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The 22-year-old Brit watches this drama not through the visor of a helmet, but on the screen of a racing simulator. Baldwin is among the best esports drivers in the world, one of several dozen who earn a living competing in the digital domain. Now he’s preparing for his professional motor-sports debut on a bona fide road course.

Baldwin earned his shot a few months earlier, when he won the second season of World’s Fastest Gamer, a reality television series that saw 10 would-be Mario Andrettis compete for the chance to go wheel-to-wheel with seasoned pros. They raced on virtual and physical asphalt and dirt tracks and faced a series of challenges designed to test their problem-solving and leadership skills. When filming started in October 2023, Baldwin hadn’t done much more real-world driving than tooling around town. Fourteen days later, he crossed the finish line at Las Vegas Motor Speedway doing more than 130 miles per hour in a machine he called “fast enough to be scary.”

That isn’t as foolhardy as it might sound. Hyper-realistic driving games and hardware that mimic the sensation of hurtling around a track have made it possible to go racing with minimal experience in a proper car. Research suggests that the skills needed to master titles like Gran Turismo or Forza apply to competing in events like the 24 Hours of LeMans, one of the most grueling contests in motor sports. Baldwin now joins a handful of sim hotshots who have made that jump, something you don’t see in other sports, says Darren Cox, who launched World’s Fastest Gamer after a career in the auto industry. He notes that people who excel at, say, playing soccer on their Xbox aren’t going to find themselves appearing in the World Cup. “You can’t kick a ball around in FIFA and become the next Ronaldo,” he says.

The line between the virtual and real worlds began to blur in 2008, when Cox launched GT Academy, a TV program that turned gamers into drivers. When the show’s inaugural winner went on to finish second at LeMans in 2011, Formula One, Nascar, and other leagues started paying attention. Several have since joined the automakers that compete in them to launch online teams and tournaments in a bid to attract new drivers and, more importantly, fans. Many involved see gamers crossing over in greater numbers within the decade.

Not everyone believes the next champions will emerge from the world of esports, however. Skeptics argue that the physical and mental demands—let alone the inherent feel for the machinery—needed to compete at the upper echelons require experience, not simulation.

Baldwin is determined to prove them wrong. After winning his shot, he started working with a coach to hone the skills to handle the 700-odd-horsepower McLaren he’ll drive throughout Europe sometime in 2023. As he clocked hours in the simulator and miles around Silverstone, the COVID-19 pandemic put the date of his debut on hold. Nonetheless, Baldwin will spend the intervening time enduring an arduous schedule of workouts to prepare his body—and mind—for the challenges ahead. “This has been my dream since I was a kid,” he says. “Because of my esports experience over the last couple of years, I believe I will be able to compete at a very high level in the real world.”

Esports ace James Baldwin with the ­McLaren he’ll drive in his live racing debut. The Voorhes

On a bright, clear morning in November 2023, Baldwin and three other finalists on World’s Fastest Gamer stood on the pavement of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The circuit, 20 minutes northeast of the Strip, has seen Nascar drivers approach 200 mph, but no one had any illusions of reaching such a number during the 22-minute dash that would determine the show’s grand prize winner. Moments later, Baldwin pulled a helmet over his spiky blond hair and folded himself into a sleek fiberglass-bodied racer called a Mitjet EXR LV02.

The pack sprinted away from the starting line. Californian Mitchell de Jong led for two laps before Baldwin squeaked by. He ruthlessly built a 10-second lead—forever in auto racing—by the time the checkered flag waved. Cox congratulated him as he climbed from the cockpit, sweaty and elated. “We’ve just watched a group of kids, most of whom had never raced a car in their lives, get into a superfast sports car and dominate this track after just two weeks of practice,” Cox said.

