Soft robotics allow for safe interactions with humans, which is imperative for healthcare applications and wearable electronic devices. Smart materials--including shape-memory polymers, pneumatic polymers, hydrogels, and electroactive polymers--have all demonstrated utility in various applications, but each mode of actuation possesses drawbacks. Electromagnetic actuators (EMAs) are controlled by a magnetic field, leading to high-performance systems with small sizes, fast response times, and high power efficiency. However, these devices typically use rigid components, which are not amenable to soft robotics. Professor Yon Visell of the California NanoSystems Institute, UC Santa Barbara, and co-workers have developed a method to fabricate soft electromagnetic actuators (SEMAs) that is both inexpensive and scalable.
When it comes to groundbreaking research, there are two fields that seem to occupy the newscycle: carbon nanotubes and artificial intelligence. The potential combination of those two fields of study seems like it could radically change the word as we know it, or, as South Korean scientists have discovered, at least change how we type. The carbon atom, one of the building blocks of life, gains radical new abilities when assembled into long, thin chains, known as carbon nanotubes. Think ultra-flexible films that are better at stopping bullets than kevlar vests, or bio-engineered plants that can detect land mines and explosives. And AI, trained using deep learning techniques, is soon going to make it almost impossible to discern fake videos from real ones.
This is just a small slice of how technology automation has changed over the past 20 years, and I assume we can all acknowledge that AI is gaining momentum, albeit regulatory authorities, legislators and lawyers not being fully sure how to adapt or embrace the change that's currently happening. Artificial Intelligence is here, it's the hot topic or the popular kid everyone wants to play in the park with. AI and automation are bringing us daily benefits; Internet and Big Data are becoming an essential part of both our work and private lives and we now have the capacity to collect huge sums of information too cumbersome for a person to process. But what will this future bring in terms of issues, policies and regulations? Will programmers and researchers be obliged to study ethics and morals as compulsory modules throughout their learning paths?
Russian scientists are developing an advanced automated submarine that will be powered by an external combustion engine, Igor Denisov, deputy director of the Foundation for Advanced Studies (FPI), revealed in an interview with Interfax, a Russian news agency. "We are planning to create an apparatus that will pass through the Northern Sea Route without floating up and without the use of nuclear power, including under the ice," Denisov said. "In order for this device to accomplish such a'feat,' its autonomy should be at least 90 days, which is already commensurate with the autonomy of modern submarines." The decision to forego the nuclear option to power the underwater vehicle was a conscious one, Denisov said, in order to make it increasingly safe. While a nuclear installation helps power submarines for uninterrupted movement throughout the world's oceans, it also puts its operational capabilities at risk.
As the thirst for technology increases and the demand for smartphones, electric cars and other complex technological devices grows, the amount of resources, minerals and metals we need will only increase, but can we meet this demand? There are few sectors and industries that have not been impacted by technological advancement. Whether it's improving efficiency, enhancing transparency or transforming the supply chain, big data, machine learning and AI are poised to reshape the mining sector as we know it; and the timing couldn't be any better. At the recent Big Data and AI conference held in Toronto, the topic of mining disruption through technology was front and center. Speaker Denis Laviolette, president and CEO of GoldSpot Discovery, highlighted the need for the mining sector to not only embrace the recent advancements, but to also quickly look for ways to integrate these innovations into its business model.
An entrepreneur with a background in verifying the provenance of so-called conflict minerals is applying that expertise to keep tabs on one of the world's most widely traded commodities: coffee. Tracking this kitchen staple requires a mélange of emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and the internet of things. The goal of his venture, bext360, is to help coffee buyers automate their dealings with fair-trade farmers, allowing them to more closely track the source and quality of the fair trade beans they're buying while speeding up payments for local growers. For buyers, the service promises deeper transparency, as well as a way of automating the verification process. For harvesters and growers -- largely women -- the service could mean more ready access to investment capital, according to bext360 CEO Daniel Jones.
The supply chain is the heart of a company's operations. To make the best decisions, managers need access to real-time data about their supply chain, but the limitations of legacy technologies can thwart the goal of end-to-end transparency. However, those days may soon be behind us. New digital technologies that have the potential to take over supply chain management entirely are disrupting traditional ways of working. Within 5-10 years, the supply chain function may be obsolete, replaced by a smoothly running, self-regulating utility that optimally manages end-to-end work flows and requires very little human intervention.
The US dollar had an event-heavy week to start off June. The US dollar surged early last week as the uncertainty about the Euro arose due to political events happened in Europe and the volatility in Asian markets driven by threats of an immediate trade war between the US and China. On Thursday (May 31), the Euro rebounded as Italy's politicians seemed to have found a resolution to their struggles in forming a new government. In the same day, the Trump administration announced it was putting tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and Europe, strengthening fears over the trade war and making the US dollar suffer a slump. The US labor indicators highlighted the fundamental strength of the country's economy and made the US dollar extend gains amid the Europe geopolitical turmoil.
Mars, along with its thin atmosphere, as photographed from the Viking orbiter in the 1970s. The methane found in the atmosphere has a recent origin, and could be either geological or biological. The story of how life arose on Earth is one of the great mysteries of modern science. We know, in many ways, how life evolved from a single-celled, relatively simple state billions of years ago to the diverse, complex, differentiated, and macroscopic organisms that populate our ecosystems and biosphere. We know that the early Solar System was rife with the ingredients for life, and that early Earth also had these ingredients, plus liquid water on its surface.
India's Mahindra & Mahindra, one of the biggest suppliers of smaller tractors to the U.S., and other manufacturers are racing to develop what they see as the future of farming: robo-tractors and other farming equipment to help produce more food, more sustainably at a lower cost. John Deere has tractors and combines on the market that free the driver in the cabin from the actual driving so he or she can monitor the crops and adjust pesticide, water and soil levels. Technology from Agco Corp.'s Fendt lets several driverless tractors follow a lead tractor driven by a human. Japanese firms Kubota and Yanmar are planning to launch driverless tractors that they expect to be popular with elderly farmers. The next generation is tractors that can drive entirely by themselves.