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US soldiers in the field could be able to one day generate power using wearable technologies that also reduce the weight of their gear. The Maneuver Fires Integration Experiment (MFIX) project was conducted at Fort Benning earlier in the year, with researchers testing prototypes of energy-harvesting products.
The Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) is leading the effort, with a focus on smaller, lightweight, and energy efficient batteries. Small amounts of energy can be harvested, and would have otherwise would have been wasted as heat, sound, vibration, movement or light, according to researchers.
"MFIX is looking at new concepts with energy-harvesting devices and how they fit in a tactical environment," said Noel Soto, NSRDEC Warfighter Directories' project engineer on the Power and Data Management Team.
In a comment made on an essay written by 'virtual godfather' Jaron Lanier, titled "The Myth of A.I." on Edge.org last week, SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk the threats of AI might become real, and that he is worried that "the risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year time frame. 10 years at most" according to CNET.
Musk posted his comments on the Edge.org, but they were quickly removed; not quick enough for some media outlets to pick it up, though. Musk talked about his involvement as an early investor in the British artificial intelligence company, DeepMind, which is now a cog in Google's ever-growing machine. He wrote: "The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I'm not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. Unless you have direct exposure to groups like DeepMind, you have no idea how fast-it is growing at a pace close to exponential".
The founder of SpaceX continued, saying that AI companies "recognize the danger" and are working toward controlling the "bad" superintelligences "from escaping the Internet". Well, that sounds safe enough.
Amazon is rolling out a fleet of robots that will help the company boost productivity and ensure timely deliveries ahead of what should be an extremely busy 2014 Christmas holiday shopping season. The robots can help locate and pick items, which are verified by a human picker before being boxed up and sent from the facility - the company will be able to save upwards of $900 million each year, with robotic assistance able to help save 20 percent to 40 percent per shipped order.
To help ensure it would have a robotics inventory it could call upon, Amazon purchased Robots maker Kiva Systems for $775 million in 2012 - and there have been more than 1,400 Kiva robots already working in Amazon's logistics chain.
Amazon tends to have successful shopping seasons, but as the US economy has recovered - and consumers have extra money to spend this Christmas - Amazon wants to ensure everything runs smoothly and customers will be happy.
Three pilots flying near John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City reported drones flying near the airport as they approached for landing. The FBI, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Nassau County Police have been alerted to the drone flights, and an investigation is currently underway into the incidents.
One pilot had this to say: "About two miles out on the final, maybe 4 to 300 feet, looks like one of those unmanned drones is flying right on the final," a JetBlue pilot told air traffic control.
"These planes are all being approached [by drones] while the planes are landing, so they're close to the ground, which means the pilot doesn't have a whole lot of room for maneuvering," said Ken Honig, a former Port Authority high-ranking official, recently said. "If the unmanned aerial vehicle gets too close to a plane, it could get sucked into a jet engine."
Australian real estate company Eview Real Estate made a mistake when it posted a listing on a billboard, after being informed they used a picture that included a topless sunbather only wearing a thong. Mandy Lingard discovered the picture of herself after spotting it in the neighborhood, and Eview Real Estate has now removed the listing.
"Images of Miss Lingard were not used intentionally, it was merely an oversight and Eview Group have put into place systems and procedures to ensure that such instances do not occur in the future," said the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the national group responsible for licensing commercial drone flights.
Meanwhile, Lingard said she is embarrassed by the situation, as she explained what happened: "I heard a noise and then I saw this odd thing flying around and thought it was a kid's toy. It hovered around and luckily I was face down at the time."
YardArm is working with several police agencies in California and Texas, testing a mobile network-connected technology that sends signals when an officer unholsters and fires their weapon. The company originally developed a consumer technology that could monitor a weapon's location - but didn't find many interested customers. Instead, the company revamped and wanted to develop new solutions that could be used for potential police and military use.
"You have a social demand for smart gun technology, but not necessarily a market demand," said Jim Schaff, VP of marketing at YardArm. "As a consumer product, it's going to be a long road."
YardArm also is developing new methods to send wireless data of which direction a weapon is pointing, offering data that can be viewed via smartphone and fed to dispatch. If implemented, YardArm's technology could help prevent public outrage - and clear officers of wrongdoing - when officers use their weapons accordingly.
The multi-million-Euro project ALIZ-E, spearheaded by Plymouth University and funded by the European Commission, hopes to create artificial intelligence that can better interact with children suffering from diabetes. The ALIZ-E Nao robots stand about 60 centimeters tall and uses speech recognition software to provide personalized responses to children.
The ALIZ-E project was started in 2010 with the aim to develop AI for small robots that can gauge how kids interact with these robots. Developing AI that can personalize interactions with individual children, suffering from a wide variety of mental and physical medical problems, has proven difficult - but current tests across Europe are proving successful.
"This is not just about a novelty factor catching the youngers' attention, it is about the robots engaging in a way the children accept and giving them information they can understand and be motivated by," said Tony Belpaeme, ALIZ-E academic lead and Professor of Cognitive Systems and Robotics. "In many cases where a child has diabetes, you notice their confidence has been knocked and the robot can help restore that."
Silicon Valley startup Knightscope has developed the five-foot-tall, 300-pound K5 robot designed to serve as security robots for businesses wanting a new twist on traditional security patrols. The robots are currently being tested by Knightscope and will launch at a Silicon Valley company that can detect movement and behavior - and report back to a security center.
The K5 uses cameras, sensors and navigation equipment, giving the autonomous robot the ability to patrol while also avoiding obstacles. In addition to four high-definition cameras, the K5 has a license-plate recognition scanner, weather sensor, GPS, internal laser ranging instruments, four microphones, and Wi-Fi to communicate with operators.
"This takes away the monotonous and sometimes dangerous work, and leaves the strategic work to law enforcement or private security, depending on the application," said Stacy Stephens, Knightscope co-founder and VP of sales and marketing.
The Texas Armoring Corporation (TAC) believes in its product so much that company CEO R. Trent Kimball sat in the driver's seat of a Mercedes-Benz while sales manager Lawrence Kosub shot the windshield with an AK-47. The 240fps slow-motion video shows Kimball getting into the vehicle as Kosub shoots one dozen rounds directly into the windshield.
"When it comes to assuring our clients' safety, we take product testing very seriously," Kimball says in the YouTube video.
The company says it produces the world's lightest weight armored vehicle passenger vehicles, and sets the standard for luxury, and our vehicles provide the absolute finest finishing available on the market."
The United States has found trying to keep its borders, especially the US-Mexico boundary, secure from drug smuggling, illegal immigration, and potential terrorism rather difficult. Although manned patrols, high-resolution cameras, ground sensors and fences are used in more populated areas - trying to keep patrols active in desolate stretches has proven to be difficult.
There is more than 700 miles of fencing along the border that spans almost 2,000 miles - with more than 18,000 patrol agents and drones helping patrol the US side of the border. The Predator B drones patrol remote mountains, rivers and canyons using high-resolution video cameras, and all data is evaluated by analysts.
"You have finite resources," said R. Gil Kerlikowske, Customs and Border Protection commissioner, in a statement. "If you can look at some very rugged terrain (and) you can see there's not traffic, whether it's tire tracks or clothing being abandoned or anything else, you want to deploy your resources to where you have a greater risk, a greater threat."