Showing posts from June, 2020


Looking to Invest Billions

New Tech, New Satellites, New Innovations
The European Union is accelerating the investment of more money into its space explorations, satellite communications and rocket launches.  Europe and the European Space Agency (ESA) have been very successful in space.  They want to increase their efforts and keep pace particularly with the US and Chinese space programs.  This, according to European Commissioner Thierry Breton in a conversation with Reuters.

EU Space Innovations
For the first time, the EU budget will be used to develop new technologies to launch rockets, including reusable rockets like SpaceX has developed.  Breton has several novel ideas to spur space innovation:

$1 billion euro Space Fund to support space startups$16 billion euros targeted just for space in the next EU budgetCompetition to provide free access to launches and satellites for startups.Bold Space Plan This is a bold and innovative space plan for the EU.  It includes rolling out a new generat…


BMW Demands Renewable Energy Batteries

Smart Battery, Green Power
German automaker BMW has taken a very strong, green power position.  CEO Oliver Zipse says BMW electric cars will use battery cells produced by using renewable energy.  This decision by BMW will compel big global battery suppliers to use non-coal generated electricity.  Mr. Zipse says he has contractual agreements with their battery cell manufacturers to use only green power to make BMW's 5th generation battery cells.

BMW's New Lineup of Electric Vehicles
BMW is launching a new lineup of electric vehicles.  They're launching the electric BMW iX3 this year and the BMW iNEXT and BMW i4 in 2021.  BMW estimates the use of green battery power in their electric vehicles will save 10 million tons of CO2 over the next decade.  That is the equivalent of carbon dioxide emissions produced by a city of more than one million people.


Northern Russia's Intense Heatwave & Wildfires

Clear Impact of Climate Change Two Years in a Row
In June 2020, towns in northern Russia are experiencing sweltering heat normally found in the Tropics.  In Siberia, it's so hot wildfires are breaking out, pine trees are bursting into flames and peat bogs are stone dry.  In some locations, temperatures have hit 100 degrees (F).  Climate scientists are calling the Siberian heat wave a "warning cry" about Climate Change from the Arctic.  Experts at the World Meteorological Organization are troubled by satellite images showing that much of Russia's Arctic is in an extreme heat zone.

Blazing Heat
The extreme heat is fanning forest fires and igniting normally water saturated peat bogs.  Climate scientists fear that the intense heat and fires in Siberia are signs of even hotter and drier conditions to come with more frequent forest fires.  Those fires release carbon stored in the forests and peatbogs, increasing the amount…


Hollywood First

RoboStar Erica
This is a movie first.  The lead actress in a big budget, $70 million science fiction movie is a robot named Erica.  Erica is loaded with artificial intelligence and was specifically created for this movie which is titled "b".  Four production companies are teaming up to make the movie - Life Entertainment, Bondit Capital Media, Happy Moon Productions and Ten Ten Global Media.  This movie is being shot at a time when most movie productions and many television productions are shut down because of concerns about COVID-19.

World-Class Robotics
Erica is an Intelligent Robot created by Japanese robotic scientists Hiroshi Ishiguro and Kohei Ogawas.  She debuted in 2015, but the roboticists had to recreate Erica the actress from scratch.  According to Ogawas: "We had to simulate her motions and emotions through one-on-one sessions, such as controlling the speed of her movements, talking her through her feelings and coaching character development and …


China's Burgeoning Ride-Hailing Industry

Industry Leader in China - Didi Chuxing
China's ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing has launched a test program for its RoboTaxi services on the streets of Shanghai. The tests started this weekend after the company installed V2X or Vehicle to Everything hardware throughout the area.  V2X enables the robotaxis to communicate with their surroundings and provides an extra layer of safety.  Didi Chuxing is a ride-hailing giant with financial backing from SoftBank.

Free, On Demand Rides
As part of the test program, customers can hail a free, on demand ride on Didi's robotaxis within designated areas of Shanghai.  Along for the ride are human safety drivers, should there be an autonomous issue. Didi is using Volvo, Lincoln and BYD models retrofitted with Didi's autonomous driving system for the testing. 

