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Virgin Galactic Unveils its Spaceport

The countdown for Virgin Galactic’s “Gateway to Space” has truly begun as it edges closer to being the first publicly-traded space tourism company to successfully take customers into space.

A week ago, the company showed off its new New Mexico spaceport to the public, and it looks like those first $250,000-ticket tourists are in for the ride of their life. The facility is part of the state-run Spaceport America in Las Cruces, New Mexico, which also hosts facilities for SpaceX, EXOS Aerospace, and other companies

The interior is reminiscent of a retro, 1960s vibe, but the technology is nothing but modern. You’ll find a barista where you can get a latte for your flight and an interactive walkway to enjoy, as well. The social hub is located on the first floor, called Gaia. Cirrus, the second floor, is where the operations center and mission control is located.

Though the third floor is yet to be revealed, the company has stated that it will be a lounge for their space-flying customers. “Each floor developed has a nice story connecting it back to social activity on Earth,” says designer Jeremy Brown. “Then moving through the mission control part of the building with lighter material references there.”

The Future is Now

Virgin Galactic’s CEO George Whitesides says, “We’re on the home stretch now.” In just a matter of weeks, the aircraft carrier will head to Mojave, where the company’s test facilities are located. There, it will pick up Virgin’s spacecraft, the VMS Unity, and transport it back to New Mexico where test flights will ensue.

Once all the kinks have been worked out and Virgin Galactic is satisfied with their finished product, they’ll be ready to take on their first commercial flight. Currently, 603 reservations have been made for spaceflight, totaling about $80 million in deposits.

They haven’t marketed for tickets since 2014, but once commercial space flights have commenced, Virgin Galactic will be offering new tickets for at least $250,000.

Back in July, the company announced that they would be merging with Social Capital Hedosophia, which will invest $800 million for a 49% stake in the company. In addition, they’ll trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

You may be thinking, “Who even has enough money sitting around to afford one of these flights?” But you’d be surprised to discover that the company received over 2,500 inquiries for reservations for the first flight in December 2018, and more are clamoring since last week’s unveiling.

When everything is set for that first commercial flight, customers will board the Unity, which will be attached to the underside of the aircraft Eve, and once the airplane flies to around 50,000 feet, the rocket will detach and launch into space where passengers will get a stunning view of both space and Earth.

For a few minutes, they’ll be free from the restraints of their seats to experience the weightlessness until it’s time to head back home. In total, the duration of the flight is going to be around 3-4 hours from take-off to landing.

The countdown for Virgin Galactic’s “Gateway to Space” has truly begun as it edges closer to being the first publicly-traded space tourism...

Cool Stories Funny Stories Tech News

Have You Ever Wondered Where The Smiley Face Emoji Came From?

You might not even know what an Emoji is!  These images are faces we use in our text message to display emotions such as blushing, smiling, or scowling.

Whether you want to end your message on a high note, add a smile in the middle of your text, or wishing someone a happy birthday, there’s an emoji for you.  We use them in messages on social media, in our emails to one another, or in other ways to convey an emotion or sentiment.

What you might not know, where did the original smiley come from?  This concept actually started back in the 60s when Harvey Ball created the very first smiley face drawing.  Over the years, the image began to change and develop into smiley emoji drawings that we all love and enjoy to use.

How It All Began:

Graphic artists, Harvey Ross Ball created the first smiley face without giving it much thought, let along turning it into an international icon!  Possibly, he was just doodling while coming up with ideas in his head for his next project.

He was originally hired by State Mutual Life Insurance Company as a graphic artist to produce an image that would encourage their employees to smile more often during their time at the workplace.

It took him less than 10 minutes to draw this cute smiley face and was only paid $45 for his artwork.  While the image probably did nothing to ramp up morale in the workplace, this smiley face caught on like wildfire!

It was printed on buttons, posters, shirts, etc.  Even though Ball never copyrighted the design, saying he was not a man of means or money, his smiley face continued to gain in popularity in our culture.  Before he knew it, even the company workers stood up and took notice of his simple cute drawing.

How The Smiley Face Evolved:

Through the 60s, 70s, and 80s, the little yellow smiley face started to evolve and soon became an image of happiness and peace within pop art and started appearing on tee-shirts and posters.

