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Archive for the ‘engineering’ category

May 29, 2016

U.S. Army using Michigan interstate to test driverless vehicle tech

Posted by in categories: engineering, military, robotics/AI

LAPEER COUNTY, MI – U.S. Army convoys are set to roll down the interstate in Lapeer and St. Clair counties as part of a first-time testing of driverless military vehicle equipment on public roadways in the state.

If successful, officials say the technology that may save the lives of soldiers thousands of miles away.

Representatives from the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center, or TARDEC, and Michigan Department of Transportation met with residents in Imlay City and Capac on May 23 to discuss the testing scheduled for late June along Interstate 69.

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May 27, 2016

Blockchain Technology Will Profoundly Change the Derivatives Industry

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, engineering, finance

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Matt O’Brien.

As the hype and pessimism around blockchain technology converge toward reality over the next several years, one certainty emerging among Wall Street and Main Street traders is that advancements in platform technology will profoundly change how commonly used securities known as derivative contracts will be traded. The distributed ledgers inconceivable just a couple of years ago are on the precipice of ushering in a new era of innovative financial engineering and precision in risk management.

Wall Street firms are beginning to tinker with blockchain and smart contract technology that will allow buyers, sellers and central clearing houses of derivative trades to share information, such as KYC (Know Your Customer), in real time across various distributed ledger platforms unleashing incredible efficiencies.

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May 25, 2016

Apple reportedly looks into making electric car charging stations

Posted by in categories: energy, engineering, transportation

Any electric car maker worth its salt knows that their vehicles are only as good as the charging stations that keep them running… and that includes Apple, apparently. Reuters sources understand that Apple is asking charging station manufacturers about their technology for the sake of its oft-rumored electric car project. It’s not certain how deep the talks go or who’s involved (the companies certainly aren’t talking). However, NRG Energy issued a vague response noting that it’s talking to “every potential manufacturer of tomorrow.” We wouldn’t rule it out, then.

There’s more evidence than that. An unnamed worldwide engineering company has already offered to help Apple build charging stations, Reuters says. Meanwhile, Apple has publicly hired EV charging experts from BMW, Georgia Tech and Google.

If true, the approach is a logical fit for Apple. Part of Tesla’s success in EVs comes from its willingness to build a network of high-speed charging stations — you’re more likely to buy a Model S if you know that you can drive it long distances without spending hours waiting for a recharge. Apple may need that same kind of reassurance. And let’s not forget that Apple’s strategy revolves around controlling as much of the experience as possible. It only makes sense that the company would want optimized charging stations instead of leaving drivers to use generic stations that might not work as effectively.

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May 25, 2016

Engineers take first step toward flexible, wearable, tricorder-like device

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, computing, electronics, engineering, mobile phones, wearables

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed the first flexible wearable device capable of monitoring both biochemical and electric signals in the human body. The Chem-Phys patch records electrocardiogram (EKG) heart signals and tracks levels of lactate, a biochemical that is a marker of physical effort, in real time. The device can be worn on the chest and communicates wirelessly with a smartphone, smart watch or laptop. It could have a wide range of applications, from athletes monitoring their workouts to physicians monitoring patients with heart disease.

Nanoengineers and electrical engineers at the UC San Diego Center for Wearable Sensors worked together to build the device, which includes a flexible suite of sensors and a small electronic board. The device also can transmit the data from biochemical and electrical signals via Bluetooth.

Nanoengineering professor Joseph Wang and electrical engineering professor Patrick Mercier at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering led the project, with Wang’s team working on the patch’s sensors and chemistry, while Mercier’s team worked on the electronics and data transmission. They describe the Chem-Phys patch in the May 23 issue of Nature Communications.

May 24, 2016

US biochemist wins award for rewriting DNA to mimic evolution

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, evolution

US biochemical engineer Frances Arnold on Tuesday won a million-euro technology prize in Finland for her work on “directed evolution”, a method of rewriting DNA to improve medicines and develop green fuels.

“Frances Arnold receives the 2016 Millennium Technology Prize in recognition of her discoveries that launched the field of ‘directed evolution’, which mimics natural evolution to create new and better proteins in the laboratory,” the Technology Academy Finland, which awards the prize at two-year intervals, said in a statement.

