No Mobile Tech Trend is More ‘Edgy’ Than 5G


via ITProPortal : No Mobile Tech Trend is More ‘Edgy’ Than 5G Given that data centres provide the supporting infrastructure for the launch of many cutting-edge technologies, facilities providers must keep their finger on the pulse of the latest technology trends. Doing so allows them to prepare adequately, and provide the foundations that new technologies require, without risking downtime or failure. For instance, the explosion of social media has given rise to a multitude of advancements in data centre design, as evidenced by Facebook’s sub-Arctic Lulea data centre. The facility is powered by hydro electricity, and incorporates hardware that was created open source via the Open Compute project. Sometimes however, adapting to these trends is easier said than done – especially if the forthcoming technology is in its infancy, and its likely effects are yet to be established. Take 5G for example – this emerging technology is very much on the agenda of both the public and private sectors. As part of the most recent budget announcements, £16m was reserved to create a 5G hub for trialling the forthcoming mobile data technology. A 5G standard does not yet exist, but the technology is expected to surpass 4G to provide faster data uploads and downloads when it is deployed, some time after 2020. The consumer demand for delivering more data at faster rates is clear, but it could raise capacity issues from a data centre standpoint. If, for example, the iPhone 8 boasts a camera that takes 4k movies, people will instantly… Read more

Printed Solar Cells Thinner Than Your Hair Could Power Your Phone


via Horizon : Extremely thin printable solar panels could power your phone and are amongst a range of new ways nanotechnology is opening the door to a clean energy and waste-free future. Nanotechnology, a science that focuses on understanding materials on an atomic scale, is helping researchers and businesses introduce new technologies that could transform our economy into a greener, less wasteful one. ‘Nanotechnology as a field has an enormous role to play in moving our planet to sustainable and intelligent living,’ said Professor Martin Curley from Maynooth University in Ireland, speaking on 21 June at the EuroNanoForum conference, in Malta, organised by the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union and co-funded by the EU. He explained to an audience of businesspeople and researchers that nanotechnology holds the potential to spark ‘an explosion of innovation’. One area where this innovation could have its biggest impact is with how we generate, use and consume energy. Speaking at a session dedicated to nanotechnology in clean energy generation, Prof. Alejandro Pérez-Rodríguez, from the department of electronics at the University of Barcelona, Spain, said solar energy and photovoltaic (PV) technology itself could be considered a nanotechnology sector. ‘In all PV technologies and devices we put some nanotechnology … If we want to move to devices with higher functionality, lower weight, higher flexibility, different colours, then we need to integrate more nanotechnologies into their materials and architecture.’ At the same session, Artur Kupczunas, co-founder of Saule Technologies, explained how his company is using… Read more

China Is Investing Heavily In Artificial Intelligence, And Could Soon Catch Up To The U.S.


via Forbes : China Is Investing Heavily In Artificial Intelligence, And Could Soon Catch Up To The U.S.  The buzzword among the business and tech communities in China for the past year has been ‘AI’, or artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence, which allows software to “learn” human ways of thinking, is being incorporated into the largest e-commerce platforms, including Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, as well as into data-intensive traditional sectors. With strong government backing and concentrated research in this area, AI is poised to drive China’s economy forward toward higher levels of growth. Big plans for AI China is developing artificial intelligence in improving the capabilities of robotics, developing driverless cars, divining consumer preferences, inventory forecasting, selling enhanced products, and marketing goods and services. According to Liu Lihua, Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology, China has thus far applied for 15,745 AI patents. Wan Gang, the Minister of Science and Technology, stated this past Friday that China plans to launch a national AI plan, which will strengthen AI development and application, introduce policies to contain risks associated with AI, and work toward international cooperation. The plan will also provide funds to back these endeavors. Some municipalities also support AI research programs. Beijing, for example, is home to the CAS Institute of Automation, a consortium of universities and firms that provides venture capital funding of 1 billion RMB ($150 million) to AI development. Zhejiang province has also embraced AI programs. Already, Geely Automobile in Zhejiang is using intelligent manufacturing and internet marketing… Read more

