Showing posts from June, 2018

Artificial Blood

Artificial Red Blood Cells - Washington University School of Medicine Innovation

Life Saver From artificial hearts to prosthetic limbs, we've managed to replace many parts of the human body.  But blood seemed beyond our reach.  Now at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Allan Doctor, MD is developing artificial red blood cells.  They will serve as a blood substitute and bridging therapy that might keep severely injured people alive until they get to a hospital.

Trauma is the leading cause of death in the US for those under 46 years old.  About 30,000 of those deaths could be prevented in those patients with severe bleeding from trauma.

Nanotech Blood
The Washington University research team is developing a freeze-dried, powdered blood substitute.  It's called ErythroMer and it's comprised of nano-scale, synthetic red blood cells that can deliver oxygen throughout the body.

Time and Life Saving Medical Innovation
Fresh blood becomes unusable after 42 da…

Where's Your Jet Pack?

Up, Up and Away
With the intense global R&D underway to bring the first flying car to market, I wondered what the status of jet packs is.  They were all the rage earlier in this decade  Turns out, they're still around but haven't matured technologically for widespread commercialization...yet.  They are one of the most difficult and complex pieces of flying equipment to engineer.  They also remain dangerous to fly.

New Takeoffs with Jet Pack Man
Nick Macomber is known as the Jet Pack Man.  He and his jet pack opened the London Olympics, flew over bridges in Ireland and have flown as part of innovation conferences in China.  His company Go Fast Sports & Jet Pack International predicts an upcoming renaissance in jet packing.  They've created a prototype with a turbine based platform that's capable of flying 30 minutes.  That could open up the possibility of commuting to work or school by jetpack.

Weight to Thrust Ratio Challenge
With jet packs, the challenge is weig…

Jaguar's Electric Boat Breaks World Speed Record

Electric Boat that Almost Flies
Jaguar just broke another speed record.  Not for racing cars.  This one is for their electric boat.  It just happened in late June, shattering the world electric speed record for boat racing.  The electric boat is the Jaguar Vector. The racing happened on Coniston Water, the third largest lake in the English Lake District. The Jaguar V makes eco-friendly, green, clean electric water craft look good for waterways and the environment.
Jaguar Vector Racing
The Jaguar Vector has a V20E electric engine.  Electricity provides all the boat's electric power and powers the motor and control systems.  The Jaguar V smashed a previous world record of 76.8 mph set a few years ago. The Jaguar V reached and sustained 88.6 mph for 8 miles.  The boat was designed and built by Jaguar Vector and their racing partner Williams Advanced Engineering.

Next Race Lap 
Jaguar has a strong vision concerning the importance of electric cars and electric boats in the transportation …

Hyperloop Gets Real

Get Ready for the Ride of Your Life
Thanks to the combination of Elon Musk's concept and Sir Richard Branson's investment, the hyperloop is nearing reality.

The hyperloop is a pod placed inside a vacuum-sealed tube.  By levitating the pod, friction is dramatically reduced which allows exponentially increased speed.  This technology combination allows for possible speeds of 700-800 miles per hour.

Global Hyperloop Competition
Entrepreneurs globally are attempting to duplicate Elon Musk's vision of hyperloop travel. A Spanish company Zeleros says their hyperloop system is capable of 745 mph.  This will allow travel from Madrid to Paris in about an hour, rather than 12 hours drive time.  There are at least ten hyperloop concept routes around the world conducting feasibility studies. They include some in the UK, US, India, Canada and Mexico.

Hyperloop Standout in the Fast Lane
The one hyperloop route that is ahead of the pact is the one between Pittsburgh, Columbus and Chicago by…

Robot Lawn Mowers

Robot, Cut My Lawn
Robo Mowers Powered by Batteries - No Gas It's at the top of my robotic wish list.  A robot lawn mower.  No astronomical bills and upselling from lawn service companies.  Just a nicely cut lawn and no hassles.  Innovation seems to be knocking at the front door with news on robotic mowers.

