Robotics research has been making great strides in recent years, but there are still many hurdles to the machines becoming a ubiquitous presence in our lives. The journal Science Robotics has now identified 10 grand challenges the field will have to grapple with to make that a reality. Editors cond...
Qualcomm has announced a new chipset that the company claims will vastly improve wireless earbuds and solve the device's biggest problem. Called the QCC5100, the new Qualcomm SoC (system-on-chip) will be able to deliver three times the battery life of future wireless earbuds. "This breakthrough single-chip solution is designed to dramatically reduce power consumption and offers enhanced processing capabilities to help our customers build new life-enhancing, feature-rich devices," Qualcomm senior vice president Anthony Murray said. "This will open new possibilities for extended-use hearable applications including virtual assistants, augmented hearing and enhanced listening" The Qualcomm QCC5100 series chipset will be made available to makers of truly wireless earbuds soon. It comes with its own dedicated application processor sub-system, dual DSP architecture and next-gen ADK software.
Byton has revealed the first look at the high-tech electric car it claims will'perceive more than what a human being will ever do.' The firm finally unveiled its first drivable prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas today, after teasing the so-called Smart Intuitive Vehicle (SIV) since September. The Nanjing-based company plans to roll out the mid-sized crossover vehicle with level 3 autonomy in China in 2019, starting at $45,000, before hitting the US and Europe in 2020. The car will respond to conditions on the road to avoid potential threats; for example, 'if the exterior lighting conditions change, your Byton will adjust to your needs automatically,' the co-founder said. The base model will be able to achieve 250 miles on a charge, while the higher end variant will go up to about 325 miles – and, the firm claims it will charge incredibly fast.
If you drive an electric car and would rather not venture into the garage (or wade through a phone app) to start charging, you can now rest easy. ChargePoint has introduced Alexa support to its Home system, giving you voice control over your EV charging. You can start charging, stop charging or find out whether you're plugged in just by talking to a device like an Echo speaker. If you have Nest hardware, you can link charging to multiple parts of your home. And if you top up at ChargePoint stations away from home, you can check your balance or see how much you've spent on electricity so far.
For the new year, we asked 18 of our researchers and staff members from around PARC to share some of their technology predictions for 2018 and beyond. "Deep learning and deep reinforcement learning has revolutionized data analytics, but the amount of data required is still relatively huge. It's also not how humans learn – typically a few examples are enough to form a mental model. I think this is going to change as research shifts from feasibility and accuracy to scalability and transparency. There's already some work in this area of slow learning, including from PARC, and this will only get more prominent."
A much-cited study in 2013 concluded that half of American jobs were at risk in the coming decades. Another paper, which surveyed researchers into artificial intelligence (AI), concluded that computers would be writing school essays by the mid-2020s and churning out bestselling books by the 2040s. In the spirit of going fast and breaking things, The Economist has therefore trained an AI program on articles from the Science and Technology section, and invited it to come up with a piece of its own. The results, presented unedited below, show both the power and the limitations of pattern-recognition machine learning, which is more or less what AI boils down to. The computer has mimicked our style, and spotted topics we cover frequently.
Machine learning algorithms require training data -- and a lot of it -- to get the models working correctly. But more training data alone doesn't necessarily make for smarter algorithms, according to Tolga Kurtoglu, CEO at PARC, a research and development company spun out Xerox in 2002. Looking to establish accountability across disparate project teams? Trying to automate processes or allow for lean methodology support? Hoping to enable business consequence modeling or real-time reporting?
If you were going to kick off a technological revolution, you'd be hard-pressed to do it with more pizazz than Tesla with its electric cars. But oddly enough, what's driving it all--the electric motor--is an ancient technology at this point. It's lost out to the gas engine for over a century, sure, but it's finally begun to take over transportation, thanks to supporting roles from better batteries and fancy sensors. But the electric motor is in the midst of launching a far bigger, far more subtle revolution--not in cars, but robots. Open up a robotic arm and you'll find that its joints are actually electric motors, known as actuators.
Japanese car maker Toyota unveils a new humanoid robot that mirrors the movements of its remote operator, as Stuart McDill reports. Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda spoke at the company's earnings press conference in Tokyo on May 10. (Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation) Toyota reached a deal to explore a new battery partnership with Panasonic in a move that threatens to encroach on Tesla's territory, heightening the ongoing rivalry between the two automakers. Toyota and Panasonic said Wednesday that they are launching a "feasibility study" to investigate the technological potential of batteries that use prismatic cells, which are grouped together in pouches to power electric cars. The deal places Panasonic in the unusual position of straddling the technological and strategic divide between Toyota and Tesla. Panasonic already has a major partnership with Tesla to jointly manufacture a competing battery technology that relies on different batteries relying on cylindrical cells.