Top Global Oil Exporter Saudi Arabia Launches Car-free City

By AFP News  

Top-oil-exporter-Saudi-Arabia-launches-car-free-city
A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on March 19, 2020 in the capital Riyadh shows Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, who will chair the G7 meeting “to advance a coordinated global response to the COVID-19 pandemic” 

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude exporter, announced Sunday the launch of an eco-city “with zero cars, zero streets and zero carbon emissions” at its futuristic NEOM mega development.

The $500 billion NEOM project, set to be built from scratch along the kingdom’s picturesque Red Sea coast, is billed as a development evocative of a sci-fi blockbuster.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled plans for a city, dubbed “THE LINE”, in a presentation broadcast on state TV.

Continue reading… “Top Global Oil Exporter Saudi Arabia Launches Car-free City”

Google’s quantum computing division will help develop new drugs

By Steve Dent

Google's-Quantum-computing-division-develop-new-drugs
A handout picture from October 2019 shows Sundar Pichai and Daniel Sank (R) with one of Google’s Quantum Computers in the Santa Barbara lab, California, U.S. Picture taken in October 2019. .

It teamed with Boehringer Ingelheim to do molecular dynamics simulations. 

Google’s Quantum AI division is teaming with pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim to develop new types of drugs, the companies announced. The idea is to research and develop quantum computing tech to do “molecular dynamics” simulations, or the study of how molecules and atoms move. Boehringer Ingelheim has developed a new quantum lab for the three-year project, saying it’s the “first pharmaceutical company worldwide to join forces with Google in quantum computing.”

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New Research Could Enable Direct Data Transfer From Computers to Living Cells

New-research-could-enable-direct-data-transfers-computers-living-cells

As the modern world produces ever more data, researchers are scrambling to find new ways to store it all. DNAholds promise as an extremely compact and stable storage medium, and now a new approach could let us write digital data directly into the genomes of living cells.

Efforts to repurpose nature’s built-in memory technology aren’t new, but in the last decade the approach has gained renewed interest and seen some major progress. That’s been driven by an explosion of data that shows no signs of slowing down. By 2025, it’s estimated that 463 exabytes will be created each day globally.

Storing all this data could quickly become impractical using conventional silicon technology, but DNA could hold the answer. For a start, its information density is millions of times better than conventional hard drives, with a single gram of DNA able to store up to 215 million gigabytes.

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Samsung is making a robot that can pour wine and bring you a drink

By Jacob Kastrenakes

Samsung-is-making-robot-that-can-pour-wine

Sounds great

Samsung is working on a robot that can pick up laundry, load the dishwasher, set the table, pour wine, and even bring you a drink. The robot is called Bot Handy, and Samsung says it’ll be able to recognize objects using a camera and AI.

The bot is meant to be “an extension of you in the kitchen, living room, and anywhere else you may need an extra hand in your home,” Sebastian Seung, president of Samsung Research, said during Samsung’s CES press conference today.

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Pollen Robotics’ humanoid robot can be controlled remotely with VR

Brian Heater


Pollen Robotics turned heads at last year’s CES. After all, a humanoid robot will do that on the show floor (even if it’s only half of one). The French startup is back for this year’s show (insofar as anyone is really back for the show), with some key updates to its robot, Reachy.

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Uber and Lyft increase average vehicle ownership in urban areas

by Adam Dove

Uber-Lyft-increase-vehicle-ownership

The landscape of individual transportation has changed drastically since the rise of rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft. Where before, getting from A to B required you to either take public transportation, locate a taxi, or own your own private vehicle, being able to call yourself a ride with the push of a button has made going through life without owning a car much more feasible—and in some cases, even desirable.

In a recent study published in iScience, a team of Carnegie Mellon University researchers led by Jeremy Michalek have set out to quantify effects these transportation network companies (TNCs) have had on urban transportation.

“When we set out to quantify these effects, there were many feasible possibilities for the outcome,” says Michalek, professor of engineering and public policy and mechanical engineering. “For instance, it is possible that when travelers gain access to Uber or Lyft, some of them may choose to own fewer vehicles because they have an alternative way to get around. But on the other hand, it’s also true that some drivers could purchase extra vehicles for ride-hailing work, which could increase vehicle ownership. It wasn’t immediately clear what the net effect would be.”

