3D Printed Terracotta Clay Tiles Aid Restoration of Coral Reef
A partnership between the environment agency in Abu Dhabi and marine biology experts Archireef has seen these artificial reef structures installed with the goal of aiding coral restoration in the Arabian Gulf.
The company has already installed these at the Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park in Hong Kong, where they have found that 4x more coral survives on these terracotta reef tiles as compared to other materials such as concrete blocks which have traditionally been used for regeneration.
HTC Vive Teases New Self-Tracking Tracker for XR
The device is still in development, and the company hasn’t name it yet, but they said it uses the same tracking algorithm as the VIVE Focus 3 and VIVE XR Elite, so no extra base stations are required to operate.
The standalone device features 2 high FOV cameras and an onboard processor, and can be attached to the user or other objects and controllers. They say up to 5 trackers can be connected at a time.
Interestingly, the say they will be releasing the CAD files for the connectors, allowing people to make custom 3D printed accesories for these, and they also announced their intent for the device to be platform agnostic, so it will work with hardware not made by them too.
Haptic Feedback Bracelet Allows Users to ‘Feel’ Virtual Reality
A team of researchers from Rice University have been working on a system that increases virtual reality immersion and tries to take on the challenge of simulating hand feedback, so when users poke, push and squeeze virtual objects it feels real.
They came up with a bracelet which not only has multiple vibration motors all the way around, but also squeezes the wrist to imitate various actions. While it’s obviously not the holy grail solution to hand feedback, it does add more believability to virtual scenarios, and since it doesn’t cover the hands like haptic gloves, they say it feels more natural.
Citymesh Drones-in-a-Box Assists Belgian Emergency Services
In what they say is a world’s first, the company announces that it is introducing a network of 70 ‘safety drones’ across Belgium. The idea is that as soon as an emergency call to police or firefighters comes in, these drones auto-deploy and are the first at the scene.
Each drone has both 4K and thermal imaging video feeds, and they are remotely piloted using a network of pilots that are always on standby. The network will be rolled out in all 35 emergency service districts of Belgium, with 2 drones-in-a-box being available for each.
Built Robotics Unveil Massive Autonomous Pile-Driving Machine
From video description:
“The RPD 35 from Built Robotics is the world’s first autonomous piling system. It combines four steps — layout, pile distribution, pile driving, and as-builts — into one package. With the RPD 35, a two-person crew can install pile more productivity than traditional methods.”
In the video, they say the machine can carry 200 piles at a time, and in a day can install 3x more into the ground than a fully manned crew.
Meta Quest Gives Front Row Seat to NBA Games
Something that slipped past my radar was Meta announcing in January that they had signed a deal with the NBA to broadcast live NBA games that could be watched on the Quest VR headset.
There are going to be 50 games available in the Horizon Worlds app, and 5 of those will use immersive, 180-degree video, so it will feel like the user is sat courtside.
This is probably going to be another piece of the puzzle for live events, and I’m surprised it hasn’t been done more so far.
LIFT Aircraft Completes First Piloted eVTOL Demo in Japan
From press release:
“LIFT Aircraft made history this week, completing the first-ever piloted eVTOL demonstration flights in Japan with their aircraft, HEXA.
Flights were conducted for audiences that included the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB), the aviation authority of Japan. While HEXA conforms to FAA Part 103 and can be flown in the U.S. today without aircraft type certification or a pilot’s license, Japan does not have an equivalent regulation.”
Studying How People Interact With Autonomous Trash Robots
“We deployed two trash barrel robots in New York City to study people’s interactions with autonomous everyday objects in public spaces. We used a Wizard-of-Oz technique for in-the-wild deployment to simulate robots’ autonomy and elicit natural interaction behaviors. This work extends previous research on trash barrel robots toward multi-robot interactions in an urban environment. Our video shows that people in public generally welcome the robots, that the robots encourage social interaction among strangers, that people feel pressure to generate garbage for the robots, and that people’s interactions assume the robots’ awareness of each other.”
Create Alternate Designs with Stable Diffusion Reimagine Tool
Stability AI’s new tool takes input images and creates variations of them. Users simple upload an image and the algorithm creates as many new images based off of it that they want.
I could see this being a useful creative aid for concept generation.
It’s available for free now on the ClipDrop image tool site.
MOSFET Weekly – March 19 2023
Retinal Projector Camera, AI Language Tutor, Midjourney V5, 3D Printed Jaw Bone, Robotic Wendy’s Deliveries and much more.
This is MOSFET Weekly.
Microsoft Introduces 365 Copilot for Work Productivity
The new Copilot bring generative AI to Microsoft’s 365 apps like Word, Excel, Outlook, Teams and more, allowing users to ask the AI to carry out complex tasks through text input. This new functionality is based on OpenAI’s new GPT-4 language learning model.
Some of the examples used include creating email drafts from scratch, creating presentations on the fly, including adding it’s own relevant stock photos, writing one page drafts based on notes from a meeting, and also analyzing and automatically summarizing big spreadsheets to emphasize important data.
Microsoft says it is currently testing Copilot with a small group of customers, including 8 Fortune 500 enterprises, and will be expanding rollout in the coming months.
Midjourney Version 5 is Released
According to Midjourney’s official subreddit, V5 includes new features such as:
- Much wider stylistic range and more responsive to prompting
- Much higher image quality (2x resolution increase) improved dynamic range
- More detailed images with details more likely to be correct and less unwanted text.
- Improved performance with image prompting
- Experimental features such as seamless tiling and custom aspect ratios
They go on to explain:
“V5 is our second model trained on our AI supercluster and has been in the works for 5 months. It uses significantly different neural architectures and new aesthetic techniques. V5 isn’t the final step, but we hope you all feel the progression of something deep and unfathomable in the power of our collective human imagination.”
OpenAI Releases Their Most Advanced System with GTP-4
The AI model is said to reason better than ChatGPT and can also use images as input. In their example they gave the model an image of a bunch of balloons and asked it what would happen if the strings were cut. GPT-4 knew that the balloons would fly away, without first being told that these were balloons, so it both figured that out, and knew the logical characteristics of such things in our reality.
The company says that the model is an ideal candidate for learning, and a case study on their site showed how Duolingo has incorporated it into their chat feature, basically giving learners a personal language tutor to converse with in freeflow conversation.
