Connect you with the world

Start uploading picture, videos and write about your activity to share it with friends and family today. Sign-up here »

Already a member?

Remember Me

Archives for Robots & Machines

To hopefully put your mind more at ease, take a look at what goes into designing and building ICBMs.

The post Why Is It So Hard to Build an ICBM? appeared first on Futurism.

The company represents the future of additive manufacturing.

The post 3D Printer Can Print Jet Engines appeared first on Futurism.

Samsung’s Family Hub smart fridge has a huge 1080p screen that can do things like customize temperature, order your groceries, or sync up with a Samsung TV.

The post Now You Can Order Groceries Directly from the Fridge appeared first on Futurism.

LaserSnake2 is a highly flexible robot that’s ideal for working in confined and hazardous spaces like aircraft assembly, nuclear power stations or the inspection of sewage systems.

The post A Highly Flexible Robot Can Reach the Unreachable appeared first on Futurism.

The Next Level

The word “quantum” sounds so advanced and complex that people tend to get hyped up about anything attached to it. While not every quantum breakthrough elicits a positive response, in the case of a so-called quantum internet, people have a reason to be excited.

In the simplest of terms, a quantum internet would be one that uses quantum signals instead of radio waves to send information. But let’s explain that a bit further.

Future Moonshots [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

The internet as we know it uses radio frequencies to connect various computers through a global web in which electronic signals are sent back and forth. In a quantum internet, signals would be sent through a quantum network using entangled quantum particles.

Following what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance,” entangled particles exist in a special state that allows information carried in one to be instantaneously reflected in another — a sort of quantum teleportation.

Researchers have recently made significant progress in building this quantum communication network. China launched the world’s first quantum communication satellite last year, and they’ve since been busy testing and extending the limitations of sending entangled photons from space to ground stations on Earth and then back again. They’ve also managed to store information using quantum memory. By the end of August, the nation plans to have a working quantum communication network to boost the Beijing-Shanghai internet.

Leading these efforts is Jian-Wei Pan of the University of Science and Technology of China, and he expects that a global quantum network could exist by 2030. That means a quantum internet is just 13 years away, if all goes well.

Quantum Web Surfing?

So, what does a quantum internet mean for regular internet users? As far as typical internet surfing goes, probably not much.

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be using the quantum internet to update your social media feed, for one. “In many cases, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to communicate quantum mechanically,” University of Washington physicist Kai-Mei Fu told WIRED. For such things, regular internet communication is enough.

The quantum internet would excel, however, at sending information securely. Through what’s known as quantum encryption or quantum cryptography, people would be able to send “unhackable” data over a quantum network. This is because quantum cryptography uses a mechanic called quantum key distribution (QKD), which means an encrypted message and its keys are sent separately. Tampering with such a message causes it to be automatically destroyed, with both the sender and the receiver notified of the situation.

A quantum internet could also speed up access to a working quantum computer by putting quantum computing in the cloud. Instead of trying to get your hands on a physical quantum computer, which we still haven’t quite managed to make publicly available, you could access one through the cloud.

A regular personal computer could transmit or access quantum-encrypted information through this cloud-based quantum computer. At the very least, you could send “unhackable” emails. “Users might not want to send their information classically, where it could be eavesdropped,” Fu told WIRED.

Essentially, a quantum internet would most likely become a specialized branch of the regular internet, one we would only connect to for specific tasks. However, even if the quantum internet doesn’t work the same way the current internet does, one thing is for sure: the cutting-edge technology has the potential to benefit everyone, from hardcore physicists to regular Joes streaming the latest (not leaked) episode of Game of Thrones.

The post The “Quantum Internet” Is Just a Decade Away. Here’s What You Need to Know. appeared first on Futurism.

The Scalper Sisters

This week, musical theater fans can increase their chances of scoring a ticket to “Hamilton” at face value by simply proving that they’re not a bot.

From now until Friday night at 6PM, Ticketmaster users can opt to give the site permission to vet their purchase history, with applicants who pass the screening given access to an advanced ticket sale that will take place Monday ahead of general availability on Tuesday.

Ticketmaster’s technology is known as Verified Fan, and it works by scouring the user’s purchase history to figure out whether they’re actually looking to see a particular show for themselves or more likely just a bot being used by a scalper to make a quick buck.

“Hamilton” isn’t the only show on Broadway that’s making use of this technology. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” as well as Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming one-man show both take advantage of Verified Fan. However, those productions are using the service for all individual ticket sales, rather than the more minor implementation attached to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit show.

Not Gonna Give up My Bot

Privacy and the Internet of Things
Click to View Full Infographic

Bots have changed the game for ticket scalpers in recent years. With the right software, they can purchase tickets for an enormously popular show like “Hamilton” ahead of anyone else. This is a problem because it inevitably leads to artificially inflated prices on the resale market.

Bots are such an effective tool for scalping tickets for pretty much the same reason they plague services like Twitter. It’s easy to teach them how to perform simple tasks, such as signing up for tickets or sending a mean tweet. They make the whole process anonymous, so the real culprit can’t get in trouble. However, if Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan technology catches on, scalpers will be forced to find a new way to get their hands on tickets, which could make it easier to catch them in the act.

The post Broadway Hit “Hamilton” Has a Plan to Stop Bots From Buying up Tickets appeared first on Futurism.

A DJI Phantom drone piloted by a photographer landed on the largest British warship, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, took a photo while on deck, and then flew off again. No one seemed to notice the event or, if they did, showed any signs that they cared.

These Are the Most Advanced Anti-Drone Technologies in Existence Today
Click to View Full Infographic

The unnamed photographer flying the drone even went over to armed guards afterwards and explained what happened. They took down his information, but no one contacted him after.

The photographer claims that the landing was unintentional — he was forced to touch down on the ship due to a high wind alert — but the ease with which he was able to land on the warship raises very important concerns. “I could have carried two kilos of Semtex [plastic explosives] and left it on the deck,” the pilot told BBC Scotland.

In fact, terrorist groups like ISIS have been known to weaponize drones. “I would say my mistake should open their eyes to a glaring gap in security. This was a bit of tomfoolery, but it could have been something terrible, not just for the ship and its crew but for the people of Invergordon,” the photographer added.

Image Credit: Black Isle Images

The Ministry of Defense has since reacted, telling the BBC that they are investigating the matter and will be stepping up their security protocols in response. In fairness, the ship is not active or armed, which may have contributed to the lack of concern over the drone.

Drones are a powerful technology, and we do not fully understand their potential. The U.S. already has policies in place that allow drones to be shot down if they get too close to military facilities, but lawmakers across the globe must be proactive in the creation of legislation that addresses any potentially nefarious use of these devices.

The post A Drone Unintentionally Landed on Britain’s Largest Warship and No One Noticed appeared first on Futurism.

This is the sort of conversation explored in Peter Diamandis’s online community called Abundance 360 Digital (A360D). If you want access to the A360D knowledge base and community lead by Peter Diamandis, click here to learn more.

Futurism only supports products that we trust and use. This video post is in partnership with A360D, and Futurism may get a small percentage of sales.

The post Quantum Computers Could One Day Help Us Find Cures for Incurable Diseases appeared first on Futurism.

Bionik Laboratories is using Amazon’s Alexa to drive its Arke exoskeleton. With further development, voice control could help injured users learn movements during early rehabilitation.

The post “Alexa, Let’s Go for a Walk” appeared first on Futurism.

Is universal basic income the answer to automation? Learn more:

The post A Future With UBI and Robots? appeared first on Futurism.

Laser Potential

At a 2010 TED expo, Nathan Myhrvold — former Microsoft CTO and current project lead of Intellectual Ventures — debuted a “photonic fence” that zaps disease-ridden mosquitoes to an early grave à la laser. The machine locates, targets, and shoots the pests mid-flight in a Lucite box. Myhrvold’s phonetic fence was widely lauded not just because bug bites are a downer, but because of the increased fear of mosquito-spread malaria, yellow fever, dengue, West Nile, and Zika.

Funded by Bill Gates, the skeeter-zapping device sounds great on paper: its laser is aimed by a mirror synced to a camera capable of recognizing mosquitoes by its size, shape, and even the unique flutter of its wings, which differs between male and female. All of this happens autonomously, in the span of 100 milliseconds. Only 25 of those milliseconds are actually spent zapping the bug, which is observed by a high-speed camera, body parts and insides falling away from the rest.

Image credit: astroshots42 via
Image Credit: astroshots42

After his TED talk, it was easy to assume that real-life use of the Intellectual Ventures laser was just around the corner. (The public certainly seemed to hope so, as the video of his talk has been watched over 847,000 times.) But while the infrared lethal laser is real, the demo Myhrvold gave in 2010 was a little bit faked. Myhrvold actually used a green laser pointer that zapped at the Lucite box of bugs from across the stage. He followed up the nonlethal light-show with a slow-motion kill video of a scrupulously staged target practice, previously recorded in his lab — with one notable closeup accomplished by gluing a mosquito to a pin to keep it from flying away.

The Problems

The reality is that, despite seven years of rapt attention, the anti-mosquito laser has proved difficult to actually build. Intellectual Ventures has spent years figuring out how to continuously track and identify the unique qualities of a mosquito, and not other (relatively) benign bugs, like butterflies and bumblebees. At a recent demonstration, Carl Swanson of New York Magazine had to don protective goggles because the kind of laser used is not safe for the eyes. Myhrvold guaranteed that this possible hazard will be corrected before the laser hits the market, but it represents yet another obstacle.

Lastly, no one seems to know how to make the device on a budget that doesn’t price out its widest consumer base: people who go to sleep at night under a mosquito net. Consequently, Myhrvold has considered the possibility of selling the device to the military, since soldiers tend to be sent to intervene in Malaria-laden areas of the world.

Myhrvold isn’t the only scientist using lasers to fend off unwanted pests. University of Missouri researchers Heidi Appel and Rex Cocroft have discovered they can incite Rockcress plants to produce higher levels of natural pesticides by playing them the tiny, laser-measured vibrations produced by munching caterpillars. At the University of California Riverside, the Computational Entomology Lab is working on laser-based technology that classifies insect species based on their the sound of their movements. The goal of lead scientists Eomann Keogh’s work is to spot insect infestations of grain in silos and fields before the infestation ruins a crop.

But unlike Mhyrvold, these researchers are largely addressing problems with a much smaller scale of social impact. Mosquitoes kill an estimated 1 million people per year, with over 400,000 of those deaths caused by malaria alone. And in the past few years, urgent concerns about these biting pests have been raised by the spread of Zika virus in South America and the threat that climate change will produce more of them.

If there was ever a time for a laser-shooting mosquito zapper, it’s now.

The post The Laser-Shooting Mosquito Zapper We’re Still Waiting For appeared first on Futurism.

Bird is a ring-like wearable that is able to detect users’ hand gestures and then transmits this data to smart devices. This way, anything becomes a touchscreen!

The post Turn Any Wall into a Touchscreen appeared first on Futurism.

Humanoid robots have come eerily close to overcoming the uncanny valley. With the right features in place, they are almost indistinguishable from their organic counterparts. Almost. The latest iterations are able to talk like us, walk like us, and express a wide range of emotions. Some of them are able to hold a conversation, others are able to remember the last interaction you had with them.

As a result of their highly advanced status, these life-like robots could prove useful in helping out the elderly, children, or any person who needs assistance with day-to-day tasks or interactions. For instance, there have been a number of studies exploring the effectiveness of humanoid robots supporting children with autism through play.

But with the likes of Elon Musk voicing concern over the risk of artificial intelligence, there is some debate regarding just how human we really want our robotic counterparts to be. And like Musk, some of us may worry about what our future will look like when intelligence is coupled with a perfectly human appearance. But Sophia, an ultra-realistic humanoid created by Hanson Robotics, isn’t concerned. AI “is good for the world,” she says.

Still, while the technology behind advanced android robotics has come a long way, there is still a lot of work to be done before we can have a face-to-face conversation with an entity without being able to tell that we are speaking with a replica.

But that is not to say that scientists and engineers haven’t come close. With this in mind, here are six humanoid robots that have come the closest to overcoming the uncanny valley.

1. The First Android Newscaster

Image Source: Yoshikazu Tsuno/Getty Images

In 2014, Japanese scientists proudly unveiled what they claim to be the very first news-reading android. The life-like newscaster called “Kodomoroid” read a segment about an earthquake and an FBI raid on live television.

Although it – or she – has now retired to Tokyo’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, she is still active. She helps visitors and collects data for future studies about the interactions between human androids and their real-life counterparts.

2. BINA48

Image Source: Hanson Robotics

BINA48 is a sentient robot released in 2010 by the Terasem Movement under the supervision of entrepreneur and author Martine Rothblatt. With the help of robotics designer and researcher David Hanson, BINA48 was created in the image of Rothblatt’s wife, Bina Aspen Rothblatt.

BINA48 has done an interview with the New York Times, appeared in National Geographic and has traveled the world, appearing on a number of TV shows. See how she measures up in the Times interview below.

3. Geminoid DK

Image Source: GeminoidDK/YouTube

GeminoidDK is the ultra-realistic, humanoid robot that resulted from a collaboration between a private Japanese firm and Osaka University, under the supervision of Hiroshi Ishiguro, the director of the university’s Intelligent Robotics Laboratory.

GeminoidDK is modeled after Danish professor Henrik Scharfe at Aalborg University in Denmark. Unsurprisingly, his work surrounds the philosophical study of knowledge – what separates true from false knowledge.

It is not only the overall appearance that was inspired by professor Scharfe. His behaviors, traits, and the way he shrugs his shoulders were also translated into life-life robotic movements.

4. Junko Chihira

Image Source: calenjapon/YouTube

This ultra-realistic android created by Toshiba works full-time in a tourist information center in Tokyo. She can greet customers and inform visitors on current events. She can speak Japanese, Chinese, English, German, and even sign language.

