Electric Airplanes May Soon Take Flight

Planes today are engineering marvels, but they require a lot of money. But, electric aircraft are starting to take flight, and it is becoming cheaper than ever to learn how to fly.

Electric Aircraft Concept Art
Concept art of hybrid planes made by Zunum Aero.

Planes today are engineering marvels, connecting people and small towns to the world. But everyone would agree that they are not very efficient at travel, and can be expensive to maintain when fuel costs are high. Electric planes are a hope to solve that problem, by replacing traditional planes with more economic and environmentally friendly, electric planes. The companies behind these concepts explain that these planes would run totally on electricity and cut ticket prices, so flying could become cheaper for you and me.

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Robotics taking over the classroom

Have you noticed yet how much technology has lately been geared toward education? Well if you haven’t, the digital classroom may soon become a reality as smart boards actually become smart and interactive, robots are being used in the classroom, and many classes are taught online or use online material to teach the course.

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Cyber Security ID and Authentication

Hi all! David here. I hope everyone has had a great start to the year. I know mine has been wonderful, as I have been working alongside Mr. Ashley, learning and discussing issues pertaining to the world of computing security and information assurance.

Computer security (or cyber security, info security, digital security, they all mean the same thing). It’s a broad topic which contains dozens of components and thousands of job opportunities (and, yes, you can still be involved in cyber security without being a math whiz).

Nations, terrorists, terrorist nations, the list goes on. Enemies everywhere are beginning to turn to another form of warfare, not with bullets or RPGs, but with bits, bites and the touch of a keyboard. Pipelines, power grids, traffic lights, and anything pertaining to critical infrastructure is exposed. On a personal level, accounts, shopping, finance, bank accounts, and anything YOU have are targets for hacks.

 

 

Airport Security

Airports are becoming increasingly more aware of their passengers since terrorist threats are becoming more evident around the world.

 

Over the past few years, there has become more devastating terrorist threats across the world which brings technology into question when dealing with airport security. Airport security has not only become much more serious in dealing with passengers through security but very aware of what technology is being used to detect any harmful items that could lead to terrorism.

Once you arrive, it all starts with a long procedure that might seem grueling. Waiting in line for your passport to be stamped, then going through a whole security guard system with full-body scanners. It might seem ridiculous to take off your two year’s shoes because there could be a explosive liquid inside, but that is the world we are living in today.  According to the executive director of UK rights group Privacy International, Gus Hosein, “People increasingly expect to be treated like cattle at airports.” Technology has been evolving in airports in the same way like any other technology company. But, this doesn’t mean it is always working. Security and screening methods have quickly adapted to change threats around the world even though it might not seem like these scanners are working.

Airport security has become one of the least popular aspects of travel according to a passenger survey conducted y the International Air Transport Association(IATA). Driving seems like an easier alternative for families who want to wake up and bring whatever they choose in their bags. The use of full-body scanners has been the biggest complaint by passengers in airports. Airports are trying to make this process as efficient and painless as they can without being scrutinized.

Dealing with MRIs at the airport when checking luggage is a whole other problem. But that might change quickly according to scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, who have come up with a system called MagRay, based on the scanning technology developed for medical applications. This will improve traffic flow in airports by letting passengers bring liquids in their carry on baggages without having to throw them away.

There are many improvements that are constantly being made in airports to reduce stress from threats or identity stealing. This definitely leads passengers to feel more safe and relaxed while navigating through their travels. Even if superior scanners and smarter systems may seem intense this can lead airport security such as guards to become less evident and make your family have a nice flight home.

 

By: Mia Gradelski

Robot Sweats to Cool Off


Over the years, scientists and researchers have created robots that abilities range from being able to vacuum your living room carpet, to detecting human emotions. Kengoro is a new robot built by a group of Japanese researchers from the University of Tokyo’s JSK lab. The robot is defined as a humanoid; having an appearance or character that is similar to that of a human. Kengoro’s stamina is incomparable to that of other two-legged machines.

Humans generate heat when they preform tasks, so to cool off, their bodies perspire. In robots, overheating can lead to failure. Kengoro can move almost exactly the way humans can with its motors of which it has over a hundred. With these motors generating a lot of heat, the researchers were determined to find a way to cool the robot off. Some common ways were using water pumps, fans, radiators, and heat sinks. However, they wanted a energy conserving, efficient cooling system.

The University of Tokyo lab presented the machine at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers/Robotics Society of Japan International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, under the title “Skeletal Structure with Artificial Perspiration for Cooling by Latent Heat for Musculoskeletal Humanoid Kengoro.” University of Tokyo’s Toyotaka Kozuki said in an interview with IEEE, “Our concept was adding more functions to the frame, using it to transfer water, release heat, and at the same time support forces.” In order to do this, the team built a water circulation system into the robot’s skull. This system allowed the water to go around the motors to cool them. The water would then evaporate from the heat.

Scientists are now exploring ways to apply this research to clothing. The tiny holes could be used to develop a new type of fabric for increased breathability.

Data on an Unusual Star: KIC 8462852

Scientists looking at past data of a certain patch of the night sky have noticed something strange: a star, named KIC 8462852, seems to have dimmed in overall brightness by a significant factor, over 20% since 1890. This may seem like a long time, but in the life cycle of a star, this is faster than anything scientists have ever seen before. Intriguingly, the star has also been dimming and brightening erratically, sometimes by as much as 22%. Both of these are things that have never been seen before. Scientists initially hypothesized that a cloud of comets or large planets could be causing the dimming, but before long this was ruled out, as the dimming was too erratic. Another, even less credible theory, is that the star is home to a high level Kardashev civilization, one which has harnessed the energy of its sun by building a large solar panel-like structure around it. If this theory sounds far out to you, then you are with good company. It is a concept straight out of science fiction, and most of the scientific community (ancient alien theorists aside) does not believe in this “Dyson Sphere” theory. Even if life did exist in the KIC 8462852 system, harnessing energy on this scale is entirely hypothetical and may not be possible.

The technology being used to look for signs of this star is a mix of old photographic plates from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and the Kepler Telescope. The data gathered from these sources was compiled, and the new data from Kepler supported the older data, painting a picture of the star’s unprecedented dimming. Questions of the reliability of the plates have been brought up, as the old technology could hold less accurate data. However, this is unlikely, as the plates are backed up by Kepler, with modern technology.

If any of this sounds interesting, I have provided some links to additional reading in the text above.

Messaging’s never-ending expansion

alloIn late September of 2016, Google officially unveiled its latest product to add to their arsenal.  It’s their messaging app entitled “Allo”.

To separate themselves from the rest of the pack, Google infused artificial intelligence into Allo to chat and make plans.  When combined with the never-ending list of products from Google (Google Hangouts, docs, slides, sites, classroom, etc), it is intriguing to think about the possibilities when combining all of these applications together.  However, that might not be as simple as it seems.  When compared to the iMessage capabilities of Apple, WhatsApp’s solidness from Facebook, and Facebook’s main messaging app, Messenger, where exactly does Allo stand?

Google announced the app in May of this year, aiming to further their use of artificial intelligence.   Continue reading “Messaging’s never-ending expansion”