China's RoboTaxis
Elsewhere in China, Baidu is offering robotaxi rides in Changsha. And WeRide, backed by Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi…


2 Super-Earths Just Discovered

2 Exoplanets That Could Support Life
A team of German scientists have discovered two, Super-Earths just 11 light years away from Earth.  The astronomers spotted them near the red dwarf star Gliese 887.  They are outside of our solar system and they could sustain life.

Earth Like
University of Gottingen astronomer Sandra Saffers reported in the journal Science that the 2 exoplanets provide the best possibilities for the search for life outside of our solar system.  In their report, the astronomers said they believe the exoplanets could contain liquid water and have a rocky surface like the Earth. They also have calculated that the surface temperature on these exoplanets at 158 degrees (F) or 70 degrees (C).

Gliese 887b & Gliese 887c
The newly discovered Super-Earths have been named Gliese 887b and Gliese 887c.  NASA says more than 4,000 exoplanets have been discovered in space.  Exoplanets have a mass larger than the Earth but smaller than the ice planets N…


Finland's Robot Bankers

Rising Robotic Workforce
During the global COVID-19 pandemic, the robot workforce has been on the rise.  In China, there are robot-run field hospitals and new robot restaurant complexes.  In the US, robot concierge and robot cleaners are working at 5-star hotels and telepresence Avatar robots are enabling long distance learning.  Now in Finland, a robot investment adviser has become more popular than the human variety.

Nora, the Investment Adviser
At the biggest Nordic bank - Nordea, headquartered in Helsinki - a robot investment advisor named Nora just had a great 2nd quarter.  Nora pulled in 40% more business during the height of the COVID crisis.  By contrast, new business for the bank's human advisers was flat.  The Bank says that millennials prefer talking investments with a robot rather than with a human.  Nora saw the most action advising investors under the age of 40.

Pressure Reducer
Bank executives say Nora offers another advantage.  She reduces pre…


Fascinating New Robots for Home, Service, Work, Medicine ++

Journalist Edward Kane's Latest Book on Amazon
If you're interested in discovering the world's top new robots, check out a preview of Edward Kane's new book "NEW ROBOTS FOR THE 2020'S" in paperback

and e-book  B08BWZMS83    I co-authored the books with Ed.


Amazon Buys Autonomous Mobility Startup Zoox

Amazon Moving People and Packages
Amazon has purchased self-driving startup Zoox of Foster City, CA for more than $1.2 billion.  It's the e-commerce giant's biggest investment yet in the self-driving, autonomous category.  And, it's the second biggest acquisition that Amazon has ever made after purchasing Whole Foods.  This catapults Amazon into potentially another new business category.  It may not be just moving packages but also people.  Zoox's expertise is designing a world-class autonomous ride-hailing service, also known as RoboTaxis.  Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is always on the move for new avenues of business.

Zoox's Approach
Zoox's approach to self-driving is different.  It's not retrofitting existing cars with self-driving technology.  It's developing a whole new, purposed, self-driving vehicle with no steering wheel that can move in any direction.  Some analysts say that Zoox's innovative technology is …

NEW ROBOTS FOR THE 2020's by Edward Kane

Service, Home, Medical, Education, Workplace Robots & More

New Book on Amazon
I'm pleased to let you know journalist Edward Kane's latest book "New Robots for the 2020's" has just been published on Amazon and Kindle.

Top New Global Robots
It showcases the top new robots being invented by global companies and universities.  They include home, service, pet, medical, education, workplace robots and more.  These robots are changing many aspects of our lives.  Many of them will soon be members of your household.

To access the e-book, go to ASIN: B08BWZMS83

To access the paperback, go to ASIN: B08BV2YWRB  I co-authored the book with Ed.