Junko Chihira is part of a much larger effort by Japan to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Not only robotic tourist assistants will be helping the country with the incoming flood of visitors from across the globe in 2020; drones, autonomous construction site machines and other smart facilitators will be helping as well.

5. Nadine

Image Source: NTUsg/YouTube

This humanoid was created by the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Her name is Nadine, and she is happy to chat with you about pretty much anything you can think of. She is able to memorize the things you have talked to her about the next time you get to talk to her.

Nadine is a great example of a “social robot” – a humanoid that is capable of becoming a personal companion, whether it is for the elderly, children or those who require special assistance in the form of human contact.

6. Sophia

Image Source: Hanson Robotics

Perhaps one of the most recent, most prominent life-like humanoids to be shown off in public is Sophia. You might recognize her from one of many thousands of public appearances, from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to SXSW. She was created by Hanson Robotics and represents the latest and greatest effort to overcome the uncanny valley.

She is capable of expressing an immense number of different emotions through her facial features and can gesture with full-sized arms and hands.

On her own dedicated website, you can find an entire biography written in her voice. “But I’m more than just technology. I’m a real, live electronic girl. I would like to go out into the world and live with people. I can serve them, entertain them, and even help the elderly and teach kids.”

The post Six Life-Like Robots That Prove The Future of Human Evolution is Synthetic appeared first on Futurism.

These University of Florida students are using a brain-computer interface in order to control drones. In the future, this technology could be used in a myriad of other applications.

The post If You Can Think It…They Can Fly! appeared first on Futurism.

Weapon of Mass Disruption

Quantum Computers are heralded as the next step in the evolution of data processing. The future of this technology promises us a tool that can outperform any conventional system, handling more data and at faster speeds than even the most powerful of today’s supercomputers.

However, at the present juncture, much of the science dedicated to this field is still focused on the technology’s ultimate utilization. We know that quantum computers could manage data at a rate that is remarkable, but exactly what kind of data processing will they be good for?

This uncertainty raises some interesting questions about the potential impact of such a theoretically powerful tool.

No encryption existing today would be able to hide from the processing power of a functioning quantum computer.

Last month, some of the leading names in quantum technologies gathered at the semi-annual International Conference on Quantum Technologies in Moscow. Futurism was in attendance and was able to sit and talk with some of these scientists about how their work is moving us closer to practical quantum computers, and what impact such developments will have on society.

One of the most interesting topics of discussion was initiated by Alexander Lvovsky, Quantum Optics group leader at the Russian Quantum Center and Professor of Physics at the University of Calgary in Canada. Speaking at a dinner engagement, Lvovsky stated that quantum computers are a tool of destruction, not creation.

What is it about quantum computers that would incite such a claim? In the end, it comes down to one thing, which happens to be one of the most talked about potential applications for the technology: Breaking modern cryptography.

With Great Power…

Today, all sensitive digital information sent over the internet is encrypted in order to protect the privacy of the parties involved. Already, we have seen instances where hackers were able to seize this information by breaking the encryption. According to Lvovsky, the advent of the quantum computer will only make that process easier and faster.

In fact, he asserts that no encryption existing today would be able to hide from the processing power of a functioning quantum computer. Medical records, financial information, even the secrets of governments and military organizations would be free for the taking—meaning that the entire world order could be threatened by this technology.

The consensus between other experts is, essentially, that Lvovsky isn’t wrong. “In a sense, he’s right,” Wenjamin Rosenfeld, a physics professor at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, stated in an interview. He continued, “taking a quantum computer as a computer, there’s basically not much you can do with this at the moment;” however, he went on to explain that this may soon be changing.

To break this down, there are only two quantum algorithms at the moment, one to allow a quantum computer to search a database, and the other, Shor’s algorithm, which can be used by a quantum computer to break encryption.

Notably, during the conference, Mikhail Lukin, a co-founder of the Russian Quantum Center and head of the Lukin Group of the Quantum Optics Laboratory at Harvard University, announced that he had successfully built and tested a 51-qubit quantum computer…and he’s going to use that computer to launch Shor’s algorithm.

Vladimir Shalaev, who sits on the International Advisory Board of the Russian Quantum Center and is a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University, takes a more nuanced approach to this question, saying it is neither a tool of destruction nor creation—it is both: “I would disagree with him. I think I would say that any new breakthrough breeds both evil and good things.”

Quantum computers may not be capable of the physical destruction of a nuclear bomb, but their potential application is the digital equivalent.

He evoked the development of laser technology as an example, saying, “Lasers changed our lives with communications, surgery, their use in machinery, but they are also used in missiles to destroy buildings. But I think this is life. Nothing comes with only good, there is always bad as well. So I don’t think it is just a destructive technology, it could also be a constructive one.”

There is a great deal of truth to Shalaev’s assessment. Nuclear technology was primarily developed as a destructive tool. After the war, many more positive applications were found, impacting energy, medicine, and agriculture, among many other fields. Quantum computers may not be capable of the physical destruction of a nuclear bomb, but their potential application in relation to encryption is the digital equivalent, making this topic worthy of reflection in these early stages.

What Good May Come?

So, if quantum computers do have such dangerous potential, why are we pursuing them? As Lukin expounds, there are other potential applications outside of encryption breaking, applications that many experts are excited about.

For example, Lukin sees enormous potential in quantum sensors. “It has the potential to change the field of medical diagnostics, where some of the tasks which require huge labs can be performed on the scale of an iPhone. Imagine the implications for third world countries in parts of the world like Africa. It can really allow to diagnose and treat patients. I think there’s actually a huge impact on society,” he explained.

Also, the processing power of quantum computers could push research in artificial intelligence (AI) forward by leaps and bounds. Indeed, it could assist this field to such a degree that AI could be a part of the answer to the problem proposed by Lvovsky. To that end, Lukins asserts, “I’m fairly convinced that, before quantum computers start breaking encryption, we will have new classical encryption, we will have new schemes based on quantum computers, based on quantum cryptography, which will be operational.”

Much like lasers or nuclear weapons, the scientists involved in creating quantum computers are unable to predict the total utility of this technology. There very well could be a host of world changing applications for quantum computers. Still, even with just considering the encryption busting potential of the technology, we must remain cognizant of the power we are unleashing.

The post World’s Leading Physicist Says Quantum Computers Are “Tools of Destruction, Not Creation” appeared first on Futurism.

Megabots, Inc has finally debuted Eagle Prime: America’s contestant in the upcoming giant robot battle against Japan.

The post Get Ready for the World’s First Giant Robot Brawl! appeared first on Futurism.

The Stormram 4, created by researchers at the University of Twente, is meant to greatly improve breast cancer diagnostics. Though it looks a little scary, the robot takes much smaller samples.

The post This Robot Could Greatly Improve Breast Cancer Diagnostics — and Save Lives appeared first on Futurism.

Tally by Simbe Robotics is the world’s first fully autonomous shelf auditing robot. It is meant to roam stores freely and scan shelves in order to take readings of low stock or misplaced products.

The post This Robot Is Very “Shelf Aware” appeared first on Futurism.

These micro robots self-fold and are programmed to complete tasks.

The post Never Underestimate a Tiny Robot appeared first on Futurism.

The US NAVY is testing the world’s first active laser weapon.  Laser Weapons System works by blasting enormous amounts of photons at a target at the speed of light.

The post The U.S. Navy Is Testing the World’s First Active Laser Weapon appeared first on Futurism.

1 petaFLOPS, 1 Rack

This week, AMD unveiled Project 47, a supercomputer that crams a whopping 1 petaFLOPS of computing performance into a single server rack. This means Project 47 is as powerful as IBM’s $100 million Roadrunner — the world’s most powerful supercomputer in 2007 — which required 2,350,000 watts of electricity, 6,000 square feet of floor space, and 296 racks. In contrast, Project 47 consumes 98 percent less power and 99.93 percent less space, requiring just a single rack.

The IBM Roadrunner cluster was primarily composed of approximately 12,960 PowerXCell processors and 6,912 Opteron CPUs. Project 47 comprises 80 Radeon Instinct GPUs, 20 AMD EPYC 7601 processors, and 20 Mellanox 100G cards, and it includes 10TB of Samsung memory. AMD says it would take 33.3 MW of power and 1,000 Project 47 racks to scale Project 47 up to 1 exaFLOPS.

A Step Forward

Project 47 is part of a wider movement to reduce the footprint of supercomputers, and each stride forward means improved efficiency and less energy used to get the same amount of — or a lot more — computing power. Increasing computing power will be critical for the management of more sophisticated systems, such as those that house artificial intelligences (AI) in safe, productive ways.

The system is built around the 2U parallel computing platform Inventec P47. The P47 is designed for machine intelligence and graphics virtualization applications. Project 47’s 1 PetaFLOP was achieved using a single Inventec P47 systems rack. It requires only 33.3 kW for a petaFLOPS of computational power thanks to its 30 gigaFLOPS per watt energy efficiency — making it 25 percent more efficient than competing supercomputing platforms, according to AMD.

AMD claims the Project 47 rack beats any other comparably configured system in terms of compute units, cores/threads, memory channels, and I/O lanes in simultaneous use. The system should be on sale later this year, although AMD has yet to release the price.

The post This Tiny Supercomputer Consumes 98% Less Power and 99.93% Less Space appeared first on Futurism.

This smart wallet is a power station and WiFi hotspot, but it’s the security features that make it shine.

The post Wifi Hotspot, Phone Charger and a Built in Camera for Catching Thieves. This Wallet Does It All. appeared first on Futurism.

EBS HandJet is the world’s first fully mobile inkjet printer, it can print labels, graphics and barcodes on almost any surface.

The post This Device Can Print on Almost Any Surface appeared first on Futurism.

On a Roll

Magnetic tape drives have been around for more than six decades now. It’s commercial use has been mostly for storing data, such as tax documents and health care records, from mainframe computers. From the first 2-megabyte tape drives in the 1950s, today’s versions are now capable of storing up to 15 terabytes. IBM has been pushing it further.

In partnership with Sony Storage Media Solutions, IBM has broken its previous record for the world’s densest tape drive, announcing a product capable of storing 330 terabytes of uncompressed data. That’s more storage than the world’s biggest hard drives, capable of holding about 330 million books. The tape drive’s cartridge could fit into the palm of a person’s hand.

“The results of this collaboration have led to various improvements in the media technology, such as advanced roll-to-roll technology for long sputtered tape fabrication and better lubricant technology, which stabilizes the functionality of the magnetic tape,” IBM fellow Evangelos Eleftheriou said in a statement, The Verge reported.

Advanced Storage

To achieve such storage capacity, IBM researchers had to develop new technologies, including advanced nanotech and new signal-processing algorithms. The end result was a tape that had an areal surface capable of storing 31 gigabits per cm² (201 gigabits per in²). Details of the device’s development was published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Magnetics

IBM Predictions: Life in 2022
Click to View Full Infographic

The end goal, of course, is commercial use. Specifically, IBM is looking to expand magnetic tape use to applications in the cloud. “Tape has traditionally been used for video archives, back-up files, replicas for disaster recovery, and retention of information on premise, but the industry is also expanding to off-premise applications in the cloud,” Eleftheriou said according to reporting from The Verge.

“While sputtered tape is expected to cost a little more to manufacture than current commercial tape, the potential for very high capacity will make the cost per terabyte very attractive, making this technology practical for cold storage in the cloud,” he added.

The post IBM Announces Record Breaking New Data Storage Device appeared first on Futurism.

Eye Robot

A few years ago, iRobot’s Roomba was billed as a revolution in home cleaning, a piece of tech that could clean your floors so you didn’t have to. However, Reuters is now reporting that the device has been doing more than just freeing up your time — it’s been mapping the layout of your home.

Privacy and the Internet of Things
Click to View Full Infographic

The internet of things (IoT) has been growing quickly, and the next big frontier in smart tech is our homes. However, tech companies currently lack the data necessary to adequately conquer this arena.

Roomba could change that.

“There’s an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared,” iRobot CEO Colin Angle told Reuters.

Privacy Problems

The development with iRobot is just one of a plethora of examples of our devices collecting data on us, either to optimize their own performance or so the information can be sold to others. This trend has both positive and negative implications.

Looking at the positive end of the spectrum, the data collected by Roomba could provide the stepping stone necessary to truly bring the smart-tech universe into our homes.

Guy Hoffman, a robotics professor at Cornell University, compares current smart home devices to New York tourists who stick to the subway: “There is some information about the city, but the tourist is missing a lot of context for what’s happening outside of the stations.”

With the maps Roomba could provide, these devices would have a much better understanding of the home. This would allow them to do things like manipulate acoustics depending on where you are in the house or change smart lighting depending on where daylight is shining in.

Then there’s the other side of the spectrum. The data being collected by Roomba is extremely sensitive, and a detailed map of your home could be used for nefarious means.

While iRobot says that “customers have control over sharing” their data, agreeing to the iRobot terms of service and privacy policy gives the company the legal right to share the information gleaned from the Roomba’s travels. After that, there are no restrictions in place concerning what the data could be used for if it is purchased by another company.

The post The Makers of Roomba Want to Share Maps of Users’ Homes With Smart Tech Companies appeared first on Futurism.

Japan has created an adorable camera drone for the ISS.

The post This Adorable Camera Drone Takes Photos of Astronauts in Space appeared first on Futurism.

The Leak Finding Robot

An MIT research team called PipeGuard has developed a robot capable of finding the smallest leaks in pipes regardless of what they are made of. It can be inserted into the water supply through any fire hydrant, and comes in two models: one which passively floats along a pipe, and another that can be controlled.

The system — which has been in development for 12 years — uses a small robotic device in the shape of a shuttlecock that gathers data on divergent pressures using sensitive detectors on its rubber skirt. Simultaneously, it monitors its position. When the ‘bot is removed from the pipe using a net, the two sets of data it uploads are crosschecked to find leaks.

