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The countdown has begun for Google I/O 2024: Here are the innovations expected to be introduced

The Google I/O 2024 event is expected to take place on May 14. Innovations coming to Pixel 8a, Pixel Fold 2 and Android 15 are expected to be mentioned at the event.

What Awaits Us at Google I/O 2024?

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May 14 was shown as the start date for this year’s annual developer conference organized by Google. With only a few days left until Google I/O 2024, the innovations expected to be mentioned at the event have begun to become clear.

More details are expected to be released this year about Google’s foray into AI and where Gemini is headed next.

It is expected that details about Google’s eagerly awaited affordable smartphone Pixel 8a, Fold 2 will be included. It is also thought that the innovations in Android 15 will be taken into consideration. On the other hand, we may have the chance to learn whether Google has plans for mixed reality.

It is among the information received that this year’s event will be more focused on artificial intelligence. At Google I/O 2024, we may hear more about AI-powered features for the entire product portfolio, as well as potential partnerships to bring them to other devices.

For example, Samsung is collaborating with Google to bring Circle to Search to the Galaxy S24 series. Many of Google’s AI features are designed specifically for smartphones, but it would be beneficial to bring them to laptops, Chromebooks, wearables, and more.

“Pixel 8a” May Be on the Way

According to a striking detail, the affordable Pixel product is generally announced for the first time at the Google I/O event. We met Pixel 7a for the first time at Google I/O 2023.

Also, another sign that Pixel 8a is on the way was that Google pulled Pixel 6a from the market. As the event day approaches, leaks about Pixel 8a continue to increase. In particular, there are rumors that a price increase is on the way.

At the event, questions about the sales price of Pixel 8a and how much artificial intelligence support it will be are expected to be answered.

“Pixel Fold 2” Could Be Much Thinner

All details about Pixel Fold, Google’s first foldable phone, were mentioned at Google I/O 2023. Now, it is expected that details about Pixel Fold 2 will be announced at this year’s event. According to the information obtained, Pixel Fold 2 is said to be even thinner than OnePlus Open and Galaxy Z Fold 5.

So much so that Pixel Fold 2 is said to be the thinnest foldable phone currently sold in North America. Although Pixel Fold 2 is expected to be introduced at Google I/O 2024, there are also different rumors.

According to a new rumor, it is claimed that Google plans to make Fold a part of the regular Pixel series under the name Pixel 9 Pro Fold. In such a case, the Fold will likely be released in the fall along with the rest of the Pixel 9 series.

What’s New in Android 15

One of the topics expected to be mentioned at the annual developers conference is Android 15, codenamed Vanilla Ice Cream.

The visual aesthetics of the mobile operating system did not see a significant refresh in the last generation, but at least we could see the return of lock screen widgets. A speech is expected to be held at Google I/O outlining the new features coming to Android 15 and showing them in action.

Wearable technology

Alongside the Pixel 8 phones, Google has also recorded the launch of the Pixel Watch 2 for its fall event. However, according to rumors, we may also see other Pixel or Fitbit-related wearables at Google I/O 2024. The most realistic expectations include showing off a Pixel Watch 3 teaser at best.

Google Launches Artificial Intelligence Tool for Users to Practice English

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Google is testing a new “Speaking Practice” feature in Search that helps users improve their spoken English skills . The company said the feature is available in Argentina, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Venezuela to English learners participating in Search Labs, its program for users to try out early-stage Google Search experiences.

Let’s state it for the company. He states that the aim of the experiment is to help users improve their English skills by having them participate in interactive language learning exercises powered by artificial intelligence to help them use new words in everyday scenarios. Details are in our news…

You May Be Interested In: Countdown Has Begun for Google I/O 2024: Here are the Innovations Expected to Be Introduced

Launch of New Feature Paves the Way for a Real Rival to Google’s Language Learning Apps Like Duolingo and Babbel

The speaking practice is based on a feature Google launched last October designed to help English learners improve their skills. Launched last year, the feature allows English learners to practice speaking sentences in context and receive feedback on grammar and clarity, while adding the dimension of speaking practice, back-and-forth practice.

It should be noted that this feature was first noticed by an X user who shared screenshots of the functionality in use.

The conversation app works by asking the user a conversation question that they must answer using certain words. According to the screenshots, one of the possible scenarios is that the artificial intelligence tells the user that he wants to get in shape, and then asks: “What should I do?” he might ask. The user will then need to provide a response that includes the words “exercise,” “heart,” and “tired.”

The idea behind this feature is to help English learners speak English while also helping them understand how to use different words correctly.

The launch of the new feature suggests that Google may be laying the groundwork for a true rival to language learning apps like Duolingo and Babbel. This isn’t the first time Google has dabbled in language learning and education tools, either. In 2019, Google launched a feature that allowed Search users to practice how to pronounce words correctly.

Shopify review: The #1 e-commerce software in 2024?

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shopify logo

Shopify is clearly the most complete e-commerce software on the market. No matter your goals, if you simply want to create an online store, this is the CMS that you will need to use!

If you want to create an online store , you have several options. You can code your e-commerce from A to Z , but this requires great technical skills . Or, you can use a CMS , which makes it easy to design an online store .

Among these software, we note Shopify , the most used CMS in the world for creating e-commerce. Shopify is an all-in-one tool that allows you to create a store without the need to code. Even without skills , you will be able to have a stylish , fast and mobile-  optimized e-commerce .

Today we’re going to walk you through the Shopify test in detail so you can get an idea of ​​how it works.

🕰️ No time to read everything? Here’s what you need to remember:

👉 Best online store creation tool with simple and intuitive operation.
👉 Payment process with integrated conversion with a one-click system.
👉 Possibility of creating a flexible point of sale to promote your brand in real life and online.
👉 CMS optimized for natural referencing in order to find visitors without spending on advertising.
👉 Complete and optimized dashboard to track your online activity at a glance.
👉 Many extensions available to customize your online store in just a few clicks.

 

Shopify Overview

Shopify is a Content Managing System ( CMS ) or content management software in French. In short, it is software that will allow you to create a website without coding . It is this software that offers the possibility of putting your online store and adding functionalities , improving the graphic appearance and others.

Shopify is a Canadian company specializing in e-commerce design . Overall, if you want to create an online store, this software will take care of everything. It is he who will host your website as well as your domain name , manage payments , shipping and others.

If Shopify is so popular, it is also because it integrates many templates that allow you to design a magnificent store quickly and easily. Thanks to themes designed by designers , even if you are bad at design, you can create a professional store.

Worldwide, nearly 30% of e-commerce businesses run on Shopify . Consequently, this CMS is used both by online stores of small merchants , but also by large e-commerce businesses . In itself, there are no real limits with this CMS. With all the features, themes and plugins, there’s almost nothing you can’t do.

 

Who is Shopify for? 

Shopify is an easy-to-use tool for creating an online store . Therefore, from the moment you want to design an e-commerce to sell your products or to do dropshipping , this CMS will suit you. There are several scenarios where Shopify can be used.

If you want to get started in dropshipping ( selling directly from an existing supplier like Aliexpress, wish, Amazon, etc. ), Shopify is ideal . You can connect the Oberlo application to automate shipments from your suppliers.

Next, Shopify is great for small merchants . If you want to sell your own products online , this CMS will be perfect. Even without skills, you will be able to create a professional online store . If you have a small structure, this CMS is ideal for building and managing your e-commerce on a daily basis without taking the headache.