As mentioned earlier, Ball never claimed the copyright but someone else stepped up to the plate to promote and commercialize this little yellow face.  Franklin Loufrani, a French journalist, was a driven man and he decided to attached this smiley drawing to all his positive newspaper stories and received a lot of attraction from readers.

At one point, he copyrighted the image and made a lot of money selling just about anything he could with the image printed on it.  He named the image simply “Smiley” and started the Smiley Company selling tee-shirt transfers to anyone who wanted to show off this positive image.

Even though the image was created long before the cell phone, this French journalist’s company played an enormous role in the production of the 21st-Century Emoji!

The Birth Of The Emoji:

If you’ve ever wondered how this little smiley face ended up on the internet, we’ve got you covered!  Scott E. Fahlman was a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon. He is the man who got the idea that would eventually lead to becoming known as an Emoji.

He decided it would be a great idea to have some visual way to express emotions that are funny to text messages, especially at the closing of a message with either a happy or sad face.

Then, Shigetaka Kurita, a Japanese interface designer started sending out cartoons in his company messages that were emoji-like faces.  So in some ways, he is the one who created the emoji!  He used a 12 x 12 grid to produce the pixel images such as laughing faces, hearts, and of course, the original smiley face.

This new concept remained only in Japan for almost 10 years.  Meanwhile, Loufrani’s son Nicolas was working on the smiley replication of emojis.  He created an amazing 470 emojis during 1999 and licensed them out to phone companies for a price.  Finally, in 2010, emojis hit the public internationally with 722 emojis being released on iPhone and Android devices.

Now in the age of cell phones, there are approximately 3,000 emojis available for our devices. It’s almost impossible for any of us to imagine not having these emojis for our messages.  Though I must look back and say it’s a shame that Ball only received a total of $45 for a design that was formed in his head alone.

You might not even know what an Emoji is!  These images are faces we use in our text message to display emotions such as blushing, smiling, or...

City Life Tech News

Daimler & Bosch Driverless Parking Has Gotten a Thumbs Up

Without a doubt, we have come a very long way getting Artificial Intelligence-based self-driving systems.

As of date, Daimler & Bosch have received approval from the German regulators to operate their automated driverless parking facility without involving a human safety driver sitting behind the wheel.

This is the world’s first fully automated driverless SAE Level 4 parking function to be totally approved for everyday use.  The thumbs-up comes 4 years after the companies started working together on the technology end.

Bosch board member, Dr. Markus Heyn said this decision by authorities only shows that innovations like automated valet parking is now possible in Germany.

He believes that driverless parking and driving are the cornerstones for tomorrow’s automated mobility.  Automated parking shows just how far we have already come and the continued development path that lies ahead.

Look Ma No Hands!

Level 4 was designated by SAE which means the vehicle can handle all aspects of driving in certain conditions without human interference.

Until now, there have been several Level 4 tests and trials in the works but they all involved people behind the wheel of the vehicle as a backup.

Bosch is considered one of the largest automotive tech and hardware suppliers in the world and they handle the infrastructure aspect of the automated parking function.

It works in collaboration with Daimler’s vehicle technology on its Mercedes-Benz vehicles.  Users can easily access the independent valet service using their smartphone app.

Bosch and Daimler started developing their fully automated driverless parking back in 2015. Their initial partnership including car2go, the which is the car-sharing unit of Daimler.

They debuted their automated valet parking function back in 2017 at the parking garage of the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

Then in 2018, after intensive testing, museum visitors ere able to test the automated parking service with one very important warning, a human safety driver must always be behind the wheel.

Using their smartphone app, visitors could reserve vehicles from the facility.  Their vehicle would arrive independently to the designated pick up place in the garage.

When the visitor is finished with the vehicle, they could deliver it to the drop off area.  The vehicle would then drive itself back to its assigned spot, guided by the garage’s infrastructure and onboard sensors.

The pilot program was limited in scope and restricted by a safety driver, but it served a valuable purpose for Bosch and Daimler and even other companies hoping to use automated driving in Germany.

That said, Germany does not have an approval process for automated driving without a human driver.

From the beginning, Bosch and Daimler brought in authorities from Stuttgart and the state of  Baden-Württemberg’s transportation ministry as well as experts from the German certification authority TUV Rheinland.