Baldwin began training for his big-time debut two months later. He started at Brands Hatch Circuit, near London, before switching to Silverstone. The track is not far from where he grew up watching Formula One, the pinnacle of motor sports. At an age when most kids learn to ride a bike, he begged his mother and father to let him take up karting, often the first step toward a career as a throttle jockey. As hobbies go, it’s not cheap—a few thousand for a decent machine, and, at the uppermost levels, as much as six figures in expenses each season. Still, they relented, and over the next several years Baldwin did well enough to move up in 2023 at age 17 to a larger, more powerful ride in the Formula Ford division. He entered four events in six months, compiling a decent record but spending $20,000 doing it. “My parents were like, ‘We have to stop now,’” he recalls after a session in the simulator at the track.

Baldwin switched to playing the racing sim Project Cars in his bedroom when he wasn’t in a classroom studying engineering. The title is among the most popular in a genre that dates to 1974, when people used to drop quarters into Atari’s Gran Trak 10 arcade game, which featured a genuine steering wheel, shift lever, and pedals. Despite the realistic hardware, the experience was more Mario Kart than Indy 500. That remained the norm until the mid-1990s and the debut of seminal titles like Gran Turismo, Grand Prix Legends, and others that featured lifelike physics, environments, and driving techniques.

The rise of online gaming in the early 2000s has allowed players to compete against each other, more like they would on the track. Dabblers get by with consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but hardcore competitors often favor computers with peripherals like a steering wheel, shifter, pedals, and seat. “Once I transitioned to a more realistic simulator, not only did I get faster, but I had more fun,” Baldwin says.

He started entering tournaments and in 2023, at age 20, joined Veloce Esports, a gaming team in London. He quit school, and within a year ranked among the world’s top competitors in Project Cars 2, prompting Cox to offer him a spot on World’s Fastest Gamer.

Cox grew up wanting to try karting, but turned to video games because his parents couldn’t afford it. He studied politics and economics in college before going to work for Renault and then Nissan, where he led its global competition operation. The automaker launched a marketing campaign with Gran Turismo in 2006, and Cox invited aficionados of the game to lap a track with professional drivers. “Some of the instructors came up to me after and said, ‘You know, a bunch of these guys can really drive,’” he says. “That was my light bulb moment.” Seeing a chance to cultivate talent and attract new racing fans, in 2008 Cox launched GT Academy, an unprecedented television series in which Gran Turismo players competed for a seat on Nissan’s racing team. The show, filmed in Britain, ran for eight seasons, aired in 160 countries, and drew 100 million viewers at its peak.

A new generation of drivers are getting their start on consoles instead of racecars. The Voorhes

It also launched several careers—impressive, given that most contestants had never climbed behind the wheel of anything faster than the family hauler. The show’s first winner, Lucas Ordoñez of Spain, has since competed in 112 events and racked up 21 top-three finishes, including two at LeMans. Jann Mardenborough earned his driver’s license just two years before winning season three. Nissan spent six months preparing the Brit for the 2011 24H Dubai endurance race, where his team placed third. He’s been at it ever since. “The transition from the virtual to the real world felt completely normal,” says Mardenborough, who now competes with Kondo Racing in the Japanese Super GT series. “Being a 19-year-old at the time probably helped; I didn’t have the self-preservation part of my brain telling me to back off.”

The pivot could not have come at a better time. Formula One saw viewership in Britain, where most teams are based, plummet 24 percent between 2023 and 2023. Nascar has lost more than half of its live and TV audience since 2014. The sport is on a “constant quest” to counter declining viewership, and “esports presents an intriguing opportunity to access a potentially valuable new demographic,” according to a 2023 report by Nielsen analysts. The tactic worked for soccer. A 2023 University of Michigan study cited the success of the FIFA game franchise as a factor in the sport’s surging popularity in the US.