But if you have a bigger project , in particular creating an e-commerce that generates hundreds of thousands of visits per month, it is also possible with Shopify . Indeed, the CMS is largely capable of running a large online store . With all the extensions available, there’s actually nothing you can’t do.

In summary, you must understand that Shopify acts as a facilitator for creating e-commerce . Therefore, from the moment you want to create a store without having to worry about the technical part , this CMS will be ideal.

Services offered by Shopify

As we told you above, Shopify offers a lot of features . We will therefore present to you the most used services of the platform, so that you can get an idea of ​​how it works .

Creating a store 

Shopify aims above all to be easy to use and therefore allows you to set up an online store step by step easily from the e-commerce platform . Overall, you will be able to add all your products for sale and sort them to create categories and pages. But you can also create a “ single product ” store with a single page.

You should know that even if you have never used this software, you will be guided by the platform . As soon as you arrive on Shopify , the CMS will show you how to add or import a product , integrate a theme, configure order  shipping and more.

Shopify will guide you through all the steps of setting up your e-commerce. By following the steps shown directly from the platform, you will be able to put your store online quickly.

The step that takes the most time is surely adding product . Indeed, for each product that you add, you will have to fill in a lot of information such as its price , its characteristics , and others. But you can also integrate photos , videos as well as a description .

On the home screen, you can see that Shopify asks you to choose a delivery method . Here you can choose between several options including shipping, local delivery or local collection.

Note that if you already have an online store on another CMS like WordPress, Wix or SquareSpace, you can migrate it to Shopify . In fact, the platform allows you to recreate an existing site created with other software.

Shopify also allows you to have a blog section on its site . We have already talked about it on our blog, if you own a business that sells online, it is imperative to have a blog. By publishing articles , you will be able to attract free, hot and regular traffic . This is a great way to attract long-term customers so you can no longer rely on advertising.

From the platform, you will be able to write complete blog articles , as it is possible to do with WordPress for example. You can add images , links , videos and more. It will also be possible to optimize your articles for SEO ( by adding extensions – see below ).

Dashboard

The big advantage of Shopify is that you will be able to manage your e-commerce and have a detailed report of your sales . This is the famous dashboard that you have probably already seen if you are interested in online business. This dashboard will allow you to have access to all the statistics necessary to see the status of sales.

shopify dashboard

This dashboard provides access to a huge amount of data . Not all of them are necessarily useful, we will present to you the most interesting statistics to know.

Before you start, you should know that you can generate statistics for a day , a week , a month or a personalized period of time.

The most interesting statistic, at least the one that all e-retailers look at, is total sales . Here you can see an overview of your turnover , but also where the sales come from ( advertising, organic visits, etc. ).

Next to it, also very important, is the number of visitors . You can observe at first glance the number of Internet users who visit your store . But you can also get a more detailed report , in order to see the average time spent on your store, the most visited pages , the bounce rate and others.

On the right, you can see the customer retention rate . This percentage represents the quantity of customers who recommend to your website after purchasing a product there. At the same time, you can observe the percentage of customers who purchase for the first time from your store.

Below, Shopify displays the number of current orders . Note that a separate section on the platform allows you to see the orders to be processed . Next door, a very important statistic is your conversion rate . You will also be able to see the percentage of visitors who add a product to the cart.

👉 We invite you to regularly check your conversion rate , because it is a key indicator of your marketing performance.

Then you can also see the average basket . Here too, it is an important indicator for defining your marketing strategy . The objective is of course to increase this average basket. There are several techniques to implement in order to sell more.

Finally, one last really interesting statistic is going to be the turnover per marketing campaign . Thanks to a detailed report, you will be able to see the conversion rate , the average basket of customers coming from an advertising campaign .

Themes 

To personalize your store , you can add a theme . Themes will make it very easy to improve the graphic appearance of your site. Typically, themes are built by designers and developers.

The objective of a theme is above all to make your store more stylish . But themes must also be optimized so as not to slow down page loading times . Some themes are therefore very stylish, but too heavy and therefore reduce the speed of your site.

There are free and paid themes . While many free themes provide quite a few options, we prefer to be honest, it is better to go with a premium theme . Especially if you want to create a designer store without reducing the performance of your site.

shopify themes examples

As you can see, some themes will add features , which are not available if you keep the base Shopify theme. For example, you can add carousels, stock counter and timer, and others.

Some themes also offer pre-made e-commerce templates . In this case, you can import a template including several pages , but also product sheets and categories. Then, all you have to do is modify the template with your products, your text and others. It’s a super simple and quick way to create your e-commerce .

In our opinion, adding a theme is essential to creating an online store worthy of the name. We therefore invite you to find out before starting your e-commerce in order to choose the theme that suits you. Quickly, here are the criteria for a good Shopify theme 👇

A theme must be fast . Design is important, but if it slows down the loading time of your pages, you will lose visitors. We therefore invite you to check that your theme is not too heavy before installing it on your store.

Also, it is better to choose a theme that is optimized for SEO . SEO is very important to develop your e-commerce. With an optimized theme, you will be able to more easily have an effective SEO strategy.

As a bonus, certain themes allow you to display your site in several languages . If you want to sell internationally or simply in neighboring countries, this could be interesting.

Extensions 

Shopify includes many extensions that will allow you to add features to your store . There are thousands of extensions, some free and others paid . A good part is also based on a freemium model , that is to say with a free but limited version.

We will quickly introduce you to some extensions that are essential on Shopify.

The Boost Sales plugin allows you to add “ UpSells ” and “ CrossSells ”. Overall, as soon as a customer places an order , you will be able to display a page to offer them another product. This makes it easy to increase your average basket.

If you want to do dropshipping , the Oberlo application will be essential. This application allows you to order and ship your orders directly from your supplier ( mainly Aliexpress ). The extension also allows you to manage inventory and track shipments in real time.

Then, we recommend that you install several extensions in order to optimize your site for SEO . Shopify’s basic features allow you to change some things, but we don’t think it’s enough. We therefore invite you to install Plug In SEO which will allow you to optimize several elements and correct your errors. You can also download SEO Image Optimizer to optimize your images for SEO.

We also recommend that you install Mailbot , an email marketing extension . Thanks to this plugin, you will be able to collect emails directly from your store. But the extension also allows you to send email campaigns , such as promotional emails , newsletters and others.

You can also add the Yotpo Reviews plugin . This extension will allow you to add customer reviews to your product sheets. It is also this plugin that will allow customers to leave a review when they place an order.

Finally, we recommend the Referral Candy plugin. The latter will allow you to create an affiliate program for your online store. Publishers will be able to sign up for your program and promote your products in exchange for a commission. You can also create promo codes for your affiliates from this application . Note that the extension takes care of everything , from affiliate registration to commission payments and sales tracking .

Customer Support 

Shopify is easy to use, but there may be problems managing your store. In order to respond to your problems, customer support is available . There are several specific features of your platform’s customer support, which we will present to you.

You should know that there are several ways to contact customer service . In order to get a quick response , you can start a web chat with a Shopify employee . The only downside is that you will have to speak in English , as the company’s operators only speak this language. The chat is available 24 hours a day and allows you to get a response quickly. In case you are in a hurry, this is ideal.

