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Google's Unique Solution to Self-driving Cars

Google's Unique Solution to Self-driving Cars | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it

 Google's self-driving cars can tour you around the streets of Mountain View, California! The key to Google's success has been that these cars aren't forced to process an entire scene from scratch.


"Rather than having to figure out what the world looks like and what it means from scratch every time we turn on the software, we tell it what the world is expected to look like when it is empty," Chatham continued. "And then the job of the software is to figure out how the world is different from that expectation. This makes the problem a lot simpler."


While it might make the in-car problem simpler, but it vastly increases the amount of work required for the task. A whole virtual infrastructure needs to be built on top of the road network!


Google is perhaps the only company which could imagine digitizing all the surface streets of the United States as a key part of the solution of self-driving cars. Could any car company imagine that they have that kind of data collection and synthesis as part of their core competency?


Read the full article here:
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/05/all-the-world-a-track-the-trick-that-makes-googles-self-driving-cars-work/370871/

 

Read more about the car here: http://sco.lt/57EQKn

Infographic source: http://www.evoke.ie/google-self-driving-car/


Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Who would have thought that Google would endeavor to create an entire digital world?

 

This is as daunting as the dream to convert all roads into solar panels! http://sco.lt/6e11P7

 

Nonetheless, tech giants are slowly pushing the internet into daily household appliances and this would blur the borders between the real and digital world! http://sco.lt/90jxIH

 

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A Message From The Curator

A Message From The Curator | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it

World of Tomorrow is a collection of articles on the latest scientific discoveries, future technology and space exploration.

 

Images in the cover photo above are:
Solar Roadways http://sco.lt/6e11P7
Freddie Wong donning Glass http://sco.lt/7AZhQ1
Franklin Chang Díaz and Vasimr engine http://sco.lt/5LzScr

 

Please follow my topic and share my scoops if you found the curated articles interesting, and check out the popular tags listed in the post above. I also welcome suggested scoops related to this topic and give credit where credit is due.

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

I teach chemistry at UCSI University, Malaysia and most of my research is centered around phytochemistry.

My research interests can be viewed here:
http://scholar.google.com.my/citations?user=iVv3xbAAAAAJ&hl=en


I manage the Facebook and Google+ pages belonging to the Faculty of Applied Sciences, UCSI University. Curated scoops are shared here:
https://www.facebook.com/Applied.Sciences.UCSI

https://plus.google.com/117901649282247944098/posts

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Scientists have built the world’s thinnest electric generator - and it’s only one atom wide

Scientists have built the world’s thinnest electric generator - and it’s only one atom wide | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
Researchers have created a graphene-like material that generates electricity every time its stretched, and could power the wearable technology of the future.

 

Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Columbia Engineering in the US have shown they can generate electricity from a layer of material that’s just one atom thick. The generator is made from molybdenum disulphide (MoS2), which is a clear, flexible and extremely light material that opens up huge possibilities for the future of electricity generation.

 

The new electrical generator is an example of piezoelectricity, or electricity that’s generated from pressure. Piezoelectric materials have huge potential to be used to create materials that can charge devices, such as footwear that powers an iPod. But until now, scientists have struggled to make these materials thin and flexible enough to be practical.

 

However, it’s been predicted that a substance capable of forming single-atom-thick molecules, or two-dimensional layers, would be highly piezoelectric. The scientists tested the piezoelectric response of these flakes by stretching the

 

material, and measuring the flow of electrons into an external circuit. Interestingly, they discovered that when the material had an odd number of layers, it generated electricity when stretched. But when it had an even number of layers, there was no current generated.

A single one-atom-thick layer of the material was able to generate 15 millivolts of electricity when stretched.They also found that as the number of layers increased, the amount of current generated decreased, until eventually the material got too thick and stopped producing any electricity at all.

 

This suggests that they’re a promising candidate for powering nanoelectronics, and could be used to create wearable technologies.

 

Now the scientists have proved that this is the case for the first time ever. Their results have been published in Nature.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature13792.html

 

Read more here: http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20142010-26364.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

This is another great innovation for generating clean energy. Other innovative designs include:

 

Completely transparent solar cells http://sco.lt/8SV8C1

Smartphone charged by sound http://sco.lt/7HVy6r

Last but not least, Solar Roadways! http://sco.lt/6e11P7

 

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This new umbrella creates a force-field of air to protect you from the rain

This new umbrella creates a force-field of air to protect you from the rain | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
Is this the end for awkward and unwieldy umbrellas? Designers in China have teamed up with university students to invent a better kind of umbrella - a device that creates a force-field of air around you to shield you from the rain.

 

Umbrellas are kind of terrible. They’re a pain to carry around with you all day, they turn inside-out in the wind, and it’s a wonder that more eyes aren’t poked out by those protruding metal edges when a crowd of people funnel out of a train station and unfurl them all at once. But how do you make an umbrella less unwieldy, while maintaining the coverage?

 

Over the past two years, a team of designers in China has been working with postgraduate students at the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics to invent a new type of umbrella that works without those spiky, flimsy metal poles. In fact, it doesn’t even need a canopy. Instead, it keeps you dry by creating a ‘force field’ of air that circulates around you. 