Green Robots at the Cutting Edge
There's a slew of new robot mowers.  Models include Worx Landroid for smaller lawns, Honda that cuts and feeds lawns, Robomow for all-purpose mowing and Husqvarna that's loaded with cell & GPS tech.  These mowers aren't cheap.  Prices range from $1000 to $3500. They're powered by rechargeable batteries so they're quiet.  You pay more for online enhancements. And, if your lawn is loaded with trees and hills, your robot mower is going to be a lot more expensive.

Grass Vacuums
Robot mowers look a lot like big robot vacuums such as iRobot's Roomba. They roam and groom your lawn. Their battery powered motor lasts from 30 minu…

Rockin Robot Bands

Rock On

On his latest album, Italian electronic music producer Leonardo Barbadora is using an all-robot orchestra.  The robots are capable of playing more than 50 acoustic instruments on command.  The instruments include the piano, percussion, wind instruments and the organ.  Barbadora controls the robot musicians from his laptop.  It's robotic innovation on a high note.

Perfect Tuning - Human Sound
What's intriguing is that Barbadora is using the robot orchestra to achieve a more "human" sound.  They're playing real instruments and provide a much richer sound than you get from digitally synthesized instruments.  His robot album is called Saxrobot.  It won't be finished and published until 2019.

Robots and the Sound of Opera
In late June, a robot named YuMi conducted a full orchestra successfully and to rave reviews.  It happened in Italy, the homeland of  Vivaldi, Verdi, Puccini, Respighi and so many other musical greats.  The robot, created by Sweden's AB…

Laser Breakthrough

Lasers on Active Military Duty

Laser Aircraft Repairs Engineers at RMIT University in Australia are developing laser technology to manufacture and repair steel and titanium parts for defense aircraft. The process sends metal powder into a laser beam, scans the powder across the surface and adds new material in a precise, web-like formation. It's basically a high tech welding process that makes or rebuilds metal parts layer by layer. The bonded metal has similar properties to the original metal and in some cases superior.

Laser Tech Being Tested
The process is being tested on defense aircraft in Australia.  The value could be two-fold: saving time and money.  Onsite repairs on military aircraft would save time as opposed to waiting for days for parts to be delivered from a warehouse.  Also it saves money as the part is fixed instead of being replaced. The RMIT researchers say that by enabling on-site production and repair of parts, the technology could completely transform the concep…

Flying Bikes

BMW's Hover Bike

BMW's Flying Bike
It started as a toy.  A Lego, 603 piece kit to build a miniature motorcycle - the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure Bike. The kit was developed by teams from Lego and BMW.  BMW engineers were so intrigued by the results, they built the real deal - a flying motorcycle prototype that was showcased in 2017.
Fast-Forward BMW engineers have been tweaking the prototype for months.  It's now morphing into a new model concept.  What we know about the concept vehicle is this.  It incorporates BMW Motorrad design with typical components such as a boxer engine and GS silhouette.  But engineers have modified the front rim to form a propeller.  It appears BMW is working toward commercialization of the flying bike.  There's no word on price or timing.
Crowded Skies There's competition for air space.  Besides flying cars and drones, there are a number of prototype flying motorcycles.  The Russians have developed one.  It's the Russian Hovercraft Scorpio…

Hope for Spinal Cord Injuries

Gene Therapy and Spinal Cord Injuries - New Research & New Hope from Kings College London

Gene Therapy Reversing Spinal Cord Injuries
Gene therapy, which is an experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent disease, shows promise in treating many ailments.  Those ailments include epilepsy, cancer, Parkinson's, osteoarthritis, asthma and much more.  Now researchers at Kings College London have shown that rats with spinal cord injuries can relearn skilled hand movements after receiving gene therapy.  The scientists believe the same will apply to humans.
No Regenerative Treatment, Now Hope At this time, there are no regenerative treatments for spinal cord injuries.  Researchers are now testing a new gene therapy for regenerating damaged tissues in the spinal cord.  The new gene therapy can be switched on and off using antibiotics.  With this technique, it's now possible to treat large damaged areas with one injection and turn the gene off when no longer needed.
New N…

Hypersonic Times - Boeing's Hypersonic Jet

Unveiling of World's 1st Hypersonic Passenger Jet Design
Boeing's prototype rendering unveiled today is the world's first look at comercial hypersonic design and what the jet will look like.  The design enables the speed and the speed is awesome.