Nike's New Air Zoom BB NXT

Innovative Footwear Tech
This summer, Nike will roll out innovative new footwear technology.  It's called the Nike Air Zoom BB NXT and it's a basketball sneaker.  It has brand new technology to enhance the athlete's performance and fight fatigue with enhanced energy return.

Fatigue Relief on the Court
In basketball, fatigue is a major enemy, particularly for "positionless" NBA players who constantly run the court during games.  To help athletes maintain energy throughout the games, the new sneaker contains a system of full length REACT foam under the heel, a thin plate and Nike Air Zoom pods under the ball of the foot.  Nike says the new technology provides the wearer top energy return, top cushioning and strength

North America and China
A black and green colored version called "Dangerous" will be released on July 2 in China and July 25 in North America.  And in September a white version called "Rawthentic" will be rel…


High Stakes Debut This Week

Competition is Fierce
Ford has a lot riding on its new traditional and hybrid versions of the 2021 F-150 pick-up truck to be unveiled on Thursday night.  In fact, they're "betting the farm on it".  The F-150 is the top selling vehicle in the US and it is Ford's cash cow.  The F-150 equaled 37% of Ford's 2.4 million vehicles sold in 2019.

Ford's Financial Strategy
Ford is betting the new F-150 will help it profitably grow the commercial side of Ford's business to support its $11 billion restructuring plan and start paying off more than $20 billion in new debt from the coronavirus.  The new F-150 has new technologies like an integrated power generator to power tools and other equipment. Also, it's expected to contain Ford's new electric architecture or "brain" which enables Ford's advanced driver assist, called "Active Drive Assist", which is similar to Tesla's Autopilot.

All-Electric for a Fiercely…


Smart Robotic Dining

Country Garden in Guangdong, China
The world's first robot restaurant complex has just opened in China.  The robotic technology is phenomenal.  More than 20 robots developed for different restaurant dining styles are operating in the 2,000 square meter modern restaurant space.  They have assigned roles including food preparation, cooking and wait staff.  They can handle 600 diners at one time and serve 200 menu items in as little as 20 seconds.

Multiple Robotic Dining Venues
The complex, built by Qianxi Robot Catering Group, offers diners a variety of  dining choices, including fast food, hot meals, Chinese food, noodle shops and clay-pot rice venues, all delivered in seconds by robots.  Qianxi says that with the global pandemic, robot run restaurants help reduce human contact and the spread of the coronavirus.  Chinese technology experts say that Qianxi has highly advanced robotic technology and a huge product lineup.  The company plans to expand their robot rest…


Airspeeder Will Race Its Flying Cars in 2020

South Australia Startup
Before the end of 2020, Australian startup Airspeeder will host a full fledge flying car race in the remote South Australian Outback.  Airspeeder has developed two flying cars.  They are electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles eVTOLs or flying taxis.  But these flying electric vehicles are specifically designed for air racing.  The reason:  vehicle racing has driven technology innovation.

Manned and Unmanned EVs
Airspeeder has invented the MK 4 which has a maximum speed of 130 km/h (81 mph), weighs 120 KG (265 pounds) and seats a single pilot.  The EV is powered by a 500 kw battery, has the same power to weight ratio as a fighter jet and provides 12 minutes flight time per battery.  The company also has created the unmanned MK 2 which has a maximum speed of 60 km/h (37 mph), weighs 80 KG (176 pounds) and provides 7 minutes of flight time.

2020 - Perfect Year for Flying Cars
The company says 2020 has been the perfect…


Start, Open and Lock Your Car with Your iPhone

Just Announced! Digital Car Keys
Apple launched its annual conference for software developers with a brand new and very convenient product - a virtual CarKey.  The system enables iPhone owners to start, open and lock their car with their iPhone.  The feature is coming with iOS 14 and with a new iOS 13 updates on iPhones and also Apple Watches.  You just need to hold your iPhone with the CarKey feature near to the vehicle to have it work as a key.

Starts with New BMW & Expands
The new system will work first with BMW 5 Series vehicles that start shipping in July.  Apple says that more car brands that work with CarKey will be on the market next year.  The new system allows owners to share digital car keys with family and friends through Apple's iMessage system.