 

Dubbed the Air Umbrella, this nifty little hand-held device contains a lithium battery, a motor, and a fan, and together they work to create a continuous cycle of air that flows out from the tip. This air flow is strong enough to constantly deflect rain particles away from the user, and the team says that two people can fit under it comfortably.  

 

They’re working on extending the battery life of all models, but plan to start delivering their products to Kickstarter backers from December 2015. Support their Kickstarter campaign here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1243275397/air-umbrella

 

Read more here: http://sciencealert.com.au/news/20141510-26335.html

 

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Who says that the Chinese could only copy other people's designs? Granted there are a lot of cases of copyright infringement from within China.

 

More technological advances by the Chinese can be read here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=China

 

Other innovative crowdfunded projects have been scooped here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=Crowdfunding

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Bill Gates is building a machine to diagnose nasty diseases

Bill Gates is building a machine to diagnose nasty diseases | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is celebrating 10 years of its Grand Challenges in Global Health program, where it asks scientists to brainstorm solutions to gnarly health problems and then offers grants to the best ideas.

 

On Thursday, he gave an update on a new challenge: “Can you create a new device that quickly diagnoses HIV, TB, malaria, and other diseases… accepts different samples, like blood, saliva, and sputum… is affordable… and reliable… and will work in a small clinic that has only a few hours ofelectricity a day?” he wrote in a blog post.

 

Sounds like something akin to a “Star Trek” tricorder, the handheld device from the sci-fi TV show that analyzed the world. But there’s already a $10 million X Prize challenge for that sponsored by Qualcomm. (That grand prize will be awarded in 2016.)

 

There are five teams working on the challenge, he says. “Today we know that it’s technically possible to build a device and that there are partners ready to help,” he says. But he knows that’s not enough. There are questions such as if these machines can be made affordably enough and if it will do any good to diagnose people in areas where medical treatment is scarce.  But it is Gates’ attitude toward the challenge that is also inspiring.

 

Read more here: http://venturebeat.com/2014/10/09/bill-gates-is-building-a-machine-to-diagnose-nasty-diseases/

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Bill Gates often thread where few others dare. Technology is playing an increasing role in our health

 

ICT is currently used to help Ebola http://sco.lt/5OkxUn

 

Brain scans are providing a less ambiguous way to diagnose mental illnesses http://sco.lt/8xB2Pp

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Sync - Director's cut

Charlie Cooper is a special agent of the future - the mind of a man running entirely on a computer, able to transfer his consciousness to bio-mechanical bodies at will. But when a computer virus corrupts his system, he must face one of his greatest challenges yet: mortality.
Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

A really good piece of science fiction. The premise of syncing human consciousness with bio-mechanical bodies may become a reality with the advent of optical computing http://sco.lt/6TyY8f and brain-like data storage devices http://sco.lt/4xTrqT

 

The "technological singularity" highlighted in the film may also be a possible scenario as a supercomputer recently pass the Turing test http://sco.lt/79HlnF

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Giant 3D-printed robot spider sees world through an iPad

You’re looking at a walking, robotic 3D-printed hexapod that can see its terrain and is controlled wirelessly from an iPad.

 

PhD student Matt Bunting from the University of Arizona in the US has built a robotic hexapod as part of an exploration into how computer vision and locomotion can work together.

 

The first iteration of his robot spider was displayed earlier this year at the International Consumer Electronics Show in the US, and he’s now improved the design with 3D printing and a better computer. "I decided to give it a makeover with a 3D printer and I added an Intel Atom-based computer on the top. Then a few weeks ago we converted the computer to run on Intel Edison,”Bunting told Nate Lanxon from Wired UK at the 2014 Maker Faire in Rome this month.

 

Intel Edison is a new low energy, tiny computer - about the size of an SD memory card - designed for use in wearable electronics because it's got Bluetooth and WIFI already built in, but it’s also perfect for Bunting’s spider robot. A USB port in the back of the robot allows him to install computer vision tasks to get it exploring its nearby terrain using its camera vision.

 

Read more here: http://sciencealert.com.au/news/20140510-26286.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

The possibilities of 3D printing are limitless, from food, to bionics and robotics. More scoops here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=3D+Printer

 

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Scientists find quicker, more sustainable way to produce hydrogen fuel

Scientists find quicker, more sustainable way to produce hydrogen fuel | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
A new method will allow researchers to make larger-than-ever quantities of hydrogen from water, and can be powered by renewable energy sources.

 

Chemists from the University of Glasgow in Scotland have just taken a huge step towards producing clean hydrogen fuel in a sustainable way. Unlike fossil fuels, hydrogen gas can be burned to generate electricity without producing toxic emissions. It’s produced easily from water through a process known as electrolysis, which uses electricity to break the bonds between hydrogen and oxygen, to release them as gas.

 

The most advanced method of hydrogen production at the moment is known as proton exchange membrane electrolysers (PEMEs). As a University of Glasgow press release explains: “PEMEs require precious metal catalysts to be held in high-pressure containers and subjected to high densities of electric current, which can be difficult to reliably achieve from fluctuating renewable sources.”

 

This new method, on the other hand, allows larger-than-ever quantities of hydrogen gas to be produced at atmospheric pressure and using lower power loads, such as those generated by renewable power sources. Even more impressive, it also stores the hydrogen in a carbon-free liquid, which solves some of the safety issues which have so far limited the use of hydrogen fuel.

