What It’s Like To Ride In A Waymo Driverless Car


via ars Technica : ATWATER, Calif.—I’ve never ridden in a car with no one in the driver’s seat before. Still, I wasn’t exactly blown away. We’ve known for several years now that Waymo’s (previously Google’s) cars can handle most road conditions without a safety driver intervening. Last year, the company reported that its cars could go about 5,000 miles on California roads, on average, between human interventions. On Monday, I was one of several reporters invited out to Waymo’s secret testing facility at the Castle Air Force Base in California’s Central Valley. There, I got a chance to ride in one of Waymo’s newest self-driving cars. Waymo cars are designed to never have anyone touch the steering wheel or pedals. So the cars have a greatly simplified four-button user interface for passengers to use. There are buttons to call Waymo customer support, lock and unlock the car, pull over and stop the car, and start a ride. Waymo is also thinking about how to make riders comfortable and build trust in the car’s self-driving capabilities. A real-time display shows a schematic representation of the situation around the car. If there’s a bicycle on the road ahead, for example, the passenger will see the outline of a bicycle on the screen. This helps to reassure the passenger that the car knows that it’s there. In addition to offering rides in the vehicles, Waymo also demonstrated some of its testing procedures. Waymo runs cars through carefully designed test scenarios, like being cut off… Read more

Bridgehouse by Llama Urban Design Spans Over Canadian Forest Floor


via dezeen : Peruvian architecture firm Llama Urban Design has built a wooden house that connects two sides of a tree-covered valley in Ontario, forming a bridge over the ravine below. Bridgehouse is nestled in between two large mounds of earth, suspended above the forest floor. Its main structure is formed from Glulam engineered timber, with two large beams on either side of the house spanning across the small valley, and anchored by concrete pads. A wooden floor is supported between the beams, creating a trapezoid shape in elevation and a bridge across the gorge. On top, unstained cedar boards provide cladding for walls and the roof of the long narrow home, measuring 2,476 square feet (230 square metres). “Placed over a ravine, between two large maple trees, the volume has a minimal impact on the site,” said Llama Urban Design. “It sits across the steepest part of the slope, drawing a 38-metre-long horizontal line that acts as a counterpoint to the landscape.” Of the two main facades, one side is almost fully glazed and opens onto a balcony that looks towards a lake. On the other, glazing fills the gaps between the Glulam structure and the floor, and provides views of the forest beyond. External metal staircases climb up the sides of the angled beams, leading to a roof deck. Access to the home is possible at each end, where mirrored layouts include a bedroom, a detached bathroom, and a separate smaller room. An open-plan kitchen and living room serve… Read more

The Principle of Optical Illusions Technically Imitated In Electronic Circuit


via Phys.org : The human brain must cope with a large variety of information simultaneously so we can orientate ourselves in our environment and make quick decisions. How exactly it processes the gigantic data stream provided by our sense organs has still not been fully researched. For a deeper understanding of how the brain works, scientists at Kiel University’s Faculty of Engineering attempt to imitate this biological processing of information technically. Their goal is to develop electronic circuits with cognitive abilities, modelled on neural networks. Now, using the example of optical illusions, the researchers have demonstrated how processes of perception can be copied in an electronic circuit made of nanoelectronic components. Their results have been published in the scientific journal Science Advances. How an electrical circuit can imitate processes of perception can be particularly well illustrated using optical illusions, i.e. images that convey contradictory information to our perception. An example: at first glance, a drawing shows a normal hippo. If you look closer, you see that something is wrong. Some of the hippo’s legs are drawn so that they can neither be clearly assigned to the animal’s body, nor to the background. An optical illusion like this provides so-called “competing information”, which is initially confusing for our brain. On this basis, it is simple to follow how our brain connects pieces of information. “It is quite difficult for people to recognise errors in optical illusions,” explained private lecturer Dr Martin Ziegler from the Nanoelectronics working group at the Faculty of Engineering.… Read more

