Sustainable agriculture system

The technology company Alphabet’s X lab has launched a computational agriculture project called Mineral. The project is concentrated on large-scale sustainable food production and farming, with a focus on developing and testing a range of software and hardware prototypes based on breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, simulation, sensors, robotics and more. As part of the project, X lab has also developed a new autonomous rover. The electric “Plant Buggy” identifies and maps crops in the field and analyses their properties.

 October 22, 2020

AR goggles for dogs

The U.S. army is trialling augmented reality goggles for dogs. Prototypes of the goggles were made by the U.S. company Command Sight. They can be used for the canine handlers to give the animals visual commands when at a distance or completely out of sight. An in-built camera enables the handlers to follow everything the dog sees in real time. Usually, handlers issue commands to their dogs using hand signals or laser pointers. However, the AR goggles allow the dog to be deployed remotely from its handler.

 October 22, 2020

More privacy in family-tracking app

The family-tracking app Life360 has introduced a feature called Bubbles to give children and teens more privacy. Instead of revealing the member’s exact location, the feature shares a circle representing their whereabouts. Life360 introduced the feature following many complaints about the exact location-tracking feature and it is inspired by conversations with teens on the video platform TikTok. The radius and period of time of a bubble can be adjusted. In the event of an accident, the bubble bursts. If a parent pops a bubble, the family member is notified.

 October 22, 2020

Deepfake acting

Acting roles in deepfake films require a new kind of actor. Together with artificial intelligence companies Canny AI and Respeecher, researchers at MIT have created a deepfake video about a failed Apollo moon landing. They found an actor to play the role of Richard Nixon, who was President of the U.S. at the time. The actor was needed only for the mouth movements. Gender, appearance, age and skin colour don’t matter for the visual part. But to produce audio that is as authentic as possible, an actor with a similar register and accent had to be found.

 October 22, 2020

Sensors printed onto the skin

Researchers at Penn State University have developed the technology to print sensors onto human skin at room temperature, where they measure, for example, body temperature and blood oxygen level. To apply the metallic components without generating heat, the engineers used a sintering aid layer as a kind of buffer, which enables the materials to bond together at low temperatures. The layer consists of a polyvinyl alcohol paste combined with calcium carbonate. Once they have done their job, the sensors can be washed off with water.

 October 22, 2020

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