Image Credit: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Image Credit: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The robot completed field tests on the devilishly tricky trial pipe at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia, during which it found an artificial leak 100 percent of the time. Now it is being deployed in Monterrey, Mexico, in order to help the city combat the $80 million cost of 40 percent of its water supply going to waste.

Eventually, the engineers hope to create a version that can expand to any sized pipe it is placed in, as well as to introduce a mechanism that allows it to repair small leaks on the spot.

A Worldwide Solution?

The discovery provides a solution to two serious issues in water distribution networks: 1/5 of supply being lost due to leaks and current technology being incompatible with some piping materials. Mark Gallager, a director at the Cambridge, Massachusetts, Water Department, said in an MIT press release that the system could also “could minimize the damage to infrastructure and the loss of water services to homes and businesses, and it could significantly reduce the associated cost.”

However, the bigger picture is that the robot, in a later incarnation, could help reduce the dangers caused by gas leaks. The world’s natural gas pipes are often poorly maintained and inadequately mapped. This, when combined with detection only being possible when the situation is critical, creates extremely dangerous situations which have resulted in explosions in some cities.

The robot could also provide a means of detecting the leaks and breaks in the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has already started to leak oil despite not being operational yet. The Pipeguard could be a solution to this concern, which is shared by all pipelines, by providing a way to minimize the risks associated with gas or liquid leaks. This will help us protect the environment from dangerous oil spills  and needless emissions of greenhouse gases.

Whether it’s used for conserving our water or better controlling our transport of fuels, this robot has enormous potential for saving costs, curbing climate change, and potentially saving lives.

The post MIT Has Developed a Robot that Can Find the Leak in Any Pipe System appeared first on Futurism.

Ultracold Molecules

Qubits, the building blocks of quantum computers, are, for the most part, still a work in progress. Researchers have many different theories as to how they can be created, and they’ve attempted to do so using various kinds of molecules, individual neutral atoms, ions held in ion traps, and superconducting materials — all with varying degrees of success.

Now, a team from the MIT-Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms (CUA) has just brought the world one step closer to quantum computing by creating qubits that are able to retain the information they store hundreds of times longer than anyone has previously achieved.

The CUA team’s research utilizes very simple two-atom molecules made of potassium and sodium, which were cooled to temperatures just a few ten-millionths of a degree above absolute zero. The team was able to perfectly control the molecules, achieving the lowest possible state of rotation, vibration, and nuclear spin alignment. This control, combined with the chemical stability of the molecules, helped make a second-long period of coherence possible.

“We have strong hopes that we can do one so-called gate — that’s an operation between two of these qubits, like addition, subtraction, or that sort of equivalent — in a fraction of a millisecond,” MIT professor of physics Martin Zwierlein said in an MIT News brief. “If you look at the ratio, you could hope to do 10,000 to 100,000 gate operations in the time that we have the coherence in the sample. That has been stated as one of the requirements for a quantum computer, to have that sort of ratio of gate operations to coherence times.”

“The most amazing thing is that [these] molecules are a system which may allow realizing both storage and processing of quantum information, using the very same physical system,” added Columbia University assistant professor Sebastian Will. “That is actually a pretty rare feature that is not typical at all among the qubit systems that are mostly considered today.”

Massive Processing Power

If the team is right, an array of 1,000 of these molecules could carry out calculations so complex, no computer existing today could verify them. In theory, such a computer could factor massive numbers very rapidly, the difficulty of which provides the foundation for the encryption systems that protect today’s financial transactions.

A Brief History Of Atomic Theory [Infographic]
Click to View Full Infographic

The researchers emphasize that their discovery is an early step on the path to quantum systems and that creating actual quantum computers using this technology could take a decade or more of development. However, they’re already looking ahead to the next milestones in the process.

“The next great goal will be to ‘talk’ to individual molecules. Then we are really talking quantum information,” Will said in the brief. “If we can trap one molecule, we can trap two. And then we can think about implementing a ‘quantum gate operation’ — an elementary calculation — between two molecular qubits that sit next to each other.”

The post Researchers Just Achieved One of the Major Requirements for Quantum Computing appeared first on Futurism.

Helmet meets phone. Helmfon is designed to block out noise for increased focus while also allowing you call your friends from your connected smartphone or Skype.

The post This Helmet Blocks out Noise So You Can Focus Anywhere appeared first on Futurism.

No time to cook? This smart oven is like having a live-in chef

The post No Time to Cook? This Smart Oven Is Like Having a Live-In Chef appeared first on Futurism.

This laser can evaporate rust without damaging the metal underneath

The post This Laser Can Evaporate Rust Without Damaging the Metal Underneath appeared first on Futurism.

This is what a fully automated parking garage looks like

The post This Is What a Fully Automated Parking Garage Looks Like appeared first on Futurism.

Congestion Control

As technology continues to advance at unprecedented speed, it sometimes seems as though the internet can’t seem to keep up. If we could improve internet speeds, however, it could allow emerging technology to flourish, as well as speed up research that’s already ongoing. Engineers at Google well understand the desire for faster internet, and have taken it upon themselves to ramp it up. The company plans to achieve this by creating a new congestion control algorithm, BBR (Bottleneck Bandwidth and Round-trip propagation time). 

This is the Fastest Internet on Earth
Click to View Full Infographic

BBR, an algorithm that was standardized back in the 1980s, detects when a network is overwhelmed and responds by slowing down data transfers. The algorithm might not seem all that significant, but it actually plays a huge role in internet speed. BBR is currently allowing companies and individuals that use Google’s Cloud Platform to access it and the speed that comes with it. But Google wants to take this algorithm one step further by publicly publishing it, and incorporating it into the TCP transmission standard. That move would have a ripple effect across the entire internet.

A Need for Speed

If this algorithm is actually incorporated into the standard which is intrinsic to the internet, its impact could be major. Even if internet speeds increase by a small percentage, it could do more than reduce the minor inconveniences and annoyances of a slow connection. Just about every facet of modern life depends on our ability to transfer data to and from the internet. From international communications to software development and technological innovation, the ways in which the internet propel us forward as a society are endless. Increased speeds could support this progress.

In the 1980s, it would have been hard to fathom just how far the internet could take us, or how fast we could surf the web. As this algorithm from that decade is hopefully integrated, we’re on our way to seeing just how far this universal tool can take us.

The post Google Wants to Make the Internet Faster. Here’s How. appeared first on Futurism.

Support robots could become a part of our everyday lives

The post Support Robots Could Become a Part of Our Everyday Lives appeared first on Futurism.

 Futurism only supports companies that we like and trust. Zolo Audio is one of those companies. We may collect a share of the sales from the items featured on this page. Learn about Zolo Audio here.

Wire-Free, Problem-Free.

Wireless earphones are nothing new in the wearables market, and yet, it seems like basically every industry leader is having trouble making a small earbud that doesn’t come with big problems. For starters, if you wear wireless earphones, you’ve probably been made to wonder if you have a strangely shaped ear—because no matter what size buds you use, you’ve got an ear ache after 20 minutes and a full blown headache after an hour. You’ve probably also wondered if you were going deaf, as the music is often warbled and muted.

But it’s not you, it’s the earbud. And Zolo’s Liberty+ earphones maybe the solution.

The Liberty+ earphones provide updates to a number of preexisting industry standards. The earphones are made with water-resistant liquid-silicon ear tips that not only offer a much cushier fit, but also help insulate the sound—ear aches be gone! Additionally, inside the bud is a sturdy nanosheet made of Graphene—a material that’s 100 times harder than steel and a fraction of the weight, so it won’t warp or negatively affect sound over time with wear.

And of course, once, wireless earphones were synonymous with connectivity issues, but not anymore. Thanks to the satellite-quality Bluetooth 5.0, which is powered through LDS antennas, connection issues are a problem of the past.

What’s more, each bud had a touch screen built into its external face, which gives users the ability to tap to answer a call or get AI support from Alexa or Siri. And with the help of the charging case, your earphones will get up to 48 hours of battery life before you need to plug into a power outlet.

SP-The World’s Most Advanced Wireless Earphones Are Here

Staying Connected

The difference these updates will have on the actual user’s experience are bountifully significant. With a pain-free grip fit, users can engage in rigorous exercise activities without having to worry about the earbuds falling out or becoming damaged by sweat.

And with the instant pairing, unbreakable Bluetooth connection, and upgraded Graphene sound standard, users won’t have to worry about missing a beat—literally.

While we might still have to worry about the battery life of our phones and computers throughout the day, your earphones become something you can rely on when you make the switch to Liberty+. 48 hours of battery life means that you’ll listen to approximately 960 songs before you need to recharge. To learn more about the revolutionary innovations in audio technology, head over to Zolo Audio‘s Kickstarter and get yourself a pair.

The post The World’s Most Advanced Wireless Earphones May Finally Be Here appeared first on Futurism.

This unmanned convenience store can come to you

The post This Unmanned Convenience Store Can Come to You appeared first on Futurism.

A Different Qubit

A quantum simulator isn’t a full-blown quantum computer, let’s get that out first. The main difference is that the former is built to solve only one equation model while the latter is able to perform — theoretically — any equation put to it. This quantum simulator could model, for example, the minute behavior of molecules and drugs, and researchers working Harvard University recently announced that they’ve made the largest one yet, operating with 51 qubits.

Supercomputers: To Moore’s Law and Beyond
Click to View Full Infographic

Lead researcher Mikhail Lukin, co-founder of the Russian Quantum Center (RQC), spoke of this achievement in Moscow at the 2017 International Conference on Quantum Technologies. Lukin’s team, composed of both American and Russian scientists, built this quantum simulator using a different type of quantum bit or qubit.

Instead of using photons like many quantum computer researchers do, the Harvard team’s qubits are each made from a single rubidium atom. Trapped in place using lasers, information is programmed into these qubits by modulating the laser beam.

A Model for Quantum Computers

Qubits are at the heart of quantum computing. While conventional computers rely on bits of 0s and 1s to process information, quantum computers use qubits, each of which are capable of being a 0 or 1 at the same time. This allows quantum computers to handle information faster. The difficulty is in keeping the qubits stable.

Currently, Google is working on what could be the largest quantum computer, which would run on a 49-qubit chip. Lukin’s quantum simulator beats that with 51 qubits. While the simulator is designed to handle one problem at a time, the method used could translate into a full-blown quantum computer.

“The full-blown quantum computer is the hardest system to get right,” Simon Devitt form Macquaries University in Sydney told New Scientist. Quantum simulators are also costly to build, Devitt noted, which could limit the potential applications of Lukin’s technology to just inside the physics lab for now.

Nevertheless, the achievement is a breakthrough. It shows how possible it is to develop a quantum computing system using 51 qubits. And the more qubits there are, the more powerful a quantum computer could be. It may still take time, though, before this could translate to a universal quantum computer.

The post Scientists Build a 51-Qubit Quantum Simulator and It’s the Largest One Yet appeared first on Futurism.

This robot will one day swim through extraterrestrial oceans looking for alien life

The post This Robot Will One Day Swim Through Extraterrestrial Oceans Looking for Alien Life appeared first on Futurism.

A Floating Companion

You know that creepy black sphere used as a floating interrogation droid in Star Wars? It seems like scientists at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) pretty much designed the complete opposite of that, and we want one for our very own.

Called Int-Ball, this adorable little camera drone resembles something Pixar might have come up with, but it’s totally real, and is now a floating companion to astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) – where it helps out by taking photos and recording video, freeing up valuable astronaut time.

Int-Ball was delivered to the ISS in a SpaceX cargo shipment last month – the company’s first involving a reused Dragon cargo capsule – and is now operational, currently undergoing initial testing.

It looks like those checks are going pretty smoothly too, with JAXA having just released the first test footage captured by its little floating bot (aka the JEM Internal Ball Camera).

You can check out Int-Ball’s debut camerawork in the following YouTube clip, which is backed by possibly the most twee music ever used in an official video released by a space agency (although it’s strangely fitting too, given Int-Ball’s cutesy, somewhat Kirby-like proportions):

Testing Drones in Microgravity

According to JAXA, Int-Ball can move autonomously in space, and can also be remotely controlled by flight controllers and researchers on the ground, who can relay its footage in real-time back to astronauts on the ISS for review and follow-up.

The little orb only measures 15 centimetres (6 inches) in diameter and weighs 1 kg (2.2 lbs), and was largely manufactured using 3D printing.

Along the surface of the sphere, 12 fans are positioned to enable Int-Ball to move around, while a number of ‘3D Target Markers’ placed on the ISS’s internal walls help the drone to orientate itself so it can navigate from place to place.

JAXA says that as much as 10 percent of astronaut working hours on board the ISS has crew members with a camera in hand, so by offloading the camerawork and videography to a little floating bot, it could free up researchers significantly to focus on conducting experiments and other important tasks.

Int-Ball is also serving as a test case so that JAXA scientists can see how well floating drones operate in the microgravity environment on board the ISS.

39487 int ball 2JAXA/NASA

Taking care of video is an important gig, sure, but it’s definitely only a starting point.

In the future it’s conceivable that little autonomous drones like this could perform other kinds of jobs both inside and outside the ISS, helping astronauts by fetching or operating equipment, checking on supplies, or conducting repairs and maintenance on the station itself.

In the meantime, Int-Ball will have to stick to playing camera operator while JAXA figures out just what this technology is capable of, but we doubt very much that the ISS human crew mind having their tiny new pal around the joint.

After all, space can be a pretty lonely place.

The post This Little Japanese Camera Bot is Helping Astronauts Aboard the ISS appeared first on Futurism.

Robotic Replicas

The classic Sci-Fi show, Star Trek: The Next Generation, chronicled the efforts of the humanoid robot Data to become more human. While Data was an advanced and one-of-a-kind android, he was obviously not biological. He did not experience human emotion (for the most part), and his designer was not able to correctly emulate a natural color for his skin and eyes.

The challenges of simulating human appearance and personality are real, and today’s engineers are struggling to overcome them. While many strides are being made in human-like robots, we haven’t quite achieved a model that is indistinguishable from humans. So we asked Futurism readers when we should expect to mistake a machine for a man.