In 2023, Cox founded his own outfit, which joined the Canadian firm Torque Esports in 2023. One year later, he launched World’s Fastest Gamer. The first season aired on ESPN and CNBC. Some 400 million people tuned in, and Rudy van Buren of the Netherlands won the grand prize: a job as a simulation driver for McLaren Racing, helping perform virtual tests of its Formula One cars. Impressive, but Baldwin will face the ultimate challenge of driving a McLaren 720S GT3 for Jenson Team Rocket RJN in the 2023 GT World Challenge endurance championship series. “Of course people in recent years have been on a similar journey, going from esports into the real world, but no one has gone in at the level of racing we are,” Baldwin says. “I am determined to show what is possible.”

Given Baldwin’s resolve to prove he can handle a $600,000 carbon-fiber rocket on wheels, it is perhaps ironic that he still spends much of his time in a simulator. But then, so do many pros. Teams at every level rely on the machines, which can cost as much as eight figures, to precisely replicate navigating any course, in any conditions. They allow drivers to acquaint themselves with a car or track and help engineers analyze vehicle performance. The technology is so precise that it has in many cases largely replaced expensive physical testing.

That explains why Baldwin’s training relies so heavily on it. If he isn’t in his rig at home, he is squeezed into the form-fitting seat of a simulator built by Allinsports, an Italian firm founded by a former Formula One engineer. His hands grip a steering wheel flanked by gearshift paddles (the computerized controls long ago replaced conventional stick shifts), and his feet depress gas and brake pedals. His eyes rarely leave the curved 48-inch screen before him. The hardware, about the size of a recliner, sits in the corner of a conference room overlooking Silverstone.

An off-the-shelf program called rFactor 2 allows Baldwin to experience nearly any circuit in the world, in any of dozens of cars. He can adjust his ride’s suspension, tune its engine, even customize the paint job. The software models factors like the damage tires sustain in a skid and how traction varies as the rubber wears and pavement conditions change. The system uses these calculations to provide surprisingly tactile feedback. The steering wheel shudders and vibrates, the brake pedal demands a firm push, and, like the McLaren he’ll drive, everything requires a deft touch to avoid a stall or spin.

James Baldwin practicing in a racing simulator. The Voorhes

Evidence suggests the skills Baldwin has honed in the digital realm will serve him well as he crosses over. Cognitive psychologists at New York University Shanghai and the University of Hong Kong showed that gamers are much better than other people at processing visual information and acting on it. They also found that driving sims can help anyone “significantly improve” those abilities in just five to 10 hours, leading the researchers to believe that such software could be effective training tools. Their 2023 study builds on work by Daphne Bavelier and Adrien Chopin, cognitive neuroscientists at the University of Geneva and the Sorbonne in Paris, respectively; their 2012 inquiry revealed that playing titles that feature highly dynamic situations and demand rapid decision-making can improve perception, attention span, and spatial cognition. Chopin has little doubt that esports players can become racers, given the authenticity of the vehicles, environments, and controllers. “Because of these characteristics, it is essentially the same task,” he says. “What you learn in the game should be transferable.”

Still, Baldwin knows he must hone his abilities through real-world experience. He’s lapped Silverstone in several cars, learning how to handle them at racing speeds. (So far he’s achieved 170 mph.)

This past March, he spent two days zipping around Circuit Paul Ricard in France in the McLaren. “The team was very happy with my performance,” he says. “They said my pace and consistency were great. And I didn’t crash, which was a massive tick in the box for them.” Naturally, he crammed for that test by driving a virtual version. Still, Baldwin concedes there are some things a simulator can’t prepare him for. “A real car is hot, it’s sweaty, it vibrates,” he says. “It sounds silly, but you don’t actually realize this until you get in and start driving.”

Beyond heat and noise, gamers have a lot to learn. They often miss subtle signals from the tires and suspension that can help them go faster and avoid problems, says Ross Bentley, a coach who has trained them. And while esports drivers possess excellent reflexes, concentration, and hand-eye coordination, they often lack the fitness long stints at speed require, says Mia Sharizman of Renault Sport Academy, the automaker’s driver recruiting program. During a race, competitors can lose several pounds, experience as much as five times the force of gravity, and endure heart rates as high as 170 beats per minute. “You need to be able to have core and neck strength to withstand the extreme G-forces, leg strength for the braking, and, most importantly, mental fortitude to be able to function while knowing that your life is at risk,” Sharizman says. “It’s extremely difficult to replicate that type of scenario and environment.”

