World’s First Flying Motorcycle Is Getting one Test Closer To Becoming a Reality

· By Cristina Mircea

David Mayman is a visionary, an inventor, and passionate aviator. He is also the founder and CEO of JetPack Aviation, a VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft manufacturer based in Los Angeles. After the company succeeded in building the world’s first portable JetPack, it started advertising another exciting product: the world’s first flying motorcycle, called Speeder.

While JetPack Aviation only teased us with animations of the aircraft so far, we now have footage of an actual prototype nailing its first platform tests. As seen in the video posted by New Atlas on YouTube, the P1 VTOL that will eventually be powered by four individual turbojet engines, does very well in its tests, thanks to JetPack Aviation’s flight control software, which was created by the company’s team.

While the P1 prototype looks nothing like the aircraft in their animation, and it is also tethered in these tests, this is nevertheless a major step forward for JetPack Aviation. The VTOL proved to be impressively stable and resilient, including with dummy loads on it and performing in 30-knot winds. The safety tether doesn’t support the P1, as seen in the footage. Tests confirmed that the Speeder can takeoff, do turns,climb, and hold itself in a stable hover using LiDAR.

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China Secretly Flew A Space Plane That Takes Off Vertically Like A Rocket

China secretly conducted the first test flight of a reusable suborbital vehicle last week on Friday, edging a step closer to the development of a reusable space transportation system, according to a report by SpaceNews. 

The spacecraft took off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre on Friday and later landed at an airport just over 800 kilometres away at Alxa League in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Not so surprisingly, no official images or footage of any kind was shared by the space agency.

Moreover, there was also no information on the flight duration, the kind of propulsion technology that was at play or even the altitude at which it flew and landed safely.

The press release did mention, however, that the spacecraft made use of integrated aviation and space technologies indicating a vertical take-off and horizontal landing profile.

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The Pentagon Is Bolstering Its AI Systems—by Hacking Itself

A new “red team” will try to anticipate and thwart attacks on machine learning programs.

THE PENTAGON SEES  artificial intelligence as a way to outfox, outmaneuver, and dominate future adversaries. But the brittle nature of AI means that without due care, the technology could perhaps hand enemies a new way to attack.

The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, created by the Pentagon to help the US military make use of AI, recently formed a unit to collect, vet, and distribute open source and industry machine learning models to groups across the Department of Defense. Part of that effort points to a key challenge with using AI for military ends. A machine learning “red team,” known as the Test and Evaluation Group, will probe pretrained models for weaknesses. Another cybersecurity team examines AI code and data for hidden vulnerabilities.

Machine learning, the technique behind modern AI, represents a fundamentally different, often more powerful, way to write computer code. Instead of writing rules for a machine to follow, machine learning generates its own rules by learning from data. The trouble is, this learning process, along with artifacts or errors in the training data, can cause AI models to behave in strange or unpredictable ways.

“For some applications, machine learning software is just a bajillion times better than traditional software,” says Gregory Allen, director of strategy and policy at the JAIC. But, he adds, machine learning “also breaks in different ways than traditional software.”

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Hungryroot delivers AI-powered grocery experience

By Poornima Apte

There’s Netflix for movies. Stitch Fix for clothes. Hungryroot, an AI-powered delivery service, hopes to occupy a similar niche for online groceries in the United States.

The recommender system uses a collaborative filtering, supervised learning model to match consumer preferences to foods. Customers answer questions about their dietary habits, the kinds of foods they (and family members) like, the family size, budget, and more. On a weekly basis, the Hungryroot algorithm predicts the groceries the customer might like. Once the customer approves the list, a box ships from one of three Hungryroot locations. Customers also receive a set of recipes, also predicted by the algorithm, that use the week’s ingredients.

Neil Saunders, the managing director of GlobalData’s retail division, has seen grocery retailers of all stripes lean into AI as a way of better forecasting demand. “With the disruption from the pandemic and more people buying groceries online, demand forecasting has become increasingly difficult for retailers and AI can help them make sense of the data and make more accurate decisions about what to stock,” Saunders says.

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China launches secretive suborbital vehicle for reusable space transportation system

The Chinese suborbital vehicle for a reusable space transportation system launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert, northwest China.

by Andrew Jones 

HELSINKI — China conducted a clandestine first test flight of a reusable suborbital vehicle Friday as a part of development of a reusable space transportation system.

The vehicle launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center Friday and later landed at an airport just over 800 kilometers away at Alxa League in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC) announced.

No images nor footage nor further information, such as altitude, flight duration or propulsion systems, were provided. The CASC release stated however that the vehicle uses integrated aviation and space technologies and indicates a vertical takeoff and horizontal landing (VTHL) profile.

The test follows a September 2020 test flight of a “reusable experimental spacecraft”. The spacecraft orbited for days, releasing a small transmitting payload and later deorbited and landed horizontally. The spacecraft is widely believed to be a reusable spaceplane concept, though no images have emerged.

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Self-healing materials to shape the cars of the future

Self-healing materials could revolutionise both vehicles and road surfaces

Ben Smye explores the current trends in self-healing materials research, and where they might take the automotive industry in the coming years

It sounds like something out of a science fiction film, but the idea of a self-healing car might not be as wild and futuristic as it seems. Though machines that can fix themselves remain a long way off, materials engineers have been developing technology that could soon make this fiction a reality.