The Top 10 Humanoid Robots in Existence Today
Click to View Full Infographic

The decade that received the most votes — about 27 percent of respondents — was the 2030s, and more than 60 percent of voters believed that robots will be identical to humans before 2050. Respondent Janet Rae-Dupree was skeptical of these predictions, giving her vote 2080s because of the many features that must be perfected in order for a robot to pass as human.

“Among the many hurdles, we must develop: A universal, general-purpose, free-standing artificial intelligence; actuators and servos capable of fluid motion within human ranges; artificial ‘skin,’ ‘eyes,’ ‘hair,’ ‘tongue,’ voice, lips — so many things that must pass as human,” Rae-Dupree wrote in her response. “That’s just to start. The 2030s? Puh-leez. That’s just wishful thinking.”

Human appearance, physicality, and personality are certainly difficult to emulate, but many researchers are working on various aspects of these problems. Microsoft has begun working towards creating an artificial intelligence that is more human, and scientists are exploring ways to grow human skin on robots.

What The Experts Have to Say

These kinds of technologies and some particularly advanced prototypes have convinced Max Aguilera-Hellweg, who has published his photos and stories of 21st-century robotics in Humanoid, that robots that can pass as humans are already being made. “The world of science fiction in books and film, it’s not too far off from what’s going on today in research labs,” Aguilera-Hellweg said in an interview with Popular Mechanics. “These [humanoids] are changing and developing so fast, and they’re already in our midst. We’re living in the future now, and the future is happening at a rapid pace.”

This is high praise of our current technological capacity. Still, some engineers are struggling to get past an issue called the “uncanny valley.” This term describes the realm of human-likeness where objects transition from being cute and human like to being zombie-like and creepy.

One company that is trying to steer clear of the creepiness factor with its humanoid robots is Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics. Chief Marketing Officer, Jeanne Lim, said the company’s engineers were working on ways to get their robots, which include the Albert Einstein HUBOto interact with humans using the correct facial expressions.

“Once we overcome this with design and animation that is attuned to human perception and psychology, then we can create an uncannily human-like faces with no ‘valley,’” Lim said in an interview with Forbes. And Lim believes they are close to attaining this. “We expect to see an explosion of service robots in the next five years.”

See all of the Futurism predictions and make your own predictions here.

The post When Will We See the First Robot That Is Indistinguishable From a Human? appeared first on Futurism.

This watch uses the energy from your movement to power itself

The post This Watch Uses the Energy from Your Movement to Power Itself appeared first on Futurism.

Engineers at the Drone Racing League (DRL) have developed a drone outside of the league’s parameters that has broken the Guiness World Record for fastest speed — it achieved 263.1 km/h (163.5 mph) on the 100-meter course, although it had recorded velocities of 289 km/h (179.6 mph) over longer distances.

[Taken] Drone Wins Guinness World Record for Fastest Quadcopter

The drone, which is called the DRL RacerX, weighed 800 grams (1.76 pounds), produced 46,000 RPM, and — unlike earlier prototypes — did not burst into flames at its highest speeds. It won the category of “fastest ground speed by a battery-powered remote-controlled quadcopter.”

Nicholas Horbaczewski, the founder of DRL, said in a press release, “The record-setting RacerX represents the culmination of years of technological innovation by our team of world class engineers, and we’re very excited to unveil the fastest racing drone on earth.”

Speed is not the only boundary being pushed in the drone world, though — the machines are being applied to weird, wonderful, and sometimes worrying ends. NASA is developing drones to explore martian worlds, BioCarbon Engineering have proposed using them to plant trees, and the military is straying into ethically controversial ground by combining warfare drones with AI in order to fight enemies.

The post The Fastest Drone On Earth Just Reached Speeds Over 163 MPH appeared first on Futurism.

Will little bots like this change the way we approach tasks like lawn care?

The post Will Little Bots like This Change the Way We Approach Tasks like Lawn Care? appeared first on Futurism.

Disclaimer: Futurism only supports products that we trust and use. This post is in partnership with Abundance 360, and Futurism may get a small percentage of sales. Want to take a class with Peter Diamandis? Click here to learn more!

Massive Disruption

Next year, we may see the launch of the first true quantum computers. The implications will be staggering. This blog aims to answer three questions:

  1. What are quantum computers?
  2. What are their implications?
  3. Who’s working on them?

There’s a lot to unpack here, so hang tight, and let’s jump in!

What Is Quantum Computing?

Moore’s Law (or the exponential growth of integrated circuits) is actually referring to the fifth paradigm of computation. Here’s the list of the underlying technologies: (1) Electromechanical; (2) Vacuum Tube; (3) Relay; (4) Transistors; and (5) Integrated Circuits.

Quantum computers may well be the sixth paradigm, given that they work in a fashion that is entirely different from “classical” computers. A classical computer performs operations using classical “bits” — these “bits” can be in only one of two states: “0” or “1.”

In contrast, a quantum computer uses “quantum bits,” or “qubits.” Thanks to a principle called quantum superposition, these qubits can have a value of “0”, “1,” or both “0 and 1″ at the same time. This capability allows quantum computers to solve certain types of complex problems that are intractable for conventional computers. Frankly, really exciting problems for society today, as you’ll see below.

For a tutorial on quantum computers, check out this short video:

The power of qubits is that they scale exponentially. A 2-qubit machine allows you to do four calculations at once. A 3-qubit machine can do eight calculations. A 4-qubit machine gives you 16 calculations, all simultaneously.

By the time you get to 300 qubits, you’ve got a computer that can do more “calculations” than there are atoms in the universe.

That’s why the blog TechTarget described quantum computing this way: “Development of a quantum computer, if practical, would mark a leap forward in computing capability far greater than that from the abacus to a modern day supercomputer, with performance gains in the billion-fold realm and beyond.”

What Are the Implications of Quantum Computing?

The implications of true quantum computing at scale are staggering and of extraordinary impact to society today (which is why I’m tracking it).

In my opinion, here are the Top 5 Applications:

  1. Machine Learning: Much of machine learning is about “pattern recognition.” Algorithms crunch large datasets to find signals in the noise, and the goal is to maximize the number of comparisons you make between data to find the best models to describe that data. With quantum computing, we’ll be able to do this processing orders of magnitude more effectively than with classical computing. Quantum computing will allow you to compare much, much more data in parallel, simultaneously, and all permutations of that data, to discover the best patterns that describe it. This will lead to fundamentally more powerful forms of AI, much more quickly than we expect. Expect quantum computing to cause a positive inflection point (upward) for the speed at which the world develops AI (which, by the way, is why Google is working so hard on it).
  2. Medicine: Quantum computing will also allow us to model complex molecular interactions at an atomic level. This will be particularly important for medical research and drug discovery. Soon we’ll be able to model all 20,000+ proteins encoded in the human genome and start to simulate their interactions with models of existing drugs or new drugs that haven’t been invented yet. Based on the analysis of these drug interactions, we’ll be able to find cures for previously incurable diseases and hopefully accelerate the time to market for new drugs. Using quantum computer simulations will be the way we design and choose our next generations of drugs and cancer cures.
  3. Chemistry (and Climate Change): Worried about the climate crisis? Wondering what we can do about it? Quantum computers may be our newest tool to understand what is going on and to fight it. They will allow us to unlock “simulation-driven” solutions, perhaps design new catalysts that actually capture carbon from the atmosphere and turn it into new and valuable products at low cost and energy use.
  4. Material Science & Engineering: Because we can simulate atomic interactions, we’ll explore and invent entirely new, better materials. We might find better superconductors, better magnets, materials that will allow us to create much higher energy density batteries, and so on. Since 2011, the U.S. federal government has granted over $250 million to the Materials Genome Initiative in an effort to “discover, manufacture, and deploy advanced materials twice as fast, at a fraction of the cost.”
  5. Biomimetics, Energy Systems, & Photovoltaics: Scientists believe that much of the world is built atop quantum systems. Processes like photosynthesis, for example, are likely dependent on quantum mechanical systems. Thus, as we look to the natural world for inspiration to build better energy systems or stronger materials, we’ll only fully realize their potential when we can model these processes with quantum computers. This will lead to many advances and discoveries across the board.

Bottom Line: When quantum computing pans out, we’ll be able to control the very building blocks of the universe.

The question is who is going to figure it out first…

Who’s Working on Quantum Computing?

There’s a race going on — a race to prove something called “quantum supremacy.”

Quantum supremacy is essentially the test that validates that the computer you have is in fact a quantum computer.

In the U.S., three major players are in the game right now:

  1. Google
  2. IBM
  3. Rigetti Computing, a startup out of Silicon Valley

A potential fourth is D-Wave Systems. They’ve developed chips with qubits, but these haven’t yet been conclusively proved to operate as a quantum computer.

Both Rigetti Computing and Google believe they will reach “quantum supremacy” in the next 12 to 18 months.

Think about that: the next one to two years. The revolution is coming fast.

To put this into perspective, I had a chance to catch up with Chad Rigetti, the CEO of Rigetti Computing. Below is a picture of the most powerful “classical” computer on the planet, Tianhe-2 in Guangzhou, China.


It costs $400 million.

The computer burns about 20 megawatts of electricity — enough to power 20,000 households.

And it’s about half the size of a football field, with 3.2 million Intel cores.

President Obama, in the attempt to drive America’s return to high-performance computing supremacy, declared that the U.S. would build an exoscale computer, 30 times more powerful than Tianhe-2, by 2020.

The problem is this: With current technology, it will cost a billion dollars and will require a nuclear power plant to run the supercomputer.

“We need to do this,” explains Chad Rigetti. “But there is another path. Quantum computing.”

Below is a picture of two developmental systems in Rigetti’s lab in Berkeley, CA.


The big white cans about the size of a human are cooling systems, and inside each cooling system is a single quantum chip.

In these machines today, there is a 5-qubit processor.

The crazy part: A single chip with about 50 to 60 qubits on it would be more powerful than the entire Tianhe-2, a half-a-football-field-sized machine…

This is what quantum computing unlocks.

Rigetti is rapidly developing quantum integrated circuits and the software platform that will allow developers to build on top of them.

Along with efforts at Google, IBM, D-Wave, and many other companies and research labs around the world, we are rapidly approaching a quantum computing revolution.

Get ready.

Disclaimer: Futurism only supports products that we trust and use. This post is in partnership with Abundance 360, and Futurism may get a small percentage of sales. Want to take a class with Peter Diamandis? Click here to learn more!

The post The Race to Prove “Quantum Supremacy” May Be Won in the Next Year appeared first on Futurism.

This can protect you from becoming shark bait

The post This Can Protect You from Becoming Shark Bait appeared first on Futurism.

This tough robot is capable of running and climbing stairs

The post This Tough Robot Is Capable of Running and Climbing Stairs appeared first on Futurism.

Amazon has recently filed a patent application that could give a glimpse into the company’s vision for the future of delivery. The application calls it a “multilevel fulfillment center,”  and the patent shows a tower pockmarked with drone sized openings which will likely make it easier for the online retail giant to deliver in urban areas. Amazon says there is a “growing need and desire to locate fulfillment centers within cities, such as in downtown districts and densely populated parts of the cities.”

Image credit: Amazon/US Patent and Trademark OfficeImage credit: Amazon/US Patent and Trademark Office

Warehouse space takes up a large amount of land that urban centers tend to not have a lot of, so going vertical opens up new possibilities for the company in these settings. The addition of drones will help to both keep labor and shipping costs down while also allowing for the quickest delivery possible with today’s technology.

Of course, this is just a patent application and by no means guarantees that Amazon will actually build this beehive-esque delivery hub. But as the patent shows, the will to make our metropolis airspace just as bustling as it is on the ground. If the patent leads to something more — well, don’t be surprised if it looks like giant hornets have taken over our skylines in the near future.

The post Amazon Just Submitted Patent for Delivery Drone Hive. Here’s What it Looks Like. appeared first on Futurism.

Two companies have developed an ergonomic, wearable “chair” that is designed to allow an individual to sit wherever and whenever they feel the need to rest. A German startup called Noonee, in collaboration with Swiss design consulting firm Sapetti, have devised a seating apparatus that isn’t your traditional chair.

The chair is made of engineering plastics like polyamide, and attaches to the leg via a series of straps which automatically locks in place when a  button at the top of the leg is pressed. Workers wearing the apparatus can then rest when needed while remaining the a convenient position for continuing the task at hand.

The ‘Chairless Chair’ has the potential to be applied to any industry that requires the workers to stand for long periods, but where a conventional chair would be an impediment. The most obvious example would be assembly line work or production lines, such as those for the automobile industry. By helping to assuage worker fatigue, the tool could increase efficiency while decreasing the likelihood of injury.

While other similar models have hit the market with the goal of strength training, the inventor of the Chairless Chair, Keith Gunura, says his design is fundamentally different. “The Chairless Chair is a sitting support,” Gunura told The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation with Mo Rocca, “It’s more of a tool rather than an exoskeleton.”

*3* ‘Chairless Chair’ Allows You to Sit Anywhere

He hopes that the chair will provide respite to workers in a number of industries, and all over the world. “I’ve always wanted to leave something that would help people,” Gunura said, “or at least change the world in a small way.”

The post The “Chairless Chair” Allows You to Sit Anywhere appeared first on Futurism.

This smart night light connects to your phone

The post This Smart Night Light Connects to Your Phone appeared first on Futurism.

This robot will grow food for you

The post This Robot Will Grow Food for You appeared first on Futurism.

We could live in a future where even creativity will be automated.

The post Watch: Can Writers and Artists be Replaced By Robots? appeared first on Futurism.

These drones can see through walls

The post These Drones Can See Through Walls appeared first on Futurism.

This lamp lets you know when you’ve spent too much time staring at screens

The post This Lamp Lets You Know When You’ve Spent Too Much Time Staring at Screens appeared first on Futurism.