Fortunately, Baldwin has some appreciation of this from his childhood racing experience. He’s working with Simon Fitchett, who has spent seven years training Formula One drivers, to prepare his body and further sharpen his concentration. “It’s hard to focus my mind sometimes,” he says. But the greatest challenge may lie in mastering fear, something Juan Pablo Montoya, whose long career includes stints in Formula One and Nascar, saw competitors struggle with while he was a judge on World’s Fastest Gamer. “A fast corner in a simulator is nothing. You press a button and you try and you try until you get it right,” he says. “When you’re doing 150 or 180 miles per hour on a track in a corner and you have to keep your foot down, the reality sets in. That’s when you’re going to start seeing the difference between the guys who can make it in reality and the guys who can only make it in esports.”

Baldwin will face that test when he finally rolls up to the starting line at Brands Hatch Circuit outside London, fulfilling a childhood dream. He has no doubt he’ll pass. “As long as I’m finishing first,” he says, flashing a cheeky grin, “then it should all be good, right?”

This story appeared in the Summer 2023, Play issue of Popular Science.

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Virtual Assistants: The Next Generation Of Digital Signage

Technologically-savvy shoppers are demanding a more interactive retail environment. In response, retailers are opting for digital solutions that bridge traditional and virtual shopping experiences. Interactive digital signage is just one example. Through display technology, retailers are creating virtual assistants that drive customer loyalty through more engaging experiences.

Desktops, laptops, in-store kiosks and, increasingly, mobile devices already make today’s consumers more connected than ever. With these virtual assistants, users have instant access to real-time information, and quite often they can retrieve this information even faster than retail associates. According to a 2014 report by Deloitte, shoppers who use electronic devices during their shopping journey convert at a 40 percent higher rate. Forward-thinking brands are utilizing virtual assistant technology to attract these tech-savvy customers.

Tapping into Digital Signage

Digital signage is creating customer awareness and guiding shoppers to their next purchase. These next-generation signage solutions are designed to engage with increasingly tech-savvy shoppers and drive purchase decisions. Retailers use electronic signage, usually commercial grade LCD displays, to feature a brand or promotion in store. While the earliest versions of digital signage featured what equated to slide shows of static, unrelated messages, newer iterations have evolved into interactive touch-screen appliances that use full-motion video to emulate websites, promote product browsing or enable online shopping. Innovative deployments are moving beyond one-way communication, promoting interaction between customers and sales associates. For example, some screens allow store associates to access corporate pages, where they can educate shoppers about merchandise and access individual shopper histories to streamline the in-store journey. With so many ways to deliver information, virtual assistants are setting the tone for improving in-store service.

Even though robust functionality creates purchase opportunities, brands need to use display technology smartly if they want to engage with today’s informed, always-connected shoppers. Sales floor real estate is shrinking, and with consumers’ attention turned toward personal devices, placement is a major consideration when trying to maximize space and effectiveness. Fortunately, virtual assistants can be used to help display large items such as cars, furniture and mechanical equipment. They can also reduce the amount of stock kept in the storefront, leaving more open space to create an appealing, comfortable atmosphere.

Samsung is helping to drive adoption of virtual assistants through its new range of small-sized Smart Signage displays. Designed to replace static posters and appeal to shoppers’ comfort level with personal technology, these displays incorporate powerful system-on-chip processors and Wi-Fi® connectivity, so no external media player or ethernet cabling is required. The compact 22-inch model can be used in fitting rooms, above the sales floor or behind the cash wrap to catch the attention of busy customers. Alternatively, the smaller 10-inch version is the perfect fit for shelf fixtures and wall-mounted kiosks to help browsing shoppers find their next purchase. For the retailer, Samsung’s MagicInfo Content Management software allows staff to create and change messaging from a single central location. Text, photos, videos, templates and display schedules can all be modified from an online dashboard. By programming the displays once, they can automatically turn on in the morning and off in the evening, or be set to show targeted messaging depending on the time of day.