Germany Breaks Green Energy Record by Generating 35% of Power from Renewables in First Half of 2017


via Independent : Germany Breaks Green Energy Record by Generating 35% of Power from Renewables in First Half of 2017 Germany raised the proportion of its power produced by renewable energy to 35 percent in the first half of 2017 from 33 percent the previous year, according to the BEE renewable energy association. Germany is aiming to phase out its nuclear power plants by 2022. Its renewable energy has been rising steadily over the last two decades thanks in part to the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) which was reformed this year to cut renewable energy costs for consumers. Germany has been getting up to 85 percent of its electricity from renewable sources on certain sunny, windy days this year. The BEE reported on Sunday the overall share of wind, hydro and solar power in the country’s electricity mix climbed to a record 35 percent in the first half. The government has pledged to move to a decarbonised economy by the middle of the century and has set a target of 80 percent renewables for gross power consumption by 2050.

Michelin Reveals the Future of Tyre Technology


via FleetNews : Michelin Reveals the Future of Tyre Technology Michelin has revealed a new concept tyre which points to the future of motoring using innovations it already has under development. The Vision concept tyre would be both a wheel and a tyre. It would be airless, puncture free and would be designed to last the lifetime of the car. The tyre would be made entirely of recyclable material and its interior would be a web-like structure, called alveolar interior architecture, which replaces the air in traditional tyres and removes the need for a wheel. The design is based on nature and would provide a soft exterior for ride comfort, supported by a solid interior. Sensors built into the tyre would provide real-time information about its condition and drivers would be able to use a Michelin smartphone app to make an appointment to adapt the tyre tread, based on the road conditions. New tyres would have a minimal tread surface, but this would be adapted for different conditions using roadside 3D printing technology. The driver would visit a roadside centre where new treads could be added to the tyre using 3D printers in a drive-through service. The car would sit on a rolling road and the tyres would be updated without being removed from the car. Terry K Gettys, executive vice president of research and development for Michelin Group, revealed the concept at the Movin’On Conference, hosted by Michelin in Montreal, Canada, and said all the elements of the concept were… Read more

3D Printers Start to Build Factories of the Future


via The Economist : 3D Printers Start to Build Factories of the Future SLOWLY but surely the sole of a shoe emerges from a bowl of liquid resin, as Excalibur rose from the enchanted lake. And, just as Excalibur was no ordinary sword, this is no ordinary sole. It is light and flexible, with an intricate internal structure, the better to help it support the wearer’s foot. Paired with its solemate it will underpin a set of trainers from a new range planned by Adidas, a German sportswear firm. Adidas intends to use the 3D-printed soles to make trainers at two new, highly automated factories in Germany and America, instead of producing them in the low-cost Asian countries to which most trainer production has been outsourced in recent years. The firm will thus be able to bring its shoes to market faster and keep up with fashion trends. At the moment, getting a design to the shops can take months. The new factories, each of which is intended to turn out up to 500,000 pairs of trainers a year, should cut that to a week or less. As this example shows, 3D printing has come a long way, quickly. In February 2011, when The Economist ran a story called “Print me a Stradivarius”, the idea of printing objects still seemed extraordinary. Now, it is well established. Additive manufacturing, as it is known technically, is speeding up prototyping designs and is also being used to make customised and complex items for actual… Read more

In the Auto Industry, the Future Is Software—Not Machinery


via Car and Driver : In the Auto Industry, the Future Is Software—Not Machinery  A Volvo lying on its side in Tempe, Arizona, wouldn’t normally rate a national headline. After all, Volvo has long asserted that the best attributes of its cars reveal themselves only in a crash. But this was an autonomous Volvo, part of a small test fleet Uber operated in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Arizona. The latter had welcomed Uber with open pro-business arms after the company and the California DMV got into a semantics spat, since resolved, over a $150 permit. The Cal DMV had revoked the registrations for Uber’s 16 test vehicles, and if the bureaucrats were motivated by the fear of a couple tons of undercooked technology circulating among the driving public, those fears seem to have been vindicated by the photos of the capsized Volvo. It doesn’t matter that, by all accounts, it wasn’t the fault of the Volvo’s computer that a driver turned suddenly in front of the oncoming robo-car, giving neither it nor the human minder aboard time to avoid the impact. Autonomous cars will live in a world of random surprises. Note that around 17.5 million light-duty vehicles were sold last year, swelling the national fleet to more than 240 million vehicles, and only the most infinitesimal percentage of them has any autono­mous ability what­soever. That will be true for this year as well. And 2018, ’19, and ’20. At least for the next decade or three, autono­mous cars will have… Read more

