The giant honeycomb-like setup of 149 spotlights — officially known as "Synlight" — in Juelich, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of Cologne, uses xenon short-arc lamps normally found in cinemas to simulate natural sunlight that's often in short supply in Germany at this time of year.
By focusing the entire array on a single 20-by-20 centimeter (8x8 inch) spot, scientists from the German Aerospace Center, or DLR, will be able to produce the equivalent of 10,000 times the amount of solar radiation that would normally shine on the same surface.
Creating such furnace-like conditions — with temperatures of up to 3,000 degrees Celsius (5,432 Fahrenheit) — is key to testing novel ways of making hydrogen, according to Bernhard Hoffschmidt, the director of DLR's Institute for Solar Research.
Many consider hydrogen to be the fuel of the future because it produces no carbon emissions when burned, meaning it doesn't add to global warming.
The Endless Runway is a radical and novel airport concept, which applies a circular runway. The concept of the Endless Runway can generate a breakthrough in sustainable airport capacity by avoiding the physical constraints of conventional runways through shifting the lift-off and touchdown points of individual aircraft.
The main feature of the circular runway is that it will become possible to let an aircraft operate always at landing and take-off with headwind. Whatever its strength and direction, the Endless Runway becomes independent of the wind. When allowing limited crosswind, airspace users can shorten the global trajectory of the flights through optimized departure and arrival routes.
The circle of the runway, whose diameter is set to 3 kilometers, is large enough to provide sufficient room for infrastructure preferably inside the circle, even for a hub airport. This makes the airport compact, while allowing current-day aircraft to use the circle without significant structural modifications.
After a few months of development, Heliograf debuted last year. An early version autopublished stories on the Rio Olympics (image below of the tweets it sent); a more advanced version, with a stronger editorial voice, was soon introduced to cover the election. It works like this: Editors create narrative templates for the stories, including key phrases that account for a variety of potential outcomes (from “Republicans retained control of the House” to “Democrats regained control of the House”), and then they hook Heliograf up to any source of structured data—in the case of the election, the data clearinghouse VoteSmart.org. The Heliograf software identifies the relevant data, matches it with the corresponding phrases in the template, merges them, and then publishes different versions across different platforms. The system can also alert reporters via Slack of any anomalies it finds in the data—for instance, wider margins than predicted—so they can investigate. “It’s just one more way to get a tip” on a potential scoop, Gilbert says.
In the trend that's emerging, the founders of prominent startups are finding ways to sell their cake and have it, too. They can run their brands on their own terms inside larger corporations while at the same time providing spark and nimbleness to the parent company. "We needed some sort of outside catalyst to get our digital effort going at the speed I wanted it to," says John Schlifske, CEO of Northwestern Mutual, which bought fintech startup LearnVest. "I didn't feel we had the right speed and agility."
We're now at the point when entrepreneurship doesn't have to end with a purchase. Even better, entrepreneurs like Alexa von Tobel at LearnVest and Marla Malcolm Beck at Bluemercury get to operate with resources they couldn't imagine having as startups. Whether it's Northwestern Mutual jump-starting its online financial planning, or Under Armour building a connected fitness initiative with a startup such as MyFitnessPal, this is how the smart 21st-century acquisition gets done. "At some point, established companies have to adopt some startup thinking," says Alexander Chernev, a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management. "It's not that startup thinking is the best thing ever. But it forces you to look at the world as a changing place."
Inc with several examples of impactful startups acquired by companies like Macy’s, Under Armour and Sprint
Bauccio is the masterful CEO behind Bon Appétit, the catering company serving the tech industry’s biggest behemoths, those that line Highway 101 from Silicon Valley up to the vertiginous streets of San Francisco. His clients include Google, Oracle, Adobe, Uber, Yahoo, Twitter and, of course, LinkedIn. In all, that’s about 200 million meals in 650-plus cafes every year. As of 2015, Bon Appétit says it’s raked in north of $1 billion. Bauccio, 73, has been beating the drum for local, healthy, organic food for 30 years now — peddling the virtues of farm-to-fork fare well ahead of Eric Schlosser’s release of Fast Food Nation in 2001 and long before the Slow Food Movement accelerated in the 1990s. In 2012, he won the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ Lifetime Achievement award for being one of the first to bring “sustainably sourced, cutting-edge foods” to big businesses.