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The measure of: Trombia Free autonomous electric street sweeper

The world’s first autonomous electric street sweeper promises efficient and silent operation in all weathers.

Developed by Finnish road maintenance equipment manufacturer Trombia Technologies, Trombia Free is an autonomous electric street-cleaner that uses less than 15 per cent of the power needed by current sweeping technologies and 95 per cent less water, while still being capable of heavy-duty operation, effectively removing both debris and fine PM2.5 dust.

Built to operate in all weather conditions, the Trombia Free has the look of an oversized robotic vacuum cleaner or lawnmower. It makes use of lidar and machine vision technology to trundle around cleaning up city streets and pathways. The company equipped the sweeper with a safety margin zone so it can register obstacles in front and stop if needed.

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Hollow nano-objects made of DNA could trap viruses and render them harmless

Lined on the inside with virus-binding molecules, nano-shells made of DNA material bind viruses tightly and thus render them harmless.

by Technical University Munich

To date, there are no effective antidotes against most viral infections. An interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now developed a new approach: they engulf and neutralize viruses with nano-capsules tailored from genetic material using the DNA origami method. The strategy has already been tested against hepatitis and adeno-associated viruses in cell cultures. It may also prove successful against corona viruses.

There are antibiotics against dangerous bacteria, but few antidotes to treat acute viral infections. Some infections can be prevented by vaccination, but developing new vaccines is a long and laborious process.

Now an interdisciplinary research team from the Technical University of Munich, the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Brandeis University (USA) is proposing a novel strategy for the treatment of acute viral infections: The team has developed nanostructures made of DNA, the substance that makes up our genetic material, that can trap viruses and render them harmless.

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Healing wounds and regrowing bones: Duke faculty develop futuristic biomaterial implants

By Ayra Charania

Imagine a metal, scaffold-shaped implant that could support the regrowth of a shattered bone. All that would be needed would be an initial CT scan, a virtual construction of the implant and a metal printer to produce the final product. Devastating outcomes like amputation or loss of the ability to walk could be prevented. 

While this type of innovation may seem outside the realm of modern technology, several Duke professors have made such futuristic biomaterial implants a reality, including Ken Gall, professor in the department of mechanical engineering and materials science; Shyni Varghese, professor of orthopaedic surgery and Matthew Becker, Hugo L. Blomquist distinguished professor of chemistry.

Gall’s research focuses on the use of 3D printed metals and polymers, including the aforementioned metal scaffold, using synthetic hydrogels for cartilage replacement and other related explorations. He also has initiated a new project investigating the types of structures that can be printed and is looking into utilizing machine learning or other algorithms to predict how these structures will behave.

While Gall’s research spans a large breadth of biomaterials, the common link among these implants is their ability to perform some structural function, he said. 

“We try to figure out how [to] make these materials integrate with the body so they survive there,” Gall said. “Our approach has always been [to] put something in that is actually better than what you started with.”

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Dubai police will use citywide network of drones to respond to crime

An Airobotics drone and its base station

By  David Hambling

Dubai police will be able to respond to an incident anywhere in the United Arab Emirates city within a minute, thanks to a network of pre-positioned drone bases.

The quadcopters, supplied by Israeli company Airobotics, will operate from base stations during the Expo 2020 event starting in October this year, an exhibition said to be the third largest event in the world after the Olympics and the World Cup. The drones will reduce police response time from 4.4 minutes to 1 minute according to a tweet from Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Each base has a sliding roof that allows the drones to enter and exit. The drones can fly pre-programmed patrols, or be dispatched to a specific location, allowing an operator at police headquarters to inspect the scene, or follow a suspicious individual or vehicle and pass data to other police units.

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Nebo Recharge Infrastructure Will Use Drones to Keep Your EVs Rolling Forever

By Cristian Curmei

The future of EVs looks more and more promising. With technology advancing at an alarming rate, it won’t be long until everyone has an EV. However, all this raises on very important question; where is everyone going to charge their vehicles?

This question, ladies and gentlemen, is a very valid one that an array of manufacturers are working on solving. In the meantime, a group of designers from South Korea have gotten together and have created an idea so out there, that it just might work. 

The drone you see here is known as Nebo. However, it’s not just a drone, it’s an entire EV charging network. The way it works is something like refueling an airplane while in flight. These drones are simple fuel (electric charge) carriers that come in and recharge you EV while you’re on the go. No joke. 

Even though this system isn’t one you can utilize today, as it’s still just a project with a paper model and a few renderings, it’s so ingenious and so in line with how things seem to be moving in the EV world, that this or a similar system will most likely exist, at some point.

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How Virtual Reality Unveiled a Unique Brain Wave That Could Boost Learning

By Shelly Fan 

As the rats ran down a short balance beam, stopping occasionally to poke their noses at a water fountain, their brains knew something was off.

Inside the hippocampus, a brain region that documents the stories of your life, neurons sparked a strange type of electrical wave that washed over the region, altering its normal rhythm.

You see, the rats were running in virtual reality (VR), one so rich and lifelike that the rats “love to jump in and happily play games,” said Dr. Mayank R. Mehta at the University of California, Los Angeles, and senior author on a new paper in Nature Neuroscience. And shockingly, their brains responded to VR with unique activity that could impact how we learn, remember, and even treat memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

“This is a new technology that has tremendous potential,” said Mehta. “We have entered a new territory.”

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