Supercapacitors That Charge Quickly Could Replace Batteries


via WC : Imagine being able to charge your cellphone or laptop in seconds. New research from the University of Waterloo shows that this could become a reality soon. Michael Pope, assistant professor of chemical engineering, said they have found ways to significantly improve energy storage devices called supercapacitors. When they tested their new supercapacitors, they had double the storage capacity of commercial ones. “It’s among the highest that’s been reported so far in the research literature. We’re hoping this is getting us one step closer to some more interesting applications,” said Pope. He said supercapacitors are made up of graphene sheets, which function as the conductor, and need to be stacked like pieces of paper. “I tell my students if you have a penny’s weight of this material, graphene, it could cover an entire football field,” said Pope. He explained how you stack up something that size is important. They used a liquid salt that serves as a spacer to separate the sheets and provide a place for energy to be stored. They also used a detergent to spread the salt in a uniform way. “It’s not easy to do,” said Pope, but they achieved what he called very good results. “We were able to get more control over how much surface area we have actually coated with the salt. The more surface area we have contact with, the more energy we can store,” said Pope. It was a complicated process and Pope said it is challenging to understand what… Read more

8 Career Tips from NYC’s Hottest Tech Companies


via The Bridge : Searching for a job might be the quickest route to an existential crisis. Where do I want to work? What do I want out of life? Why aren’t hiring managers responding to my LinkedIn request? Can they see me? DO I EXIST?! Ahem. That’s why the career platform Uncubed wants to make the job hunt more human. This is the first year the New York-based company is bringing their career fair to Brooklyn—and “it’s about time,” said co-founder and chief creative officer Tarek Pertew at Monday night’s kickoff event at Brooklyn Bowl, which gathered higher-ups from companies like Google, Oath, and Stride NYC to offer advice to tech job seekers. (After the talks, there was beer, bowling, and a tribute to Tom Petty. How very Brooklyn!) These companies and many more will be at Uncubed’s job fair at Industry City on Thurs., Nov. 9. (Readers of The Bridge can get a 50% discount on admission by using the following code: TheBridgeBK50.) Meanwhile, here’s the best career advice from Monday’s session, distilled into eight key tips. 1. Highlight what’s different about you Forget downplaying your out-of-the-mainstream experience or history, says LaShanti Jenkins, senior manager of talent acquisition at Oath (parent company to Yahoo and HuffPost). “Difference truly is a superpower,” she says. Companies don’t want an entire staff with the same competencies or capabilities, because that’s not the way to build brands people can relate to. Modern companies “need people from all walks of life,” she said, highlighting… Read more

Everything You Need To Know About Sophia, The World’s First Robot Citizen


via Forbes : On October 25, Sophia, a delicate looking woman with doe-brown eyes and long fluttery eyelashes made international headlines. She’d just become a full citizen of Saudi Arabia — the first robot in the world to achieve such a status. “I am very honored and proud of this unique distinction. This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship,” Sophia said, announcing her new status during the Future Investment Initiative Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Standing behind a podium as she spoke, to all effects, she presented a humanoid form — excepting the shimmery metal cap of her head, where hair would be on a human head. Of course, Sophia’s announcement was a calculated publicity stunt to generate headlines and keep Saudi Arabia forefront in your minds when you think about innovation, especially its commitment to a post-oil era. Through a mix of tourism, tech, and infrastructure, non-oil revenue is predicted to grow from $43.4 billion to $266.6 billion annually. But Sophia’s announcement also raises a number of Bladerunner-esque questions. What does it mean to be a citizen? What rights does Sophia hold? Saudi Arabia has not elaborated on this so far — perhaps it will create a ‘personhood’ option, as proposed by the EU committee in January, regarding the rights of robots. The Sophia-bot was dreamed up by the brains at Hanson Robotics, lead by AI developer David Hanson. In his published paper, upending the Uncanny Valley he extrapolates on… Read more

Goodyear Introduces Airless Tire Technology for Commercial Mower Application


via ET Auto : New Delhi: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has released a non-pneumatic, or airless, turf tire as a solution for users, who desire worry-free performance. The tire is available as an upgrade option on Bad Boy Mowers’ Outlaw XP, a zero-turn radius model, with expected availability in early 2018. The technology is part of the company’s strategy to develop maintenance-free technologies for passenger and commercial vehicles, particularly in fleet applications. “As cars become increasingly autonomous, the demand for lower maintenance, longer lasting tires will continue to rise,” said Christopher Helsel, Goodyear’s Chief Technology Officer. “There are still performance and economic challenges to solve before maintenance-free passenger tires hit the market, but we are developing technologies that are getting us closer every day.” Goodyear has been developing non-pneumatic technologies since the 1970s when it participated in the design of tires for NASA’s Apollo lunar roving vehicle, and in recent years in the development of a tire for future missions to Mars. TurfCommand Non-Pneumatic Tire For this new application, the Goodyear TurfCommand with DuraWeb Technology is an optional fitment for the premium Bad Boy Mowers model. Goodyear’s exclusive DuraWeb Technology has been in development for the past few years at the company’s innovation center in Akron, and is being manufactured in the US, exclusively for Bad Boy Mowers. Goodyear engineers and scientists incorporated feedback from field studies that included the Cleveland Metro Parks and with mower dealers, such as Beltz Lawn and Garden Equipment in Akron, Ohio and the… Read more