 

It does this by using a “liquid sponge” to lock up the protons and the electrons that have the potential to create hydrogen. The “sponge” is a metal oxide that starts off yellow and then turns blue as it's loaded up with this potential to create hydrogen

 

This new method is 30 times faster than current techniques, and also requires a far lower energy load, so that it can be powered by renewable energy sources such as solar or wind. The process is reported in this week’s edition of Science.

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6202/1326.abstract

 

Read more about the technology here:

http://sciencealert.com.au/news/20141209-26169.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

The concept of hydrogen fuel cells has been around for years. However, technical difficulties restrict their use. This study address some of these difficulties to hydrogen fuel more economically viable. 

 

More scoops on new and sustainable energy sources can be read here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=Energy+Generation

http://www.scoop.it/t/aquascaping-and-nature/?tag=Sustainable+Energy

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Jetpack that helps you run faster

What if every soldier could run a four-minute mile? That's the goal behind 4MM, or 4 Minute Mile, a student project to create a wearable jetpack that enhances speed and agility. 

 

Developed by researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) as part of a project called 4MM, this new jetpack is designed to help its wearer run a mile (1.6 km) in four minutes. The project is being run in conjunction with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and aims to develop new technology that helps soldiers on the ground move faster and carry more weight. A faculty mentor, Jason Kerestes is the mastermind behind 4MM. He built a prototype of the jetpack and is now testing and refining his design to be as effective as possible.

 

Thomas Sugar of ASU’s Human Machine Integration Lab had been working on new robot technology that could assist amputees when DARPA asked if he could also develop robots that could help able-bodied people, allowing them to run faster and carry more weight while they were at it.

 

Read more here: http://sciencealert.com.au/news/20141409-26173.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Having a jetpack strapped to your back is staple fodder in science fiction. It is really interesting to see this invention work.

 

More interesting technological developments scooped here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=Future+Technology

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China plans world's largest supercollider

China plans world's largest supercollider | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.

 

The underground particle-smashing ring aims to be at least twice the size of the globe's current leading collider - the Large Hadron Collider (CERN) outside Geneva. With a circumference of 80 kilometres, the Chinese accelerator complex would encircle the entire island of Manhattan.

 

A preliminary conceptual design for this leading-edge particle physics laboratory is now being drafted by China's elite sphere of physicists, joined by a circle of Western counterparts. Called the Circular Electron Positron Collider (CEPC), China hopes it will shine as a symbol of the country's rise as a global superpower in terms of pure scientific research.

 

"This machine is by and for the world," explains Professor Gao Jie, one of the leaders of the project at the Institute of High Energy Physics in Beijing. Beijing plans to speedily expand cooperation between China's foremost physicists and their European and American counterparts with the new collider. 

 

The new collider research outpost, situated on the Avenue of Eternal Peace in the centre of Beijing, is aiding in the conceptual design that plans to be submitted to China's top leadership in December, according to Professor Arkani-Hamed, a scholar at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study, the one-time home of Albert Einstein.

 

Read more here: 

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/09/china-unveils-world-largest-supercollider-science-physi-2014919131524321817.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

The rise of China in some ways mirrors the rise of other global superpowers during the middle 20th century such as America, Russia and Japan. Other technological advancements of China are scooped here: http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=China

 

Nonetheless, CERN's supercollider is a technological marvel in its own right http://sco.lt/6N5B8j

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New wearable robotic exoskeleton gives you superhuman powers

In this video, Conor Walsh, head of Harvard’s Biodesign Lab, and members of his team explain how the biologically inspired Soft Exosuit targets enhancing the mobility of healthy individuals and restoring the mobility of those with physical disabilities. Made from soft materials and worn from the waist down, the device has been designed to gradually assist the wearer in the movements they’re making, supplementing their natural power by up to 20 percent. 


“You actually don’t really notice that it’s helping you. But as soon as you turn the system off, it makes you instantly feel that your legs are heavy, which shows that your legs have adapted,” says Walsh.


Not only could this suit be used to enhance the movements of soldiers and firefighters, making them faster, more agile, and better able to transport heavy equipment, but it could also be worn by stroke victims to make the slow and painful recovery process easier, and the elderly, to protect them from life-threatening falls and injuries. But don’t worry about your grandma looking like a cyborg - the exoskeleton has been designed to be so lightweight and flexible, it can be worn under clothing. 

 

The suit works by mimicking the action of the leg muscles and tendons when a person walks, with an actuator system giving small, carefully timed assistance at the ankle and hip joints without restricting the wearer’s movement. The breakthrough is in the 'structured functional textiles' that transmit those applied forces all over the body during natural movement. Wearable, flexible sensors integrate into the fabric to gauge the body’s movement and provide support at the right moment.

 

Read more here: http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20141209-26166.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Bionics is a rapidly expanding field. Much of the technology is designed to restore or enhance the functionality of the human body.

 

Other similar technologies have been scooped here:

 http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=Bionic

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Portable wind turbine for charging mobile devices

Portable wind turbine for charging mobile devices | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
Portable wind turbines are now a thing.

