Artificial Intelligence May Put An End to Failed Selfies


via CTV News : Artificial Intelligence may put an end to failed selfies Powered by Adobe Sensei, a sophisticated technology that combines artificial intelligence and machine learning, the retouching enhancements provided by the new software make it a fully-fledged magic wand. In Adobe Creative Cloud, the developer’s comprehensive collection of online tools, Adobe Sensei is already working miracles with its capacity to create elements that do not figure on the original photo by analyzing neighboring pixels. The recently posted video offers a spectacular demonstration of how users of the software can rework the form and position of a face by simply moving a finger on their smartphone touchscreens. Other features include the option to modify background depth of field for a blurred effect, or change the angle of view to create a more flattering portrait. Last but not least, users also have the option of cutting and pasting photo styles from one image to another. In the future, these functionalities may be included in certain products of the Adobe Creative Cloud range to enable users to intelligently retouch selfies before sharing them on social networks.  

Illinois Professor Launches Electric Aircraft Startup Zunum Aero


via Chicagoinno : Illinois professor launches electric aircraft startup zunum aero The startup is aiming to cut travel time, flight costs and aircraft emissions, with a focus on regional flights. A University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign engineering professor is behind a hybrid and electric air travel startup that aims to cut flight costs, reduce aircraft emissions and connect travelers to more frequent regional flights. Kiruba Haran, an electrical engineering professor at UIUC, is one of the cofounders of Zunum Aero, a Kirkland, Wash.-based startup that’s aiming to get electric airplanes flying nationwide by the early 2020s. Zunum Aero just came out of stealth this week, with funding from Boeing’s new venture capital arm HorizonX as well as JetBlue Technology Ventures. Their initial hybrid gas-electric aircrafts would have a range of around 700 miles, carry between 10 to 50 passengers and hop more frequently between regional airports (the US has around 5,000 of these often underutilized smaller aviation hubs). Zunum Aero is aiming for a 40 percent decrease in travel time on the busiest routes, and 80 percent on less traveled routes, with a corresponding ticket price cut. Initially their hybrid-gas planes could generate 80 percent less emissions (and they’re pushing towards zero emissions as they go all-electric). By 2030, they’re hoping to fly planes over 1,000 miles. Haran, who is leading electric drive development for Zunum Aero, has been working with NASA on high power density motors for electric-hybrid aircrafts for the past three years. That’s what led him to Zunum Aero’s… Read more

Zaha Hadid Architects Unveil Plans For Spectacular Eco Park in England


via inhabitat : Zaha Hadid architects unveil plans for spectacular Eco Park in England Zaha Hadid Architects just unveiled plans for a state-of-the-art technology hub and slatted-timber footbridge at a new eco park in Gloucestershire, England. The architects previously won a competition to design the entire business park, including its Green Technology Hub, the new Forest Green Rovers football stadium and a footbridge linking the two main sides of the development. The 100-acre Eco Park, commissioned by renewable energy company Ecotricity, will offer state-of-the-arts sporting facilities and an additional 50 acres for a green technology business park expected to create up to 4,000 jobs. Aiming to become carbon neutral or negative by generating energy on-site, Eco Park is expected to enhance biodiversity and create a unique connection between sustainability, sports and technology. Eco Park’s glasshouse-like Green Technology Hub features distinctive timber slates that cover the buildings and match the material of the bowl-shaped stadium and the footbridge. “The Green Technology Hub proposals apply the latest sustainable design technologies with ecologically sound materials and construction methods to create an integrated community for world-leading research and development,” said Zaha Hadid Architects. “The bridge design creates one single, fluid form by fusing together individual timber elements,” added the architects. “This important, unifying gesture builds connections for the community, conveying Eco Park as a facility for all.”    