As you can see, it is possible to contact Shopify on Twitter . It’s also a quick way to get a response. But in our opinion, it is better to go through the platform in order to have an answer to your questions.

If you want to contact support , you will have to do so by email. Generally, the response time is longer.

Finally, Shopify also has a discussion forum . On this forum, you can find Shopify employees, but also many CMS users, some of whom have become experts after years of use. You can register for free and ask your questions . Many users will be happy to answer your questions, but can also give an objective opinion on your store for example.

But you can also find the answer to your question simply by searching in discussions that have already taken place .

The rates 

 

Shopify offers 3 different pricing options . Depending on the plan you choose, many features can be added . Depending on the subscription plan, you can also have more or fewer administrator accounts in order to work with your collaborators on your store. The Shopify and Advanced plans also provide access to more detailed analytics reports .

Then, you should know that Shopify charges you a commission for each sale on your store. This percentage varies from 1.8 to 1.4% depending on the formulas. Obviously, the more expensive you opt for a subscription , the lower the commission will be . ( in case you make a lot of sales, the most expensive plan becomes the most advantageous )

Note that no matter which subscription plan you choose, the first 3 months will cost only $1. monthly .

Advantages disadvantages 

After testing Shopify for several weeks, here are the strong and weak points that emerged:

Advantages 

✅ Easy to use

✅ Many templates to create a design site

✅ Good value for money

✅ Ability to accept payments in multiple currencies

✅ Marketing reports and statistics

The inconvenients

❌ Customer support only in English

❌ Commission on each sale

In summary: our opinion on Shopify

 

Our opinion on Shopify is simple. It is clearly the ultimate CMS if you want to create an online store . The software is easy to use and will allow you to have a professional, stylish and optimized e-commerce. Thanks to all the extensions available, you can do absolutely everything on your store.

In addition to the ease of use which makes it easy to have an e-commerce design, this CMS is optimized for SEO . Thanks to a few plugins, you will be able to manage your SEO strategy in order to gain places on search engines.

In terms of choosing the formula , it’s up to you. If you ‘re just starting out and want to create an online store to sell your own products, the entry-level solution is perfect. But from the moment you start making a lot of sales , the Advanced formula will be more profitable.

In our opinion, Shopify offers good value for money . There are certainly cheaper CMS that allow you to create an online store, but they are not as easy to use. With Shopify, you can literally create a beautiful e-commerce store , without any special skills.

In conclusion, we recommend Shopify , which is by far the most advantageous and simplest solution for designing an e-commerce. Thanks to templates and applications, creating an online store is clearly child’s play . But the daily management of your e-commerce will also be simplified .

The alternative to Shopify 

Shopify is, in our opinion, the most complete software for designing an online store. However, there are alternatives which, like this platform, allow you to create an e-commerce without the need to code. We are therefore going to present to you the best alternatives if you do not want to use Shopify .

To start, we obviously think of WooCommerce . This completely free WordPress CMS extension allows you to create a professional online store . The software is a little more complicated to use than Shopify, but still offers great savings. If you are not afraid to train yourself or are comfortable with the technical part, WooCommerce is ideal for getting started with very little budget .

Then you can use Wix . This platform makes it easy to create an e-commerce thanks to numerous templates. The software is very easy to use and offers the possibility of creating your online store quickly . The subscription is similar to Shopify for the same features. This in itself is the alternative that most resembles Shopify .

Finally, we also think of SquareSpace , an easy-to-use CMS designed to create websites. With this platform, you will be able to design an e-commerce very quickly thanks to the numerous templates available. Prices are similar with subscriptions varying between

The alternative to Shopify 

Shopify is, in our opinion, the most complete software for designing an online store. However, there are alternatives which, like this platform, allow you to create an e-commerce without the need to code. We are therefore going to present to you the best alternatives if you do not want to use Shopify .

To start, we obviously think of WooCommerce . This completely free WordPress CMS extension allows you to create a professional online store . The software is a little more complicated to use than Shopify, but still offers great savings. If you are not afraid to train yourself or are comfortable with the technical part, WooCommerce is ideal for getting started with very little budget .

Then you can use Wix . This platform makes it easy to create an e-commerce thanks to numerous templates. The software is very easy to use and offers the possibility of creating your online store quickly . The subscription is similar to Shopify for the same features. This in itself is the alternative that most resembles Shopify .

Finally, we also think of SquareSpace , an easy-to-use CMS designed to create websites. With this platform, you will be able to design an e-commerce very quickly thanks to the  numerous templates available. Prices are similar with subscriptions varying between $11.81 and $38.64 per month .

How to use Shopify? 

There are hundreds of different ways to use Shopify , depending on the type of store you want to have. We will therefore show you how to get started on this CMS in order to put your first store online .

👉 Before you start , you should know that you can start a free trial to use Shopify without paying ( or €1 per month ) for 3 months . We invite you to do this before starting this tutorial.

When you arrive, you will directly have to choose your domain name . It will be the name of your store, but also its virtual address. Clearly, your visitors will type this name in their search bar in order to access your e-commerce. We therefore invite you to take your time before choosing this name .

Shopify will also ask you to include a logo , slogan and others. Don’t panic, you can change everything later . The best thing is to prepare several elements before starting your store, in particular an idea for a project and products to sell .

Then, you will be able to start adding your products . Each time, you will have several elements to integrate. You will need to add a title , sales price , description , photos/videos , and others. In reality, you can personalize each product page using many elements. It is therefore up to you to see which elements you wish to modify on each product.

shopify add products

Right after, we invite you to create the most important pages for your store. This is going to be a contact page , an about page , an FAQ page, privacy policy pages , refunds , returns and others.

Once you have a few products online and your main pages are in place, you can add a theme to your store . As you can see, a theme makes it easy to improve the graphic appearance of your site. There are thousands of themes , free and paid, that allow you to add a touch of design to your store.

shopify themes

Be careful, adding a theme can greatly change the visual appearance of your store . We therefore invite you to install it on your site as soon as possible . Otherwise, you will have to modify many elements and this may waste your time.

By opting for a premium theme , you will have access to templates to easily create a designer home page . If you’re just starting out, we invite you to choose a template and modify it with your products, the name of your store, your slogan and others. ( many tutorials are generally presented by theme builders )

Next, you will customize your navigation menus . This will allow your visitors to easily find your products or a way to contact your customer service, for example. Here too, you can choose different colors, typographies and more.

Right after that, it’s time to customize the checkout process . Here, you should know that Shopify gives you a lot of options to best manage this process . For example, you may or may not ask customers to create an account before ordering . But you can also ask customers which contact methods they prefer, collect emails and automate the sending of emails for abandoned carts, for example.

and €36 per month .

How to use Shopify? 

There are hundreds of different ways to use Shopify , depending on the type of store you want to have. We will therefore show you how to get started on this CMS in order to put your first store online .

👉 Before you start , you should know that you can start a free trial to use Shopify without paying ( or €1 per month ) for 3 months . We invite you to do this before starting this tutorial.

When you arrive, you will directly have to choose your domain name . It will be the name of your store, but also its virtual address. Clearly, your visitors will type this name in their search bar in order to access your e-commerce. We therefore invite you to take your time before choosing this name .

Shopify will also ask you to include a logo , slogan and others. Don’t panic, you can change everything later . The best thing is to prepare several elements before starting your store, in particular an idea for a project and products to sell .

