In this blog series, Skookum’s Director of Development, Mark Flowers, shares a sampling of news stories that caught our attention last week. Check back every Monday for a quick rundown, in case you missed it.

The New Space Race

Boeing and SpaceX are approaching a deadline to run flights with astronauts on board by the end of 2017. Not only are bragging rights up for grabs, but also multi-billion dollar contracts with NASA to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The upstart SpaceX has moved from industry joke to industry competitor since its founding in 2002 by the quirky Elon Musk with the goals of cutting the cost to explore space, and one day colonizing Mars.

The Future of Bluetooth and IOT

The Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group) released their 2016 roadmap, and its aim is to position BLE (Bluetooth Low-Energy) as the backbone of the IoT. As the market opportunity for IoT continues to grow, with some estimates up to $11 trillion, Bluetooth looks to be the foundational communication technology to enable this massive growth. The problems that it specifically targets are range, data rates, and the need for a central communication hub.

"Announced updates will provide a variety of benefits for the growing number of IoT applications. For example, the range of Bluetooth Smart, set to increase up to 4x, will transform smart home and infrastructure applications, and will deliver an extended, more robust connection for full-home or outdoor use cases. A 100% increase in speed, without increasing energy consumption, will enable faster data transfers in critical applications, such as medical devices, increasing responsiveness and lowering latency. And mesh networking will enable Bluetooth devices to connect together in networks that can cover an entire building or home, opening up home and industrial automation applications."

How a Self-Driving Car Sees

As Google, Apple, Tesla, Volkswagen, Ford, GM, Volvo, Nissan, and others are working on autonomous driving cars, we can look more into how it works and understand the technology behind how cars "see" the world around them. A group of designers and laser scanner operators drove around London to demonstrate how the scanner sees the city around itself. The video is beautiful and mesmorizing, but also shows some of the problems that companies are facing with these scanners, such as reflective surfaces that throw off the scanners.