Considering digital signage solutions for your store? Visit Samsung’s Smart Signage page to see which display is right for you.

How To Inspire The Next Generation

We have a genuine crisis in this country in the basic understanding of science. It affects our global competitiveness as a country, our national security, and I would argue equally it affects the effectiveness of our democracy. We know that an awful lot of teachers who are teaching science today have not been properly empowered to do so. Science is not just a body of facts; it’s a process. And to present it with appeal and excitement you need to portray it as a detective story—asking questions, making observations, and amassing evidence. You test and you fail because, you know, failing can lead to eureka.

One of the challenges we face is that science is often viewed as too hard, for experts only. But I don’t actually think it’s that difficult. People see science every day. They look outside and they see weather and nature. They push a button in their house and the lights go on. Everybody’s dealing with science every day. They just don’t call it that. And it’s important they do. More and more science determines the quality and the outcomes of life for humanity but also more broadly, for the environment and all the other species that share this world with us.

That’s where the AMNH can help. We have extraordinary assets: over 33 million specimens and artifacts, one of, if not the largest, natural history library in the Western hemisphere, over 200 research scientists, and a core of very sophisticated educators on staff. Then, of course, we have the museum—what it shows, what it demonstrates, and the way it draws people into science and understanding humanity’s place in a scientific world and environment.

We need to portray science as a detective story—asking questions, making observations, and amassing evidence.

One thing we try to do is engage people in science from very young ages. We have programs for kids from two up. We try to get them fluent, comfortable and naturally engaged with science. And then we try to keep them. For example, we know that middle school is sort of an inflection point. If we don’t engage students with science in middle school the fall off in pursuing science after that is high. To address that need, we created the Urban Advantage program. It is directed at eighth grade students and junior high school teachers here in New York. Working with teachers and their students as the eighth grade students here in New York go through what is called the Eighth Grade Exit Project, which is required for their promotion. Those projects are being conducted at our institutions, working with teachers that we’ve trained. In the 11 or 12 years we’ve been doing this, we’ve hit hundreds of thousands of students and many thousands of teachers.

In addition to Urban Advantage, we’re also training teachers. We probably work with about 5,000 teachers a year in professional development. In addition, this June we got authorization from New York State for a master’s degree in teacher education in science. We are also doing MOOCs at the request of Coursera. So we have three MOOCs that are directed at training teachers all over the world. And we now have about 100,000 people signed up for those.

Even with all our expertise, we still find there’s no simple answer to the question, “What’s a good teacher to the right student?” Assuming as a predicate a deep content knowledge and a deep knowledge of the process, for example, of science or writing or whatever, what I think you’re really talking about is the passion component. People who are passionate about their subject, understand it deeply, and can share it are the most successful at igniting that same kind of excitement and interest in students. Everybody’s curious. Everybody wants to discover something that helps them understand where we fit in the universe and how life works. If you can convey that, you’re going to succeed as a teacher.

The Next Generation Of Brain Implant Is A Teeny Tiny Coil

Research on brain implants has exploded in recent years. With the right mechanisms, they have the potential to help people with everything from paralysis and Parkinson’s disease to certain types of eye damage and blindness.

These implants, which are surgically inserted into the cortex of the brain, work by stimulating neurons that then target specific cells throughout the body. But until recently, many of these brain implants have been electrode-based, relying on conductivity between the metal plate, the implant, and the nerves around it. These devices often become less effective overtime, and the metal plates can (and often do) corrode. Their need for direct contact between the metal and the brain can lead to problems as well.