Then, you will be able to start adding your products . Each time, you will have several elements to integrate. You will need to add a title , sales price , description , photos/videos , and others. In reality, you can personalize each product page using many elements. It is therefore up to you to see which elements you wish to modify on each product.

shopify add products

Right after, we invite you to create the most important pages for your store. This is going to be a contact page , an about page , an FAQ page, privacy policy pages , refunds , returns and others.

Once you have a few products online and your main pages are in place, you can add a theme to your store . As you can see, a theme makes it easy to improve the graphic appearance of your site. There are thousands of themes , free and paid, that allow you to add a touch of design to your store.

shopify themes

Be careful, adding a theme can greatly change the visual appearance of your store . We therefore invite you to install it on your site as soon as possible . Otherwise, you will have to modify many elements and this may waste your time.

By opting for a premium theme , you will have access to templates to easily create a designer home page . If you’re just starting out, we invite you to choose a template and modify it with your products, the name of your store, your slogan and others. ( many tutorials are generally presented by theme builders )

Next, you will customize your navigation menus . This will allow your visitors to easily find your products or a way to contact your customer service, for example. Here too, you can choose different colors, typographies and more.

Right after that, it’s time to customize the checkout process . Here, you should know that Shopify gives you a lot of options to best manage this process . For example, you may or may not ask customers to create an account before ordering . But you can also ask customers which contact methods they prefer, collect emails and automate the sending of emails for abandoned carts, for example.

Webflow vs Framer – Which visual development tool is best for your website?

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Webflow vs Framer in brief

Webflow is ideal for designing complex websites, while Framer is perfect for creating mobile app and website prototypes.

Webflow offers an intuitive user experience with plenty of supporting resources while Framer offers creative freedom and advanced design tools.

Both offer a range of pricing plans to suit different budgets and collaboration tools to encourage teamwork in the website design process.

Focus on Webflow

code, programming, hacking

Webflow is a no-code website building platform that allows users to create custom websites with drag-and-drop tools, hosting, and e-commerce capabilities. Its main strength lies in its ability to help freelancers, small businesses and large enterprises design attractive and effective websites without having to write a single line of code.

Webflow makes creating stunning websites easy. It offers a wide range of features, including custom domains, hosting and e-commerce capabilities. With its intuitive drag-and-drop tools, users can create beautiful websites quickly and easily.

Main features of Webflow

One of Webflow’s most notable features is its extensive library of over 1500 pre-built templates for business, blog, and portfolio websites. These templates can be easily customized using Webflow’s no-code design tools, making it easy to create responsive websites that look professional and unique. Additionally, Webflow offers a robust content management system (CMS) that simplifies the process of adding, editing, and managing content on your website. With dynamic elements like lists, galleries, and forms, Webflow CMS makes it easier than ever to organize and display your content.

When it comes to e-commerce, Webflow has got you covered. The platform allows you to configure and manage your online store, providing a seamless shopping experience for your customers. Webflow’s Style Manager is another powerful feature that allows you to set and manage global styles for elements like typography, buttons and forms, ensuring a consistent look and feel across your entire website. .

Who can benefit from Webflow?

Webflow is a versatile tool that caters to a wide range of users. Whether you’re a freelancer looking to create a stunning portfolio, a small entrepreneur in need of an eye-catching online presence, or a large corporation looking for a robust web design solution, Webflow can deliver the results you need .

Its intuitive interface and extensive feature set make it a great choice for both seasoned professionals and web design novices.

Focus on Framer

macbook, laptop, google

Framer, on the other hand, is a no-code design tool that offers both visual and code options, making it a suitable choice for experienced designers and product teams. With its interactive features, high-fidelity prototypes, real-time collaboration and customization options, Framer provides a powerful platform for creating innovative visuals and complex web applications.

Main features of Framer

Framer’s component-based design system allows you to create reusable UI elements that can be used throughout your project. This not only streamlines the design process but also ensures consistency in your designs. Additionally, Framer’s Variants feature allows you to apply different styles and properties to components, allowing you to easily manage design variations in your project.

One of Framer’s flagship features is its code editor, which lets you create custom interactions and animations for a truly unique user experience. This combination of visual options and code gives you the creative freedom to bring your ideas to life, pushing the boundaries of traditional design tools.

Who can benefit from Framer?

Framer is best suited for experienced designers and product teams who need a more advanced tool to help them create prototypes and interactive designs. Its learning curve may be steeper than Webflow’s, but the added complexity provides greater creative control and flexibility, making it a great choice for those looking to push the boundaries of their designs.

Ease of use comparison

webflow vs framer usage

In terms of ease of use, Webflow and Framer are aimed at different users. Webflow’s intuitive interface and help resources make it more beginner-friendly, while Framer’s more complex nature gives experienced designers the creative freedom they desire.

Choosing between the two ultimately depends on your skill level and the specific requirements of your project.

Webflow user experience

Webflow’s user experience is designed for simplicity. Its intuitive interface makes it easy to navigate for beginners, while its extensive feature set provides ample power for more experienced users. This combination of usability and functionality makes Webflow a popular choice among novice and professional designers.

However, it should be noted that Webflow’s learning curve can be somewhat steeper for those who are new to web design tools. Fortunately, the platform offers a wealth of help resources, including video tutorials and Webflow University, to help users quickly get up to speed and start building beautiful websites.

Framer user experience

Framer’s user experience, on the other hand, is more complex but offers greater creative freedom. Its balance of visual development and code options allows designers to create high-fidelity, interactive prototypes that closely resemble the final product. This makes Framer a powerful tool for experienced designers looking to create more advanced web applications and user interfaces.

Despite its complexity, Framer offers a learning center with video tutorials to help users get familiar with the platform. Although the learning curve may be steeper than Webflow, the added functionality and creative control offered by Framer make it an attractive option for those looking for a more advanced design tool.

Pricing and plans

webflow price vs framer

When it comes to pricing and plans, Webflow and Framer offer a variety of options to meet different budgets and needs. Webflow offers several pricing options, including a 14-day free trial and website hosting.

Besides, Framer’s free plan comes with limited features and two site plans with custom pricing for businesses and startups.

Webflow Pricing

Webflow offers a free Starter plan, which includes basic design tools, hosting, and custom domains. For those looking for more features, the Basic plan starts at $14/month, while the CMS plan starts at $12/month. Business and Enterprise plans are also available for users who require more advanced features and functionality.

It’s important to note that Webflow’s price may seem high compared to other website builders on the market. However, the platform’s extensive feature set and ease of use make it a worthwhile investment for those looking to create responsive and impressive websites without having to write code.

Framer Pricing

Framer’s pricing options start with a free plan that includes limited features, such as access to landing pages with a maximum of 1000 visitors per month. For more advanced features, Framer offers paid subscription plans starting at $4/month for individual users and going up to $144/user/year for teams.

Although Framer’s pricing may be more affordable than Webflow, it’s important to consider the limitations of the free plan and weigh the costs against the benefits of the platform’s advanced design capabilities.

Ultimately, choosing between Webflow and Framer pricing plans will depend on your specific needs and budget.

Collaboration and teamwork

Collaboration and teamwork are essential aspects of web design, and both Webflow and Framer offer tools to facilitate this process.

Webflow enables collaboration between design, content, and development teams, while Framer offers real-time collaboration and a learning center to allow users to work together more efficiently.