It’s currently available through ChatGPT Plus, and devs can sign up to a waiting list to gain access to the API. Does anyone else get the feeling that as these models keep improving it seems like a risky idea having it all under the control of a single company? Not sure what the solution is since the genie is already out the bottle.
Team of Robots Pick and Transport Food Autonomously
From video description (translated):
“The Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials AI Robot Research Division, Robot Mechatronics Research Department, Senior Researcher Taeyong Choi’s research team has developed a technology for harvesting horticultural crops that can automatically harvest crops by helping people in agricultural fields with severe manpower shortages and transport the harvested crops to loading docks through autonomous driving. Developed a number of robotic systems.
The harvesting robot recognizes crop information with high speed and precision in a facility gardening environment by applying the cutting-edge mechanical technology and artificial intelligence technology of the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials, and harvests tough crops without difficulty using a robot arm and a high-powered robot hand developed by itself. do. In addition, the transfer robot is capable of precise autonomous driving in a facility horticultural environment.”
The Worlds Fastest 3D Printer Based on Printed Frame
Youtuber ‘Matt The Printing Nerd’ uploaded a video showing off his new printer design. It’s called ‘The 100’ printer and Matt claims it is the fastest 3D printer which has a printed frame.
It prints the classic benchy Speedboat in less than 6 minutes and is apparently capable of doing high quality prints in 1/10th of the time a Ender 3 would need. A lot of this is down to the intentional weight distribution of all the components into a column which runs down the middle of the printer that keeps things stable at higher speeds.
According to Matt, “By the time recording THE 100 is at the 26th rank of the leaderboard of the fastest printers in the world and it’s the fastest one that uses a 3d printed frame.”
There is a Github page with all the design files and details if you’d like to learn more or create your own.
Successful Implant of Replacement 3D Printed Jaw
Surgeons in Australia have successfully helped replace a mans jaw using custom 3D printed scaffold. John Manwaring lost half his jaw to cancer, and the initial reconstruction taken from leg bone had also deteriorated, leaving him with no further options.
Surgeon Michael Wagels and tissue regeneration company Osteopore offered to try a new biodegradable 3D printed implant technology, which thankfully worked, allowing him to eat, speak and breathe more easily than before.
The porous implant was coated in shavings from John’s bone, so his own cells can repopulate the area, and the scaffold is designed to completely disappear after approximately two years once the process is complete.
Sony’s New Camera Has Retinal Projector For Visually Impaired
The DSC-HX99 NeoViewer kit adds a lazer retinal projector, replacing a standard viewfinder, which as you might guess, projects the image directly into the back of the users eye.
In their promo video, Sony showed Ibuki Ban, a freshman at Kanagawa Prefectural Hiratsuka School for the Blind using the camera, and he was very positve after testing the camera out:
“I never imagined I could ever see the outside world without sunglasses, so I was very excited that I could see things this way. It also felt so good that I was able to take pictures properly by myself, and for the first time, I experienced just how much fun it can really be to take pictures.”
Loud and Compact 3D Printed Keychain Whistle
Saw this cool project recently (hat-tip to Adafruit blog). Thingiverse user “ThreeD-Michael” has created a 3D printed whistle keychain, and I think projects like this showcase the direction things are going once the designers and engineers of the world get more involved in open hardware.
Users in the comments are very positive towards this design and some even say it reaches over 90 decibels.
FarmWise Introduces New Vulcan Next-Gen Weeding Machine
Last month the company showed off the latest version of their weeding machine at the World Ag Expo. The Vulcan uses computer vision to automatically detect and snip weeds around growing vegetables, providing farmers a way to get rid of them without needing pesticides.
“Today we’re launching our next-generation weeding machine, Vulcan. Vulcan packs cutting-edge computer vision into a lightweight, open cultivator frame. Thanks to deep learning models refined by millions of images in our catalog, Vulcan removes weeds inter-row and intra-row with sub-inch precision.”
Zipline Announces Their Own Autonomous Delivery System
Zipline is a drone delivery company we’ve covered for some time. They’ve historically been involved in delivering medical supplies around the world, but recently they announced the intention to expand to drone deliveries for general consumers.
In a new video they showed off a tethered drone-like device which attached to the main drone and drops off packages, touting delivery times that arrive in minutes instead of days or hours.
Unmanned Robot Carrier Transports Test Materials for Hospitals
The trend of hospitals and medical centers testing out new delivery technologies continues. This time the CLEVON 1 will be shuttling patient test materials between the facilites of Viljandi Hospital in Estonia.
Their system is not fully autonomous, and relies on a tele-operator to supervise vehicles, though 1 operator can watch over multiple robots at a time.
SpaceX Announces Starlink Roam Worldwide Satellite Internet
From announcement tweet:
“Starlink now offers a global roaming option for customers traveling to locations where connectivity has been unreliable or completely unavailable”
(There’s not much other information, but it is definitely interesting to have claimed worldwide connectivity with decent bandwidth, especially if you travel to far-flung locations).
Augmedics AR System Gives Spinal Surgeons “X-Ray Vision”
The system enables surgeons to see real-time feeds of a patients insides directly in their field of view using the dual augmented reality displays, allowing them to keep their focus fully on the procedure.
According to a recent press release, Augmedics’ platform has already been used on over 3000 patients as of a few weeks ago, and more features have been added recently to take advantage of AI image enhancements to visualize particularly important and challenging parts of surgeries.
ASUS Announces Tinker V RISC-V Single Board Computer
CPU: Renesas RZ/Five RISC-V AndesCore™ AX45MP Single core 1.0 GHz
RAM: 1GB DDR4
eMMC: 16GB (optional)
LAN: 2x GbE Lan
CAN: 2x CAN Bus (6 pin terminal block)
COM: 2x COM RS232 (5 pin terminal block)
GPIO: 20pin header (UART, I2C, ADC, SPI)
Power: 1x DC Barrel Jack (5.5/2.5 mm) 10~24V
RAK Ceramics Unveils 3D Printed Washbasin Prototype
The company which also creates standard ceramics products for around the home, say that their tests using a delta ceramic printer open up many more potential geometries compared to regular manufacturing methods, and allow for smaller limited run designs.