You would think the group would assess the safety of Bosch & Daimler’s parking function but it also helped regulators come up with guidelines for testing and the approval benchmark that could be applied beyond the pilot project in a parking garage in Stuttgart.

Bosch & Daimler tested lighting ideas on the vehicle’s pilot project.  They used turquoise lighting to indicate that the vehicle was in automation mode and informed others passing by along with other road users, that the vehicle was driving itself.

This is not the only Bosch & Daimler project that is in the works.  In 2017, they partnered to bring fully automated vehicles to urban roads within the next 10 years.  Last year, they announced plans to have a pilot robotaxi service in San Jose, Calif.

They are planning on using automated Mercedes-Benz S Class vehicles during the second half of 2019. There will be a geofenced area in the San Carlos and Stevens Creek corridor which is between downtown and west San Jose.

The pilot will have an on-demand ride-hailing service app operated by Daimler Mobility Services.  All rides will be monitored by a safety driver.

Presently, Bosch is building a $1.1 billion facility designed to assemble semiconductors used in self-driving cars, smart homes, and smart city infrastructure.

The Dresden-based chip is expected to start manufacturing silicon, commercially, in 2021 and construction is expected to be finished in 2019.

Without a doubt, we have come a very long way getting Artificial Intelligence-based self-driving systems.

As of date, Daimler & Bosch have...

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Tech News

AI Google Doodle Lets Users Make Bach-Music

Google’s innovation and creativity never ceaseto amaze, and one of our favorite features is its goal of honoring different men, women, and key holidays through the Google doodle on their search engine homepage. In honor of German composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthday, Google created and released its first artificial intelligence-powered doodle.

Google made the doodle available internationally in over seventy countries and set it to run for a full forty-eight in most of those countries. Users had the freedom to create their own melody and allow the Al built into the doodle to form the melody they created into one that matches Bach’s own style.

But that’s not all the doodle was built to do! Users could also hear their melodies in a rock genre, seeing how it transforms the notes to sound like a Bach melody, and exactly how Google did all this is in a behind-the-scenes video they released later on.

Google’s Magenta, Google’s People + AI Research team, and doodle teams collaborated together to create the Bach doodle. Magenta is a mind-blowing project that uses machine-learning to create music – not just a single melody but harmonies and smooth transitions, as well. Then, Google’s PAIR program does the research to creates technologies that shape the approach to work with AI.

The Google team created a model called Coconet through Magenta which was able to pick out Bach’s individual style through a dataset of over 300 of his own harmonies. As a result, Coconet could match the doodle users created to Bach’s works. “Coconet is trained to restore Bach’s music from fragments: we take a piece from Bach, randomly erase some notes, and ask the model to guess the missing notes from context. The result is a versatile model of counterpoint that accepts arbitrarily incomplete scores as input and works out complete scores,” said the blog post from Magenta.

Which Calendar?

According to the Julian Calendar, Bach was born on March 21, which is now March 31 on the Gregorian calendar used today. Google decided to honor him on the original date of March 21, however, and then had the doodle run for forty-eight hours instead of just twenty-four.

What Google wanted was for users to learn more about the composer himself as they created melodies through the doodle, and what a creative and fun way to remember the famous composer! The doodle is still accessible now in the doodle archive online, so if you didn’t get a chance to use it for yourself, you still can.

Google’s innovation and creativity never ceaseto amaze, and one of our favorite features is its goal of honoring different men, women, and key holidays through the Google doodle on their search engine homepage. In honor of German composer Johann Sebastian...

Animals Tech News

Lobster Inspired Body Armor

As fantastical as it sounds, our next innovation in defensive body armor for our military and law enforcement officer’s may be inspired by a million-year-old sea creature who is not only a tough customer but also happens to be delicious when served with a side of melted butter.

Ming Guo, from the mechanical engineering department of MIT, had a breakthrough when he was enjoying a lobster at dinner. He noticed that lobsters have membranes between their joints that is as strong as tire rubber.

He realized that this naturally growing material was nearly impossible to chew but was also flexible and soft. His thought was that this material would be perfect in the joints of body armor.

A study released in Acta Materialia states: “The knowledge learned from the soft membrane of natural lobsters sheds light on designing synthetic soft, yet strong and tough materials for reliable usage under extreme mechanical conditions, including a flexible armor that can provide full-body protection without sacrificing limb mobility.”