 

Scientists have 3D-printed a wind turbine that’s small and light enough to fit into a backpack. Called AirEnergy3D, the turbine can plug directly into a laptop or phone to charge it with renewable energy, or can feed electricity back into a household power system, as Adele Peters reports for Fast Company. 


The turbine is designed to be portable so that it can be carried around by users, or moved around a house depending on where the windiest spot is. Its creators at Poland-based company Omni3D are now raising funds on Kickstarter for the device.

 

The vertical-shape of the turbine is designed to capture as much energy as possible from the relatively low wind speeds that come through city roofs and backyards, Peters explains. The blade shape is still being refined, but the turbine can already power a lightbulb, and with the Kickstarter funding the team is working towards a design that will be able to produce 300 watts, which is enough to charge computers and other electronic devices.

 

Impressively, the company is going to make all the plans for the 3D-printed turbine open source, so that others can customise the blades or continue to improve their design. "We want to make it as easy to develop upon the original project," Kamil Dziadkiewicz, an engineer from Omni3D, told Fast Company. "Thanks to 3D printing, everybody as a community can experiment and prototype better solutions for the machine."

 

Support their Kickstarter campaign:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/43717383/airenergy-3d-a-3d-printed-opensource-mobile-wind-t

 

Read more here:

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20140809-26144.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

15 year-old Angelo Casimiro invented energy-generating shoes http://sco.lt/6BuQPh

 

A team from Queen Mary University of London developed a new smartphone prototype that can be charged simply by being exposed to ambient sounds such as traffic noise, voices, or loud music http://sco.lt/7HVy6r

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The First Transparent Solar Panel

The First Transparent Solar Panel | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
This new type of transparent solar cell can be used to cover windows, buildings or smartphone screens to produce solar energy.

 

Named a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and developed by researchers in Michigan State University in the US, this material can be used to cover anything that has a flat, clear surface. Transparent solar cell technology has been attempted before, but the energy the cells produced was poor and the materials they were made out of were highly coloured.

 

The new transparent solar cells are made from tiny organic molecules that absorb invisible wavelengths of sunlight such as ultraviolet and near infrared light. This invisble light is then guided to the edge of the solar panel, where thin strips of photovoltaic solar cells pick it up and convert it into energy. "Because the materials do not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum, they look exceptionally transparent to the human eye," says researcher, Richard Lunt.

 

"It opens a lot of area to deploy solar energy in a non-intrusive way,” said Lunt. "It can be used on tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader. Ultimately we want to make solar harvesting surfaces that you do not even know are there."

 

Read more here:

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20142108-26048.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

America has emerged as the third-largest market for solar energy http://sco.lt/6Hc5lx

 

This technology is as exciting as Solar Roadways, an attempt to convert roads into solar panels http://sco.lt/6e11P7

 

A team from Queen Mary University of London developed a new smartphone prototype that can be charged simply by being exposed to ambient sounds such as traffic noise, voices, or loud music http://sco.lt/7HVy6r


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New smartphone prototype can be charged by sound

New smartphone prototype can be charged by sound | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
A new smartphone prototype can be charged simply by being exposed to ambient sounds such as traffic noise, voices, or loud music.

 

The technology is based on a concept proposed by Korean scientists four years ago called the piezoelectric effect, which describes how nanowires made from zinc oxide produce an electrical current when they’re subjected to some kind of mechanical stress, such as being squashed, stretched or bent. The Korean researchers discovered that these tiny nanowires were so sensitive, they’d bend in response to the pressure of sound waves.


With this in mind, the UK team from Queen Mary University of London started off by spraying a coating of liquid zinc oxide onto a plastic sheet, says Ben Coxworth at Gizmag, which they placed into a mixture of chemicals and heated to 90ºC (194ºF). This made the liquid zinc oxide grow into tiny nanorods that spread all over the sheet.


"In order to harvest the voltage generated, the nanorod sheet was sandwiched between two electrical contact sheets,” Coxworth adds. "Whereas these contacts would typically be made from gold, the researchers developed a cost-cutting technique that allowed them to use ordinary aluminium foil instead."

 

Read more here: http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20141308-26009.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Sustainable energy for the digital age!

 

Recently, 15 year-old Angelo Casimiro invented energy-generating shoes http://sco.lt/6BuQPh; and nanotech batteries which charge in 30 seconds have also been developed http://sco.lt/5mVotV

 

Read more scoops on sustainable energy and energy generation:

http://www.scoop.it/t/aquascaping-and-nature/?tag=Sustainable+Energy

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=Energy+Generation

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So Lockheed Martin Says It's Made a Big Advance in Nuclear Fusion...

So Lockheed Martin Says It's Made a Big Advance in Nuclear Fusion... | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
Making perfect energy isn’t so easy: Companies and government labs have spent 60 years being just a decade away from nuclear fusion.

 

Yesterday, Lockheed Martin joined a long line of companies claiming to be hot on the trail of nuclear fusion, the long-promised savior of our energy economy. Unlike the atom-splitting fission reactions that run our submarines and nuclear power plants, fusion smashes atoms together at high temperatures, creating new particles in a reaction that emits massive amounts of emission-less, radiation-less energy.

