July 23, 2016

Manufacturer of explosives trace detection acquiring Flyboard Air creator which has envisions many flying platforms

The Zapata technology platform is the safest, easiest, lightest, most maneuverable, and least expensive personal aviation system ever created.

Capable of being operated with only 20 hours of flight training, or in fully autonomous mode with GPS guidance, ZAPATA's proprietary balance methodology and algorithms are truly disruptive.

ZAPATA's technology and innovative products will unlock hundreds of applications across multiple industry sectors, from military and rescue to entertainment and recreation.

Implant Sciences Corporation (OTCQB: IMSC), a leading manufacturer of explosives trace detection (ETD) solutions for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) applications, is acquiring Zapata Industries SAS of Marseilles, France. Zapata is a profitable and debt-free company with commercial, defense, and homeland security technology applications.

Zapata Industries (www.zapata-industries.com) is the undisputed leader in developing and manufacturing single user hydro-and jet-powered technologies and products. Zapata’s proprietary methodology, algorithms, and patented designs are currently commercialized and in development within recreation, entertainment, military, medical, and industrial sectors.

Researchers reverse menopause and enable ovaries to release fertile eggs

A team claims to have found a way to rejuvenate post-menopausal ovaries, enabling them to release fertile eggs.

The team says its technique has restarted periods in menopausal women, including one who had not menstruated in five years. If the results hold up to wider scrutiny, the technique may boost declining fertility in older women, allow women with early menopause to get pregnant, and help stave off the detrimental health effects of menopause.

“It offers a window of hope that menopausal women will be able to get pregnant using their own genetic material,” says Konstantinos Sfakianoudis, a gynaecologist at the Greek fertility clinic Genesis Athens.

“It is potentially quite exciting,” says Roger Sturmey at Hull York Medical School in the UK. “But it also opens up ethical questions over what the upper age limit of mothers should be.”

Fifties could be the new forties for older women giving birth with rejuvenated ovaries

Women are thought to be born with all their eggs. Between puberty and the menopause, this number steadily dwindles, with fertility thought to peak in the early 20s. Around the age of 50, which is when menopause normally occurs, the ovaries stop releasing eggs – but most women are already largely infertile by this point, as ovulation becomes more infrequent in the run-up. The menopause comes all-too-soon for many women, says Sfakianoudis

China will expand to eight vertical and eight horizontal high speed rail lines by 2025

China will expand its railway network to 150,000 km (93,200 miles) by 2020, including 30,000 km of high-speed rail, the country's top economic planner said on Wednesday.

The plan will mean a 24 percent increase in the length of China's railway network from 2015 and a 58 percent expansion in high-speed rail.

The government will encourage state-owned China Railway Corp to expand bond issuance to finance its investment, Fei Zhirong, an official at the National Development and Reform Commission, told a new conference.

China aims to invest 800 billion yuan ($119.71 billion) in fixed assets in 2016 as part of the effort to expand the railway network.

China Railway invested 823.8 billion yuan in 2015, building 9,531 km (5,922 miles) of new lines which included 3,306 km of high-speed rail, according to state media.

By 2025, NDRC expects the network to total 175 000 route-km, of which 38 000 km of high speed rail.

NDRC says the rail network should be expanded to serve all cities with a population of more than 2 million, while all those above 5 million would be on the PDL network. The aim is to offer journey times of 1 h to 4 h between the principal conurbations, while trips across major urban areas should be possible in 2 h or less. NDRC also expects all principal ports and bulk commodity production areas to be served by rail.

The plan builds on the previous strategy of developing ‘four horizontal and four vertical’ axes by expanding these to eight in each direction. Most of the initial corridors are now nearing completion, and on some sections additional capacity is already required.

The eight ‘verticals’ (north - south trunk routes) are:

coastal PDL connecting Dalian and Dandong to Tianjin, Shanghai, Fuzhou, Shenzhen and Beihai;
capacity enhancements to the Beijing – Shanghai high speed corridor;
Beijing – Hong Kong PDL and connecting routes to serve intermediate population centres;
Harbin – Hong Kong PDL;
Hohhot – Nanning PDL via Datong, Taiyuan, Zhengzhou, Changde, Yongzhou and Guilin;
Beijing – Kunming PDL via Taiyuan, Xi'an and Chengdu/Chongqing;
Baotou/Yinchuan – Haikou via Yanan, Chongqing and Nanning;
Lanzhou/Xining – Guangzhou via Chengdu/Chongqing and Guiyang.

The eight east–west ‘horizontal’ axes are:

Suifenhe – Manzhouli via Harbin;
Beijing – Lanzhou via Hohhot and Yinchuan;
Qingdao – Yinchuan via Jinan and Taiyuan;
Lianyungang – Urumqi via Xuzhou, Zhengzhou and Xining;
Shanghai – Chengdu via Nanjing, Anqing, Wuhan, Yichang and Chongqing;
Shanghai – Kunming via Nanchang, Changsha and Guiyang;
Xiamen – Chongqing via Longyan, Changsha and Zhangjiajie;
Guangzhou – Kunming via Nanning.
In addition, NDRC has set out plans for construction of a network of new inter-regional corridors to cater for rising demand for short- and medium-distance trips. There is also a focus on using railway development as a tool for regeneration in the poorest regions, with around 12 new lines to be built for this purpose. Emphasising the role of intermodality in both the freight and passenger markets, it envisages a number of new passenger hubs and logistics centres.

The plan calls for expansion of the conventional network by around 20 000 km by 2025, with a focus on linking the Beijing/Tianjin region with the northeast, the Yangtse and Pearl river deltas and the northwest and southwest. Other enhancements would focus on improving links across the country over very long distances.

Finally, NDRC has reiterated the government’s commitment to enhancing international rail links through its ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative. This confirms Chinese investment on various corridors through Central Asia and on enhancing rail links to Vietnam and other southeast Asian countries. Also envisaged is a rail tunnel linking the Chinese mainland to Taiwan.

SOURCES - Railway Gazette, Reuters

New 7 Tesla MRI coil offers higher resolution, shorter scan time

Researchers have developed a high-temperature superconducting coil that allows magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to produce higher resolution images or acquire images in a shorter time than when using conventional coils.

Wosik, a principal investigator at the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH, said test results show the new technology can reveal brain structures that aren't easily visualized with conventional MRI coils. He also is a research professor in the UH Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The cryo-coil works by boosting the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) -- a measure of the strength of signals carrying useful information -- by a factor of two to three, compared with conventional coils. SNR is critical to the successful implementation of high resolution and fast imaging.

Results from preliminary testing of the 7 Tesla MRI Cryo-probe were presented at the International Symposium of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine annual meeting in May. The coil can be optimized for experiments on living animals or brain tissue samples, and researchers said they demonstrated an isotropic resolution of 34 micron in rat brain imaging. In addition to its use in MRI coils, superconductivity lies at the heart of MRI scanning systems, as most high-field magnets are based on superconducting wire

Regulators know how bad human driving is and will push ahead with imperfect automated driving

On Friday, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Mark Rosekind told an audience in Detroit, Michigan that car makers “cannot wait for perfect” when it comes to developing and deploying self-driving car technology. The Wall Street Journal reported that Rosekind said automation would “save people’s lives” in a time when auto fatalities have been up 8 percent since 2014.

