Nuclear-Powered Vessel Named Thor Could Be Next Generation Of Sea Travel

A potential answer to a sustainable cruise ship industry has been announced in the shape of a nuclear-powered vessel named Thor.

By Anamarija Brnjarchevska

A potential answer to a sustainable cruise ship industry has been announced in the shape of a nuclear-powered vessel named Thor.

Norway-based company Ulstein say the eye-catching 149m (489ft) replenishment, research and rescue ship concept is powered by a thorium Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) that can be used to recharge battery-driven cruise ships at sea.

This enables the vessel to operate as a mobile power/charging station for a new breed of battery driven cruise ships.

Ulstein claim Thor’s charging capacity has been scaled to satisfy the power needs of four expedition cruise ships simultaneously. Thor itself would never need to refuel. As such, the ship is intended to provide a blueprint for entirely self-sufficient vessels of the future.

“The vessel concept is capable of making the vision of zero-emission cruise operations a reality,” the firm states.

Ulstein believes the concept may be the missing piece of the zero emissions puzzle for a broad range of maritime and ocean industry applications.

To demonstrate its feasibility, Ulstein has also developed the Ulstein Sif concept, a 100m-long, 160 POB capacity, zero-emission expedition cruise ship. This Ice Class 1C vessel will run on next-generation batteries, utilising Thor to recharge while at sea.

Sif would accommodate up to 80 passengers and 80 crew, offering silent, zero-emission expedition cruises to remote areas, including Arctic and Antarctic waters.

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UAH collaboration creates self-learning AI platform to discover new drugs

A UAH team is applying self-learning artificial intelligence and big data analytics to discover new drugs.

Newswise — HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (May 4, 2022) – A cross-college collaboration at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) has developed a self-learning artificial intelligence (AI) platform that uses big data analytics to discover how new pharmaceutical drugs and various molecules work inside living cells.

The cutting-edge research at UAH, a part of the University of Alabama System, involves Dr. Jerome Baudry, a molecular biophysicist, the Mrs. Pei-Ling Chan Chair in the Department of Biological Sciences and director of the Baudry Lab; Dr. Vineetha Menon, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and the director of the Big Data Analytics Lab; computer science doctoral student Shivangi Gupta, the lead author of a paper on the research; and engineering doctoral student Armin Ahmadi, who is conducting his doctoral research in the Baudry Lab.

Supported by UAH’s Office of Technology Commercialization, the scientists are developing their research into intellectual property for industrial applications in drug discovery.

“This is a strong, integrated collaboration and we all bring our own expertise, but the main novelty in this work is in machine learning and data mining, and the lead on the overall project is Dr. Menon, who is an internationally recognized expert in these areas,” says Dr. Baudry.

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Would you trust a robot chef? This innovative one can ‘taste’ food to prepare it exactly as you like it!

CAMBRIDGE, England — A robotic chef is learning how to “taste” food as it cooks it — just like humans do to see if their meal has enough seasoning. The new machine can even change the taste of food depending on individual tastes!

Researchers at Cambridge University say this could one day lead to automated robots in food preparation that know exactly what tastes good to most customers. Aiming to nail down the science of the art of cookery has already led to the robot chef being able to make an omelet based on a human taster’s feedback.

The team found by creating a “taste as you go” approach improved the robot’s ability to quickly and accurately assess the saltiness of a dish. To imitate the human process of chewing and tasting in their robot chef, the researchers attached a conductance probe, which acts as a salinity sensor, to a robot arm.

They prepared scrambled eggs and tomatoes, varying the number of tomatoes and the amount of salt in each dish. Using the probe, the robot “tasted” the dishes in a grid-like fashion, returning a reading in just a few seconds.

To imitate the change in texture caused by chewing, the team then put the egg mixture in a blender and had the robot test the dish again. The different readings at different points of “chewing” produced taste maps of each dish.

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NVIDIA Researchers Demonstrate Ultra-thin Holographic VR Glasses That Could Reach 120° Field-of-view

By Ben Lang

A team of researchers from NVIDIA Research and Stanford published a new paper demonstrating a pair of thin holographic VR glasses. The displays can show true holographic content, solving for the vergence-accommodation issue. Though the research prototypes demonstrating the principles were much smaller in field-of-view, the researchers claim it would be straightforward to achieve a 120° diagonal field-of-view.

Published ahead of this year’s upcoming SIGGRAPH 2022 conference, a team of researchers from NVIDIA Research and Stanford demonstrated a near-eye VR display that can be used to display flat images or holograms in a compact form-factor. The paper also explores the interconnected variables in the system that impact key display factors like field-of-view, eye-box, and eye-relief. Further, the researchers explore different algorithms for optimally rendering the image for the best visual quality.

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Planet-scale AR platform aims to build 3D map of the world

Pokemon Go creator Niantic has announced that it is building a state-of-the-art planet-scale augmented reality (AR) platform for current and future generations of AR hardware.

By Rich Pell

The software development company says that it is planning to launch the Lightship Visual Positioning System (VPS) at its developer summit later this month. The company’s Lightship Platform, which includes the Lightship Augmented Reality Developer Kit, is the foundation for the company’s products and the VPS is seen as the next step on its Lightship roadmap.

The system, says the company, is designed to form an underlying 3D map of the world so that all devices can share the same frame of reference even on massive scales.

