on would rely on mechanical pressure instead. That pressure would be delivered by coils of a shape-memory alloy. These materials are special metals that can learn a specific shape that they will return to, when heated to a certain temperature. Below that temperature, the alloy is pliable like a paperclip. The idea is to incorporate these coils into the spacesuit, which will be flexible enough for an astronaut to put on, and once on the alloys will be heated to return to their learned shape, which will be smaller, pulling the suit onto the person.
While tests show that such a spacesuit would be able to apply the needed amount of pressure to a body, it does have the problem of requiring temperatures that would eventually cook the astronaut, unless a locking mechanism can be developed. Given the reduction in weight and potential increase in mobility though, you can bet that the flaws will be worked out eventually.
The 25+ year wait is finally over for fans of one of the most iconic and influential RPGs in video game history, Wasteland. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, followed by Steam Early Access, Wasteland 2 has now officially launched. With seven squad members to manage, 80+ hours of gameplay, 300+ characters to meet, and a total word count of 550,000+, I think it's safe to say inXile didn't pull any punches in making the sequel the very best it could; one deserving of the Wasteland name.
Wasteland 2 is currently available for purchase from most digital download retailers, including Steam and GOG, for a mere $39.99. A Digital Deluxe Edition is also available for $59.99, which not only includes a copy of the game, but also copies of both Wasteland 1 and The Bard's Tale, along with three digital novellas set in The Wasteland world, Mark Morgan's Wasteland 2 original sound track in digital format, and an incredible digital concept art book showcasing many of the world's characters and environments.
Source: Press Release
There was a slight reprieve two days ago to unveil Alien: Isolation's Survivor Mode and Season Pass, but now Creative Assembly is back with the fourth entry in the #HowWillYouSurvive video series. This time around, what plays out in the video is curiously not really tied into the title, "Hear You Scream" – but then again, "in space, no one can hear you scream."
Alien: Isolation is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on October 7. You can check the PC system requirements at the official site.
Source: Creative Assembly
Downsampling has often been a trick by modders as an alternative to anti-aliasing. By running a game at a high resolution beyond what your monitor can support and then downsampling (rescaling) the image to your monitor's native resolution, you get some gorgeous, crisp visuals that is often much better than any form of anti-aliasing can accomplish. But downsampling always required hacks or external tools, and it was never flawless. NVIDIA decided to address that, with what it's calling Dynamic Super Resolution.
Introduced with the Maxwell cards, as seen in our NVIDIA GTX 980 Review, Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR) is essentially that same downsampling, but at the driver level, which should in theory be more reliable and stable. "DSR improves upon this process by applying a high-quality Downsampling filter that significantly improves image quality, by making Downsampling compatible with all monitors, by removing the need for technical know-how, and by integrating DSR into GeForce Experience, enabling gamers to apply DSR Optimal Playable Settings with a single click." Within GeForce Experience, if your GPU has the capability to play a game at 4K, DSR will be recommended in the "Optimal Playable Settings" for that game. Best of all, if a game isn't optimized for 4K, and thus doesn't have a user interface that scales correctly, DSR will not be recommended. No guessing required!
As of today, DSR is only supported in the GTX 900 Series, but NVIDIA plans on rolling it out to "similarly powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics cards" in the future. That probably means the TITANS and high-end GTX 700 Series cards will get DSR support eventually, but time will tell.
According to quantum mechanics, the quanta that make up the Universe exist in a wave-particle duality. The interpretation that has been traditionally used of this is the Copenhagen interpretation, which treats all particles as waves, and that measuring the wave causes it to collapse down to a particle. This is not the only interpretation though, and one that some of the founders of quantum mechanics is getting new life breathed into it, thanks to a recent experiment at MIT.
Pilot-wave theory presents a very different interpretation of the quantum world as instead of treating particles as the result of observing waves, it keeps them as particles. These particles are on top of some kind of wave though, which influence the particle's trajectory and that explains the wavelike behavior of the particles. The experiment the researchers did involved vibrating a bath of fluid at a rate just below what would cause waves to appear on the surface. A drop of the fluid was then dropped onto the surface, causing waves to radiate from the impact. That droplet was then propelled by those waves, similar to how the pilot-waves would influence the movement of a particle.
As the researchers do point out, there are many quantitatively and qualitative differences between the quantum theory and fluid experiment, which prevent it from being actual evidence of the theory. However, they could be philosophically similar enough to suggest that pilot-wave theory be reexamined with the new tools of chaos theory and the results of this experiment. Perhaps in the future it or another interpretation may become the new standard.
TRENDnet has announced the availability of the N300, its latest outdoor access point, as well as two antenna kits that pair with the device. The N300, model TEW-739APBO, includes support for access point, wireless distribution system, repeater, and CPE + AP modes, and features an IP67 rated aluminum housing. According to the TRENDnet Marketing Director, Zak Wood, the N300 is able to withstand extreme weather conditions while providing blanket wireless for a variety of outdoor and indoor applications. The latest outdoor access point from TRENDnet does requires antennas that are sold separately, which is why the company has also released the 4/6 dBi Surge Outdoor Dual Band Omni Antenna Kit, model TEW-AO46S, and the 5/7 dBi Outdoor Dual Band Omni Antenna Kit, model TEW-AO57. Both antenna kits enable the N300 to provide broad coverage, and are also compatible with 802.11ac/n/g/b/a routers and access points with N-Type female connectors.
The N300 carries an MSRP of $299.99 while the 4/6 dBi Surge Outdoor Dual Band Omni Antenna Kit and 5/7 dBi Outdoor Dual Band Omni Antenna Kit carry an MSRP of $84.99 and $44.99, respectively.
