Robot can fly, swim or hitch a ride by sticking to other objects

New Scientist

A robotic drone that can travel through air and water, and also attach itself to larger objects with a suction cup, could be useful for tagging wild animals, say its creators. The suction cup is inspired by the remora fish, which attaches itself to larger marine creatures in a symbiotic relationship where the remora eats parasites that would irritate its host and also gets a ride in return. "My original thought was'let's find a point where we can beat nature'," says Li Wen at Beihang University in Beijing. "Let's do a robot that can not only swim and stick underwater, but also can fly into the air and stick in the air. I don't think there are any animals that can do this."

Beijing's first autonomous minibusses make maiden test voyage


Beijing's first group of autonomous minibusses, Apollo Robobus, underwent a first test in Beijing's Intelligent Connected Vehicle Policy Pilot Zone after receiving licenses on April 28. The pilot zone, which covers 225 square kilometers in southern Beijing, was recently approved and involves road testing, demonstrations, commercial operation services and roadside infrastructure. The Robobus, developed by Chinese tech giant Baidu, is a Level-4 mass-produced intelligent connected bus. It achieves autonomous driving by relying on Baidu artificial intelligence, deep learning achievements and autonomous driving technologies, according to insiders from Baidu Apollo. Level-4 autonomy means that the vehicle can drive autonomously in most conditions without a human driver.

Synergies raises $12M to give factory managers an AI analytics assistant – TechCrunch


There's no lack of startups around the world trying to make industrial activities more efficient with artificial intelligence. Some invent robots to assist or replace manual labor, while others use machine learning to help businesses discover insights. Synergies Intelligent Systems falls into the second category. Michael Chang founded Synergies in 2016 in Boston to provide easy-to-use AI-powered analytics tools to medium-sized manufacturers. Having worked at Foxconn in Shenzhen in the late 2000s helping the Apple supplier improve yield rate, or reduce the percentage of defective products, using data analysis, Chang realized that not every factory has the financial prowess to spend tens of thousands of dollars on digitization.

Restructuring Faces in Videos With Machine Learning


A research collaboration between China and the UK has devised a new method to reshape faces in video. The technique allows for convincing broadening and narrowing of facial structure, with high consistency and an absence of artifacts. From a YouTube video used as source material by the researchers, actress Jennifer Lawrence appears as a more gaunt personality (right). See the accompanying video embedded at the bottom of the article for many more examples at better resolution. This kind of transformation is usually only possible through traditional CGI methods that would need to entirely recreate the face via detailed and expensive motion-capping, rigging and texturing procedures. Instead, what CGI there is in the technique is integrated into a neural pipeline as parametric 3D face information that's subsequently used as a basis for a machine learning workflow.

China's New AI-Powered Satellite Can Send Real Time Targeting Info On US Carrier: Report

International Business Times

China has developed a remote sensing satellite powered by the latest artificial intelligence technology that helps the People's Liberation Army (PLA) trace the movements of U.S. aircraft carriers. A new study by Chinese space scientists said the technology was put into use last year in June to detect the movements of the USS Harry S. Truman. The satellite, which has not been named in the study, is said to have alerted Beijing with the precise coordinates of the carrier as it headed to a strait transit drill off the coast of Long Island in New York, reported South China Morning Post. According to the study published by the domestic peer-reviewed journal Spacecraft Engineering last month, the drill held on June 17 involved a joint action of seven warships and planes beside the USS Harry S Truman. Before this satellite, the PLA had to go through a large amount of raw satellite data on the ground to get a clue about such drills happening in the U.S. home waters, and the results usually came after the event was over, the report added. But, with the AI-powered satellites, China could now "live stream" military activities or assets of interest on the other side of the planet, the report quoted the study by space scientist Yang Fang and her colleagues with DFH Satellite.

'An army of robots' and zero human workers will build a dam in China


Artificial intelligence at the heart of the project on the Tibetan plateau will build the structure slice by slice, with no human workers.

Chinese web users get creative to dodge COVID censorship

The Japan Times

Beijing – From quoting the national anthem to referencing Hollywood blockbusters and George Orwell's dystopian novel "1984," Chinese web users are using creative methods to dodge censorship and voice discontent over COVID-19 measures. China maintains a tight grip over the internet, with legions of censors scrubbing out posts that cast the Communist Party's policies in a negative light. The censorship machine is now in overdrive to defend Beijing's stringent "COVID zero" policy as the business hub of Shanghai endures weeks of lockdown to tackle an outbreak. Stuck at home, many of the city's 25 million residents have taken to social media to vent fury over food shortages and spartan quarantine conditions. Charlie Smith, co-founder of censorship monitoring website, said the Shanghai lockdown had become "too big of an issue to be able to completely censor."

Watch a swarm of drones autonomously track a human through a dense forest


Scientists from China's Zhejiang University have unveiled a drone swarm capable of navigating through a dense bamboo forest without human guidance. The group of 10 palm-sized drones communicate with one another to stay in formation, sharing data collected by on-board depth-sensing cameras to map their surroundings. This method means that if the path in front of one drone is blocked, it can use information collected by its neighbors to plot a new route. The researchers note that this technique can also be used by the swarm to track a human walking through the same environment. If one drone loses sight of the target, others are able to pick up the trail.

Biden's disinformation board is authoritarian and reminds me of my life in China

FOX News

The panel on'The Five' sounds off on DHS chief's defense of new bureaucracy The Biden administration announced the establishment of the Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) last week to be created within the Homeland Security Department (DHS), aiming to counter "misinformation related to homeland security." There are many unknowns about DGB. For example, we don't know how the members of DGB will be selected, what kind of power it will have, and how it defines misinformation. But the early signs are not promising. The vaguely defined roles and authorities of DGB have alarmed Americans, and many see the agency as the "Ministry of Truth" that George Orwell warned us about in his dystopian novel "1984."

Watch a swarm of drones navigate a forest without crashing

New Scientist

A new navigation system enables a swarm of 10 lightweight drones to fly together without crashing into one another or obstacles, even in challenging places such as forests. Drones can compute their location and find a path to follow using a panoply of sensors, which can be expensive and unwieldy. Shrinking down a drone often involves getting rid of key components, impacting its ability to travel safely. Xin Zhou at Zhejiang University in China and his colleagues have developed a new method that reduces the size and hardware requirements of a drone while keeping its computing nous. The palm-sized, 300-gram drone uses off-the-shelf computer components powered by a 100-gram battery that can keep it aloft for up to 11 minutes. The drone has a camera that feeds real-time footage to its processing unit.