Back in 2013, Google’s People Operations Group conducted a rigorous analysis deemed Project Aristotle to identify what underlying factors led to the most effective Google teams.
Over 200 interviews were conducted across +180 active Google teams over the course of the two-year study.
More than 250 attributes were identified that contributed to both success and failure.
Their hypotheses was that they would find the perfect mix of individual traits and skills necessary for a stellar team -- take one Rhodes Scholar, two extroverts, one engineer who rocks at Python, and a quantum physics Ph.D. Voila. Dream team assembled, right?
Turns out they were dead wrong.
The researchers found that what really mattered was less about who is on the team, and more about how the team worked together.
Drones, by one definition, are neither high-tech toys nor lethal weapons. They are worker bees that are the foundation of a colony. And that's where the future lies in nondefense industries like farming, insurance, and construction, which, Goldman Sachs predicts, will drive a $13 billion industry through 2020. The skies are beginning to buzz. From late 2014 to last April, the FAA issued 3,100 exemptions to nonpilots covering nearly 40 situations to fly drones. Looking at the current 5,500 exemptions, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a trade group, found that the majority of them have gone to small businesses.
From a post by Regina Dugan, VP of Engineering at Facebook
“Today, at F8, we announced two projects focused on building new capabilities for communication. Think of them as “silent speech interfaces” with all the convenience of voice and the privacy of text. We asked these questions: What if you could type directly with your brain? And what if you could hear with your skin? The answers reinforce what we intuitively know…
We are wired to communicate. And connect.
Over the next 2 years, we will be building systems that demonstrate the capability to type at 100 wpm by decoding neural activity devoted to speech. Just as you take many photos and decide to share some of them, so too, you have many thoughts and decide to share some of them in the form of the spoken word. It is these words, words that you have already decided to send to the speech center of your brain, that we seek to turn into text. And unlike other approaches, ours will be focused on developing a non-invasive system that could one day become a speech prosthetic for people with communication disorders or a new means for input to AR. Even something as simple as a ‘yes/no’ brain click, or a ‘brain mouse’ would be transformative.
We also described a system that may one day allow you to hear through your skin. You have 2 square meters of skin on your body, packed with sensors, and wired to your brain. In the 19th century, Braille taught us that we could interpret small bumps on a surface as language. Since then many techniques have emerged that illustrate our brain’s ability to reconstruct language from components. Today we demonstrated an artificial cochlea of sorts and the beginnings of a new a ‘haptic vocabulary’.”
As an architect or contractor walks through the space, the Contour gathers about 43,000 measurements a second at a range of up to 49 feet.
The Contour’s processor turns the measurements into a 3D model displayed in real time. To make building plans, the model can be exported to standard computer-aided design (CAD) software via a USB cable.
More than 60 mobile apps on politics — from Presidential Actions to Quartz News — have surfaced since Trump's election three months ago, spanning the ideological spectrum. In-between, a swarm of apps such as Countable (in image), VoteSpotter, Political Actions, Congress, Presidential Election & Electoral College Map, Boycott Trump Biz, Hear my Voice, We The People, and Voice Political Advocacy have experienced bumps in downloads.
Spikes in usage of the apps around election day, the inauguration and breaking news such as the Women's March and immigration ban highlight heightened political activism on social media, says Danielle Levitas, senior vice president of research at App Annie, which tracks the app economy.
That conversation led Mr. Ballmer to pursue what may be one of the most ambitious private projects undertaken to answer a question that has long vexed the public and politicians alike. He sought to “figure out what the government really does with the money,” Mr. Ballmer said. “What really happens?”
