Exploring the three elephants in the autonomous vehicle room

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The expression “elephant in the room” refers to an important question that everyone knows about but no one wants to discuss because it makes them uncomfortable.

Today, in the area of Autonomous Vehicles (AVs), there are three elephants in the room which are worth exploring.

Let’s get started.

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These are the technologies that will transform the 2020s – From 5G to vertical farming

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Renault autonomous car concept

Shared mobility, advanced plastic recycling and protein production are also going to be key to future prosperity.

2020 is set to be the year of 5G, shared mobility and new ways of recycling plastic, says research group Lux, along with new battery technology and artificial meat also set to make a big impact.

The provider of tech-enabled research has produced its “20 for 20” list of “the technologies and trends that will transform the way we live, work, and play over the next decade”.

5G networks will lead the way thanks to their role as an enabling technology for so many other parts of the every-expanding digital landscape. “From robotic surgery to self-driving cars, 5G will be critical to advances in the internet of things,” Lux says. “5G has officially left the realm of research and entered reality, with more than 2,200 patents being filed this year.”

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Photovoltaic-powered sensors for the ‘Internet of Things’

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MIT researchers have designed low-cost, photovoltaic-powered sensors on RFID tags that work in sunlight and dimmer indoor lighting, and can transmit data for years before needing replacement. Credit: MIT News

By 2025, experts estimate the number of Internet of Things devices—including sensors that gather real-time data about infrastructure and the environment—could rise to 75 billion worldwide. As it stands, however, those sensors require batteries that must be replaced frequently, which can be problematic for long-term monitoring.

MIT researchers have designed photovoltaic-powered sensors that could potentially transmit data for years before they need to be replaced. To do so, they mounted thin-film perovskite cells—known for their potential low cost, flexibility, and relative ease of fabrication—as energy-harvesters on inexpensive radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags.

The cells could power the sensors in both bright sunlight and dimmer indoor conditions. Moreover, the team found the solar power actually gives the sensors a major power boost that enables greater data-transmission distances and the ability to integrate multiple sensors onto a single RFID tag.

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Here’s why the future of haptic technology looks (or rather, feels) like

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This graspable haptic device, called Foldaway, is the size of a drink coaster when flat, making it conveniently portable. The user places a joystick where the three hinged arms meet, and the arms offer resistance, to give a sense of the objects being manipulated. (Screenshot of image series by Alice Concordel)

Bringing the sense of touch to virtual reality experiences could impact everything from physical rehabilitation to online shopping.

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6 of the most amazing things that were 3D-printed in 2018

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From bridges to cars, 3D printing proved this year that it’s still relevant and exciting.

The hype may have died down a little, but 3D printing was still creating waves in manufacturing in 2018. On the important-but-boring side, manufacturing companies are using the tech for things like weight reduction and cost savings. More interestingly, architects carried out a number of experiments that pushed the artistic limits of what 3D printing can do.

Here are some of the standout achievements and creations from 2018:

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How the Internet of Things is transforming industries you never imagined

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Growing up, computers were mainly tools for automating secretarial tasks, not for professional work. Economist Robert Solow observed around that time, “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

But in the late 1990’s information technology became truly transformative. Combined with the commercial Internet and email, they became conduits to a continuous flow of information that could be processed, analyzed and turned into action. It’s likely that we’re in the early days of a similar productivity boom today, as connectivity begins to transform physical machines.

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How graphene is going to transform the way we get power

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Futurist Thomas Frey:  In 2002, when Dr. Bor Jang, a little-known researcher in Akron, Ohio, filed his patent for graphene, few people had a clue as to how revolutionary it would be. Certainly not the people at the Nobel Foundation who forgot to check the patent registry and instead awarded the Nobel Prize for graphene to scientists Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov from the University of Manchester.

As the poster child for the emerging new super materials industry, graphene is a form of ultra thin carbon just one atom thick. If you can imagine something a million times thinner than a single sheet of paper, you get the picture.

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Innovation in Medicine through tiny sensors

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A professor of ophthalmology at the University of California San Francisco, Sretavan treats nerve damage related to glaucoma, a disease that’s the leading cause of irreversible blindness. It affects approximately 70 million people worldwide.

Glaucoma is a complex eye disease without a direct cause. Physicians measure pressure inside the eye to assess glaucoma risk. But that pressure normally fluctuates over time and there’s no easy way to measure pressure regularly, especially for elderly patients who often have a hard time making it to his office. Continue reading… “Innovation in Medicine through tiny sensors”

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Fabrics may soon be able to yield more health data than devices

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Data from smart apparel will begin carving a health roadmap for the wearer.

What if your outfit made more than a fashion statement? Thanks to miniaturization and state-of-the-art integration of electronics, smart clothing is a burgeoning new space in which sensors are now fixed, woven, and embedded into everyday wear. Hap Klopp, founder of North Face, says, “Fabrics will generate more data than devices in the next 10 years.” Many analysts estimate large-scale adoption by 2020.

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Sweat sensors may bring medical diagnostics to wearables

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Sweat contains a trove of medical information.

Sweat leaves unsightly blotches on our clothes, drips down our faces, and makes us stink. It cools us when we overheat, but most of the time we think of it purely as an inconvenience. But, soon we may learn to like our sweat a lot more, or at least what it can reveal about our health.

 

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