 

Lockheed is the latest to join that club, with a new concept for a magnetic confinement fusion reactor—one of the main fusion approaches, along with the laser fusion that the United States’ Lawrence Livermore National Ignition Facility is working on. Because of its small size—projected to fit into a tractor-trailer—Lockheed’s team thinks it can design, build, and test prototypes in year-long increments, so they can iterate to a functional reactor faster.

 

Those successive prototypes will try to solve the central problem of a magnetic confinement fusion reactor: “Plasma confinement is what has plagued all the previous teams,” says Tom McGuire, who is leading the project at Lockheed. Inside a reactor, high temperatures break atoms apart into electrons and ions, forming blazing-hot plasma that needs to be kept from the edges of the reactor. Magnetic fields do the trick, holding the electrically charged ions in place. The plasma heats and heats and heats until those ions fuse, creating new particles, including uncharged neutrons that fly past the magnetic encasement and transfer their energy to the walls of the reactor—energy that’s then used to drive generators.

 

But plasma is finicky, subject to unpredictable ripples that can bubble past that magnetic field at any moment. So far, then, most confinement reactors have used huge, heavy magnets to keep the plasma in check, and that means massive, building-sized reactors. Lockheed’s advance, along with its smaller, testable size, is adaptability. McGuire designed a magnetic container that shifts the strength of its magnetic field to match those plasma ripples. “If we have a perturbation or a ripple that sends it closer to the wall, the magnetic field gets stronger and stronger, so it has the right kind of feedback to keep it stable,” McGuire says.

 

Read more here: www.wired.com/2014/10/lockheed-martin-fusion/

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

This technology has been in development for a very long time. Would it finally be realised? 

 

Other methods for generating clean energy have been scooped here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/aquascaping-and-nature/?tag=Sustainable+Energy

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=Energy+Generation

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This new battery charges to 70% in two minutes, and lasts for 20 years

This new battery charges to 70% in two minutes, and lasts for 20 years | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
Researchers have developed a groundbreaking new lithium ion battery that charges super quickly and lasts 10 times longer than today’s batteries. It’ll be on the market within two years.

 

Sick of waiting an hour for your phone to charge before you leave the house? Researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have come up with the best solution yet - a lithium ion battery that charges to 70 percent in just two minutes. 

 

Even better, it also lasts for 20 years, and will reportedly be available to the public within two years. Rechargeable lithium ion batteries are already common in our mobile phones, tablets and laptops - but most only last around 500 recharge cycles, which is around two to three years of typical use. And at the moment batteries take around two hours to fully charge.

 

The breakthrough came after the scientists replaced the traditional graphite that makes up theanode (the negative pole of the battery) in lithium-ion batteries with a new gel material made from titanium dioxide nanotubes that they created themselves.

 

The new battery drastically improves this process, and will allow you to charge your phone while you look for your keys on the way out the door. It would also help make electric vehicles a more viable alternative to fossil-fuel-powered cars, by reducing battery replacement costs and allowing drivers to recharge their cars in minutes. 

 

“Electric cars will be able to increase their range dramatically, with just five minutes of charging, which is on par with the time needed to pump petrol for current cars,” said Professor Chen Xiaodong who led the study, in a press release. “Equally important, we can now drastically cut down the toxic waste generated by disposed batteries, since our batteries last 10 times longer than the current generation of lithium-ion batteries.”

 

The Singaporean team has published details on how they formed the titanium dioxide gel in Advanced Materials, and have already had the technology licensed to eventually produce the devices. They expect they’ll be on the market within two years. Their research article can be read here: 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201470238/abstract

 

Read more here:

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20141410-26327.html

 

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

The Singaporeans are really up an coming with their technological and scientific breakthroughs. Even with their very limited land, they have also developed a way to produce food in vertical urban farms http://sco.lt/9IE1oX. Speaking as a Malaysian, I hope that Malaysia would step up their game. 

 

Previously, a team from Queen Mary University of London developed a new smartphone prototype that can be charged simply by being exposed to ambient sounds such as traffic noise, voices, or loud music http://sco.lt/7HVy6r

 

A similar technology was also developed using nanotechnology. The firm developing the technology claims their battery can be fully charged in 30 seconds http://sco.lt/5mVotV

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Physicists set new records for silicon quantum computing

Physicists set new records for silicon quantum computing | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it

Researchers have developed the first silicon quantum computer building blocks that can process data with more than 99 percent accuracy, overcoming a major hurdle in the race to develop reliable quantum computers.

 

Researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia have achieved a huge breakthrough in quantum computing - they’ve created two kinds of silicon quantum bit, or qubits, the building blocks that make up any quantum computer, that are more than 99 percent accurate.

 

These quantum bits are made from silicon, the same material that makes up the transistors in today’s computers and phones, but the information in these bits is processed and stored in atoms, which means they’re capable of storing exponentially more information. In fact, if scientists can reliably create a functioning quantum computer out of these quantum bits, it has the potential to be millions of times more powerful than today’s most powerful supercomputers.

 

"We've now come up with two parallel pathways for building a quantum computer in silicon, each of which shows this super accuracy,” said Andrea Morello from the UNSW School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, who led the phosphorous atom team, in the press release.