Webflow collaboration tools

When we talk about Webflow features, Collaboration is often the tool’s downside. Designer on a Webflow site simultaneously is only possible for sites with an Enterprise plan (too expensive for ordinary people).

For the others

Framer collaboration tools

Framer, on the other hand, is designed with real-time collaboration in mind, allowing multiple users to work on a project simultaneously. This feature allows teams to create interactive prototypes more efficiently and ensures that everyone is on the same page throughout the design process.

Framer’s Learning Center, complete with tutorial videos, is another valuable resource for users looking to collaborate more effectively. By providing guidance on using the platform’s different features and tools, the learning center allows users to work together more effectively and hone their design skills.

Integrations and Compatibility

Webflow vs framer integrations

Both Webflow and Framer offer integration options to help users work seamlessly with other tools and platforms. Webflow integrates with popular third-party services like Zapier, Google Analytics, and MailChimp, while Framer integrates with design apps like Sketch, Figma, and Adobe XD.

Webflow Integrations

Webflow’s integrations with third-party services like Zapier, Google Analytics, and MailChimp allow users to streamline their workflows and enhance their websites with additional features.

These integrations allow users to connect their Webflow sites to other applications, track site performance, and manage marketing campaigns more efficiently, resulting in a more powerful web presence.

Framer Integrations

Framer, on the other hand, focuses on integration with popular design apps like Sketch, Figma, and Adobe XD. These integrations make it easy to import components and designs from other design tools, ensuring seamless workflow across platforms.

By providing compatibility with these design applications, Framer allows users to create more advanced and interactive prototypes for their projects.

Webflow vs Framer: Use cases

Use case

Depending on your specific needs and requirements, the choice between Webflow and Framer may vary. Webflow is best suited for complex custom websites, while Framer is ideal for creating interactive, high-fidelity prototypes for mobile apps and websites.

When to choose Webflow

Webflow is the ideal choice for users who want to create complex custom websites without having to write code. Its wide range of features and ease of use make it a popular choice among beginner and professional designers.

Whether you’re building a landing page, blog, portfolio, or business site, Webflow’s powerful design tools and CMS capabilities can help you create a stunning and effective web presence.

When to choose Framer

Framer, on the other hand, is best suited for users looking to create interactive and faithful prototypes for mobile apps and websites. Its advanced design capabilities and coding options provide greater creative control, making it a great choice for experienced designers and product teams looking for a more powerful prototyping tool.

Framer offers a wide range of features, including the ability to create interactive prototypes, add animations, and customize components. It also provides a library of pre-built components and templates, making it easy to get started quickly.

Webflow is more scalable

In terms of scalability, Webflow outperforms Framer because it is specifically designed for building websites and can accommodate larger projects with more pages and content. This scalability makes Webflow a more versatile solution for users looking to create complex, feature-rich websites that can grow with their needs.

The final word

In conclusion, both Webflow and Framer offer powerful visual development tools for creating impressive websites and prototypes. While Webflow is easier for beginners and suitable for complex custom websites, Framer excels at creating interactive, high-fidelity prototypes for mobile apps and websites. Ultimately, the choice between these two platforms will depend on your specific needs, your skill level and the requirements of your project. Whichever tool you choose, you’ll be well-equipped to bring your creative vision to life.

Frequently asked questions

Is Webflow or Framer better?

It really depends on what you’re trying to accomplish – Webflow is great for web design, while Framer is perfect for interactive prototyping. So depending on your goal, either one may be a good choice.

Is Framer or Webflow better for a portfolio?

It really depends on what you need and how much time you’re willing to invest. If you’re looking for a relatively simple platform with design flexibility, Framer is your best choice.

However, if you need something more detailed and interactive, Webflow might be the right choice for you.

A year on Mars: a selection of space simulations on Earth

Astronauts have been preparing for future flights to other planets for many years now. Some tests last for months and are carried out in strict isolation from the outside world.

Space agencies around the world are preparing for future exploration of other planets. To enable astronauts to work on the surface of the Moon and Mars, simulations are being developed for them with special conditions and limited communication with the outside world. RBC Trends tells what experiments are being carried out these days.

NASA: Mars and spacecraft simulations

The US space agency is conducting a series of experiments called Analog Missions to prepare astronauts for future exploration of asteroids, Mars and the Moon.

HI-SEAS

These experiments on long-term isolation of astronauts have been carried out since 2011. Thus, NASA is studying how people will work on the surface of the Moon and Mars. The agency designed the HI-SEAS Habitat dome with a living area of ​​110 square meters.

km. It includes small sleeping quarters for a crew of six and a kitchen, laboratory, bathroom, mock airlock and engineering bay. The dome is located on the slope of the Hawaiian volcano Mauna Loa, an hour’s drive from the nearest populated areas. Communication with the outside world is carried out through a special system that simulates communication on Mars with a 20-minute delay. Thus, as part of an experiment in 2017, six scientists spent a year in isolation.

They said that they lived in complete self-sufficiency, and could only go outside in special spacesuits. A total of five such experiments were conducted as part of the Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation mission.

HI-SEAS

 

HERA

NASA is conducting similar experiments in terrestrial habitats at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. However, they are intended to test crew performance in the confined space of a spacecraft during a proposed mission to Mars. Small habitat of only 60 square meters. m called Human Exploration Research Analog, or HERA , is designed as a spacecraft module with two compartments and a work area.

Teams of four work within it for 45 days. HERA allows us to study how crew members adapt to isolation, can perform scientific, operational and technical tasks, and cope with communication delays with the outside world of up to five minutes.

HERA

CHAPEA

Finally, NASA is conducting a series of experiments that simulate humans staying on Mars for a year in the Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog ( CHAPEA ) simulation. This is a habitable space of about 160 square meters. km, which was built in Houston. Elements of the space were 3D printed and include crew quarters, a kitchen and dedicated areas for medical, leisure, fitness, work and crop production, as well as a technical work area and two bathrooms.

Each mission involves four people. During the experiments, they practice spacewalks, conduct experiments, and scientists monitor their health. The first mission launched in 2023.

CHAPEA

Roscosmos: simulation of flight to the Moon

Roscosmos is conducting similar experiments at the Ground Experimental Complex of the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. As part of the SIRIUS (Scientific International Research In Unique terrestrial Station) project, astronauts live in a simulated spaceship, and researchers study indicators of their physical health and mental state.

This will make it possible to prepare crews for future long-term flights, including to the Moon. The duration of the missions was originally four months, but has now been extended to a year. The latest six-person experiment, which launched in 2023, simulates the main elements of a lunar expedition: a flight to the Moon, docking with a lunar orbital station, work in lunar orbit, and five landings of crew members to conduct operations on the surface of the satellite. Participants use suits with a virtual reality complex to exit the module, and communication with them is carried out with a delay of five minutes.

NEC is a whole complex of isolated modules, inside each of which unique temperature and pressure indicators are installed. It includes experimental installations EU-50, EU-100, EU-150 and EU-250 for scientific research and medicine, an alien surface simulator, rooms for eating, rest and personal hygiene.

NEC

Europe: work on the surface of Mars

The Austrian Space Forum (OeWF) creates its own simulations to work on the surface of other planets. Thus, on March 12, 2024, the Austrian Space Agency, in cooperation with the Armenian Space Agency, launched a mission to simulate the Martian environment within the framework of the AMADEE-24 project .