Travel Times
Boeing's hyper-speed passenger jet can fly from New York to London in 2 hours versus the current 7 hours.  Or how about LA to Japan in 3 hours, versus 11 hours.  The design plan is for the jet to fly at Mach 5 or 3800 miles per hour, much faster than its predecessor The Concorde at 1,354 mph.

No Speed Competition
With speeds of Mach 5, Boeing's hypersonic jet has no current competition.  The closest competitor is Aerion Corporation.  It's high speed passenger plane is expected to reach 1.5 Mach.  But, there are many global players working on their design concepts and looking to win the hypersonic flight race.

Hypersonic To-Do List
Much work need to be done before the high-speed passenger jet takes off.  Boein…

Nuke Power Future: No Carbon, Small, Smart

 Nuclear Power's Future

Nukes:  Smart, Small, No Carbon EmissionsFirst the facts about nuclear technology:
Nuclear power plants produce 11% of world electricity.  Nuke plants generate 1/3 of the world's low carbon electricity. They cut CO² emissions by 2 gigatons per year which equals taking 400 million cars off the roads. The Director of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Yukiya Amano argues that to secure sufficient energy and cut average global temperature increases by 2० centigrade a year, the world need to make more use of nuclear energy.  He added, in a summer 2018 meeting in Paris, nuclear science, technology and nuclear power are important in meeting global development needs.
Most Promising Emerging Nuclear Tech:  Small, Smart Nuclear Plants 
In the case of nuclear power plants, perhaps smaller is better.  There's a global push for small, medium sized and modular nuclear reactors (SMR's), customized for local rather than wide areas.  They're part o…

When Cars Fly - Henry Ford

PAL-V's Liberty is Ready

In 1927, Henry Ford said:  "Mark my words.  A combination airplane and motor car is coming.  You may smile, but it will come."  Talk about a futurist!  He was right on, off  by about 90 years, but the time is now.

The Liberty:  Ready for Production, Take-off and Driving
This is a second hot prototype flying car we wanted to focus on.  It's the creation of the Netherlands based company PAL-V.  Called The Liberty, the developers claim it's production ready, making it a global first.  And they say it's "Licensed to Thrill".
Distinctive Design As you can see in the artist's rendering, the Liberty has a design that's different from other flying car prototypes.  It looks like a helicopter.  And, in fact, there's a center mounted rotor blade on top.  The big deal is that it's production ready.  All it awaits is full certification, which it expects in 2019.  The company says it will start delivering vehicles shortly th…

Mean Flying-Driving Machine

"Classiest" Flying Car
AeroMobil 4.0 Fossbytes Review calls this vehicle the world's classiest flying car.  AeroMobil, a Slovakia based company, has had it under development for a number of years.  They call it a "roadable aircraft" and a flying car.  With the AeroMobil 4.0, it's a high flying combo. It's being showcased at global Auto Shows and is set for production in 2020.

Electric VTOLWith Umph
AeroMobil 4.0 is in the testing phase right now.  What's intriguing is that it delivers "efficient" intra-city travel up to 621 miles, which is more than double what most electric VTOL(Vertical Take-Off and Landing) passenger drone concepts deliver. The company says it has an innovative combustion engine with highly advanced aerospace and automotive technology to achieve every efficiency, speed and range over other electric VTOL's.