Mapping for EVs
Apple also announced that it has updated its mapping application with information on the location of electric vehicle charging stations.  Apple worked with BMW and F…


NASA & Virgin Galactic Offer Private ISS Missions

Virgin Galactic's Share Price Soars Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic and NASA announced today that they are jointly developing a program for private missions to the International Space Station (ISS).  Likely candidates for the private missions include scientific researchers, wealthy private citizens and space tourists.  The announcement sent shares of Virgin Galactic soaring by more than 14% as the NYSE opened.  Virgin Galactic, like Elon Musk's SpaceX, is building a growing portfolio of business relationships with NASA.
Virgin Galactic's Role Virgin Galactic will identify entities interested in buying private missions to the ISS.  The cost is extremely pricey.  A ticket to and from the ISS costs an estimated $58 million plus $35,000 per night onboard the ISS.  The company will provide members of the private missions astronaut training programs, transportation and necessary resources both while in orbit and on the …


Highly Advanced, Connected, Responsive Robots

New Tech from QualcommSan Diego-based mobile chipmaker Qualcomm has introduced revolutionary new technology for robots and drones.  It is the first 5G system with hardware, software and tools for advanced robots.  It's called the RB5 system. Empowering robots and drones with 5G connectivity takes them to the next level of connectivity, quickness and responsiveness.  5G is not just for smartphones anymore!
New Enabling TechnologiesRB5 uses new Qualcomm technologies.  For instance, it uses the company's new QRB5165 processor for robots.  And it has a companion module for 4G LTE and 5G connectivity through Qualcomm's X55 modem, which is also used in smartphones.
Creativity Built-InThe RB5 has a tremendous amount of artificial intelligence built-in to enable robot and drone developers to create machines that are more responsive, smart and fast.  Qualcomm expects this technology to reach into the consumer, business, industrial, defense…


China's High Speed Maglev

Breakthrough Technology
China has a big win with its Maglev, high speed train technology.  Its prototype test vehicle hit speeds of 600 km/h (373 mph) on a test run at Tongji University in Shanghai today.  Maglev, which stands for magnetic levitation, uses two sets of magnets as the core of the technology.  One set levitates the train off the tracks and the other set accelerates it, taking advantage of the lack of friction.  The vehicle was developed by CRCC Qingdao Sifang Company.

Production Schedule
Production of the prototype system is expected to start at the end of 2020.  China says it will provide high speed transportation bridging the gap between high speed rail and air travel for diverse travel needs.

Collaborative Effort for Industrialization of the Tech
The project is run by the China Railway Stock Corporation in collaboration with 30 enterprises, including universities and scientific institutions.  Their purpose is to develop independent intellectual…


New Driver Assist Technology

Driving a Ford with Tech Breaking, Steering, Accelerating
Ford surprised many business journalists and investors this week by unveiling its new drive assist technology.  The tech is called Active Drive Assist and it can control a vehicle's speed, breaking and steering.  It contains a driver monitoring system to determine the driver's level of distraction, for instance, if texting.  And, at the moment, it works on 100,000 miles of divided highways that Ford has mapped out over the US and Canada.  That certainly will be expanded by Ford.

Launch in 2021
The system will be available in the second half of 2021.  It will start with Ford's much anticipated electric Mustang Mach-E SUV.  Another likely candidate is the redesigned Ford F-150 truck.  The F-150 is the best selling vehicle in the US and an all-electric version will roll out in 2022.

Intense Autonomous Competition
Ford faces a lot of stiff competition in the "no steering wheel" category.…


Technology At the Cutting Edge

Robot, Mow My Lawn!
Don't want to mow your lawn during summer heat waves?  Let your robot lawn mower do the job for you!  A growing number of people are doing just that.  According to Worx, the company that manufactures the highly rated Landroid robot mower, autonomous robot lawn mowers are growing in popularity.

