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Google’s Secret Aircraft Plans Uncovered

An aircraft is an important medium when it comes to transporting parcels and people. It lets people travel a long distance in an efficient and fast way. A lot of builders want to create and innovate airships for the sole purpose of making lives easier and comfortable.

Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, has been interested with airships for a very long time. And now, there are circulating reports that Brin has been secretly creating a dirigible aircraft inside Hangar 2 at the NASA Ames Research Center, which is a bold action. He started to build his own back in 2014.

Infographic of Google's secret dirigible aircraft silhouette.

The tech influencer, however, denied the reports. Bloomberg has quoted Brin, “Sorry, I don’t have anything to say about this topic right now.”

The massive airship was said to have looked like a zeppelin, which now is stationed at a Silicon Valley research facility.

Brin’s appreciation for airships began when he visited Ames, which is located next to the headquarters of Alphabet Incorporated in Mountain View, California.

According to a report, Alan Weston, a former Director of Programs at NASA Ames, is in charge of constructing Brin’s aircraft project. Weston was also said to have a background when it comes in producing such an uncommon enterprise.

Google’s Aircraft Project

Alan Weston joined the Air Force doing engineering works for the Strategic Defense Initiative of the U.S. Government. After his bold journey with the Air Force, Weston joined NASA, performing on different projects like the development of a low-cost lunar lander.

New airship technologies have the promise to reduce the cost of moving things per ton-mile by up to an order of magnitude.

Weston once described his plans for an aircraft that could be used in order to haul cargo. According to an interview with him back in 2013, he stated that “New airship technologies have the promise to reduce the cost of moving things per ton-mile by up to an order of magnitude.”

Speculation about Brin’s secret aircraft project is far from over. It was reported that old pictures of USS Macon, which is a lighter-than-air rigid aircraft, have inspired him to carry on to building a massive aircraft. Unfortunately, Macon crashed eight years ago, off the coast of California after experiencing a storm. Two of its crew members died in the incident.

The idea of building huge aircraft still has merit, especially when it comes to traveling or shipping. Brin’s concept is a bold move on the way to creating a truly autonomous flying vehicle. His idea offers a glimpse of what the future holds when it comes to advanced aircraft development.

Moley Robotic Kitchen: Would You Give AI A Chance In Your Kitchen?

Robotic arms will soon invade home kitchens but in a good way. U.K. company Moley Robotics is rolling out special robotic kitchens that can prepare “MasterChef-quality” dishes using pre-set recipes from top chefs around the world. According to the Telegraph, dozens of buyers expressed interest when the Moley robotic kitchen was first unveiled at an exhibition. The fully-functioning units will be for sale in 2018 and will come with a standard kitchen, refrigerator, oven, small appliances, a dishwasher and a big set of robotic arms. The humanoid hands are able to stir, drizzle, and garnish gourmet dishes—which would have taken a talented chef hours to prepare in the past. There will also be a library of recipes to choose from.

In the case of the sample dish—crab bisque—, Moley Robotics used a recipe prepared by MasterChef 2011 winner Tim Anderson.

The machine recorded his hand and body movements in a 3D film. The Moley robotic kitchen follows Anderson’s hand movements from the video, in order to imitate his exact motions through machine learning and an algorithm.

Moley Robotic Kitchen: Artificial Intelligence in Your Kitchen

While this invention will surely make home kitchens more tech-savvy, developers went to great lengths to ensure that it would be accepted by human users. “Many people who watch the robot have an emotional reaction to it,” shares Moley Robotics Operations Manager Alina Isachenka. She adds, “It was really important to make sure it wasn’t scary. It would have been more cost-efficient to use a two or three-fingered gripper, but people may be scared by that—they don’t want a two-fingered robot in their kitchen.”

More importantly, the robot hands were made to work at human speed, truly mimicking the pace of a human chef. What the Moley robotic kitchen lacks, however, are the instincts of a seasoned cook who has spent years working in the kitchen. This case is partially made up for by the collection of fabulous recipes from top chefs, which is almost like having your own private chef to prepare meals.

An infographic showing a robotic kitchen with automated arms cooking food on the stove, depicting a possible scenario at your own home with a Moley Robotic Kitchen

Other Details on the Moley Robotic Kitchen

The Moley robotic kitchen also preserves cultural heritage and heirloom recipes in its digital library. Forbes reports that the initial units will cost around $92,000, but the price is expected to become more affordable ($25,000 per set) over time. Mark Oleynik, the Russian CEO and founder of Moley Robotics, believes that the Moley robotic kitchen affirms the continued expansion of Artificial Intelligence. He was quick to stress that humans have no reason to fear the presence of AI or robotic arms in their home kitchens.

“A key part of the development process ensures the safe and consistent operation of every meal, within normal parameters,” he said. Although WiFi is needed for getting new recipes,  sharing your own work, or recording a new dish, the recipes database that comes with the Moley robotic kitchen is conveniently available offline. In addition, you can use the Moley robotic kitchen manually as well.

While the Moley robotic kitchen is seen as an intriguing and possibly disruptive force in the food and technology industries, this type of tech is still years away from truly replicating the expertise of a trained chef in the kitchen. Food has to be carefully measured and placed into the robotic kitchen for it to prepare meals. Nonetheless, it is a step on the road to automating high-end and gourmet cooking. Indeed, the Moley robotic kitchen is yet another application of AI and robotics merging with daily life.