Despite Tesla's most recent crash, regulators seem enthusiastic about getting more autonomous vehicles on the road in the near future. Earlier this week, Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told an audience in San Francisco that “autonomous doesn't mean perfect,” but that “we need industry to take the safety aspects of this very seriously.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Foxx said new safety guidelines, including “pre-market approval steps,” would help to “clear lines of responsibility between industry, government, and consumers.”

The Times added that Foxx addressed concerns about regulation stunting autonomous vehicle development. He “promised that the approach would be flexible, with a lot of input from businesses, drivers, and technology experts.”

Tricking machine vision and image recognition

Machines now outperform humans in face recognition and object recognition and are in the process of revolutionizing numerous vision-based tasks such as driving, security monitoring, and so on. Machine vision is now superhuman.

These modified pictures are called adversarial images, and they are a significant threat. “An adversarial example for the face recognition domain might consist of very subtle markings applied to a person’s face, so that a human observer would recognize their identity correctly, but a machine learning system would recognize them as being a different person,” say Alexey Kurakin and Samy Bengio at Google Brain and Ian Goodfellow from OpenAI, a nonprofit AI research company.

Because machine vision systems are so new, little is known about adversarial images. Nobody understands how best to create them, how they fool machine vision systems, or how to protect against this kind of attack.

Today, that starts to change thanks to the work of Kurakin and co, who have begun to study adversarial images systematically for the first time. Their work shows just how vulnerable machine vision systems are to this kind of attack.

Office of Naval research develops from test tubes to launch tubes

The Office of Naval research (ONR) gets $2.1 billion per year in funding. This is about two thirds of the DARPA budget. The ONR is trying to develop combat lasers, railguns, quantum computing, nanotechnology, synthetic biology and other areas

Engineered bacteria deliver an anti cancer tumor toxin in mice before self-destructing

A synthetic genetic circuit programmed into an attenuated Salmonella enterica subspecies can be used to systemically deliver an anti-tumor toxin into mice with cancer. The circuit allows the bacterial cells inside a tumor to synchronously self-destruct by lysis, releasing the toxin directly in the tumor

Researchers at the University of California San Diego and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have come up with a strategy for using synthetic biology in therapeutics. The approach enables continual production and release of drugs at disease sites in mice while simultaneously limiting the size, over time, of the populations of bacteria engineered to produce the drugs

“This impressive study represents a big step towards one of the great dreams of synthetic biology: rationally programming cells, in this case bacteria, to exhibit complex, dynamic, and beneficial behaviors in a host organism,” Michael Elowitz, whose Caltech lab builds synthetic genetic circuits and who was not involved in the work, wrote in an email to The Scientist.

Bert Vogelstein, a cancer geneticist at the Johns Hopkins’ Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore who also was not involved in the work, agreed. “This paper describes a highly innovative strategy employing synthetic biology to weaponize bacteria and shows that these bacteria can be used to slow the growth of tumors growing in mice,” he wrote in an email to The Scientist.

Schematic of the microfluidic device used to co-culture engineered bacteria and cancer cells (top). Live co-culture of engineered bacteria and cancer cells immediately before and after the synchronized lysis event, showing cancer cell death (bottom left, right, respectively).

Nature - Synchronized cycles of bacterial lysis for in vivo delivery

July 22, 2016

Nextbigfuture predicted near term transhuman scenario is nearing with IVF booming in China, embryo selection based on cellular characteristics and China's first human CRISPR gene editing

In 2014, I gave a talk at Transhuman Visions in 2014 where I said older Tiger Moms would be the driver of early adoption of genetic intelligence enhancement after the lifting of the One child policy in China.

China's One child policy was lifted just as embryo selection based upon intelligence for invitro fertilized (IVF) babies becomes possible and we are on the cusp of genetic engineering. Women in China who are now older were banned from having babies but now will be allowed to have children. Many will not be able to conceive naturally and will use IVF. I see IVF going from 400,000 per year worldwide to 2-8 million per year over the next 10 years. IVF babies are more easily embryo selected and accessible for genetic modification. This would provide an economic boost to China in 20-30 years and the beginnings of a significant societal shift.

* Older women use IVF more than younger women
* Societal shifts that cause more older women to use IVF to have children means more opportunity for embryo selection and genetic intelligence enhancement.
* Countries that permit embyro selection and genetic intelligence enhancement provide the opportunity for IVF to be used for enhancement
* Medical tourism to permissive countries is another means for older women to use IVF in combination with embryo selection or genetic enhancement.

IVF up over 50% in China since one child policy change

By December, 2015 there has been a 50 per cent jump in IVF consultations since the one-child policy announcement.

China is set to be the biggest IVF market in the world, probably within the next couple of years. Chinese couples who have the financial means often go abroad to the United States, Australia, Thailand and Vietnam for IVF. Rising Chinese demand for fertility treatments is also increasing IVF demand overseas clinics such as Australia-based Monash IVF Group and Virtus Health or Superior A.R.T. in Thailand, where 30-40 per cent of patients come from China.

Patient numbers are still climbing too. There were nearly half a million treatment "cycles" in 2013 at 356 approved clinics, compared with just under 200,000 cycles that year in the higher-value US market. Those levels were before the lifting of the one child policy.

Older women going for IVF

A 61-year-old woman has became what is believed to be China’s second oldest mother, according to media reports, in a growing trend of older births among desperate couples who have been left childless by Beijing’s draconian one-child policy.

The baby was born six days after media reported that another Chinese woman, 54-year-old Liu Hongmei, gave birth to a boy through IVF following the loss of her son in a traffic accident two years ago.

China reformed its strict family planning laws last October, but there are an estimated million Chinese families who have lost the only child they were ever allowed to have – including 335,000 mothers over 49.

Genetic screening embryos

A chinese woman gave birth to baby girl using an embryo frozen 18 years ago

Until recently fertility experts were only been able to judge the health of an embryo by its appearance.

A new test called Comprehensive Chromosomal Screening (CCS) is allowing fertility specialists to determine with much greater accuracy which embryos in IVF have the normal number of chromosomes and are the most likely to result in a successful pregnancy.

Studies have shown that IVF with CCS can achieve

• Pregnancy rates as high as 70%
• Miscarriage rate as low as 10%.
• A very low risk of chromosomal problems such as Down's syndrome (diagnostic accuracy of CCS is about 99%)

To further improve on the results of CCS, Olive Fertility is pioneering another technique for screening embryos with mitochondrial DNA quantification.

It appears that around a third of embryos with the correct number of chromosomes still fail to lead to a successful pregnancy. Recent studies have shown that embryos with a higher concentration of mitochondrial DNA have a reduced chance of implantation. Mitochondria are the energy producing engines within our cells, but surprisingly, an abundance of mitochondria appears to be associated with lower implantation potential.

The engineering is intended to switch on the immune response to attack cancer. In the pharmaceutical industry, antibody drugs directly blocking the PD-1 protein including Merck & Co.’s Keytruda and Opdivo sold by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. have become new growth engines for the companies.

A study from the University of Oxford, which was recently presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Helsinki, suggested that screening embryos for their levels of mitochondrial DNA could help doctors select those that are most likely to result in a healthy pregnancy.

With CCS, an egg is fertilized in the laboratory and the embryo is grown for 5 days at which point 5-10 cells are taken from the part of the embryo that will form the placenta (thus leaving the cells that are destined to become the fetus untouched).

