Technological World for December 11: Electric aircraft, Bluetooth bra fittings, Bioshock in Montreal, Playstation and friends, Pokémon Sword and Shield

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, Bluetooth bra fittings, the new Bioshock game is being made in Montreal, Sony will help make baseball games for consoles other than PlayStation, and the delight of the new Pokémon games for Nintendo’s Switch. But first, the first electric airplane has flown.

World’s first electric airplane takes flight in Vancouver

We’ve got electric cars and trucks and motorbikes, there are electric-powered boats on the water, and now even airplanes are going electric.

This week, Harbour Air conducted a test flight of its ePlane, a six-passenger de Havilland Beaver equipped with an electric engine.

Harbour plans to convert its entire fleet to electric. It currently has more than 40 aircraft.

The engine comes from magniX, based in the Seattle area, a company created to develop electric propulsion systems for aircraft.

Port Coquitlam’s Finger Food uses technology to help consumers get what they need

A technology company in Port Coquitlam, B.C. is “redefining the way humans interact with machines” and providing Canadian retailers with innovative methods to helping customers.

Finger Food Advanced Technology Group has expertise in augmented and virtual reality, robotics, and artificial intelligence, and this year completed two projects that demonstrated what they can do.

For Lululemon, Finger Food created Bluetooth sensors that are used in stores during bra fittings. With the sensors in place, the customer runs on a treadmill and information on breast movement is recorded, and that “unique breast movement profile” is used by store staff to provide a recommendation on the best sports bra for the customer.

The challenge for Mountain Equipment Coop was finding a way to show customers the range of options available in tents. Stores can’t display all the tents they sell; there’s just not enough space. So Finger Food scanned all the products and created virtual models of them, and now people can explore the tent they’re interested in using an augmented reality experience wherever they are.

Video game news: New Montreal studio working on next BioShock game, Sony’s MLB games coming to other platforms

Montreal’s new studio

The last game in 2K Games’ BioShock franchise was Infinite, released in 2013. This week, the video game publisher announced that a new game was being developed by Cloud Chamber, a new studio with locations in the San Francisco area and Montreal.

Kelley GIlmore, who has extensive experience with Firaxis, another 2K studio, will head up Cloud Chamber. She’s hired Ken Schachter to manage the Montreal location.

2K was frank about the fact that the “decision to open a new office in Montreal was supported” by financial incentives provided by the city and by the provincial government of Quebec.

Official MLB video games branching out

For years, Sony’s PlayStation platforms have had the exclusive rights to baseball video games. That changes “as early as 2021” according to a press release issued this week by Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and San Diego Studio, which has been developing MLB The Show since 2006.

While Sony retains the license for MLB and the MLBPA, “the historic expansion of the long-standing partnerships will bring MLB The Show, for the first time ever, to additional console platforms beyond PlayStation platforms”.

Specific details haven’t been announced, but it’s likely that Sony will sub-license the development of the game on other systems.

Everybody’s playing nicely these days.

Pokémon Sword and Shield worthy games for Nintendo’s Switch

Christmas came early to my kids this year in the form of the new Pokémon video game for the Nintendo Switch console. As with most games in the series, this one comes in two editions, Sword and Shield.

We got the Shield edition, because one of my Pokémon trainers wanted to battle a gym leader who was a ghost-type specialist.

Having differnt gym encounters, which are the franchise’s boss battles, is one way that the two editions differ. The other is in the roster of wild pokémon to be collected, and in the legendary characters that are available: Zacian is exclusive to Sword and Zamazenta is exclusive to Shield.

You can get those other pokémon in your copy of the game by trading with other players, and playing with your friends is also supported by the Wild Area, a region in the game where co-operative battles and multiplayer raids can happen. It’s a welcome addition that gives a freshness to the game and extends playability.

The two most appealing new features, though, are the ability to skip tutorials and the abolition of random encounters. Instead of never knowing where or when you were going to be attacked, now you can choose when and where to engage in a battle with a wild pokémon because these encouters are marked on the map.

Inside of a week, both my kids were well into the game, taking turns to progress using their own profiles on the Switch. They both remarked on how much they like the high-res graphics that are possible on the Switch, and the design of the Galar Region, based on Great Britain, in which the game is set.

They also appreciated the control modifications that made the game easier to play, and the battles more fun.

And while one kid is nearing the eighth and final gym, these games are eminently replayable, so there’s lots more fun to be had.


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