 

The teams were also able to set a new record for how long a silicon quantum system retains information, known as coherence time. “Coherence time is a measure of how long you can preserve quantum information before it’s lost," said Morello in the press release. And the longer coherence time, the easier it is for computers to perform complex calculations

 

"For quantum computing to become a reality we need to operate the bits with very low error rates," said Andrew Dzurak, the director of the Australian National Fabrication Facility at UNSW, where the devices were made, in a press release.

 

Read more here:

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20141310-26322.html

http://phys.org/news/2014-10-physicists-silicon-quantum.html

 

The associated research article can be read here:

http://www.cqc2t.org/biography/publications?uid=102

 


Via Jocelyn Stoller
Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

This technology would complement the highly stable, next-generation nanoscale memory devices developed by scientists from RMIT University in Australia. The device attempt to mimic the memory storage capabilities of the human brain http://sco.lt/4xTrqT

 

Hewlett-Packard recently unveiling its new optical computer and this technology would be on the shelves sooner http://sco.lt/6TyY8f

 

More powerful computers means that an actual artificial intelligence may soon become a reality http://sco.lt/79HlnF

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6 Ways Technology is Helping to Fight Ebola

6 Ways Technology is Helping to Fight Ebola | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
As Ebola continues to ravish Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, people from all around the world are working together to stop the disease. In addition to the life saving work of medical staff, logisticians and community organizers, information and communication technology (ICT) is also playing a vital part in supporting their work. Below are six examples showing how ICT is already making a difference in the current Ebola crisis.

 

1. Tracing outbreaks with mapping and geolocation

 

2. Gathering Ebola information with digital data collection forms

 

3. Connecting the sick with their relatives using local Wi-Fi networks

 

4. Sharing and receiving Ebola information via SMS text messages

 

5. Mythbusting for diaspora communities via social media

 

6. Supporting translations of Ebola information remotely online

 

Read more at http://techchange.org/2014/10/08/ebola-technology-ict/

 

 


Via nrip
Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

The spread of Ebola is a worrying trend http://sco.lt/8AK7FJ

which has gotten the attention of President Obama http://sco.lt/6yO8xd

 

WHO statements about the transmission of Ebola and the current status of the outbreak is scooped here: http://sco.lt/6Qpd3p

 

Innovative means of using technology to curb the spread is welcome indeed.

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nrip's curator insight, October 8, 6:23 PM

Adding to this list, my associates and I have built a mobile Ebola diagnosis and data collection prototype. If interested in exploring possible uses of the same for your organization, please drop me a message.

Lauren Silva's curator insight, October 8, 8:06 PM

In an age where social media and technology affects the everyday human often, it is beneficial to view an article that details the benefits of technology in the world. This article doesn't specify how technology may stop ebola, it focuses more on how it can spread awareness, hope and understanding. The article doesn't pretend like the epidemic isn't happening, but instead focuses on the ups of what is. Family members can still communicate, awareness is spread, and information is reached all through technology.

nrip's comment, October 9, 3:36 AM
@Lauren Silva Thanks for your comments
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Scientists have created next generation data storage devices that mimic the memory of the human brain

Scientists have created next generation data storage devices that mimic the memory of the human brain | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
The new technology could revolutionise the way we store data, and take scientists a step closer to creating a bionic brain.

 

Scientists from RMIT University in Australia have built a new nano-device that will act as the platform for next-generation nanoscale memory devices that are highly stable and reliable.

 

There are two types of memory - volatile and non-volatile. Non-voltile memory can access stored memory even when not powered, and at the moment the main non-volatile storage we use is flash memory. While this works well, the technology has reached its scaling limits and it’s getting harder and harder to make devices smaller while storing more memory.

 

But the Australian scientists have now created the platform for revolutionary new nanoscale devices that will allow computers to store significantly more data by mimicking human memory. These stacked structures were created using something called thin film, which is a functional oxide material more than 10,000 times thinner than a human hair.

 

The technology relies on memristors - which is a type of circuit element that technology experts predict will be more powerful than current hard drive technologies, such as Flash, SSD and DRAM. These memristors have the potential to be built into non-volatile solid-state memory, and could also serve as the building blocks for computers that can mimic the actions of the human brain. The newly developed technology is one of the most promising platforms to create these structures, and can be used at room temperature.

 

The researchers described their work in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, and believe their platform could eventually lead not just to better data storage, but also devices that can process the world around them. Read the research article here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adfm.201401278/abstract

 

Read more here:

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20140110-26265.html

 

 

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Previously, a supercomputer recently passed the Turing test, such advances may really propel us into the age of artificial intelligence http://sco.lt/79HlnF

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Scientists have created the most effective “invisibility cloak” so far, and you can make one for $100

Scientists have created the most effective “invisibility cloak” so far, and you can make one for $100 | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
One of the most promising invisibility cloak devices has been unveiled, along with instructions on how to create it at home.

 

Created by scientists at the University of Rochester in New York, the device can hide large objects from sight using cheap and readily available lenses.

 

“There’ve been many high tech approaches to cloaking and the basic idea behind these is to take light and have it pass around something as if it isn’t there, often using high-tech or exotic materials,” said John Howell, a professor of physics at the University of Rochester in a press release.

 

“This is the first device that we know of that can do three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking, which works for transmitting rays in the visible spectrum,” graduate student Joseph Choi, who helped develop the technology with Howell, said in the release.