Engineering Future Challenges


via New Straights Times :  Engineering future challenges IMAGINE the chance to construct world-famous buildings such as the Petronas Twin Towers or major local projects such as the Bakun dam in Sarawak, or to get involved in a lifestyle-improving process through urbanisation. As a developing country, Malaysia’s construction activities are the major backbone in building up its gross domestic product. The country’s development is correlated with construction through urbanisation as more residential and commercial buildings needed to be built to cater to the population and economic growths. Malaysia needs at least 200,000 engineers by 2020 in order to attain the status of a developed nation. To date, there are only 70,000 registered engineers in the country. Engineering is divided into many areas — mechanical, electrical, civil, aerospace, nuclear, structural, biomedical, chemical, computer, industrial and environmental — which impacts our daily lives. There is a huge demand for civil engineers in Malaysia and it is also expected to get a boost as the country gets ready to upgrade its infrastructure and power sector. If you’d like to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems — from providing clean drinking water, to high quality housing, — then a career as a civil engineer could be for you. WHY CIVIL ENGINEERING? According to Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) pro vice-chancellor (strategy) Professor Dr Shahrin Mohammad, engineering is one of the world’s most important jobs with civil engineering being the oldest profession in this field. It is the most extensive branch of engineering, he added,… Read more

Engineering Design Platforms and Simulation in-CAD Benefit Product Development Teams


via :  Engineering design platforms and simulation in-CAD benefit product development teams Computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools have the power to take the gut feel and rules of thumb out of the engineering world. The old guard shouting, “This is the way we always did it,” won’t cut it in today’s market. Customers want cheaper, lighter, faster and stronger products that work the first time. Oh, and while you’re at it, those products must look cool, too. To meet these demands, engineers must bring simulation early into the development cycle to drive innovation. To that end, tools like simulation in-CAD (computer-aided design) and engineering design platforms make it easier for designers and design engineers to quickly check their work and make informed decisions about how their innovative ideas will affect product performance. Traditionally, design changes were assessed in early development with back-of-the-napkin calculations, charts, rules of thumb, empirical data (if it was available), hope and a prayer. Most of the hardline simulations were left until the end of the development process, putting the cart before the horse. And if that costly physical test fails it could be goodbye Charlie for some fellow engineers-in-arms. “Physical testing costs at least five to six times the cost of product development resources on vehicle projects,” explained Dominic Gallello, president of MSC Software. “The only way to meaningfully reduce the cost of physical testing is with simulation.” “With up to 80 percent of the cost of a product’s development determined by the decisions made early in… Read more

Seven Important Facts About Commercial Drones in South Africa


via Lexology : Seven important facts about commercial drones in South Africa South Africa is one of the few countries in the world that has passed laws regulating the operation of drones in the civil aviation airspace. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of South Africa now regulates the use of commercial drones within the film production, quantity surveying, private security, agricultural, farming, sports and recreation industries. Over the next 10 years drones will become part of our everyday lives. In this article, we discuss important facts to consider when operating, importing, distributing and supplying commercial drones (also known as “remotely piloted aircraft”) in South Africa. 1. The importance of commercial drone regulation Imagine the chaos that would ensue if there were no traffic regulations in place for motor vehicles, no driving licence requirements and no registration or number plates – the same applies for aircraft in the sky. To prevent accidental collisions or incidents that could damage private property, the CAA requires commercial drone operators and their drones to be fully licensed and to comply with Part 101 of the Civil Aviation Regulations (CARs). However, drones used for private or personal use are not required to be registered or operated in terms of the CARs. fly near manned aircraft; fly 10km or closer to an aerodrome (airport, helipad or airfield); weigh more than 7kg; use a public road for take-off or landing; transport cargo or make deliveries; fly within 50m above or close to a person without the consent of such… Read more

Driverless Future?


via Prospect : Driverless future? If they ever get the bugs out, autonomous cars will put a lot of human drivers out of work. Five to ten years from now, Uber hopes, the following will be an everyday occurrence: A driverless Uber car pulls up at Nick and Nicole Smith’s house at 7:30 in the morning. Their two kids, Julia, 16, and Joey, 14, hop into the car, and it then drops them off at school. The Uber car returns to the Smiths’ suburban home, picks up Nick and Nicole, and drops Nicole at the train station to catch the 7:55 into the city. The car then drives 40 minutes to drop off Nick at his company’s headquarters nestled in an office park. During the drive, Nick uses his laptop to answer emails and finish a PowerPoint. At 5:00 that afternoon, a driverless Uber car picks up Julia from field hockey practice and Joey from baseball practice and takes them home. Meanwhile, Uber has sent another car to pick up Dad at the office park at 5:30, and that car makes it to the train station in time to pick up Nicole, who’s due on the 6:15. The car then stops at a Chinese restaurant so the Smiths can pick up a takeout dinner. It waits while Nick runs in to get the food, and it then drops off the Smiths at home. Welcome to the brave new world of driverless cars and trucks. In this not-too-distant future, many Americans are… Read more