The embryo is then frozen and the biopsied cells are sent to a specialized laboratory for testing. The results usually return in 10-14 days identifying which embryos are chromosomally normal. A healthy embryo can be transferred in the next menstrual cycle.

Illumina offering pre-implantation next generation sequencing

Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) determines the chromosomal status of an embryo by screening all 23 chromosome pairs prior to transfer in an IVF cycle. PGS enables the selection of embryos for transfer that are most likely to be free of chromosomal problems.

PGS is described in 8 pages and details how it is compatible with WHOLE GENOME sequencing and screening

Gene editing on humans

Chinese scientists are embarking on what appear to be the first human trials with the Crispr gene editing tool, the latest effort by the country’s researchers to master a technology that might someday be a potent tool in developing therapies worldwide.

Nature - Chinese scientists to pioneer first human CRISPR trial

Chinese scientists are on the verge of being first in the world to inject people with cells modified using the CRISPR–Cas9 gene-editing technique.

A team led by Lu You, an oncologist at Sichuan University’s West China Hospital in Chengdu, plans to start testing such cells in people with lung cancer next month. The clinical trial received ethical approval from the hospital's review board on 6 July.

The fast, stunning rise of China's supercomputer ecosystem which can translate into innovation leads in aircraft, cars, medicine, energy and military systems

China's supercomputer accomplishment is far more significant than one computer coming in first. Other countries have done it in the past with what’s called “stunt” machines ― fast and powerful, but unable to apply it to anything. The stunning news here is that China created a High Performance Computing (HPC) “ecosystem” in an amazingly short period of time.

Another important part of the Sunway TaihuLight announcement is that for the first time, the Chinese – built a 100 percent indigenous supercomputer. In an ironic twist, our scientists are trying to learn the recipe of the secret-sauce to the Chinese processor. China’s ecosystem also created the hardware and the middleware required to operate the computer.

Maintaining leadership in high performance computing is a national and economic security imperative. As history has shown, HPC translates into innovations in aircraft, automobiles, oil and gas, biomedical, nuclear energy and military systems.

Russia's air force and precision guided weapons make a military that is geopolitical useful and effective

The United States military had problems in the Vietnam war but introduced precision guided weapons in the first Gulf war.

Russia's air force cannot match the United States in terms of the number of 5th generation planes. This primarily matters in terms of a WW3 or pre-WW3 showdown.

However, Russia's nuclear weapons and conventional capability are sufficient to prevent bullying from Washington when the US has not indicated 100% commitment. The situations where the US is fully committed is defending North America and Western Europe.

However Russia has established its military capability to the US first Gulf war level. This is geopolitically important because other than all out war between either NATO and Russia or Russia and China, Russia can use its military power to bully any other military with near certainty of being able achieve objectives.

The USSR did not have this capability when they fought in Afghanistan.

The Russian Air Force is receiving highly-capable new aircraft like the Su-30SM, Su-35S and Su-34, it is not receiving huge numbers of those new aircraft at once. The Russians are taking delivery of tens of these new aircraft over a number of years to replace the hundreds of Soviet-era jets that are currently in service. the Russian Air Force is receiving new aircraft with good radars (most of the new jets have a PESA but active electronically scanned array (AESA) are in the pipeline onboard the MiG-35, for example) and excellent electronic warfare suites, the Russian Air Force still lacks good electro-optical/infrared targeting pods comparable to the U.S. Air Force’s Sniper or U.S. Navy ATFLIR pod. Moreover, precision guided weapons comparable to the Joint Direct Attack Munition are still comparatively rare in the Russian arsenal as the Syrian experience has demonstrated. But the Russians are aware of these deficiencies and are working on correcting the problem. Indeed, new targeting pods are nearing production.

Russia will license-produce the Thales Damocles reconnaissance and target designation pod for its air force strike aircraft, following successful tests of the system with Malaysia's Sukhoi Su-30MKM multirole fighter. Comparative trials involving Damocles and the Ural Optical and Mechanical Plant (UOMZ)-produced Sapsan and Solux targeting pods went in favor of the French design

New cancer gene-drug combinations ripe for precision medicine

In an effort to expand the number of cancer gene mutations that can be specifically targeted with personalized therapies, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center looked for combinations of mutated genes and drugs that together kill cancer cells. Such combinations are expected to kill cancer cells, which have mutations, but not healthy cells, which do not. The study, published July 21 in Molecular Cell, uncovered 172 new combinations that could form the basis for future cancer therapies.

Representation of synthetic lethal wiring of a cancer call with previously unknown interactions

Molecular Interactions - A Network of Conserved Synthetic Lethal Interactions for Exploration of Precision Cancer Therapy

First flight for full scale Facebook internet drone

Google is working to expand the Internet with its own flying drones and high-altitude balloons, Facebook is fashioning all sorts of contraptions to spread online access far and wide, including new wireless antennas, lasers, and satellites. In the process, both companies are furthering their own ends. If they expand the Internet’s reach, they expand the reach of Google and Facebook.

By Facebook’s estimates, about 1.6 billion people live in areas that don’t offer mobile broadband.

Aquila is the flying drone Zuckerberg and company are designing to provide Internet access in remote parts of the world. It’s made of carbon fiber, and it tops the wingspan of a 737.

Facebook’s Aquila airplanes will communicate via space optics—aka lasers. FACEBOOK

July 21, 2016

Chlamydia vaccine shown to be widely protective in mice

The first steps towards developing a vaccine against an insidious sexual transmitted infection (STI) have been accomplished by researchers at McMaster University.

Researchers at the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster have developed the first widely protective vaccine against chlamydia, a common STI that is mostly asymptomatic but impacts 113 million people around the world each year and can result in infertility.

In a study, recently published in the journal Vaccine, the researchers show that a novel chlamydial antigen known as BD584 is a potential vaccine candidate for the most common species of chlamydia known as Chlamydia trachomatis.

As most C. trachomatis infections are asymptomatic, chlamydia can often go untreated and lead to upper genital tract infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, and infertility. This is why the promise of a vaccine would be extremely beneficial, says David Bulir, co-author of the study.

“Vaccine development efforts in the past three decades have been unproductive and there is no vaccine approved for use in humans,” said Bulir, who just finished his PhD in medical sciences at McMaster.

Scientists cut ‘Gordian knot’ in human genome

A team of researchers co-led by Erez Lieberman Aiden of Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine has discovered how mysterious, inactive genes in females hold sway over the superloops that connect DNA sequences at opposite ends of the chromosome.

The work by Aiden and colleagues at Florida State University and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University sheds light on female development in mammals

Females have two X chromosomes in each of their cells. Fully unfolded, each copy is 2 inches long. One of these two X chromosomes is inactive — its genes are turned off. This copy folds into a structure called the Barr body, a mysterious configuration that was discovered in 1949.

Recently, scientists have shown that the Barr body contains massive superloops that bring DNA sequences at opposite ends of the chromosome together inside the nucleus of a cell.

The researchers determined which part of the DNA code is responsible for these superloops and have shown that it is possible to use this information to change the structure of the Barr body as a whole.

