Skype’s new service is like a Star Trek universal translator for the real world Star Trek Captains Picard and Kirk could talk to any alien, no matter how different it was from humanity, thanks to the universal translator, a magical sci-fi device that explained away why strange civilizations in far-away solar systems all spoke English. That future just got a little less far-fetched, thanks to Skype Translator, a new preview service that uses technology from Microsoft Research to translate two different languages back and forth in real time. This is heady stuff, as school kids in Seattle and Mexico City seem to instantly recognize when they chat back and forth in English and Spanish via the Skype service in the video below. The Five Biggest Threats To Human Existence In the daily hubbub of current “crises” facing humanity, we forget about the many generations we hope are yet to come. Not those who will live 200 years from now, but 1,000 or 10,000 years from now. I use the word “hope” because we face risks, called existential risks, that threaten to wipe out humanity. These risks are not just for big disasters, but for the disasters that could end history.
5 Things Learners Expect From Their Educators (This is Part Two in a two-part series about the expectations of learning relationships. Please check our previous post in Part One: "5 Things Students Expect From Their Teachers.") More and more in recent years, we've started referring to the kids in our classes as "learners" rather than "students." It began unintentionally but became more and more frequent. We gradually realized that the relationship between learner and educator is not always the same as between student and teacher. Another startup steps up to build the hyperloop Hyperloop Technologies, a startup formed by SpaceX alumni and well-known Silicon Valley executives, came out of stealth with $8.5 million on Wednesday to make the hyperloop reality, according to a report in Forbes. The hyperloop, a transportation system that would send capsules large enough to contain people or goods through tubes at 760 miles per hour, originated with a paper published by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and his team in 2013, but Musk said at the time that he didn’t have the time to pursue building it. He announced plans to build a test track last month. That paper contained enough details for others to go after their own plans, and Hyperloop Technologies is the first to come up with actual money. On top of that $8.5 million, it plans to raise an $80 million funding round before the year is up, according to Forbes. Unlike Musk, the team initially sees the hyperloop carrying cargo instead of passengers.
Will Hybrid Circuits Make Silicon a Thing of the Past? : Tech Jun 17, 2014 06:09 PM EDT Silicon may soon be rendered obsolete if a new energy-efficient hybrid circuit delivers on its developers' promises. Researchers from the University of California's Viterbi School of Engineering claim that they have developed a hybrid circuit that combines carbon nanotube(CNT) thin film transistors with other thin film transistors to make a flexible and seamless replacement for silicon chips. Much like in recent solar cell advances, these two layers of films combine p-type and n-type material to create an extremely energy efficient particle dichotomy. Traditionally, n-type materials are rich with electrons, while p-type materials are electron-starved, but combined, p-type material can help n-type material achieve a level of energy control and efficiency.
Intel: Moore's Law will continue through 7nm chips Eventually, the conventional ways of manufacturing microprocessors, graphics chips, and other silicon components will run out of steam. According to Intel researchers speaking at the ISSCC conference this week, however, we still have headroom for a few more years. Intel plans to present several papers this week at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco, one of the key academic conferences for papers on chip design. Intel senior fellow Mark Bohr will also appear on a panel Monday night to discuss the challenges of moving from today's 14nm chips to the 10nm manufacturing node and beyond. In a conference call with reporters, Bohr said that Intel believes that the current pace of semiconductor technology can continue beyond 10nm technology (expected in 2016) or so, and that 7nm manufacturing (expected in 2018) can be done without moving to expensive, esoteric manufacturing methods like ultraviolet lasers.
ICT Research & Innovation It generates 25% of total business expenditure in Research and Development (R&D), and investments in ICT account for 50% of all European productivity growth. EU investments in ICTs are due to increase by about 25% under Horizon 2020 compared to FP7. This EU investment will support the whole chain from basic research to innovation that can deliver new business breakthroughs, often on the basis of emerging technologies. Information and Communication Technologies underpin innovation and competitiveness across private and public sectors and enable scientific progress in all disciplines. Boeing Is Working on a Real Live Force Field Boeing is working on bringing a real working force field to military vehicles, using plasma to deflect shockwaves from explosions. It may not be the stuff of Starfleet just yet, but the shield — outlined in a patent application called "for shockwave attenuation via electromagnetic arc" — could save some lives nonetheless. An sensor onboard a land vehicle equipped with this technology would sense the blast. The system would then use an arc generator to create a protective energy barrier, changing the air around it to lessen the impact of an explosion's shockwave through temperature variations and air density changes. Boeing This early attempt at a plasma shield is pretty limited.
Emerging technologies An emerging technology (as distinguished from a conventional technology) is a field of technology that broaches new territory in some significant way, with new technological developments. Examples of currently emerging technologies include educational technology, information technology, nanotechnology, biotechnology, cognitive science, robotics, and artificial intelligence. New technological fields may result from the technological convergence of different systems evolving towards similar goals. Convergence brings previously separate technologies such as voice (and telephony features), data (and productivity applications) and video together so that they share resources and interact with each other, creating new efficiencies. History of emerging technologies In the history of technology, emerging technologies are contemporary advances and innovation in various fields of technology.
Siemens and Emrax claim best power to weight ratio for electric motors in the 5 to 10 kilowatt per kg range Siemens researchers have developed a new type of electric motor that, with a weight of just 50 kilograms, delivers a continuous output of about 260 kilowatts – five times more than comparable drive systems. The motor has been specially designed for use in aircraft. Thanks to its record-setting power-to-weight ratio, larger aircraft with takeoff weights of up to two tons will now be able to use electric drives for the first time. To implement the world-record motor, Siemens' experts scrutinized all the components of previous motors and optimized them up to their technical limits. New simulation techniques and sophisticated lightweight construction enabled the drive system to achieve a unique weight-to-performance ratio of five kilowatts (kW) per kilogram (kg).
List of emerging technologies Agriculture Biomedical Displays Electronics Energy IT and communications Sorry, but the jobless future isn’t a luddite fallacy The arrival of self-driving cars is terrible news for anyone who makes a living driving. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters) With the unemployment rate falling to 5.3 percent, the lowest in seven years, policy makers are heaving a sigh of relief. Indeed, with the technology boom in progress, there is a lot to be optimistic about.