Highly Advanced Electric, Solar & CombustionTechnologies
The vehicle uses a hybrid electric motor on the road…

e-skin, a Human Touch

Johns Hopkins' Breakthrough Electronic Skin
Imagine a prosthetic limb that can have a sense of feeling.  Scientists at Johns Hopkins University have created e-skin or electronic skin.  It's made of fabric and rubber-laced with sensors to mimic nerve endings. For the person using a prosthetic hand, e-dermis recreates a sense of touch.  It also recreates a sense of pain by sensing stimuli and sending impulses back to the peripheral nerves.  The pain function is very important because it protects the user from injury and the prosthetic limb from damage.  Providing that important functionality of touch is a significant tech breakthrough.
Based On Biology Human skin contains a complex network of receptors that relay a variety of sensations to the brain. The researchers used the network as a biological template for their work.  They made a sensor that goes over the fingertips of a prosthetic hand and acts like the person's own skin would with receptors sensing touch and pain.  Th…

Augmented Reality Gets Real

AR Forecast Beyond Games
Thanks to Pokémon Go and "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery", AR+ games are already a multi-billion dollar industry. But according to a forecast for 2025 from The Engineer, there's much more AR to come.  In 2025, Augmented Reality and digital eyewear will be in their heyday.  A new generation of digital displays and user interfaces will be in play and screens as we've known them will be phased out. Here's a summer of 2018 glimpse into the future of Augmented Reality, AR eyewear and a few breakthrough applications.

Lumus - Another Example of Israeli Digital Vision
Israeli-based Lumus is a global leader in augmented reality technology. They seem to be setting the pace. They've developed see-through, wearable displays on small frames, with wide fields of view and bright, transparent images.  The industry push is to make the digital eyewear as light and compact as possible. Also to make the images bright, transparent, colorful, distortion fre…

Israeli Vision - AI Glasses

Next G AI Glasses
ICI Vision, based in Tel Aviv, has developed high tech eyewear for the visually impaired to better navigate their surroundings. The technology is cutting edge.  The eyeglasses combine Artificial Intelligence, HD cameras, computer vision and more to fill in the visual gaps of someone who has blind spots.  The images are projected into healthy parts of the retina.  It helps to eliminate blind-spots, clarify images and improves bad vision.  The company says "it's cutting edge tech restoring sight to the blind."

Approved and Available in China and Australia
The eyewear technology is patent pending in the US and EU.  It's now available in Australia and China.  The need for solutions to impaired vision is huge.  Globally, 253 million people are suffering with impaired vision.  That's a very significant fact because of the human impact.  80% of our learning, perceptions, cognition and activities are "mediated" through vision.  The loss to the …

Clean Natural Gas Plants - Zero Carbon

Tech for Zero-Carbon Natural Gas Generating Plants
Green Natural Gas This could be a great Climate Changer.  Technology is being tested to generate emissions-free natural gas power plants.  A pilot program is underway in suburban Houston.  Net Power is behind the 50 megawatt plant project.  The company believes it can capture all the CO² and produce power as cheaply as standard natural gas facilities. Several MIT experts have stated the technology is well along in development. If it proves successful, it will be the world's first natural gas power plant that produces low cost electricity with zero atmospheric emissions, including CO².

Natural Gas Pollution
Natural gas is a primary global source of electricity.  32% of US electricity and 22% of world electricity is generated by it. It's cheap, plentiful but a big source of CO².  In fact, it accounts for 30% of the CO² emissions into the atmosphere from the US power industry.

Houston Pilot Program - Clean Energy From Natural Gas

Electric-free, Self-Powered Smart Sensors

Self-Sustaining Smart Sensor
Zero Power Sensors Imaging a sensor that can lie on standby for years until triggered by infrared wavelengths, which it is built to detect. It could be used for detecting burglars, security threats, mobility, fire, fuel burning cars and much more.  Thanks to researchers at Northeastern University (NEU) in Boston, the next generation smart sensor uses the infrared wavelengths it is programmed to detect to power itself.  It's self-sustaining technological innovation that's green and environmentally clean.  NEU researchers have developed it for the US Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA.  They call it "Zero-Power Sensors".