 

Previously, scientists had struggled to hide objects from varying angles, so they would be masked when you looked at them from straight on, but would be visible again when you moved your head. Now this new device has been used to cloak a hand, a face and a ruler from all angles. And the applications are pretty incredible - for example, a doctor could look through the lens and see the organs he was operating on below his hand. They could also let drivers see through their vehicle to their blind spot. Not to mention the fact that it can make you invisible, which is just freaking awesome.

 

The device can also be scaled up depending on the size of the lens, and would allow large objects to be cloaked. It also works for the whole visible spectrum of light, which means there are no limitations to what it can block.

 

Read more here: http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20140110-26264.html

 

Their research article can be read here: http://arxiv.org/abs/1409.4705

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Interesting application of optics. Would be interesting to see how this technology can be applied. The most obvious of which would be illusions for stage shows. 

 

Read more scoops on future technology here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=Future+Technology

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Chinese scientists are working on a supersonic submarine

Chinese scientists are working on a supersonic submarine | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it

Researchers in China are reportedly developing a submarine that moves in its own air bubble, reducing drag and allowing it to travel faster than commercial airplanes.

 

Researchers at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China have told the South China Morning Post that they’re working on technology that could allow a submarine to travel the 9,816 km from “Shanghai to San Francisco in 100 minutes”. Currently, the fastest submarines are stuck at speeds of 74 km/h.

 

That impressive feat would require the submarine to travel at a rate faster than the speed of sound, or supersonic speeds, and, in theory, it is possible, by creating an air bubble that the vessel ‘flies’ through, technology known as supercavitation.

 

But, and this is a big but, it’s unlikely the Chinese will be able to move a submarine that fast anytime soon. As Jordan Golson explains for Wired, supercavitation is a proven technology that can definitely speed up submarines. But while, in theory, it’s possible, there are some big obstacles.

 

Who said travel by sea was outdated?

 

Read more about the technology and its hurdles here:

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20142808-26078.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Fans of the Xcom franchise would recognize the image above as a Barracuda, a submersible aircraft featured in Terror from the Deep.

 

Given the technological hurdles, high-speed trains travelling across the Atlantic may be realised sooner  http://sco.lt/8atbZx

 

More of China's recent technological developments have been scooped here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=China

 

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China plans to build a railway from Beijing to the US

China plans to build a railway from Beijing to the US | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
China’s new high-speed rail network will include a 13,000-km underwater tunnel across the Atlantic. 

 

Railway engineering doesn’t get more ambitious than this.  China’s newly unveiled plan to connect the world by high-speed rail includes lines to London, Germany, Turkey, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, but their “express to the US” is the most ambitious part of the project.


If current China’s plans succeed the US-China link will become the world’s longest underwater tunnel. Wang Meng-shu, from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told Jivanda that the train would travel at 354 km/h (220 mp/h) and the trip would take two days. 

 

Reuters reports that China is already is discussions with Russia. We just hope construction starts soon!

 

Read more here:

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20141305-25511.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

This would open up a lot of economic opportunities. More of China's mega-projects scooped here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=China

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Teenager from India invents device that can convert breath to speech

Teenager from India invents device that can convert breath to speech | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
A high school student from India has invented a device that can convert a person’s breath into speech.

 

Sixteen-year-old Arsh Shah Dilbagi has developed a new technology called ‘TALK’, which is a cheap and portable device to help people who are physically incapable of speaking express themselves. Right now, 1.4 percent of the world’s population has very limited or no speech, due to conditions such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), locked-in syndrome (LIS), Encephalopathy (SEM), Parkinson’s disease, and paralysis. So that's literally a group of people that could match the entire population of Germany, and all of them unable to speak.

 

Stephen Hawking has a device to help him communicate, but it's extremely expensive, costing several thousand dollars, and is also quite bulky. What Dilbagi has managed to do is invent a device that achieves the same thing, but can be purchased for just $80.

 

The way TALK works is that it’s able to translate the user’s breath into electric signals using a special device called a MEMS Microphone. This technology is composed of a pressure-sensitive diaphragm etched directly into a silicon chip, and an amplifying device to increase the sound of the user’s breath.

 

By expelling two types of breaths into the device, with different intensities and timing, the user is able to spell out words in Morse code. "A microprocessor then interprets the breathes into dots and dashes, converting them into words. The words are then sent to a second microprocessor that synthesises them into voice,” says Whitney Mallett at Motherboard. "The morse code can either be translated into English, or specific commands and phrases. The device features nine different voices varying in age and gender."


Read more here:

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20141509-26176.html


Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Another interesting innovation from Google Science Fair! Previously, 15 year-old Angelo Casimiro invented energy-generating shoes http://sco.lt/6BuQPh

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Windowless Airplane Will Give Passengers High-Res Panoramic Views

Windowless Airplane Will Give Passengers High-Res Panoramic Views | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it

You don’t need a window for these views. Paris-based design company Technicon Design recently won an award for their IXION Windowless Jet Concept. The idea is to provide a 360-degree view using cameras mounted on the plane’s exterior to capture the scenery and then project that on high-res screen on the interior cabin walls and ceiling.

 

And actually any scene could be displayed on the interior. Let’s say the view is mostly clouds or ocean. How about displaying a rainforest? A flight through the Grand Canyon? A trip to the Moon?