The Collective that Radicalized Urban Design in the 1970s with Slides


via Hyperallergic : The collective that radicalized urban design in the 1970s with slides A collection of color slides from 1970s LA captures the sights and sounds of a city and its urbanscape. In the late 1960s, a group of architects and artists in Southern California sought to reshape people’s understanding of Los Angeles, whose complex environments it believed architects and urban planners overlooked. Architectural practices in the city typically concerned form and resulted in isolated expressions of mid-century modernism; the collective, Environmental Communications, wanted designers to think about the environment through a much broader lens — as an urban ecology beyond just buildings that also considered denizens and their behaviors in and reactions to spaces. Its members’s strategy was an ambitious and epic one, targeting the centers of pedagogy: they slyly inserted their work into the slide libraries of architecture schools, museums, and other cultural institutions around the country, hoping to influence students and other curious minds. Armed with 35mm cameras and traveling by bus and even by blimp, the collective photographed their surroundings and turned them into slides. It then sold sets through mail-order catalogues, with the colorful images organized by themes that had titles such as “Human Territoriality in the City,” “Eccentric Folk Environments, “Hardcore LA,” and “Urban Crowd Behavior.” They were, essentially, poles apart from normal categorizations of learning into movements and time periods. Despite this radical packaging, institutions did purchase many of the catalogues, which described its makers as a “matrix” and as “a group, a… Read more

Construction Industry Needs Digitized Project-Management Work Flows


via Archinet : Construction industry needs digitized project-management work flows What are leading building construction companies across the globe worried about? Staying a step ahead of the pace of change, followed with increasing complex building construction projects and ever increasing consumer expectations and of course; adopting innovations that are applicable to the construction sector. CEOs or chairs of building construction giants across UK, USA, Europe and Middle-east, affirmed that the construction sectors is experiencing immense thrust in terms of growth, leadership, risk and strategic trends. However; the most prominent one is experienced in the adoption of digital solutions for construction, which is aimed at delivering a seamless and real time experience for all involved in the overall construction process. The dignitaries were of a consensus that new digital technologies, such as CAD drafting and 3d modeling have succeeded big time in bringing the “paperless building site” close to reality. In order to attain this; construction companies should invest in, and take interest in advanced equipments, technology and training. They also should ensure that electrical and mechanical engineers are given due importance as civil engineers, for making a building or infrastructure construction project – successful. Digital solutions for construction or process digitization are all about moving away from paper and towards online real time sharing of information. They ensure transparency and collaboration, timely progress and risk assessment, quality control; ultimately resulting in improved, reliable and cost effective outcomes. But if McKinsey & Company were to be believed, today building projects with multiple complexities… Read more

Empowering Community Health Workers with Telecommunications Tools: Lessons from the Savar Textile Building Collapse, the Ebola Epidemic, and Everyday Global Health Care Delivery


via PLOS : Empowering community health workers with telecommunications tools: Lessons from the Savar textile building collapse, the ebola epidemic, and everyday global health care delivery In the spring of 2013, on a cloudy morning in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the world witnessed the worst industrial disaster in history: the collapse of the Savar Textile building in Bangladesh. Warning of cracks in the structure of the unauthorized eight story textile building went unheeded by building owners, causing the deaths of thousands of textile workers. This incident garnered massive media attention as several Western textile giants were involved. It also brought to the world’s attention the issue of modern sweatshops in the developing world where teenage children work from dawn to dusk in unsafe conditions. The tragedy also revealed some glaring disparities in global healthcare delivery, as victims of the tragedy had little access to emergency medical services in the first hours following the collapse. One of authors of this blog post (Junaid Nabi) worked as volunteer surgeon with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) at Savar, and noticed a pattern that the media did not focus on: before the Bangladesh Army was summoned to help with the rescue mission, hundreds of local volunteers had already started the process of extracting buried victims from the concrete rubbles, and the only instruction they had were a couple of YouTube and FEMA videos. Although many videos were in English, a language not fully understood by much of the local population, the visual nature of instruction along… Read more