On Tuesday, Mr. Ballmer plans to make public a database and a report that he and a small army of economists, professors and other professionals have been assembling as part of a stealth start-up over the last three years called USAFacts. The database is perhaps the first nonpartisan effort to create a fully integrated look at revenue and spending across federal, state and local governments.
Want to know how many police officers are employed in various parts of the country and compare that against crime rates? Want to know how much revenue is brought in from parking tickets and the cost to collect? Want to know what percentage of Americans suffer from diagnosed depression and how much the government spends on it? That’s in there. You can slice the numbers in all sorts of ways.
Volkswagen's latest vision of the future is a "subtly wedged shaped" electric and autonomous concept vehicle that looks a little like the portable cassette boom box players of the 1980s. Either that or a canister vacuum—minus the attachment.
The fully autonomous concept is called Sedric—a combination of the words self-driving car—and has no pedals or steering wheel. The vehicle can be summoned with the push of a button and shuttle individuals to their destination, just like the human-operated services Uber and Lyft do today.
Bezos’ latest letter reeks of paranoia which allows Amazon to keep entering and conquering new markets.
The letter starts with
“Jeff, what does Day 2 look like?”
That’s a question I just got at our most recent all-hands meeting. I’ve been reminding people that it’s Day 1 for a couple of decades. I work in an Amazon building named Day 1, and when I moved buildings, I took the name with me. I spend time thinking about this topic.
“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”
To be sure, this kind of decline would happen in extreme slow motion. An established company might harvest Day 2 for decades, but the final result would still come.
I’m interested in the question, how do you fend off Day 2? What are the techniques and tactics? How do you keep the vitality of Day 1, even inside a large organization?
Such a question can’t have a simple answer. There will be many elements, multiple paths, and many traps. I don’t know the whole answer, but I may know bits of it. Here’s a starter pack of essentials for Day 1 defense: customer obsession, a skeptical view of proxies, the eager adoption of external trends, and high-velocity decision making.”
Makerarm’s robotic fabrication system combines the functions of more than a dozen manufacturing machines—3D printing, milling, laser engraving, soldering, vinyl cutting, circuit board assembly—and fits on a desktop.
Makerarm is taking preorders for the main tower and three basic tool heads on its website for $1,499. The tower with all 19 heads and add-ons costs $4,847.
“A wildflower super bloom is underway in Southern California after nearly 10 inches of much-needed winter rain. For four years, the state has struggled with a serious drought that drained reservoirs and prompted water bans. But this year’s El Niño-like winter brought the rain and the wildflowers are taking a giant gulp.
The year-over-year change is so remarkable you can see it on satellite imagery.”
Nexcel integrates an oil filter into a reservoir containing all the oil the vehicle should need for the duration of its oil-change interval. An oil change starts by initiating the procedure on the dash or via OBD port. Then all the engine oil gets pumped into the reservoir, you replace the sealed container of dirty oil and filter with a fresh one, and the oil gets pumped back into the engine. It all takes about 90 seconds, and the filter/reservoir units can be reused about five times and then recycled. Pretty convenient—but who really cares how long an oil change takes?
That wasn’t Castrol’s primary motivation. Rather, Nexcel aims to improve the lubrication of today’s increasingly high-strung engines and to clean up the environment. These downsized and highly boosted engines really stress their lubricants, and up until now that lubricant is the one thing engineers haven’t really had control over. After a vehicle leaves the showroom, folks like sis and me are free to economize or make mistakes regarding what brand and grade of oil and filter we select. The sealed Nexcel unit comes prefilled with the manufacturer’s specified oil and filter, and a chip on the reservoir verifies this with an electronic handshake with the engine control computer before the engine will restart.
Gadgetmakers have a knack for making big, long-term promises about the advent of the so-called smart home. But one of the most potent applications is also the most basic: how to make your home safer. Here's a closer look at how the smart home can do so.