Arnold, 59, who is a professor of chemical engineering at California Institute of Technology, said her work made it possible to “solve human problems”, such as replacing toxic chemicals like fossil fuels.

May 23, 2016

Acoustic engineering transcribes crackling knee sounds into moving graph

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, electronics, engineering, health

New method for precisely identifying and treating fractures.


You’ve injured your knee. A doctor straps a listening device to it, and the noises you hear coming out of it are cringe-worthy. “Crackle! Krglkrglkrgl! Snap!”

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May 23, 2016

Assessing the Scientific Potential of Small CubeSat Satellites — New Report

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, physics, satellites

In the last few years, hundreds of contained “nano” satellites known as CubeSats have been launched in low Earth orbit for many purposes, including for collecting targeted scientific data. Federal agencies such as NASA and the National Science Foundation are exploring the potential of these highly affordable satellites in advancing research goals.

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concludes that CubeSats have demonstrated usefulness for scientific data gathering and can also augment – but not replace — the capabilities of large satellite missions and ground-based facilities. The report identifies examples of high-priority science goals that could be pursued through the use of CubeSats in areas such as solar and space physics, planetary science, and Earth science.

In order to continue building the capabilities of CubeSats for research, federal support is crucial, the report says, which identifies several steps NASA and NSF should take to ensure that CubeSats reach their full potential.

May 21, 2016

Lethal Autonomous Weapons

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, drones, engineering, geopolitics, robotics/AI, treaties

Biography:
Stuart Russell received his B.A. with first-class honours in physics from Oxford University in 1982 and his Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford in 1986. He then joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, where he is Professor (and formerly Chair) of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and holder of the Smith-Zadeh Chair in Engineering. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Neurological Surgery at UC San Francisco and Vice-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Council on AI and Robotics. He has published over 150 papers on a wide range of topics in artificial intelligence including machine learning, probabilistic reasoning, knowledge representation, planning, real-time decision making, multitarget tracking, computer vision, computational physiology, and global seismic monitoring. His books include “The Use of Knowledge in Analogy and Induction”, “Do the Right Thing: Studies in Limited Rationality” (with Eric Wefald), and “Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach” (with Peter Norvig).

Abstract:
Autonomous weapons systems select and engage targets without human intervention; they become lethal when those targets include humans. LAWS might include, for example, armed quadcopters that can search for and eliminate enemy combatants in a city, but do not include cruise missiles or remotely piloted drones for which humans make all targeting decisions. The artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics communities face an important ethical decision: whether to support or oppose the development of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS).

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May 19, 2016

This Is Our First Good Look at Uber’s Self-Driving Car

Posted by in categories: engineering, robotics/AI, transportation

In a blog post today, Uber showed off the self-driving car that’s been stealthily cruising around Pittsburgh. The car is a hybrid Ford Fusion and is currently in early stages of safety testing. This particular Uber test vehicle was first spotted almost a year ago by local Pittsburgh media, but this is Uber’s first acknowledgement of such tests.

Uber and Google (among others) have been racing to be the first to develop self-driving taxis for over a year now. Uber “cleaned out” Carnegie Mellon and the National Robotics Engineering Center to be part of its Advanced Technology Center in Pittsburgh, the research arm responsible for developing this “look ma, no hands” technology. This heavy hiring out of Carnegie Mellon could give Uber a big boost. The Pittsburgh-based university considers itself the birthplace of self-driving cars, and it probably is. CMU researchers were testing autonomous vehicles before Google even existed.

In March, Uber also joined a coalition, this time in partnership with Google, to advocate for self-driving adoption.

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May 18, 2016

DARPA Speeds-up Work on ‘Soft Exosuit’ that will Strengthen US Soldiers

Posted by in categories: cyborgs, energy, engineering, military, neuroscience, robotics/AI, wearables

Pressure is on DARPA by US Military to speed up on completing the soft Exosuit.


The clothing-like Soft Exosuit has been described as a “Wearable Robot” by the U.S. Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) that’s commissioning universities and research institutions to advance this military technology. The DARPA Soft Exosuit is part of the agency’s Warrior Web program.

A prototype Soft Exosuit had a series of webbing straps around the lower half of the body with a low-power microprocessor and a network of flexible strain sensors. These electronics act as the “brain” and “nervous system” of the Soft Exosuit. They continuously monitor data signals, including suit tension, wearer position (walking, running, crouched) and more.

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