Detecting What's Not Visible
The infrared light waves the sensor detects aren't visible to the human eye.  And, they are abundant from, for example people, fires, emissions and cars.  They're easily detected by the smart sensor from virtually any location. It's a first of its kind…

Mind Reading Robots

A Robot More Obedient Than My Dog
Robotics is crossing another important threshold.  Humans controlling robots with hand gestures and brainwaves is now a reality at MIT. It's a significant tightening of human-robot interactions that's  a breakthrough. It prevents robots from making errors in real time. It happens through faint electrical brain signals and human gestures.

Brain Waves
By monitoring human brain activity with electrodes in a cap (as seen above), the MIT system picks up whether the human user notices the robot is making a mistake. Spotting a mistake sends off a slight electrical signal in the brain. That signal is turned into an algorithm and code that the robot understands.  You might say the robot is reading the human mind. Using an interface that measures muscle activity, humans can then make hand gestures to scroll through and select the right option for the robot to perform. The robot performs as directed through this new human partnership system.  Researchers s…

Connectivity Accelerating TeleMedicine

A Life Saver
TelemedicineImagine being treated for an illness in your home without having to go to a doctor's office or hospital emergency room. That's the promise of telemedicine.  In 2019, the pervasiveness of connectivity is enabling distance medicine on the grand scale.  Telehealth/telemedicine provides medical access, treatment speed and can mean the difference between life and death.  It's a real life-saver of growing importance.

Smart Phone, Smart RX
By some estimates, 80% of Americans own smartphones;  75% have broadband.  According to The Cleveland Clinic, as a result of connectivity, distance health will be one of the top 10 Medical Innovations this year.  Their reasoning is the demand for distance medicine now has the global infrastructure to support and accelerate it.

By the Medical Numbers
The medical industry is buying into this.
90% of US health care executives say they're building telehealth systems7 million US patients used telemedicine in 201819 million U…

Feeding the World Robotically

Food Fights

The world is on a collision course pitting a growing population against dwindling food supplies.  It's an untenable equation.  By 2050, there will be 10 billion people on earth.  To feed them, 70% more food will need to be produced from the same land currently farmed.  The need for autonomous, high precision, high yield robot hands on the farm has never been more urgent.

British Robots on the Farm - Earth Rovers & No Hands Hectare Farm
There are two fascinating robotic farm programs underway in the United Kingdom.  One is a startup company called Earth Rover. The company's developing autonomous farming robots based on the same technology as in the ExoMars Rover.  The other program is the world's first, successful all robotic farm....the creation of roboticists and researchers at Harper Adams University in Shropshire, UK.

Farming, Space Tech and Robots Coming Together
ExoMars is a solar powered, robotic rover that will be launched to Mars in 2020, as part of t…

My Taxi Just Flew In

Taxiing Above It All

It's rush hour.  Traffic is at a standstill. Then, out of the sky, it's your flying taxi.  That's the promise of Pop.up Next.  There are numerous flying taxi projects underway such as the Chinese EHay, Volocopter and Uber's Elevate machine.  However, Pop.up Next has the backing of and is a collaboration among engineering greats Audi, Airbus and also the German government.

Electric &Autonomous Flying-Driving Machine

Pop.up Next is part car and part quadcopter.  It is electric powered and has autonomous technology.
There are still many engineering challenges for Pop.up Next. But, the German government has approved testing the flying taxi in and around the German city of Ingolstadt, which is Audi's hometown. In a statement by the German Transport Ministry:  "Flying taxis aren't a vision any longer.  They can take us off into a new dimension of mobility."