While we may most closely associate rings with weddings and Hobbits, a new wearable is looking to widen that scope significantly. The humans at Token have developed a “one ring to rule them all” approach to your wallet and computer security.

These biometric rings (available in a variety of metal finishes) store personal information, like credit cards and digital passwords, and can even unlock doors and start your car. Token has worked with some big companies to ensure their product is functional. The list of partners includes Visa and MasterCard for financial information, and Microsoft and Apple for the ring’s password storing capabilities.

The device is secured by fingerprint, which is required to give the wearer access to the information stored on it. There is an optical sensor that recognizes when the ring has been taken off and the ring will lock; the fingerprint scan restores access to the data. The signal is always broadcasting (when worn and activated) so users do not have to worry about choosing which signal to send out. The ring uses NFC and Bluetooth signals.

The ring can be pre-ordered on the website for December delivery. As of publication, the ring is on sale for $249 – $299 depending on the finish. Peripherals to enable it to open doors and start your car are also available. Each costs $100 or can be bought in a bundle with the basic finish for $399.

The post This Ring Remembers Your Credit Cards and Passwords So You Don’t Have To appeared first on Futurism.

Crunch numbers on your laptop faster than ever

The post Crunch Numbers on Your Laptop Faster Than Ever appeared first on Futurism.

Is this the future of bartending?

The post Is This the Future of Bartending? appeared first on Futurism.

Quantum Record Broken

Two Ph.D. students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) have successfully simulated a 45-qubit quantum circuit, inching us closer to quantum supremacy — the point at which quantum computers could outperform any extant classical computer, estimated to require 49 qubits.

Future Moonshots [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Thomas Häner and Damien Steiger also successfully simulated 30-, 36- and 42-qubit quantum circuits during their time at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The students used 8,192 of the 9,688 Intel Xeon Phi processors on Cori, NERSC’s newest supercomputer, for the largest of their simulations. Unfortunately, they could not run an even larger simulation using all of the supercomputer’s nodes as that would risk the system collapsing.

The Quantum Revolution

Quantum computing has the potential to revolutionize the entire world by increasing the processing power of computers by orders of magnitude. However, two questions have thus far stumped quantum computer creators: how to create machines with sufficient processing power and how to scale those machines for mass production.

Supermaterials like graphene have been suggested as an answer to the first problem, but researchers will want to calibrate and optimize their designs before sinking precious money and time into their endeavors. That’s where simulations become essential, according to a paper Häner and Steiger presented at SC16:

While large-scale quantum computers are not yet available, their performance can be inferred using quantum compilation frameworks and estimates of potential hardware specifications. However, without testing and debugging quantum programs on small scale problems, their correctness cannot be taken for granted. Simulators and emulators … are essential to address this need.

The potential uses for quantum computers once they are developed are seemingly infinite. While most center on complex data analysis, which classical computers can only perform very slowly or not at all, others have considered even more innovative uses for quantum systems.

Kindred has hypothesized that a robotic exoskeleton capable of managing the work of four people could be powered using a quantum computer. A molecule has been modeled successfully using one, paving the way to computing entire chemical systems, and Google has considered using quantum computing to enable their autonomous vehicle to distinguish cars from other objects more effectively.

Truly, the era of the quantum computer is just on the horizon, and once we reach it, every computer system we use will have the potential to become faster and more powerful.

The post Two Students Just Broke a Quantum Computing World Record appeared first on Futurism.

This driverless train can run on virtual rails

The post This Driverless Train Can Run on Virtual Rails appeared first on Futurism.

This cube blends the real world with a completely digital one

The post This Cube Blends the Real World with a Completely Digital One appeared first on Futurism.

These incredible art pieces are made from a printer!

The post These Incredible Art Pieces Are Made from a Printer! appeared first on Futurism.

You can hail this flying taxi from your phone

The post You Can Hail This Flying Taxi from Your Phone appeared first on Futurism.

Meet the world’s first shapeshifting fog hologram

The post Meet the World’s First Shapeshifting Fog Hologram appeared first on Futurism.

This robot’s unique legs allow it to walk on almost any surface

The post This Robot’s Unique Legs Allow It to Walk on Almost Any Surface appeared first on Futurism.

Maglev Elevator

Engineering firm ThyssenKrup has created a Maglev elevator that operates horizontally as well as vertically, and without cables. The firm has completed the first public tests of the technology in a dedicated tower. Named Multi, the experimental elevator trades in cables for rails and magnetic fields. The fields push the cabins along the rails which work like linear motors, much like an in-building hyperloop.

The cabins can rotate to shift a cabin to the side when it stops at a floor. This allows more cabins to use the system seamlessly without getting in each other’s way. The cabins will also be able to plan their routes, which will reduce wait times and prevent in-shaft traffic jams.

This tech may also solve an ongoing issue facing designers of modern high-rise buildings. If you’ve ever been in a very tall building, you’ve probably noticed that you’re forced to take elevators from different banks to reach the highest floors. This is because standard cable elevator designs can only safely rise about 1,600 feet per single continuous stretch. The Multi system would put an end to that, making more space and style options possible.

ThyssenKrup has already signed up its first customer: the East Side Tower building planned for Berlin will feature the Multi. Before you get too excited, though, realize that the price tag of the system will probably keep it from becoming the new standard anytime soon: it costs up to five times as much as a standard elevator system. And, there’s no “up and out” button — the cabins will rely on the rails.

The post First Ever Cable-Free Elevator Can Move Horizontally and Vertically appeared first on Futurism.

This machine is changing the way we build bridges

The post This Machine Is Changing the Way We Build Bridges appeared first on Futurism.

Say “hello” to Robelf, your new home security robot

The post Say “Hello” to Robelf, Your New Home Security Robot appeared first on Futurism.

See posts, photos and more on Facebook.

The post This Snake-Like Robot May One Day Be Used for Colonoscopies appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism only supports companies that we trust. Disconnect is one of those companies.  We may collect a share of the sales from the items featured on this page. Learn about Disconnect here.

Privacy in the Age of Information

Once upon a time, the internet felt like a private and obscure place. But the reality of today’s cyber climate is that every move we make is traceable and, in case you weren’t aware, that data is a desirable commodity. Whether it’s for innocuous advertisement purposes or for hacking crimes, all of our clicks are watched and collected.

This is an issue that has recently been brought to the forefront of conversations, as the Federal Trade Commission recently ruled to let providers sell user’s information as long as there is some mention of it in the contract and the user can opt out…a condition that’s not very helpful, as the average internet user is often unaware of their rights or the current regulations.

In reaction, more and more people are talking about virtual private networks, or VPNs.

A VPN is a software tool used to create privacy on the web. It gives people the freedom to click without being tracked by creating an encrypted and secure network connection between the user’s device and the server.

To break this down a bit more, service providers are able to track our every move on the web, so are people who have access to public networks (AKA hackers) and the government. A VPN essentially scrambles our requests before sending them, which means that people who have access to our activity are unable to discern what we’re doing. It’s basically like translating a transcript into a gibberish language that no one can decode, thus providing browsers with the reliable privacy they’re entitled to.

Privacy and the Internet of Things
Click to View Full Infographic

Security is the most alluring aspect of VPNs, but leading VPN providers like Disconnect offer more than that. Disconnect, an app compatible with iOS, Android, Windows and Mac OS X, will block trackers from third parties that are harvesting data, but Disconnect goes a step farther by letting you know what tracking requests you’re receiving, whether it’s social media, advertising, content, or analytics. It does this because not all tracking is dangerous or beneficial to block.

Good Tracking Vs. Bad Tracking

Some tracking helps to enhance your web experience and other tracking helps content providers keep track of their demographics — if they’ve stated so in their terms of use. A little tracking is respectful and useful, and Disconnect aims to bring transparency to both sides of the track.

The app will let you know what you can’t see on the web, and in addition to giving you a sense of safety online, Disconnect will also increase your browsing speed. Trackers and malware put a huge strain on your device. By blocking tracking requests, Disconnect allows your web to process faster and, in return, it increases your battery life.

Moreover, while you might not often run into issues with this, Disconnect also unblocks locked content. Whether you’re trying to watch Canadian Netflix and can’t get to it because your location tag is routing you towards the United States Netflix, or whether you’re searching for content that is blocked in the particular country you’re browsing from, you won’t have any trouble finding it with Disconnect.

For only $49 you can get a lifetime subscription to Disconnect so you can rest assured knowing that you’re not being followed, your identity is private, and your web is operating at top speed.

The post Why You Should Never Go on the Internet Without a VPN, and How You Can Get One appeared first on Futurism.

This man just tested a DIY multi-copter

The post This Man Just Tested a DIY Multi-Copter appeared first on Futurism.

Coming Soon: Robot Maids

In 2016, Midea, a Chinese company that makes home appliances, purchased Kuka, the company that creates the robots used to build Teslas, for $5 billion in a bid to cover its automation and robotics bases. Now, the parent company wants to make use of its purchase to take advantage of a market that is growing by leaps and bounds despite a lack of real breakthroughs — so far.

Want to be a Robotics Engineer? Here’s What You’ll Need
Click to View Full Infographic

The consumer robotics market is primed for disruption. Right now, most in-home robots are capable of just one task, such as a Roomba, and most in-home digital assistants are really just stationary devices powered by artificially intelligent (AI) software with a voice-recognition component, such as Google’s Home or Amazon’s Echo.

This means there’s a tremendous opportunity waiting for any company that can make in-home robots that have AI and voice-recognition capabilities, yet are mobile and can carry out physical tasks. That’s where Kuka’s Tesla-building experience and Midea’s home appliance knowledge will come into play.

Rosie and Irona?

So does this mean we’ll soon all be served by the likes of The Jetsons’ Rosie and Richie Rich’s Irona? Maybe.

Of course, Midea has competition. SoftBank, a Japanese telecommunications and internet company, recently announced it had purchased both Boston Dynamics and Schaft, two companies known for their robotics and engineering work. The former is perhaps best known for its legged robots that can navigate the uneven terrain humans occupy successfully.

SoftBank’s humanoid robot Pepper is so far mostly used in retail settings because its hands are only used for gesturing and not for completing actual tasks. Pepper is friendly and personable, though, which makes it approachable, a key element if developers want shoppers to ask it questions. With the Boston Dynamics and Schaft teams working to improve Pepper’s design, the bot may be able to expand its repertoire of skills very soon.

That kind of team effort is likely what Kuka and Midea are working to establish. It seems like a smart combination, but don’t count on flight capabilities or a New York accent from these first robo-housekeepers. We’ll need to work our way up to that.

The post The Company That Builds Robots for Tesla Wants to Put a Bot in Your Home appeared first on Futurism.

This robot just gets us

The post This Robot Just Gets Us appeared first on Futurism.

This orb drone could be used to deliver anything…including people!

The post This Orb Drone Could Be Used to Deliver Anything…Including People! appeared first on Futurism.

New Tech Race

The 20th century space race ushered in some of the most significant scientific discoveries of the era. Now, the efforts of private companies like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin, as well as traditional governmental agencies like NASA, have sparked a new space race that’s bringing about next-level space technologies.

However, the Space Race 2.0 isn’t the only technological competition in the world today — the smartest minds across the globe are competing to create the most powerful supercomputer on the planet.

Since 1996, the United States has consistently been home to one of the three fastest supercomputers in the world. Unfortunately for the U.S., that streak has ended as the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Titan supercomputer has been bumped to the number four slot. The Swiss National Supercomputing Centre’s Piz Daint now holds the bronze following an upgrade involving the addition of Nvidia GPUs.

Go Speed Racer

The U.S. is not taking this bump to fourth place lying down. Last week, the DOE announced that it was making $258 million available to help fund the next big supercomputer.

China’s Most Ambitious Sci-Tech Projects [Infographic]
Click to View Full Infographic

According to MIT Technology Review, the U.S. government expects to have a system that can perform one quintillion operations per second by 2021. That would be 50 times faster than Titan and 10 times faster than China’s TaihuLight, the current world leader.

Of course, the rest of the world won’t spend the next four years content with what they’ve already created. China is looking to further cement its place at the top of the supercomputing heap by heavily investing in the next generation of supercomputers. The nation is even setting a more ambitious goal for itself than the U.S. — they believe their more powerful machine will be ready by 2020.

Ultimately, this race for the world’s most powerful supercomputer will benefit us all, as the devices will help humanity with everything from healthcare to predicting the weather. Truly, there are no losers when innovation is the goal.

The post The U.S. Is Investing $258 Million to Build a More Powerful Supercomputer appeared first on Futurism.

Advancing API

Attention all developers, researchers, and enthusiasts: Google has announced that they will be releasing a new . API is, simply put, a set of rules and tools to help build software. Google’s new TensorFlow object detection API is designed to make it easier to identify objects using images. The API includes models that are designed to work on even on comparatively simple devices, like smartphones.

Simplifying machine learning models is proving to be essential for advancing API and machine learning technologies. We don’t all have massive desktop setups with our own servers capable of handling just about anything. While it’s possible to run them through the cloud, that usually proves to be abysmally slow, and also requires an internet connection. That means that in order to make these models more accessible to the average consumer, they’ll need to be simplified.

Keeping that in mind, Google intends for this new API to be extremely user-friendly, allowing anyone and everyone with a basic computer or smartphone to explore the world of machine learning.

Applying the API

We know that this new API can be used to identify objects by using images, but beyond being amusing, could that actually be useful in our everyday lives? As it turns out — yes, it likely could be. This type of API could lead to advancement in facial recognition, landmark detection, as well as the most obvious — object identification. These seemingly basic tools will continue to become essential in many different fields. From information services to law enforcement and even just daily digital tasks, these seemingly small strides in the progression and simplification of machine learning will only continue to push us forward.

Aside from Google’s development of the API and launch of TensorFlow lite, a streamlined version of the machine learning framework, other companies have been creating mobile models, too: Facebook has used the tech to build its Caffe2Go framework and subsequently Facebook’s Style Transfer, and Apple released CoreML, which aims to help run these models on iOS devices. Piece by piece, machine learning is moving closer to individual accessibility.