The Hi-C method measures how frequently two loci in the genome make physical contact in the nucleus of the cell. Here, a Hi-C contact map is rendered as a three-dimensional surface. Strong proximity between nearby genomic loci creates a ‘wall’ bisecting the landscape. Peaks in the contact map correspond to loops in the genome. Courtesy of Ido Machol and Erez Lieberman Aiden. Rendered by Ido Machol

PNAS - Deletion of DXZ4 on the human inactive X chromosome alters higher-order genome architecture

China will build three competing pre-exascale systems to select exaFLOP design

China is not betting solely on the Shenwei chips (used in worlds fastest supercomputer- 93 petaFLOPS), and apparently has plans to build three different pre-exascale systems with three very different architectures, according to some Tweets put out by James Lin, vice director for the Center of HPC at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The three-way horse race for exascale machines in China will set up a horse race between three different organizations to build pre-exascale clusters based on ARM, Shenwei, and AMD (presumably Opteron) technologies. The first pre-exascale machine is being created by NUDT and will use ARM-based processors and will be deployed at the national supercomputer center in Tianjin where the Tianhe-1A CPU-GPU hybrid was deployed in 2010 and gave China its first top spot on the Top 500 rankings of supercomputers. There is no mention of using the Matrix2000 DSP accelerator with this system, but unless NUDT plans to create its own ARM chip with a homegrown floating point accelerator and embed it on the die, it stands to reason that this first pre-exascale machine will be an ARM-DSP hybrid.

The second pre-exascale machine is being developed by the same people who put together the Sunway TaihuLight system, and it will be deployed in the national supercomputing center in Jinan, where its predecessor, the Sunway Bluelight system, currently runs.

The third pre-exascale machine, and perhaps equally interesting, will be built by Chinese system maker Sugon and will employ an X86 processor licensed from AMD. We presume this is a licensed variant of the future “Zen” Opteron chip, due in 2017 for servers. It is not clear who is doing the licensing of the X86 technology from AMD, but back in April, AMD announced that it had inked a deal worth $293 million to license X86 chip technology to Tianjin Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment Co, which is itself an investment consortium that is guided by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In May, China committed to delivering an exascale-class machine by 2020 with 10 PB of memory, exabytes of storage, and 30 gigaflops per watt efficiency (about five times better than the new Sunway TaihuLight system), and greater than 60 percent efficiency on the Linpack Fortran benchmark test.

Shenway supercomputer

Fastest commercial production drone flies at 70 mph, teraflop processor for automated flight and will cost $1300

Flying at speeds over 70 mph, Teal is the world’s fastest production drone. It also flips, rolls, and dives as fast as your gut lets you, while staying stable in winds up to 40 mph.

Teal is powered by the NVIDIA TX1, a crazy powerful mini supercomputer (teraFLOP processing power). It handles machine learning, autonomous flight, image recognition, and much more with ease, onboard the drone itself. This makes Teal a flying supercomputer. You can even plug Teal into a monitor, use it like a normal computer, play games on it, and go fly when you want.

Teal does not have standard obstacle avoidance built in. However, they are working on sense and avoid capability that functions directly through the camera that’s already integrated in Teal (via machine learning). They will offer that as a future update. We are also working on upgrade add-on modules that provide more obstacle avoidance capabilities.

The GPS system built into our Inertial Navigation System gives GPS/GLONASS capability with fast update rates and high accuracies. It supports standard GPS (+- 1.5m accuracy) while also offering Differential and RTK GPS capability (+- 0.5m, +- 0.05m, respectively), which isn’t available in any other production drone today. This makes Teal the first drone with such high accuracy, stability, and performance. They are working on and expecting to have Differential and RTK ready for when we ship, but may include them as a software update shortly after.

The Teal SDK allows you to build apps that run on Teal, as well as mobile apps to communicate with Teal. they provide full access to the computing power of the TX1, as well as the ability to connect your own hardware through USB ports, so the possibilities are virtually limitless.

What kinds of apps can I make for Teal?
They are envisioning use cases ranging from advanced autonomous flight, thermal imaging integration, search and rescue, and augmented reality.

Max Horizontal Speed
70+ MPH

Wind Resistance
40 MPH

Flight Time
10 minutes (High Performance Battery)

Flight Time
20 minutes (High Endurance Battery)

Thrust to Weight Ratio

Diagonal Size
261mm (Motor to Motor)

All Up Weight

Payload Capacity

Body Material
Carbon Infused/Polycarbonate Plastic

3x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0, GPIO, FPV Cam/Tx, PWM/PPM/DSM/Sbus

GPS Modes
Standard, Differential, RTK

Hover Accuracy
Standard: 1.5m, Differential: 0.5m, RTK: 0.1m

WiFi: 300ft, Extended WiFi: 2500ft, 2.4ghz Tx: 5000ft+


1 TFLOP/s, 256 core

64-bit ARM A57 CPUs

4 GB LPDDR4, 25.6 GB/s




Battery Type
Lithium Polymer


Net Weight

Discharge Rating

Artificial receptors kill cells infected with HIV virus that causes AIDS

A type of immunotherapy that has shown promising results against cancer could also be used against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

In a study published July 11 in the peer-reviewed Journal of Virology, researchers from the UCLA AIDS Institute and Center for AIDS Research found that recently discovered potent antibodies can be used to generate a specific type of cell called chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs, that can be used to kill cells infected with HIV-1.

CARs are artificially created immune T cells that have been engineered to produce receptors on their surface that are designed to target and kill specific cells containing viruses or tumor proteins. Chimeric receptors are the focus of ongoing research into how gene immunotherapy can be used to fight cancer. But they could also be used to create a strong immune response against HIV, said Dr. Otto Yang, professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the study’s corresponding author.

Researchers find that potent antibodies can be used to generate a specific type of cell that can be used to kill cells infected with HIV-1. An HIV-infected T cell is shown here.

Journal of Virology - HIV-1-Specific Chimeric Antigen Receptors Based on Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies

Titanium-gold alloy that is four times harder than most steels

Titanium is the leading material for artificial knee and hip joints because it’s strong, wear-resistant and nontoxic, but an unexpected discovery by Rice University physicists shows that the gold standard for artificial joints can be improved with the addition of some actual gold.

“It is about 3-4 times harder than most steels,” said Emilia Morosan, the lead scientist on a new study in Science Advances that describes the properties of a 3-to-1 mixture of titanium and gold with a specific atomic structure that imparts hardness. “It’s four times harder than pure titanium, which is what’s currently being used in most dental implants and replacement joints.” -

“When we tried to grind up titanium-gold, we couldn’t,” she recalled. “I even bought a diamond (coated) mortar and pestle, and we still couldn’t grind it up.”

Morosan and Svanidze decided to do follow-up tests to determine exactly how hard the compound was, and while they were at it, they also decided to measure the hardness of the other compositions of titanium and gold that they had used as comparisons in the original study.

Crystal structure of beta titanium-3 gold

Science Advances - High hardness in the biocompatible intermetallic compound β-Ti3Au

Dell has a revolutionary water cooled HPC rack which allows computer performance to be boosted by 59%

Dell designed a unique approach to liquid cooling that’s built on Dell's rack-scale infrastructure. Is is a completely new datacenter cooling solution from the ground up to improve performance during peak times while reducing their total cost of ownership (TCO). It was a proof of concept for EBay that is being made broadly available.

