Microsoft’s underwater server experiment resurfaces after two years

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Turns out, dunking data centers is a great idea

Back in 2018, Microsoft sunk an entire data center to the bottom of the Scottish sea, plunging 864 servers and 27.6 petabytes of storage 117 feet deep in the ocean. Today, the company has reported that its latest experiment was a success, revealing findings that show that the idea of an underwater data center is actually a pretty good one.

On the surface, throwing an entire data center to the bottom of the ocean may seem strange, but Microsoft’s Project Natick team hypothesized that placing would result in more reliable and energy-efficient data centers.

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UAVOS presents concept SumoAir urban air taxi

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UAVOS has presented their air taxi SumoAir as an autonomous concept for vertical e-mobility.

 The all-electric, tandem rotor helicopter concept consists of a five-seater passenger including the pilot cabin that can be attached to either a car or a flight module.

The helicopter will be operated both manually and autonomously. The project is a part of UAVOS’ R&D efforts to explore and understand the fundamental technologies behind electric aircraft and the urban air mobility (UAM) market.

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TrueLimb robotic arms look real and cost less than traditional prosthetics

Each arm from Unlimited Tomorrow is custom 3D-printed for a perfect match.

Easton LaChappelle was 14 years old when he designed and built his first robotic arm. Ten years later, he’s now the CEO of his own company, looking to upend the prosthetics industry.

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A.I. can tell if you’re a good surgeon just by scanning your brain

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Could a brain scan be the best way to tell a top-notch surgeon? Well, kind of. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University at Buffalo have developed Brain-NET, a deep learning A.I. tool that can accurately predict a surgeon’s certification scores based on their neuroimaging data.

This certification score, known as the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery program (FLS), is currently calculated manually using a formula that is extremely time and labor-consuming. The idea behind it is to give an objective assessment of surgical skills, thereby demonstrating effective training.

“The Fundamental of Laparoscopic Surgery program has been adopted nationally for surgical residents, fellows and practicing physicians to learn and practice laparoscopic skills to have the opportunity to definitely measure and document those skills,” Xavier Intes, a professor of biomedical engineering at Rensselaer, told Digital Trends. “One key aspect of such [a] program is a scoring metric that is computed based on the time of the surgical task execution, as well as error estimation.”

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Walmart’s movie plan will transform parking lots into drive-in theaters

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Walmart just made a surprising announcement: it will turn some of its store parking lots into drive-in movie theaters, using its existing real estate to revive a largely defunct way to view movies. The drive-in theaters will start going live in early August, according to the company, but they won’t be available at every Walmart destination. In case you’re wondering: yes, there will be popcorn.

Walmart announced the new plan on Twitter and has already launched a website dedicated to the new move. The drive-in theaters will arrive in partnership with Tribeca, according to Walmart, which says that its new plan will help the public watch movies while maintaining social distancing.

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How to build a ‘rest ethic’ that is as strong as your work one

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The authors of a new book offer creative and thoughful ways to maximize your time off that will gift you with inspiration, ideas, and recovery.

Take in a deep breath and hold it. Keep holding. How long can you hold your inhale until it gets uncomfortable? Thirty seconds? A few minutes? It doesn’t take long until we all, eventually, need to exhale.

Think of your work ethic as the inhale (it is, in a way, as essential to your career as air is to your body). With a good work ethic, we make, execute, coordinate, manage, fulfill, and get things done. Task list—inhale. Project execution—inhale. Making our ideas come to life—inhale. But we can’t keep inhaling forever. Eventually we have to exhale. This exhale is your rest ethic, and it is just as essential.

A solid rest ethic gifts us inspiration, ideas, and recovery. It allows us to build up our enthusiasm and sustain our passion. Gaining a fresh perspective—exhale. Project ideation and “aha” moments—exhale. Letting big ideas incubate in your mind—exhale. And just as a deep exhale prepares you for a better inhale, your rest ethic enables you to have a better work ethic.

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New recipe for single-atom transistors may enable quantum computers with unparalleled memory and processing power

 

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Single-Atom Transistor

 Linking multiple copies of these devices may lay the foundation for quantum computing.

Once unimaginable, transistors consisting only of several-atom clusters or even single atoms promise to become the building blocks of a new generation of computers with unparalleled memory and processing power. But to realize the full potential of these tiny transistors — miniature electrical on-off switches — researchers must find a way to make many copies of these notoriously difficult-to-fabricate components.

Now, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their colleagues at the University of Maryland have developed a step-by-step recipe to produce the atomic-scale devices. Using these instructions, the NIST-led team has become only the second in the world to construct a single-atom transistor and the first to fabricate a series of single electron transistors with atom-scale control over the devices’ geometry.