The example shown looks cool, though I bet it would be a nightmare to clean!
MIT Researchers Modify Hololens Headset with RFID Reader
From video description:
“MIT researchers invented an augmented reality headset that gives humans X-ray vision. The invention, dubbed X-AR, combines wireless sensing with computer vision to enable users to see hidden items. X-AR can help users find missing items and guide them toward these items for retrieval. This new technology has many applications in retail, warehousing, manufacturing, smart homes, and more.”
Starship Continues Expansion to UNC Charlotte Campus
The fleet of 30 robots are now delivering from Wendy’s, Bojangles and Shake Smart, and aim to add more campus eateries throughout March.
The school’s nearly 30,000 students can now use Starship’s food delivery app to order food and drinks to anwhere on campus.
(As an aside: It’s interesting how new technologies regularly seem to make their starts on college campuses.)
Robot Masters Tasks with Human Expert Demonstrations
From video description:
“In this video, we showcase how robots can learn from human experts to master complex task sequencing in various manufacturing processes, such as surface finishing and composite layup. We demonstrate how robots can learn the expert’s task sequencing policies for composite layup task and perform execution on a brand new test part.”
Honda Unveils New Autonomous Work Vehicle (AWV) Prototype
From video description:
“Meet the third-generation prototype Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle (AWV), a new category of capable work vehicle that can operate autonomously in a variety of dynamic work environments.
The Honda AWV has the potential to bring greater efficiencies, enhanced workforce productivity, and better environmental performance to the construction industry, and to other industries seeking an autonomous off-road solution.”
Flexiv’s Rizen Robot Gives a Back Massage
The robotics company recently uploaded a video showing their Rizen 4 arm being adapted for massages. It has it’s own vision system to see the person’s anatomy, and has force-sensitive, heated attachments which aim to replicate a massage therapist.
Although it claims to be safe, I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be with that near my spine.
MOSFET Weekly – March 12 2023
Human-like robot hand, drone delivery network, VR job interviews, real-time quadcopter surveillance and much more.
This is MOSFET Weekly.
Varjo Teams with MachineMD for Diagnosis of Brain Disorders
Another novel use for virtual reality is in the diagnosis of brain disorders. Headset manufacturer Varjo is teaming with MachineMD to develop a system which can track users eyes and automatically detect the likelihood of certain conditions.
Currently this kind of diagnosis can only be done by trained specialists, and the companies say that their system which is in development works automatically, without the need for years of training, and reduces examination time from 45 minutes down to 10 minutes.
Rigitech Begins Daily BVLOS Drone Deliveries in France
Swiss drone manufacturer RigiTech becomes the first to operate a full regular BVLOS (Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight) route and makes drone delivery a reality in France. Starting with their first approved route linking Bourgoin-Jallieu to Tignieu-Jameyzieu, RigiTech has begun daily flights between laboratories, using its long-range drone, the Eiger.
Specifically designed to ensure cold-chain transportation of blood and biological samples, RigiTech’s Eiger drone has a large payload bay that allows for efficient, long-distance flights, making the most of this sustainable delivery solution: This newly implemented technology can carry a payload of up to 3 kg, and medical boxes with up to 150 pre-conditioned blood vials.
SottoVoce: Ultrasound Imaging-Based Silent Speech Interaction
“The availability of digital devices operated by voice is expanding rapidly. However, the applications of voice interfaces are still restricted. For example, speaking in public places becomes an annoyance to the surrounding people, and secret information should not be uttered. Environmental noise may reduce the accuracy of speech recognition.
To address these limitations, a system to detect a user’s unvoiced utterance is proposed. From internal information observed by an ultrasonic imaging sensor attached to the underside of the jaw, our proposed system recognizes the utterance contents without the user’s uttering voice. Our proposed deep neural network model is used to obtain acoustic features from a sequence of ultrasound images.
We confirmed that audio signals generated by our system can control the existing smart speakers. We also observed that a user can adjust their oral movement to learn and improve the accuracy of their voice recognition.”
Wing Unveils Plans for Scalable Drone Delivery Network
In a recent video, Wing CEO Adam Woodworth explained the companies vision for implementing a drone delivery network, along with some really interesting systems they have made for automating curb-side pickups, allowing restaurants and retailers to easily add drone deliveries for their products and services.
Woodworth says the company is aiming to scale up to a point in 2024 where the network can handle millions of deliveries.
Virtual Reality Games as a Tool for Personal Assessments
Here’s an application for VR that I haven’t seen discussed before. Researchers at the University of Cologne think that intelligence can be predicted through virtual reality games.
They invited over 100 volunteers to their lab and had them play the “Job Simulator” game, as well as take a shortened version of the BIS-4 intelligence test.
“The researchers’ analyses show that participants who finished the game faster than others also had higher levels of general intelligence and processing capacity. An increase of 17% in processing capacity correlated with less time spent playing the game (by an average of 3.7 minutes). The results suggest that VR games can be useful supplementary tools in companies for predicting the job performance.”
3D Printed Hotel/Housing Complex Coming to Marfa Texas
A partnership between hospitality entrepreneur Liz Lambert, 3D printing construction firm ICON, and BIG architecture firm are rebuilding and redesigning ‘El Cosmico’, a 60-acre campground hotel in Marfa, TX.
From the press release:
“The relocation and expansion of El Cosmico to more than 60 acres will showcase entirely new architectural approaches made possible by large-scale 3D-printing including domes, arches, vaults and parabolic forms. The innovative development will feature El Cosmico guest units in addition to new hospitality programming, including a pool, spa, and shared communal facilities. Breaking ground in 2024, El Cosmico will continue to celebrate the convergence of creative culture and the minimalistic natural environment of the Marfa landscape.”
Infra-Red, In Situ (IRIS) Inspection of Silicon
Bunnie Huang released an interesting post recently which shows a new way to look into chips without the usual hassle of having to remove, dissolve or grind them down.
The concept is really simple. You modify a digital camera, removing the IR filter, then you shine a 1050nm IR light into the chip. Since silicon is transparent to IR light, it seems to bounce up from the board and you can peer directly inside to inspect them.
Sanctuary AI’s Humanoid Robot Makes Debut in Retail Store
I’ve been posting about these robots over the past months, and today the company announced it’s first successful deployment at a customer commercial facility, through it’s partnership with retailer Canadian Tire Corporation.