Because water can transport heat 25 times more efficiently than air, ‘Triton’ can run high performing components faster and more efficiently than traditional air-cooled systems. Its ability to sub-cool the processor and operate at higher frequencies means that ‘Triton’ can deliver up to 59% greater performance than the popular Intel Xeon processor E5-2680v4 for similar costs. The combination of ‘Triton’ and a customized 200W Intel Xeon processor E5 v4 can also provide double digit performance increases over the highest performing Intel Xeon processor on the market today

So how does ‘Triton’ do this? For starters, we’ve removed the need for more costly and less efficient liquid-to-liquid heat exchangers, cooling loops or pumping systems that most cooling solutions require. Dell is the first major vendor to safely bring facility water directly in each server sled to cool the CPU, which brings unparalleled cooling efficiencies along with the lowest water consumption of any liquid cooled solution on the market today. In fact, this approach uses 97% less datacenter cooling power than the average air-cooled datacenter, up to 62% less power consumption than HPE Apollo 8000, and has a power usage effectiveness (PUE) as low as 1.02 to 1.03(3). Such efficiencies translates into major operational cost savings while also increasing performance for demanding applications.

July 20, 2016

Intel Gara predicts 100 ExaFLOP supercomputers in 2030 with specialized computing including quantum computing and neuromorphic augmention

Al Garra, Intel fellow and chief architect of exascale at Intel, predicted 100 exaFLOP supercomputers in 2030.

200 PetaFLOPs by 2018
2 ExaFLOPS by 2022
20 ExaFLOPS by 2026
100 ExaFLOPs by 2030

* Silicon photonics will become primetime which will enable a big drop in the cost of bandwidth.

* lasers could be developed that were 100 times more efficient, new materials would be needed to lower overall power consumption

* newer architectures could evolve into a third tier of memory between RAM and storage.

* At the same as DRAM moves closer to the logic in a system and logic would move into memory.

A supercomputer of the 100 exaflops era could be a different kind of hybrid than we see today, with various kinds of specialized compute, possibly including quantum computing and neuromorphic computing, to augment the CPU, as far as Gara is concerned.

“The way I tend to look at this is that there are two paths,” he explained. “You can build a special-purpose device or you can augment traditional computing. And to me, the difference is really a power efficiency question. If you have got a device that when it is utilized that takes a lot more power than the rest of the compute, you sort have built a special purpose device that would not be very competitive as a general system because you would not want a system that would run at a tenth of the power when it is doing normal compute and only gets to use the full power when you are doing some special algorithm. My own feeling is that the way that this is going to play out is that these new techniques and new disruptive computing will come in as an augmentation to computing. And I think that is the most efficient way to get there, and there is going to need to be compromises to get there. And there are cultural and real technology challenges to put together very different technologies. But in the end, that is the way that I think we will go.”

Tesla plans to makes it factory 10 times more productive within ten years by reinventing the robotic factories every two years

Tesla Motors second master plan is
  1. Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage
  2. Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments
  3. Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning
  4. Enable your car to make money for you when you aren't using it

Tesla plans a compact SUV, a new kind of pickup truck, big rig commercial trucks and buses.

The large commercial trucks and buses are in the early stages of development—and could be revealed in 2017.

Integrate Energy Generation and Storage
Create a smoothly integrated and beautiful solar-roof-with-battery product that just works, empowering the individual as their own utility, and then scale that throughout the world. One ordering experience, one installation, one service contact, one phone app.

We can't do this well if Tesla and SolarCity are different companies, which is why we need to combine and break down the barriers inherent to being separate companies. That they are separate at all, despite similar origins and pursuit of the same overarching goal of sustainable energy, is largely an accident of history. Now that Tesla is ready to scale Powerwall and SolarCity is ready to provide highly differentiated solar, the time has come to bring them together.

Expand to Cover the Major Forms of Terrestrial Transport
Today, Tesla addresses two relatively small segments of premium sedans and SUVs. With the Model 3, a future compact SUV and a new kind of pickup truck, we plan to address most of the consumer market. A lower cost vehicle than the Model 3 is unlikely to be necessary, because of the third part of the plan described below.

What really matters to accelerate a sustainable future is being able to scale up production volume as quickly as possible. That is why Tesla engineering has transitioned to focus heavily on designing the machine that makes the machine -- turning the factory itself into a product. A first principles physics analysis of automotive production suggests that somewhere between a 5 to 10 fold improvement is achievable by version 3 on a roughly 2 year iteration cycle. The first Model 3 factory machine should be thought of as version 0.5, with version 1.0 probably in 2018.

In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport. Both are in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year. We believe the Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate.

With the advent of autonomy, it will probably make sense to shrink the size of buses and transition the role of bus driver to that of fleet manager. Traffic congestion would improve due to increased passenger areal density by eliminating the center aisle and putting seats where there are currently entryways, and matching acceleration and braking to other vehicles, thus avoiding the inertial impedance to smooth traffic flow of traditional heavy buses. It would also take people all the way to their destination. Fixed summon buttons at existing bus stops would serve those who don't have a phone. Design accommodates wheelchairs, strollers and bikes.

As the technology matures, all Tesla vehicles will have the hardware necessary to be fully self-driving with fail-operational capability, meaning that any given system in the car could break and your car will still drive itself safely. It is important to emphasize that refinement and validation of the software will take much longer than putting in place the cameras, radar, sonar and computing hardware.

Even once the software is highly refined and far better than the average human driver, there will still be a significant time gap, varying widely by jurisdiction, before true self-driving is approved by regulators. We expect that worldwide regulatory approval will require something on the order of 6 billion miles (10 billion km). Current fleet learning is happening at just over 3 million miles (5 million km) per day.

I should add a note here to explain why Tesla is deploying partial autonomy now, rather than waiting until some point in the future. The most important reason is that, when used correctly, it is already significantly safer than a person driving by themselves and it would therefore be morally reprehensible to delay release simply for fear of bad press or some mercantile calculation of legal liability.

According to the recently released 2015 NHTSA report, automotive fatalities increased by 8% to one death every 89 million miles. Autopilot miles will soon exceed twice that number and the system gets better every day. It would no more make sense to disable Tesla's Autopilot, as some have called for, than it would to disable autopilot in aircraft, after which our system is named.

It is also important to explain why we refer to Autopilot as "beta". This is not beta software in any normal sense of the word. Every release goes through extensive internal validation before it reaches any customers. It is called beta in order to decrease complacency and indicate that it will continue to improve (Autopilot is always off by default). Once we get to the point where Autopilot is approximately 10 times safer than the US vehicle average, the beta label will be removed.

When true self-driving is approved by regulators, it will mean that you will be able to summon your Tesla from pretty much anywhere. Once it picks you up, you will be able to sleep, read or do anything else enroute to your destination.

You will also be able to add your car to the Tesla shared fleet just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app and have it generate income for you while you're at work or on vacation, significantly offsetting and at times potentially exceeding the monthly loan or lease cost. This dramatically lowers the true cost of ownership to the point where almost anyone could own a Tesla. Since most cars are only in use by their owner for 5% to 10% of the day, the fundamental economic utility of a true self-driving car is likely to be several times that of a car which is not.

In cities where demand exceeds the supply of customer-owned cars, Tesla will operate its own fleet, ensuring you can always hail a ride from us no matter where you are.

Space launch of a roll up solar array set for spring of 2017 and will boost power and reduce weight of space solar power

The U.S. Air Force has funded a test flight of the ROSA (Roll Up Solar Array) mechanism, now scheduled for a SpaceX launch in Spring 2017 to the International Space Station, where it will be deployed in space.

