With every new year comes change, and change can be scary. Thankfully, we know that there’s at least one way 2014 will be like every year that came before it. Watching scientists make stuff levitate is still cool as hell, same as it ever was.
The latest work comes from a group of researchers at the University of Tokyo. What we see in their latest proof of concept clip is fairly dumbfounding: Arrangements of tiny little beads lift into the air and glide around in perfect formation. An iron screw spins gently in space. Pieces of plastic, broken match heads, and even droplets of water all defy gravity, all thanks to the precise application of ultrasonic sound waves.
The idea itself is not entirely novel. As we’re told in the clip, scientists have been experimenting with acoustic levitation for decades, using sound waves to suspend materials in mid-air. What’s new here, though, is the ability to move those materials in three dimensions.
That’s made possible by the unique arrangement of the speakers themselves. Where former setups bounced sound waves off a solid plate, the Tokyo researchers instead use four panels of speakers, all facing each other. These walls combine to create an “ultrasonic focal point,” which can be moved—along with the object trapped in it—by adjusting the output from each speaker array. The sound waves are out of the range of human hearing, so the setup effectively operates in silence.
Read the full article at: wired.com
All Our Stuff Is Gonna Be Traded on the Blockchain, Finance Companies Say
The companies that trade commodities like oil and wheat make a lot of money. But they also do a lot of paperwork. They have to send invoices, contracts, and letters of credit around the world, and it’s pretty tedious and time-consuming.
Now, a consortium of prominent energy and financial institutions including Royal Dutch Shell and Citigroup plans to start trading commodities on a new blockchain platform called Komgo.
“Blockchain technology will answer the needs of key participants in commodity trading by improving efficiency and security,” said Souleima Baddi, the chief executive of the startup, in an interview with the Financial Times.
The new platform will run on the Ethereum network, a distributed computing platform that uses a blockchain to host contracts. Similar organizations have tried trading commodities on the blockchain in the past few years, according to Reuters, but Komgo stands out because of its prominent launch partners and because any firm will be allowed to use it.
If all goes according to plan, Reuters reports, the system will become available for energy trading in November. Next year it will expand to agriculture and metals.
Not every major player has bought in. Bloomberg points out that the top three independent oil traders — Vitol Group, Glencore Plc and Trafigura Group — are “notably absent” from the Komgo founders.
But if Komgo is a success, it could be a proof of concept for any industry that want to use a distributed ledger to make complex contracts and paperwork easier.
READ MORE: Energy traders and banks back new blockchain platforms [Financial Times]
This Electric Car Charges In One Minute And Has A Range Of 500 Miles
Next electric cars might take just one minute to charge
A new battery from Fisker might change the way electric vehicles are charged. A patent filed by the company has revealed they have designed a new solid-state battery. Not only will this provide a single range of 804 kilometers but also it might take just one minute to charge the vehicle up.
Solid-State Batteries Are Better Source of Power Claim Fisker
As the name suggests, solid-state batteries have solid electrodes along with solid electrolytes, with no liquid as found in other batteries. There has been a great deal of research into improving the life of lithium-ion batteries along with their performance.
These are batteries found in electric vehicles on the market today. Fisker has worked on solid-state batteries, and they claim it is a better source for power in electric vehicles. They filed for a patent for “flexible, superior energy density solid-state batteries.”
The new battery might have a 3D solid electrode giving 2.5 the energy density of lithium-ion batteries on the market. When used inside an electric vehicle this means the vehicle would be able to run for around 804 kilometers or 500 miles, from just one charge. Another huge benefit to using the solid-state battery is that it may be possible to charge the vehicle in just one minute. Fisker also claimed that solid-state batteries are also a safer battery than the lithium-ion battery.
Fisker might incorporate solid-state electrodes in cells that are cylindrical but with an output of voltage that is higher than seen in batteries of today. If so, it would allow them to use the machinery and tooling that is already in existence to develop the battery pack, saving on costs. The electric car manufacturer said they would be able to “cut down the cost to just one-third of the projected cost of the lithium-ion battery in 2020 thanks to advancements they have made in manufacturing and costs”.
Fisker Claims to Have Addressed Hurdles of Solid State Batteries
Fisker went on to say, “This breakthrough marks the beginning of a new era in solid-state materials and manufacturing technologies.”
Fabio Albano the VP of Fisker battery systems said:
“We are addressing all of the hurdles that solid-state batteries have encountered on the path to commercialization, such as performance in cold temperatures; the use of low-cost scalable manufacturing methods; along with the ability to form bulk solid-state electrodes with significant thickness along with high active material loadings. We are excited to build on this foundation, to move the needle in energy storage.”
Solid-State Batteries Could Arrive in Electric Vehicles in 2023
While some people have wondered about the claims of Fisker, it does look like they are solid. A team of scientists at Fisker claims to have been working alongside Sakti3, the solid-state battery start-up according to futurism.com. Even more startling is that the release of the solid-state electrode technology may be in electric vehicles as early as 2023.
Of course, this is not the first time we have heard about solid-state batteries to power electric vehicles. Up to now most of what we have heard has not resulted in the batteries used in the commercial aspect. Samsung along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology revealed they were working on something similar in 2015.
This may have gone under, as there has not been any news since they made that announcement. Another team, which included John Goodenough, the man who actually worked on the development of lithium-ion batteries, also revealed they were developing a solid-state battery.
If the claims of Fisker do come true, we may see a new evolution of electric vehicles that can travel further than ever before on a single charge and which can be charged in around one minute.
Could you live forever? Humans will achieve IMMORTALITY using AI and genetic engineering by 2050, expert claims
Old age could soon be old news, according to a leading futurologist who claims people born after 1970 could live forever.