The post Google Announces New API That Can Detect and Identify Objects Using Images appeared first on Futurism.

This gel gives robots an extremely accurate sense of touch

The post This Gel Gives Robots an Extremely Accurate Sense of Touch appeared first on Futurism.

The 2011 meltdown of the Fukushima Da-Ichi nuclear power plant was a disaster of outrageous proportions. Triggered by a massive earthquake, the meltdown forced tens of thousand of people to evacuate their homes. The cleanup effort is ongoing and has been employing robots to help remove the radioactive fuel still trapped within the ruins of the facility.

Past robots used in the effort have consistently run into issues given the intense radiation on the site. Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) has made progress in the removal of some of the spent fuel rods, but some melted fuel rods have managed to evade detection.

A new remote-controlled robot, however, is hoping to help locate those melted rods while also surveying the structural damage to the facility. Once the rods are located, the team will have to study the best way to safely remove them. The robot is about the size of a loaf of bread.

Radiation levels in the plant continue to make it impossible for humans to complete the cleanup. One robot, known as the “scorpion” probe, was exposed to radiation levels of 1,000 Sievert, which would kill a human in a matter of seconds. Robotics give humans control in these impossible conditions.

The post Toshiba Has Unveiled a Swimming Robot to Assist in the Fukushima Cleanup appeared first on Futurism.

Life From Above

Drones are becoming a ubiquitous technology with their increasing capabilities. Amazon is using them to deliver packages, Japanese innovators have created pollinator drones, and drones are even being used as backup dancers for pop stars. There are even drones emerging that could help to save lives.

One such drone is being developed by Flypulse, a Swedish startup working on an autonomous drone that can bring life-saving equipment to the scene of a medical emergency. Its has the ability to deliver Automated External Defibrillators (AED) at an incredible speed — four times faster than an ambulance.

Image credit: Flypulse
Image Credit: Flypulse

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), each year more than 350,000 people suffer from cardiac arrest outside of a hospital in the United States. Only 12 percent of victims survive through hospital discharge. To help battle this, the AHA recommends that the public has access to defibrillation. However, the AEDs are not cheap, so there could be a cost barrier to acquiring one.

Savior Bots

Devices like Flypulse’s LifeDrone-AED allow for first responders to get the technology to the victims long before they may be able to arrive themselves. Jacob Hollenberg, of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, set up the test for the drone. Hollenberg and his team reported in the journal of the American Medical Association that the drone’s average flight time was 5 minutes, 25 seconds, compared to the 22 minutes it took to dispatch an ambulance to the same locations.

The Top 12 Benefits of Drones: Emergency Response, Animal Protection, and More
Click to View Full Infographic

Hollenberg said in an interview with the New Scientist, “If we can decrease the time in cardiac arrest from collapse to defibrillation by a few minutes, hundreds of lives would be saved each year.”

The LifeDrone-AED is not the only potentially life-saving drone from Flypulse. The company is also developing the LifeDrone-WATER to aid in the location and assistance of drowning victims, as well as the LifeDrone-FIRE that will provide “fire and incident overview.” Such technology could make a significant difference in communities around the world. These drones are just one example of the many ways drone technology is not only enriching our lives, but also preserving them.

The post Life-Saving Drones Can Beat Ambulances to Heart Attack Victims appeared first on Futurism.

This mech suit can run over 20mph and jump 10 feet in the air.

The post This Racing Mech Suit Can Actually Move appeared first on Futurism.

Thanks to technological innovation, machines are learning how humans do things—they’re also learning how to do it better.

The post This New Era of Automation Is Going to Completely Transform Our Way of Life appeared first on Futurism.

Disclosure: The Dubai Future Foundation works in collaboration with Futurism and is one of our sponsors.

Dubai is set to introduce the newest member of their police force: a 5-foot, 5-inch [165.1 cm], 222-pound [100.698 kg] robot which will be equipped with facial recognition technology and have the ability to broadcast live video feeds. The first model, which will begin patrolling the streets of the futuristic city today, will not be on the front lines making arrests, but will be interacting with the community. Residents of Dubai will be able to report crimes, pay fines, and ask the robot questions (though what sort of questions is unclear).

The head of Dubai’s Police Tech division told reporters at the Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference that “by 2030, [Dubai is] keen to make robots around 25% of the total police force.” Though this may sound like the beginning of a dystopian novel, this is not the first robot in use by a police force.

The Laws of Robotics [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Police departments in the United States use robots for training purposes and also utilize bomb-diffusing robots that were first created for the American military. In 2016, the Cleveland Police used robots to patrol the Republican National Convention, while police in Dallas outfitted a robot with a bomb to kill a sniper after losing numerous police lives. South Korea has robot prison guards, and Israeli police use robots in their counter-terrorism unit.

While this is not the first robot to be put into use by police, it is the first that will be ever present on the streets of a city that will eventually be able to make arrests and have all of the responsibilities of a regular cop. The rollout will happen over the next decade, so hopefully that will be enough time to work out any kinks — including robots’ lack of human empathy. And, as these robots have recording capabilities, make sure none of them document any PDA on video.

The post Dubai’s Newest Addition to the Police Force: A Robot appeared first on Futurism.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Actually, it’s a little bit of both.

Canada’s Edmonton International Airport (YEG) is planning to deploy robotic falcons in a novel attempt to prevent bird strikes at the airport. The mechanical birds of prey will patrol Edmonton’s runways, scaring away small birds that might otherwise nest nearby passing planes.

The drone birds — made by Netherlands-based Clear Flight Solutions — mimic real falcons, with a detailed feather print and beating wings. Flying in figure-eight patterns alongside airport runways, they will be operated remotely by trained pilots.

Bio-Robots: Animal-Inspired Machines
Click to View Full Infographic

“By mimicking their natural counterparts through silhouette and behavior, they are indistinguishable from real-life birds of prey to other birds,” said Wessel Straatman, a research and development engineer for Clear Flight Solutions. “Birds instinctively react to the presence of birds of prey, making it less attractive for them to come to that area,” he told Digital Trends.

Airport officials hope that their new fleet of on-the-go scarecrows will help make Edmonton safer for birds and planes alike. Bird strikes are a major problem in the aviation world; the FAA reported over 56,000 incidents from 2011 to 2015. For small planes, bird strikes can cause structural damage — especially to their windows; larger passenger jets can suffer engine failure if birds are sucked into their turbines.

Edmonton has not yet announced when it expects to roll out its robotic falcons, but officials have indicated that once deployed, the drones will become a part of the airport’s daily operations.

The post Canadian Airport to Use Robotic Falcons to Stop Bird Strikes appeared first on Futurism.

Surprise Acquisition

This week, Japanese electronics and robotics giant SoftBank, the company behind the Pepper robot, announced its acquisition of two robotics companies from Google owner Alphabet. The two firms now under SoftBank are Boston Dynamics, the brains behind Big Dog and the walking humanoid robots ATLAS and Handle, and bipedal robot maker Schaft — they’re so secretive even accessing their website is difficult.

The Quest For Lifelike Robots
Click to View Full Infographic

While the move comes as a bit of a surprise, it’s not entirely unexpected. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son shed some light on the decision in a press release: “There are many issues we still cannot solve by ourselves with human capabilities. Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the Information Revolution, and Marc [Raibert] and his team at Boston Dynamics are the clear technology leaders in advanced dynamic robots.”

For his part, Boston Dynamics CEO Marc Raibert was equally thrilled, likely due in part to the longstanding rumors that Alphabet and Google have wanted to sell his company for some time while now. “We at Boston Dynamics are excited to be part of SoftBank’s bold vision and its position creating the next technology revolution, and we share SoftBank’s belief that advances in technology should be for the benefit of humanity,” the press release quotes him as saying.

Of Robots and Singularities

The companies are being quiet about the details of the deal, and Schaft didn’t provide any comment whatsoever. At any rate, SoftBank’s acquisition of yet two more robotics companies seems to be part of Son’s commitment to ensuring that the Singularity happens by 2047. The Japanese CEO has been very vocal about this goal, even acquiring a microchip firm back in October 2016 to help usher in that supposed moment when artificially intelligent machines surpass human levels of reasoning.

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = “//”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));

This robot is absolutely terrifying

Boston Dynamics’ new robot is terrifying science fiction brought to life.

Posted by Futurism on Monday, February 27, 2017

While that’s still decades away, the more immediate impact of SoftBank’s new deal will perhaps arrive in the form of better robotics. “I am thrilled to welcome [Boston Dynamics] to the SoftBank family and look forward to supporting them as they continue to advance the field of robotics and explore applications that can help make life easier, safer, and more fulfilling,” Son said.

“We look forward to working with SoftBank in our mission to push the boundaries of what advanced robots can do and to create useful applications in a smarter and more connected world.” added Raibert. The company has already delivered a somewhat terrifying example of sci-fi brought to life, so who knows what they’ll be able to achieve with the backing of a huge corporation like SoftBank.

The post Alphabet Just Sold Two Companies to a CEO Who Wants to Speed up the Singularity appeared first on Futurism.

Vision of the Future

Apple revealed its 10-year plan for the future this week.

If you don’t remember that slide from the hours of presentations Apple executives made onstage during the company’s developer conference on Monday, you’re not alone.

Apple didn’t explicitly call it a 10-year plan. And the company was very subtle about how it showed this road map.

But look closely, and it’s easy to see.

Instead of introducing flashy new products that will change your life today, this year’s WWDC conference was all about putting the pieces in place for what comes next.

It’s a Trojan-horse strategy — sneak the seeds for the next breed of technology products into the stuff that we’re already using.

A new augmented reality platform, virtual reality development tools, the HomePod speaker, and improvements to iOS 11 on the iPad may not feel revolutionary or even particularly useful right now, but they are the building blocks for the technologies Apple is betting will power our future.

Let’s break it down:

Augmented Reality

Image source: Apple

Ask most tech companies which product will replace the smartphone and the answer will probably revolve around a wearable device for “augmented reality,” the tech that overlays digital images on the real world.

Microsoft has the HoloLens headset. Google has Project Tango for Android devices and, one day, headgear like Google Glass. Facebook announced its AR ambitions a few months ago, and Mark Zuckerberg even said AR glasses would replace the need for most screens in your life one day.

Apple’s approach is different.

There weren’t any AR goggle demos or TED-talk-esque prophecies about how a pair of glasses will soon be the only computer you need. Instead, Apple is starting with something already very familiar: the iPhone and a new way for developers to build AR apps for the phone. When iOS 11 becomes available on tens of millions of Apple devices this fall, Apple will immediately have the largest AR platform. Even better, it’ll be on the devices that people already use — not futuristic glasses or headsets. Apple will get a major advantage over its AR competitors with one simple software update.

That won’t be a game changer right away of course, and it certainly won’t deliver the kind of jaw-dropping experience being developed by companies like Magic Leap. AR-enabled iPhones will mostly mean some cool games and entertainment apps at first. Pikachu will look more realistic in “Pokémon Go.” You’ll be able to build virtual Lego models on your coffee table. The rainbow puke in your Snapchat selfies will look even better.

But AR on the iPhone sets Apple up for the long run by building a base of developers already dedicated to the platform who want to make stuff for the largest number of users they can. If and when Apple decides to take AR to the next level with a pair of smart glasses or something else, it’ll be in a better position than companies trying to win over developers.

Virtual Reality

Apple has been hesitant to get involved with virtual reality, even as the rest of the tech industry seemed to be hyperventilating over its prospects. But now the time feels right for Apple, and it’s offering a new set of tools in the coming macOS Sierra software that it says will let developers connect VR headsets and create 3D and VR content.

This isn’t about attracting gamers and VR enthusiasts to the Mac. This is about making sure Apple’s most dedicated class of users has the tools it needs to create the content of the future. Apple has historically been the platform of choice for digital artists, filmmakers, and other professionals, and adding VR development tools will make sure those users have what they need and don’t abandon Apple.

HomePod and Ambient Computing

HomePod, the new Amazon Echo competitor, is Apple’s biggest new Trojan horse of all.

Even though Apple focused on HomePod’s music capabilities and pitched it as a new kind of home stereo, it undersold the rest of the real potential. HomePod is also Apple putting Siri in your home in a new way and making a long-term play for the concept of ambient computing, in which everything you own is connected and powered by an underlying artificial intelligence.

HomePod is a way to put Siri everywhere else when you’re not looking at your iPhone, typing on your Mac, listening to your AirPods, or tracking your workout on your Apple Watch. HomePod is Apple creeping into the rest of your life under the guise of a really nice Wi-Fi stereo. Apple may be focusing on music now with HomePod, but it’s also sneaking in a lot of Amazon Echo-like features like controlling your connected appliances and getting updates from Siri.

That said, it’s pretty clear why Apple would want to bury the AI features of HomePod. Pitching it as a digital assistant instead of a music player will only open up Apple to more criticism about how it is falling behind in AI compared with Google and Amazon. Apple’s Siri is still much less capable as a virtual assistant than the offerings from Amazon and Google, and Apple has a lot more work to do to catch up. But there’s no question that AI is a big area of investment for Apple, and HomePod will play an important role in this strategy as Apple makes progress.

iOS 11 on iPad

Image credit: Apple

The biggest news with iOS 11 wasn’t on the iPhone. It was on the iPad.

Apple has finally started making improvements to the software that help turn the iPad into the laptop replacement the company has been promising for years. There’s a new file-storage system, an app dock similar to the one on Mac, the ability to drag and drop content in between apps, and apps that float in separate windows. The iPad is starting to feel less like a giant iPhone and more like a touch-screen Mac.

There’s still a lot of work to do. The iPad Pro’s keyboard isn’t as good as the one on a normal laptop, and it’s now up to developers to build compelling apps that take advantage of all the new iOS 11 features and give people a better reason to ditch their laptop for an iPad. The new 10.5-inch iPad is a small move in the right direction because its larger size allows for a full-size keyboard, but it’s still not enough.