“The week-long pilot at the CTC-owned store successfully tested the general-purpose robot in a ‘real-life’ store environment with 110 retail-related tasks completed correctly, including front and back-of-store activities such as picking and packing merchandise, cleaning, tagging, labelling, folding, and more. The tested tasks had previously only been performed in Sanctuary AI’s labs, which accurately mirrored the commercial setting to ensure a seamless technology implementation”
Lockheed Martin Teams with Red 6 AR System Creator
From press release:
“Lockheed Martin, Korea Aerospace Industries and Red 6 Aerospace announced a new partnership that will deliver advanced 21st Century Security capabilities across a spectrum of training and combat aircraft.
The partnership will initially bring Red 6’s revolutionary augmented reality platform, the Airborne Tactical Augmented Reality System (ATARS), into the TF-50 and variants. The system gives pilots and ground operators new capabilities to see and interact with synthetic threats in real-time, high-speed environments.”
Hypershell Launches Exoskeleton for ‘Everyday Adventures’
This foldable mini exoskeleton attaches around the users waist and connects to the legs, giving an extra 1 horsepower of output. According to the specification, it can offset 30kg of weight, has a 25km/16mile range, works at up to 20km/h or 12mph speed, and weighs approx 1.8kg.
A kickstarter was launched a few days ago, and it has already blown way past the original goals. Early bird prices are around $299, ship worldwide, and claim to ship September this year, though caveat emptor obviously.
3D Printer Cuts Metal with EDM Conversion (Kickstarter)
Youtuber Morlock recently uploaded a video showing off a mod he’s made for an Ender-3 3D printer, which turns it into a metal-cutting electrical discharge machine. The is achieved using a custom designed power supply, which creates the sparks to cut through metal sheeting.
I’d never heard much about this process before, but the video really lays out some of the cool stuff you can do with this technology.
The 3D printable parts are available on Printables.com and a kickstarter was launched for the Powercore. The early bird version of the power supply is available for $399, which Morlock says is almost 1/10 the price of even the cheapest EDM system.
Airobotics Launches New ‘Iron Drone’ Counter-Drone Platform
The new Iron Drone system is part of a recent acquisition of a company with the same name, and it provides an automated anti-drone platform that launches out of a box, intercepts drones that shouldn’t be flying in the area, and catches them with a ballistic net system.
Driverless Bus Service Launches in Oxfordshire UK
The electric self-driving bus has taken to the roads around the Milton Park near Didcot, shuttling some of the 9000 employees who work at the business and science park for free, running every 15 minutes from 7am to 6:30pm
There is currently a safety member sat in these buses who can take over the driving if the need arises, and journeys to further afield are planned for later in the year.
AI System Reconstructs Viewed Images From Brain Activity
From paper abstract:
“Reconstructing visual experiences from human brain activity offers a unique way to understand how the brain represents the world, and to interpret the connection between computer vision models and our visual system. While deep generative models have recently been employed for this task, reconstructing realistic images with high semantic fidelity is still a challenging problem.
Here, we propose a new method based on a diffusion model (DM) to reconstruct images from human brain activity obtained via functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).”
Microsoft Unveils it’s Own Video Super Resolution Feature
From press release:
“We are excited to introduce an experimental video enhancement experience, powered by AI technology from Microsoft research called Video Super Resolution. It is a technology that uses machine learning to enhance the quality of any video watched in a browser. It accomplishes this by removing blocky compression artifacts and upscaling video resolution so you can enjoy crisp and clear videos on YouTube, and other streaming platforms that play video content without sacrificing bandwidth no matter the original video resolution.”
IEEE Tours Opener’s Headquarters & Flies BlackFly eVTOL
IEEE Spectrum uploaded a video of writer Glenn Zorpette touring the Palo Alto facilities of Opener, the creators of the single-seater eVTOL dubbed the BlackFly, even allowing him to ride alone in the vehicle after a days training.
What’s particularly interesting about the BlackFly is that since it is a single-seater aircraft, and because of it’s relative small size, it is classed as an ultralight recreational vehicle, which does not require certification by the FAA.
Adding ChatGPT Functionality to Google Sheets
LifeArchitect recently uploaded a quick guide showing you how to easily incorporate ChatGPT directly into Google Sheets Documents, basically turning it into a very powerful dynamic programmable application that can automatically research and calculate inputs through custom scripts.
SkyeBrowse Unveils Midnight Sun Drone Intelligence Platform
The company recently uploaded a video showing off what they call “the ultimate situational awareness tool”. Midnight Sun combines quadcopter live feeds with a system to detect and track people in real time.
In the example shown, they have police enable GPS on their phones, and the system automatically overlays where they are on the feed. This allows command centers and operators to see exactly what’s going on in an environment, highlighting friendies and unknowns in a 3D environment.
Clone Robotics Demonstrates Newest Version of Synthetic Hand
The new video was recently uploaded to Clone’s Youtube channel. This new version of the hand has 24 degrees of freedom, 37 muscles, 2 hour battery life, a 7kg operational load, and weighs 0.75kg.
“The Clone Hand is the most human-level musculoskeletal hand in the world, actuated with Clone’s proprietary, hydraulic muscles and valves. Size and biometric characteristics are the same as human hand. Includes half of arm bone, full forearm and palm with all possible degrees of freedom.”
3D Printing Study Shows Cells Prefer Concaves for Growth
Research from Delft University of Technology has found that bone cells have a preference for particular implant geometries.
After testing different shapes, and using high precision 3D printing, the researchers found that the cells were more likely to attach to concave shapes, prefering ‘valleys’ over ‘hills’.
Proper Printing Updates FDM Printing with Resin Project
From video description:
“In this video I show our FDM resin printing journey. Thanks to your suggestions I was able to determine the mission for this video. I focused on the light source, the nozzle and on the resin itself which I eventually turned into a gel. Like the true Proper Printing style, this didn’t go without struggles and I almost gave up!”
MOSFET Weekly – March 05 2023
Automated grocery shopping, molecular drinks makers, robotic 3D print farms, expandable laptop displays and much more.
This is MOSFET Weekly.