Ming explains, “We think this work could motivate flexible armor design. If you could make armor out of these types of materials, you could freely move your joints, and it would make you feel more comfortable.”

The Flawed Effectiveness of Kevlar

While bulletproof vests are a valuable tool for law enforcement officers and military, they do have a few drawbacks. Kevlar’s effectiveness only spans around five years, at which time they should be replaced. Kevlar is also bulky and unforgiving, not suitable for all body types.

In particular, women frequently need to have Kevlar vests altered.  Because Kevlar is bulky, it interferes with concentration and marksmanship abilities. Making the vests more mobile decreases their effectiveness.

To be truly effective, body armor needs to be flexible and light to allow the wearer to move freely.  It also needs to be tough and made from materials that are abundant for ease and affordability of manufacturing.

As hard as it is to imagine a lobster-inspired bulletproof vest, the body armor of the crustacean fulfills all of these qualities. Researchers from MIT and Harvard are currently exploring how best to harness the benefits of lobster armor for human use.

Learning from Lobsters

Even though lobster armor brings to mind a cartoon character with claws and a bright red suit, it’s not so far-fetched.  As body armor evolves to be stronger and more flexible, chances are that bulky armor, made from cloth and Kevlar, will become a distant memory.

Science fiction films hint at ways that body armor will improve.  In fact, the Robert Rodriguez film, Alita: Battle Angel, hints that in the distant future, humans will sport robotic body parts.

For now, MIT scientists are taking their cues from a million-year-old lobster who has evolved to fit their habitat perfectly.  Their armor protects them from temperature extremes and other intense under-water conditions, and one day, it may protect our LEO’s and military from equally intense conditions on duty and in the battlefield.

As fantastical as it sounds, our next innovation in defensive body armor for our military and law enforcement officer’s may be inspired by a million-year-old sea creature who is not only a tough customer but also happens to be delicious when served with a...

Tech News

U.S. Senators To Limit Facial Recognition Data

This week, Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced their Commercial Facial Recognition Privacy Act which is aimed at commercial users of Facial Recognition technology.

Your face can be the most important part of your personal identity. It distinguishes you from everyone else on the planet. It can unlock your smartphone and grant you access to your bank account. It is commonly used by law enforcement to accurately and successfully identify a wanted person in a crowd or even match a simple image with a database of known criminals.

The whole concept kind of conjures up the image of an Orwellian “Big Brother” creeping across the country.

Increasingly, people are becoming concerned about how their data is being collected and used, including data that is being collected through facial recognition technology. A message to the press, Senator Blunt said that we need guardrails to ensure that this technology will continue to develop but must implement responsibly.

If this bill passes, it will require companies to notify customers when facial recognition technology is being used. This could manifest in something similar to “CCTB in Operation” signage. This bill would also restrict the redistribution or dissemination of data to third-parties without the express consent from the end user.

Get Consumer Consent

This bill requires that in order for consumers to give consent they must be informed before commercial parties can collect and share all data collected through facial recognition (Blunt). All parties would have to meet data security, minimization, and retention standards set down by the Federal Trade Commission and National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Keep in mind, facial recognition is nothing new. It’s been a large part of security and surveillance applications for decades. That said, its use in a commercial application while on the rise, many consumers remain unaware that “Big Brother” technology is often hidden in plain sight!

Both Senators believe their bill will make sure people are given information and, more importantly, control over how their data is used and shared with companies that are using facial recognition technology. This legislation is an important move toward protecting privacy and empowering consumers. Blunt encourages all his colleagues to support this bill.

This week, Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced their Commercial Facial Recognition Privacy Act which is aimed at commercial users of Facial Recognition technology.

Your face can be the most important part of your personal identity. It...

Tech News

USB-4 – Get Thunderbolt Speeds

What if a USB cable could provide the same smooth, fast data transfer speeds as a Thunderbolt port?  If that excites you, wait until you meet the USB4, the next generation of mobile devices and PCs.

USB4 will deliver data at incredible speeds when it’s connected via USB cables on compatible devices:  up to 40 Gigabits per second.  Intel has created the Thunderbolt 3 for the USB group, and USB4 bases its technology on Intel’s advanced tech.  Thunderbolt 3 will be available to use royalty-free.

