Google Gains Approval to Launch Project Soli, Sony’s New 3D Sensors for Face Recognition, the GIMP Team Looks Back at 2018 and Shares Plans for 2019, Thunderbird Also Publishes a Retrospective and Look Forward, and xfce4-panel 4.13.4 Was Released

News briefs for January 2, 2019.

Google has received approval from the FCC to launch Project Soli, a
radar-based motion-sensing device. Reuters
that the FCC “would grant Google a waiver to operate the Soli
sensors at higher power levels than currently allowed. The FCC said the
sensors can also be operated aboard aircraft.
The FCC said the decision ‘will serve the public interest by providing
for innovative device control features using touchless hand gesture
technology.'” Originally Facebook had voiced concern that “the Soli sensors
operating in the spectrum band at higher power levels might have issues
coexisting with other technologies.”

Sony is set to produce the “next generation of visual-processing chips with a set of
new 3D sensors”. According to The
, “the most intriguing aspect of this new tech would appear to be a
better form of face identification than we currently have”. In addition,
Sony’s 3D sensor “is said to deploy laser pulses, which, much like a
bat’s echolocation, creates a depth map of its surroundings by measuring
how long a pulse takes to bounce back. Sony’s sensor chief argues this
produces more detailed models of users’ faces, plus it apparently works
from as far away as five meters (16 feet).”

The GIMP team has posted look
back at 2018 and an outline showing future plans for GIMP, GEGL and
. Development has been focusing on refactoring, usability, smart
colorization, extension management and more. The team plans to ship 2.10.x
updates throughout 2019 and version 2.10.10 should be out this month or next.
See the blog
for ways you can contribute.

The Thunderbird team has also published a 2018 retrospective and a look at
what’s ahead for the new year. The team has added more full-time staff
members, and they are focusing on “making Thunderbird fly faster” and making
a “more beautiful (and useable) Thunderbird”. See the Mozilla
for all the details.

4.13.4 was released today
. According to the Simon’s Secret blog post,
this release includes a new plugin icon size feature, correct menu
positioning, tasklist fixes and small theming updates. You can get it from here.

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