Cana One Creates Any Beverage Completely On-Demand
The company calls it a ‘molecular beverage printer’, and it combines regular tap water, with their ingredient cartridge to create thousands of drinks on demand.
Cana says that the almost all drinks can be split into various base ingredients, and that’s what their replacable cartridge provides. Once mixed in certain combinations, it can replicate a wide variety of beverages, from juices, to soft drinks, iced coffee, wine, or cocktails.
CNET recently toured Cana’s offices and got a hands on demo of the machine, so check that out for more in-depth information.
Ridecell Introduces Empty Vehicle Car Sharing Feature
This feature is part of Ridecell’s car sharing service, where users can request a car that they want to drive for a short period using an app.
The Auro system by the company adds automation into the mix, so unlike robotaxis, this service drives the car to the customer, who then takes over and drives it themselves to wherever they’re going. When they’re finished they don’t even need to park, they can hop out and the car will automatically drive off and find a spot to wait for the next customer to come along.
Robotic Arm Allows 3D Printing Farm to Work Throughout Night
Here’s another example of the shift of manufacturing to local, on-demand hubs for specific items. Athena 3D provides an additive manufacturing service in Tempe, Arizona, which is constantly running multiple printers simultaneously.
In order to increase the amount of orders it could ship to customers, the company decided to use a robotic arm automation system which can remove prints, replace the bed and start the next order. This helped them to pump out almost twice as many parts, allowing them to leave the shop at the end of the work day, and have this system work continuously throughout the night, so when they arrive the next day, they are greeted with orders ready to process.
Xrai AR Glasses Add Subtitles to Everyday Conversation
The glasses add subtitles to real-time conversations, and were originally designed for people with hearing issues. Xrai have also been expanding the capabilities of the glasses, by now also adding real-time translation into 9 different languages.
Also in-keeping with the trend of integrating chat AI’s into products, the company recently announced at the Mobile World Congress 2023 that it’s platform now works directly with ChatGPT, giving users the ability to use it like a home assistant, asking it questions, and receiving instant answers via subtitles.
Microsoft Explores ChatGPT for Controlling Robots & Drones
The companies research division recently released a paper which extends ChatGPTs capabilities to robotic arms, drones, and robotic home assistants, allowing people to interact with them using natural conversation.
“Our technical paper describes a series of design principles that can be used to guide language models towards solving robotics tasks. These include, and are not limited to, special prompting structures, high-level APIs, and human feedback via text. We believe that our work is just the start of a shift in how we develop robotics systems, and we hope to inspire other researchers to jump into this exciting field.”
Check out Microsoft’s article for more in-depth explanations and many example videos showing the system in action.
VR Flight Simulation Earns Qualification for Pilot Training
Recently Loft Dynamics received the world’s first Level 3 qualification of a virtual reality flight sim training device for Airbus H125 helicopters. This allows pilots to execute license and operator proficiency checks under European Union Aviation Safety Agency regulations.
Although flight sims aren’t new, using virtual reality headsets adds another level of realism to these systems. One of the advantages of integrating VR into this kind of helicopter training is that it allows trainee pilots to experience all sorts of realistic adverse conditions and emergency situations without any risk.
AutoFlight Prosperity Air Taxi Sets New eVTOL Record
AutoFlight announced today that version 4 of it’s Prosperity eVTOL broke a new distance record for it’s class of aircraft, with a single charge covering 250.64km. This record was set on Feb 23, when the air taxi completed 20 circuits of the Augsburg test base in Germany.
This beats the previous 248km record set by eVTOL competitor Joby, which was set in 2021.
Fulfil Emerges from Stealth with Automated Grocery System
Last week the company announced that it is emerging from stealth mode with $60 million in financing.
Fulfil has created a fully automated fulfillment system, aimed at same-day e-commerce grocery orders. The platform says it can sort, pick and bag orders without requiring any human staff during the whole process. It’s kind of like a very complex vending machine.
The company has partnered with The Save Mart Companies, and has what they call a “dark store” operating Mountain View, California. Customers can order via the Lucky Now or DoorDash services, and the system automatically picks the goods, bags them, then presents them to delivery drivers within minutes.
Joby Completes Second Stage of eVTOL Certification Process
Continuing the trend of electric VTOL proliferation, Joby recently announced that their air taxi passed the second stage of FAA certification.
“In the second stage of the type certification process, a company identifies the ways in which it will demonstrate it has met the regulatory intent of the safety rules (“Means of Compliance”) that were defined during the first stage of the process (“Certification Basis”).”
Head of Aircraft OEM, Didier Papadopoulos explains that there are 3 remaining stages left before the air taxi can take to the skies, and these are all primarily based around stress testing components and making sure all fail-safe systems work as intended. The company is aiming to launch commercial passenger services by 2025.
Bauer & EOS Create Custom 3D Printed Foam Inserts for Helmets
Continuing the trend of on-demand manufacturing, ice hockey goods maker Bauer have teamed up with 3D printing experts EOS to create the REAKT custom inserts for players helmets.
The Bauer REAKT helmet is now available now through select retailers that are part of the MyBauer product program. Customers will be able to visit the shops, have their heads scanned, then receive an individually printed foam insert which precisely fits them.
NVIDIA Introduces RTX Video Super Resolution 4K AI Upscaling
Compatible with GeForce RTX 40 and 30 Series GPUs, this system uses AI to upscale lower res content up to 4K, matching the users display resolution. This AI can remove compression artifacts and improves video sharpness, allowing users to stream at lower bitrates and still have crisp visuals.
If you have a compatible GPU, you need to get the latest version of GeForce Game Ready Driver, and in order to automatically upscale video in your browser, you need the latest versions of Chrome or Edge, which recently updated to support RTX VSR.
Logistics Giant Maersk Exploring Drones/Robots for Automation
The company recently announced the use of Verity drones for warehouse inventory management. Here’s what they said:
“Verity’s warehouse drones navigate from pallet to pallet, collecting accurate inventory data in three dimensions by scanning barcodes at any height using onboard, highresolution cameras. The system requires one day of operator training, and the electricpowered drones return to the battery charging pad when necessary, operating on nights or weekends and without overhead lighting turned on. The drones take photos of SKUs on pallets to identify inventory errors, such as missing or misplaced pallets.”
