Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 157
TSMC will be ramping up its 10nm volume production in 2016, something that will see the Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer overtaking Intel when it comes to 10nm. Intel will not be shifting to 10nm until 2017, but that's just on the surface. Things are much more complicated when you begin to peel layers away.
Especially when it comes to 7nm, where TSMC will be using "10nm elements" in its 7nm note, which leads us to believe TSMC's implementation of 7nm will heavily borrow from 10nm. Intel on the other hand, should have a true 10nm node in 2017, and when it scales down to 7nm, we should expect it to not be borrowing much from its delayed 10nm process.
KitGuru reports that President and co-CEO of TSMC, C.C. Wei, said: "We ramp up 10nm in the Q4 2016 next year, but the real product shipment will be in Q1 2017". Mark Liu, President and co-CEO of TSMC added: "The recent progress of our 10 nanometer technology development is very encouraging and on track with our plan. Technology risk start qualification is targeted at the end of this year, followed by many customer's product qualifications. Our volume production is planned to start from the end of 2016".
Tesla has come along way from being an electric vehicle manufacturer, as it is now stepping out into the limelight of battery technology, and so much more. It wasn't too long ago that Tesla unveiled Powerwall, its Internet-connected home battery.
Now we have Tesla Motors' Chief Technology Officer, JB Straubel, taking to the stage of Intersolar's opening ceremony talk about energy density and other benefits of lithium-ion batteries for electronic cars. The Tesla CEO also said that the company is confident in renewable energy to make solar and wind available on-demand after sunset, or when the wind starts to slow down.
Straubel said that battery costs will tumble much quicker than expected, and that demand for energy storage equipment will expand rather quickly, with the same going for solar panels. This one-two punch will create a great path for cheaper electricity, especially when compared to what the world currently pays from fossil fuel-based power plants. Straubel added that "we are within grasping distance of that goal". He added: "I'm quite certain that it will happen in the next 10 years".
Toshiba is deploying its "scorpion" robot inside of the TEPCO Fukushima No. 1 plant's second reactor next month. The mission is focused on trying to analyze the pressure vessel's melted-down fuel supply, and a robot is needed because of such high levels of radiation inside the reactor. The Japanese electronics company worked with the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID) to design the unique scorpion-inspired robot.
A "snake" robot entered a reactor in April, and couldn't find any debris from melted fuel - the robot stalled and researchers had to go back to the drawing board. The 21-inch Toshiba device will enter a fuel rod passageway, and has a physical design that provides increased dexterity and range of motion. It has the ability to raise its tail in a similar fashion as a scorpion, which has LED lights and an equipped camera.
Researchers will likely have to spent decades trying to safely decommission the No. 1 plant, after it was devastated by a major earthquake and following tsunami in 2011.
Dr. Stuart Armstrong is a member of the Oxford University Future of Humanity Institute, and the Oxford academic believes humans are risking our own survival depending how artificial intelligence (AI) developments occur in the future.
"Humans steer the future not because we're the strongest or the fastest, but because we're the smartest," Dr. Armstrong recently said. "When machines become smarter than humans, we'll be handing them the steering wheel."
Even though the thought that robots are able to coordinate across the world without human oversight may sound irrational, the idea that humans are creating AI in itself would have seemed impossible not too long ago. If done properly, using artificial general intelligence (AGI) could greatly impact our lives for the good - but no one is really sure what will happen beyond that.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 exploded a couple minutes after takeoff over the weekend, possibly due to excessive pressure built up in the second stage's liquid oxygen tank. The incident marked the first time in 19 Falcon 9 launches there was a problem, and SpaceX will continue its work to try to get things sorted out.
"The launch failure by itself is not much of an issue," said Bill Ostrove, analyst at Forecast International Aerospace, in a statement to Forbes. "Most people in the industry understand that launching rockets into space is really difficult and occasional failures are just the price of conducting launches. Overall, SpaceX has a pretty strong record of success (about 95%) with the Falcon 9."
Unfortunately, SpaceX does have a few things it needs to work out - the company has suffered two commercial cargo failures in less than one year, and the most recent launch failure means there will be a delay for an investigation.
Elon Musk gets a lot of attention for his work as CEO of Tesla, but it would seem that SpaceX, his space company, holds true potential for human greatness. The company isn't designed to cater rich tourists into space, and Musk would rather launch satellites and ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.
NASA and other space programs hope to launch future missions to Mars, including a possible manned mission to the Red Planet. It seems that thought isn't necessarily lost on SpaceX, which continues to develop space rockets:
"I know for a fact that the guys within SpaceX already have a design for the engines and the rocket that would get to Mars," said Ashlee Vance, biographer of Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, in a statement to National Geographic. "Knowing the caliber of talent there, I trust that that part is feasible if not profitable. The colonizing part? That's still an enormous question."
Researchers have a strong curiosity about the red planet of Mars, and a manned mission one day seems like a possibility. However, the spacesuits used by astronauts aboard the International Space Station would need to be replaced with newer generation spacesuits, and some type of flexible spacesuit would be ideal.
The suits designed for space today must take into consideration an astronaut's ability to complete work in microgravity. The lower half of the suit is extremely stiff and makes moving around more naturally difficult - but increased mobility would be required for future space missions.
Astronauts must be able to twist, bend, and move around easily, especially if they needed to take soil samples or collect items from a foreign planet. A number of different prototype spacesuits are currently in development - and some are being tested - so there is hope that changes will be coming.
Research teams from the University of Exeter and Cardiff University want to develop a video game that is able to actually help gamers by controlling our need for junk food.
To win the game, a player must press images of healthier food options instead of unhealthy snack foods. This game is said to help condition the players, so they will make similar food choices while raiding the refrigerator or rummaging through the food pantry.
"This research is still in its infancy and the effects are modest. Larger, registered trials with longer-term measures need to be conducted," said Dr. Natalia Lawrence, research team lead, in a public statement. "However, our findings suggest that this cognitive training approach is worth pursuing: it is free, easy to do and 88 percent of our participants said they would be happy to keep doing it and would recommend it to a friend. This opens up exciting possibilities for new behavior change interventions based on underlying psychological processes."
The US Army is helping fund a research project at the University of California, Berkeley, with a focus on developing intelligent robots that don't require extra sensors or software. The robot, which physically looks like a cockroach, is able to overcome obstacles on its own.
The ability to teach robots and AI to identify - and successfully navigate obstacles without human guidance - is a difficult task.
"The majority of robotics studies have been solving the problem of obstacles by avoiding them, which largely depends on using sensors to map out the environment and algorithms that plan a path to go around obstacles... however, when the terrain becomes densely cluttered, especially as gaps between obstacles become comparable or even smaller than robot size, this approach starts to run into problems as a clear path cannot be mapped," said Chen Li, lead author of the UC Berkeley research, in the Bioinspiration & Biomimetics journal.
The unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded two minutes after launch, when its two stages were expected to separate. This is the first time in 19 launches that ended in failure, as the 63-meter rocket was able to complete six cargo trips to the ISS and has a 15-flight contract with NASA.
Falcon 9 experienced a problem shortly before first stage shutdown. Will provide more info as soon as we review the data.- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 28, 2015
Musk offered a second statement: "There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause. That's all we can say with confidence right now. Will have more to say following a thorough fault tree analysis."