f you had a busy week on your hands, which didn't leave you much time to remain updated with the things happening in the world of tech, don't you worry, we have got you covered. www.indianweb2.com brings to you the tech wrap up of this week.

1) Twitter Just Doubled the Character Limit for Tweets From 140 To 280

If Twitter is your medium of choice for social media, then be prepared, because your world is going to change forever. The social networking site, which is famous for its 140-character limit is planning on doubling this figure to 280 and has, in fact, already started testing the new super-sized tweets. Twitter is hoping that the big change will help Tweeple be more expressive on the platform.

Revealing the big news in an official company blogpost, Twitter said, “Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people tweeting in English.” “When people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 character and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting — which is awesome!”

2) Soon A Fund Trading Platform Based On Blockchain Technology

Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (SEB), a Sweden-based bank has joined hands with Nasdaq to test a new fund trading platform based on blockchain technology.

Blockchain is slowly and steadily creeping into more and more verticals of our lives. For the uninitiated, a blockchain is an anonymous online ledger that makes use of a data structure to make the process of transaction an easier and simpler process. It provides users the ability to manipulate the ledger in a safe way without seeking the support of a third party.

With this new association, SEB and Nasdaq aim to increase efficiency in the processing of purchases and sales of fund units – an area which even in today’s progressive age of tech is largely dominated by long lead times, order via fax and lengthy manual routines. They’re hopeful that by employing Blockchain, they will be able to create a faster, more effective and reliable way of handling of flows in funds.

“With the help of a blockchain we can create a faster, simpler, more effective and reliable handling of flows in funds,” said Göran Fors, acting head of Investor Services and in charge of the cooperation with Nasdaq in a press release.

3) This Indian Drone Startup is Selling Its Intellectual Property To Chinese-American Firm

Singapore headquartered SwarmX, which claims to be the world’s first fully autonomous drone operation platform is reportedly negotiating a deal to sell its intellectual property to a Chinese-American drone company, according to a report in VCCircle.

Reportedly, the startup has already brought an investment banker onboard to negotiate the deal. “They are not selling the company, but sourcing buyers for their IP,” said VCCircle’s source in the report.

Though it is still not clear what triggered SwarmX to sell its IP, but according to various media reports and rumours going around in the market, there are basically two main reasons why SwarmX is contemplating this step. Firstly, the startup no longer wants to manufacture drones and just wants to enable other companies to do what it is doing. Secondly, there are rumours that SwarmX’s founder Pulkit Jaiswal is working on a new startup.

There is also some noise in the market that there’s a whole other reason why SwarmX is negotiating this deal. According to them, Chinese companies have succeeded remarkably in building similar systems and at a much bigger scale, so SwarmX is having a hard time rubbing shoulders with them.

4) At 16%, Internet Penetration In Rural India Lags Behind Many Countries: Report

PM Modi’s Digital India might not be progressing as well as he had anticipated. According to the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) IMC-Deloitte report released at the recently held ‘India Mobile Congress 2017,’ the overall Internet penetration in the country stands at a disappointing 33 per cent. In fact, what’s more discouraging is the fact, the figure is just 16 percent in the rural areas of the country.

The report revealed that the Indian subcontinent currently occupies the 36th rank, globally, when it comes to internet inclusion based on factors such as availability, affordability, relevance and readiness.

With only 23 per cent, the South Asian country is several miles behind many countries in broadband penetration. As of August this year, India, which has a population of about 1.324 billion, has just around 310 million broadband subscribers.

For the uninitiated, a country’s broadband penetration can be considered a key element in achieving a country’s socio-economic objectives. In fact, a rise in broadband penetration to 60 per cent can result into a potential 5-6 percent increase in the country’s GDP.

5) IBM Now Has More Employees in India Than in the U.S.

In an interesting piece of news, Armonk, New York-based global technology and innovation giant, IBM now employs 130,000 people in India, a figure that is about one-third of its total work force, and more than in any other country, including its home country.

IBM as a name needs no introduction. But, let’s have a quick recap of all that the company has managed to achieve since starting up. In its early years, the company eclipsed the era of computing with inventions like the mainframe and the floppy disk. Having offices all over New York and Silicon Valley, the company acquired the reputation of being known as a hub of American tech innovation long before words like Google and Microsoft became a part of our Tech dictionary.

However, ten years ago, the bosses at IBM decided to make a strategic change in the operations of the company and shifted its center of gravity all the way to the Indian subcontinent, which can be considered as a prime example of the globalisation trends that has been on the agenda of Trump administration for a couple of years now.

People working in IBM’s Indian division are providing their services for the entire gamut of IBM’s businesses, right from researching on emerging technologies like computer vision for self-driving cars, artificial intelligence etc. to managing the computing needs of global giants like Shell and AT&T. Currently, there’s also a team that is working together with Sesame Street producers to teach vocabulary in a fun way to kindergarteners in Atlanta.

6) This Indian Founder Startup Can Be Next ‘Juicero’?

Believe it or not, there might just be another wannabe Juicero in town. Introducing Yomee – The World’s First Automatic Yogurt Maker. Priced at $149 on Kickstarter by Lecker Labs, the smart yogurt maker is capable of making yogurt in six hours from milk and a block of powdered cultures.

Founded by Indian-origin Ashok Jaiswal, Yomee’s yogurt maker is considered a smart appliance as it automates and simplifies the yogurt-creation process and lets the user decide exactly what they want to put in in their yogurts.