They also posted a new video to their Youtube channel, showing robots designed by FetchRobotics working alongside warehouse operators, which they say increases the speed of order shipping in fulfillment centers.
Xiaomi Shows Off Wireless Augmented Reality Glasses Prototype
Specs are a little thin, but the company says the glasses come with two micro-OLED displays, each with 58 pixels per degree. No word on the FOV for these, but they say that the lenses are electrochromic, and can switch between AR and blacked out VR modes.
Another interesting aspect mentioned in the press release is a self-developed silicon-oxygen anode battery that’s used to power the device. This newer battery technology has been used by the company with a few of it’s recent phone releases.
Ben Sin at XDA Developers got a chance to do a hands on review, so check that out if you want more info.
Windows 11 Update Adds ChatGPT-Powered Bing AI to Taskbar
Three weeks after adding AI-powered search to Bing, Windows recently announced that it is also integrating the AI chatbot directly into the Windows 11 taskbar, allowing users to type questions in a more conversational tone and receive answers directly from the AI.
“The search box is one of the most widely used features on Windows, with over half a billion users every month, and now with the typable Windows search box and the new AI-powered Bing front and center to this experience you will be empowered to find the answers you’re looking for, faster than ever before.”
It’s currently only available to those who are in the Bing preview program, but will be rolling out to everyone soon. In the meantime, those who want to test it out can sign up to the Bing waiting list.
George Carlin AI Clone Takes Talk Show to Next Level
I mentioned the Athene AI Show a few weeks ago, where AI clones of well-known faces interact with the stream chat and each other. Since I last posted, the show has introduced a wide variety of new characters, including recently, the famously acerbic comedian George Carlin. This is one of the best with regards to likeness so far, and with a lot of it’s answers is geniunely funny.
Check out the link below to see some verbal sparring between Carlin and Gordon Ramsay AIs (NSFW, lots of swearing).
Wist Allows Users to Step Inside their Memories
The app, which is currently in closed beta, turns 2D videos into 3D scens, which can be watched in augmented or virtual reality. It uses the various sensor data from smartphones to build navigable scenes.
The website says it is coming to Oculus Quest soon, and is available as invite-only on iOS. Those interested can join the waitlist.
US Navy Installs New Markforged X7 Field Edition 3D Printer
US attack submarine, the USS New Hampshire installed the 3D printer recently, with a view to creating high-durability carbon fiber reinforced nylon parts on demand, underlining a current trend of distributing, and localizing manufacturing in various sectors of society.
Commanding officer Capt. Bennett Christman explains:
“3D printers provide the opportunity for creative problem solving. These devices lower the barrier for component manufacturing, empowering sailors to take ownership of their repairs, and to think outside the box”
Waymo Expanding Driverless Car Testing to Los Angeles
The progress of self-driving vehicles rolls onwards, as Waymo recently announced they are expanding testing of it’s driveless cars to LA.
CEO Dmitri Dolgov recently tweeted:
“Following a rigorous cycle of validation and safety readiness evaluation,
@Waymo is starting fully-autonomous (no human driver) testing in LA. Thrilled by the data confirming, once again, how well our ML-based 5th-gen Driver generalizes across cities!”
MarioGPT Creates Open-ended Game Levels Using Text Inputs
From paper abstract:
“MarioGPT can not only generate diverse levels, but can be text-prompted for controllable level generation, addressing one of the key challenges of current PCG techniques. As far as we know, MarioGPT is the first text-to-level model. We also combine MarioGPT with novelty search, enabling it to generate diverse levels with varying play-style dynamics (i.e. player paths). This combination allows for the open-ended generation of an increasingly diverse range of content.”
Lenovo Shows Rollable Screen Concepts at MWC Barcelona 2023
The details are pretty thin on the prototypes, but videos from NotebookCheck show the laptop display growing from about 12 inches to 16.
Lenovo/IBM do have a history of expandable laptops, with the famous butterfly keyboard Thinkpad. How cool would be be to have that keyboard plus a widescreen rollable display?
Creating Mechanical Button Press Illusion Using Ultrasound
Researchers at Delft University & Aix-Marseille University studied the use of ultrasound on glass to create a realistic illusion, where volunteers felt as if they were pressing a real mechanical button. This could potentially pave the way for higher quality haptic feedback systems in touchscreens.
The system used lights to optically track the movement of an approaching finger, then once connected, a piezo let out an ultrasound burst at 28.85kHz creating the illusion.
Meta Adds Hand Tracking Teleportation to its Interaction SDK
UploadVR covered an interesting new feature on Meta’s Interaction SDK for Oculus, giving developers an easy way to add controller-free interaction like direct object grabbing, gesture detection, interactable UI elements, distance grabbing, and more into their games and apps.
Included in this is a teleportation system. UploadVR explains:
“To point to where you teleport you turn your hand to the side and extend your index finger and thumb while closing your other fingers to your palm. To perform the teleport, just pinch your index finger to your thumb. It’s somewhat similar to the pinch “click” used in the Quest system interface, but with your hand rotated.”
MOSFET Weekly Video Series / Youtube Channel Launches
We just launched a new Youtube video series called MOSFET Weekly and it will cover some of the weeks more interesting technology happenings in a little more depth than the daily posts.
Check it out at the link below:
FitXR Aims to Make Working Out Fun with Virtual Reality
The app is available on the Oculus Quest and provides a variety of guided workouts from different trainers. The company also added a bunch more music and workout options to their latest update, available now in the Oculus store.
“FitXR is all about making fitness fun, and music is so often what fuels a workout, and makes it an enjoyable experience,” said Kelly Cosentino, Director of Fitness at FitXR. “This is just another way we’re showing our commitment to creating experiences unique to each member’s personal preference and motivators!”
Enhanced Colonoscopy Screenings Using Artificial Intelligence
Covenant Physician Partners recently announced the introduction of the GI Genius AI system at three of it’s Hawaii locations. This smart endoscopy module gives patients receiving a colonoscopy an enhanced screening, with realtime visual feedback to help physicians detect polyps.
Motorola Defy Satellite Link Enables Satellite Comms on Phones
From press release:
“The motorola defy satellite link is a compact, lightweight, Bluetooth accessory with a handy attachment loop that allows any Android or iOS device to connect to the Bullitt Satellite Messenger application and utilize its full functionality, including true two-way messaging over satellite, as well as location sharing and SOS assistance.
