MOSFET Weekly – May 28 2023
Airjet Cooling, Neuralink Trials, Tesla Optimus and much more.
This is MOSFET Weekly!
Convert Sewing Machine into Automated Embroidery Machine
Hackster user “SpaceForOne” posted a detailed overview of his Embroiderino project, which takes a plain sewing machines and transforms it into an automated embroiderer, allowing you to personalize anything made from fabric.
This is achieved by combining the sewing machine with a plotter-like core XY frame and motor system. The whole thing uses gerber files, and runs on an Arduino UNO.
The output from the demo is quite amazing, and I look forward to seeing how this project develops.
ANYmal Submerged in Water for IP67 Testing
ANYmal recently uploaded a short video showing their quadruped robot working whilst being fully submerged in water. According to the manufacturer, the bot is IP67 rated, so is completely protected against dust for extended periods, and can be fully immersed in water up to 1 meter deep for short periods. I guess that’s handy to know for the coming robot wars.
Apptronik’s General Purpose Work Robot
Another general purpose humanoid work robot on the market is the Astra by Apptronik. Similar to the Sanctuary AI bot, this upper body robot can be remotely teleoperated, and seems to have decent limb dexterity.
I’m curious to see which industries begin to implement these robots first, and for what specific tasks, because in my opinion at the minute they seem like expensive toys.
What it’s Like to Fly The Lift Hexa Personal Human Drone
Youtuber Supercar Blondie recently uploaded a video showing what it’s like to fly the Hexa single person human sized drone. What’s interesting is that the aircraft is classed as an ultralight, so no pilot’s license is required, and anyone with an hours training can learn to fly one.
According to their website the Hexa can fly for up to 15 minutes per charge, at up to 63mph airspeed, and is intended to fly either 700 or 1200ft above ground level.
There’s currently a waiting list for those interested, but at almost half a million dollars, it’s obviously only available to a very small potential market. Would you take a ride in one of these?
Zotac Unveils the World’s First Mini PC with AirJet Cooling
The Zotac Zbox PI430AJ is a mini PC which claims to be the first consumer product to use Frore’s AirJet solid state cooling chips instead of fans or passive heatsinks. As we covered at the beginning of the year when they were announced, AirJet active cooling chips with no moving parts, are silent and outperform fans.
Every chip has a cavity filled with vibrating membranes. This vibration creates back pressure which pulls air through holes in the top of the chip at 200km/h, which in turn hits a copper heat spreader and cools the processor.
PCWorld created an informative video review of the mini PC, saying that it reduces thermal throttling compared to Zotac’s previous model which doesn’t used the technology, though this early version seems to draw a decent amount of power in comparison. If power efficiency continues to be improved, this technology could be a game-changer for things like SBCs, laptops, cameras, LEDs, VR headsets. I wonder if this could be a way to make silent 3D printers too?
DEEP Robotics Launches Lite3 Quadruped Robot
DEEP Robotics has announced the launch in Europe of the newest version of its Lite3 robot dog. Aimed at researchers, this fairly small robot seems to have good dexterity, and can jump and flip. It can also travel 5km on a single charge, carrying up to 7.5KG loads, and has the ability to follow objects, avoid obstacles and autonomously navigate.
Shipping of the quadruped bot will begin in September this year, and prices start from just under $3000.
HTX Labs Awarded New Contract Expanding USAF VR Training
Continuing the trend of virtual reality increasingly being used in work training, HTX Labs was recently awarded a new contract with the US Air Force, expanding their service which trains airmen in various mission and role specific ways using their EMPACT VR platform.
I’m curious whether even if these kinds of simulations aren’t super realistic, that seeing them in 3D and physically acting them out does something to the brain to increase learning, compared to textbooks and videos.
Samsung Rollable Display Expands 5x When Fully Open
Samsung unveiled yet another new product prototype this week at the SID Display Week event, showing off the ‘Rollable Flex’ display, which can change from 49mm high all the way out to over two and a half meters.
Neuralink Announces FDA Approval for Human Clinical Trials
From Neuralink Twitter post:
“We are excited to share that we have received the FDA’s approval to launch our first-in-human clinical study!
This is the result of incredible work by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA and represents an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people.
Recruitment is not yet open for our clinical trial. We’ll announce more information on this soon!”
Samsung Display Acquires AMOLED Microdisplay Manufacturer
Samsung’s display manufacturing arm has also acquired, eMagin, a leading producer of AMOLED microdisplays, for $218 million.
This may signal their increased move into the realms of VR and AR, as eMagin recently announced their new Direct Patterning Display technology which allows for incredibly bright OLED microdisplays, which when compared to other VR headsets currently available, are approximately 5 or 6 times more luminous.
