Fully Charged: Gear VR used to view live birth, Uber testing EVs, and Windows 10 crowdsources updates

Get the week going with our look at the news you might’ve missed this weekend

Samsung Gear VR

Gear VR transmits live birth to father

Gaming tends to be the most obvious use of a virtual reality headset, but Samsung wants to show off broader applications for the Gear VR. That’s apparent with its latest advertisement, which highlights a recent scenario in which the company provided equipment to allow a father to view the birth of his son from afar.

Jason Larke is an electrical contractor in Queensland, Australia, and has to be gone from home in Perth for four weeks at a time. When it appeared he wouldn’t be home for the birth of his third child, Samsung offered to create a streaming viewing experience so he could view the delivery room in real time via the Gear VR headset.

As you’ll see in the six-minute clip above, the result was an emotional and powerful one. Granted, most people don’t have access to the kind of 360-degree camera used in the delivery room - but as technology gets cheaper and more widespread, the possibilities will open up more. At the very least, it’s worth a few minutes of your time to see the Larkes’ story.

[Source: Mashable]

Uber testing electric cars in Chicago


There’s word that Uber is looking into building its own self-driving cars down the line, but for now, the ride-sharing company is simply trying to work some electric vehicles into its fleet. That’s according to Reuters, who reports that the company already has about 25 electric cars on the road in Chicago, Illinois USA.

The cars are from Chinese manufacturer BYD (Build Your Dreams), and its e6 electric car has arrived in Chicago via local dealership Green Wheels USA. They get up to 186 miles per charge, and the Green Wheels deal allows drivers to rent the car for their shifts, or take on a more typical lease or lease-to-own agreement. Uber hopes to get a couple hundred EVs roving the city by the time 2016 rolls around, and may expand the pilot programme elsewhere before long.

[Source: Reuters]

Windows 10 taps into peer-to-peer downloads

Windows 10

Hate when updates and downloads from official software company servers creep along? That might not be an issue in Windows 10, thanks to the addition of optional peer-to-peer downloads for updates and app downloads.

That comes via a leaked build - not what’s available the preview programme at present - and it likely uses tech from Pando Networks, which Microsoft acquired in 2013. Microsoft’s big thing of late has been ceding the kind control it used to savor, putting its software on other platforms and opening up the Windows 10 preview programme. It sounds like crowdsourcing downloads is just another part of that equation.

[Source: The Verge]

Someone rebuilt GTA5’s city in Cities: Skylines

Last week marked the release of Cities: Skylines on PC, and if you haven’t followed its development, here’s the gist: it’s more or less the SimCity that EA should’ve made a couple years back. And it’s moddable. And someone has already used that fact to rebuilt part of Los Santos from Grand Theft Auto V.

As Polygon points out, it’s lacking some of the smaller features, but the overall map looks pretty darn accurate from above. And this happened in a matter of days. You can grab the mod yourself, and if the reviews are any indication, you might want to snag the game if you’re an old SimCity fan - especially one not impressed by EA’s recent attempts.

[Source: Kotaku via Polygon]