solar energy


This wireless AI camera runs entirely on solar power

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A big trend in AI is the transition from cloud to edge computing. Benefits of this approach can include faster results, greater security, and more flexibility. But how far can you push this model? Seattle-based startup Xnor is certainly right at the bleeding-edge. This week the company unveiled a prototype AI camera that runs entirely off solar power -- no battery or external power source required.


AI is reinventing the way we invent

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Amgen's drug discovery group is a few blocks beyond that. Until recently, Barzilay, one of the world's leading researchers in artificial intelligence, hadn't given much thought to these nearby buildings full of chemists and biologists. But as AI and machine learning began to perform ever more impressive feats in image recognition and language comprehension, she began to wonder: could it also transform the task of finding new drugs? The problem is that human researchers can explore only a tiny slice of what is possible. It's estimated that there are as many as 1060 potentially drug-like molecules--more than the number of atoms in the solar system. But traversing seemingly unlimited possibilities is what machine learning is good at. Trained on large databases of existing molecules and their properties, the programs can explore all possible related molecules.


Xnor shrinks AI to fit on a solar-powered chip, opening up big frontiers on the edge

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It was a big deal two and a half years ago when researchers shrunk down an image-recognition program to fit onto a $5 computer the size of a candy bar -- and now it's an even bigger deal for Xnor.ai to re-engineer its artificial intelligence software to fit onto a solar-powered computer chip. "To us, this is as big as when somebody invented a light bulb," Xnor.ai's co-founder, Ali Farhadi, said at the company's Seattle headquarters. Like the candy-bar-sized, Raspberry Pi-powered contraption, the camera-equipped chip flashes a signal when it sees a person standing in front of it. The point is that Xnor.ai has figured out how to blend stand-alone, solar-powered hardware and edge-based AI to turn its vision of "artificial intelligence at your fingertips" into a reality. "This is a key technology milestone, not a product," Farhadi explained.


R.I.P., Opportunity Rover: the Hardest-Working Robot in the Solar System

WIRED

Last night, NASA reached out one final time to the Opportunity rover on Mars, hoping the golf-cart-sized machine would phone home with good news. Since June, the robot has been unresponsive, likely because a planet-wide sandstorm coated its solar panels in dust. NASA has pinged it over 1,000 times in those gloomy eight months, to no avail. Last night's attempt was no exception: NASA has announced that Opportunity is officially dead. "I was there yesterday and I was there with the team as these commands went out into the deep sky," said NASA associate administrator Thomas Zurbuchen in a briefing this morning, titled A Lifetime of Opportunity.


Ordnance Survey launch a solar-powered drone that can fly for 90 days at a time

Daily Mail

Ordnance survey has unveiled a solar-powered drone that is capable of flying for 90 days at a time without needing to come back to Earth and will be used to provide higher quality images of Earth. It will circle at approximately 67,000 ft (20,400m) above the ground and snap images to sell to organisations and businesses. First tests of the Astigan unmanned aerial vehicle are scheduled to take place before the end of 2019. Ordnance Survey is the majority stakeholder in Astigan, a firm based in Bridgwater, Somerset. The company works in the same factory that was once home to Facebook's Aquila internet drone project.


Science or Fiction? How Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning Can Optimize Your Solar Assets Today

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At the top of its hype cycle, Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the energy landscape, revolutionizing how solar assets are managed, operated and maintained. The ever so expanding global capacity of solar PV combined with the growing disparity of these assets have made the job of an asset owner only more complex. There are substantial financial and efficiency gains to be made in using AI-driven solutions. Moreover, as AI technology advances and becomes more ubiquitous, it is incumbent on every solar asset owner to answer the question of how this technology will disrupt the industry and can benefit their portfolio. The latest white paper, published by Solarplaza, explores the areas, which are enhanced by AI, utilizing case studies to capture the current potential of artificial intelligence to drive efficiency and Return On Investment (ROI) in solar portfolios.


Fingers crossed, Japan's Hayabusa2 probe to finally land on rugged Ryugu asteroid on Feb. 22

The Japan Times

A Japanese probe sent to examine an asteroid in order to shed light on the origins of the solar system is expected to land on the rock later this month, officials said Wednesday. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said the Hayabusa2 probe is expected to touch down on the Ryugu asteroid at 8 a.m. on Feb. 22. "The landing point is decided and how we're going to land is confirmed, so we want to do our best to achieve this without making mistakes," JAXA project manager Yuichi Tsuda told reporters. The announcement comes after the agency delayed the touchdown for several months in October, saying they needed more time to prepare the landing as the latest data showed the asteroid's surface was more rugged than expected. Scientists are already receiving data from other probes deployed on the surface of the asteroid. In October, JAXA successfully landed a new 10-kilogram observation robot known as Mascot (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout).


Aurora Solar raises $20 million to automate solar panel installation

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Despite recent setbacks, solar remains a bright spot in the often wobbly renewable energy sector. In the U.S., the solar market is projected to top $22.90 billion by 2025, driven by falling materials costs and growing interest in offsite and rooftop installations. Moreover, in China -- the world's leading installer of solar panels and the largest producer of photovoltaic power -- 1.84 percent of the total electricity generated in the country two years ago came from solar. There's clearly growth -- which San Francisco startup Aurora Solar seeks to capitalize on with a novel solution combining lidar data, computer-assisted design, and computer vision. The company, which develops a suite of software that streamlines the solar panel installation process, today announced it has secured $20 million in a Series A round of financing from Energize Ventures, with contributions from S28 Capital and existing investor Pear.


Optimizing solar farms with smart drones

MIT News

As the solar industry has grown, so have some of its inefficiencies. Smart entrepreneurs see those inefficiencies as business opportunities and try to create solutions around them. Such is the nature of a maturing industry. One of the biggest complications emerging from the industry's breakneck growth is the maintenance of solar farms. Historically, technicians have run electrical tests on random sections of solar cells in order to identify problems.


Facebook reportedly working with Airbus to test solar-powered drones in Australia

Daily Mail

Facebook may not have abandoned its program for high-speed internet drones after all. The social media giant is now working with Airbus to test drones in Australia, according to NetzPolitik. Last year, Facebook grounded its so-called Aquila project following'significant internal turmoil' at the company, but said it would continue to pursue partnerships with firms like Airbus. Facebook grounded its so-called Aquila project following'significant' internal turmoil last year. But now it's reportedly working aerospace giant Airbus to test drones in Australia Now, a document obtained by NetzPolitik using a Freedom of Information Act request, has detailed Facebook's plans to continue testing drones.