Now, researchers have come up with a different kind of implant that they’ve dubbed “micro coils.” These tiny metal coils—which are thin wires with single sharp bends in them—use magnetic energy to stimulate brain activity, similar to the way an MRI works. Their hope is that these new devices will not only last longer in the brain, but will also allow for more fine-tuned muscle movements, making brain implants more effective. Their work was published Friday in Science Advances.

“We are pretty enamored by these coils right now,” says Shelley Fried, lead author of the study and a professor of neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School. “I think it’s too early to say that coils are going to be the method of the future, but I think there’s definitely a possibility that they might.”

While the researchers are particularly interested in using these micro coils to treat eye conditions by stimulating the visual cortex, Fried says they could be used for any disorder that has a basis in the cortex of the brain. They could even help patients with paralysis make better use of high-tech, mind-controlled prosthetics.

One of the biggest concerns with electrode-based implants, which are the current standard, says Fried, is that they don’t really allow for fine-tuned control. When they target neurons, they target basically every neuron in the area they are in contact with. So if they were being used by a paralyzed person to manipulate a prosthetic, they wouldn’t allow the person to know how tightly they were gripping something, or how strongly they were pushing or pulling an item. The micro coils use a different approach: By using magnetism, the coils create directive fields. These fields then narrow in on a specific group of neurons only.

The researchers already successfully used these implants in mice, and have plans to try them out in human cortical tissue next. If all goes well, their next step will be to test them in primates.

Micro coils are just one approach to creating brain implants that allow for more fine tuned movement. There are lots of other ideas in the works, and Fried expects that over the next several years to decades, these brain implant devices will get a whole lot better. Soon, this technology could have a real impact on the lives of patients with conditions like paralysis.

Lx Group: Creating Next Generation Iot

LX is an innovative IoT electronics design and development company specializing in the creation of next-generation IoT products for a better world. In a disrupt or be disrupted the world, anticipating the future is the best way to own it. The company transforms ideas into action at scale and expands what’s possible in IoT. LX’s full-stack platform, IoT Cores, accelerates the development of new bespoke IoT devices from custom IoT hardware design through to the cloud backend. LX offers a range of tracking & sensing solutions (CATM1, NB-IoT, LoRaWAN, Bluetooth and WiFi) to help enterprises focus on generating value, not implementation. The company’s award-winning full stack development team constantly designs, prototypes and tests better solutions to existing and emerging business challenges. The company also undertakes the design of custom embedded systems and wireless technologies. LX offers clients a professional turnkey experience, with services designed to take a new product idea from concept through to production. They focus on fully understanding all aspects of the clients’ requirements (both technical and business) and works on a tailored solution to ensure these requirements are met on time and within budget. LX’s high calibre engineering team has over 150 years of combined product development experience, undertaken 500+ IoT products & projects and has won national and international awards. The company has experience across a wide range of technologies and industries, and works with clients both in Australia and abroad.  

The Inception Story

Founded in 2006, LX was formed on the basis of two core beliefs. The first was that ultra-low power wireless sensing networks were the future and that everything would “go wireless” over the next few decades. At this stage, ultra-low power wireless sensing lived largely in the research domain of mesh networks, motes, and smart dust. The second core belief was that the operation of every organization, the mechanics behind every process and the performance of every human is ultimately a complex combination of control systems, and, that every control system can be optimized with more granular & real-time feedback. Every day trillions of dollars rattle around the global economy and billions of people run around doing things, and this can all be optimized in a way that has never been possible before. Essentially, the company saw IoT, the vision and what was possible before it had a name. LX was passionate about both the magic of wireless sensing and seemingly unlimited potential to help the world do things better. This drive to help the world do things better was not just to drive a P&L harder, but also to reduce emissions, to help the world to produce food more efficiently, and to enhance the overall human experience of life.  