Loaded with Technology
There are a growing number of robot lawn mowers on the market.  Among the top rated are Flymo, Worx's Landroid, Lawnmaster, Robomow, Honda's Miimo and Husqvarna Automower.    The robots use artificial intelligence and sensors to avoid hitting obstacles.  A special perimeter wire installed around the lawn keeps the mower on the owner's property.  The mowers are battery operated, quiet and run automatically, based on the schedule that the owner customizes in an app.  And the companies say they are safe with children and pets.

Buy or Rent
Still, the robot lawn mowers are pricey.  They average $1,000, with some model…


Hubble Space Telescope Images

"Two Stars Going Haywire"
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has just captured new images of two nearby stars putting on a spectacular fireworks display in outer space.  They are two planetary nebulae named the Butterfly nebula and NGC 7027.  Astronomers say they are highly unusual, among the dustiest planetary nebulae ever discovered and contain unusually large amounts of gas.

Nuclear Fusion
Stars are engines of nuclear fusion.  They live peaceful lives for billions of years.  But near the end of their lives the fireworks start with erupting jets of hot gas from them exploding into the universe.  Astronomers say the complexity and rapid changes in the jets of gas shooting off these two stars is unprecedented.  The new Hubble images demonstrate that the two stars are splitting themselves apart in a very short timeframe.

Unprecedented Access
Hubble is providing astronomers with unprecedented access to this celestial event.  They believe that NGV 7027 …


South Korea's Grand Experiment

Automated Ball-Strike Systems Start in August 2020
South Korea's minor league baseball teams will start utilizing robot umpires during regular games starting in August.  About 20 games in the Korean Baseball Organization's Future League will have the automated ball-strike systems operating for the entire 2021 season.  If it works as expected, South Korea's Major League baseball teams will deploy it too for their 2022 season.

Advanced Radar Technology
The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) calls the system the "robot umpire".  But, there are actually no robots behind the catcher on the field to make the calls.  This is a radar-based ball tracking system that is automated/robotic, pinpoints the location of the pitch and tells the human home plate umpire, via an earpiece, the correct call.  The ball's trajectory is shown on a large screen display at the ballpark.

Major League Baseball's Electronic Strike Zone
In the United States…


New Book "Smart Devices for the 2020's" by Edward Kane

Fascinating, Fun Read for Summer
If you want to keep up to date on the latest smartphones, smart watches, connected glasses and other top global smart devices and smart gadgets, take a look at journalist Edward Kane's latest book "Smart Devices for the 2020's".  You'll find it a fascinating, fun and informative read.  I co-authored the book with Ed.  For direct access, go to ASIN: B08B6ZV13M


Boston Dynamics Puts Spot on the Market

You Can Buy It for $75,000
Boston Dynamics claims that their robot dog Spot is the most advanced mobile robot in the world.  Their internet-famous Spot is now available for sale.  Boston Dynamics has been developing Spot for years.  Until now, only "select" clients could lease it. The price-tag to buy Spot is $74,500.  The robot is designed for inspections, sensing and remote operations.  Its big market opportunities are public safety, healthcare, construction and industrial uses.

Top Pedigree
Spot is a highly advanced and sophisticated robot.  It's been used in Singapore to encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.  During a trial run, it created 3D maps of construction sites.  It can dance, open and hold doors.  Boston Dynamics says it can navigate autonomously, handles rough terrain and avoid obstacles.

Top Dog
Thus far, the primary customers purchasing Spot are commercial and industrial companies which, for instance, …


Journalist Edward Kane's Latest Book

Top, New, Amazing Smart Devices
I'm pleased to announce that my fellow journalist Edward Kane's latest book "Smart Devices for the 2020's" has just been published on Amazon as a Kindle e-book and paperback.  If you're fascinated by the latest smart devices, like the most anticipated smartphones, smartwatches and smart glasses, you'll love this book. It will make you aware of the latest smart devices. For direct access to take a look, go to ASIN: B08B6ZV13M   I co-authored the book with Ed.