The tough, pocket-friendly device has passed Mil-Spec 810H testing and is waterproof and dustproof with an IP68 rating. It has a 600mAh battery, providing sufficient battery life for multiple days of use. The design includes a physical SOS and location ‘Check In’ button, allowing it to offer some functions even when apart from its paired smartphone.
Designed to give any smartphone the power of satellite connectivity, the motorola defy satellite link is an advanced satellite hotspot device that ensures peace of mind – wherever your next adventure takes you.”
Using Diffusion Models to Speed Up Robot Training
Google and Meta recently presented three methods for augmenting robot training data with diffusion models.
Dubbed ROSIE, GenAug, and CACTI, these models train the robots with dynamically changing simulations, so they are better equiped at dealing with changing objects and environments.
Swoop Aero Gains Approval to Operate Drone Deliveries in NZ
From press release:
“Swoop Aero has obtained approval to operate beyond visual line-of-sight in New Zealand, as it prepares to launch the country’s first Integrated Drone Logistics network in partnership with Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand.
The approvals, granted by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority in late 2022, will enable Swoop Aero to conduct its drone operations remotely, with a single remote pilot operating up to five aircraft at a time.”
RoboTire Can Autonomously Change Four Tires in Fifteen Minutes
Designed for fleets, dealerships and auto repair service providers, RoboTire speeds up the process of changing tires, by using multiple robots to do it autonomously. Their overview video states that the system operates 4 times faster than humans, and can change all tires within 15 minutes.
Discount Tire has been piloting the system, and recently installed it at a second location, in Arlington, Texas.
Motional Robotaxi Service Begins Nighttime Drives in Las Vegas
From video description:
“Las Vegas is a city that comes alive at night. Motional is expanding our robotaxi passenger service to now include nighttime driving. Other rider-friendly features have also been added, such as using your phone to adjust vehicle temperature before it picks you up.”
Healthcare Org uses Mixed Reality Training for Medical Staff
Morlen Health has teamed up with GigXR to train their staff using lifelike mixed reality experiences. The module creates various scenarios in order to provide basic life support training where multiple members can all view and interact the scenes together in person or remotely using Microsoft Hololens headsets.
Samsung Adding Satellite Communications to Upcoming Phones
Samsung has successfully simulated non-terrestrial network (NTN) modem technology on the company’s Exynos Modem 5300 in preparation for inclusion in new smartphone releases. This technology will allow two-way text messaging, and image/video sharing using satellites as infrastructure intermediaries.
From press release:
“NTN is a communications technology that uses satellites and other non-terrestrial vehicles to bring connectivity to regions that were previously unreachable by terrestrial networks, whether over mountains, across deserts or in the middle of the ocean. It will also be critical in assuring operability in disaster areas and powering future urban air mobility (UAM) such as unmanned aircraft and flying cars.”
Spanish Army uses Hybrid Drone to Scan and Clear Buildings
From press release:
“Robotican’s hybrid drone system, the Rooster, successfully performed a building scan-and-clear mission for the Spanish armed forces during an exercise that simulated a hostile urban environment.”
“While the company physically secured the bottom floor, the Rooster, controlled by a Robotican operator located two kilometers away, scanned the upper floors and relayed real-time intelligence to the forces on the ground. In a second scenario, the team deployed the Rooster through a hole in the building’s roof and scanned the building while the company waited for the signal to begin its assault.”
MIT Researchers Create 3D Printed Replicas of Patients Hearts
The system uses patient scan data to recreate a model of the heart, and then prints them out with soft polymer materials. The team then can add a pumping feature to accurately replicate the pressure and movement of that specific heart.
This allows doctors to physically try out different replacement valves on the printed heart in order to see which treatments will respond best to a specific patient, all before needing to do any surgery.
Sony Announces Playstation VR2 Headset and Accessories
PSVR2 PS builds upon the previous version with new features such as headset-based haptic feedback, eye-tracking, new-and-improved Sense Controllers, and 3D audio. The company also promises improved ergonomics for a more comfortable headset wearing experience.
The new system launches with a catalog of over 30 games, which I think underlines that Sony is taking VR seriously.
Cruise Self-Driving Taxi Service Passes 1 Million Miles
From press release:
“Just fifteen months after our first fully driverless ride, I’m thrilled to announce one of our biggest milestones yet: Cruise has completed one million fully driverless miles. Just about every mile we’ve logged has been packed with complex scenarios that have set Cruise up for rapid scale. And all of these miles were collected with our all-electric, renewable-powered fleet offsetting a total of 684 metric tons of CO2 emissions over the course of these million miles. The dense, often chaotic, streets of San Francisco have about 19,000 people per mile and give our fleet mountains of information-rich data to learn from.”
Australian Initiative Turns PPE Waste into 3D Printing Filament
A collaboration between 3D printing company 3RD Axis and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) in Sydney has developed a system for recycling PPE and turning it into usable FDM filament.
The process takes waste medical materials such as single-use masks and gowns, decontaminates them, and melts them into new filaments.
US Air Force Exploring use of Remotely Piloted Cargo Planes
Mountain View based Reliable Robotics recently announced a United States Air Force contract to explore the full automation of large, multi-engine jets.
The study will include feasibility assessments of remotely piloting some of the largest planes the military has, including cargo planes.
Unique Identification of VR Users from Head & Hand Motion Data
“In this study, we show that a large number of real VR users (N=55,541) can be uniquely and reliably identified across multiple sessions using just their head and hand motion relative to virtual objects. After training a classification model on 5 minutes of data per person, a user can be uniquely identified amongst the entire pool of 50,000+ with 94.33% accuracy from 100 seconds of motion, and with 73.20% accuracy from just 10 seconds of motion.”
“This work is the first to truly demonstrate the extent to which biomechanics may serve as a unique identifier in VR, on par with widely used biometrics such as facial or fingerprint recognition.”
Robotic-Assisted Removal of Kidney Stones for First Patient
Ethicon recently announced the first patient to successfully have kidney stones removed using their MONARCH robotic assistant which took place at UCI Health, the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine.
