Verizon service in Cuba, Facebook spherical video, military robots - The Wrap

IDG News Service | Sep 24, 2015

Verizon will extend roaming service to Cuba, Facebook debuts spherical 360-degree video and the US Marines test out a robot.

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Spherical video debuts on Facebook and the military tests out a robot.
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Here's your tech top 3 and what you need to know this week.
Verizon will be the first US carrier to offer international roaming in Cuba, but it will be slow and expensive. Service is strictly 2G and 2 dollars per megabyte of data and 3 dollars a minute for calls. Still it's a big step. You can get off a plane and have cell service in a country that has spent half a century in isolation. Sprint says it will follow soon.
If you spend a lot of time at work immersed in Facebook, get ready to go even deeper. The social network has rolled out support for 360-degree or spherical videos. You can use your mouse to move around the videos that are typically shot using multiple cameras and software that stitches the video together. There are several news an entertainment outlets already taking advantage of the new feature.
The US isn't providing adequate personal data protection for Europeans according to the EU. That opinion from an EU court official threatens the operations of thousands of companies exchanging data between the Europe and US. EU law requires that companies exporting EU citizens personal data do so only to countries providing a similar level of legal protection for that data. The opinion could allow national governments across Europe to set their own standards.
In focus this week we turn to robots and the battlefield. We've been following Google X owned Boston Dynamics for years since they first caught our eye with Big Dog. Recently the US Marine's tested out Big Dog's predecessor, named Spot at a base in Virginia. Spot weighs about 70 kilograms and runs on a battery, which is different from some gas powered counterparts that completely lose their stealth. The US military is looking to robots because they can be sent into dangerous situations without the potential for loss of life. In one demonstration Spot went into a room first to make sure there were no dangers before humans followed. Spot is controlled wirelessly by an operator up to 500 meters away. Spot has a LIDAR sensor that's similar to the one on top of Google's self driving cars. The sensor allows it to see in all directions. The Marines said they have no immediate plans to put Spot into combat, but want to continue experimenting with quadruped robots. I'm Nick Barber and that's a Wrap.
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