Alibaba, Tencent, Xiaomi, BBK Electronics, Huawei, and Dalian Wanda are changing the products and services you use, whether you know it or not.
In the past year, no industry has attracted more Chinese interest (and raised American alarm) than entertainment, which Chinese companies are pursuing with a mix of prodigious capital and strategic deal-making. Tencent and real estate giant Dalian Wanda have joined Alibaba in committing billions of dollars to help produce the kind of technologically ambitious and expensive film and TV projects that appeal to global audiences. Given the idiosyncrasies of the Chinese market (traditional Western advertising campaigns tend to fall flat there, and the country places strict quotas on non-Chinese films), American studios need to partner with these companies to access this key element of the global box office. "If you’re going to spend over $100 million on a movie and ignore the Chinese market," says Max Michael, head of Asian business development for the United Talent Agency, "you’re not doing your job right."
The Austrian Red Cross will start launching drones from Land Rover vehicles to cut response times for natural disasters such as avalanches, landslides, earthquakes, and floods.
Drones are potential delivery vehicles for the commercial sector, but they are also excellent tools for emergency relief . With the new system, dubbed Project Hero, first responders will be able to drive the all-terrain vehicles close to a disaster zone while a drone launches from the vehicle's roof to get an aerial view of the scene. This way, emergency crews can assess the situation and make a plan while viewing live camera footage from a safe distance.
“What do we lose when a written language dies? And what happens when some daft Englishman living in Vermont decides to buck the global trend and write slowly, using tools a thousand years old?
I launched the Endangered Alphabets Project, and I started documenting these losses in a medium more permanent than paper or the fleeting pixel. Learning about woodwork as I went, I carved Balinese and Javanese from Indonesia; Tifinagh from North Africa and Bassa Vah from West Africa; Lanna from Thailand and the traditional Mongolian script called bichig. First by emailing scholars and later through Facebook, I gradually developed a network of contacts. To my astonishment, I started getting emails from the other side of the planet with tiny miracles of exotic text to enlarge, transfer with carbon paper, and gouge into maple, cherry, walnut, and sapele.”
On Dec. 6, 2016, thousands of translators filed into office buildings across mainland China to pore over brochures, letters, and technical manuals, all in foreign languages, painstakingly rendering their texts in Chinese characters. This marathon carried on for 15 hours a day for an entire month. Clients that supplied the material received professional-grade Chinese versions of the originals at a bargain price. But Baidu Inc., the Beijing-based company that organized the mass translation, got something potentially more valuable: millions of English-Mandarin word pairs with which to train its online translation engine.
China is infamous for its knockoffs, whether luxury handbags or web startups. But the country’s leadership seems to understand that when it comes to artificial intelligence, cheap imitations just won’t do—not when its rivals include Alphabet, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft. In February the National Development and Reform Commission appointed Baidu—often described as the Google of China—to lead a new AI lab, signaling that Beijing believes the company has the makings of a national champion in this sphere.
Currently, when a customer orders groceries via Ocado’s website, large plastic crates are swiftly filled. The containers are packed by hand, but little legwork is required: 30 kilometers of conveyor belts at the Dordon warehouse carry empty boxes straight to people who work as pickers. They grab items from shelves that are replenished by robots, or from boxes brought out of storage via cranes and conveyors. Ocado’s algorithms monitor demand for products and use the information to map out an optimal storage scheme, so that popular items are always within easy reach.
Once an order is packed, it’s hauled off in a large truck and taken to a distribution center to be loaded into a van. Each van then embarks on a delivery route that can be carefully optimized according to factors such as customer time preferences, traffic, and even weather.
But Ocado wants to be faster. “Fractions of a second in our business count,” says Paul Clarke, Ocado’s chief technology officer. “It's all about how we can shave the next little bit off our process.”