Visionary Leader with a Strong Background

The LX Founder, Simon Blyth, is an Electrical Engineer by background. He started LX in 2006 from his garage with only $750, growing the company organically to the business it is today. He and his wife, Kelly Blyth won the international IET thesis competition in 2005 with their pioneering work in the development of an ultra-low power wireless (IoT) full-stack sensor platform. They became thought leaders and evangelizers of IoT, passionately leading people to open their eyes to the optimization benefits existing across various industry verticals. After years of developing bespoke IoT products and solutions, Simon went on to lead the development of IoT Cores, a highly versatile full-stack IoT platform to accelerate and de-risk the development of IoT products (devices through to dashboards & API). The launch of IoT Cores was transformational for LX and enabled the company to rapidly launch a cutting-edge range of IoT products. IoT Cores and other initiatives have resulted in the company revenue doubling year-on-year making LX one of the fastest growing companies in Australia.  

Top Notch IoT Solutions

The LX IoT Cores enable the rapid development of quality bespoke full-stack IoT devices and solutions – the company makes the IoT hardware challenge easy. It’s easiest perhaps to explain by drawing an analogy to the smartphone. Out of the box, a smartphone will add value (make a phone call, send a message), but more than this it’s a platform for building value-added services, a range of apps. LX’s IoT Cores and products enable developers to focus on building value-adding applications, without having to worry about “building the iPhone, just to sell their app”. Simon feels an important difference between the first and second generations of the computing waves (the computer and smartphone) and the third (the things) is that there are a lot of different physical “things”. Laptops and smartphones have similar requirements and so are able to be supported by a few large vendors with a small range of physical products. The IoT, however, requires an enormous range of physically different physical sensing devices to be developed driving a huge number of custom, bespoke device requirements.  

Disruption Inter-Linked With ‘Intelligence of Things’

Many years ago, the focus was on The Internet of Things – providing an API for the physical world. Now when one talks about IoT he refers to the “The Intelligence of Things” and he doesn’t think about just IoT devices but think in terms of intelligent device ecosystems. For example, a simple dog tracking collar moves from being a one-off hardware device to being a player in an ecosystem of devices that might include; a smart bowl, ball and feeding system with analytics that plug into AI health analytics services, automatic food delivery, dog walking marketplaces and even social networks for dogs & dog owners. From one device a myriad of business service and value can be created. Simon sees cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence and automation as just another part of the stack.  It’s all linked, it’s all part of the same solution space. And, to facilitate this, LX has started to include support for ultra-low power on-board neural nets to support basic edge AI applications as well as hardware acceleration for blockchain interactions.  

Strong Foundation Driving Innovation

The LX IoT Cores and IoT product series evolved from extensive bespoke design experience and IP modules from developing over 500 IoT projects and products over 13 years. IoT Cores are to IoT product development as WordPress is to website development.  However, to build WordPress a strong foundation in website development and the many different permutations of requirements is critical. The LX product series of trackers and sensing devices are focussed on the low total cost of ownership, high-quality long-life performance, plug n’ play installation & commissioning and easy to use RESTful API to enable the development of custom software solutions. Built on the shoulder of giants, the LX IoT Cores are powered by technology from leading IoT players such as uBlox, ST, Nordic, Bosch, and Microsoft Azure.  

Amplifying the Achievement Bars

Over the years, LX has been fortunate to win awards for various aspects of the business; engineering & product development, business operations & systems, customer service and business performance. These awards include the BRW Fast 100, Deloitte Technology Fast 500, Engineering Excellence Awards, CIO 20 Hottest IoT Solution Providers, Smart Company’s Smart50, Good Design Awards, Anthill Smart 100, Cool Company Awards and the Electronics Future Awards. Earlier this year in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress, the company announced its CATM1/Nb-IoT blockchain tracker with sense capability to enable developers to build smart contract solutions. LX is also launching an office in Europe in July based in Leon, France. Simon quotes the assertion of Andrew Despi, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Emerging Technologies – “They’re the only game in town when it comes to the Internet of Things.”  