ROSA is groundbreaking, a lightweight technology that rolls up and stows into a very compact volume, explains Brian Spence, president of DSS. “NASA’s investment in ROSA was important to elevate the maturity level of the technology and I am pleased to see a good return on investment of taxpayer dollars.”

The solar array rolls up around a spindle to form a compact cylinder for launch. Those solar wings are then deployed via strain energy in rolled booms that form the outer sides of the structure. A lightweight mesh material supports strings of photovoltaic cells that churn out electrical power.

What’s more is that ROSA is scalable. It can be configured and combined with other ROSAs for very high power levels, Michael Ragsdale says, Research and Development project manager at SSL.

Deployment of the innovative ROSA is straightforward, a two-stage process that takes roughly ten minutes, Ragsdale says. “It’s a simple mechanism that controls the array deployment and that increases its reliability.”

ROSA technology is key for NASA’s solar electric propulsion needs as well as robotic and human journeys to Mars and beyond. For example, excursions on Mars can benefit by deploying solar arrays, he adds, and then retract them for point-to-point travel across the rugged landscape of the Red Planet.

ROSA makes satellites much more cost-efficient. ROSA can also provide significantly more power than traditional panels because it can easily be scaled larger for more capacity. It is estimated ROSA's technology advancements could save the Air Force's communication and navigation programs $1.4 billion.

Northrop Grumman making two kinds of terahertz freqency amplifiers

Two approaches are being developed for terahertz frequency devices.

1. The Solid State Power Amplifier (SSPA), which in 2014 was certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s fastest solid state chip, able to operate at THz speeds. This device, made of the semiconductor indium phosphide (InP), also can boost the power of a wide swath of incoming signals some thirtyfold (that’s what the “15 dB GAIN” spec in the poster indicates).

The papers that are online appear to be early work by Grumman.

Solid-State Amplifiers for Terahertz Electronics by Northrop Grumman

With the fMAX of current generation InP transistors pushing above 1-THz and new transistor scaling in progress, the operational frequency of solid-state amplifiers is being pushed towards THz frequencies. In this paper we present out latest work towards demonstrating THz frequency amplifiers, including measured gain and noise performance of a 0.48 THz low noise amplifier using scaled InP transistors. Initial performance of next generation transistors is also presented, along with infrastructure necessary to package and operate solidstate amplifiers at THz frequencies.

2. Micromachined Traveling Wave Tube Amplifier (TWTA), a miniaturized device that relies on a tiny vacuum chamber in which electrons and radio signals interact. This device can boost the power of a narrower range of THz frequencies by a factor of about 200 and was a celebrated darling of the 2016 IEEE International Vacuum Electronics Conference.

Both of them made by Northrop Grumman and are breaking down the technical barriers to make THz applications possible. “Together, the world-record SSPA and highly-acclaimed TWTA open the way to a THz future featuring devices that can generate, detect, process, and radiate extremely high-frequency signals, and push what is possible in areas ranging from high-resolution security imaging, collision-avoidance radar, high data rate communications, and remote detection systems for dangerous chemicals and explosives.”

Here is a 2010 paper on Traveling Wave Tube Amplifiers

DARPA creating a visual real time battlespace for the DOD to see and counter a cyber network attack

DARPA is close to completing a visually oriented environment that's designed to give cyber warriors instantaneous knowledge of a network attack. Under development since 2012, Plan-X marks the DoD's first major attempt to create a cyber battle space, fundamentally shifting the way the agency addresses and responds to network attacks.

Cyber war command center

"PlanX is needed to help military commanders, planners and operators synchronize and collaborate in order to understand, plan and execute cyber operations in real time," said Frank Pound, DARPA's Plan-X project manager. According to Pound, Plan-X will also reduce mission planning timelines, support scalable missions, facilitate access to relevant vantage points, provide effective situational awareness and collaboration and increase trust and confidence in missions via grounded metrics and a quantification of capabilities.

Plan-X's next big step is set for 2017, when the technology is scheduled for deployment to DoD and U.S. Cyber Command personnel. "As Plan-X successfully transitions to the Department of Defense, the end user would be military operators whose job is to conduct cyber operations," Pound said.

Plan-X has pivoted from a heavy research focus to productization

Tiling Chiplets will be used to shrink a cricuit board into modular chips

DARPA will miniaturize entire circuit boards of chips into single modular chips that combine the best of commercial and DoD circuit designs and technology.

Open the hood of just about any electronic gadget and you probably will find printed circuit boards (PCBs)—most often in a leaf-green color—studded with processing, memory, data-relaying, graphics, and other types of chips and components, all interconnected with a labyrinth of finely embossed wiring. By challenging the technology community to integrate the collective functions hosted by an entire PCB onto a device approaching the size of a single chip, DARPA’s newest program is making a bid to usher in a fresh dimension of technology miniaturization.

“We are trying to push the massive amount of integration you typically get on a printed circuit board down into an even more compact format,” said Dr. Daniel Green, manager of the new program, whose acronym, “CHIPS,” is itself a typographic feat of miniaturization; the program’s full name is the Common Heterogeneous Integration and Intellectual Property (IP) Reuse Strategies Program. “It’s not just a fun acronym,” Green said. “The program is all about devising a physical library of component chips, or chiplets, that we can assemble in a modular fashion.”

A primary driver of CHIPS is to develop a novel, industry-friendly architectural strategy for designing and building new generations of microsystems in which the time and energy it takes to move signals—that is, data—between chips is reduced by factors of tens or even hundreds. “This is increasingly important for the data-intensive processing that we have to do as the data sets we are dealing with get bigger and bigger,” Green said. Although the program does not specify applications, the new architectural strategy at the program’s heart could open new routes to computational efficiencies required for such feats as identifying objects and actions in real-time video feeds, real-time language translation, and coordinating motion on-the-fly among swarms of fast-moving unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The CHIPS program is pushing for a new microsystem architecture based on the mixing and matching of small, single-function chiplets into chip-sized systems as capable of an entire printed circuit board’s worth of chips and components.

Precisely controlled levitation of nanodiamonds could bring advances in sensors, quantum information processing

Researchers have demonstrated how to control the "electron spin" of a nanodiamond while it is levitated with lasers in a vacuum, an advance that could find applications in quantum information processing, sensors and studies into the fundamental physics of quantum mechanics.

Electrons can be thought of as having two distinct spin states, "up" or "down." The researchers were able to detect and control the electron spin resonance, or its change from one state to the other.

"We've shown how to continuously flip the electron spin in a nanodiamond levitated in a vacuum and in the presence of different gases," said Tongcang Li, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy and electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University.

The electron spin resonance was shown to differ in the presence of helium and oxygen gases, meaning the technique could be used in a new type of sensor to detect and measure gases. Oxygen gas sensors are extensively used to monitor the oxygen concentration in automotive exhaust and in medical instruments such as anesthesia monitors and respirators. Nanodiamond-based sensors represent a potential improvement over conventional sensors.

"While more detailed studies are required to fully understand this phenomenon, our observation suggests a potential application for oxygen gas sensing," Li said.
The paper was authored by postdoctoral research associate Thai Hoang; doctoral students Jonghoon Ahn and Jaehoon Bang; and Li.

The levitating nanodiamonds also could find uses in quantum information processing, experimental techniques to probe fundamental physics in quantum mechanics, and the measurement of magnetic and gravitational fields, which could be applied to computer memory and experiments to search for deviations from Newton's law of gravitation.

