Tech News to Know This Week: June 27-July 4, 2022

Every day we wake up, drink a cup of coffee, and get ready for work. Following are a handful of stories from around the tech world condensed to fit into one single cup of coffee. These are the things you need to know before you step foot out of your door (or in front of a webcam) and into the real world this morning.

So sit back, grab a cup, and start your morning off right with a few “Quick Bytes” from Innovation & Tech Today.

Unreal Engine 5-Developed Avatar is Almost Indistinguishable from a Real Person

PUBG and The Callisto Protocol developer Krafton has unveiled its hyper-realistic in-game avatar Ana. Developed using the Unreal 5 engine and powered by hyper-realism, rigging, and deep learning, Ana exhibits subtle human qualities like pupil movement and fine facial muscle movement.

Advanced voice synthesis is paired with the rigging and deep learning so Ana can speak and sing like a real person, and her debut to the world will be an original music track. 

Ana has been designed to “engage a global audience and help establish Krafton’s web 3.0 ecosystem” according to the game developer. 

Rolls Royce Advances Hybrid-Electric Flight with New Turbogenerator Engine

Rolls-Royce, the world’s second-largest aircraft engine manufacturer, just announced the development of turbogenerator technology, which includes a new small engine designed for hybrid-electric applications. The system will be an on-board power source with scalable power offerings, enabling extended range on sustainable aviation fuels and later as it comes available through hydrogen combustion.

Current battery technology means all-electric propulsion will enable eVTOL and fixed wing commuter aircraft for short flights in and between cities and island-hopping in locations like Norway and the Scottish Isles.

The turbogenerator will recharge batteries after take-off or power propellers directly, enabling aircraft to switch between power sources in flight. 

AI-Driven Facial Recognition Software Helps Families of Holocaust Survivors Identify Relatives

A Google engineer has created an artificial intelligence-driven facial recognition platform that can scan through photos from World War II and the Holocaust, linking them to people living today. 

The program, called From Numbers to Names (N2N) was developed by 40-year-old software engineer Daniel Patt, who thought of the idea while visiting Warsaw’s POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in 2016. 

Three of his four grandparents are Holocaust survivors from Poland, and he wants to help his grandmother find photos of the members of her family murdered by the Nazis.

N2N software can return the 10 best potential matches found in the database available to it. The software has already been used to search through hundreds of thousands of photos to identify faces for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) as well as individual survivors and descendants of survivors — including a number of celebrities, according to The Times of Israel

Elon Musk’s Trans Daughter Changes Name, Wants to Cut All Ties with Her Father

Elon Musk’s transgender daughter has been granted a name change by a Los Angeles County Superior Court. Eighteen-year-old Vivian Jenna Wilson, formerly Xavier Musk, transitioned from male to female and changed both her given and surname after announcing “I no longer live with or wish to be related to my biological father in any way, shape or form,” in her petition. 

Vivian’s mother is Justine Wilson, Musk’s first wife, with whom he had 5 children. Vivian opted to take her mother’s maiden name, rather than continuing to have any tie to her father after her 18th birthday. 

Musk has seven children with two women. His youngest daughter Exa Dark Sideræl was born via surrogate in 2021.

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