Welcome to Cyber Dump number 64, your look at what's happening in this insane age of technology that we live in. So much has been going on over the past week or so, and it's starting to feel like our cyberpunk future, if not already here, is years, not decades away now. As always, all links and sources mentioned are on the NODE site.
Loads of drone news this week. Starting off with deliveries, logistics company DHL has teamed up with drone maker Ehang, to offer the first fully automated express delivery system in China. The system can travel about 8km from its' base station, and can carry up to 5kg per flight.
Boeing's massive Cargo Air Vehicle also had it's first successful outdoor test flight recently. This 12 propellered beast is 17.5 x 20 feet long and wide, 5 feet high, and can carry up to 500lbs.
The University of Maryland demonstrated another use for delivery drones a few weeks back too, by successfully transporting a kidney used in an organ transplant. This kind of application makes sense, especially in built up areas, where time is crucial.
Moving away from delivery drones now, Sensefly, a subsidiary of Parrot launched the Solar 360, an autonomous drone system which flies over solar farms, automatically inspecting panels, and measuring temperatures. According to them, these drones are up to 300x more efficient at finding problems than manual inspections.
Now onto some more unusual and experimental drone developments. Firstly, Ascent Aerosystems unveiled the Spirit, a cylindrical drone, which can carry 10 lbs, fly for 50 minutes, and packs down to fit inside a backpack. According to the company, this will mainly be used for law enforcement, rescue, and military applications.
Human Media Lab unveiled the LightBee, which is basically a hovering hologram-like system, used for telepresence applications. The person on the other end of the call uses a special camera array, which creates a realistic parellax effect, so those viewing at different angles, will see a slightly different image.
And as well as all that, the Autonomous Systems Lab have been developing drones capable of ariel tool manipulation, meaning it can take installed tools, and press up against various surfaces, for inspection etc. I could see potential uses for this kind of thing in industrial, and bridge monitoring etc.
And finally, researchers at the University of Zurich have been testing what the limits of autonomous object avoidance is for quadcopters, and in the process developed a system capable of dodging objects moving at 9.2m/s.
A viewer of the channel got in touch with a project he's created, and I thought it was cool. It's called C3 codes, and is a utility which takes codes such as QR codes, and triples their capacity by adding a bunch of extra layers. I'm not sure of the applications for this, but I have a feeling you could do something interesting with it.
Circuit Digest also released an in depth guide on using LoRa with a Raspberry Pi and Arduino for peer to peer communications.
Scientists from the US Army and The University of Maryland have developed a new battery chemistry which provides two important breakthroughs. The first allows you to cram in the same amount of energy as ordinary batteries into much smaller sizes, and the other is that because it uses what they call the water-in-salt electrolyte technique, it is way safer, and less volatile than other battery technologies.
Boston Dynamics usually get all the limelight, but Ghost Robotics have also been working on some cool quadraped robots, including the Vision 60 prototype, which they uploaded a new video of the other day.
I also saw this robot the other day too. Not sure on the details since it's in Japanese, but apparently this little thing was shown off at a Maker Faire in Kyoto a few weeks back.
NASA's Langley Research Center are exploring the different ways that soft robots could be used in space exploration. Using soft robot acuators over conventional hard robots, could potentially be advantageous due to their resilience, especially in hostile environments like Mars.
In other 3D printing new, Indian based Pandorum Technologies have also been experimenting with bioprinting corneal grafts, which potentially could use patients own cells to restore sight for certain eye conditions.
The New York Police Department have been training for active-shooter and other scenarios using virtual reality. I've got a feeling this kind of thing is going to increase big time, as the technology matures.
Tactical Haptics announced their Reactive Grip haptic feedback controller recently. The device has two sliding plates which create forces, and apparently can mimic a bunch of different situations, increasing immersion.
Chip designer ARM released the new Mali D77 display chip, which is aimed at improving standalone VR headset performance. This new chip is designed to reduce motion sickness, and also saves 40% data bandwidth and 12% power consumption too.
Famous truck company Mack showed off their fully electric trash collector truck the other day, and I thought it was cool. One interesting side effect of going all electric, is the massive reduction in sound. They even claim it's quiet enough to run at night.
Truck company Einride recently gained a road permit for their electric, self driving freight truck, allowing it to operate on a small stretch of public road in Sweden. The vehicle is only allowed to travel short distances between a warehouse and terminal, but this is an interesting first step to this type of technology being used in a wider setting.
In other news, Lilium successfully completed a test flight of their 5-seat air taxi. The jet-powered VTOL will continue testing, and we may see these flying about in the not-too-distant future.
And finally, scientists at Cambridge University have developed a new type of screen technology, which produces pixels a million times smaller than those use in smartphones. They achieved this by trapping particles of light under tiny pieces of gold, and the method allows for large-scale, flexible screen production, for example, covering entire buildings, or making active camo clothing. Pretty cool.
Alright, that's it for this week. If you want to see more cutting edge technology news like this, check out the NODE news site. I update it every day, and it's full of stories and breakthroughs like this, plus lots more. Ok, thanks for watching, and I'll see you in the next video.
Music: Xtract - Audiotool Day 2016 (CC License)