The Breathtaking Braggadocio of Elon Musk of Tesla

The world’s most celebrated entrepreneur released his new business plan under the pretentious title of Part Deux, which is pretty funny in and of itself. But, the real fun comes from his explanation of his modest goals in the first Master Plan.

I submit the following from Tesla’s website:

The reason we had to start off with step 1 was that it was all I could afford to do with what I made from PayPal. I thought our chances of success were so low that I didn’t want to risk anyone’s funds in the beginning but my own. The list of successful car company startups is short. As of 2016, the number of American car companies that haven’t gone bankrupt is a grand total of two: Ford and Tesla. Starting a car company is idiotic and an electric car company is idiocy squared.

There is plenty in there that is funny when looked at in a certain way. But my favorite is the whopper about using his own funds. It makes you wonder if Mr. Musk can add, or read a balance sheet…it may be the reason why he brags about his company’s astonishing success when it has never made a dime.

Ford for all of their issues and problems as a huge old sclerotic company, at least makes a profit most years, and it makes millions of cars. Tesla makes a teeny weeny number of cars in comparison and has never had a profitable year.

Elon Musk Funded Tesla with His Own Money, and $5 Billion More

As for doing it with his own money, well Mr. Musk did put in 70 million bucks, a considerable sum indeed. Elon Musk’s $70 million was the seed money that raised another $117 million from investors.

I thought our chances of success were so low that I didn’t want to risk anyone’s funds in the beginning but my own.

Point being, Tesla has survived on other peoples’ money throughout its entire existence. And a lot of that money comes from the U.S. government in the form of grants and tax benefits. It was calculated that Tesla has approximately $2.4 billion in tax incentives, most of which were granted by Nevada.

In addition, there was a $465 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, $50 million from both Daimler and Toyota, and $226 million raised from the IPO. Since 2013, Elon Musk has been big on bonds, raising $1.02 billion in 2013, $2 billion in 2014, and more. All in all, Tesla has raised $4.5 billion since the company went public.

That’s great and all, but it is a lot of money raised from investors, a fabulous amount of money for a company that produces very little that is real. And, it is pretty funny when Mr. Musk claims that he self-financed the company. Can Musk do math? Or does he think his investors are fools? Someday, the owners of that $4.5 billion in bonds are going to come knocking; Tesla has a pretty big hill to climb to have a prayer of paying them back.


FENG: Kinetic Energy Revolutionizes Wireless Charging

Nelson Sepulveda, an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Michigan State University, has discovered a new innovative way to collect energy from human motion. Sepulveda, along with other researchers, has managed to create the biocompatible ferroelectric nanogenerator best known as FENG. It is a self-powered device that harvests energy through everyday motions, like swiping or walking.

In late 2016, FENG was introduced to the public after Sepulveda and his team of scientists successfully demonstrated their sheet-like device by using it to power LED lights, an LCD touchscreen, and a keyboard. The process worked without the aid of a battery as mechanical energy was converted to electrical energy, and vice versa.

FENG can change the way we power numerous autonomous electronics.

According to Sepulveda, “every technology starts with a breakthrough and this is a breakthrough for this particular technology.”

Breakthrough Kinetic Energy

It was discovered that FENG becomes more powerful every time it is folded. The smaller it gets, the more powerful it becomes. The biocompatible ferroelectric nanogenerator has a silicon wafer. It is composed of ionized sheets of polyimide, polypropylene ferroelectric, and silver. Each layer consists of charged particles like atoms and ions.

Feng’s breakthrough attributes follow:

  • Lightweight
  • Biocompatible
  • Low-cost
  • Flexible
  • Robust
  • Scalable

These advantages make FENG a promising player in the field of mechanical energy harvesting and wireless charging. It can change the way we power numerous autonomous electronics, such as cell phones, wireless headsets, and other touchscreen gadgets.

Kinetic Energy Power Eliminates Chargers

Kinetic energy is key to mobile wireless charging with FENG

Sepulveda boldly envisions a world where people no longer need charging their mobile phones for an entire week because most of the necessary energy will be produced by their movements.

The National Science Foundation, a government agency in the United States that funds education and research, underwrote Sepulveda’s research. Wei Li, Tongyu Wang, and David Torres, all doctoral students at MSU;  as well as Chuan Wang, an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at MSU, are likewise contributing to the study.

FENG continues to expand and develop as it presents multiple functions. Michigan State University researchers have added a new trick to the device’s repertoire. They turned it into a thin, flexible microphone, and loudspeaker. They discovered that the system was so sensitive that it can pick up sound vibrations.

The team also transformed it into a ‘security patch’. Researchers hooked it up to a computer and used it as a voice recognition lock. They realized that FENG is precise enough to differentiate between users.

FENG Multifunctionality

Sepulveda received high praises for the discovery;  “The fidelity and quality of the sound recognition are high enough to recognize the pitches and the frequency components of an individual’s voice,” he said.

FENG is a disruptive technological advancement that can further refine today’s modern gadgets. Out-of-this-world concepts have been proposed like having a voice-activated newspaper that talks back to the reader.

Li, who is also part of Sepulveda’s team, mentioned that other potential uses for FENG include a voice protected health-monitoring wristband as well as a special type of noise-cancelling sheeting.

With technology’s continuous innovation, it is just a matter of time before FENG becomes the benchmark for the next-generation of audio and smart tech devices. FENG’s attributes could eventually help develop foldable loudspeakers, voice-activated security codes for computers and other gadgets, and even talking newspapers. It could also make smartphones thinner than ever, by having the mic and the speakers built into the screen itself.

FENG represents fundamental research that will change the way we power and interact with devices of the future.