Photoshop Adds Generative Fill Firefly AI Feature to App
After announcing it’s Firefly generative AI model a few months ago, Adobe has now added a new ‘Generative Fill’ feature directly into the latest Photoshop beta, allowing users to quickly add, extend, or remove content from images non-destructively, using simple text prompts.
I think this marks a new milestone in generative image AI technology, as it makes high quality image generation, and especially editing of existing work, very easy for all users. I wonder what the direct, short term impact of this will be on art and design related industries since so many people use Photoshop already?
New Samsung OLED Display Senses Anywhere on Screen
This week the electronics giant showed off their new Sensor OLED Display at a recent electronics expo.
They say the type of sensors like the ones used in smartphones are currently added to displays via a separate module, whereas this one is integrated directly into the screen, allowing for sensing anywhere on the panel, with multi finger tracking for things like blood pressure measurements, heart monitors, and fingerprint sensing.
A Look Inside Bigscreen’s Tiny Virtual Reality Headset
From video description:
“In this Bigscreen Beyond teardown video, we give a detailed look at its inner workings and showcase what makes it so special.
Bigscreen Beyond, the world’s smallest VR headset. Micro-OLED displays with 2560 x 2560 pixels per eye, custom pancake optics, SteamVR tracking – all in an unbelievably small form factor weighing just 127 grams. And for ultimate comfort, each headset is custom-built for each customer using a 3D Face Scan.”
Color Electroplating 3D Prints for Shiny Metallic Finish
HEN3DRIK on Youtube is back again with another interesting video showing how to electroplate 3D prints, this time using color metal to make a metallic Pokeball.
If you want to add high quality metallic finishes to your prints, this thorough guide is the one to watch.
Spacetop Computer Ditches Screen for AR Glasses
The laptop-like system, designed by Sightful is basically a headless computer, replacing a standard display with AR glasses, which they say looks like a 100inch screen infront of you.
There’s isn’t much more information, though an early access version of the device costs $2000 and is available to 1000 early adopters through their website.
It is a cool concept, but unless they have some new glasses tech I’ve never seen, I would have reservations about the resolution and FoV.
New Video of Tesla’s Optimus Work Robot
From video description:
“At the 2023 Tesla Shareholder meeting in Austin, Texas, Tesla CEO Elon Musk shows off a new Optimus video, the company’s humanoid robot in development.”
Rollout of 20 Additional Training Simulators at UPS
The trend of VR and AR training simulators in work environments continues, as delivery company UPS recently announced their adding 20 more sites around the US to train their staff.
This includes using both virtual reality and a full sized truck sim to mimic standard operations a driver may encounter, as well as these weird shoes which simulate walking on icy surfaces.
Comprehensive List of Metal 3D Printer Manufacturers
3D Natives put together a very thorough list of metal 3D printer manufacturers if you’re interested in learning about this trend. Most of them at industrial sized, but I aspect more consumer sized ones to be released in the near future.
MOSFET Weekly – May 14 2023
New Wearable AI Assistant, Smell Flowers in VR, Cheap Body Tracking, Google Palm 2 AI, Samsung Shapeshifting Patent and much more.
This is MOSFET Weekly
Google Announces PaLM 2 Next Generation LLM
The next generation LLM by Google has advanced reasoning capabilities, and has multi-lingual proficiency. In their overview video, the company showed PaLM 2 easily translating sections of code from one programming language to another.
They say that the use of compute-optimal scaling, that is scaling the model size and the training data size in proportion to each other has led to PaLM 2 actually being smaller than the previous version, whilst still having better performance.
No date yet on exactly when it will be available to the public.
New Prototype for Smelling in Virtual Reality
A team of researchers from Universities in Hong Kong and China have designed an interesting way to incorporate smell into virtual reality. Unlike existing solutions which usually contain liquids which require regular refilling, this design uses parrafin infused with different scents, and heats them up with a mini electric coil. The more heat applied, the stronger the scent.
They’ve experimented with two versions of this, one as a simple band-aid type design which goes on the top lip, and a more complex mask that emits up to nine scents, which when combined can create roughly 30 separate smells.
Though it’s pretty rough around the edges, it certainly is an interesting concept, and I bet it could be reduced further in size.
Preview Video of Humane’s Screenless AI-Powered Device
At a recent TED talk, former Apple designer and co-founder of Humane, Imran Chaudhri gave an overview for the vision of the companies AI-powered device.