USB Implementers Forum released a press release explaining that they’re built in; this next logical step for the Universal Serial Bus tech will mean that Thunderbolt will become a more affordable tech for manufacturers to include in their devices.

5K Support

Android Central  explains that the sky is the limit; devices could include 100 watts of on-demand power, support for up to eight lanes of DisplayPort data, and 40Gbps transfer rates.   Two 4K HDR displays, at 60 HZ each, or a 5K display could be supported fully.

This will mean that two 4K HDR displays at 60 Hz or one 5K display would be fully supported.  If the tech becomes more affordable to include n devices, it will definitely bring down purchasing costs for devices supporting USB4.

As Jason Ziller, Intel’s General Manager of Client Connectivity explains, “Releasing the Thunderbolt protocol specification is a significant milestone for making today’s simplest and most versatile port available to everyone. By collaborating with the USB Promoter Group, we’re opening the doors for innovation across a wide range of devices and increasing compatibility to deliver better experiences to consumers.”

To fully benefit from the max data transfer speed, you will need to have cables that are 40Gbs-certified; these are USBC to USBC only.  The USB4 will be fully compatible to all Thunderbird 3 devices and all USB specifications.

Microsoft, HP, Intel, and Apple are among the 50 tech companies that are going to be taking part in a final review of USB4 tech. They will release the specs around mid-year. The exciting part of these companies taking part in the testing is that it is predicted that they will use these new specifications when they do become available.

The USB4 is expected to be released next year.

What if a USB cable could provide the same smooth, fast data transfer speeds as a Thunderbolt port?  If that excites you, wait until you meet the USB4, the next generation of mobile devices and PCs.

USB4 will deliver data at incredible speeds when it’s...

Tech News

Microsoft Brings An End To Fake News?

Social media feeds are positively choked with fake news sources from all sides, leaving readers and viewers distrustful and confused.  Now, a new app from the Microsoft Edge browser called NewsGuard claims to weed out the false news sources.

The app will use color coding, with “red” indicating a high probability of being a false news source and “green” being a safe site. The app will come pre-installed in its browser.

Fake news as a recognized term has only been around for a few years, but the concept of fake news predates the term by centuries. It has been known by the term “yellow journalism,” and has always involved spreading propaganda and self-serving information to the masses.  In fact, yellow news has been credited with getting the US involved with the Spanish-American War.

The NewsGuard App

NewsGuard, according to Microsoft, isn’t intended to be a way to censor news or infringe on free speech.  The intention is to give readers the information they need to properly understand the reliability of what they are reading and help them decide if they should share the news source on social media, per Microsoft’s corporate vice president of security and trust, Tom Burt.

The app itself isn’t new, but it was something that had to be manually downloaded and installed by its users.  It allows flexibility for its users to set up their own filters while maintaining its warning color system.  The app currently only works for US and large international news sources and sites.

Wall Street Journalist and publisher Gordon Crovitz is now a CEO of NewsGuard.  He explains, “We’re delighted to be able to reach millions of people through Microsoft Edge for mobile, giving news consumers more information about the sources of news they see online based on basic journalistic criteria of credibility and transparency.”

NewsGuard uses experienced journalists to vet companies and their news articles.  They work with The Information founder, Jessica Lessin, General Michael Hayden, former CIA director, and other highly seasoned professionals.  The news sources are broken down and labeled according to their content, credibility, ownership, and sources of financing.

A few examples of how various cites would be labeled include:

RT: This Russian news site is a well-known source of Russian propaganda.  NewsGuard will label this as “proceed with caution.”
The Daily Mail:  This is a British news source, and NewsGuard warns its readers that it has had to pay damages for false reporting on several high-profile stories.
The New York Times:  This is an American news source that is well known for having influence on public debate and will be labeled this way by NewsGuard.

This tool is one of the first of its kind, but with the bombardment of fake news all over social media, it’s likely that NewsGuard will be the prototype for many more.

Social media feeds are positively choked with fake news sources from all sides, leaving readers and viewers distrustful and confused.  Now, a new app from the Microsoft Edge browser called NewsGuard claims to weed out the false news sources.

The app will...