Pop.up and Let It Go

As you can see in the prototype picture, Pop.up Next is c…

Gremlin Drones Launch

Flying Aircraft Carrier with a Drone Payload

The US Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA is building a flying aircraft carrier.  It's a transport and bomber style aircraft carrier capable of launching and recovering swarms of fighter, killer drones in mid-flight.  The flying aircraft carrier, which may itself be a drone, is a key component of the military's Gremlins drone program, a strategic part of future warfighting. The options for in-air, recovery of the drones include recovery bays on the carrier wings or recovering them in the cargo bay.

Tests in 2019
Tests to demonstrate launch and recovery of swarms of drones from a C-130 will take place in 2019.  The first phase of determining the feasibility of the program ended successfully in March.  Second phase involves full scale test demonstrations.  Dynetics and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems are contracted and now designing prototype drones.

The TERN Drone Tech
DARPA is jump-starting the Grem…

Robot Eye Surgeon

Robots Restoring Human Eyesight 
My Surgeon is a Robot
British surgeons have overseen a world first.  The world's first robotic operation inside the eye.  It occurred at Oxford University Hospital.  Professor Mac Laren, who directed the robotic surgery with a joy stick, hailed it as a vision of the future of eye surgery.

20-20 Vision
Twelve patients were involved with the robotic surgery trial.  In the first part of the surgical trial, the robot was used to push membrane off the retina without damaging it.  The second phase of the trial will be how the robot can place a needle under the retina and inject fluid.  This could lead to gene therapy as a treatment for blindness.

Robotic-Human Partnerships for Cures
One patient Father William Beaver, a local priest in Oxford, had been experiencing distorted vision, which he described as looking through a hall of mirrors.  Following the procedure, he said his eyesight has returned without the distortion.

Exquisite Precision
Removing membrane …

DARPA's Spiderman

Z-Man Climbing System
Z-Man Scaling Walls

DARPA calls it the Z-Man program and it's developing advanced technology for the military to scale structures vertically just like Spiderman.  Scientists are creating biologically inspired climbing tools to enable warfighters to climb vertical walls, while carrying a full combat load, without any ropes or ladders.  It's a program inspired by nature that's designed to save precious time and lives.  This technology would also prove invaluable in other circumstances such as for first responders and firefighters.

Climb like a Spider
Small animals. spiders and geckos inspired this advanced research program.  They scale vertical surfaces using unique bio-complex systems.  Specifically strong reversible adhesion or "hook into surface asperities".  Z-man is building synthetic versions of these biological systems for humans as novel climbing aides.

Climb Every Mountain
Geckoskin has been developed.  It's a stiff fabric that's…

Supercomputer on Steroids

Summit - At the Top

Fast, Smart and Peerless
It's the world's fastest and smartest supercomputer.  Summit at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. And this machine with AI is a humbling experience.  It can calculate in 1 second what it would take us humans 6 billion years to do.  Summit gives the US leadership over previously top ranked China in the supercomputer neural network race.  By comparison, Summit can make 200 quadrillion - that's 200 with 15 zeros - calculations per second.  China's Sunway TaihuLight, which was the world's fastest supercomputer, can do 93,000 calculations per second.  There's no comparison!

Very Different Computer Architecture
Summit is an IBM AC922 that composed of 4608 computer servers, all comprising processors which are the brains of the computer.  But what's breakthrough is the computer is using the new Tensor Core in its graphics cards.  That enables warp speed, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. AI learns…

Robot Blood Takers

Medical Robots With Needles

Researchers at Rutgers University have developed a robotic blood taking device.  It's designed to insert intravenous needles to draw blood and then analyze the samples.  At present there are about 2 billion blood tests per year in the US alone.  The tests are performed by individual practitioners and for the most part sent to a centralized lab for analysis.  There the samples undergo lab-intensive analysis.  It's a multi-billion dollar endeavor of medical importance but also a contributor to rising medical costs.

