5 Ways Artificial Intelligence May Help Us Live At Home Longer


via Forbes : 5 Ways Artificial Intelligence May Help Us Live At Home Longer Richard Adler knows a few things about the uneasy relationship between older adults and technology. It’s something that Adler, a distinguished research fellow at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, Calif., has been studying for more than 25 years. One thing, in particular, has struck him. “The truth is that a lot of older adults are technophobes,” he said. “They tend to be classically late adopters of almost any technology.” Even though they are the ones with the most to gain from embracing the latest technology, Adler said. Hesitant About Artificial Intelligence That wariness may especially be true when it comes to the digital innovation that seems destined to become the next game-changer — artificial intelligence or AI. The name alone conjures up notions of talking robots and other brainy devices. That can seem creepy to older adults, not to mention that the idea of being around thinking machines can make them anxious about losing privacy or perhaps even worse, constantly being reminded of their own slipping cognitive skills. Actually, artificial intelligence covers a lot of ground. But put simply, “intelligent” machines, instead of just being programmed to do a task step by step, are able to learn by recognizing patterns, classifying data and adjusting to mistakes they make. Helping Older Adults Stay at Home It’s that ability to draw conclusions from enormous amounts of data that’s making AI a key component of efforts to… Read more

Telcos Seek 5G Cutting Edge Growth


via China Daily : Telcos Seek 5G Cutting Edge Growth Chinese giants aim to gain advantage in expansion of ultra-fast technology Chinese telecom companies are accelerating their research and development of 5G, as they scramble to establish a beachhead in the next-generation mobile communication technology. China Mobile Communications Corp, the world’s largest telecom carrier by subscribers, said it aims to deploy more than 10,000 5G base stations by 2020, in a move to launch a commercial 5G service. With less than 1 millisecond needed for data to get from one point to another, 5G is expected to allow consumers to download an 8-gigabit movie in seconds, and make remote surgery and autonomous driving a reality. The Beijing-based company is building facilities for system verification and the development of pre-commercial 5G prototypes. China Mobile’s move is part of broad efforts by the nation to evolve from being a follower in the 3G era to an active participant that seeks to outcompete foreign firms in the 5G era. The mobile technology is so important that it was highlighted in this year’s Government Work Report. According to a report by the US firm Qualcomm Inc, 5G will help the global telecom industry create $3.5 trillion of output and generate 22 million jobs by 2035. To accelerate the development of 5G technology, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a draft proposal on Tuesday that the low-frequency bands-the 3,300 to 3,600MHz spectrum and the 4,800 to 5,000 MHz spectrum-will be used for 5G… Read more

‘Engineering with Soul’ Can Help Solve the World’s Problems


via Seattle Times : ‘Engineering with Soul’ Can Help Solve the World’s Problems I was in the Bolivian Andes, 14,000 feet up. The 1970s-vintage water pipeline that snaked from a seep, across a river and down to the village’s water tank was slowly failing. Our engineering team from the University of Washington — with me as a mentor — was stuck. We couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t performing. Was the pipe just old, broken, leaking; was someone pirating water; or was there not the same volume of water coming from the seep that had been used for hundreds of years? During that moment of frustration, I remember thinking: “We can’t just solve this with science and engineering know-how alone. We can’t analyze our way out of this. What do we do?” In the end, that project was successful. Why? Because our team held community meetings and we involved the villagers in the design process. The elders remembered a rudimentary water-rights treaty; others pointed to broken piping and poorly managed spigots. In essence, the whole system needed replacing. That was a light-bulb moment in my engineering career. My team saw firsthand the power of collaborating with the community to achieve science-backed goals. In other words, we practiced something I’ve come to embrace whether in Bolivia, or the U.S., as “engineering with soul.” In my science and engineering career, I often see that in our excitement to solve hard technical problems we diminish the key step of engaging with the people who… Read more

