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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 9

Microsoft has software to predict future crimes, Minority Report style

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Dec 22, 2015 4:03 pm

Microsoft has developed software, called predictive policing, that's able to predict whether inmates will end back up into jail within six months from release with a 91% accuracy rate. Check out the video presentation here.




It might sound like the program that was depicted in 2002's silver-screen adaptation of Philip K. Dicks 1956 Minority Report, and it mostly is. Just without all the special powers. Instead of having gifted humans predict the future through the Force, or similar powers, the piece of software actually under development is instead a complex algorithm that uses historical data and trends to predict future trends.


It's not magic, but it's based on science and statistics in order predict the probability that someone will repeat their behavior. Past behavior, as they say, is the greatest predictor of future behavior, as much as we'd like to believe that we can change drastically, sometimes it isn't necessarily so for everyone. And we are ultimately a predictable lot, prone to patterns.

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LG's new robotic vacuum doubles as a mobile security system

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Dec 22, 2015 11:14 am

LG has just unveiled its new robotic vacuum, the Hom-Bot Turbo+, which has some nifty features.




First off, it's a normal robotic vacuum, so you can schedule your cleaning duties to be done while you're out of the house, or asleep. The Turbo+ has three cameras that, with the assistance of the Robonavi software, allow the robotic vacuum to navigate your house, apartment or wherever you call home, and keep it clean.


LG has used these cameras in a unique way, as you can view the Turbo+ in real-time, and remotely control it through the Home-View function. The Home-View function has the cameras working as a mobile security system, which lets owners of the Turbo+ receive still images to their devices if it detects movement in a home that should be empty.


LG will be showing off the Hom-Bot Turbo+ at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show next month in Las Vegas.

Sony's new sulfur-based batteries last 40% longer, are 30% smaller

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Dec 19, 2015 7:04 am

Sony is working on a new battery technology that will see batteries lasting 40% longer on a single charge, and they'll also be up to 30% smaller than current batteries found inside of our devices.




Japanese newspaper Nikkei is behind the latest report, reporting that Sony is creating a power cell made from a sulfur compound, instead of lithium, used in today's batteries. The first commercial Li-on battery was created by Sony, so if the Japanese electronics giant does get its new sulfur-based battery to the market, it would make another first for Sony. But there are problems with sulfur-based batteries, as their capacity decreases with every charge cycle, because of the electrode dissolving into the electrolyte. Nikkei reports that Sony has found a way around these problems by reforming the electrolyte solution to make longer-lasting batteries, hold even more power.


Sony is reportedly verifying the safety of this new battery technology before it kicks off mass production. The company is going to be making sure the new sulfur-based batteries won't explode, or make your new smartphone worthless after a few charges. We shouldn't see Sony's new battery technology inside of devices until 2020.

New solar farms could see solar balloons floating above the clouds

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Dec 19, 2015 6:31 am

Solar power is a great alternative to countless other energies, but cloud can get in the way sometimes - and it's unavoidable, until now.




An international consortium is working on taking solar farms to the skies, above the clouds using stratospheric balloons. These balloons would be much closer to the sun, taking in as much power as possible into its solar cells - without much interference and space used on the ground. Under the direction of French-Japanese scientific research lab, NEXTPV, the main tenet of their concept is that there aren't many clouds floating at an altitude of 3.7 miles (6km). But higher, at 12.4 miles (or 20km) there are not many clouds at all.


Taking away cloud coverage and light diffusions that "occurs in the many close layers of the Earth's atmosphere leads to a higher concentration of sunlight. In turn, this concentrated solar power leads to higher energy yields from photovoltaic solar cells", reports Yahoo. How would these massive solar farms float above the clouds? They would use the excess electricity generated during the day to recombine hydrogen and oxygen in a fuel cell. This fuel cell would then release power regularly, as required, overnight. The same source of hydrogen isolated through water electrolysis for the fuel cell would keep the entire solar farm balloon in the air.


The only byproduct of the balloon would be pure water molecules, as the balloon itself would be constructed of low-energy polymers, which are easy to produce.

Congress coughs up close to $20 billion for NASA in 2016

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Dec 17, 2015 9:27 am

In a move that would shock most Americans, the Republican-controlled Congress has coughed up $19.3 billion for NASA throughout 2016 as part of its 2016 omnibus spending bill.




The Obama administration had requested $18.5 billion, so an additional $800 million is not too bad at all for NASA - and this is up $1.23 billion on the funds NASA received last year. NASA is now on point to reach its 2017 launch goal, and once this happens, the US space agency won't require Russia in order to launch its rockets - something that it has been obliged to since 2011.

US city worried solar farm will 'suck up all the energy from the sun'

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Dec 15, 2015 4:26 am

We all know the benefits of solar power, but it looks like the town council of Woodland, North Carolina doesn't. They rejected a rezoning proposal that would've seen the installation of a new solar farm. But the reason is going to kick you in the teeth.




