M-Blocks

What if we could have machines that could change shape and size and adapt to any environment to accomplish a wide array of tasks? This was exactly the question that drove a team of researchers at MIT to design and develop the M-Blocks.

These brightly colored blocks may look like children’s toys, but these cubes are actually spinning robots that can connect together to build modular machines. There’s no assembly required, the blocks, can do it themselves. The acrobatic boxes, have no external parts. And yet they can spin, somersault and snap together to create all kinds of shapes, depending on the job at hand.

Inside each M-Block is a flywheel that can reach speeds of 20,000 revolutions per minute; when the flywheel is braked, it imparts its angular momentum to the cube, which causes it to jump in the desired direction. Along each of the edges and on every face of the M-Blocks, there are cleverly arranged permanent magnets that allow any two cubes to attach to each other or to flip around into a new configuration without breaking the connection. The movement is controlled by the amount of energy that is in the flywheel.

The cubes themselves are made of 2-inch blocks of aluminum hollowed out to make the box frame, filled with the motor and brains, and then plated with colorful plastic sides 3-D-printed at the lab. The bright colors also serve a purpose. The colors are useful for debugging because you can easily see what each cube does when they are being tested.

According to the researchers, their ultimate goal is to make extremely tiny versions of these robots that could join together to form complex shapes or could break down into individual cubes to traverse into hard to reach locations. They also plan to embed complex algorithms into the cubes so that they may be able to work completely autonomously and wouldn’t need any human intervention to carry out their tasks and choose specific orientations in which they need to connect.

It’s interesting to note how with this technology we are one step closer to the things that we had previously only seen in sci-fi movies, like the Transformers and the Terminator. This technology has potential for a lot of real world applications though from quick prototyping to having a large number of machines available in just one. It would be interesting to see how this develops in the future.

Sources:

news.mit.edu/2013/simple-scheme-for-self-assembling-robots-1004

VR is becoming the key point of amusement parks.

With the huge success of AR game “Pokemon Go” has raised the awareness of the demand for AR/VR technology in Korea.  Korean companies as well as the Korean government know that consumers in Korea are curious about how AR/VR technology can change their everyday life for the better.

Lotte World, one of the biggest amusement parks in South Korea will lead a consortium of 12 companies tasked with developing a virtual reality (VR) theme park program.

Basically there is one roller coaster  with VR system and now they are going to show another one next year. Actually, I tried this roller coaster and found out that it was thriller and scarier than usual roller coasters. It was more visualized and feel like I am adventuring

The Lotte consortium will work with companies abroad and at home to create the virtual attraction, and is also planning to distribute the VR content it develops to markets such as China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, before going to Europe and Americas thereafter.

I think Virtual Reality will become huge part of this modern society. This technique will be bigger and bigger as time goes on. Many companies already started developing their program with VR not just amusement park. In games and entertainment contents, people already enjoy VR system.

VR Coming to Lotte World

 

Space Launch System

Most of us have heard the stories about the Apollo launches and Howe art  housed to shake when the Saturn V rocket used to blast off from Kennedy Space Center. It is said that humans have made two things which sets a mark on the Richter scale, one is the atom bomb and the other is the rocket Saturn V. It was also recorded that when Saturn V was launched, the windows of nearby houses broke. So Now what’s next? It’s the Boeing’s ultimate Rocket known as Space Launch System which will carry humans to Mars and beyond.

So if a Saturn V which was a 363ft rocket produced that much noise, just imagine the consequences of a 384ft rocket.

So humans are going to Mars, one day we will be sipping a coffee and doing some advance blogs somewhere from Mars. Although there’s some time when this will happen but it will come soon enough.

IST class has shown us so many innovations and made us think about how it takes place and the connection b/w the tech and the people. This rocket will be one of the biggest leap for that.