Rise of the Machines: How Robot Brickies Could be on Site Soon


via The Telegraph : Rise of the Machines: How Robot Brickies Could be on Site Soon  Brickies, sparks and chippies could find themselves out of jobs by 2050 thanks to the rise of robo-builders, with construction sites becoming virtually human-free zones. The prediction comes from infrastructure giant Balfour Beatty which has gone future gazing to predict what the industry could look like in three decades’ time. The FTSE 250 company admits its vision “may seem far-fetched” but notes that “digital technology has revolutionised contemporary life to such an extent that it’s not so hard to imagine radical changes for construction”. Building sites of 2050 will have autonomous cranes and diggers, and robots working in teams to build structures using new interactive materials which may even repair themselves, according to Balfour. Some structures will even self-assemble, while fleets of drones will fly overhead, constantly monitoring work to check it is up to standard, and collecting vast amounts of data to produce 3D and even 4D models which can be analysed by computers to identify problems before they occur. If humans do get a look-in on site, they are likely to be wearing “exoskeletons” which use neural technology. This monitors brainwaves and could be used to control the machines and robots actually doing the physical work. Balfour believes it’s more likely that human involvement will be limited to monitoring what the robots and other machines are up to from remote control bases where they might oversee several projects at once. The rise of… Read more

The Future of Office Design: Nature-Inspired, Tech-Enabled and Privacy On-Demand


via ChicagoInno : The Future of Office Design: Nature-Inspired, Tech-Enabled and Privacy On-Demand Workplace design is more than just armchairs and lobby couches: Studies have shown that a well-designed workspace and furniture can boost employee productivity and happiness (all which can impact the organization’s bottom line). For one week every year, Chicago becomes an international center for the hub of the conversation around workplace design through NeoCon, one of the world’s largest conferences dedicated to interior design strategy for workplaces. The conference, which wrapped up earlier this week, has been in Chicago 49 years running and attracts over 50,000 attendees from around the world. So what’s the latest in workplace design trends? Chicago Inno spoke with Melissa Marsh, who leads Workplace Strategy and Occupant Experience for clients of real estate company Savills Studley, and Renae Bradshaw, who represents clients in the firm’s Chicago office and is also the current Chair of Corenet Chicago, a real estate association for professionals. They shared their thoughts on the design trends and ideologies to keep an eye out for this year. Trend: Biophilic design. This is the practice of taking inspiration from nature and integrating natural light, materials, and even vegetation, into the modern built environment. “Research suggests human beings have a ‘fight or flight’ response to stress-inducing environments, and biophilic design is intentional in its approach to soothe anxiety,” said Marsh. At NeoCon, designers debuted the following nature-inspired designs: Lichen Collection, a plank carpet system inspired by the algae-based organism which, just like its… Read more

Google Releases New TensorFlow Object Detection API


via TechCrunch : Google Releases New TensorFlow Object Detection API Google is releasing a new TensorFlow object detection API to make it easier for developers and researchers to identify objects within images. Google is trying to offer the best of simplicity and performance — the models being released today have performed well in benchmarking and have become regularly used in research. The handful of models included in the detection API include heavy duty inception-based convolutional neural networks and streamlined models designed to operate on less sophisticated machines — a MobileNets single shot detector comes optimized to run in real-time on a smartphone. Earlier this week Google announced its MobileNets family of lightweight computer vision models. These models can handle tasks like object detection, facial recognition and landmark recognition. Today’s smartphones don’t possess the computational resources of larger scale desktop and server-based setups, leaving developers with two options. Machine learning models can run in the cloud, but that adds latency and requires an internet connection — non-starters for a lot of common use cases. The alternative approach is simplifying the models themselves, making a trade-off in the interest of more ubiquitous deployment. Google, Facebook and Apple have been pouring resources into these mobile models. Last fall, Facebook announced its Caffe2Go framework for building models to run on smartphones — the first big implementation of this was Facebook’s Style Transfer. This spring at I/O, Google released TensorFlow lite, it’s version of a streamlined machine learning framework. And most recently at WWDC, Apple pushed… Read more