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This Flying Car Costs $599K—and It’s Now Street Legal in Holland

By Vanessa Bates Ramirez 

We’ve all had the experience of sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic with nothing but miles of red taillights ahead, wishing we could somehow break away from the pack and zoom off to our destination traffic-free. Now drivers in the Netherlands are one step closer to making this vision a reality, as a commercial flying car has just been approved for use on roads there.

The car is called the PAL-V Liberty, and it’s made by Dutch company PAL-V. It looks a lot like what you’d probably expect or imagine a flying car to look like: a cross between a small helicopter and a very aerodynamic car (with a foldable propeller on top).

Continue reading… “This Flying Car Costs $599K—and It’s Now Street Legal in Holland”

Researchers Develop World’s Most Powerful Neuromorphic Processor for AI

ByAlex McFarland

Researchers-develop-world's-most-powerful-neuromprphic-processor

In what is a major leap forward in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), an international team of researchers led by Swinburne University of Technology has developed the world’s most powerful neuromorphic processor for AI. It operates at an astonishing rate of more than 10 trillion operations per second (TeraOps/s), meaning it can process ultra-large-scale data.

The work was published in the journal Nature. 

Led by Swinburne’s Professor David Moss, Dr. Xingyuan Xu, and Distinguished Professor Arnan Mitchell from RMIT University, the team accelerated computing speed and processing power. They were able to create an optical neuromorphic processor capable of operating over 1,000 times faster than any previous ones. The system can also process ultra-large-scale images, which is important for facial recognition as previous optical processors have failed in this regard.

Professor Moss is Director of Swinburne’s Optical Sciences Centre, and he was named a top Australian researcher in physics and mathematics in the field of optics and photonics by The Australian.

“This breakthrough was achieved with ‘optical micro-combs,’ as was our world-record internet data speed reported in May 2020,” he said.

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Tesla’s $25,000 electric car could be coming sooner than we though

Fred Lambert 

tesla's-$25,000-electric-car-coming-sooner
TESLA’S $25,000 ELECTRIC CAR

Tesla’s recently announced $25,000 electric car could be coming sooner than we thought, according to newly unveiled documents about Gigafactory Shanghai.

When talking about what Tesla’s new battery cell and “structural battery pack” architecture could enable at Battery Day last year, CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla will be making a $25,000 electric car.

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These Futuristic Flying Ambulances May Soon Be Zooming Around New York

By Vanessa Bates Ramirez 

Futuristic-Flying-ambulances-zooming-around-new-york

Ambulance use surged in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, even as emergency medical service providers struggled due to the revenue hit they took from delayed and canceled elective procedures. While we’re fervently hoping that far fewer people will need ambulances this year, there may soon be a whole new means of emergency transportation, at least in New York: flying ambulances.

Israeli aerospace company Urban Aeronautics announced this week that it sold its first four vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft to Hatzolah Air, a nonprofit emergency medical air transport provider based in New York. The organization already operates fixed-wing aircraft (meaning propeller-driven or powered by a jet engine, with wings that don’t move) as part of its emergency missions.

To that end, “flying ambulances” isn’t a new concept; they’ve existed for a long time in the form of helicopters and planes. In fact, the Association of Air Medical Services estimates that around 550,000 people get medevaced in the US each year.

But Urban Aeronautics’ Cormorant CityHawk, as the aircraft is called, will bring some functional new features to the skies. Though it’s lightweight and has a compact footprint, its interior cabin is 20 to 30 percent larger than that of a helicopter, meaning it will be able to fit two EMTs, the patient plus a companion, and medical equipment (plus the pilot) without things getting too cramped.

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SCIENTISTS WANT TO SEND A ROBOT MADE OF ICE TO ANOTHER PLANET

VICTOR TANGERMANN

Scientists-want-send-robot-made-of-ice
ICEBOT

A team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are trying to figure out if we can send robots that are made out of ice to another planet, IEEE Spectrum reports.

The idea is to create a robot design that can leverage local resources to repair itself in case it ever breaks down.

As detailed in a new paper presented at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, the researchers looked a variety of ways of creating robots out of ice by using both additive and subtractive manufacturing processes.

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