MONKEY USED ITS BRAIN-COMPUTER TECH TO PLAY PONG Spotlight on Innovation Head lines N euralink, the brain machine interface company founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, has published a YouTube video of a macaque monkey called Pager playing the video game Pong by controlling a computer with its brain activity.
CRACKDOWN ON CRYPTOCURRENCIES MAY BE COMING G overnments around the world may start to clamp down on the use of bitcoin and other cryptocur- rencies, as several U.S. officials have sounded the alarm about the use of bitcoin for money laundering, ter- rorist financing and other illegal activities. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have often been associat- ed with illicit activities due to the fact that people trans- acting with it are pseudonymous — you can see where funds are being sent but not who sent or received them. There are signs that the use of crypto for nefarious purposes may be falling. Illicit activity accounted for just 0.34% of all crypto transaction volume last year, accord- ing to blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis. That was down from roughly 2% a year earlier. The U.S. isn’t the only country considering strict new rules on crypto. In India, for example, the government is considering a law that would ban cryptocurrencies and penalize anyone holding or trading them. MICROSOFT WINS U.S. ARMY CONTRACT FOR AUGMENTED REALITY HEADSETS T he U.S. Army announced that Microsoft has won a contract to build more than custom HoloLens augmented reality headsets. The contract for over 120,000 headsets could be worth up to $21.88 billion over 10 years. The deal shows Microsoft can generate meaningful revenue from a futuristic product resulting from years of research, beyond core areas such as operating systems and productivity software. It follows a $480 million contract Microsoft received to give the Army prototypes of the Integrated Visual Augmented System, or IVAS, in 2018. The new deal will involve providing production versions.
NORTHROP GRUMMAN ROBOTIC MEV-2 SPACECRAFT, IN A FIRST, CATCHES ACTIVE INTELSAT SATELLITE T wo aerospace firms accomplished an industry first in space, as a small Northrop Grumman space- craft docked successfully with an active Intelsat satellite to provide service and extend its life. Intelsat’s IS-1002 satellite is nearly 18 years old, and operating well past its expected lifespan, but the Northrop Grumman-built spacecraft called MEV-2 will add another five years of life to IS-1002, essentially re-fueling the satellite and giving it a new engine for control. The companies hit a milestone in the growing business of servicing satellites while in space. The firm fore - casts that there is demand for servicing upward of 75 satellites by 2030, with companies and governments looking to extend the lifespan of typically expensive geosynchronous equatorial orbit satellites, rather than launch replacements. The nine-year-old monkey, which had two Neuralink devices put on each side of his brain about six weeks ago, learned how to use a joystick to move a cursor to targets on a screen in exchange for a banana smoothie delivered through a straw, the narrator says. Once the decoder had been calibrated, Neuralink said the monkey was able to use it to move the cursor where he wanted it to go, instead of relying on the joystick.
APRIL 2021 • SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE
SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE • APRIL 2021
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