Inspired by hairy, semiaquatic mammals such as beavers and sea otters, a group of MIT engineers are fabricating fur-like rubbery pelts learn how these mammals stay warm and even dry while diving underwater.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is an independent, coeducational, privately endowed university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Our mission is to advance knowledge; to educate students in science, engineering, and technology; and to tackle the most pressing problems facing the world today. We are a community of hands-on problem-solvers in love with fundamental science and eager to make the world a better place.
The MIT YouTube channel features videos about all types of MIT research, including the robot cheetah, LIGO, gravitational waves, mathematics, and bombardier beetles, as well as videos on origami, time capsules, and other aspects of life and culture on the MIT campus. Our goal is to open the doors of MIT and bring the Institute to the world through video.
As machines become increasingly autonomous by which I mean they can sense their environment and they can make decisions about what to do or what not to do. Of course it’s based on the programming and their experience. But we don’t have as direct control over what they do as we do today with the kinds of technology that we have.
Author and entrepreneur Jerry Kaplan offers an interesting crash course on computational ethics, the idea that robots and machines will require programming to make them cognizant of morals, decorum, manners, and various other social nuances. Jerry Kaplan’s latest book is “Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”
Elon Musk’s grand vision of a Hyperloop system that can transport people and cargo through high-speed vacuum tubes is coming to life in the United Arab Emirates.
The near-supersonic railway would connect the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi with Dubai, the area’s most populous city, in only 12 short minutes. This journey normally requires about two hours of travel by car or train.
Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One and Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority announced their new partnership Tuesday atop Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
“We are here today to sign a historic agreement with our partners from (the Dubai) Road and Transport Authority … and we begin to evaluate the delivery of the world’s first hyperloop system across the country,” Hyperloop One CEO, Rob Lloyd, told reporters.
The Roads and Transport Authority and Hyperloop One have agreed to develop a prototype of the hyperloop and the feasibility of building a hyperloop system that can link the two cities.
Hyperloop One’s vision consists of combining autonomous vehicles with Hyperloop technology, according to a company press release:
“Individuals can commute for limited distances within the city in small self-driving vehicles. These vehicles can then board the Hyperloop train to travel for longer distances—including between cities—with speeds that can reach 1,200 kilometers per hour, exceeding aircraft speed. Hyperloop stations will be spread all around the city, providing easy and convenient access. This would effectively reduce travel time between Dubai and Abu Dhabi to less than 12 minutes, and between Dubai and Riyadh to less than 48 minutes.
“The new technology is set to have positive implications on urban planning; it will economize parking spaces as it changes the way individuals commute within the city, as well as to and from logistical centers such as airports and ports—not to mention the impact it will have on shipping.”
The deal is also meant to help city-state move forward with the “Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy,” which aims to render 25 percent of all transportations in the emirate driverless by 2030.
How the Hyperloop One’s system compares to other transport options. Hyperloop One
Although Tesla CEO Musk came up with the futuristic transport idea back in 2013, he is not affiliated with any hyperloop companies. He has, however, encouraged other private companies to turn his vision into reality. Besides Hyperloop One, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is another firm trying to bring the technology to life.
When asked about the project’s cost, Hyperloop co-founder Josh Giegel told the Associated Pressit would be “somewhere between the cost of putting a road in and a high-speed rail.”
The hyperloop features levitating pods powered by electricity and magnetism that can zip through low-friction pipes at speeds up to 750 mph. Hyperloop One
The Associated Press reported that at Tuesday’s event, Hyperloop officials showed several circular station models for Dubai, including one at Emirates Towers on Dubai’s main artery, Sheikh Zayed Road. Dubai’s Jebel Ali port is also exploring the possibility of using the technology.
Hyperloop One is currently testing the transport system in the Nevada desert.
One of our greatest abilities as humans is to invent and create, so the folks from AsapSCIENCE broke down the 71 most significant innovations of all time, from the invention of the spoken word up to the Hubble Telescope in 1990.
The last one featured in this video is more than 20 years old, so we’re sure there’s a few that came up since that time that should be added, such as the carbon nanotube.
With Tesla’s historic acquisition of SolarCity now pending, Elon Musk has announced two new solar products, including one that could disrupt the roofing industry.
Tesla and SolarCity could change the roofing industry Credit: SolarCity Twitter
As Electrek reported, during a conference call with investors Tuesday, Musk and SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive said they were working on creating a roof made entirely of solar panels—solar shingles, if you will. Instead of tacking on solar panels onto an existing roof, the whole roof itself will be integrated with photovoltaic material.
“I think this is really a fundamental part of achieving differentiated product strategy, where you have a beautiful roof,” Musk said. “It’s not a thing on the roof. It is the roof.”
Rive confirmed the project. According to Electrek, “Rive added that there are 5 million new roofs installed every year in the U.S. and if your roof is about to need to be replaced, you don’t want to invest in solar panels to install on it since you are about to take it down, but if the solar panels are the roof and you need to redo it anyway, there’s no reason not to go with a power-generating roof.”
Roofs certainly don’t last forever. As U.S. News explained, depending on the material, roofs can last more than 50 years but homeowners with roofs made of fiber cement shingles or asphalt shingle/composition roofs can expect a lifespan of 20-25 years. Inclement weather—snow, hail and hurricanes—can cut a roof’s lifespan even shorter.
Asphalt roofs—which are by far the most common in the U.S.—also happen to create about 11 million tons of waste each year. Though inexpensive, asphalt shingles are also a petroleum-basedproduct which carries major environmental impacts. So if a homeowner needed to re-shingle the roof anyway, why not go with shingles that could double as an electricity generator instead and might be better for the environment?
Musk, who is the chairman and largest shareholder of Tesla and SolarCity, said there’s a “huge” market for roofs at the end of their lifespan.
He also said, according to Bloomberg, “If you need to replace your roof in the next five years, you’re not going to get solar. What if your roof looks better and last longer?”
Musk and Rive did not provide exact details on the solar roof, but they are not inventing something brand new if they are proposing to produce solar shingles. Dow’s Powerhouse was the biggest name to forge this path around 2009, but the technology was possibly too expensive and perhaps impractical to take off. The company decided to stop selling this product just this past June.
Electrek deduced that the other new Tesla/SolarCity solar product will be for existing roofs. The two products are expected be unveiled by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, Tesla’s $2.6 billion stock offer for SolarCity awaits shareholder approval. In announcing its decision to combine with SolarCity, Tesla said it has a vision of “creating the world’s only vertically integrated sustainable energy company.”
This article was written by: Lorraine Chow and first appeared on: ecowatch.com