What if a robot had the ability to become kinematically self-aware, in essence, developing its own model, based on observation and analysis of its own characteristics?
Researchers at Columbia University have developed a process in which a robot “can auto-generate its own self model,” that will accurately simulate its forward kinematics, which can be run at any point in time to update and essentially calibrate the robot as it experiences wear, damage, or reconfiguration – thereby allowing an autonomous robotic control system to achieve the highest accuracy and performance. The same self model can then be used to learn additional tasks.
For robots designed to perform critical tasks, it is essential to have an accurate kinematic model describing the robot’s mechanical characteristics.
Source: Researchers Have Taught Robots Self Awareness of Their Own Bodies | Design News
Over the past few years, the world of small robots has expanded considerably. Robots have become affordable for smaller manufacturers. The result is that robots are getting incorporated into the production space with human workers. This is raising safety issues. Standards are getting developed to ensure the safety of workers who interact with robots – or cobots – that are now outside traditional robot cages.
We’re also seeing robots getting connected in industrial IoT. That results in robots interacting with plant machinery and sending data that indicates the operation health of the robot. This connectivity prompts new needs for cybersecurity.
Start-ups entering this new world of robotics need to ensure their products are designed with safety and security functionality.
Source: 3 Challenges Collaborative Robots Need to Overcome | Design News
An international collaboration between researchers in the U.S. and Brazil has created a new molecule that stops the progression of heart failure while improving its capacity to pump blood.
The molecule, dubbed SAMβA (selective antagonist of mitofusin 1-β2PKC association), is able to inhibit the interaction between protein kinase C beta 2 (β2PKC) in heart cells and mitofusin 1 (mfn1), which is a crucial element of mitochondria, preventing the mitochondria from producing energy and ultimately weakening the heart’s blood-pumping action.
“This interaction was one of our main findings in this study. Its critical role in the progression of heart failure was previously unknown,” Julio Cesar Batista Ferreira, a professor at the University of São Paulo’s Biomedical Science Institute (ICB-USP) in Brazil and principal investigator for the study, said in a statement.
Source: New Molecule Not Only Halts Heart Failure, But Also Improves Blood Pumping Capacity
For all the interest and headlines generated by additive manufacturing—more commonly known as 3D printing—it still represents a small percentage of all manufacturing operations.
Traditional subtractive manufacturing methods such as CNC machining and injection molding produce the vast majority of all parts manufactured at scale. The benefits of on-demand customization for small batches of personalized consumer products is evident.
But we’re now beginning to see additive manufacturing used on a much larger industrial scale. Clearly, there’s a growing level of confidence in additive manufacturing, and that will create opportunities across a variety of industries.
Here are a few examples …
Source: Additive Manufacturing Continues to Prove Promise of Custom-Fit Future
U.S. manufacturers are adding jobs and ramping up production this year, and are under pressure to increase efficiency even as their operations become more complex. It sounds like a conundrum, but it should be viewed as an opportunity.
The spike in business means manufacturers will be scrambling to fulfill orders promptly and accurately. All departments will need to perform as efficiently and seamlessly as possible. To make sure it all goes smoothly, IT departments will likely look at investing in new technologies and enhancing existing systems. One of the key applications for manufacturing businesses is the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application.
An ERP helps streamline operations by making it the master system of record. This means that the data and processes required to manage resources, production, scheduling, inventory, logistics, billing, and other key processes for running the business are centralized within the ERP.
Source: How to Boost the Efficiency of ERP With iPaaS
Namibia’s national electricity provider, NamPower, has launched into the wholesale fiber-optic space.
NamPower has launched The Grid Online, a fibre-optic network which will leverage the state-owned power utility’s existing infrastructure to offer wholesale services to third parties.
Kauna Ndilula, chairman of NamPower’s board of directors, justified the company’s investment in fibre-optics as a necessity because “it’s the future of digital communication,” adding: “The new product offer will provide Namibia with the additional national bandwidth it so badly needed.”
Source: Capacity Media – global telecoms news, events and community
Quilty Analytics Founder and Partner Chris Quilty summarized the four-hour long webcast — Iridium’s first in four years — as a victory lap for a satellite operator that has effectively remained one step ahead of the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation market.
“[This year] was indeed a very good year for Iridium (financially and operationally), and 2019 is also off to a good start with the completion of the Next constellation and the imminent launch of Aireon services this month,” said Quilty in a report.
“What’s next? Years of worrying over rickety satellites, rocket launches, and balance sheet liquidity are now a thing of the past and Iridium is squarely focused on its growth strategy.”
Source: Iridium Makes Big Promises in 2019 Investor Meeting – Via Satellite –
The 737 Max 8 has a new Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) which is an automated safety feature on the 737 Max 8 designed to prevent the plane from entering into a stall, or losing lift.
Data from the flight data recorder of Lion Air Flight 610, indicates that the pilots struggled to control the aircraft as the automated MCAS system repeatedly pushed the plane’s nose down following takeoff. The pilots of the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft reported similar difficulty before the aircraft plunged into the ground shortly after takeoff.
Source: Planet Analog – Steve Taranovich – Boeing MAX 8: Technological advances and pilot training
Despite the fact that climate change is already affecting vulnerable cities like New York—principally featuring an increased incidence and severity of urban flooding—it remains a phenomenon that is dominated by future predictions.
Even by the cautious estimates of the most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2014, cities are in for a rough ride in the next century.
By 2100 the rise in global temperatures is almost certain to exceed 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, and, alarmingly, already reached that level for a short time in early 2016.
Sea levels will rise by anything up to a meter, or more if current predictions prove to be over-optimistic (and New York 2140 is based on an estimated rise of 15 meters, or 49 1/4 feet, over the next 100 years).
At the same time, the oceans will also warm and become more acidic; and the turbulence of the atmosphere will intensify, leading to more extreme weather events and a greater risk of flooding.
Cities are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change, particularly coastal or tidal-river-based conurbations—including 22 of the world’s major cities according to the Stern Review of 2006.
Source: What Scientists and City Planners Can Learn from Sci-Fi
The beginning of the end of the age of oil moved a step closer Friday, with Norway’s government recommending that its $1 trillion wealth fund should divest from upstream oil and gas producers.
The news that the world’s largest wealth fund, known as the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), which is highly influential just by its huge financial size, will divest from companies that explore and produce oil, “has sent shockwaves through the energy sector,” according to the Financial Times.
Source: Norway Set to Divest $1 Trillion Wealth Fund From Oil and Gas Exploration Companies – EcoWatch