Source: Press Release
Lian-Li, one of the largest and most reputable manufacturers of aluminum PC cases in Taiwan, has just revealed that their PC-V359 and PC-Q36 modular cases are now available in two new color options. Champagne gold as well as red and black make the PC-V359 and PC-Q36 even more intriguing to system builders who require unique color choices for their next case. Both products feature amazing modularity, as the side panels can be removed effortlessly after the acrylic top panel is removed with four thumbscrews, providing full access to hardware in a matter of seconds. The PC-V359 and PC-Q36 feature full aluminum construction, a see-through acrylic top panel and front window, and side 240mm radiator support.
The two new color options from Lian-Li will be available in the North American market next month. The PC-Q36 in red and black will retail for $164 while the gold version will be on sale for $179. The PC-V359 is a bit more expensive, with the red and black version selling for $199 and the gold version retailing for $219.
Source: Press Release
September 18, 2014
Unveiled during Microsoft's E3 2014 Press Conference, Ori and The Blind Forest is a gorgeous 2.5D Metroidvania platformer featuring the titular Ori and his companion Sein. Developer Moon Studios has not only released some brand new screenshots for the game, but has also published the full Prologue, featuring the game's first ten minutes.
Ori and The Blind Forest is expected to arrive Holiday 2014 for Windows PC and Xbox One, with an Xbox 360 version to follow in 2015.
Source: Press Release
Tesoro is releasing an updated version of the Shrike Laser Gaming Mouse with new looks and capabilities. The Shrike is now available in orange, white, yellow, and brushed silver in addition to the initial offering of black. The maximum DPI of the mouse has been bumped to 8200 and still features 128kb of onboard memory, adjustable weights, and eight programmable buttons. The updates are rounded out with improved software and RGB lighting.
Source: Press Release
The G910 Orion Spark RGB is the latest mechanical keyboard from Logitech and it features the exclusive Romer-G mechanical switches, which offer "25 percent faster actuation than any other mechanical switch, improved durability and intelligent Illumination." Each key has customizable LEDs that can be set to 16.8 million different colors with precision optics ensuring even illumination. Also included with the keyboard is Arx Control, a new app that sends information to your mobile device "including anything from in-game intelligence, to vital system performance stats, to media controls." Director of Logitech Gaming Vincent Tucker described the Orion Spark saying, "This keyboard is the culmination of years of ongoing development by our engineering team, incorporating feedback from gamers and eSports athletes to develop a next-generation mechanical key."
Source: Press Release
When NVIDIA detailed its GAME24 event, it promised to have some "surprises" from various game publishers. One such publisher will be Atari, who will be showing off gameplay of survival horror Alone in the Dark: Illumination for the first time. Developed by Pure FPS, Illumination is the sixth installment of the Alone in the Dark franchise and is the first one to feature online and co-operative play. Atari will be taking the stage during GAME24 at 12AM PDT as part of the event's livestream.
Alone in the Dark: Illumination takes place in the abandoned town of Lorwich, Virgina, after a flood devastated the town and its once prosperous mines. Of course it wouldn't be much of a survival horror game if there wasn't a mystery surrounding the disaster... and some dark forces to contend with. Players can choose between four different characters and "fight their way through the darkness-infested town of Lorwhich, using weapons, magic and the power of illumination to beat back the monstrous hordes" with up to three other people.
The four heroes, along with their weapons and abilities, include: The Hunter, with an AK47, M4, P90, and Flamethrower; The Witch, with a Colt, Lightning Strike, Creature Control, and Lightning Crawler; The Priest, with Heaven and Hell, The Lord's Blinding Light, Cleansing of Sinners, and The Binding Word; and The Engineer, with a Beretta, Pump Shotgun, The Tesla, and Comet.
Alone in the Dark: Illumination features next-gen lighting design and effects thanks to Unreal Engine 4, bringing brand-new dynamic gameplay options and atmosphere. And with it coming exclusively to PC, expect no compromises on visual fidelity. The game is planned for a Fall release via Steam.
Source: Press Release and Official Site
In the quest for a superior battery, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia have developed a new long-lasting battery. This battery design is a bit different from what you will find in your devices though, as it is a nuclear battery.
Nuclear materials have seen various energy uses over the years, from large-scale power plants to small thermoelectric systems, like those in some space missions. This battery operates in a different way though, by using betavoltaics instead of any use of thermal energy. In betavoltaics, the nuclear material, in this case strontium-90, emits beta particles into a water-based solution, which increases its electrochemical energy. A titanium dioxide electrode coated in platinum then collects and converts that energy into useable electricity.
With the battery's long life and efficiency, it could see use in automobiles and in space flight. It is likely worth noting that controlled nuclear technologies need not be dangerous, such as those that are used in fire detectors and emergency exit signs.
Source: University of Missouri-Columbia
Amazon has pushed another update to its Fire operating system, which currently runs on a variety of devices such as the Amazon Fire Phone and Kindle Fire tablets. The latest update that brings Fire OS to version 4 adds in the ability to have separate profiles on the same device, scan information from tablets with Firefly, and share paid applications, books, and Prime Instant Videos with family members located at the same billing address. Fire OS 4 aims to improve battery life with a new smart suspend mode that activates when a device is idle, and also contains the infamous ASAP technology that predicts and loads video content in advance. Other improvements that Fire OS 4 brings are a preloaded version of WPS Office, print support, and private browsing through the Silk browser.
Fire OS 4 is based on Android 4.4 KitKat and will be pre-loaded on Amazon's latest tablets, come to the Fire Phone early next year, and be released for Kindle Fire HDX tablets sometime in the near future.