He says that it has been designed from the ground-up to work with artificial intelligence, and works as a standalone device, not requiring a phone to pair with. It sits inside a shirt or jacket pocket, which is an interesting choice, and has a mini projector instead of a screen.
The idea is that the user can seamlessly interact with the AI more naturally, asking it questions directly, to instantly translate speech for example, or showing it things through the camera, kind of like the device from the movie ‘Her’.
It’s a little thin on the details, so it could be vaperware, but it could be worth keeping an eye on just in case.
AON3D Optimizes 3D Print Slicer Software w/ Machine Learning
At last weeks RAPID+TCT additive manufacturing event, AON3D showed off their thermal optimization system which simulates 3D prints, allowing users to easily fine tune heat flow behaviors inside specific sections of print layers so output quality is optimized.
Though this software is tailored specifically to AON3D’s polymer bead 3D printers, it would be great to see this kind of system work it’s way to hobbyists and open source.
ALIVEFORM Launches New ARMIS 3D Printed Shoe Collection
Another week, another 3D printed shoe company. This time Aliveform have created the ARMIS collection. In my opinion these are slightly more normal looking than the Zellerfeld shoes, but still don’t think I’d ever wear anything this funky. What about you?
Google Unveils New Prototype for Project Starline 3D Display
Google says the newer prototype is a lot smaller than the previous version, taking advantage of recent advancements in AI and Machine Learning to create a live 3D human representation for teleconferencing.
Similar to the Sony spatial reality display I showed a few months ago, the Starline prototype seems to also track the users gaze and head position, so the person they are talking to appears to be sitting across from them instead of on a flat screen.
Looking Inside a Pair of Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses
Becky Stern put out an interesting teardown video the other day, taking apart a pair of Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses to see what electronics are inside.
She enlisted the help of electrical engineer David Cranor to try and figure out what all the main components are, explaining what everything does. Check it out if you’re curious about the little tricks and tips engineers use to make these kind of electronics as small and light as possible.
Becky also put up a detailed page on her blog for those interested.
Motion Capture with Sensor Data from Phone, Watch, Earbuds
Researchers with the Future Interfaces Group at Carnegie Mellon have developed a way to fairly accurately track body movements in real time, using only a smartphone, smart watch and earbuds.
Called IMUPoser, this system takes inertial measurement unit data from the devices, providing a way to cheaply guess what the body is doing. It can work with all three devices (phone, watch and earbuds), down to just 1, using it’s algorithm to make a best guess on what’s happening.
This could prove a cheap and easily accessible way for users to track their bodies with technology most people already have.
Algorithm Tracks Physical Location using Satellite Signals
Ohio State University researchers have developed an algorithm that can “eavesdrop” on any signal from a satellite and use it to locate any point on Earth, much like GPS.
The study represents the first time an algorithm was able to exploit signals broadcast by multi-constellation low Earth orbit satellite (LEO) satellites, namely Starlink, OneWeb, Orbcomm and Iridium.
During an experiment to test how the signals worked as an accurate positioning system, researchers set a ground receiver’s initial position estimate to the roof of an engineering parking structure at the University of California, Irvine, a spot more than 2,000 miles away from the researchers in Columbus, Ohio. Using the satellite constellations to guess where exactly in the country the receiver actually was, the algorithm was only off by about 5 meters.
Sanctuary AI Robot Compilation Video
Sanctuary AI uploaded yet another video of their general-purpose robots completing a range of tasks, this time showing off 60 tasks in 60 seconds, from bagging groceries, to sorting mail, dusting, making coffee, soldering and a lot more. I wish more robotics companies were as on the ball with videos showing off their capabilities.
Virtual Desktop Available for More HTC Vive Headsets
The app is now available on the Vive XR Elite and Vive Focus 3, meaning basically all systems and platforms can run it now.
While it’s not groundbreaking news, I think that the VR Desktop concept of creating virtual rooms to play games, watch movies or work is very interesting and an area I am watching closely. I think once these platforms get to a level where real work, collaborations and shared experiences can take place it will be a game changer.
New Repository for AI-Related Papers Launched
AI-RnD is a useful tool that came onto my radar recently and I wanted to share it. If you want to see all the different artificial intelligence research that’s being carried out around the world, this site collates research papers, and makes them easily searchable.
Residential Development Has Own Autonomous Shuttle
North America’s largest homebuilder, Mattamy Homes has teamed up with robotaxi maker Beep to provide a fully autonomous shuttle service for the residents in one of their housing developments.
This will allow the residents of the over 55s Telaro Florida complex to make regular trips to surrounding shops and restaurants. Mattamy is planning on building a further 1000+ new homes on the development this year.