Tech News

New Record: Most Autonomous Cars In A Row

In November of 2018, China’s Changan Automobile manufacturing company set a Guinness World Record for the longest parade of autonomous cars.  The car line featured 55 of the self-driving vehicles, traveling two miles at 30 km/h (or 18.6 mph) with a distance of two car lengths between them. The parade lasted nine minutes and seven seconds.  The record was set on a test track in Chongqing.

Yang Guo, an engineer for the autonomous car lineup at Changan Automobile, explained that while each car had a “driver,” they were not permitted to have any contact with the cars’ autopilot systems.  In fact, the parade was originally intended to feature 56 cars before one driver became disqualified by engaging with the car as it drove.

Better Lane Detection

Engineers were able to make alterations to the vehicle sensors to allow them to have better detection for lanes and increased sensitivity to the positions of the cars in front of them.  By reducing the vehicles’ event and object detection and the automatic response to these factors, the vehicles were able to be programmed to drive much closer together than they would under normal driving conditions.

The test track allowed the dynamic driving tasks to be lowered from five percent to one percent because a controlled driving area, such as the test track, has far fewer variables than are found under normal driving conditions.

Changan Automobiles is hoping that by setting the record, they are showing the world China’s commitment to inventing new technologies.  Changan’s Executive Vice President, Tan Benhong, explains,

“The artificial intelligence and new energy of automobiles is a very important trend in the future development of automobiles. As the world’s first brand to break this record, we will make more efforts in the field of intelligence.”

In November of 2018, China’s Changan Automobile manufacturing company set a Guinness World Record for the longest parade of autonomous cars.  The car line featured 55 of the self-driving vehicles, traveling two miles at 30 km/h (or 18.6 mph) with a...

Tech News

Could Two-Handed Robots Make Ecommerce Faster?

Ever since the rise of the internet as our main source of buying and selling, the speed in which we can get goods has been incredible. Every year, it feels simpler and faster to just do all of your shopping online, as it can often be delivered to you so fast and so easy. eCommerce, then, looks set to change the way in which we shop for at least a generation to come.

However, with the rise of machine learning and AI, we could be about to see another quantum leap: starting with ambidextrous robots (ambidextrous= using both hands equally well).

Massive warehouses are needed to help fulfill the incredible orders being taken online, which obviously means trying to get staff to help manage said orders. However, it looks like we’re moving towards trying to automate the whole experience instead, with the use of ambidextrous robots.

This became clear from a UC Berkeley paper which was produced in mid-January, in the Science Robots journal.

Engineers at UC Berkeley have been using decades of progress so far to come up with new algorithms that could help to compute robot pick points, allowing robots to work with a large variety of objects without having to undergo the training that they would need to normally.

The postdoctoral researcher on this project, Jeff Mahler, who is also the lead author, said: “Any single gripper cannot handle all objects,

“For example, a suction cup cannot create a seal on porous objects such as clothing, and parallel-jaw grippers may not be able to reach both sides of some tools and toys. ‘Ambidextrous’ robots offer greater diversity.”

How Might This Change eCommerce?

At the moment, the robots used in the majority of fulfillment centers will be using the standard suction cup session mentioned above. This can limit the range and style of objects that it could actually pick up and work with, which would drastically limit their usage in a warehouse environment.

With ambidextrous robots, though, this would not be quite the case. This would make them compatible with more than one gripper type, allowing for much easier for the robot to decide which gripper is most likely to succeed when picking up any given item.

This would help to ensure that, by using a reward function, ensuring that fulfillment could be much faster and far less rigid in what it can and cannot pick up.

The researchers managed to train functions for using a parallel-jaw gripper and then a suction cup gripper to a two-armed robot. The result was that it could take on 25 objects never seen before with around 300 picks in an hour, with around 95% reliability: that’s incredible.

While this might not be commonplace yet just in every warehouse, it’s definitely something that we can expect to arrive in the next few years – with massive, positive results for the already in-demand eCommerce industry.

Ever since the rise of the internet as our main source of buying and selling, the speed in which we can get goods has been incredible. Every year, it feels simpler and faster to just do all of your shopping online, as it can often be delivered to you so fast...

Tech News

Breakthrough: Sending Sound On Laser

Researchers at MIT have discovered a way to send audio signals directly to someone’s ear at a distance using laser beams. The system uses a photoacoustic effect in which water vapor in the air absorbs light then forms sound waves.