Robotic Precision

With the Rutgers robotic device, ultrasound imaging locates the blood vessel.  Then miniature robots place the needle in the targeted vessel, draw the blood, and finally analyze the sample.  With blood tests influencing 80% of medical decisions, robotic testing could considerably cut turnaround times.  Importantly, the robotic blood tests represent one-stop medical testing and eliminate the chance of human error.

Robotic Poi…

The TERN - Mean Drone Machine

DARPA's Drone Plane for Every Military Vessel A Sea Bird Unlike Any Other
The US Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA's TERN is one of the most stunning autonomous aircraft projects to date.  From the artist's rendering, it looks like Darth Vader will emerge.  But it's under development and prototypes are already being tested. Northrup Grumman is leading the program.  GE has developed the engines.  What TERN is capable of doing and plans for its global utilization are breakthrough technology innovation.
Gamechanger:  Launches and Lands on Small Vessels From virtually any naval vessel with a deck, TERN vertically takes off and lands like a helicopter and then transitions to a wing-born flight like an airplane on a mission.  It can carry a 600 pound payload and fly 600 miles to strike a target.  85% of the Navy's battle-force doesn't have enough room on its deck to carry much more than a helicopter for air support.  That's why TERN …

World's First Floating City

Innovation Island for You
The world's first floating city project is underway.  Non-profit think tank Seasteading Institute and the government of French Polynesia are spearheading the project.  They've signed an MOU and a deliberative launch process is now happening.  The floating city will be sited in waters off Tahiti.  It will be autonomous, with its own government and cryptocurrency, the Vargon. The host nation is French Polynesia. It will include residences, hotels, restaurants, offices, medical research facilities, aquaculture farms and a green powerplant. They're designing the island to foster innovation. Estimated project cost:  $167 million with construction expected to start in 2019.
Island Adventure in Paradise: Environmentally Correct and No Politicians This is PayPal founder Peter Thiel's island adventure that started a dozen years ago and is now becoming a reality.  Thiel co-created Seasteading Institute and provided seed money for it. There's a philos…

Seafaring Nuke Plants Russian Style

Mobile Nuclear Plants 
It's the world's first commercial, floating nuclear power plant.  21,500 metric ton Akademik Lomonosov is slowing making its way in a multi-stage trip across Russian waters.  It's controversial technological innovation to say the least. Some environmentalists call it the floating Chernobyl, Fukushima on ice and a nuclear nightmare.

This is an important update on a blog we posted about a month ago.  The floating nuke is now at Murmansk where it's being loaded with nuclear fuel.  Next stage in the journey:  "sail" the Arctic Sea to Pevek sometime in 2019.  There, it will be moored and start providing electricity to Chukota and its 50,000 population.  That's its first mission.

Mobile Nukes on Ice
The rationale for the floating nuke is intriguing.  Mobile, transportable nuclear power plants that can get to remote areas of Russia's far east and north to service energy needs.  Its ocean going mobility enables it to get to locations in …

High Flying Spies

Secret Space Ship
The US Air Force has a top secret space plane X-37B recently spotted by sky watchers over Edinburgh, Scotland and The Netherlands.  This would be the OTV's (Orbital Test Vehicle) 5th top secret mission. The big questions are: what's the mission and what's in the payload? What we do know is that the space plane was manufactured by Boeing and its technology is outstanding.
Supersonic Robotic Orbiter The plane's speed is supersonic.  It flies 110 to 500 miles above the earth.  X-37B is unmanned and robotic.  We know it was launched late last year from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.  One of Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets carried it into launch and orbit.  Its had more than 2000 days in orbit during its 5 missions.  Each mission is designed to break the previous endurance record.
Secret Missions - Secret Payloads No one other than the USAF, NASA and possibly Elon Musk's SpaceX knows what X-37B's classified missions fully …

New AI - Seeing through Walls

See-Through AI
The MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory is using an Artificial Intelligence based system to see what's going on behind closed doors, behind walls and in rooms behind rooms.  This AI ability to "see through" walls has been the stuff of science fiction.  But thanks to the power of machine intelligence, it's here.