There’s something about this kind of beautiful gated community with it’s own high tech services that feels like a classic sci-fi trope don’t ya think?
Newly Published Samsung Patent for Shapeshifting Smartphones
The eagle-eyed Cool Patents account on twitter recently noticed a newly published patent by Samsung, showing a concept for a shapeshifting smartphone, complete with rollable display that changes shape depending on how you’re using it.
In one of the accompanying drawings it shows how the phone can change between 4 different states, from a super thin ‘band’ style, to normal phone size, to phablet, and finally to the largest tablet size.
Custom 3D Printed 35mm Analog Film Movie Camera
Blaž Semprimožnik has designed and built his own 35mm analog film movie camera, and I must say, features-wise it is great. He explains:
“I’ve designed and built a 3D-printed 35mm film camera that can shoot movies, photos, and time-lapses and also serves as a developed film scanner.
Its custom frame size enables longer shooting time, making it a cheap and easy way to shoot and scan 35mm film movies at about 51€ per 10min at 18fps.
Fully automatic film wind/rewind system whit auto lense track positioning, a built-in light meter, support for C-mount lenses, an OLED display interface, and a rechargeable battery.”
Essentium Launches New Filament with Extreme Cold Resistance
Essentium’s Altitude is an interesting new 3D printer filament, made from polycarbonate and siloxane, and it possesses unique characteristics including high temperature resistance, flame retardancy, impact resistance, as well as the ability to withstand temperatures down to -60C or -76F without cracking.
It’s designed specifically for outdoor applications like drone bodies, electrical system components, transformer housings, and electrical line protection amongst others, and it’s available to pre-order from their website.
Old Meets New with 3D Printed Japanese Tea House Building
Last month architects Kei Atsumi and Nicholas Préaud unveiled a unique building made with a mixture of 3D printing and traditional Japanese joinery methods.
The ‘Tsuginote Tea House’ is a curved structure made from 900+ unique wood-based PLA tiles, and held together only with wooden joints. Designed as a study into what’s possible with widely available FDM printer technology, I really like that designers and architects are thinking differently about novel construction methods, without compromising aesthetics.
Porsche Design Teams with Puma for 3D MTRX Sneakers
The product design arm of the famous car company Porsche have teamed with shoemaker Puma to design the 3D MTRX sneakers, which feature a 3D printed midsole.
Using AM technology allowed them to create a super complex geometry, out of what looks like some sort of TPU rubber, and they say it’s design means every time the foot hits the ground, it’s transformed into horizontal movement, so up to 83% of energy expended can be reused, increasing running performance.
That could just be marketing hype, but it is interesting to see how these grid structure designs reduce weight without apparently reducing comfort or performance.
Europes Largest 3D Printed Building Now Under Construction
From April to July this year, German real estate group Kraus will be constructing what they say is the largest 3D printed building in Europe, measuring in at 54 by 11 meters.
The concrete used in the 3D printer, provided by Heidelberg Materials is apparently 100% recyclable, and can be broken into it’s constituent parts of sand, gravel and cement stone.
Though it is interesting to see larger buildings being constructed using the technology, I look forward to further developments which might focus on more varied aesthetic choices. Most of these types of buildings all look the same, don’t you think?
MOSFET Weekly – May 07 2023
Large, rollable displays, quiet jet engines, autonomous room scanning drones and much more.
This is MOSFET Weekly
New Skydio Feature Makes Autonomous Indoor 3D Scanning Easy
US drone maker Skydio unveiled their new 3D Scan Indoor Capture solution recently, which allows their drones to autonomously scan and create detailed digital models of indoor environments, like large-scale warehouse facilities, complex factory floors, and ever-changing construction sites.
The user just needs to specify the scanning area, and the drone will get to work building a 3D model of the space, made up of high resolution photos and other sensor data. No GPS is required, and the new software upgrade has complex object detection built in.
They say this method is much cheaper and easier compared to other laser scanning solutions, and tasks can automatically be repeated, for example to track the progress of a construction project.
Flexible Keyboards and Touchpads with New Fabric Armband
Researchers from China have developed a prototype flexible armband that works as a programmable input device, like a touchpad or keyboard.
To achieve this they sandwiched a pressure-sensitive hydrogel between layers of knit silk, with the top piece being coated in graphene nanosheets to make the fabric electrically conductive.
This could potentially be an interesting way to interact with systems, especially in virtual or augmented reality. Imagine mixing this with the shapeshifting tactile system I covered earlier and you could have dynamically changeable interfaces for different applications.