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Researchers unveil electronics that mimic the human brain in efficient learning

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Researchers unveil electronics that mimic the human brain in efficient learning

A graphic depiction of protein nanowires (green) harvested from microbe Geobacter (orange) facilitate the electronic memristor device (silver) to function with biological voltages, emulating the neuronal components (blue junctions) in a brain. Credit: UMass Amherst/Yao lab

Only 10 years ago, scientists working on what they hoped would open a new frontier of neuromorphic computing could only dream of a device using miniature tools called memristors that would function/operate like real brain synapses.

But now a team at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has discovered, while on their way to better understanding protein nanowires, how to use these biological, electricity conducting filaments to make a neuromorphic memristor, or “memory transistor,” device. It runs extremely efficiently on very low power, as brains do, to carry signals between neurons. Details are in Nature Communications.

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Sweat-analyzing patch could help spot biomarkers linked to COVID-19

When you think about wearable tech, chances are that your mind goes to a device like the Apple Watch long before it does the Band-Aid-style smart patch developed by Epicore Biosystems. But the company, which spun out of Northwestern University’s Querrey Simpson Institute for Bioelectronics and professor John A. Rogers’ laboratory, has been hard at work creating sweat-sensing smart patches which could be used to help measure sweat components in athletes and a variety of other individuals — and could even have potential application for medical use in helping keep tabs on crucial biomarkers for patients suffering from COVID-19.

“We have [created] two versions of the wearable sensor patch in development suitable across different applications,” Roozbeh Ghaffari, Epicore’s CEO and co-founder, told Digital Trends. “One is a color-changing wearable microfluidics patch used by athletes. The other is a Bluetooth-enabled patch that tracks the sweat biomarkers of workers in construction, on oil rigs, and in factories, plus other physically intense occupations — for the ‘industrial athletes.’”

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This electric aircraft concept uses stratospheric air-friction as a power source!

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If you’ve ever seen a jet blaze through the sky leaving a perfect line of smoke behind it, you’ve probably wondered why that smoke holds its shape so perfectly for so long, but doesn’t hold true on land when a motorbike or car zooms down the road. Air movement anywhere above the troposphere (the lowest region of our atmosphere) is extremely negligible. Jets, which fly in the stratosphere, leave behind that trail of smoke because the air there doesn’t move to disrupt the smoke trails. This also means that there’s immense amounts of friction when a jet travels at high speeds, cutting through the motionless air particles. Designer Michal Bonikowski believes that friction could actually be a source of clean energy that a plane could harness to reduce its carbon footprint.

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MIT’s solid-state battery breakthrough may see phones last for days

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A breakthrough in battery architecture could lead to lithium batteries with far greater energy densities than those used today

One of the many ways scientists hope to improve the performance of today’s lithium batteries is by swapping out some of the liquid components for solid ones. Known as solid-state batteries, these experimental devices could greatly extend the life of electric vehicles and mobile devices by significantly upping the energy density packed inside. Scientists at MIT are now reporting an exciting advance toward this future, demonstrating a new type of solid-state battery architecture that overcomes some limitations of current designs.

In a regular lithium battery, a liquid electrolyte serves as the medium through which the lithium ions travel back and forth between the anode and cathode as the battery is charged and discharged. One problem is that this liquid is highly volatile and can sometimes result in battery fires, like those that plagued Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.

Replacing this liquid electrolyte for a solid material wouldn’t just make batteries safer and less prone to fires, it could also open up new possibilities for other key components of the battery. The anode in today’s lithium batteries is made from a mix of copper and graphite, but if it were made of pure lithium instead, it could break the “energy-density bottleneck of current Li-ion chemistry,” according to a recent study published in Trends in Chemistry.

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New quantum switch turns metals into insulators

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Artist’s impression of the dissolving of the electronic ‘traffic jam.’ The red atoms are different in their quantum nature and allow transport of electrons in their surroundings.

Most modern electronic devices rely on tiny, finely-tuned electrical currents to process and store information. These currents dictate how fast our computers run, how regularly our pacemakers tick and how securely our money is stored in the bank.

In a study published in Nature Physics, researchers at the University of British Columbia have demonstrated an entirely new way to precisely control such electrical currents by leveraging the interaction between an electron’s spin (which is the quantum magnetic field it inherently carries) and its orbital rotation around the nucleus.

“We have found a new way to switch the electrical conduction in materials from on to off,” said lead author Berend Zwartsenberg, a Ph.D. student at UBC’s Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute (SBQMI). “Not only does this exciting result extend our understanding of how electrical conduction works, it will help us further explore known properties such as conductivity, magnetism and superconductivity, and discover new ones that could be important for quantum computing, data storage and energy applications.”

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Discover the Hidden Patterns of Tomorrow with Futurist Thomas Frey
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By delving into the futuring techniques of Futurist Thomas Frey, you’ll embark on an enlightening journey.

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