Snap is Developing a Second Version of Spectacles Which May Include Augmented Reality


via TechCrunch : Snap is Developing a Second Version of Spectacles Which May Include Augmented Reality Snap extended the sale of its Spectacles into Europe this month, but already the company is working on a second version of the video-recording glasses which could be quite radical, according to a source with knowledge of the plans. The first set of Spectacles went on sale last year and are priced at $129.99. They allow their owner to take photos and videos which can then be posted to the Snapchat service. The idea is to give users a way to create and share different types of content. The second-generation project is closely guarded inside the company — to the point that few of Snap’s 1,800 staff are aware of the product’s details or when it will ship, another source told TechCrunch. What we do understand, however, that the next version is billed as being “quite different” to the first gen glasses, although it isn’t clear at this point exactly what that entails. It seems increasingly likely that Spectacles II will ship with augmented reality features built in. A major clue came last month when a Snap patent application for AR glasses was discovered by Mashable. The filing, dated November 2015, details how Snap plans to use a dual-glass arrangement to sense a user’s location and then beam digital content into the space around them. Snap’s app is already primed to support such a move. It recently rolled out an augmented reality feature — called… Read more

Vipp Prefabricated Cabins Designed as “Battery-Charging Stations for Humans”


via dezeen : Vipp Prefabricated Cabins Designed as “Battery-Charging Stations for Humans” Danish retailer Vipp has created a factory-made, metal-and-glass micro dwelling that comes filled with the company’s line of homeware products. Called Shelter, the 55-square-metre structure is intended to serve as a nature retreat and “battery-charging station for humans”, said Kasper Egelund, who heads the brand. “Vipp has made a plug-and-play getaway that allows you to escape urban chaos,” said the company, which has a showroom in New York. Vipp got it starts more than 75 years ago with the invention of its pedal-controlled metal wastebin, which is part of MoMA’s collection. The company offers an extensive line of metal and ceramic homeware, with Shelter, first unveiled in 2015, marking its first venture into dwellings. Other product companies that now produce housing include Japanese brand Muji, which recently unveiled a nine-square-metre, blackened timber hut that will sell for £21,000. The Vipp cabin consists of a metal-and-glass rectangular box that is elevated off the ground by pilotis. Two chambers protrude from the roof – one of which contains a light chimney, while the other houses a compact sleeping loft. Prefabricated just north of Copenhagen, each steel-framed cabin takes six months to produce and three to five days to install. The cost is €485,000 (£410,700), which does not include transportation. On the main level, the dwelling contains a kitchen, a dining area, a bathroom and a daybed room with a fireplace. A ladder leads to the narrow sleeping loft, which has a… Read more

Dutch Engineering Students Build Bio-Based Electric Car


via hybridCars : Dutch Engineering Students Build Bio-Based Electric Car Student engineers from a Dutch tech university are working on bringing electric cars to roads made entirely from recyclable, natural bio-based materials. The engineering team from Eindhoven University of Technology this week presented their car, called Lina, at a media event in the Netherlands embassy in London. Flax has served as a key composite in the lightweight electric car. The team says that what makes Lina special is that the chassis, bodywork, and the interior of the car all come from natural materials. The car is very light at just 300 kilograms (661 lbs.). It’s considered roadworthy and safe enough to carry four people, and was given certification to do so by the Netherlands Vehicle Authority. The team, dubbed TU/ecomotive, was able to combine bio-composites and bio-plastic for the chassis, including honeycomb structure bioplastic coming from sugar beets. It’s been set within bio-composite sheets that come from flax. The flax-based bodywork is comparable to fiberglass in weight ratio. The students revealed Lina on May 17 during Dutch Technology Week. Later in the month, TU/ecomotive competed at the Shell Eco Marathon in London. Dutch automotive semiconductor specialist NPX has funded the project, and sees it as vital for the auto industry. “It is a wish, at the moment, that the automotive industry will explore ways of reducing the use of energy in its products,” said NPX Vice President Olivier Cottereau. “Of course, it’s still an uncertainty because everything has to be rigorously… Read more

China Completed the World’s Biggest Floating Solar Energy Farm


via Business Insider : China Completed the World’s Biggest Floating Solar Energy Farm Images of the Beijing smog and millions of people wearing masks to be able to breathe are among the more dramatic depictions of air pollution caused by excessive industrialization. Now that China is turning away from industrial manufacturing and towards services, it is focusing on remedying some of the damage already done. This week, media welcomed the completion of what may well be the world’s largest floating solar farm, in the eastern Anhui province. The 40 MW installation sits on a flooded coal-mining town, which adds a kind of poetic element to the story – a shift away from coal and to solar and wind. But poetry is certainly not the reason why this location was selected: according to a local government source, the cool surface of the water will improve power generation. The floating farm is the latest demonstration that China is serious about its green energy plans. Earlier this year, Beijing said it would splash US$361 billion on expanding the country’s renewable power capacity by 2020. By 2022, China should have 320 GW of wind and solar power capacity, along with 340 GW of hydropower. These plans earned it the top spot in E&Y’s raking of the top 40 renewable energy markets, followed by India, who has plans for 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. That China is in the top spot is no wonder, given that China was the biggest spender on renewable energy… Read more