A show about nothing? It has nothing on a website about watching grass grow. From Southwest Spirit magazine
Mr. Grass (Alek Komarnitsky) is a former systems administrator for a variety of tech companies and, back in 1987, was a founding member of the Rocky Mountain Internet User Group. His 1992 MBA thesis was titled “The Internet: The Information Superhighway of the 21st Century.” He was in the Air Force, and then got a job in New Mexico at Sandia National Laboratories. He first put up his webcam in 2002 so that he could monitor his drought-scourged turf while on vacation. He began leaving it up for Halloween and Christmas, which led to increasingly fantastical holiday displays. Eventually he rigged his whole 25,000-light system onto modules that let viewers around the world control them (along with his ginormous inflatable Santa). One day in 2005 he stopped taking the camera down between Halloween and Christmas, and Watching Grass Grow was born.
For thousands of years, the coconut palm has entwined itself in history, from tropical coasts to typical shelves in global groceries. Called the “tree of life” by the many cultures that have depended upon it through time, it provides sustenance, succor and shelter. While it now grows on every subtropical coastline around the world, genetic testing underwritten by the National Geographic Society in 2011 showed the coconut originated in India and Southeast Asia. From its original home, the nut—which can float—made its way independently, traversing both hemispheres.
Sounds dreamy, right? Some heroic researchers at the University of Michigan and Cornell have engineered a special material called "magnetoelectric multiferroic," which has hugely exciting potential for environmentalists and tech manufacturers alike. It will allow computers of the future to operate using just a few quick pulses of electricity rather than a constant stream, like the semiconductor-based devices we currently use. Translation: Our computers and smartphones will require 100 times less energy to run, and will last much, much longer before they need a recharge.
This was not a scene from a new X-Men movie, but an event organised by two Cambridge institutions: the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER, commonly referred to as "caesar") and the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence. For them, it was a fairly ordinary evening, in this case following a lecture by Katyal. The apocalyptic talk is standard: both bodies are among a small group of organisations in the UK and US which employ highly educated academics, scientists, lawyers and philosophers to study existential risk.
“True to this vision, the Web Foundation has chosen to focus our 2017 – 2022 strategy on delivering ‘digital equality’ — using the open web to build a more equal world. Why? Because despite the wave of creativity, innovation and collaboration unleashed by the web, the reality is that today, the web is not for everyone. In fact, the digital revolution is creating new patterns of privilege and discrimination. It is causing job losses and wage polarisation as well as productivity gains; it risks taking away our privacy and autonomy even as it gives ordinary citizens new powers; it is isolating us in filter bubbles as well as connecting us across borders; and it is amplifying voices of fear and hate just as much as voices for tolerance and rationality.
We must act now to close the divide between digital haves and have-nots or we risk losing the web’s potential to serve humanity forever. To do this, we must work harder to ensure that everyone has the access, skills, and freedoms to appropriate and control new technologies for their own benefit. We must also make sure that control of the web is not held by a few governments or companies.”
MLB green-lighted the use of two wearable devices for use during games this season. A chest strap called the Zephyr Bioharness captured the physiological data of a player while the motusBASEBALL sensor helped teams quantitatively measure arm exertion and stress.
A few teams, such as the Tampa Bay Rays, started incorporating virtual reality into its training as it partnered with EON Sports VR. Earlier this season, the San Francisco Giants also leveraged the new technology to further engage fans at AT&T Park.
Blast Motion, a leader in sensor-based motion capture and swing analysis technology, announced a multi-year partnership this season to become the Official Bat Sensor Technology of Major League Baseball. The Houston Astros was the first MLB team to work with the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company. (see video below on its use in ladies softball)
The tiger's trail, dubbed Big Cat Crossing, is part of a bigger initiative called Zoo360 that has changed the way humans and animals experience the nation's oldest zoo. There's no question the experience is compelling for the humans. On a recent visit, I watched children drop their lunches in awe of white-faced saki monkeys hanging out in the trees. I witnessed one couple stop midconversation when a gorilla lumbered overhead, and saw more than a few families startled by the appearance of a large cat that seemed eerily close to them. But the bigger impact of Zoo360, says its chief operating officer, Andrew Baker, may be its effort to transform the experience of animals in captivity.