Six astronauts worked at the Armash test site in the Ararat region of Armenia until April 5. They lived in an isolated habitat and only left it wearing prototypes of the OeWF Mars suit.

Communication with the Mission Support Center in Vienna was delayed by ten minutes to simulate the distance from Earth to Mars. The mission conducted robotics and geology experiments, using drones and rovers to explore and map the environment, take soil samples and transport cargo.

The experiment took place in difficult weather conditions , and during a severe thunderstorm the roof of the shelter was even damaged. However, the OeWF said that the mission participants were able to successfully carry out most of the experiments.

Mars

Simulations of the lunar surface and spacecraft

Space agencies around the world create various simulations that allow astronauts to test the capabilities of future spacecraft and visit environments that are as close as possible to the conditions of other planets.

Thus, the European Space Agency, together with the French-Italian aerospace manufacturer Thales Alenia Space and the Spanish aerospace business group GMV, created a flight simulator Loop Flight Vehicle Engineering to simulate the landing of a module with people on the Moon. It was installed at the German Aerospace Center and has already begun to be used for training astronauts.

The simulator consists of a robotic arm with an attached flight deck capsule, which is equipped with virtual reality technologies. Astronauts are asked to go through critical scenarios associated with different stages of the flight, such as landing on an uneven surface or switching to manual control due to a technical failure. The project became part of preparations for the creation of the international lunar space station Lunar Gateway.

Simulations

And NASA has developed several simulations that simulate the lunar surface to train astronauts to navigate the lunar surface properly. The first such platform was small – 4x4x0.5 m – and was filled with a lunar regolith simulator. Now a larger site (19x4x0.3 m) has been created at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Surrounded by black walls and illuminated by a special system, it simulates the harsh conditions of the lunar surface. Astronauts move around the site in spacesuits that are not completely sealed but have the same weight as their real-life counterparts.

NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are conducting tests called Desert Research and Technology Research ( D-RATS ). As part of these experiments, two astronauts live and work in NASA’s pressurized rover prototype to prepare for future missions of the US Artemis lunar program.

The tests are being carried out in Arizona, at the Black Point site of the San Francisco volcanic field. The terrain allows teams to simulate conditions reminiscent of the Moon’s South Pole, where astronauts are planned to land.

 

 

 

OpenAI has finally created a tool that perfectly copies “voice”

Won’t this be misused?

The stories of AI and ChatGPT have become really familiar to me. If you ask questions naturally in text, it will give you answers as if you were having a conversation, and it will automate various tasks. There are many useful ways to use it, but how far will it evolve?

Voice Engine that creates your own voice

OpenAI recently announced that the development of its new tool, Voice Engine , is progressing smoothly and its official release is imminent. It is well known that OpenAI is already expanding its development fields into many fields. We have created an AI tool called “ Sora ” that generates videos , and even created a humanoid robot called “ Figure 01 ” with a partner company.

Voice Engine is based on the technology used for ChatGPT’s voice interaction function. In short, it not only answers your questions in text, but also reads them out loud and speaks to you , but by using Voice Engine, the speaking voice sounds just like your own !

Since it has not been officially released yet, we can only judge from the demo, but you will speak to the Voice Engine for about 15 seconds . Then, in the blink of an eye, their own voice was analyzed and a clone was created that spoke exactly like them. It’s amazing how he can read out anything in his own voice.

It’s convenient, but there are concerns…

OpenAI emphasizes that the possibilities of Voice Engine are endless.

For example, if a busy father or mother uses Voice Engine to completely copy their voice, they can read stories to their children using their own voice. Or, if a person who is unable to speak smoothly for various reasons can use Voice Engine to recognize their own voice, they will be able to speak fluently instead. What’s most impressive is that even though it recognizes English voices, it can even start speaking in another language using your own voice.

Voice Engine is exciting and seems like it can do a lot of amazing things. However, the fear that this could be misused, such as for example, in an “Ore-Ore” scam , probably comes to everyone’s mind.

There has already been an incident in the United States where a similar tool, ElevenLabs , was used to impersonate President Biden’s voice and send out fake election messages. Wouldn’t Voice Engine be able to do the same thing more easily?

OpenAI strives to develop AI that is safe and beneficial to everyone. In anticipation of the risk of misuse, we will take careful and sufficient measures before disclosing the information .

This was the first explanation added to the Voice Engine announcement. Naturally, with any technology, there is a risk of it being misused . However, it is still a new tool that comes with some concerns

It feels good to move forward. I took a test ride on a “bicycle that looks like a motorcycle”

The electric assist bicycle ” TROOPER-01″ was released last year in 2023 by electric mobility manufacturer YADEA JAPAN . There was a lot of feedback when I featured it in Gizmodo before , and as a vehicle lover, I’m curious about it.

I couldn’t help but test drive it at CYCLE MODE TOKYO 2024 , which is being held at Tokyo Big Sight this weekend .

A ride that turns your imagination upside down

The TROOPER-01 looks just like a motorcycle, but it is actually an electrically assisted bicycle that has been certified as a regular bicycle and a bicycle with a drive assist device .

I’m a petite person (153cm tall), so I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to reach my legs or that it might float on the test drive course, but when I actually touched it, it felt like the perfect size for me .

The weight of the bike is 36kg, which is heavier than a normal electric assist bicycle, but I didn’t find it too difficult to handle.

I’m a petite person (153cm tall), so I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to reach my legs or that it might float on the test drive course, but when I actually touched it, it felt like the perfect size for me .

The weight of the bike is 36kg, which is heavier than a normal electric assist bicycle, but I didn’t find it too difficult to handle.

What surprised me was the squishy feel of the saddle . The saddle itself is wide and large, making it feel like you’re sitting on a sofa.

I had imagined it to be hard, so the moment I stepped on it, I couldn’t help but exclaim out loud, “Wow, it’s soft!?”

DSC_8306

The test drive course was 2km (quite long). It goes around the West Hall and South Hall of Tokyo Big Sight. I mixed in with the other cool riders and rode as much as I wanted.

DSC_8526
The test drive course looks like this

If it’s your first time riding a bicycle, it might take some time to get used to it, as you might feel unsteady when you start pedaling, but the tires are so thick that it feels very stable . The ride was so comfortable that I couldn’t believe it was my first time.

Due to the course’s many curves, I wasn’t able to go very fast, but the more I rowed, the more I felt like I was progressing faster and faster.

The brakes are also equipped with hydraulic discs, so you can rest assured that the bike will come to a firm stop.

Easy-to-use design even for bicycle beginners

There are three driving modes , which can be operated using the LCD display on the left handlebar. It’s pretty intuitive with only three buttons: power on/off and assist switching . You can also see the speed you are driving at a glance.

DSC_8293

There is a light and warning button on the right handle . When pressed, it makes a beep sound.

DSC_8296

There is also space under the frame for storing small items . Since there is no front basket, it might be quite convenient to have something like this.

DSC_8304

The test drive was fun.

Exhausted from walking around Tokyo Big Sight, I found myself wishing I could just sit on the squishy saddle of TROOPER-01 forever .

What is the eclipse corridor and when will it be in 2024

An eclipse corridor is a pseudoscientific term that describes the gap between two real astronomical phenomena. Let’s figure out what it means and why astrologers recommend not doing anything during this period

This material is published as part of the “ Mythbusting ” project, where we talk about controversial phenomena, the reliability of which has not been proven in the academic environment. We are trying to figure out what is truth and what is fiction. When writing articles, authors think critically and use a scientific approach to avoid spreading false information.