Personal Helper & Companion

Small Robot with Big Tech
Samsung has invented a life-companion robot that is the size of a tennis ball.  The name is Ballie.  The robot is designed to understand, support and react to the needs of the owner.  Ballie is small, round, rolls and is customized to work in households.  Samsung says it can function as a security robot, senior helper, fitness assistant and friend to kids and pets.  The robot responds to commands, like "Come" with chime sounds and obeys.

Connectivity With Other Smart Devices
This little robot has big technology powering it.  It has built in artificial intelligence capabilities.  Ballie uses sensors and data that it gathers within the home to create personalized, immersive experiences for the owner.  Incredibly, the tiny robot can connect with and control other smart devices in the home.  This is cutting edge robotic technology designed to help improve the daily life of the owner.  And it's the size of a tennis ball!  …


Honeywell's New Unmanned Aerial Systems Unit

Capitalizing on Flying Taxis and Drone Deliveries
Honeywell International, a major aerospace supplier, 
is launching a new autonomous aerial systems business unit.  The strategic move is a bet on growth in the unmanned aviation market of flying taxis, packages and cargo delivered by unmanned vehicles and drones.  Honeywell expects that business will grow into a $120 billion market by 2030. And Honeywell expects to get 20% of that market.

Technology Supplier
Honeywell's area of expertise is building aviation electronics and autonomous flight control systems.  The company doesn't build the drones.  It supplies aviation electronics and autonomous flight systems to customers like Germany's Volocopter, which is building eVTOLs (electric vertical takeoff and landing) flying taxis.  Another customer is UK based Vertical Aerospace which has a prototype vehicle that can carry cargo up to 551 pounds and fly at 50 miles per hour.

Rising Dron…


Telepresence: Next Best Thing to Being There

New National Science Foundation Research
A new study by the National Science Foundation has found that telepresence robots help students, who are learning remotely, feel more a part of the classroom.  COVID-19 has forced millions of students out of the classroom and into remote, distance learning classes.  The National Science Foundation finding is an important one and underscores another important role for telepresence robots to play: assisting and optimizing distance learning.

Learning Formats
The National Science Foundation, joined by researchers at Oregon State University, examined student experiences in three different circumstances:  in-class learning, learning remotely through a telepresence robot and distance learning by calling into class, livestreaming or recorded class sessions.

Remote, Robotic Learning
The clear preference of the 18 engineering students who participated in the study was if distance learning is necessary, the teleprese…


Rapidly Expanding Use of Ultraviolet Light Robots to Eliminate COVID Virus

Hotels, Public Transit, Amazon Putting UV Robots to Work
Ultraviolet light (UV)) has been used as a disinfectant in hospitals for decades.  As businesses start re-opening after the COVID lockdowns, the use of UV is rapidly expanding into the hospitality industry, public transportation and beyond including entertainment venues.

Beverly Hills Hilton
An example is the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel, where 3 UV robots from San Antonio-based Xenex Disinfection Services are on deep cleansing patrol.  Xenex has UV robots deployed in more than 500 hospitals around the world, including the Mayo Clinic.  In two minutes the high energy pulses of UV light from the robots eliminate dangerous viruses like COVID by 99.999%, according to the company and independent analysis by the Texas BioMedical Research Institute.  UV works at the speed of light and provides a rapid, thorough cleansing that is chemical free.  The COVID virus can su…


Watch, Fitness/Health Tracker & Phone

New, Connected Smart Device
OshenWatch Gen 2 is a top smartwatch that can help you meet your fitness and health goals while staying connected.  The watch is equipped with biosensors that automatically measure your blood
pressure, heart rate, oxygen level and even the quality of your sleep.  The smartwatch is the invention of Oshen Watch, a company headquartered in Hong Kong.