At a time when scientists know more than they ever have before about the inner lives of animals--and when concerns about animal rights loom large--many experts think that zoos need a major overhaul if they're going to last.
The objective is to construct the first comprehensive “cell atlas,” or map of human cells, a technological marvel that should comprehensively reveal, for the first time, what human bodies are actually made of and provide scientists a sophisticated new model of biology that could speed the search for drugs.
To perform the task of cataloguing the 37.2 trillion cells of the human body, an international consortium of scientists from the U.S., U.K., Sweden, Israel, the Netherlands, and Japan is being assembled to assign each a molecular signature and also give each type a zip code in the three-dimensional space of our bodies.
In Blacksburg, a satellite Silicon Valley is emerging, with startups Card Isle, a Redbox for greeting cards, and Moveline, a moving-company-price-comparing service, among dozens of others all calling it home. Overlooking the grassy stains and sloping foothills just minutes from the Hokies football stadium, the cloud-storage behemoth Rackspace (see video) has created a campus replete with rock-climbing walls and, yes, Ping-Pong tables, just a few miles away from less hospitable cyber climes.
Over in Roanoke, a fragile compromise struck between business and government has laid track for industry-leading fiber internet. The effort is seeking to salve a city where a local councilman recently had trouble selling his home because speeds weren’t fast enough for work-from-home buyers, he told OZY, and where a neighboring county with poor North Shore parents have to drive their children back to school after hours to finish their homework, according to local officials. Following concerns from local businesses that led to action, Roanoke has seen the first fruits of its internet investment: Local software firm Meridium, which benefits from the new fiber, was acquired for $500 million by General Electric.
The Cota, for the unintiated, is a somewhat nebulous term for Ossia’s wireless charging technology. It comprises a transmitter, a receiver, and software to manage it all. The transmitter, which comes in form factors ranging from an illuminated monolithic white cylinder to a drop ceiling tile, charges Cota-compatible devices using hundreds of omnidirectional antennas that beam radio (RF) waves 100 times a second.
Some of the biggest impact on resource consumption could come from analytics, automation, and Internet of Things advances. These technologies have the potential to improve the efficiency of resource extraction—already, underwater robots on the Norwegian shelf are fixing gas pipelines at a depth of more than 1,000 meters, and some utilities are using drones to inspect wind turbines. Using IoT sensors, oil companies can increase the safety, reliability, and yield in real time of thousands of wells around the globe. These technologies will also reduce the resource intensity of buildings and industry. Cement-grinding plants can cut energy consumption by 5 percent or more with customized controls that predict peak demand. Algorithms that optimize robotic movements in advanced manufacturing can reduce a plant’s energy consumption by as much as 30 percent. At home, smart thermostats and lighting controls are already cutting electricity usage.
After visiting companies including Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc. three years ago to understand how their developers worked, the bank set out to create its own computing cloud called Gaia that went online last year. Machine learning and big-data efforts now reside on the private platform, which effectively has limitless capacity to support their thirst for processing power. The system already is helping the bank automate some coding activities and making its 20,000 developers more productive, saving money, Zames said. When needed, the firm can also tap into outside cloud services from Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and International Business Machines Corp.
JPMorgan will make some of its cloud-backed technology available to institutional clients later this year, allowing firms like BlackRock Inc. to access balances, research and trading tools. The move, which lets clients bypass salespeople and support staff for routine information, is similar to one Goldman Sachs Group Inc. announced in 2015.
