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Mar 1, 2016

DJI’s revolutionary Phantom 4 drone can dodge obstacles and track humans

Posted by in categories: computing, drones, robotics/AI, transportation

When The Verge began covering “drones” three years ago, we got a lot of grief about using that word: drone. These were just remote control toys, they couldn’t fly themselves! When drones got smart enough to navigate using GPS, and to follow people around, the naysayers pointed out they still couldn’t see anything. It could follow you, sure, but not while avoiding trees. At CES the last two years we finally saw drones that could sense and avoid real-world obstacles. But those were just tech demos, R&D projects which so far haven’t been made commercially available.

That all changes today with the introduction of DJI’s new drone, the Phantom 4. It’s the first consumer unit that can see the world around it and adjust accordingly, the next big step towards a truly autonomous aircraft. Try and drive it into a wall, the Phantom 4 will put on the brakes. If you ask it to fly from your position to a spot across a river, and there is a bridge in between, it will make a judgement call: increase speed to clear the obstacle or, if that isn’t possible, stop and hover in place, awaiting your next command.

The Phantom 4 accomplishes this feat with the help of five cameras: two on the front and two on the bottom, plus the main 4K camera that has always been onboard to capture video. The images captured by these cameras are run through computer vision software which constructs a 3D model of the world around it that the drone can intelligently navigate.

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Mar 1, 2016

Israel’s New SkyTram

Posted by in category: transportation

Israel is building a train that travels using magnetic levitation.

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Mar 1, 2016

Nanopatch polio vaccine success

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, health, nanotechnology

Needle-free Nanopatch technology developed at The University of Queensland has been used to successfully deliver an inactivated poliovirus vaccine.

Delivery of a polio vaccine with the Nanopatch was demonstrated by UQ’s Professor Mark Kendall and his research team at UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and vaccine technology company Vaxxas.

Professor Kendall said the Nanopatch had been used to administer an inactivated Type 2 poliovirus vaccine in a rat model.

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Mar 1, 2016

Triple entanglement paves way for quantum encryption

Posted by in categories: encryption, quantum physics

Three photons in a 3-D ‘twist’.

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Mar 1, 2016

There Will Be Netflix on Mars

Posted by in categories: computing, internet, space

How Legos, lasers, and reindeer are building the interplanetary internet.

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Mar 1, 2016

In the Future You’ll Be a Superhero and Here’s How You’ll Get Your Superpowers

Posted by in categories: engineering, futurism

The knock on superheroes is that they’re unrealistic. This isn’t fair. Many superheroes have powers that we are close to or will be capable of engineering for ourselves. What’s unrealistic is the way those powers are doled out. Radioactive spiders aren’t going to make anyone strong any time soon.

Throw away those old origin stories and replace them with new scientific narratives and you’ve got something closer to the truth, which is this: We’re all going to have superpowers. Here’s the order in which we’re going to get them.

Superhuman Marksmanship

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Mar 1, 2016

What was Ray Kurzweil saying about the future in 1990?

Posted by in categories: internet, Ray Kurzweil

9 Kurzweilian predictions from before the Web.

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Mar 1, 2016

Utilities Cautioned About Potential for a Cyberattack After Ukraine’s

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, energy

Working remotely, attackers conducted “extensive reconnaissance” of the Ukraine power system’s networks, stole the credentials of operators and learned how to switch off the breakers, plunging more than 225,000 Ukrainians into darkness.

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Mar 1, 2016

Scott Aaronson On The Relevance Of Quantum Mechanics To Brain Preservation, Uploading, And Identity

Posted by in categories: computing, mathematics, neuroscience, quantum physics

Biography : Scott Aaronson is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. His research interests center around the capabilities and limits of quantum computers, and computational complexity theory more generally. He also has written about consciousness and personal identity and the relevance of quantum mechanics to these issues.

Michael Cerullo: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. Given the recent advances in brain preservation, questions of personal identity are moving from merely academic to extremely practical questions. I want to focus on your ideas related to the relevance of quantum mechanics to consciousness and personal identity which are found in your paper “Ghost in the Quantum Turing Machine” ( ), your blog “Could a Quantum Computer Have Subjective Experience?” ( ), and your book “Quantum Computing since Democritus” ( .

Before we get to your own speculations in this field I want to review some of the prior work of Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff (…-or-theory ). Let me try to summarize some of the criticism of their work (including some of your own critiques of their theory). Penrose and Hameroff abandon conventional wisdom in neuroscience (i.e. that neurons are the essential computational element in the brain) and instead posit that the microtubules (which conventional neuroscience tell us are involved in nucleic and cell division, organization of intracellular structure, and intracellular transport, as well as ciliary and flagellar motility) are an essential part of the computational structure of the brain. Specifically, they claim the microtubules are quantum computers that grant a person the ability to perform non-computable computations (and Penrose claims these kinds of computations are necessary for things like mathematical understanding). The main critiques of their theory are: it relies on future results in quantum gravity that don’t exist; there is no empirical evidence that microtubules are relevant to the function of the brain; work in quantum decoherence also makes it extremely unlikely that the brain is a quatum computer; even if a brain could somehow compute non-computable functions it isn’t clear what this has to do with consciousness. Would you say these are fair criticisms of their theory and are there any other criticisms you see as relevant?

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Mar 1, 2016

Electrifying Drone Race Tests Pilots‘ Sky-High Skills

Posted by in category: drones

With the first round of the Drone Racing League’s Level 1 race finished, eight pilots will compete for a spot in the finals.

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