This research could pave the way for allowing audible messages to be sent to agents, spies or possibly law enforcement, warning them of encroaching danger.

How It Works:

Researchers used a laser beam that fired at wavelengths absorbed by water.  By sweeping the beam at the speed of sound, they were able to generate sound that can only be heard at distance from the transmitter.

After many tests, they discovered this would allow a message to be sent to a specific individual instead of just anyone who happened to be passing by the laser path.

The scientists said this system can be used in dry locations because, at any given time, there is moisture in the air, especially around people.  Also, the lasers are very safe to one’s ears, eyes, and skin while localizing an audible signal to an individual at any setting.

They also discovered a method that works by modulating rather than sweeping a beam.  The traditional modulation method offers sound with a much higher fidelity where the laser sweeping offers a sound with louder audio.

To date, the system will work at more than 8 feet or 2.5 meters.  Scientists are currently working to increase the distance and believe they will eventually have a very significant commercial technology for future use.

We look forward to hearing more about this new and exciting technology, so stay tuned!

Researchers at MIT have discovered a way to send audio signals directly to someone’s ear at a distance using laser beams. The system uses a photoacoustic effect in which water vapor in the air absorbs light then forms sound waves.

This research could...

Tech News

Robot Hotel Fires Half Its Robotic Workers

If you are concerned about losing your job in hospitality to artificial intelligence soon, there is no need to worry.

A hotel in Nagasaki, Japan called the Hen-na (“Strange”) Hotel ‘fired’ more than 50% of the 243 robots working there because instead of providing benefits to guests, they turned out to be quite inconvenient.

The hotel used robots to check-in guests, take luggage to rooms and answer queries. There is even a robot in each room called Chu-ri who helps turn off lights, set alarms and provide weather forecasts.

Multi-Lingual Robot

Describing the experience of a guest at the hotel, their website says that you will be greeted at the front desk by multi-lingual robots who will help check you in or out. In the cloakroom, a robotic arm will take your luggage and store it.

These fun moments are a mix of human and robotic, and they will definitely warm your heart.

Also, as soon as you register your face with their facial recognition system, the struggle of carrying a room key around and worrying about losing it is completely gone.

Human Touch

This type of Android paradise sounds blissful on paper. But the experience of the guests staying at the hotel is quite the opposite. Most of the time, they still need receptionists to answer questions at the front desk and the Chu-ri robots break down regularly.

The Wall Street Journal says that Yoshihisa Ishikawa’s robot regularly talked to him in the middle of the night because it was triggered by his snoring.

This hotel received attention worldwide in 2015 when it was first opened. It was a glimpse of what the future could possibly look like. Now, technology has advanced to a point where the hotel ‘staff’ are outdated and cost too much to repair when they are broken.

For now, it is unclear whether the hotel plans to restock its robotic population, but at least the guests can sleep through the night without malfunctioning robots in their rooms.

If you are concerned about losing your job in hospitality to artificial intelligence soon, there is no need to worry.

A hotel in Nagasaki, Japan called the Hen-na (“Strange”) Hotel ‘fired’ more than 50% of the 243 robots working there...

Tech News

LG Smartphone With Detachable Second Screen

Next month at the Mobile World Conference, LG is revealing a new type of smartphone that promises to change the game entirely. The electronics company based in South Korea is said to be revealing a phone that brings in the option of attaching a second screen.

If you’ve thought one screen to be enough for a mobile phone, think again.

An anonymous source tells CNET that the smartphone would have a case with a built-in screen. This foreign and unnamed contraption will multiply the size of the device’s screen.

This new smartphone is only one of the numerous devices LG is predicted to launch at this event. The second screen phone is not expected to be named as part of the G8 flagship series, but we can’t wait to see what LG has in store for this huge event in Barcelona.

It isn’t clear yet how many devices LG will be announcing, but will definitely be something to look out for when MWC opens on February 25th. The new advancement may help LG compete with companies like Apple, and Samsung as these companies are suspected to be launching devices that will be able to fold over the course of the year.

Rolling TV

BUSINESSTECH reports that sales of LG smartphones dropped by 23% in 2018. This put them behind companies like Vivo, Xiaomi and Oppo as the 7th most popular smartphone makers in the world.