 

Solar panels on the exterior would help power the displays.

 

Removing windows has its advantages, too. It reduces the materials and cost needed as well as reducing the weight of the plane. Not having windows allows for a greater flexibility of the interior design of the aircraft, too.

 

Read more here:

http://mashable.com/2014/08/15/windowless-airplane/

 

Watch the video featuring the windowless jet concept here:

http://vimeo.com/78458486

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

An interesting piece of innovation. Supersonic air travel may also be making a come back http://sco.lt/6gDdeD

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World-first experiment achieves direct brain-to-brain communication in human subjects

World-first experiment achieves direct brain-to-brain communication in human subjects | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it

For the first time, an international team of neuroscientists has transmitted a message from the brain of one person in India to the brains of three people in France.

 

The team, which includes researchers from Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Starlab Barcelona in Spain, and Axilum Robotics in France, has announced today the successful transmission of a brain-to-brain message over a distance of 8,000 kilometres. 

 

"We wanted to find out if one could communicate directly between two people by reading out the brain activity from one person and injecting brain activity into the second person, and do so across great physical distances by leveraging existing communication pathways,” said one of the team, Harvard’s Alvaro Pascual-Leone in a press release. "One such pathway is, of course, the Internet, so our question became, "Could we develop an experiment that would bypass the talking or typing part of internet and establish direct brain-to-brain communication between subjects located far away from each other in India and France?"

 

The team achieved this world-first feat by fitting out one of their participants - known as the emitter - with a device called an electrode-based brain-computer (BCI). This device, which sits over the participant’s head, can interpret the electrical currents in the participant’s brain and translate them into a binary code called Bacon's cipher. This type of code is similar to what computers use, but more compact. 

 

The team published its research in the journal PLOS One. 

http://www.plosone.org/article/authors/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0105225

 

Read more here:

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20140409-26123.html

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140903105646.htm

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Similar technologies have also be developed in the field of bionics. The technologies below enabled subjects to control a mechanical arm using their brains and controlling their arm via a microchip implanted in their brain:

 

1) Bionic arm http://sco.lt/6rxrHd

2) Bionic neurobridge http://sco.lt/6eA0tF

 

More scoops on the human brain can be read here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/biotech-and-beyond/?tag=Brain

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How do driverless cars work?

Prototypes from Nissan, Volvo, Audi and Google use a variety of sensors mounted on the cars to produce a detailed picture of their surroundings. One of the main sensors they use is a type of laser that sends out rapid pulses of non-visible light and measures the time they take to bounce off objects and return. Because light moves at a constant speed, the car’s distance from that object can be calculated and used to build a 3D image of its environment. 

 

The data from this laser is also combined with video and radar sensor information picked up by the car, and is processed by a self-learning, onboard computer that decides when to steer, break, and accelerate. 

 

Read more here:

http://sciencealert.com.au/features/20142208-26054-2.html

 

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Google has plans to digitize all the surface streets of the United States as a key part of the solution of their self-driving cars. Read more about it here: http://sco.lt/5XGlH7

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How does a faster-than-light warp drive work?

How does a faster-than-light warp drive work? | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
"Perhaps a Star Trek experience within our lifetime is not such a remote possibility." These are the words of Dr. Harold "Sonny" White, the Advanced Propulsion Theme Lead for the NASA Engineering Directorate. Dr. White and his colleagues don't just believe a real life warp drive is theoretically possible; they've already started the work to create one.

 

The answer lies precisely in those laws of physics. Dr. White and other physicists have found loopholes in some mathematical equations—loopholes that indicate that warping the space-time fabric is indeed possible.

 

Working at NASA Eagleworks—a skunkworks operation deep at NASA's Johnson Space Center—Dr. White's team is trying to find proof of those loopholes. They have "initiated an interferometer test bed that will try to generate and detect a microscopic instance of a little warp bubble" using an instrument called the White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer.

 

By creating one of these warp bubbles, the spaceship's engine will compress the space ahead and expand the space behind, moving it to another place without actually moving, and carrying none of the adverse effects of other travel methods. According to Dr. White, "by harnessing the physics of cosmic inflation, future spaceships crafted to satisfy the laws of these mathematical equations may actually be able to get somewhere unthinkably fast—and without adverse effects."

 

He says that, if everything is confirmed in these practical experiments, we would be able to create an engine that will get us to Alpha Centauri "in two weeks as measured by clocks here on Earth." The time will be the same in the spaceship and on Earth, he claims, and there will not be "tidal forces inside the bubble, no undue issues, and the proper acceleration is zero. When you turn the field on, everybody doesn't go slamming against the bulkhead, which would be a very short and sad trip."

 

Read more here: http://gizmodo.com/5942634/nasa-starts-development-of-real-life-star-trek-warp-drive

 

Image credit: http://www.andersoninstitute.com/alcubierre-warp-drive.html

 

Technical reports of how a warp bubble can be detected and the physics behind it can be read here:

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20140000851

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20110023492

 

 


Via Charles Young
Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Previously, photos and videos showcasing possible designs of NASA's superluminal spacecraft was scooped here: http://sco.lt/7aoHBJ; and http://sco.lt/6rZ3sv

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Charles Young's curator insight, August 13, 10:52 PM

It was only a matter of time!