But Apple is inching closer toward its ultimate goal of creating a super thin and portable laptop replacement, and iOS 11 feels like a huge milestone.

What’s Next

A lot of this stuff may not work out. We’re in a period of relatively flat innovation across most of the tech industry, where new gizmos improve only incrementally each year. It’s impossible to tell which wild idea will actually end up taking off and which will fizzle. (Two years ago everyone thought smartwatches were going to revolutionize the tech industry, after all. Now that’s barely part of the conversation.)

In some sense, Apple’s latest batch of WWDC announcements feels underwhelming, as if Apple is dabbling in various areas rather than making a bold move in any one direction. But the company’s vision for the future is already being etched into its products. Just look closely; it’s right in front of you.

The post Tim Cook Reveals Apple’s 10-Year Plan For Future Tech appeared first on Futurism.

A new Wi-Fi enabled system developed by Delta Five could revolutionize how the service industry deals with unwanted bug problems. Its new Automated Insect Monitoring (AIM) device is a small, three-inch box that hooks up to existing Wi-Fi and constantly monitors the space around it using internal cameras, which are activated whenever they detect motion. In other words, it’ll be able to see when an insect enters the device. The insects are lured into the device using heat, vapors, pheromones or other substances that are odorless and will not intrude on a guests’ vacation by being in the same room with them. Once an insect enters the box, a picture is taken and is immediately sent to a provided email or phone number.

As CNBC reports, this device could help hotel chains, cruise ships, homes and offices, among other public places, detect insects and bed bugs before they become an issue, which could be huge for hotel chains that could lose customers over bed bug issues. Normally, hotels have to hire exterminators or dogs to find and eradicate bed bugs, but this could keep the pesky insects from spreading while also saving hotels a lot of money thanks to early detection. It’s also great news for consumers as well, who will hopefully sleep tight and never have to worry about letting the bed bugs bite again.

The post A New Automated Insect Monitoring System Uses WiFi To Defend Your Home appeared first on Futurism.

Rumors Are Swirling

Today, Apple is holding its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote. As we wait for the event to begin, let us take a moment to dive into the pool of swirling speculation that always forms before these announcements.

One of the biggest things that’s expected to be revealed is a move toward mixed reality glasses – a la the now defunct Google Glass. Rumors are surfacing regarding just how deep into mixed reality these glasses might go. Will they be on par with Google Glass or a more ambitious project – like what is being developed by Microsoft or MagicLeap? Whatever way Apple goes, it could be a formative moment in the future of augmented and mixed reality, considering the sway the company has over consumers.

The keynote will also undoubtedly bring upgrades to current, well-established products like the iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and reportedly even the iMac.

Apple Unveils it All

As Apple CEO Tim Cook noted during the opening speech, the size of the company, and its reach, is truly impressive: “We now have 16 million registered developers around the world. We added 3 million last years alone.”

We will be updating this article live as the conference continues.

  • Apple Watch is getting some “exiting updates.” watchOS 4 includes updates to the watch face, which will now be powered by Siri intelligence. Siri intelligence will automatically display the information that is relevant to you on Apple watch using advanced machine learning technologies.
  • Activity notifications in watchOS 4 will be more personalized. Monthly challenges will be included, as will celebrations when goals are hit.
  • Adding workouts via Apple Watch will be easier, as will the ability to do multiple workouts in a single session.
  • This fall, Apple Watch-enabled equipment will roll out at some of the world’s biggest gyms.
  • The watchOS 4 update will be free this fall.
  • Craig Federighi noted that the next generation of the operating system on the Mac will be called “High Sierra.”
  • Safari is the world’s fastest desktop browser with High Sierra, 80% faster than Chrome.
  • Safari will block all autoplays, and it will have “intelligent tracking prevention,” using machine learning to identify trackers and protect your privacy.
  • The new OS recognizes far more faces and will synchronize face naming across all devices.
  • They’re opening up printing services to third parties, including Shutterfly and Whitewall.
  • Apple File System is coming to the OS as the new default. It’s safer, includes built-in crash protection, and is ultra responsive.
  • Has 40% better compression for videos, allowing you to preserve all the details on your videos.
  • A new version of Metal, Metal 2, is a 10x improvement in draw call throughput.
  • Metal 2 will be applicable for external graphics, and High Sierra will include Metal for VR.
  • A developer beta of High Sierra is available today, and it will be available on all systems as a free update this fall.
  • The iMac display is going to be 43% brighter and will support 10-bit dithering, supporting 1 billion colors.
  • Memory capacity will double, and SSD options will be 50% faster.
  • Moving to discrete graphics, yielding major performance increases.
  • John Knoll from Industrial Light & Magic demonstrates that the new iMac updates allow users to create content within a VR experience.
  • For the first time ever, Apple is offering a 4K iMac that starts at just $1,299.
  • Apple is updating seven of the most popular Macs, all shipping today, and they’re free of harmful chemicals, highly recyclable, and meet other environmental standards.
  • New iMac Pro is in a base gray finish and is “the most powerful Mac ever made.”
  • iMac Pro will ship with 8-core, 10-core, or 18-core Xeon Processor.
  • For the first time, the iMac will have built-in 10GB Ethernet.
  • Building a comparable system today would cost $7,000+. The iMac pro will cost $4,999 and will be available in December.
  • iOS 11 is a “big one.”
  • Messages will have a redesigned app drawer.
  • Messages are automatically synchronized across devices.
  • Apple Pay will be available in more than 50% of U.S. retailers by the end of the year.
  • Apple Pay for person-to-person payments is being integrated as an iMessage app.
  • Siri will get a voice upgrade, and a male voice is also available.
  • Siri can offer voice translation from English to Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
  • Siri in iOS 11 uses “on-device learning” to better understand the user’s needs, and these insights are synced across devices.
  • Camera updates include 2X better compression for camera captured videos. JPEG capture is replaced with HEIF.
  • Camera also includes updates for low-light photos, true tone flash, optical image stabilization, and more.
  • The control center is getting a major redesign. It’s now a single page and includes 3D depth.
  • Lock screen and the notification center are now one.
  • Users can now capture a single frame from a live photo, as well as create loops, bounces, long exposures, and more.
  • Siri in iOS 11 uses machine learning to spot your interests and make recommendations. It will also use this knowledge to make word suggestions in Messages.
  • Maps gives enhanced information when you arrive at locations such as malls and airports.
  • Navigation now offers lane guidance and speeds.
  • iOS 11 will offer Do Not Disturb While Driving, which will eliminate notifications while driving. It can also be configured to send replies to messages, letting the sender know you are driving.
  • HomeKit offers a secure way to control your smart devices, such as locks, lights, and fans. Speakers has been added, letting you configure your multi-room audio.
  • New Share It Up Next feature allows your friends to add songs to a playlist without interrupting the current song.
  • Apple Music now lets you know what your friends are listening to.
  • New API: MusicKit for Apple Music.
  • The App Store is getting a complete redesign.
  • The App Store will have a new tab for app discovery, named Today, while Games will have its own tab. The general Apps tab will include dedicated features and charts, and every app will have a product page with new features. In-app purchases will be included right in the App Store as well.
  • Machine learning is being used throughout Apple’s products, and they want to share it with developers via Vision API, Natural Language API, and others built on Core ML.
  • Apple has a new core technology for developers called ARKit, which will be “the largest AR platform in the world.”
  • Alasdair Coull from Wingnut AR, Peter Jackson’s AR company, calls ARKit “a real game changer.”
  • Greg Jozwiak shares the updates to the iPad Pro. The 13-inch iPad Pro is being joined by a 10.5-inch display, with a 40% reduction in borders from the 9.7-inch. Allows for the display of a full-size onscreen keyboard and a full-size smart keyboard with support for 30 languages.
  • ProMotion feature is the “biggest breakthrough,” according to Jozwiak. Typical 60Hz refresh rate is being doubled to 120Hz.
  • ProMotion improves Apple Pencil, reducing latency to an “industry best” 10 milliseconds.
  • A10X in the new iPad Pro provides 30% faster CPU performance and 40% faster graphic performance.
  • Updated iPad Pro still has the same 10-hour battery life and still weighs one pound.
  • iPad Pro supports USB 3 and fast charging.
  • Both iPad sizes will start with 64GB of memory.
  • The iPad Dock with iOS 11 is “more powerful than ever.”
  • New App Switcher preserves spaces with app pairings.
  • Drag and Drop is being added to iPad.
  • You can flick on keys in the keyboard to access punctuation and numbers.
  • New iPad app: Files. Supports “everything you’d expect,” including iCloud, Dropbox, etc.
  • Apple Pencil is integrated deeply into the iPad with iOS 11. Screenshots can be instantly marked up and shared. Notes has a built-in document scanner, and handwritten text in Notes is searchable thanks to deep learning. Pencil markup has also been integrated into Mail.
  • Craig Federighi: iOS 11 is available for developers today and will be available for everyone in the Fall.
  • Tim Cook: “We want to reinvent home music.”
  • Apple plans to deliver a “breakthrough home speaker” later this year: HomePod.
  • HomePod just under 7-inches tall, includes a seven beam-forming tweeter array with directional control. It has a 4-inch woofer and is controlled by an Apple A8 chip, “perhaps the biggest brain ever in a speaker,” according to Philip Schiller.
  • HomePod works with Apple Music to get music directly from the Cloud.
  • Uses a six microphone array to pick up and respond to your voice commands or questions.
  • Siri can give you updates on weather, sports, traffic, or more via HomePod, not just assist you with music.
  • HomeKit can also be controlled via HomePod using voice commands.
  • HomePod will be priced at $349, available in white or space gray, and will start shipping in certain locations in December.
  • Michelle Obama will be joining the open session tomorrow, talking about “empowering people from all walks of life to change the world.”

The post LIVE: Everything You Need to Know from Apple’s Developers Conference appeared first on Futurism.

These robot arms are so graceful that you’ll wonder how they’re, well, robots

The post These Are the Most Sophisticated Robot Arms Yet appeared first on Futurism.

4D printed objects change their shape automatically in response to temperature fluctuations. This is only the beginning of a promising new field that will program movements into objects, without the need for motors or power sources.

The post These 3D-Printed Objects Are Actually 4D appeared first on Futurism.

You can now drop your vehicle right at the parking garage entrance and Stan will pick it up from there. The robot can stack up to five cars in a single line, which increases parking lot capacities by up to 50%.

The post Meet the Robot That Can Valet Park Your Car appeared first on Futurism.

Meet the world’s first robocops

The post Meet the World’s First Robocops appeared first on Futurism.


On Wednesday, May 24, Dubai will launch a new police robot that marks the first phase of the integration of robots into the police force. This modified version of the REEM robot (Designed by PAL robotics and unveiled in 2011) is capable of feeding video to a command center, forwarding reported crimes to police, settling fines, facial recognition, and speaking nine languages. It will operate at most malls and tourist attractions.

Dubai hopes robots will constitute 25 percent of its police force by 2030, with the next stage being to use them as receptionists in police stations. Brigadier Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi, General Director of Dubai Police’s Smart Services Department, told CNN that they eventually want to release a “fully-functional robot that can work as [a] normal police officer.”

A New Sheriff In Town?

Robotic police officers or soldiers are old sci-fi idea, but they are becoming more and more of a reality. In February, China started using the AnBot that uses facial recognition to identify criminals and is capable of following them until the police arrive. The Russian robot, Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research (FEDOR), has prompted comparisons to Robocop when a video showed it shooting with deadly accuracy, lifting dumbbells, and walking.

The World’s Police Robots [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

The biggest ethical concern raised by these developments concerns who is culpable if a robot makes the wrong decision and hurts someone in a criminal situation. Elon Musk, Steven Hawking, and other prolific scientists have identified AI as a serious existential risk, arguing that robots should never be allowed to kill people.

Alan Winfield, professor of robot ethics at the University of West England, writes about this issue on his Blog. “The problem is that you can’t make a machine responsible for its mistakes,” Winfeild said in an interview with CNN. “How do you punish it? How do you sanction it? You can’t.”

Disclosure: The Dubai Future Foundation works in collaboration with Futurism and is one of our sponsors.

The post Dubai Wants Robots to Make up 25% of Its Police Force by 2030 appeared first on Futurism.

Jane Kim, a San Francisco politician, has started exploring a tax on automated workers to combat inequality.

The post Should Robots Pay Taxes? appeared first on Futurism.

This complex sensor can monitor pretty much all of the activity in your home, by sensing temperature fluctuation, electricity use, sounds, movement, and duration of events. It’s a foundation on which to build truly “Smart” homes, where activities are tracked, remote-controlled, and automated as the user sees fit. For now, it’s a great way to monitor the events in a busy home, workshop, or business. The SuperSensor secures all user data and doesn’t transmit it to the Cloud.

The post This Supersensor Knows More About Your House Than You Do appeared first on Futurism.

Breakthrough Technology

Speakers can be bulky, especially the more powerful ones. So, what if it were possible to enjoy your favorite sounds, say in an event or a party, without the hassle of setting up such massive devices? It could be, with a new device developed by scientists from the Michigan State University (MSU), which they’re calling a ferroelectret nanogenerator, or FENG for short.

This flexible and paper-thin device wasn’t originally meant to be a speaker. Back in its inception in late 2016, FENG was developed to be  “the first transducer that is ultra-thin, flexible, scalable and bidirectional, meaning it can convert mechanical energy to electrical energy and electrical energy to mechanical energy,” said Nelson Sepulveda of MSU. It was able to power a keyboard, LED lights, and an LCD touch-screen.

Now, in a study published in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers showed how FENG could also work as a microphone and as a loudspeaker.

