This Week in Tech – 12/17/2017

Elon Musk Says Humans Should Already Have A Moon Base

Space entrepreneur Elon Musk weighed in on humanity’s endeavors beyond earth Tuesday after President Donald Trump signed a directive ordering NASA to focus on the moon and Mars. “It is high time that humanity went beyond Earth,” Musk tweeted. “Should have a moon base by now and sent astronauts to Mars. The future needs to inspire.” Trump signed an order Monday directing NASA administrator Robert M. Lightfoot Jr. to point the organization’s efforts toward human exploration, starting on the moon, according to New Scientist. The directive was issued on the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 17 moon landing


PepsiCo Reserves 100 Tesla Semis, Likely at $20,000 a Pop

“Reuters reported on Tuesday that PepsiCo had recently placed 100 reservations for Tesla Semis. The order is the largest public one to date and may have cost the food and beverage manufacturer as much as $2,000,000. (The Wall Street Journal reported in November that Tesla had bumped the price of reservations from $5,000 each to $20,000 each.) However, PepsiCo did not comment on how much it actually paid Tesla or whether its reservations were to buy the trucks outright or lease them


Forget Tesla’s Solar Roof: This Startup Tells Us Solar Window Is the Future

While Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been grappling with tiles that harvest sunlight to power homes, Maryland-based SolarWindow thinks the future could come from a different angle. The company claims that, when installed on a 50-story building, its solar windows could generate up to 50 times more power than conventional roof panels


A Robot Can Print This $64,000 House in as Few as 8 Hours — Take a Look Inside

Building a house by hand can be both time-consuming and expensive. Some homebuilders have chosen to automate part of the construction instead. A new Ukrainian homebuilding startup called PassivDom uses a 3D printing robot that can print parts for tiny houses. The machine can print the walls, roof, and floor of PassivDom’s 410-square-foot model in about eight hours. The windows, doors, plumbing, and electrical systems are then added by a human worker


A Low Price Comes With a Steep Learning Curve on Monoprice’s $160 3D Printer

Monoprice’s Mini Delta is a pint-sized powerhouse for experienced 3D printing gurus


This Autonomous Helicopter Can Be Controlled With Just a Tablet

Aurora Flight Sciences, an aviation and aeronautics research company, recently demonstrated a fully autonomous military helicopter that can be controlled remotely with just a tablet. During a demonstration at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia, an old UH-1H Huey helicopter flew three missions to deliver cargo without a pilot on the controls and with two infantrymen providing minimal instructions from a small hand-held tablet and a laptop


This AMOLED Button Can Apparently Play GIFs From Your Jacket

A company called Beam Authentic is asking an important question: why wear a brooch that can only show one look, when you can wear a small AMOLED screen and display GIFs? That might not be a question many have considered or even a thing anyone needs, but Beam is promising a button that can play still and moving images, as well as custom messages, on its 400 x 400 AMOLED screen, as spotted by Android Police

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