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Continental’s Robot Truck Can Perform 100,000 Tire Tests a Year

This crazy-looking, six-wheeled thing is intended to simulate road car braking.

BY HAZEL SOUTHWELL

Tires are going to be a big conversation in the near future of automotive. Of course, we’ve always known that they matter, but tires are set to be one of the main issues in pollutant and performance terms for how cars are legislated about and built going forwards. As cars get bigger and heavier, the demands on tires do too, so Continental has built a crazy-looking robot truck to run hundreds of thousands of braking simulations per year.

The vehicle is called AVA, which in an incredibly German move (the test facility is in Hanover) stands for another acronym: Analytic Vehicle AIBA. AIBA means Automated Indoor Braking Analyzer, which is technically more where the automated test vehicle works rather than talking about it.

Continental has built a pretty sweet test track that can be laid with different road surfaces and even made wet or dry, that AVA then runs on to simulate braking and test the tires.

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EXCELLENCE IN MARITIME MANUFACTURING – ANDURIL’S EXTRA LARGE AUTONOMOUS UNDERSEA VEHICLES

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series Excellence in maritime manufacturing looks at Anduril Industries’ Extra Large Autonomous Undersea Vehicle which is destined for local manufacture, and how manufacturing is helping the company to disrupt the defence sector.

Getting defence capabilities from the concept to final product stage can be a very time-consuming – manufacturing can follow years if not decades after proposals first are aired.

But one California company, which is linking with the Australian Defence Force to develop an Extra Large Autonomous Undersea Vehicle ((XL-AUV, pictured), is showing that time frames can be collapsed utilising new concepts of manufacturing.

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The First Electric Airplane That You Can Fast-Charge Like Your Tesla Is Coming Soon

Diamond Aircraft’s eDA40 can be recharged in about 20 minutes. You just can’t do it at your local Walmart. 

By J. GEORGE GORANT

Diamond Aircraft’s eDA40 is the result of several years’ worth of experimentation and testing of both hybrid and pure electric systems. The Austrian manufacturer is now poised to move forward with an electrified version of its DA40, a single-engine trainer aircraft that’s already certified. The eDA40’s twist is simple but practical: It plugs into DC fast-charging systems.

The charging apparatus is supplied by Electric Power systems, which develops certified systems for Aerospace, Defense, Automotive and Marine. The eDA40 will be the first electric plane that is Part 23 certified by the FAA and Europe’s aviation safety agency, EASA, with this charging option. That doesn’t mean you can land in the parking lot of your nearest big-box store and plug into one of the auto chargers. But in theory, you could.

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DARPA moving forward with development of nuclear powered spacecraft

n the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) program, DARPA plans to develop a nuclear thermal rocket engine.

by Sandra Erwin 

The next phase of DRACO is a ‘full and open competition’

WASHINGTON – The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on May 4 issued a solicitation for proposals for the next phase of a demonstration of a nuclear powered spacecraft. 

The project, called Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO), started over a year ago when DARPA selected a preliminary design for a rocket engine reactor developed by General Atomics, and chose two conceptual spacecraft designs by Blue Origin and Lockheed Martin.

The next phases of the program will focus on the design, development, fabrication and assembly of a nuclear thermal rocket engine. DARPA will conduct a “full and open competition” so this opportunity is not limited to the companies that participated in the first phase, a spokesperson told SpaceNews. Proposals are due Aug. 5.

The goal is to launch a flight demonstration of nuclear thermal propulsion in fiscal year 2026.

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Ep. 86: Space exploration (and why it matters) with sarah cruddas

Watch our interview with Sarah Cruddas on Youtube or catch it on the Futurati Podcast.

Sarah Cruddas is a space journalist, international TV host, and award winning author. She has an academic background in astrophysics and is a global thought leader in the growing commercial space sector.

Pairs Well With

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Google has bought Raxium, a firm building 3D displays without the need for eyewear

By Paul Hill

Google has announced that it has bought Raxium, a company that has been developing single panel MicroLED display technologies for the last 5 years. According to the search giant, the technologies that Raxium has developed will be used in next-gen technology and offers “miniaturized, cost-effective and energy efficient high-resolution displays”.

Raxium is based in Fremont, California and will now be joining Google’s Devices & Services team where it will carry on its work and integrate products into future Google hardware. The announcement put out by Google was very brief and didn’t share any more details regarding what the Raxium team would now be working on.

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This is Continental’s robot battery that could change the electric car market

This robotic battery can be installed in almost any electric vehicle and will facilitate and optimize charging.

The electric vehicle industry is advancing by leaps and bounds. Practically all car manufacturers are developing models that can be competitive in a market that is still dominated by Tesla. One factor that has limited the development of this technology is the batteries , their charging time and the autonomy they give the vehicle. In addition, there is the dependence on cables and outlets to be able to charge them.

Continental , the German firm known worldwide for making tires, is working on developing a wireless-charging robotic battery alongside Volterio , an Austria-based startup. The device has two parts: one that is fixed to the car (the one that receives the energy), and another that moves on the ground under the car (the one that sends the electrical charge). For an electric vehicle to charge correctly, the two parts must be aligned, which does not happen if the driver parks incorrectly. So there is power loss and the charging is not as efficient. Continental’s robot is capable of locating the precise place where it has to be positioned to achieve efficient loading, and it does so in an automated manner.

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