 

Finding a Solution Our Battery Problem

As today’s technology world continues to grow at continually increasing rates, our lives continue to be integrated with computer software and hardware that helps to make our lives easier and more efficient.  Newer technology defies the bounds of what we though was possible just 20 years ago and this trend does not seem to want to stop, but these innovations will soon run into an unavoidable issue.  Many of the new smartphones and tablets are so complex and run on more powerful computer hardware and software than that which put a man on the moon.  Besides incredible software, these devices require an abundant amount of power that today’s batteries cannot keep up with, thus limiting their abilities to a battery charge.  Most batteries that are used in any smartphone or tablet are lithium ion batteries, which seem to be reaching their peak in the amount of energy that can be made available for a substantial amount of time. Not only are these lithium ion batteries inefficient in containing energy for a long time period, but they are easily damaged and tend to degrade quickly if not used with extreme care.  In addition to both of these issues, existing batteries run off of chemical potentials created from toxic chemicals that, when disposed of, are very harmful to the environment.

In order to levy these issues, Dongxu Optoelectronics, a Chinese based company,  is creating a battery called G-King that they believe to be the future of the energy industry. This company has created a battery that is graphene based and can store up to 4800 mAh and can recharge in about 15 minutes.  Graphene is a revolutionary material that is a one atom thick layer of carbon atoms and is created by unfolding carbon nanotubes, to put it simply.  Graphene has incredible properties when it comes to electrical conductivity, overall strength, and durability.  This combination of properties gives the G-King the ability to surpass lithium ion batteries in all categories.  The battery is claimed to be able to sustain 3,500 recharges, which we all know is incredibly more than any of our iPhones, tablets, and laptops are capable of.

While this idea has the possibility to rule out lithium ion batteries and put us on the track towards a more sustainable future, Graphene continues to be extremely difficult to manufacture and incredible expensive.  This limitation could curb this idea and delay the release of the G-King and batteries similar to it.  If Dongxu Optoelectronics can find a way to bring this idea to life, then the advancements that it could add to our technological world are endless.

post-5

Sources:

http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/dongxu-graphene-battery-pack-15-minutes-recharge-news/

Sweat detector

http://www.livescience.com/57000-sweat-sensors-use-perspiration-to-track-health.html

 

I thought this was a cool new health gadget that detects sweat.  There has been a lot of new technology in this field and I am excited to see where it goes.  It seems to be getting more and more advanced that you will not even need to go to the doctor except for emergencies and surgery.  technology can tell them things through video and data.

Adidas shoe store

https://www.engadget.com/2016/12/10/adidas-new-flagship-store-new-york-city/

 

This new adidas store made me think of the amazon store that was shown in our last day of class.  I think it would be a cool shopping experience to be able to use virtual reality and systems that help you pick the best shoes.

The Power of the Web

Saya Tomioka posted a plea for help on facebook after t her boyfriend Griffon Madden died due to a warehouse fire in Oakland California.

Last week Sava posted on her Facebook page:”This morning I remembered the first time I went to Times Square, June 16 of 2015,” she said. “I cried, and we kissed. Some random photographer captured this very moment, this very kiss. Maybe some facebook miracle could happen…. please share…Friends, possibly with your help, I can be reunited with this photograph, this treasured memory that I’ll always keep in my heart. I need some light right now. I nearken_1481495546256_7322621_ver1-0ed a reminder of the brightest light of all — love.” Her post was shared all throughout the facebook community.

A photographer from Queens named Arkan Aven came across the message through others on Facebook four days later and decided to take a look through his own work. Aven takes hundreds of street photos of coupes who visit the heart of New York City. He sorted through over 2000 photos before he came across the image of the young couple.

“I found the photo. I was shocked,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. I was happy, but at the same time I was very sad. I hope this image brings some peace to her and she will keep that as a memory for
ever about his love.”

Aven was able to retrieve the photo to Tomioka. She responded, “I have been hoping for a miracle, a glimpse of your light back into my life. With the infinite help from our families, friends, and strangers, I finally found you.”