Stargazer Aircraft Aims to Fly Almost 7000 Miles-Per-Hour
From video description:
“Stargazer is Earth’s first hypersonic, reusable aircraft. No one has ever built an engine that makes one-hour global transport cost-effective. Until now.
Stargazer will take off from a primary airport with jet engines, then when away from city-center, our rocket engine will propel passengers gently to 170,000 feet and Mach 9, crossing 5000 miles in 1 hour. San Francisco to Japan. Houston To London. All with a 2-hour turn-around.”
Novo Nordisk Enters Partnership to Bioprint Tissue Therapeutics
The multinational is teaming up with Aspect Biosystems to leverage the companies proprietary bioprinting system to develop tissue therapeutics specifically aimed at diabetes and obesity.
It’s not exactly clear yet what this work will entail, but it seems like a growing trend of using bioprinting in the space, and if the money involved is anything to go by this seems like a very large area of interest.
The deal between the two companies gives Aspect $75 million in initial payments, with extra future milestone payments and royalties totalling in at over $2.6 billion.
Jellyfish-Like Robots Could Clean up the World’s Oceans
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart have developed a jellyfish-inspired underwater robot with which they hope one day to collect waste from the bottom of the ocean.
The almost noise-free prototype can trap objects underneath its body without physical contact, thereby enabling safe interactions in delicate environments such as coral reefs.
Ubisoft is Developing AI Ghostwriter for NPC Interactions
I asked last week whether any big games developers were integrating AI models for NPC conversations and I now have an answer.
Ubisoft recently announced Ghostwriter, an AI tool they developed which aims to support scriptwriters by generating first drafts for NPC interactions.
Although they say it’s not adding the models directly into games themselves, they hope this tool will be a way to quickly generate variations on NPC dialogue, to make conversations less repetitive and free up time for writers to work on other core game elements.
Whisper Aero Raises $32 Million for Quiet Electric Ducted Fans
One issue that always comes up whenever drones and eVTOLs are discussed is noise, and how the proliferation of these machines will make for very loud skies.
Whisper Aero is a company which is aiming to tackle this problem with it’s own proprietary electric ducted fans, and as you can probably guess by their name, they are aiming to be extremely quiet compared to regular electric jet engines.
The aerospace company, which has former NASA engineers working there, has been using what they call a specialized computational framework when developing their engines, which allows them to design specifically with acoustics in mind.
Ikea 3D Product Catalog added to Google Search
The Swedish furniture giant has had some of it’s products available in 3D view on Google for some time, but now they have added their entire catalog of over 10,000 products to search.
Not only that, but now users can press a “View in your space” button to see what the product looks like with augmented reality.
Asda and Wayve Launch UK’s Largest Autonomous Delivery Trial
More autonomous delivery services are being tested in Europe now. This time British supermarket chain Asda has partnered with autonomous vehicle technology start-up Wayve to deliver groceries to customers using self-driving vehicles.
Customers of the Park Royal superstore in London will be the first to have grocery orders delivered by self-driving vehicles. The year-long trial covers a catchment area of 72,000 households in London, making it the largest trial in the UK and Europe.
Combining 3D Prints and Packaging to Save Time and Waste
Christopher Helmke uploaded a fascinating video a few weeks ago, exploring whether it’s possible automate the process of packaging little widgets that he sells.
One of the challenges is that the product requires 6 screws which need to be sent with it in a separate bag, and this inclusion means extra time and waste packing each individual item.
Christopher’s ingenius idea was to embed the screws in a breakable cage inside the actual 3D printed object, and he achieved this using a custom arm which drops the screws in the middle of each print.
Amazon’s Robin Robotic Arm Handles Over 1 Billion Packages
During Amazon’s first quarter 2023 financial report released last week, the company stated that it’s Robin package handling robots have reached the milestone of processing over 1 billion packages in their US, Canadian and European operations.
The Robin combines machine learning and computer vision systems to automatically sort packages before shipment, and unlike simpler robotic arms, it is actually responding to a dynamically changing environment in real-time, not just carrying out pre-set motions.
Adding Shapeshifting Tacticle Feedback to Flat Panel Displays
Many attempts have been made at creating shapeshifting tactile displays, and most of them have ended up being very bulky due to the use of individual actuators and similar components.
A team with the Future Interfaces Group at Carnegie Mellon University attempted to solve this problem with their own approach which incorporates miniaturized hydraulic pumps into a thin display panel.
In their demonstration they showed the concept working with a flexible OLED display, similar to those found on smartphones. They showed how you could animate buttons and icons to inflate or deflate depending on the applcation, adding extra physical feedback to interactions.