Ikea’s New Plan for Small Apartment Living


via new.com.au : Ikea’s New Plan for Small Apartment Living URBANITES are being forced into shrinking apartments due to the housing affordability crisis but furniture giant Ikea has come up with a cunning plan to deal with it. It is launching new micro-living furniture, inspired by storage ideas in actual space shuttles. Ikea will shrink its furniture to target those who have to move into small apartments and tiny homes. “An Ikea team is looking into how a Mars habitat can become more like home,” Ikea said in a statement. The micro-living plan was announced on Wednesday at the Democratic Design Day in Sweden and a team of Ikea designers will be cooped up and put through a mini-version of NASA’s Mars Training Program to identify what storage solutions work and what’s missing. “It’s a crazy, fun experience. We’re basically completely isolated for three days to get a taste of what astronauts go through for three years,” Ikea creative leader Michael Nikolic said. Ikea hopes a new found knowledge of space will help make the furniture big box more relevant to those living in mega cities, “where small-space living, air and water pollution is the norm”. Architecture and design magazine Dezeen reports Ikea will be working with NASA and Lund University School of Industrial design to “tap into what scientists and engineers learn from spaceflight” and the way they deal with micro-living spaces. “This collaboration is not about Ikea going to Mars, but we are curious about life in space, the… Read more

Drones, 3D Printers, and Hard Hats: The Role of Technology in Construction


via Rapid Growth Media : Drones, 3D Printers, and Hard Hats: The Role of Technology in Construction Technology is something we tend to take for granted, yet every industry is moving at the speed of technology. This is particularly true of the construction industry, which itself has undergone a metamorphosis driven by technology. Today, construction companies are measured by the speed and accuracy they employ in completing their various contracts. On many job sites, you may likely see a construction foreman using a laptop computer to review job progress, communicate with the client and the home office, keep work-related notes including any changes to the project, monitor inventories, review payroll, and control costs. It has been said that “time is money,” and technology is helping construction companies conserve time by increasing accuracy and adding to bottom line profit margins through the implementation of cost and quality controls. Job site safety is also impacted by technology. Recently, there has been a move to implement safety technology to protect workers. More significant is the effort to protect the job site itself using the latest in sensor technology, utilizing a point cloud, a set of data points in a three-dimensional coordinate system. In a three-dimensional coordinate system, these points are usually defined by X, Y, and Z coordinates, and often are intended to represent the external surface of an object. Point clouds may be created by 3D scanners to monitor the construction site for fire, water, and mold damage. These sensor systems offer both… Read more

What’s in the pipeline? Robots


via San Diego Union-Tribune : What’s in the pipeline? Robots It’s a dirty job but somebody’s got to do it. And when it comes to the expensive, claustrophobic and sometimes dangerous work of inspecting natural gas and oil pipelines, that somebody is a robot. “We can make sure that these critical elements of energy infrastructure operate more safely, more reliably, more economically,” said Edward Petit de Mange, the managing director at the San Diego hub of Diakont, an international high-tech engineering and manufacturing company with offices in Russia, Italy and North America. According to the federal government, more than 2.6 million miles of pipelines supply the nation’s energy needs. But aging and deteriorating pipelines pose substantial risks. In Northern California, a natural gas pipeline explosion killed eight people in San Bruno in September 2010. Data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration reports that since 2010, an average of about 200 crude oil spills a year are reported. While most of the leaks are small, it’s been estimated that 8.9 million gallons have been spilled during that time frame. “When a natural gas pipeline fails it’s usually much more violent, but when a hazardous liquid pipeline fails it’s a lot messier from an environmental standpoint,” said Petit de Mange. For years, energy companies and utilities inspected their pipelines by using techniques such as hydro-testing — sending pressurized water to test a line’s strength — or by simply digging into the ground and performing spot inspections. But pipeline owners often did not have… Read more