A new drone prototype has the ability to not only take off and land vertically, but it can also land against a wall, similar to a bird. The Multimodal Autonomous Drone (S-MAD) was created by researchers at Canada's University of Sherbrooke, utilizing microspineso to allow it to attach itself to these kinds of surfaces. "Microspines are used to cling to rough walls, while strictly onboard sensing is used for control," a paper on the drone reads. "The effect of thrust on the suspension's landing envelope is analyzed and a simple vertical velocity controller is proposed to create smooth and robust descents towards a wall."
Tesla's CEO Elon Musk and other leading artificial intelligence experts have called on the United Nations for a global ban on the use of killer robots, which includes drones, tanks and machine guns, The Guardian reported on Sunday. The experts call autonomous weapons "morally wrong." The report said that the experts hope to add killer robots to the U.N.'s list of banned weapons that include chemical and intentionally blinding laser weapons. In a July 15 speech at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Rhode Island, Musk said the government needs to proactively regulate artificial intelligence before there is no turning back, describing it as the "biggest risk we face as a civilization."
As it continues to improve its sensor technology to help its vehicle understand its surroundings and respond quickly and safely to unfolding events, it's also been considering how to deal with unavoidable collisions, whether it's with a "soft" human that could easily sustain an injury, or a harder object like another vehicle. A patent recently awarded to Waymo offers some insight into how the company is approaching the issue. In Waymo's own words: "The vehicle may contain tension members that are arranged so that a change in tension across one or more of the tension members will alter the rigidity of the vehicle's surface. The vehicle may identify and respond to a potential collision by altering the tension that is applied to one or more tension members, thereby altering the rigidity of the vehicle's surface."
SAN DIEGO – A 25-year-old U.S. citizen has been charged with using a drone to smuggle more than 13 pounds of methamphetamine from Mexico, an unusually large seizure for what is still a novel technique for bringing illegal drugs into the United States, authorities said Friday. Border Patrol agents in San Diego allegedly saw the drone in flight on Aug. 8 and tracked it to Rivera about 2,000 yards from the Mexico border. This undated photo provided by the U.S. Border Patrol shows 12 packages of methamphetamine that were confiscated from a U.S. citizen after a border patrol agent spotted a remote-controlled drone swooping over the border fence (U.S. Border Patrol via AP) The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said in a recent annual report that drones are not often used to smuggle drugs from Mexico because they can only carry small loads, though it said they may become more common. In 2015, two people pleaded guilty to dropping 28 pounds of heroin from a drone in the border town of Calexico, Calif. That same year Border Patrol agents in San Luis, Ariz., spotted a drone dropping bundles with 30 pounds of marijuana.
Nicholas Fuentes, an 18-year-old student who attended the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va., this past weekend, said that he's received death threats for months over his conservative viewpoints -- enough for him to decide it's time to leave Boston University. "I went to represent this new strain of conservatives, of people in the right wing who are opposed to mass immigration and multiculturalism," Fuentes told Fox News on Thursday. "The picture the media keeps using is of one person with a Nazi flag, there were more one thousand there who didn't have Nazi flags," Fuentes said. "It was one of my first picks after high school," Fuentes continued, adding that the "friendly territory" of the Deep South will enable him to express his opinions freely without jeopardizing his safety.
White supremacist Chris Cantwell has been kicked off the dating website OkCupid following his participation in the recent Charlottesville, Va. In a series of tweets, OkCupid (owned by Match.com) said it had kicked Cantwell off the platform after being alerted of his profile. We were alerted that white supremacist Chris Cantwell was on OkCupid. "We were alerted that white supremacist Chris Cantwell was on OkCupid," OkCupid wrote in a tweet.
Looking to ever expand ways to deliver goods to its customers, Amazon has patented a way to allow its drones to deliver packages without ever having to land. The patent would not only provide a safe distance between the UAVs and the people receiving the packages, but also cut down on noise pollution, BizJournals noted. Bezos, now the world's third-richest man with an estimated fortune of $83.3 billion according to Forbes, first showed off Amazon's drone delivery unit in a Dec. 2013 interview on "60 Minutes." It recently filed patents for a beehive-like structure that would allow drones to pick up and drop off packages.
Big changes are coming to your phone's smartphone camera next year, with Qualcomm previewing an update to its image signal processor (ISP) that will better support features like face recognition and mixed reality. While the next major Snapdragon update won't arrive until next year, the changes planned for the Spectra ISP have major implications not just for the cameras on 2018 Android phones but for virtual- and augmented reality headsets as well. Specifically, Qualcomm is promising that its new camera module will feature improved biometric sensing for detecting people's faces and support for depth sensing that can power mixed reality features for smartphones and headsets. The iris authentication module provides always-on security that can support phone unlocking features.
Sexting is now a normal part of human relationships, according to a massive new study of sex and tech -- 74 percent of Americans say they exchange saucy electronic messages with their lovers. "Sexting may be becoming a new, but typical, step in a sexual or romantic relationship," said Amanda Gesselman, a research scientist at the Kinsey Institute, which released its annual International Sex Survey this week. The researchers surveyed more than 140,000 people from 198 countries about the role of tech in their sex lives, and found Americans are some of the most prolific sexters on the planet -- second only to South Africans. Thirty-six percent said they used apps to find long- or short-term relationship, while only 20 percent were seeking to satisfy their carnal desires.
A Turkish police officer was stabbed to death in Istanbul late Sunday by a suspected Islamic State terrorist, state media reported. The suspect reportedly was shot and killed after the stabbing. The latest killing came just days after an alleged ISIS plot involving a drone attack on Turkey's Incirlik air base -- which is used by the U.S. Air Force -- was foiled. Renad Bakiev, a Russian national who previously traveled to Syria to join ISIS, was detained in the southern city of Adana for planning the drone attack, police said Thursday.