First it was predictive crime artificial intelligence. Now, police are taking to the sky, at least in Dubai. A California-based hover vehicle company called Hoversurf has gifted the Middle Eastern city's police force one unit for the time being, but if the officers prove capable of flying it more could be on the way.
Ray Kurzweil Claims the Singularity is Less Than 30 Years Away
In 2029, artificial intelligence will pass a Turing test and match human intelligence. By 2045, humans and AI will merge in an event called the Singularity. At least, that's what Ray Kurzweil, Google's director of engineering, says. But don't be so quick to write him off—since the 1990's, 147 of his predictions have come true, which is equivalent to an 86% accuracy rate.
From Fringe Idea to Mainstream Imperative: The Future of Design Depends on Biomimicry
Over the Earth's 3.8 billion-year history, plants and animals have come up with ingenious design solutions to keep them alive and thriving. Today, the idea of looking to nature to improve the functionality and sustainability of humanity’s creations is gaining steam in the architecture, design, and engineering industries. It's called biomimicry and it's here to stay.
Ikea furniture may look innocuous, but it has of destroying new couples before they even leave the store. And when lovebirds do escape the commercial behemoth's clutches, they inevitably fall apart when it comes time to assemble the pieces. Two researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore may have finally given couples everywhere a solution to the latter problem with a robot that can (partially) put together Ikea products in under a half-hour.
Dockless Bicycles Contribute to Smart City Planning
People generally don't like how technology can track their location at all times—the profusion of articles about how to hide from Google and Facebook's panopticon-like power make that perfectly clear. Silicon Valley–based startup Lime, which deploys and operates dockless bicycles in over 88 American cities, may slightly improve that opinion. A few city planning departments have turned to Lime's data about user locations to understand how people are biking in their cities and how to accommodate those riders with new and improved bicycle infrastructure.
Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall...
Who's the buffest of them all? Thanks to Naked Labs' newest product, a high-tech personal computer housed in a floor-length mirror, athletes and fitness enthusiasts will have an answer that's more than what meets the eye. The mirror comes with a scale that can produce a 360-degree 3-D model of the user, showing current and predictive weight loss, in just 15 seconds.
If less than 2% of the world's fresh water is usable and the earth's population is expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050, then humanity needs to figure out water conservation, and fast. A team of NASA scientists hope to offset this crisis through weather and water-related research. They're surveying the Sierra Nevada mountain range to get a better idea of how climate change affects reliable access to water.
Scientists Create Nanobot Aerosol
Nanobots may be teeny-tiny, but once they become commercially viable, their impact could be huge. A team of MIT scientists recently created an aerosol spray full of these microscopic, self-reproducing machines. The spray could be used to identify problems in systems in our built environment and eventually in our own bodies.
Solar-Powered Ikea Gadgets are Coming
Icelandic-Danish artist and environmental activist Olafur Eliasson recently announced a new partnership with furniture giant IKEA to mass produce solar-powered, off-the-grid gadgets. IKEA and Eliasson aim to continue the mission started with his Little Sun solar-energy enterprise and eventually expand on it with new products. It is not exactly known yet what IKEA will produce, but some early concept ideas, like water pumps and off-grid satellite-communication devices, were suggested.
The medical X-ray has come a long way since late 19th century. MARS, a father-son-helmed bio-imaging company, moves the technology forward into today with the world’s first full-color 3-D X-ray. It can distinguish between bone, cartilage, soft tissue, muscle, and metal with ease, and the images it produces are startling in their detail and clarity.
The Wall-E of Water Arrives to Clean Up Our Ocean-Bound Trash
Ocean plastic is a serious problem and humans are scrambling to turn the tide in the battle for oceanic cleanliness. The ban on plastic straws is one way to stop some of the trash, but that's only a small piece of the puzzle. Waste Shark, an aquatic drone, may be a more successful solution, designed to pick up as much as 770 pounds of trash over a 16-hour work day.
Solar Panels Get a Biological Boost
Researchers at the University of British Columbia may have strengthened the power of solar panels with one of humanity's closest neighbors: the E.coli bacteria. These same bugs that live in our bodies are extremely good at converting light to energy, and with a boost of genetic engineering, their ability to photosynthesize increases significantly. This advancement bodes well for regions with cloudy weather, such as the Pacific Northwest and Northern Europe.
Australian company Euclideon has introduced the first multi-user hologram table, bringing us a little closer to living in a sci-fi wonderland. Four people wearing motion-tracking shades can simultaneously use the table, potentially revolutionizing collaborative design work. The glasses and table are synced via tiny microchips in the eyepieces, which lets the table track the exact location of the glasses and what they are viewing, allowing for incredibly accurate and fast visuals.
Architectural Drafting Meets Minecraft
“We don’t design two dimensionally; we always design three dimensionally,” says San Francisco-based architect and Fletcher Studio principal David Fletcher. Fletcher came to that opinion after seeing the dramatic possibilities of creating architecture through video game engines rather than traditional drafting software. Since developing the island setting in the 2016 game “The Witness," he has never looked back—and he’s not the only designer using video games to draft.
Alibaba’s Vending Machine is One You Don’t Want a Goodie to Get Stuck In
Alibaba, the Chinese equivalent and direct competitor to Amazon, and Ford have partnered to make the formally ridiculous idea of a car vending machine not only