Tesla's in-car browser will be upgraded to Chromium


Tesla

Tesla’s in-car browser is pretty infamous for being wonky, so it didn’t come as a surprise when someone told Elon Musk on Twitter that they wish it worked consistently. The CEO’s response? Tesla is about to upgrade the in-car browser to Chromium, Google’s open-source browser project. That doesn’t mean the vehicles will be getting Chrome: the Chromium project merely generates code for Chrome and other browsers from companies and vendors outside of Google, including Opera. It’s likely that the Chromium code will just power Tesla’s upgraded browser.

Of course, Musk’s tweet doesn’t really reveal anything when it comes to availability. The updated app could come out really, really soon or years from now. Tesla made previous attempts to release a better browser over the past few years, after all, but it kept getting pushed back. A recent software update seemed to fix the current browser for some people, though, and that may be enough to tide some owners over until the Chromium version comes out.

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GM will build a new Chevrolet EV at its Orion plant


GM has confirmed plans to build another electric vehicle at the same Orion Township, MI factory where it currently manufactures the Bolt, as well as test autonomous vehicles for Cruise. We don’t have a name or potential release date for this next EV, but it will use the same BEV3 platform underpinning the recently announced electric Cadillac on the way.

We visited GM’s Orion factory back in 2016 as it ramped up Bolt production, and now the plan is to invest some $300 million and add 400 jobs there. This week Ford also announced an expansion at one of its Michigan plants to build more electric and autonomous vehicles, so now all that’s left is waiting to hear about a battery-powered Mustang or Camaro.

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'Neon Genesis Evangelion' comes to Netflix June 21st


Netflix

Netflix’s flood of content includes a significant anime pushGhost in the Shell, Ultraman — and as part of that it’s going to be the first streamer with Neon Genesis Evangelion on tap, worldwide. The classic series will go live on Netflix June 21st, complete with all 26 episodes plus the two films: Evangelion: Death True² and The End of Evangelion. There’s a brief trailer to help reacquaint you with its mech action and melodrama, but we figure you can just mark your calendar.

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Self-healing 3D-printed gel has a future in robots and medicine


luchschen via Getty Images

Robots might be a little more appealing — and more practical — if they’re not made of hard, cold metal or plastic, but of a softer material. Researcher at Brown University believe they’ve developed a new material that could be ideal for “soft robotics.” It’s already demonstrated that it can pick up small, delicate objects, and it could form customized microfluidic devices — sometimes called “labs-on-a-chip” and used for things like spotting aggressive cancers and making life-saving drugs in the field.

The 3D-printed hydrogel is a dual polymer that’s capable of bending, twisting or sticking together when treated with certain chemicals. One polymer has covalent bonds, which provide strength and structural integrity. The other polymer has ionic bonds, which allow more dynamic behaviors like bending and self-adhesion. Together, the polymers create a material that is soft, strong and responsive — ideal for creating a soft, robotic grip.

Brown University

Above, the researchers demonstrated the self-adhering behavior on the tail of a 3-D printed hydrogel salamander.

The hydrogel could also be a promising base for microfluidic devices — used for everything from cancer treatments to liquid-based watch tech and detecting explosives. Until now, it’s been hard to pattern hydrogels with the complex channels and chambers needed in microfluidics. But because this new material is 3D-printed, it can be made in stackable LEGO-like blocks, and “complex microfluidic architectures” can be incorporated into each block. These could create a type of modular system in which blocks with different microfluidic channels could be fit together as needed.

The material isn’t quite ready for use. Researchers say they’re still tweaking the polymers to get even more durability and functionality. If they succeed, this could make building soft robotic components and labs-on-a-chip as simple as snapping together LEGO pieces — or at least significantly easier.

Brown University

Above, the self-adhering behavior was used to make hydrogel building blocks that fit together like LEGO blocks.

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Firefox finally takes fuller advantage of your iPad


Mozilla

Your choices for iPad-friendly web browsers just got ever-so-slightly larger. Mozilla has released an arguably overdue version of Firefox that aims to take better advantage of the iPad’s extra screen real estate. It supports iOS’ built-in split screen and support for keyboard shortcuts, as you might expect, but there are also interface tweaks specific to the tablet version. Firefox now shows all your tabs as easier-to-discern tiles, and private browsing is a single tap away on the main screen.

The new version also enables sending tabs to other synced devices (no more copy-pasting links). And if you use Outlook for iOS, you now have the option of setting Firefox as your default browser.

This combination of features probably won’t have you racing to replace your existing browser if you’re already happy. It might, however, tip the balance if you were already looking Mozilla’s way and were just waiting for a Firefox version that did justice to your Apple slate.

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