Intelligence and monitoring

The Verge - by Jon Porter - 07/27/2019

Sony has announced the Reon Pocket, a small cooling device that you can wear like a portable air conditioner. It’s currently live on Sony’s crowdfunding website, where prices start at ¥12,760 (about $117). SlashGear notes that as well as cooling you during hot days, the device, which slots into the back pocket of a specially designed T-shirt, can also warm you up during the winter.

To perform these functions efficiently, the research team of Atsunobu Kotani, an undergraduate student at Brown and Stefanie Tellex have devised two separate models: a local model to draw each stroke and a global model to learn the shifting action. The researchers demonstrate a robot that was able to write “hello” in 10 languages that employ different character sets. The robot was also able to reproduce rough sketches, including one of the Mona Lisa.

Given an image of just drawn handwritten characters, the robot infers a plan to replicate the image.

GeekWire - by Alan Boyle - 04/07/2019

Researchers at the University of Washington and Microsoft are developing a digital storage system that can archive data in DNA molecules, with the random-access readability and error correction protocols that’d be required for real-world applications.

ExtremeTech - by Ryan Whitwam - 04/01/2019

Boston Dynamics robots are always impressive pieces of engineering, and often unsettlingly humanoid. They don’t usually have a specified purpose, though. The latest creation from Boston Dynamics is aimed squarely at warehouses. The redesigned Handle robot looks like a mechanical ostrich that can stack and unstack boxes. Unlike a human, Handle never gets tired or needs a break. 

xeconomy - by Sarah Schmid Stevenson - 04/01/2019

Silicon Valley startup FarmWise this week announced a new partnership with Livonia, MI-based Roush, a legacy manufacturer and engineering services firm, to develop and test an autonomous machine that weeds row crops. FarmWise co-founder and chief technology officer Thomas Palomares declined to disclose the monetary value of the partnership.

A team of researchers at the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) have found a new inspiration for designing a robot that can move more like a human: an Olympic gymnast.

cnet - by Shelby Brown - 03/20/2019

The country is reportedly taking high-tech steps to make sure "smartphone zombies" don't walk into traffic.

Optics & Photonics News - by Sarah Michaud - 02/27/2019

Researchers from Penn State University, USA, have drawn inspiration from the glowing bellies of fireflies to design a more efficient light-emitting-diode (LED) bulb (Optik, doi: 10.1016/j.ijleo.2019.01.043). The design includes asymmetrical micropyramid structures, similar to those found on the surface of a firefly’s glowing abdomen, etched onto the outer surface of an LED.

Stanford News - by Erin I. Garcia De Jesus - 03/18/2019

Splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen presents an alternative to fossil fuels, but purified water is a precious resource. A Stanford-led team has now developed a way to harness seawater – Earth’s most abundant source – for chemical energy.

The Verge - by Andrew J. Hawkins - 03/20/2019

Volvo said on Wednesday it will use cameras installed inside its vehicles to monitor driver behavior and intervene if the driver appears to be drunk or distracted. It’s a risky move by an automaker, even one with a reputation for safety like Volvo, which could raise concerns among privacy advocates.