AI-powered bionic hand promises lifelike dexterity

By Dalvin Brown

AI-powered-bionic-hand-promises-lifelike-dexterith-1
Army Capt. Carey Duval tests the device. (BrainRobotics)

BRAINROBOTICS IS TRYING OUT ITS PROSTHETICS AS IT AWAITS FDA APPROVAL 

The hand is undergoing FDA testing, and this month the company is testing the technology with the people it is intended to help.

In today’s world of brain-powered bionic limbs, highly functioning prosthetics are too expensive to reach many people who could benefit from them, researchers in the field say. The BrainRobotics device seeks to be the answer to that, with prices expected to start 30 percent lower than what’s on the market right now.

The hand is undergoing FDA testing, and this month the company is testing the technology with the people it is intended to help.

In today’s world of brain-powered bionic limbs, highly functioning prosthetics are too expensive to reach many people who could benefit from them, researchers in the field say. The BrainRobotics device seeks to be the answer to that, with prices expected to start 30 percent lower than what’s on the market right now.

What primarily sets BrainRobotics’ prosthetic apart from those on the market is its algorithm, which detects minute muscle signals, converts them into hand movements and learns over time.

Harvard-backed BrainCo developed the robotic hand for people like Army Capt. Carey Duval. (BrainRobotics/Biodesigns)

Continue reading… “AI-powered bionic hand promises lifelike dexterity”

China’s new Long March 8 rocket makes maiden flight as Beijing takes a step closer to sending travellers into space by 2045

By Emilia Jiang

China's-long-march-8-rocket makes-maiden flight-1
  • The Long March 8 Y-1 blasted off from southern China’s Hainan this morning 
  • The rocket is part of Beijing’s long-term plan to develop reusable launch vehicles
  • Once built, reusable rockets could operate commercial space flights regularly
  • Beijing hopes to establish a programme sending travellers into space by 2045

A new Chinese carrier rocket has made its first flight today, paving the way towards China‘s ambitious mission of sending travellers into space by 2045.

The medium-lift Long March 8 Y-1 blasted off at 12.37 pm (04.37am GMT) from the southern Chinese island of Hainan carrying five satellites, state media reported. 

The newly launched rocket is part of China’s long-term plan to develop reusable launch vehicles that could operate thousands of commercial space flights a year, carrying passengers and cargo.China’s new Long

Continue reading… “China’s new Long March 8 rocket makes maiden flight as Beijing takes a step closer to sending travellers into space by 2045”

Apple Project Titan to start electric vehicle production in 2024, says Reuters

By Tiernan Ray 

Apple-project-titan-electric-vehicle
Central to Apple’s electric car strategy is a novel battery technology, says Reuters.

Apple plans to start producing its own electric vehicle in 2024, according to a report this afternoon by Reuters that says the company’s on-again, off-again Project Titan has a renewed momentum.

According to the report, by Reuters‘s Stephen Nellis, Norihiko Shirouzu, and Paul Lienert, multiple unnamed sources have told the news outlet that Project Titan is aiming to make a passenger vehicle for the mass market. 

The article relates that sources say things at Project Titan have “progressed” since Apple brought in a veteran of both Tesla and Apple, Doug Field, to take over operations in 2018. The car effort has seen something of a revolving door of executives over the years.

The New York Times in 2016 said the effort had been rebooted at Apple, and that dozens of layoffs happened. 

A key element, the article claims, is a “a new battery design that could ‘radically’ reduce the cost of batteries and increase the vehicle’s range,” according to a source who has seen the design of the battery. 

Continue reading… “Apple Project Titan to start electric vehicle production in 2024, says Reuters”

Researchers create a device that can detect hand gestures

Shane McGlaun 

researchers-create-device-detect-hand-gestures

Researchers at UC Berkeley have created a device that uses wearable sensors and artificial intelligence software to recognize what hand gesture a person intends to make. The sensors and AI are able to determine the hand gesture a person intends to make based on electrical signal patterns in the forearm. Researchers say the device paves the way for improved prosthetic control and interaction with electronic devices.

The device has implications that could usher in a new era of controlling computers without using a keyboard or playing games without a controller. The system also has the potential to replace steering wheels inside cars. A more likely use is enabling amputees to control prosthetic devices or interact with electronics.

UC Berkeley doctoral student Ali Moin says reading hand gestures is a way to improve human-computer interaction. Human-computer interaction can be improved using cameras and computer vision, but Moin says the system her team has developed also maintains an individual’s privacy. The team created a flexible armband able to read electric signals from 64 points on the forearm.