“This clinical study is the first in the world to research and demonstrate the potential for improved navigation, access, clearance and control in mini-PCNL procedures using the MONARCH Platform for Urology,” said Dr. Jaime Landman, chair of the UCI School of Medicine Department of Urology. “In addition to potentially helping urologists achieve stone-free patients in a single procedure, this approach could help reduce the need for retreatment after kidney stone removal and decrease risks and complication rates.”
LEDs Add Inexpensive ‘Fake FOV’ Boost to VR Headsets
VR enthusiast and Twitch streamer, ShodahVR recently tweeted about a DIY hack he did to the Oculus Quest headset. By adding extra LEDs that mimic the colors from the edges of the internal displays, it creates a fake FOV, which Shodah says is phenomenal and a game-changer.
He is now working on a version for the Valve Index. Check out the Twitter thread for more info.
Successful Test Flight for BETA’s Quiet Electric Aircraft
Blade Air Mobility and BETA Technologies announced the successful test flight of BETA’s electric ALIA-250 eVTOL, which has 1/10 the noise profile of a standard helicopter, at the Westchester County Airport, New York.
Blade CEO Rob Wiesenthal: “This demonstration is a big milestone in our transition from helicopters to electric vertical aircraft, and we are pleased that our partners at BETA have designed the right aircraft with the requisite range, capacity, and noise profile, for use in our key markets, including our homebase of New York City”.
DARPA Seeking to Develop Massive Military Drone Swarms
DARPA is calling for bids from companies to develop large swarms of drones to be used in military missions, with the view to overwhelming defense systems.
According to DroneDJ this program seeks to deploy up to 1000 drones at a time, each with their own munitions, in what they call “swarms of swarms”.
Holographic Sound Fields Enables Near-Instant 3D Printing
From paper abstract:
“Acoustic waves exert forces when they interact with matter. Shaping ultrasound fields precisely in 3D thus allows control over the force landscape and should permit particulates to fall into place to potentially form whole 3D objects in “one shot.” This is promising for rapid prototyping, most notably biofabrication.”
“Here, we realize the generation of compact holographic ultrasound fields and demonstrate the one-step assembly of matter using acoustic forces. We combine multiple holographic fields that drive the contactless assembly of solid microparticles, hydrogel beads, and biological cells inside standard labware. This approach handles matter with positive acoustic contrast and does not require opposing waves, supporting surfaces or scaffolds.”
Blue Origin to Manufacture Solar Cells Using Moon Dust
In order to make long-term presence on the Moon viable, people will need an adbundant supply of electricity. That’s why Blue Origin have developed a system called Blue Alchemist, which will take Moon dust and turn it into working solar cells.
“Using regolith simulants, our reactor produces iron, silicon, and aluminum through molten regolith electrolysis, in which an electrical current separates those elements from the oxygen to which they are bound. Oxygen for propulsion and life support is a byproduct.”
“Our process purifies silicon to more than 99.999%. This level of purity is required to make efficient solar cells. While typical silicon purification methods on Earth use large amounts of toxic and explosive chemicals, our process uses just sunlight and the silicon from our reactor.”
MightyFly Unveils New Delivery eVTOL: The Cento
From press release:
“The Cento is an electric VTOL aircraft with a cargo capacity of 100 lbs (45 kg), a range of 600 miles (965 km) and a max speed of 150 mph (240 km/hr).
With eight electric vertical lift fans, one forward propulsion propeller, and a high wing carbon fiber airframe, the fully loaded Cento weighs just 355 pounds (161 kg).
It measures 13.1 ft by 16.7 ft (4 m by 5 m) taking up a total area that is less than two compact cars – meaning the ground transfer stations required onsite can simply be two car spots in an existing parking lot.”
Sakuu Announces 3D Printing of Fully Functional Batteries
From press release:
“Sakuu is the first company of record to 3D print fully functional batteries in custom shapes and sizes with patterned openings for thermal management in a fully dry process.”
“The pioneering additive manufacturing company is on-track for commercial-scale production of printed batteries in major industries including E-mobility, aerospace, EVs, grid energy storage, and more.”
“Kavian™ platform can enable world-class energy and power densities of printed batteries, including Lithium Ion, Lithium Metal, and Solid-State batteries, at high-volume production speeds.”
Purism Announces Lapdock Kit for Librem 5 Phone
Now users can take full advantage of PureOS convergence, meaning you can plug the Librem 5 phone into the dock and run full desktop Linux applications. The kit is for sale at $339.
“The Lapdock Kit includes a Nexdock 360 lapdock and two additional accessories essential for lapdock use: a magnetic mount and a shorter USB-C cable. The Nexdock 360 features a bright, crisp 1920×1080 touchscreen that can flip 360 degrees to turn into a tablet.”
Micro-Printing Electrochromic Displays for Augmented Reality
A joint team at Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute and Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology have developed a method of micro-printing electrochromic displays onto surfaces. They used Prussian blue ink, which until now had limited applications due to it’s challenges with micro-patterning.
The team overcame this by developing a novel manufacturing technique to “3D-print” the electrochromic ink, and demonstrated it by creating a contact lens with a mini display built into it.
Interesting 3D Printing Technique: Selective Powder Deposition
Iro3d on Youtube recently uploaded a video showing a technique which 3D prints sand molds for metal casting. The process takes two different types of sand, first shell sand for creating the mold, and regular sand which acts as support material. You then bake it at around 180c for 2 hours to bond the shell sand together.
After that you can pour out the regular sand, and you’re left with a mold which you can pour molten metal directly into. In his experiment, Iro3d made some stainless steel parts using the technique.
Wilson Introduces 3D-Printed Airless Basketball Prototype
From video description:
“Introducing the first-ever 3D Airless Prototype Basketball from Wilson. The 3D printed ball is truly playable, nearly fitting the performance specifications of a regulation basketball, including its weight, size and rebound (bounce).”
3D Printed Open Hardware Headphones by Ploopy
Ploopy, famous for their open hardware trackball, recently released a new product, the Ploopy Headphones. I’m not much of an audiophile so cannot vouch for how good they are audio-wise, but it is very cool that you can make your own headphones from scratch, from amplifier and firmware, up to the custom 3D printed casing. Check out the Github for sources and an in-depth wiki howto.