Loco-Motion AI 
The project, as pictured above, is called RF-Pose. The tech is breakthrough.  The neural network analyzes the radio signals bouncing off the person's body as they move around and stop in enclosed rooms.  The AI builds a map with an active stick figure mirroring the person's live motions.

Different AI Strokes
This AI program is very different.  Usually neural networks are trained on massive sets of data.  In this case, the researchers had to train the AI to recognize radio signals bouncing off people.
To do this, they used their wireless devices to collect images of people in motion and the signals bou…

Help Wanted: Robot Evangelist

Preaching Bot

Someone at Boston Dynamics has a great sense of humor.  The company, which is a robot R&D epicenter, just posted a job opening for a Robot Evangelist.  Seriously!  The evangelist's job is to sell the world on commercial uses of their animal inspired robots.  Robotic applications include commercial security, logistics and construction.  This move by Boston Dynamics underscores a big push for market-driven, money-making, widespread use of robotics across industries.

Military Robots in Service

Boston Dynamics' roots are deeply intertwined with DARPA, the US Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency.  DARPA's mission is to develop breakthrough technology that provides the US military overwhelming competitive advantages.  Over the years, DARPA has funded Boston Dynamics robotic programs with an estimated $150 million.  The investment is well worth it.  The company has created the world's fastest, biggest and most agile robots.  Robots inclu…

Bat Bots At Your Service

Wednesday Series: Robotic Innovation Addressing the World's Most Pressing Needs
Flying service Bat Bots. Tiny aerial robots are being developed for multiple uses such as first responders at disaster scenes and to fetch objects for the elderly and hospital patients.  It's another example of life saving and life enhancing innovation addressing some of the world's pressing needs.
Bat Bots Take Off
The concept is elegantly simple.  Bats are marvelous flying machines.  Their agility and dexterity are unique.  For years, roboticists have tried and failed to create bat bots.  Until now.  Two separate research teams, the industrial automation company Festo and a combined group from NASA and California Institute of Technology, have launched bat bots.
NASA-Caltech High Fliers
Bat-like flight is the Holy Grail of robotics.  That's because of the wing/body complexity and the aerodynamic performance.  Bats have the most sophisticated wings in the animal kingdom.  40 wing joints power…

Singapore's Innovation Wake-Up Call for US

Singapore - Global Capital of Innovation
Singapore provided President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un the global stage for what appears to be their very successful denuclearization summit.  Singapore is much more than a world meeting place for diplomacy.  It's also a global capital of innovation with a long term and big budget backing it up.  The island nation's government is spending $19 billion over a 5 year period to develop Singapore as a knowledge-based , innovation driven, future focused economy. That scale of innovation investment leaves most of the rest of the world, including the United States, in the dust.
RIE2020 The innovation investment program is called RIE2020 or Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020.  Goals include strengthening the entrepreneurial atmosphere and commercializing innovation technologies for global markets.  Investments are focused on 4 key technology areas:  advanced manufacturing and engineering; health and biomedical science…

Larry Page's Flying Car

The Flyer Takes-Off
Flying cars are part of our transportation future.  A number of companies are working on prototype models globally.  But Google co-founder Larry Page and his company Kitty Hawk Corporation have just taken off with their Flyer, a sleek, good looking, one seat, flying car.  It's a pleasure craft that doesn't require a pilot license.
Wow Technology The Flyer is engineered quite differently than other flying car prototypes like Terrafugea's Transition, which is a small plane-car hybrid that runs on gas.  The Flyer is powered by ten electric fans along the sides of the craft.  On the underside are slim pontoon-like "wheels" for landing.  It's designed to fly over water and can stay aloft for 20 minutes.  Flyer cruises up to 20 mph and hovers over the water at 3 to 10 feet.  It's categorized by the FAA as an ultra-lite craft and consequently doesn't require a pilot's license.  It's restricted right now to uncontrolled, remote airs…