Proving Superiority Over Challenges

Many of LX’s challenges can be drawn back the combination of bootstrapping a rapidly growing business in a true technology boom with seemingly unlimited potential. The company can’t help but see the IoT opportunities everywhere, so whilst maintaining focus in a resource-limited organization is critical, it’s also incredibly hard, as LX sees all the opportunity it is consciously leaving on the table every day. The company has also been limited in some of the deals it can take on due cashflow, there have been times when it has won and then lost high volume deals purely because the company cannot support the required payment terms and fund the manufacturing outlays.  

Unfolding the Future

Windows Insider Program “Get Started” Is Greyed Out

Windows Insider Program “Get Started” is Greyed Out




Many users within the Windows Insiders program reported that the Get Started button is greyed out.

If you too are among them, then follow this guide to fix the problem.

If you need further tech-related assistance, go to our Troubleshooting page.

To read more about Windows Insider builds and the program itself, check out our Windows 10 page.



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readers this month.

The Windows 10 Insider Program is still active, even after the release of the full version of Windows 10.

But some users who left the Insider Program for the full version, report that they’re unable to get back to the program because of the ‘Get Started‘ button is grayed out. Luckily, this is a common problem, and there’s an easy solution for it.

Microsoft attracted a lot of users with the Insider Program for Windows 10 Technical Preview. More than 5 million people were using and testing Windows 10, before its actual release.

But when the full release finally came, most of the users decided to leave the Insider Program and use the full version only.

But when some of them decided to get back to the Windows Insider Program, they simply couldn’t, because the Get Started, button, which brings you back to the program was greyed out.

How can I fix greyed out Get Started button in Windows 10? 1. Delete the SoftwareDistribution folder

Some people said that besides fixing the broken updates, deleting the content of the SoftwareDistribution folder helped them to get back the Get Started button, as well. Here’s how to delete everything from the SoftwareDistribution folder:

Go to This PC and open the partition you have your Windows installed on (it’s usually C:)

Go to Windows folder

In Windows folder, find a folder named SoftwareDistribution and open it

Delete everything from that folder

Restart your computer

Since the SoftwareDistribution problem is a possible solution, the problem lays in Windows Updates. So, if deleting the SoftwareDistribution folder doesn’t have any effects, you can try running Windows Update Troubleshooter, from Control Panel, maybe this Microsoft tool will be helpful.

If you need to make sure everything is deleted and that nothing is left behind, you should consider the aid of a third-party program.

There are multiple effective tools that can help you to permanently erase specific files you need to keep away from your PC.

Expert tip:

Regardless of your privacy, using effective file deletion software will help you thoroughly erase files and folders from your system.

2. Check your privacy settings

If you’re worried about your privacy in Windows 10, and a lot of people are, because it is well known that Microsoft collects your personal data through Windows 10, you probably changed some privacy settings, in order to keep your computer as private as possible.

One of these privacy settings is the ability to send data to Microsoft, as feedback of using Windows 10, and if you chose not to send any data, you won’t be able to get back to Windows Insider Program.

So, when you try to ‘get started,’ you won’t be able to, and you’ll see the message which says Some Settings Are Managed By Your Organization.

We talked about removing this message in our article about Some Settings Are Managed By Your Organization in Windows 10, so just follow the instructions from that article, and you’ll be able to remove this message, and Get Started button won’t be greyed out anymore, so you can receive future Preview builds normally.

If your ‘Get Started’ button is still greyed out, even after changing settings like shown in the article, then something’s actually wrong with your system, so you can try some of the following solutions.

3. Enable Telemetry in the Registry

As stated at the beginning of this article, in order to be able to select Insider builds, you need to first enable Telemetry settings. You can also do this by tweaking your Registry:


Change the AllowTelemetry dword value to 3

If there is noAllowTelemetry dword available, create it

Restart your computer and check if you can download the latest Windows 10 Insider build

4. Disable VPN software

If you want to participate in developing further versions of Windows 10, getting involved in Insider Program is probably the best thing for that. And if you had some problems re-joining the program, I hope this article solved everything.

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