The council has previously approved three other solar farms which are all currently under construction, but this proposal was rejected after down residents "expressed distruct and fear of the solar panels", reports The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. One of the residents, who just so happens to be a retired science teacher, Jane Mann, complained that many of the plants directly undernearth the panels were not receiving enough sunlight. Mann continued that the panels also cause cancer... adding that "I want to know what's going to happen. I want information. Enough is enough. I don't see the profit for the town. People come with hidden agendas. Until we can find if anything is going to damage this community, we shouldn't sign any paper".


But it gets better. Mann's husband, Bobby, warned the council that the solar farms "would suck up all the energy from the sun". A representative of the Strata Solar Company, which wants to build the farm just off Highway 258, said: "the panels don't draw additional sunlight. There are no toxic materials on site. This is a tried and true technology". But, even with mountains of evidence and countless other cities and countries adopting solar power, the town council stamped down a moratorium on solar panel installations. Officials want to wait until they "get a handle on how to do background checks" on the technology.

Now you've seen it all, Chewbacca interviews a rocket scientist

By: Chris Smith | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Dec 14, 2015 3:37 pm

If you were wondering exactly how some Star Wars technologies may become feasible things in the real-world, Michigan State University has published another episode of its 'Chillin' with Chewie' series, aiming to explain Star Wars technological advancements to the public with the help of real life scientists.




While some technology in Star Wars may never come to light (pun intended), this series aims to cover many technologies ranging from real to fictional and from Carbonite to light sabers. With this educational tool further explaining a possible time frame for some of these cool technologies to become reality, it's a must watch for any Star Wars fan.


An article by Gizmodo pointed out that that this series explains that "TIE fighters' thrusters are a million times more powerful than anything we've ever developed," giving you an insight into some things you may learn by watching this series for yourself.

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Google's quantum computer is 100 million times faster than today's PCs

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Dec 13, 2015 11:32 pm

Google and NASA revealed on Wednesday that they've found a critical piece to the enigmatic puzzle of quantum computing that could usher in a new generation of ultra-efficient computers.




For the past two years, Google and NASA have combined their scientific might via the Quantum AI team to study the mechanics and possible advantages of quantum computing. It's taken quite a while, but the team has finally tapped the power of its D-Wave X2 system to demonstrate just how powerful quantum computing really is.


Using a processing called quantum annealing, the Quantum AI team was able to prove that the quantum computer not only works but represents tremendous gains over traditional problem-solving systems. The scientists discovered a new quantum annealing algorithm that processed and solved complex binary workloads over 100 million times faster (10^8) than methods simulated on single-core non-quantum computers. Essentially this means that Google's D-Wave X2 system can serve as a major tool to understand, define and experiment with the realm of nanoscale quantum computing.

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Elon Musk joins other big names to stop AI from taking over the world

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Dec 13, 2015 7:28 am

We all know that Elon Musk has some doubts about artificial intelligence, with the SpaceX and Tesla founder saying that AI could be "more dangerous than nukes" back in April 2014. In October 2014, Musk warned the world about AI once again, saying that it's like "summoning the demon". It was only earlier this year that Musk said that AI would treat us "pet Labradors", a future that I don't want to live in.




These are some strong warnings from Musk, who has joined forces with some of the world's brightest minds, creating OpenAI. OpenAI, as explained on Medium, is a nonprofit that was funded by people like Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, Jessica Livingston, Peter Thiel and Amazon Web Services - just to name a few. These people are collectively pledging more than $1 billion to counteract large companies, or even governments that might gain too much power in the world of artificial intelligence.


As it stands, companies like Google are pretty open with their research into AI, but Y Combinator CEO and OpenAI founder Sam Altman says that as we get closer to the level where AI surpasses human intelligence, there's a large concern over how much these companies will share. OpenAI promises to make its results public, offering its patents royalty-free.

World's smallest temperature chip draws power from radio waves

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Dec 9, 2015 8:35 am

An impressive new temperature sensor chip has been unveiled by researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology in Eindhoven, Netherlands. They have created the world's smallest temperature sensor chip, which has a damn impressive trick up its incredibly small sleeve.




The new temperature sensor chip draws its power from radio waves being broadcasted by the same Wi-Fi network it is communicating with, which means the chip won't require a battery, nor will it ever have to be charged. For the Internet of Things (IoT) market, and electronics in general, this is going to be quite the breakthrough.


Project PREMISS is the current name of it, with research Dr. Hao Gao leading the project. Project PREMISS is a new type of sensor that is as light as a grain of sand and is only 2mm square, which makes it the world's smallest temperature sensor. The chip draws the required power from radio waves, but it also communicates data over the same waves, so it doesn't need a physical connection to send temperature data to another device.

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