Continue reading… “Researchers create a device that can detect hand gestures”

McDonald’s Restaurants Are Putting Cameras, Sensors, and AI Technology in Their Dumpsters

By B.N. Frank

McDonald's restaurants are putting cameras-in-dumpsters
Here’s why some McDonald’s restaurants are putting cameras in their dumpsters

McDonald’s restaurants are putting cameras in their dumpsters and trash containers in an effort to improve their recycling efforts and save money on waste collection.  Nordstrom department stores are doing this as well.

Jason Gates spends a lot of his time thinking about trash, and how we can generate less of it.

Since 2013 his San Francisco-based startup, Compology, has used cameras and artificial intelligence to monitor what’s thrown into dumpsters and trash containers at businesses such as McDonald’s restaurants and Nordstrom department stores. The point is to make sure dumpsters are actually full before they’re emptied and to stop recyclable materials like cardboard from being contaminated by other junk so it, too, doesn’t become waste.

“We’ve found that most businesses and people have the right intentions about recycling, but oftentimes they just don’t know what the proper way to recycle is,” Gates, CEO of Compology, told CNN Business’ Rachel Crane.

To help them do it correctly, Compology puts trash-monitoring cameras and sensors inside industrial waste containers. The cameras take photos several times each day and when the container is lifted for dumping. An accelerometer helps trigger the camera on garbage day.

AI software analyzes the images to figure out how full the container is and can also let a customer know when something is where it shouldn’t be, such as a bag of trash tossed into a dumpster filled with cardboard boxes for recycling. Gates said the company’s cameras can cut the amount of non-recyclable materials thrown in waste containers by as much as 80%.

Continue reading… “McDonald’s Restaurants Are Putting Cameras, Sensors, and AI Technology in Their Dumpsters”

Toyota’s driverless shuttles could double as ‘office-on-the-go’

Toyota's-driverless-shuttles-double-office-on-the-go
Toyota’s e-Palette is a largely transparent, driverless oblong carriage on wheels that’s powered by a battery. It can accommodate up to 20 passengers, with seats that fold up and allow the space to be re-purposed. (Bloomberg)

TOYOTA IS AIMING TO COMMERCIALISE AN AUTONOMOUS SHIPPING-CONTAINER-LIKE VEHICLE WITHIN A FEW YEARS THAT IT SAYS COULD DOUBLE AS A MOBILE STORE OR ROVING OFFICE.

Toyota is aiming to commercialize an autonomous shipping-container-like vehicle within a few years that it says could double as a mobile store or roving office.

Toyota’s e-Palette is a largely transparent, driverless oblong carriage on wheels that’s powered by a battery. It can accommodate up to 20 passengers, with seats that fold up and allow the space to be re-purposed.

The e-Palette began as a concept vehicle, announced at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show by Toyota President Akio Toyoda, who said it is a symbol of how he is trying to transform the world’s second-largest automaker into a mobility company. On Tuesday, Toyota said it plans to make the e-Palette commercially viable within a few years.

Continue reading… “Toyota’s driverless shuttles could double as ‘office-on-the-go’”

Airbus Releases New Details for Hydrogen ‘Pods’ Aircraft Concept

By  Chris Young

Airbus-releases-details-hydrogen-pods-aircraft

The pods would contain the propellers, electric motors, and all of the liquid hydrogen fuel necessary.

Aviation giant Airbus revealed more details about its potentially revolutionary hydrogen aircraft project, called ZEROe.

The new zero-emission aircraft could include a propeller-driven plan “unlike anything seen on today’s runways,” Airbus explained in a press release.

Continue reading… “Airbus Releases New Details for Hydrogen ‘Pods’ Aircraft Concept”

Smart farming: The growing role of precision agriculture and biotech

BY FASTCO WORKS

Smart-farming-the-growing-role-of precision-agriculture-biotech-1

EFFICIENCY AND SUSTAINABILITY GO HAND-IN-HAND, WITH AN ADDED BONUS: FARMERS IMPROVE CROP YIELDS 

Farming has always involved risk. Risk of pestilence, water shortages or excess, and weather events are only a few of the conditions affecting successful crop growth. Applied nutrients and crop protectors help plants thrive but can result in environmental harm. Given sustainability concerns, growing tomorrow’s food supply is even more fraught with challenges. The world’s population continues expanding, but available farming land is actually shrinking, inside and outside the U.S. And the demands are growing. Currently the planet contains 7.6 billion inhabitants, but the population is expected to expand to 9.8 billion by 2050. Farmers are tasked with feeding the world, but increasingly, they need to do so with fewer resources.ADVERTISEMENT

The good news is that agricultural technology designed to address this growing need is booming. Smart farming technologies are gaining steam, with innovations ranging from seed breeding to seed feeding to the ability to monitor crops and conditions in real time using sensors and internet of things (IoT) capabilities. Farmers can incorporate current and past weather data and field performance history, weaving in localized data for planning and crop management.