This is a photo of a nanodiamond levitated in a vacuum chamber by Purdue University researchers who controlled its "electron spin, " an advance could find applications in quantum information processing, sensors and studies into the fundamental physics of quantum mechanics. (Purdue University image/Thai Hoang)

Arxiv - Electron spin control of optically levitated nanodiamonds in vacuum (10 pages)

Pokemon Go is getting Chat application and a dedicated dating site

Pokemon Go is getting a third party chat application and a dedicated dating site.

Razer announced a new mobile and computer messenger app for Pokémon Go that it says will interface seamlessly into the popular Android and iOS game and support team colors, a variety of chat modes and eventually pop-up chat room beacons.

The web browser version of RazerGo is set to go live this about 10 p.m. ET this evening on go.razerzone.com and the Android and iOS versions are scheduled to go live on July 25, 2016 or sooner.

Pokemon Go players can get ready to hatch your little Pokemon

There is a new service PokeDates which promises to match you with fellow players of the phenomenally popular game.

Answer some questions about yourself and your Pokemon preferences, and the site will match you with a fellow player. You'll then be sent to a gym or pokestop to meet your potential PokeParamour. Whether you win your date's heart is up to you

Progress to an exact quantum description of chemistry with the first completely scalable quantum simulation of a molecule

Google has performed the first completely scalable quantum simulation of a molecule. Google worked with researchers from the Aspuru-Guzik group at Harvard and researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, UC Santa Barbara, Tufts University and University College London.

The goal of their experiment was to use quantum hardware to efficiently solve the molecular electronic structure problem, which seeks the solution for the lowest energy configuration of electrons in the presence of a given nuclear configuration. In order to predict chemical reaction rates (which govern the mechanism of chemical reactions), one must make these calculations to extremely high precision. The ability to predict such rates could revolutionize the design of solar cells, industrial catalysts, batteries, flexible electronics, medicines, materials and more. The primary difficulty is that molecular systems form highly entangled quantum superposition states which require exponentially many classical computing resources in order to represent to sufficiently high precision. For example, exactly computing the energies of methane (CH4) takes about one second, but the same calculation takes about ten minutes for ethane (C2H6) and about ten days for propane (C3H8).

In their experiment, they focus on an approach known as the variational quantum eigensolver (VQE), which can be understood as a quantum analog of a neural network. Whereas a classical neural network is a parameterized mapping that one trains in order to model classical data, VQE is a parameterized mapping (e.g. a quantum circuit) that one trains in order to model quantum data (e.g. a molecular wavefunction). The training objective for VQE is the molecular energy function, which is always minimized by the true ground state. The quantum advantage of VQE is that quantum bits can efficiently represent the molecular wavefunction whereas exponentially many classical bits would be required

Physical Review X - Scalable Quantum Simulation of Molecular Energies

3-D weaving of genetically engineered stem cells is used to grow a living hip replacement

With a goal of treating worn, arthritic hips without extensive surgery to replace them, scientists have programmed stem cells to grow new cartilage on a 3-D template shaped like the ball of a hip joint. What’s more, using gene therapy, they have activated the new cartilage to release anti-inflammatory molecules to fend off a return of arthritis.

The technique, demonstrated in a collaborative effort between Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Cytex Therapeutics Inc. in Durham, N.C., is described July 18 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The discovery one day may provide an alternative to hip-replacement surgery, particularly in younger patients. Doctors are reluctant to perform such operations in patients under age 50 because prosthetic joints typically last for less than 20 years. A second joint-replacement surgery to remove a worn prosthetic can destroy bone and put patients at risk for infection.

The technique uses a 3-D, biodegradable synthetic scaffold that Guilak and his team developed. The scaffold, molded into the precise shape of a patient’s joint, is covered with cartilage made from the patient’s own stem cells taken from fat beneath the skin. The scaffold then can be implanted onto the surface of an arthritic hip, for example. Resurfacing the hip joint with “living” tissue is designed to ease arthritis pain, and delay or even eliminate the need for joint-replacement surgery in some patients.

Additionally, by inserting a gene into the newly grown cartilage and activating it with a drug, the gene can orchestrate the release of anti-inflammatory molecules to fight a return of arthritis, which usually is what triggers such joint problems in the first place.

Washington University biomedical engineering PhD student Ali Ross and Farshid Guilak, PhD, a professor of orthopedic surgery, show a container with a prototype of a living hip replacement. The scientists have coaxed stem cells to grow into new cartilage on a 3-D template shaped like the ball of a hip joint.

PNAS - Anatomically shaped tissue-engineered cartilage with tunable and inducible anticytokine delivery for biological joint resurfacing

Nextbigfuture at 80 million page views and 260 million google plus views

Nextbigfuture has passed 80 million page views and over 260 million google plus views.

This month Nextbigfuture is on track to about 4 million page views.

Nextbigfuture should have over 100 million page views by the end of this year.

Thanks to the readers and commenters for supporting Nextbigfuture.

Cost per visit model should be worth billions per year for Pokemon Go

The Pokémon Go game is helping city pizzerias roll in the dough as owners use game to draw in business.

“The amount of people has been astonishing,” said Tom Lattanzio, the owner of L’inizio Pizza Bar in Long Island City, Queens. L’inizio’s manager, Sean Benedetti, says he paid $10 to have a dozen of the Pokémon characters lured to the store. It drew in so many players, the shop’s business went up 75 percent.

Niantic’s previous augmented reality game Ingress, also used sponsored content from businesses including Jamba Juice, Zipcar and Duane Read. For the game’s developer, this model is not new, which will come as a strength as it negotiates the best cost-per-visit rates for new advertisers

Nintendo and Niantic has partnered with McDonalds. Niantic CEO John Hanke recently told The Financial Times that other businesses would become sponsors too.

If certain locations had some kind of minimum cover or order then businesses could make $2-10 per hour that players are in their store.

Pokemon Go in Japan has been delayed til Thursday as Nintendo and Google work to beef up the numbers of servers.

Room-temperature qubit breakthrough for quantum computing

Material made from the ashes of mothball ingredient naphthalene shows quantum potential.

We are one step closer to a true quantum computer following a breakthrough which researchers say will allow qubits to be used at room-temperature.

One of the practical challenges of quantum computing has been the requirement to cool the quantum bits (qubits) to incredibly low temperatures, close to absolute zero and comparable to the temperature of space.

This super-cooling is necessary so that the quantum states of the qubit’s components remain ‘coherent’ and can perform computations.

University of Sydney’s Dr Mohammad Choucair, together with a team of researchers from Switzerland and Germany, has made a conducting carbon material and demonstrated its potential to perform quantum computing at real-world temperatures. It can also integrate into silicon, the chosen material of Sydney’s Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T) own bid to build a quantum computer.

Carbon nanosphere

SEM, Scanning electron microscope images, of the CNSs, Carbon nanospheres. (a) and (b) of the CNSs at low magnification, and (c) and (d) at higher magnification, with (c) being from a region in (b). Scale barsrepresent in (a) 5 µm, (b) 1 µm, (c) 200 nm, and (d) 200 nm. SEM images show an extensive formation of carbon nanoparticles spanning micron scales.