LG didn’t put a lot of emphasis on smartphones at CES earlier this month. People believe that this is because smartphones only make up a small part of their business. What they mostly talked about was their reliable OLED TV, which is made to roll into a stand when it isn’t in use.

If the company can generate as much talk about the phone as they did with the TV, it may turn out to be quite a successful review.

Next month at the Mobile World Conference, LG is revealing a new type of smartphone that promises to change the game entirely. The electronics company based in South Korea is said to be revealing a phone that brings in the option of attaching a second...

Tech News

Top Google Searches of 2018

With the year now coming to the end of its timespan, it’s time to start looking back on 2018. It has been quite the interesting year, with a hell of a lot of change. The world, though, feels very much on the precipice of massive, lasting change. If you ever look around the world that you live in and wonder why it’s changing so much, it all comes down to the way that we manage our search and pursuit of knowledge. For example, more people are online than ever – and more people are inputting Google searches than ever.

What, then, were some of the most significant and commonly searched topics of the last year?

Meghan Markle

One of the most commonly searched terms in 2018 was that of the newest addition to the Royal Family of Britain in Meghan Markle. The American married Prince Harry on May 19th, and it produced a huge amount of commentary – good and bad –across the world.

She’s a very interesting person, and the searches showed everyone wanted to know more about the newest member of the Royals – and Google seen many questions asked on her behalf.

Kate Spade

The fashion designer was one of the most commonly searched for names in 2018. Sadly, much of the searching into her came through her tragic suicide on June 5th. People wanted to read into her story and to find out why such an amazing and talented person had found themselves in such a situation.

Spade was a massive loss to the world for many reasons, but she was easily among the most commonly searched names on 2018 alongside.

Brett Kavanaugh

The world has watched the United States turn into a massive version of The Jeremy Kyle show. It’s a shame to see a nation with so much rich potential essentially turning into car crash TV, but the name of Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh has become very much a common search on the web with good reason

He was confirmed in September, amid massive controversy that he seemingly sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when he was in High School. Naturally, searches exploded to find out the truth – or at least one version of it.

Hurricane Florence

Natural disasters often bring up a lot of discussion, and with good reason. When the massive Hurricane Florence – alongside Hurricane Michael – hit, there was a lot of Google searches. People looking for information about how to stay safe and how to avoid any kind of danger. It’s not something that you want to see trending, but it was a major part of disaster relief efforts for many.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup

Sporting events often draw attention from across the globe, and the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia was no different. From team profiles to match-ups and predictions, the internet was alight with people reading into the teams, players, managers, stadiums and cities that held one of the most exciting sporting events in years. 

We want to be better…So if you found a mistake in this article, please let us know

With the year now coming to the end of its timespan, it’s time to start looking back on 2018. It has been quite the interesting year, with a hell of a lot of change. The world, though, feels very much on the precipice of massive, lasting change. If you ever...

Science Tech News

NASA Voyager 2 Crosses Into Interstellar Space

NASA’s Voyager 2 probe is the second man-made object to have crossed into interstellar space. The probe achieved the feat on November 5, and is aimed to study the outer reaches of the solar system and more.

In April 2011, NASA had declared that Voyager 2 had reached the edge of the solar system, known as heliosheath. This is the region where the planetary forces of interaction cease to exist, but matter would still be bound by the effects of solar wind, that also contains low-frequency radio signals and magnetic disturbances.

Each spacecraft carries a Golden Record of Earth sounds, pictures and messages, which aims to serve as evidence of Earth’s civilization.

In September last year, the US space agency celebrated the 40th anniversary of both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, which have been declared as our ‘eyes’ in outer space. In the case of Voyager 2, each signal take an average of 16 hours and 40 minutes to be received from Voyager 2, as well as from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, that is monitoring both Voyager missions.

Now, NASA has recently confirmed that Voyager 2 has also crossed into interstellar space. This is not the first spacecraft to have registered this accomplishment, as Voyager 1 is also deep into outer space.

We want to be better…So if you found a mistake in this article, please let us know

NASA’s Voyager 2 probe is the second man-made object to have crossed into interstellar space. The probe achieved the feat on November 5, and is aimed to study the outer reaches of the solar system and more.

In April 2011, NASA had declared that Voyager...