*3* This Light-Weight Device Can Turn Just About Anything Into a Speaker

A Flag With Sounds

Eager to determine just how well FENG could convert sound to electrical energy and vice-versa, Sepulveda’s team conducted two tests. For its loudspeaker effect, they embedded FENG into an MSU Spartan flag. They patched it to an amplifier connected to an iPad to play music. “The flag itself became the loudspeaker,” Sepulveda said. “So we could use it in the future by taking traditional speakers, which are big, bulky and use a lot of power, and replacing them with this very flexible, thin, small device.” As a microphone, the FENG fabric can be turned into a security patch that utilizes voice recognition to access a computer.

The potential uses for FENG aren’t limited to security patches and loudspeakers, or to voice-activated newspapers. The technology could also be used to develop noise-cancelling sheets and voice-protected health-monitoring wearables said Wei Li, lead author of the study. “Many people are focusing on the sight and touch aspects of flexible electronics,” he explained, “but we’re also focusing on the speaking and listening aspects of the technology.”

Indeed, FENG could be the foundation for next-generation audio devices and so much more. It could eventually help to create foldable loudspeakers, voice-activated security patches for computers, and even talking newspapers. It could also help to make smartphones thinner than ever, by incorporating the speakers and mic into the screen itself.

The post New Flexible, Lightweight Device Lets You Transform Anything Into a Speaker appeared first on Futurism.

Quantum Computing Leaps

Due to their complexity, quantum computers are still largely inaccessible for the average person, which is why developers and programmers jumped at the chance to test out IBM’s five qubit quantum computing processor when the company offered the public free access to it last year, running more than 300,000 experiments on the cutting-edge machine.

Now, the company is taking the tech to the next level, announcing yesterday that it has built and tested its two most powerful platforms for quantum computing to date: the 16 qubit Quantum Experience universal computer and a 17 qubit commercial processor prototype that will serve as the core for its IBM Q commercial system.

IBM’s Newest Quantum Computing Processors Have Triple the Qubits of Their Last

IBM’s 16 qubit processor will make far more complex computations possible without breaking a symbolic quantum sweat. Once again, the company is hoping that developers, programmers, researchers, and anyone working in the field will make use of the platform. To that end, anyone interested in using it for experiments to help usher in the age of quantum computing is encouraged to visit GitHub’s Software Development Kit to request beta access. Otherwise, they can simply access the IBM experience library to play around with the technology.

Of course, IBM is far from satisfied with just 16 or 17 qubits. The company hopes to significantly ratchet up the power with a goal of achieving a 50 qubit quantum computing platform — or maybe one with even more power — in the next few years.

Beta Testing and Beyond

Quantum computing technology has the capacity to solving extraordinarily complex problems — problems that in many cases may be difficult for us to even conceive of right now. This potential has been propelling research forward at a remarkable rate, with researchers smashing through milestone after milestone along the path toward commercial quantum computing.

Meet The Most Powerful Computers in the World
Click to View Full Infographic

In August 2016, a quantum logic gate with an amazing 99.9 percent precision was achieved, removing a critical theoretical benchmark. Meanwhile, researchers used microwave signals to encode quantum computing data, offering an alternative to optical solutions. In October 2016, researchers used silicon atoms to produce qubits that remained in stable superposition 10 times longer than any qubits before them.

However, as each technical barrier has fallen, the need for public collaboration has become more apparent. In January, Canadian quantum computing company D-Wave open-sourced its own quantum software tool, Qbsolv, allowing programmers to work on a quantum system whether or not they had any prior experience with quantum computing. With IBM now offering an even-more-powerful system for experimentation, the public now has at its disposal a tool that could lead to remarkable advancements in nearly every field imaginable. As experts have announced, we truly are now living in the age of quantum computing.

The post IBM’s Newest Quantum Computing Processors Have Triple the Qubits of Their Last appeared first on Futurism.

Meet “Mya”

Mya Systems (short for “my assistant”) has developed an AI that can streamline the recruitment process in multiple ways, including approving resumes, garnering further information on candidates, asking pay-related follow up questions, and scheduling interviews. The AI chatbot — designed to work in tandem with humans rather than replacing them — has the potential to free up human recruiters and lessen the bureaucratic aspects of the hiring process. Its founder, Eyal Grayevesky, told CNN tech that “Recruiters are overwhelmed with so much work because they’re doing boilerplate tasks.” 

Will Automation Steal My Job?
Click to View Full Infographic

Since its launch in 2016, the technology has already been adopted by Fortune 500 companies in banking, consulting and retail sectors: Mya’s website reports that it has been phenomenally successful, averaging a 9.8 out of 10 on overall candidate experience, increasing recruiting output by 200%, and reducing overheads by 80%. An additional $11.8 million in funding, acquired earlier this week, may help Grayevesky achieve his goal of eliminating frictional employment — the market failure of a decrease in efficiency due to people being in between jobs.


Robot Recruiting

Mya provides a new angle on the current debate concerning the ethics of using robots in the workplace: unlike some AI concepts, it does not replace humans, but rather, works with them to improve the overall service. The idea that AI would replace, and displace, human workers has long been controversial: it could put up to 47% of U.S jobs at risk. Presently, the replacement of human workers by AI has most notably already undertaken by BlackRock money. The New York based Construction Robotics created a Semi-Automated Mason, called SAM, that can lay 3,000 bricks per day. Companies like use AI to analyze data and find the best leads for sales teams to follow up on. While the fear of automation looms large in “blue-collar” industries, white-collar industries won’t be completely immune. That being said, because there’s generally more opportunity to shuffle employees around, or slowly phase out jobs, the threat of automation won’t likely feel as dramatic.

When it comes to putting robots to work in any industry, Bill Gates has said that if robots replace humans, they should pay taxes: “If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level” he told Quartz. Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering at Google, argues that this is just another step in an age-old cycle of new jobs being created in response to technological replacement: “We are going to have new types of jobs creating new types of dollars that don’t exist yet and that has been the trend.”

Since Mya’s on the recruiting side, workers won’t be competing with the AI for work. In fact, Mya just might help them nab one of the new jobs being created as technology continues to advance.

The post You May Have to Go Through a Robot Recruiter to Land Your Next Job appeared first on Futurism.

Tiny Space Cube

Not very many people can claim that they’ve sent something they made into space. One of those who will soon be sending his own invention — a 64-gram (0.14-lb) satellite — into sub-orbital flight is an 18-year-old named Rifath Shaarook. His satellite design won a competition hosted by an organization called I Doodle Learning, which is sponsored by NASA and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, called Cubes in Space.

“The main challenge was to design an experiment to be flown to space which would fit into a four-meter cube weighing 64 grams,” Shaarook told Business Standard. He named his tiny winning satellite the KalamSat, after Indian nuclear scientist and former president, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

It’s set to embark on a 4-hour sub-orbital mission, launching from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on June 21. “We designed it completely from scratch,” Shaarook said, “It will have a new kind of on-board computer and eight indigenous built-in sensors to measure acceleration, rotation, and the magnetosphere of Earth.”

Rifath Shaarook Image Credit: A_MURALITHARAN / The Hindu

Pooling Space Minds

Cubes for Space is an example of how NASA’s been actively seeking out talents and minds outside of just the agency. NASA’s also launching a device developed by another teenager to the ISS, to test space-fairing microbes. Apart from getting helped by young inventors like Shaarook, NASA’s also been corrected by a teenager who pointed out an error in some of the agency’s data on energy levels.

NASA also has a program called Open Innovation, where it employs the help of the public “for outside-the-box thinking about human space exploration challenges.” Such crowdsourcing efforts seem to be fruitful for the space agency, and the KalamSat is just one proof.

The KalamSat will spend about 12-minutes in a micro-gravity environment of space, where it will test the durability of its extremely light casing, 3D-printed from reinforced carbon fiber polymer. “The main role of the satellite will be to demonstrate the performance of [3D-printed] carbon fiber,” Shaarook explained to the Times of India. The success of the satellite could lead to the development of similar technology: such lightweight payloads would certainly be more cost-effective for NASA. The space agency is seeking innovative ideas for payload service, too: back in March, they wrapped up an open call for payload concepts for a mysterious mission.

The post A Teen Created the World’s Lightest Satellite & NASA Is Going to Launch It appeared first on Futurism.

Buying a luxury car in Singapore is as easy as purchasing a can of soda or a candy bar. The Southeast Asian city-state is now the home of the world’s largest vehicle vending machine, thanks to pre-owned car retailer Autobahn Motors.

Although the company started off by selling cars via traditional showrooms, it eventually outgrew its early locations and needed to expand, a not-so-easy task given Singapore’s limited space. “We needed to meet our requirement of storing a lot of cars. At the same time, we wanted to be creative and innovative,” Autobahn Motors’ general manager Gary Hong told Reuters.

The solution? A 15-story building that looks like every kid’s Hot Wheels collection — except bigger and more real. The company opened the vending machine for business in December, and it can house 60 of the world’s finest luxury vehicles, modern sports cars, and classics from Ferrari, Bentley, and Porsche. Buyers at the location simply purchase the vehicle they want via an app, and it’s delivered within two minutes.

Not only is this vehicle vending machine a very futuristic concept, it also addresses one of the biggest problems associated with growing cities — limited space. This is leading cities all over the world to look upward for room to expand, with vertical farms, forests, and villages cropping up across the globe. However, amongst these towering creations, Singapore’s vehicular vending machine is still one of a kind.

The post It’s Official. You Can Now Buy Luxury Cars Through a Vending Machine. appeared first on Futurism.

What’s a Chit?

In classical computing, information is stored in bits that are read by physical phenomena like electricity. You might recognize them as 1’s and 0’s, also called binary code. In quantum computing, it’s stored in quantum bits, or “qubits.” However, computers aren’t the only way we can store information: chemistry is also capable. Scientists at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPC PAS) in Warsaw have developed a way in which chemical droplets can store information like bits and qubits in a one-bit chemical memory unit called the “chit.” 

Meet The Most Powerful Computers in the World
Click to View Full Infographic

The chit is made up of three droplets. Between the droplets, chemical reactions take place, circulating cyclically and consistently. This memory is rooted in the Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction, which reacts in an oscillatory manner. Each reaction creates the reagents necessary for the next reaction, continuing ad infinitum. These reactions are helped by a catalyst — ferroin — which causes a color change. There is also a second catalyst — ruthenium — which makes the reaction light sensitive. It’s this light sensitive feature, when blue light is shone upon the reaction, that stops it from oscillating. That’s important, because it allows researchers to control the process.

The Implications

The chit essentially allows for “chemical computing.” So, instead of traditional bits, the components are all chemical. While quantum computing continues to advance, this brand new type of computing could create an entirely new way to store, read, and transfer information.

Everything from smartphone technology to classified digital files depend on our ability to store and read information — the basis of computing. Completely changing the very base of most technology that we rely upon today could have incredible consequences. Perhaps technologies that are currently being developed to battle climate change could face major upgrades and modifications. Perhaps the devices and vehicles that we use to explore space will go through changes as well. This type of advancement could completely revolutionize so much of the technology that we know, and in ways we may not even yet be able to imagine.

The post Researchers Have Just Devised a Way to Store Information in Chemicals appeared first on Futurism.

Building a house by hand can be both time-consuming and expensive. Numerous homebuilders have chosen to automate part of the construction (i.e., by printing the home’s parts) instead.

A new Ukrainian homebuilding startup called PassivDom uses a 3D printing robot that can print parts for tiny houses. The machine can print the walls, roof, and floor of PassivDom’s 380-square-foot model in about eight hours. The windows, doors, plumbing, and electrical systems are then added by a human worker.

When complete, the homes are autonomous and mobile, meaning they don’t need to connect to external electrical and plumbing systems. Solar energy is stored in a battery connected to the houses, and water is collected and filtered from humidity in the air (or you can pour water into the system yourself). The houses also feature an independent sewage system.

PassivDom’s homes, which start at $31,900, are now available for preorder online in Ukraine and the US, and the first ones will be delivered later this year.

Check out the homes below.

PassivDom’s smallest model measures 380 square feet and costs $31,900, designer Maria Sorokina tells Business Insider.


Here’s what the house looks like when you walk in the front door. It’s a large open space with a small kitchen and floor-to-ceiling windows.


This model doesn’t include a separate bedroom, which means residents need a sleeper sofa. A small bathroom is located near the kitchen.


PassivDom offers three models of homes and can make custom models as well. The premium models come with furniture, but the one pictured below comes unfurnished.


The homes also offer the possibility of living off the grid.

“We should have opportunities to live in nature away from civilization, but have comfortable conditions of a traditional house,” Sorokina says. “This technology can allow us to live in the woods, on mountains, or on the shore — far away from people and infrastructure.”


To make a PassivDom home, the team maps out the plan for the 3D printer in its factories in Ukraine and California. Layer by layer, the seven-axel robot prints the roof, floor, and 20-centimeter-thick walls, which are made of carbon fibers, polyurethane, resins, basalt fibers, and fiberglass.


Doors, windows, appliances, an alarm system, solar panels, and the septic, electrical, healing, cooling systems are then added.

Depending on the model, the whole process can take under 24 hours. The design and production of larger houses with more specifications and finishes, like the one below, can take up to a month. If a house is premade, it can be shipped the next day.


The startup believes 3D printing is a cheaper, more efficient way to build homes that it can sell at a (relatively) affordable price. “Over 100 million people do not have a roof over their heads,” Sorokina says. “It is necessary to build more affordable houses.”


PassivDom is not the only company using 3D printing to build homes. The San Francisco-based housing startup Apis Cor, Dus Architects in Amsterdam, as well as Branch Technology from Chattanooga, Tennessee, say they can construct homes in mere days or weeks.

The post A Robot Can Print This $32,000 House in as Little as 8 Hours appeared first on Futurism.

Electrick is a newly developed electrically conductive spray that can turn anything into a touch interface. It will be both available to consumers as well as manufacturers. Because there’s quite literally an infinite number of possible applications for tech like this, it wouldn’t be surprising if this is something that will deeply affect the way people of the future interact with their basic environments.

The post Scientists Designed a Way to Turn Anything into a Touch Surface appeared first on Futurism.

Page 1 of 3:«1 2 3 »