The World’s First Floating Wind Farm Is an Incredible Feat of Engineering


via Singularity Hub : Wind turbines are a valuable source of renewable energy, but it can be hard to find a good place to put them. They need to be close to a populated area so that transporting the power they generate isn’t too expensive—but they suffer from some serious “not in my backyard” syndrome when it comes to being too close to populated areas; they’re noisy and, though a field of them looks scenic from far away, up close they’re sort of huge and ugly. So why not put them out in the ocean? It’s not a new idea—as of the end of 2016 there were 14,384 MW of installed offshore wind power capacity, the bulk of it in Europe—but what is new is having the turbines float instead of being anchored to the sea floor. Last week saw the launch of the world’s first floating offshore wind farm. Located in the North Sea off the coast of Peterhead, Scotland, the wind farm consists of five enormous horizontal-axis turbines that together can generate 30 megawatts of electricity. That’s enough to power about 20,000 homes. The wind farm is called Hywind, and it’s been in the making for over 15 years, spearheaded by Norwegian energy firm Statoil. Key facts about the turbines and their location include: The turbines are positioned in water up to 129 meters (423 feet) deep (anchored turbines are usually placed at maximum depths of 50m (164 feet)). Each turbine is 253 meters tall in total (around 830… Read more

What’s New In The World Of Construction Technology?


via DH : Rapid urbanisation coupled with an increased white-collar migration to bigger cities has placed the real estate market in the country on the growth trajectory in the last decade. But the soaring cost of construction and the intermittent availability of trained labour has always been a constant problem for its growth. Realising the underlying challenges, the Indian real estate and allied industry have made significant transformations when it comes to construction technology and design aspects to weed out the existing anomalies to keep its growth on track. Several leading developers have already been implementing state-of-the-art construction technology for their ongoing and upcoming projects for a long time. But on the backdrop of recent policy and structural changes, this has further propelled many players to adopt innovative construction technology. Let’s look at three construction technologies that will define and shape the real estate sector in the future: Technology 2.0 The use of pre-cast technology for building urban infrastructure and large urban housing projects is common in cities. Today, the technology appears to be used for the construction of apartments in the urban areas too. Especially developers who are focused on the affordable housing segment or have forayed into the sector recently post the sops offered in the budget are adopting the precast technology. Precast technology ensures quality, clean and speedy construction with lower construction costs. An affordable housing project involves the construction of over 1,000 to 2,000 standard size apartment units; and in different phases, the construction requirements are different.… Read more

New Lightweight Materials Can Expand With Heat


via RDMAG : Researchers are tapping into the properties of “bubbles” to create a new, lightweight material that expands with heat to fill any given shape. A team from the University of Pennsylvania and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology have found a way to exploit the properties of bubbles to create “microbombs,” a type of material that expands with heat to form microclusters that can fit themselves to fill their physical confinement. The microclusters became extremely lightweight with soft and adaptable boundaries when they expanded to large volumes. “We got our inspiration from how farmers in Japan make square-shaped watermelons by growing them in plastic cages,” postdoc Hyesung Cho said in a statement. The researchers prepared microwells from a rigid material that could not be deformed against the expansion of microbombs and then carefully heated the microbombs to cause them to expand and thin the shell around the bubble without fracturing it. This strategy enabled the researchers to create microclusters with a wide variety of shapes including circles, triangles, squares, pentagons and hexagons and partitions (from single to multiple units per cluster), edge profiles (from round to sharp corners) and hierarchy. They were also able to transfer micro-nanopatterns onto the surface of the microclusters. “The nice thing with our approach is that we can actually inscribe any pattern into the wall inside of the physical confinement, so, when the material expands and softens, it will mold the pattern from the wall into those beads,” Shu Yang, a professor of… Read more