Exercise App and Advanced Bluetooth
The watch helps the wearer calibrate their exercise.  For instance, during a run, apps calculate distance, number of steps and the 
amount of calories burned.  The watch also keeps the wearer constantly connected.  It uses advanced Bluetooth 4.0 technology to wirelessly connect with any Android or iOS device.  It provides phone calls and text messages.  The battery provides 96 hours of use and there are 15 days of standby time.  And, it's priced starting at $49.95


Samsung Galaxy Note 20, Note 20 Plus, Note 20 Ultra

Among Hottest Smartphones of 2020
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20, Note 20 Plus and the Note 20 Ultra are among the most anticipated Android phones being released in 2020.  Some experts say they could be gamechangers.

Big Screens and 5G
These are big screen phones that are expected to deliver advanced 120H2 displays, very fast performance, advanced cameras and 5G connectivity.  These Android phones are expected to be Samsung's best smartphones to date.  The Galaxy Note 20 expected specs include a screen size of 6.42 inches, Ram of 8GB, storage of 128 GB and a battery of 4000-4300 mAh.  The Galaxy Note 20 Plus/Note 20 Ultra is expected to have a screen size of 6.87 inches, Ram of 12 GB, storage of 256 or 512 GB and battery size of 4500-5000 mAh.  Samsung says the cameras in these smartphones are revolutionary.

Big Competition Coming From Apple
The Samsung phones are expected to be unveiled in August or September of 2020. Pricing appears to s…

Johnson & Johnson Hope for COVID Vaccine

Human Testing on J&J Vaccine Starts in July

New Glimmer of Hope
Johnson and Johnson just announced its accelerating human trials of its potential COVID19 vaccine by months to July.  The trials will take place in the US and Belgium.  More than 1000 volunteers aged 18 to 55, plus another group over 65, will be involved.

One Billion Doses
J&J says it will test a placebo against the vaccine to determine the immunity results and its safety.  The company has signed an agreement with the US government to create enough manufacturing capacity to produce 1 billion doses of the vaccine through 2021.  J&J Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels told Reuters:  "Based on the strength of the pre-clinical data and interactions with regulatory authorities, we've been able to further accelerate the clinical development" of the vaccine.

Ten Vaccine Candidates
In all, there are ten COVID vaccine candidates that have entered the human trials phase.  The drug company Moderna will start t…


Ugo: Multi-Tasker that Can Even Fold Your Laundry

Invented by Mira Robotics
Japan's workforce is dwindling by more than a half-million workers a year because of its aging population.  To fill the worker shortage, Japan is experiencing an acceleration in the development of new, versatile robots.  A great new example is Ugo, the creation of Japanese startup company Mira Robotics.

Remote Wireless Operation
Ugo is a state of the art, remote controlled Avatar robot.  It is composed of a pair of height adjustable robotic arms that are mounted on wheels.  It navigates with a laser on its base.  And it is operated remotely through a wireless connection to a laptop and game controller.

Many Uses
Ugo has many uses. Its primary purpose is to serve as a worker robot and fill needs in Japan's dwindling workforce.  It can work as a security guard, inspect equipment and clean buildings.  It can also serve as a helper in homes, for instance, to fold the laundry.  Given the global COVID-19 threat, t…


Germany's Flying Taxi Startup Lilium

Top Tesla Investor Takes a Stake Tesla's top external investor, Edinboro based Baillie Gifford, has taken a stake in the German air taxi startup Lilium.  The investment management firm has invested $35 million, which is a less than 5% stake, in Lilium which vows to be the global leader in the emerging air taxi industry.
Flight Tested Lilium has a proven air taxi prototype.  Its 5 seat, passenger air taxi took a maiden flight in October 2019 and successfully took-off, flew and landed.  The Lilium Jet is an electric, vertical take off and landing vehicle (eVTOL).  It takes off and lands vertically like a helicopter.  The vehicle is powered by 36 electric jet engines placed in the wings.
Competitive Racing for Market Launch With a fresh round of funding, Munich-based Lilium has a market valuation of more than $1 billion.  It is racing to bring the eVTOL flying taxi to market.  Competitors include Uber and Volocopter of Germany that are also racing t…