He predicts that by the year 2050, humans could outlive the constraints of the physical body.
Genetic engineering could be used to extend the body’s life expectancy, by reducing or reversing the ageing of cells.
Advances in AI could lead to android bodies for humans to live in after their own flesh and blood frames have ceased to function.
And virtual reality worlds could be created for people to upload their consciousness into once their bodies have failed.
Old age could soon be old news, according to a leading futurologist who claims people born after 1970 could live forever. He predicts that by the year 2050, humans could outlive the constraints of the physical body
The claims were made by Dr Ian Pearson, an engineer and inventor from Ipswich who lectures on the future of our daily lives, according to The Sun.
The holy grail for genetic engineering, human immortality, has long been a fascination for many, he says.
‘There are quite a lot of people interested in living forever,’ Dr Pearson told The Sun.
‘There always has been, but the difference now is tech is improving so quickly, lots of people believe they can actually do it.’
Dr Pearson says that anyone alive today who survives until 2050 may never have to face death.
He added: ‘By 2050, it will only really be for the rich and famous.
‘Most people on middle-class incomes and reasonable working-class incomes can probably afford this in the 2060s. So anyone 90 or under by 2060.
‘If you were born sometime in 1970 onwards, that would make you 48 this year.
‘So anybody under 50 has got a good chance of it, and anyone under 40 almost definitely will have access to this.’
Dr Pearson claims that there are a number of promising avenues that could allow people to skirt death.
The claims were made by Dr Ian Pearson (pictured), an engineer and inventor from Ipswich who lectures on the future of our daily lives – from work to leisure. He believes that in just over three decades humans will be able to survive forever
One involves using genetic engineering to renew or build new body parts.
Lab grown tissues and organs are successfully being grown for use in transplants to reduce the need for human donors and decrease organ rejections.
Cells age naturally and become less resilient and start failing but with certain techniques some people believe ageing can be reversed.
Dr Pearson says: ‘No one wants to live forever at 95 years old, but if you could rejuvenate the body to 29 or 30, you might want to do that.’
Although improving the human body is a possibility, there are many complications associated with undoing ageing.
A more likely avenue is that we abandon our failing bodies as we age and move into an artificial shell.
‘A long time before we get to fix our bodies and rejuvenate it every time we feel like, we’ll be able to link our minds to the machine world so well, we’ll effectively be living in the cloud,’ Dr Pearson said.
Last week, an exhibition at the World Government Summit in Dubai showcased HIBA (Hybrid Intelligence Biometric Avatar).
HIBA was the result of several studies and concluded that humans would be joined through a ‘collective AI consciousness’.
This international network will allow us to ditch speech and communicate using nothing but thoughts by 2050.
The Netflix series Altered Carbon (pictured) explores similar idea, with people escaping death by storing their mind, consciousness and memories in a computer chip called a ‘stack’ implanted in their spinal column
Dr Pearson took this idea one step further and claimed that we will not only be linked by a computer system in 2050, we will be living inside an android shell when we do.
Human consciousnesses will be uploaded to online servers, and we will able to use any android body to inhabit the real world.
One indicator of progress in this area is the current state of sex dolls, Dr Pearson says, which are looking more human-like with each new generation
In another three decades, they could be extremely lifelike.
Dr Pearson compares using such android bodies as homes for our consciousness to hiring a car.
Rather than travelling to Australia to visit the Sydney opera house, you could download your mind into an android body in the country.
The Netflix series Altered Carbon explores similar idea, with people escaping death by storing their mind, consciousness and memories in a computer chip called a ‘stack’ implanted in their spinal column.
This in-tact stack can be taken out of a dead person and implanted into a new body, known as a ‘skin’.
A similar process would be involved with the robotic bodies he envisages.
The cost of this immortality in a machine will initially be very high, with only the rich being able to afford it in 2050.
Soon after, by 2060, it should be more attainable for middle and working-class individuals.
HOW CAN HUMANS BECOME IMMORTAL?
Humans have long been fascinated by the idea of immortality and have been pursuing it for centuries.
Ancient Greek alchemists once tried to find a ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ to obtain immortality, but were unsuccessful.
In recent decades, the average life expectancy in many countries has increased drastically and now most, healthy individuals in the UK can expect a life duration of about 80 years.
With the rapid development of technology and an increasing scientific understanding of the flaws of the human body, some people to believe that immortality is closer now than it has ever been before.
In the late 20th Century, an idea called cryonics was founded – the ability to bring someone back to life after death.
Now, futurologists think that humans will be able to live forever thanks to a combination of tech advances.
There are now three schools of thought for how people will be able to endure permanently.
Option one: Body regeneration
Scientists have already managed to grow chemicals, tissues and organs in the lab and as technology advances in this field.
Combined with 3D printing and reversing the ageing of cells, our bodies may last longer than ever before.
Option two: Robotic body replacements
Robots are becoming better and more human-like all the time, and we may be able to upload a human consciousness into an android in the future.
Option three: A virtual world
Virtual reality and Augmented reality have started to blur the lines between the tangible and the artificial.
Human consciousness could potentially exist completely independently of a body in a computer simulation.
By 2070 people in poor countries on modest incomes will be able to afford it, he says, giving the chance of digital immortality.
It could even be provided on the NHS.
One final possibility is that consciousness could exist in a completely virtual world.
This would open up the possibility of exploring every conceivable fantasy, travelling anywhere in the world at any point in history.
He believes humans could also link their consciousness to that of others in a giant hive mind.
This could offer humans of the future unlimited intelligence and let them exist in multiple places at once.
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