Nature Communications - Room temperature manipulation of long lifetime spins in metallic-like carbon nanospheres

The material is made of the ashes from burning naphthalene, a chemical commonly found in moth balls.

“We have made quantum computing more accessible,” said Choucair. “This work demonstrates the simple ad-hoc preparation of carbon-based quantum bits.

“Chemistry gives us the power to create nanomaterials on-demand that could form the basis of technologies like quantum computers and spintronics, combining to make more efficient and powerful machines.”

Choucair’s paper, Room temperature manipulation of long lifetime spins in metallic-like carbon nanospheres, was published online on Nature Communications this evening.

He said he believed the discovery would help bring forward ‘practical quantum computing’ to ‘within a few years’.

Russia's S-500 missile system still in development but the 77N6 hypersonic missiles are key to a real ballistic missile defense

Russian media in April reported that S-500 prototypes were “expected to enter service in late 2016 or 2017” as a replacement to the S-300. U.S. observers say the S-500 have not yet been deployed and doubt Russia can stick to that timeline.

“I have seen nothing to indicate that the S-500 air/missile defense system has been deployed,” said Paul Schwartz, a senior associate in the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank in Washington, D.C. “There are reports that it will be deployed later this year, but I remain skeptical.”

It is possible that Russia will roll out a modified version of the S-400 as an interim system, and they may call it the S-500.

The thing to look for will be whether Moscow can deploy the 77N6 missiles, as these are the key to developing a real ballistic missile defense system

The new interceptors, the 77N6-N and 77N6-N1, suggest that S-500 system will employ hit-to-kill.

The S-500 system is expected to be capable of simultaneous engagement with up to 10 targets at a maximum range of 600 km. The S-400 can only handle a maximum of six targets up to a range of 400 km. The S-500’s interceptors will operate at an altitude higher than 185km. The system will have a response time of about three to four seconds, which is considerably shorter than the S-400 which is rated at nine to ten seconds.

The system will be highly mobile and will have rapid deployability. Experts believe that the systems capabilities can affect enemy intercontinental ballistic missiles at the end and the middle portion, but reports by Almaz-Antey say that the external target designation system (RLS Voronezh-DM and missile defense system A-135 radar Don-2N) will be capable of mid-early flight portion interceptions of enemy ballistic missiles, which is one of the final stages of the S-500 project.

Two new missiles have been designed for the S-500 (and the S-400): the 77N6-N and the 77N6-N1. They were reported to be capable of direct engagement with targets flying at hypersonic speeds (seven kilometers per second). However, it is not clear when the 77N6-N and the 77N6-N1 enter service.

The main components of the S-500 will be:

  • the launch vehicle 77P6, based on the BAZ-69096 10x10 truck;
  • the command posts 55K6MA and 85Zh6-2 on BAZ-69092-12 6x6;
  • the acquisition and battle management radar 91N6A(M), a modification of the 91N6 (Big Bird) towed by the BAZ-6403.01 8x8 tractor;
  • the 96L6-TsP acquisition radar, an upgraded version of the 96L6 (Cheese Board) on BAZ-69096 10x10;
  • the multimode engagement radar 76T6 on BAZ-6909-022 8x8;
  • the ABM engagement radar 77T6 on BAZ-69096 10x10;

The first units will be deployed around Moscow and the country's center area, with targets it will defend against to include ballistic missiles, hypersonic cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, low-orbit satellites, and space weapons launched from hypersonic aircraft, drones, and hypersonic orbital platforms. A naval version is the likely armament for the new Leader-class air-defense destroyers due to enter service in 2023-25.

July 19, 2016

Vehicle fuel efficiency in 2025 expected to be about 45mpg

The EPA, California Air Resources Board and National Highway Traffic Safety Admin have a 1217 report on Midterm Evaluation of Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards for Model Years 2022-2025

Under the National Program, consumers continue to have a full range of vehicle choices that meet their needs, and, through coordination with the California standards, automakers can build a single fleet of vehicles across the U.S. that satisfies all GHG/CAFE requirements. In the agencies’ 2012 final rules establishing the MY2017-2025 standards for EPA and 2017-2021 final and 2022-2025 augural standards for NHTSA, the National Program standards were projected by MY2025 to double fuel economy and cut GHG emissions in half, save 6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution and 12 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of MY2012-2025 vehicles, and deliver significant savings for consumers at the gas pump.

In this Draft TAR, EPA provides its initial technical assessment of the technologies available to meet the MY2022-2025 GHG standards and one reasonable compliance pathway, and NHTSA provides its initial assessment of technologies available to meet the augural MY2022-2025 CAFE standards and a different reasonable compliance pathway. Given that there are multiple possible ways that new technologies can be added to the fleet, examining two compliance pathways provides valuable additional information about how compliance may occur. NHTSA and EPA also performed multiple sensitivity analyses which show additional possible compliance pathways. The agencies’ independent analyses complement one another and reach similar conclusions:
- A wider range of technologies exist for manufacturers to use to meet the MY2022-2025 standards, and at costs that are similar or lower, than those projected in the 2012 rule; - Advanced gasoline vehicle technologies will continue to be the predominant technologies, with modest levels of strong hybridization and very low levels of full electrification (plugin vehicles) needed to meet the standards;
- The car/truck mix reflects updated consumer trends that are informed by a range of factors including economic growth, gasoline prices, and other macro-economic trends. However, as the standards were designed to yield improvements across the light duty vehicle fleet, irrespective of consumer choice, updated trends are fully accommodated by the footprint based standards.

Additionally, while the Draft TAR analysis focuses on the MY2022-2025 standards, the agencies note that the auto industry, on average, is over-complying with the first several years of the National Program. This has occurred concurrently with a period during which the automotive industry successfully rebounded after a period of economic distress. The industry has now seen six consecutive years of increases and a new all-time sales record in 2015, reflecting positive consumer response to vehicles complying with the standards.

Technologies considered in this Draft TAR include more efficient engines and transmissions, aerodynamics, light-weighting, improved accessories, low rolling resistance tires, improved air conditioning systems, and others. Beyond the technologies the agencies considered in the 2012 final rule, manufacturers are now employing several technologies, such as higher compression ratio, naturally aspirated gasoline engines, and greater penetration of continuously variable transmissions (CVTs); other new technologies are under active development and are expected to be in the fleet well before MY2025, such as 48-volt mild hybrid systems.

In this Draft TAR, the EPA GHG and NHTSA CAFE assessments both show that the MY2022-2025 standards can be achieved largely through the use of advanced gasoline vehicle technologies with modest penetrations of lower cost electrification (like 48 volt mild hybrids which include stop/start) and low penetrations of higher cost electrification (like strong hybrids, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and all electric vehicles). Given the rapid pace of automotive industry innovation, the agencies may consider effectiveness and cost of additional technologies as new information, including comments on this Draft TAR, becomes available for further steps of the Midterm Evaluation.

Based on various assumptions including the Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (AEO 2015) reference case projections of the car/truck mix out to 2025, the footprint-based GHG standards curves for MY2022-2025 are projected to achieve an industry-wide fleet average CO2 target of 175 grams/mile (g/mi) in MY2025, and the augural CAFE standards are projected to result in average CAFE requirements increasing from 38.3 mpg in MY2021 to 46.3 mpg in MY2025. The projected fleet average CO2 target represents a GHG emissions level equivalent to 50.8 mpg (if all reductions were achieved exclusively through fuel economy improvements).

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