What’s interesting to note is, that Yomee’s Kickstarter debut comes barely a month after the headline-making $400 connected juicer Juicero went under. Since Juicero’s unfortunate debacle, the smart kitchen hardware category making only one type of food is garnering a lot of scrutinising eyeballs as no one wants a Juicero 2.0 to happen ever again.

For the uninitiated, Juicero, a Silicon Valley juicer startup that raised $120m from investors, had to face worldwide ridicule when it was revealed that its $400 internet-connected device that transforms single-serving packets of chopped fruits and vegetables into a refreshing and healthy beverage machines were equivalent of two hands squeezing a juice box. Last month, the startup, which had been in business for only 16 months, finally decided to pull the plug and immediately stop the sale of its machines and produce packs.

7) Here’s How Elon Musk Will Colonize Mars By 2024

Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk has been trying to redefine transportation on earth as well as in space since a long time. In a step forward towards that direction, the South African-born Canadian American business magnate recently unveiled his plans of colonising Mars and how he aims to achieve the same. In addition to the Mars project, Musk enthusiastically also talked about how rockets can be used to transport people anywhere on Earth in under an hour.
Taking the podium at the International Astronomical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, Musk revealed that he has conceived a business plan for pumping money in his ambitious new spaceship called the “Big Fucking Rocket” or BFR.

Musk aims to achieve his mission by cannibalising every other SpaceX spacecraft—the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon and then resembling all the resources extracted from the drive into a new spaceship.

Musk also shared his plans to build a society on Mars. According to the timeline revealed by him, there will be two cargo missions to Mars by 2022 and four (two cargo, two crewed) missions by 2024.

Explaining his fascination with colonising Mars, Musk revealed that he’s doing this simply because it “beats the hell out of being a single-planet species.”

“The future is vastly more exciting and interesting if we’re a space-faring species and a multi-planetary species than if we’re not,,” said Musk. “You want to be inspired by things. You want to wake up in the morning and think, ‘The future’s going to be great’,” he added.

8) Introducing ‘Brainternet’ – Connect Your Brain With Internet

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the few technologies that has the real potential of changing the way the entire world works. Gartner predicts that there will be about 8.4 billion connected devices by the end of this year, a figure which has increased by a whopping 31% from 2016. By now, people have accepted that anything and everything can be digitally connected through the world of internet, but does that include our brain, too? Apparently, it does.

No, we aren’t talking about science fiction. This has actually happened, and the thing we’re talking about here is called Brainternet, a word formed with the amalgamation of Brain and Internet. The technology works by converting brain waves into signals that can then be live-streamed and made accessible through a web portal. The system depends on some basic elements. A person is required to wear a mobile electroencephalogram (EEG) headset to capture brain wave signals that are then transmitted to a small computer, which then deciphers them with the help of specialised code. This is then made available as information on a website.

Though right now, the tech is still in its nascent stage. As of today, people only on the web-portal side of the wall know what’s happening in someone’s brain that too within the limits of what EEG has to offer, but they cannot input the information from the other direction. However, according to the creators of the tech, that’s exactly the direction they’re progressing towards.

9) Microsoft To Build AI, ML Based Solutions for Flipkart

Indian ecommerce biggie Flipkart has decided to avail the services of Microsoft to take its sales figures to another level. According to media reports, the firm has decided to start using artificial intelligence and machine learning-based solutions to make future sales easy.

“AI and ML are becoming the focus for us now. We think there is a lot of opportunities to optimise how we do things like merchandising and offer placement. So we are putting those systems in place and looking to take away any kind of manual tuning and optimisation,” said Vinay YS, Flipkart’s vice-president of engineering in a statement to ET.

Flipkart has been closely engaged with the American software, which has put in a whopping $200 million to build those capabilities. According to Vinay, whenever the firm talks about Microsoft, it is mostly likely from the point of view of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning as those are the only two capabilities of the firm’s that Flipkart is counting on leveraging right now. Vinay also revealed that the firm is looking forward to partnering with the company on aspects such as voice recognition.

10) An Artificial Intelligence Enabled ‘Sari’ Created By Fashion Designer Gaurav Gupta and IBM

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is climbing up the tech popularity ladder like nothing before. From aviation to writing to shopping, AI is slowly but steadily entering various verticals of our lives. And now, IBM and Vogue have together made something that marks the perfect marriage of Indian fashion and AI.

This year, Vogue decided to host its first ever Vogue Women of the Year Awards to celebrate trailblazing men and women across the globe. In order to celebrate the special occasion, the firm decided to get IBM’s cognitive system, Watson, together with fashion world biggie Gaurav Gupta to create world’s first ever artificial intelligence-inspired sari-gown, which was worn by the award’s emcee and Emmy Award-winning actress Archie Panjabi this week.

Gupta used a custom-built IBM application that the company infused with its Watson technology to feed in his inspiration behind the AI masterpiece. The tool helped with machine-generated patterns that Watson’s AI engine created as well as dominant human-created patterns from its database. All this finally led to the creation of a first-of-its-kind AI sari-gown with hybrid replete with LED lights.

Being powered by IBM IoT, the sari’s LED lights changes its colour based on each of the award winner’s personality. In order to make this a possibility, IBM made used of Watson’s Personality Insights API to carry out an extensive investigation of each awardee through their social media handles. The information derived from it was then mapped against seven human traits – open-mindedness and originality, confidence and problem solving, effectiveness in organizing thoughts, action orientation, conscientiousness, social energy, and openness to possibilities and alternatives. The aforementioned traits were then mapped to a colour most associated with them.

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