Continue reading… “Smart farming: The growing role of precision agriculture and biotech”

After embracing remote work in 2020, companies face conflicts making it permanent

after-embracing-remote-work-companies-face-conflict

Paul Sawers@psawers

Although the pandemic forced employees around the world to adopt makeshift remote work setups, a growing proportionof the workforce already spent at least part of their week working from home, while some businesses had embraced a “work-from-anywhere” philosophy from their inception. But much as virtual events rapidly gained traction in 2020, the pandemic accelerated a location-agnostic mindset across the corporate world, with tech behemoths like Facebook and Twitter announcing permanent remote working plans.

Not everyone was happy about this work-culture shift though, and Netflix cofounder and co-CEO Reed Hastings has emerged as one of the most vocal opponents. “I don’t see any positives,” he said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative.”

Hastings predicted that as society slowly returns to normal, many companies will concede some ground to remote work, but most will return to business as usual. “If I had to guess, the five-day workweek will become four days in the office while one day is virtual from home,” he said, adding (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) that Netflix employees would be back in the office “12 hours after a vaccine was approved.”

But a remote workforce offers too many benefits for most companies to ignore completely, chief among them a vastly widened talent base. Fintech giant Stripe launched what it called a “remote engineering hub” to complement its existing fixed-location offices. Although Stripe had employed remote workers since its launch a decade earlier, these workers were embedded within a traditional office structure and reported to a manager or team based in a physical office. The remote engineering hub went some way toward putting remote work on equal footing with brick-and-mortar bases and helping the company “tap the 99.74% of talented engineers living outside the metro areas of our first four hubs,” Stripe CTO David Singleton said at the time.

This highlights some of the conflicts many companies will face as they strive to remain competitive and retool themselves for a workforce that expects flexibility on where they work from. Making that transition will come with major challenges.

Continue reading… “After embracing remote work in 2020, companies face conflicts making it permanent”

Team paves the way for growing human organs for transplantation with new proof-of-concept

by University of Maryland

Team-paves-way-growing-human-organs-transplantation
Bhanu Telugu, UMD. Credit: Edwin Remsberg, UMD

In a new paper published in Stem Cell Reports, Bhanu Telugu and co-inventor Chi-Hun Park of the University of Maryland (UMD) Department of Animal and Avian Sciences show for the first time that newly established stem cells from pigs, when injected into embryos, contributed to the development of only the organ of interest (the embryonic gut and liver), laying the groundwork for stem cell therapeutics and organ transplantation. Telugu’s start-up company, Renovate Biosciences Inc. (RBI), was founded with the goal of leveraging the potential of stem cells to treat terminal diseases that would otherwise require organ transplants, either by avoiding the need for transplants altogether or creating a new pipeline for growing transplantable human organs. With the number of people who suffer from organ failures and the 20 deaths per day in the U.S. alone purely from a lack of available organs for transplant, finding a new way to provide organs and therapeutic options to transplant patients is a critical need. In this paper, Telugu and his team are sharing their first steps towards growing fully transplantable human organs in a pig host.

Continue reading… “Team paves the way for growing human organs for transplantation with new proof-of-concept”

NASA Wants to Send Robot Dogs to Roam Mars

.By  Fabienne Lang

NASA-wants-to-send-robot-dogs-to-mars-1
Scientists are working with Spot the robot dog to head to the Red Planet

There will soon be dogs roaming around on Mars. Well, robot dogs.

NASA/JPL Caltech scientists are working on “Mars Dogs,” which are robot dogs set to autonomously navigate the Red Planet’s rough terrain and underground caves, as was first reported by Live Science.

The team presented its plan virtually on December 14 at the annual American Geophysical Union (AGU). 

These Mars Dogs will operate much in the same way as the rovers Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, and Perseverance, but will be able to do much more.

These new four-legged robots will be more agile and will come equipped with sensors informing them when obstacles come in the way, will be able to select specific paths, and create virtual maps of underground tunnels and caves, said the scientists.

These robotic dogs will be able to get back up if they fall down on Mars’ tricky terrain — something current rovers aren’t able to do. 

Looks like dogs will still be man’s best friend on a different planet. 

Continue reading… “NASA Wants to Send Robot Dogs to Roam Mars”