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May 14, 2019

Photo Essay: Tornadoes and Frisky Birds Couldn’t Stop These Delivery Drones

At the Lake Victoria Challenge, cargo drones showed off their capabilities Gif: Johnny Miller In October of 2018, the World Bank and the Government of Tanzania cosponsored the first Lake Victoria Challenge (LVC). Set on the southern shore of Lake Victoria, in the city of Mwanza, the event is intended to promote the development of delivery drones. It’s a good spot for such a gathering; Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa, and the towns and villages scattered across […]
May 9, 2019

Tech Expedition: East Africa’s Big Bet on Drones

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May 7, 2019

This Robot Hummingbird Is Almost as Agile as the Real Thing

Purdue roboticists have built a bio-inspired micro air vehicle that flies much like a real hummingbird Hummingbirds are some of the most nimble fliers on Earth. Their speed and agility are spectacular, driven by the complex muscles that control their wings. This is a difficult system for robots to emulate, and in general, the small winged robots that we’ve seen have relied on compromises in control in order to be able to use flapping wings for flight. At Purdue University’s […]
May 6, 2019

These Robotic Objects Are Designed to Be Stabbed and Beaten to Help You Feel Better

Cathartic objects help users physically express strong emotional states At a human-computer interaction conference this week in Glasgow, U.K., Carnegie Mellon University researcher Michal Luria is presenting a paper on “Challenges of Designing HCI for Negative Emotions.” The discussion includes a case study involving what Luria calls “cathartic objects”: robotic contraptions that you can beat, stab, smash, and swear at to help yourself feel better.
May 1, 2019

Hearables Will Monitor Your Brain and Body to Augment Your Life

Gadgets tucked inside your ears will make technology more personal than ever before figure.rt.inbetween { border-bottom: 10px solid #03a6e3; } .article-detail article .inlay, .article-detail .inlay.green { border-color: #77c36b; } Illustration: Anders Wenngren The eyes, it’s been said, are windows to the soul. I’d argue that the real portals are the ears. Consider that, at this very moment, a cacophony of biological conversations is blasting through dime-size patches of skin just inside and outside the openings to your ear canals. There, […]
April 30, 2019

In the Air With Zipline’s Medical Delivery Drones

Commercial operations in Rwanda prove the company can deliver emergency blood packs in minutes, rather than hours
 Gif: IEEE Spectrum Special Delivery: Zipline catapults its drones into the sky to deliver blood products to hospitals across Rwanda. The drones drop their cargo by parachute. Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills, and our car seems to go over every one of them as we drive from the small town of Muhanga to the even smaller town of […]
April 25, 2019

NASA's Robonaut to Return to Space Station With Legs Attached

NASA has fixed Robonaut and is nearly ready to send it back to the International Space Station A little over a year ago, we reported on the status of the Robonaut 2 on the International Space Station. Things had not gone all that well for R2 ever since an attempt had been made to install a pair of legs back in 2014, leading to an intermittent power problem that was very hard to diagnose. NASA brought Robonaut back to Earth […]
April 22, 2019

Paris Firefighters Used This Remote-Controlled Robot to Extinguish the Notre Dame Blaze

Colossus can carry heavy hoses into spots that are too dangerous for human firefighters to enter The Paris Fire Brigade has seen its share of logistical challenges, but the massive conflagration that consumed parts of the Notre Dame cathedral on the night of 15 April required a fight of epic proportions. The cathedral is 856 years old and built in a style that makes it almost structurally impossible to contain a fire. The site doubles as both a wildly popular tourist […]
April 16, 2019

NASA Launching Astrobee Robots to Space Station Tomorrow

A pair of autonomous, free-flying robots will be on their way to the ISS It’s been a little over two years since we were first introduced to Astrobee, an autonomous robotic cube designed to fly around the International Space Station. Tomorrow, a pair of Astrobee robots (named Honey and Bumble) will launch to the ISS aboard a Cygnus cargo flight. There’s already a nice comfy dock waiting for them in the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM), and the plan is to […]
April 16, 2019

The Buddy System: Human-Computer Teams

The highest accuracy in face recognition comes through the partnering of a human expert with face recognition software Is that him? Is she the one? A prized attribute among law enforcement specialists, the expert ability to visually identify human faces can inform forensic investigations and help maintain safe border crossings, airports, and public spaces around the world. The field of forensic facial recognition depends on highly refined traits such as visual acuity, cognitive discrimination, memory recall, and elimination of bias. […]