I chose this article because its amazing to see how powerful the internet is. Its easy for us individuals no matter where we are to interact and connect with one another.

https://www.cnet.com/news/oakland-warehouse-fire-victim-facebook-photo/

http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/facebook-helps-woman-find-long-lost-photo-of-her-boyfriend-a-victim-of-oakland-fire/367851925

Spoiler Alert: Artificial Intelligence Can Predict How Scenes Will Play Out


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already helping scientists form testable hypotheses that enable experts to run real experiments, and the technology may soon be poised to help businesses make decisions, one scientist says.

However, that doesn’t mean the machines will be taking over from humans entirely. Instead, humans and machines have complementary skill sets, so AI could help researchers with the work they already do, Laura Haas, a computer scientist and director of the IBM Research Accelerated Discovery Lab in San Jose, California, said here Wednesday (Dec. 7) at the Future Technologies Conference.

“The machine will come to be a strong partner to humans,” akin to the android Data on the TV series “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Haas said.

Though many people fear a future where our robot overlords surpass humans in almost every capacity, in reality, machines have long outpaced mere mortals at many tasks, such as doing incredibly fast mathematical computations. But this dominance is nowhere clearer than in the realm of Big Data.

“Global scientific output doubles every nine years; 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone; 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day,” Haas said.

In the competition between man and machine, computers are the undisputed winners at processing and assimilating all this information, Haas said.

cites

http://www.livescience.com/57134-artificial-intelligence-could-be-scientists-lab-assistant.html

HTC Launches ‘Vive Studios’ for First-party VR Game Development and Publishing

HTC announced that they’ve spun up an internal development and publishing group called Vive Studios.
Mirroring Oculus’ own ‘Oculus Studios’ effort, HTC has formed an internal VR game studio and publishing group called Vive Studios. Like other first-party studios, Vive Studios plans to both create content internally and work with external studios on publishing, marketing, and funding support.

“We’re excited to formally unveil Vive Studios as a new pillar in HTC’s initiative to drive persistent growth for VR,” said Joel Breton, VP of content at HTC Vive. “Vive Studios’ aim is to nurture and discover development talent and help create content that will continually push the boundaries of the kinds of experiences VR can deliver. […] The VR ecosystem needs a persistent flow of exciting experiences and AAA content that can help grow our audience.”

While HTC’s VR partner, Valve, has formerly taken a lead on evangelizing VR content development for SteamVR, the company hasn’t publicly made the sort of major VR content investments that we’ve seen from Oculus and its parent company Facebook. Oculus has a smaller library of VR content on its platform, but most agree what what’s there has greater depth than what’s available on SteamVR (and by extension, the Vive).

Now it seems that HTC wants to change that. The company has supported VR content developers across several other initiatives, but its formal efforts—like the Vive X accelerator—seem focused more on startup & venture style investing than content publishing. Vive Studios is likely to function in a more familiar structure for established game and app developers looking to create top-notch VR content.

cites

HTC Launches ‘Vive Studios’ for First-party VR Game Development and Publishing

How to turn your smartphone into a High-Powered Microscope

A device called μPeek , which attaches to the back of any smartphone (over the top of the camera lens), is about the size of a credit card and is controlled via an app, allowing you to view crystal-clear images of tiny objects and make adjustments to the microscope right on your phone.

According to  Patrick Galliker, co-founder and CEO of Scrona, the company behind μPeek, The microscope is equipped with a motorized lens and sophisticated optical components — two things usually found on expensive (and relatively big) professional microscopes.

To use μPeek, attach the device to your phone and place it on any surface that you want to look at on the microscopic level. You can peer at the microcosm contained within the living room carpet or get a close-up view of a fallen leaf, for example. If you’d rather use μPeek to look at something on a microscope slide, you can do that, too. The device comes with a standard-size slide holder and a set of blank slides, plus a guide that explains how to prepare specimens.

the standard μPeek is expected to retail for $159 — and its tiny size make it a practical tool for science classrooms. Since you can fit μPeek in your pocket, it can also be used anywhere, like out in the woods, or on the beach. Scrona is also offering another version of the device, μPeek Blue, which is equipped with UV lights so that it can be used as a fluorescence microscope. It is expected to retail for $219.