Content:

  • What is an eclipse corridor
  • What not to do
  • How does the eclipse corridor affect a person?
  • When it will be

What is an eclipse corridor?

The eclipse corridor is the period between lunar and solar eclipses. It usually lasts about two weeks. The maximum number of such periods per year is four, the minimum is two. This variability is because the Moon’s orbit is inclined relative to the Earth’s by about five degrees, and celestial bodies do not very often find themselves on the same straight line [1].

In astrology, it is believed that certain “energy flows” of the Earth change during the eclipse corridor. Their transformation supposedly depends on the constellations, and this process affects the mental state of people: feelings of anxiety, fear, and apathy may increase.

Astrological sites describe a solar eclipse as “a time of crisis, transformation, and rethinking, but also a lack of clarity, clouding.” A lunar eclipse supposedly “sharpened feelings and emotions, revealed secret, repressed desires, and activated intuition and understanding of one’s spiritual goals.”

Moon eclipse

A lunar eclipse is a natural phenomenon in which the Earth blocks the sunlight reaching the Moon and forms a shadow on its surface. From an astronomical point of view, the phenomenon is distinguished by its relative frequency: an average of three such phenomena occur every year.

On average, a visible lunar eclipse occurs anywhere on Earth once every 2.5 years. Usually, the phenomenon lasts several hours.

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse

A solar eclipse is a phenomenon of a similar nature, in which the Moon can be seen from Earth completely covering the Sun. The Moon, being between the Earth and the Sun, casts a shadow on the Earth. The phenomenon occurs only on a new moon when the Moon is on the same line between the Earth and the Sun.

A new moon occurs approximately once a month. And solar eclipses occur from two to five in one year. The last time there were five solar eclipses was in 1935; such a phenomenon will not happen again until 2206 [2].

What “not to do” during the eclipse corridor

corridor

Astrologers believe that the eclipse corridor is a turbulent period during which there is no need to make important decisions. Therefore, in the two weeks between two astronomical phenomena, astrologers do not advise doing the following things:

  • make health decisions: visit clinics, take medications, sign up for medical tests;
  • work with finances: borrow money and repay debts, apply for loans, study inheritance issues;
  • change work activity: quit and get hired for a new job, launch new projects, look for employees;
  • make decisions in your personal life: start or end a relationship, file for divorce or get married, propose, decide to move in with a partner;
  • travel: buy tickets, use airline services, plan a vacation or time off.

How does the eclipse corridor affect a person?

NASA experts emphasize that the connection of eclipse corridors with bad events is an example of the “illusion of confirmation” [4] . This is the name of one of the common cognitive distortions, in which the brain selects information that supports a certain point of view and ignores facts that contradict it.

As a result, a person pays attention exclusively to those examples that seem true to him, forgetting about dozens of refutations. The space agency adds: “This interpretation is often found in astrological forecasts, which are based on coincidences and unscientific beliefs that celestial phenomena control human behavior. This is a logically flawed use of the illusion of confirmation. Apart from human psychology, nothing connects eclipses with life changes” [5] .

The only real health impact a solar eclipse can have is damage to the eyes. If a person observes an astronomical phenomenon without protection – special glasses or a welding mask – his vision will suffer. Alexander Kuskov, an ophthalmologist at the Eye Microsurgery Center “I See” in St.

Petersburg, explains : “In childhood, many played with a magnifying glass and know how easily on a sunny day you can use it to set something on fire. In the eye, the role of such a collecting lens is played by the lens and cornea. The sun’s rays during an eclipse are strong enough to focus on an unprotected eye and cause a burn to the macula, the center of the retina.”

When will the eclipse corridor occur in 2024?

In 2024 there will be two eclipse corridors. In the spring, this will happen from March 25 (lunar eclipse) to April 8 (solar eclipse), and in the fall – from September 18 to October 2. However, none of the astronomical phenomena will be visible. You can watch them live on the NASA or The Weather Channel YouTube channels.

Spring eclipse corridor

On March 25, 2024, a penumbral lunar eclipse occurred. In this case, the outer part of the Earth’s shadow is cast onto the lunar surface. This is the weakest type of astronomical phenomenon and the most difficult to observe. The eclipse could be seen in the skies over North and South America, Northeast Asia, Australia, much of Africa and Antarctica, as well as over the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

There will be a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, which will also only be visible to residents of North America.

Autumn eclipse corridor
On September 18, a partial lunar eclipse will occur: a fragment of the Moon will fall into the Earth’s shadow, which will look like “biting off” part of the lunar surface. However, it will occur in the skies over North and South America, Western Europe and East Asia.

On October 2, an annular solar eclipse will occur: a brilliant ring around the dark disk of the star will be visible. This astronomical phenomenon will be noticeable in Antarctica, North and South America, as well as in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Module “Odyssey”, or Nova-C: the first US flight to the Moon in 50 years

There are enormous frozen water accumulations at the Moon’s South Pole. Odyssey, the first-ever private lunar module, was sent there to investigate this area. We describe the type of equipment and its necessity.

Lunar module “Odyssey”: what kind of device is it

Nova-C, or Odyssey, is a private lunar lander from Houston-based Intuitive Machines. It is a hexagonal cylinder with six landing pads. Its height is 4 m, width is 1.57 m and its weight is 1908 kg. Nova-C can deliver about 100 kg of payload to the lunar surface. The mission that sent Odyssey to the Moon is called IM-1.

Why was the lunar module Odyssey launched?

Odyssey is one of the landers that NASA will launch in 2024 to prepare for manned flights as part of the Artemis program. These devices are designed to deliver cargo to the Moon that will be needed by expedition participants. From 2025, the agency plans to send people to the Earth’s satellite (first it should be a manned flight and in the future – landing).

For the module to operate successfully, it was equipped with six NASA scientific instruments included in the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. It aims to use privately owned spacecraft to collect data that will pave the way for a permanent human presence on and around the Moon.

For example, the module is equipped with a laser retroreflector that helps other spacecraft make precise landings. This radio navigation beacon provides geolocation data to landers and astronauts, stereo cameras, and an apparatus for studying gas on the lunar surface.

What were the launch, flight, and landing like?

The launch was planned for February 14 but was postponed a day due to environmental conditions. The module was launched from Cape Canaveral. The device was delivered into space by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Its first stage successfully landed back on Earth.

Odyssey entered lunar orbit on February 21 and reached the surface of the satellite on February 23. The device landed 1.5 km from the intended target – the Malapert A crater, 300 km from the South Pole. However, the module flew too fast and caught on the surface of the satellite during the landing.

It was planned that the device would work on the Moon for 14 Earth days – until the onset of a long cold period, which the module was unable to survive. However, due to an unsuccessful landing, the process ended early. The device landed on its side and stopped working as soon as the light stopped hitting the solar panels.

At the same time, the rest of the equipment and payload worked normally, – researchers from Earth managed to obtain an array of data. What will happen next with the device is still unknown.

The Odyssey, in addition to scientific instruments, transported payloads from six private companies to the Earth’s satellite. Here’s what’s left on the Moon:

  • Columbia’s Omni-Heat Infinity aerospace heat-reflective material;
  • the EagleCam camera system from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University;
  • a sculpture by artist Jeff Koons of 125 miniature stainless steel moon phases;
  • the ILO-X device to create an observatory at the satellite’s South Pole;
  • monograms from the Galactic Heritage Laboratory with data from cultural archives and Wikipedia entries;

digital media for the first data bank on the Moon from Lonestar data holdings.
Nova-C became the first private lunar lander in history and the first US spacecraft on Earth’s satellite since 1972.

Prospects

Intuitive Machines received $77 million for three missions to land unmanned vehicles on the Moon as part of NASA’s program. All of them require the use of Nova-C modules. The company is already working on preparing a second flight. The new device will carry other payloads.

So, they are going to send a small autonomous robot “Hopper” on its next flight. It will detach from the lander and descend into permanently shadowed areas inside lunar craters, study them, and then return. Sunlight never reaches its bottom, and the material accumulated there may contain new information about our solar system.

Without a steering wheel or pedals: how modern robotaxis work

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Traveling without drivers has already become a reality for residents of some cities. Companies are not only developing fleets of such machines but also offering completely new concepts

Five to seven years ago, car manufacturers predicted that autonomous driving technology would become widespread by 2020. Now the developers admit that the task turned out to be much more difficult and expensive than expected. However, autonomous cars are already appearing on city streets in the form of robotaxis. RBC Trends talks about the latest projects in this area.

Where there is already a robotaxi

Cruise, backed by General Motors, launched the fully driverless Chevy Bolt robotaxi service in Austin, Texas, Phoenix, and San Francisco in 2022. The company also plans to test its next-generation Origin robotaxi on public roads in San Francisco by the end of 2023. The car looks like a shuttle without a steering wheel or pedals.

And Uber and self-driving technology maker Motional began developing their robotaxi service in Las Vegas in 2022. From the beginning of 2023, the service can also be ordered at night.

Lyft’s robotaxi service, which was also launched jointly with Motional, already operates in this city. A similar service is being developed in Los Angeles. Motional supplies Hyundai IONIQ5 electric vehicles to Uber and Lyft robotaxis.

Lyft also teamed up with self-driving software startup Argo AI and Ford to launch robotaxis in Miami and Austin. Passengers are transported by Ford Escape hybrid vehicles.

robotaxiIn China, the robotaxi niche has been occupied by the tech giant Baidu, which is testing its self-driving cars in 10 cities across the country.

Toyota is currently testing its e-Palette robotic shuttles without a steering wheel or pedals only in isolated areas. Thus, robotaxis were tested in the Olympic Village during the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2021. Then there were some incidents, and the tests had to be stopped to improve the car.

steering

Tesla, which has been promising to release its robotaxi for several years now, confirmed its intentions at the December presentation of the Semi electric trucks in 2022 . In 2023, Tesla announced the creation of driverless taxis without control devices – a steering wheel and pedals. The company promises to show the first such car in 2024.

At the same time, companies are developing new robotaxi projects that can be seen on the roads in the near future.

Taxi without a steering wheel

Waymo, which is owned by Alphabet, announced a new robotaxi for its service in December 2022. Waymo’s current cars are the Chrysler Pacifica and Jaguar I-Pace, which have different cameras and sensors, but are otherwise similar to regular models. However, as part of the Google Self-Driving Car Project, a Firefly model will be released without a steering wheel.

Robotaxi was developed jointly with the Chinese Geely. It has two seats in the front and a screen in the center between them. It displays self-driving status (such as Yield to Pedestrian), maps, and music controls. Additional screens are installed behind the driver and front passenger seats for the second row. Robotaxis are expected to join taxi service Waymo One’s fleet “in the coming years.”

The company has already rolled out its service in Texas, Arizona, New York and San Francisco , and now its taxi will appear in Los Angeles. For now it is being tested with the participation of company employees. Finally, Waymo and Uber will launch a joint project in which users will be able to order a robotaxi for a ride or food delivery. It will launch later in 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Taxi with a futuristic interior

In 2021, the American startup Zoox presented the concept of a robotic car of the future without the usual interior. The car is completely symmetrical – it has neither front nor rear, allowing the car to move in any direction.

All components in the design are duplicated, including motors and sensors. There are two lidars installed at each corner of the vehicle: one looking outwards and the other downwards. There are also three cameras installed in each corner. Two additional cameras were placed on the roof and five radars were placed in each corner.

There are four seats in the cabin, and passengers sit facing each other. There is also a small display and charging ports inside. There is no driver’s seat, as well as usual elements like a steering wheel inside the car. Zoox’s self-driving technology stack is based on mapping, and the company creates HD maps of the region before hitting the streets.

Each wheel of the robocar can spin independently, and in many cases the car doesn’t even need to turn to change direction, but just go in the other direction. The vehicle is designed for city travel, but can reach speeds of up to 120 km/h on highways.

Zoox has no plans to supply its vehicles to other companies with robotaxi fleets. In February 2023, the startup first tested its car with passengers on public roads. The shuttle will now be used for employees.

Budget robotaxi

In July 2022, Chinese Baidu showed a new generation robotaxi Apollo RT6 without a steering wheel. Its cost was reduced by half compared to its predecessor. Apollo RT6 costs $37 thousand. The robotic vehicle will begin testing in the second half of 2023.

Apollo RT6 runs on Baidu Xinghe’s proprietary architecture. The vehicle is equipped with 38 sensors, including eight lidars, six millimeter-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic radars and 12 cameras, to accurately detect objects over long distances. The RT6 also has seven redundant systems, including redundancy in the architecture, compute units, and braking system, so that if any single component fails, it can function.

Apollo RT6 supports both steering and steering-free modes. The front panel of the car can be equipped with a table or game console, depending on the wishes of the passengers. Driving technology is equivalent to the driving style of a person with 20 years of experience, developers say

Baidu already operates autonomous taxi service Apollo Go in Changsha and Cangzhou. In November 2021, the company launched a commercial service for ordering an unmanned taxi in Beijing, and in August 2022 – in Wuhan and Chongqing .

Robo minivan

Zeekr, owned by Geely, unveiled the M-Vision robotaxi minivan concept in November 2022 . It is based on the company’s new SEA-M architecture and will be part of Waymo’s fleet in the US.

The minivan was equipped with a set of sensors for autonomous driving installed on the roof, bumpers, fenders and rear side panels of the body. There is no steering wheel in the cabin, so all five seats are reserved for passengers. The dashboard is a large touch screen with speakers on the sides.

On the display, passengers can enter destinations, play media, and view their route and surroundings. There’s another pair of tablets on the backs of the two front seats, and rear seat passengers can do the same.

The front seats in the cabin can swivel 180 degrees, creating a living room atmosphere combined with folding tables and large built-in screens. Zeekr says this will allow you to work and have meetings while traveling, relaxing, or even sleeping.

The new SEA-M platform is an advanced version of the architecture that already underpins models from Volvo, Polestar, Lotus and others. Zeekr claims that its robotaxi will be able to cover up to 500 thousand km over five years of operation when working 16 hours a day.

Taxi with robotic arm

robotic

In 2023, the Chinese company Didi presented the concept of an unmanned taxi Neuron with a robotic arm. When landing, it extends out of the trunk and helps passengers load luggage. There is no space for the driver inside the car. The drone itself is 4.5 m long and equipped with eight cameras, and a screen with video games is installed in the cabin. Didi expects that such robotaxis will join its fleet in 2025.