All over the world, in fact, evidence for alcohol production from all kinds of crops is showing up, dating to near the dawn of civilization. University of Pennsylvania biomolecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern believes that’s not an accident. From the rituals of the Stone Age on, he argues, the mind-altering properties of booze have fired our creativity and fostered the development of language, the arts, and religion. Look closely at great transitions in human history, from the origin of farming to the origin of writing, and you’ll find a possible link to alcohol. “There’s good evidence from all over the world that alcoholic beverages are important to human culture,” McGovern says. “Thirty years ago that fact wasn’t as recognized as it is now.” Drinking is such an integral part of our humanity, according to McGovern, that he only half jokingly suggests our species be called Homo imbibens.
I started using my Fitbit on December 25, 2013. In the 40 months, it tells me I have walked 10.9 million steps ( 5,277 miles), an average of 9,000 steps a day. I have lost it twice and it has come back to faithfully serve me and sends me flattering badges (like the Africa one when I crossed 5,000 miles). I return the favor and religiously charge it once a week. To say it has kept me somewhat disciplined would be an understatement.
The company is celebrating its tenth anniversary and they shared some staggering numbers tracking the 60 million devices they have sold
3,724,731,035,482 steps taken (that’s 3.7 trillion)
1,480,356 trips around the world
3 Billion nights of sleep tracked
Here is a nice infograph on their history so far – click to enlarge
I have seen people play Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV Stick, on a Raspberry Pi and some Linux devices
“Although it was originally created for the Microsoft Xbox and called Xbox Media Center (XBMC), Kodi has continued to evolve - spawning a community of its own.
Unlike services like Chromecast or Plex, Kodi is managed by the non-profit XBMC Foundation, and it's constantly being modified and upgraded by countless of coders around the world. Since its creation in 2003, Kodi has been shaped by more than 500 software developers and more than 200 translators. That means you can now customize by installing addons or builds, and they're totally free, too. And it's not just for laptops; Kodi can now work on everything from a smartphone to an Amazon Fire TV Stick.”
Harbisson, whose U.K. passport shows he’s the first legally recognized cyborg, was born colorblind. He designed his antenna—which translates colors into one of 360 musical tones he’s memorized—back in 2003 with help from a cyberneticist. At first, he connected it to headphones and a laptop. Eventually, he persuaded a surgeon to drill into his skull, implant a chip, and fuse the antenna to his occipital bone.
The couple say merging technology with their bodies has created new senses. “We are transspecies,” says Ribas, whose three-year-old seismic implant vibrates at different intensities based on data from online seismographs. As with other biohackers, their claims—he says my color registers as an F sharp, for example—are difficult to verify. But their London startup, Cyborg Nest, is manufacturing DIY kits meant to bring their transhumanism closer to the mainstream.
Adam Lashinsky of Fortune interviewed David Limp, an Amazon senior vice president who oversees Alexa and all of its Amazon devices at the Brainstorm Tech conference. Some eye popping details about the size of the device business and its business model.
“We really believe and the team believes that we should align ourselves with both the business model and the product, so that if customers use it over a period of time, then we'll take a small amount of profit every time they have a transaction. It might be an Audible book; it might be a Kindle book; it might be shopping as they go through the lifecycle of that product.
Nothing makes me and the team happier to see a first generation Kindle in somebody's hands. We're still supporting it. You can still buy books from it and that's a great win-win for us and the customer.”
The global market is projected to hit $2.7 billion in 2017, a 35 percent rise since 2010, according to the research company Statista. Breaking this down, hair-restoration surgical operations rose 57 percent from 2010 to 2014, and more than 3 percent of all U.S. households use a hair-loss product.
With all that money on the table, more than 55 labs around the globe are experimenting with solutions that range from stem cells and bioprinting to hair cloning and robotic transplants. The San Diego–based biotech company Samumed has been getting a lot of attention for its hair-loss drug, the evocatively named SM04554, a topical solution that targets the same genes that control fetal growth. Zap the right gene the right way, and you feasibly can regrow hair. Since 2008, the firm has raised $220 million and has set its sights on a valuation of $12 billion. (Its market cap currently is $6 billion.) Hong Kong–based Pineworld Capital has invested $6 million in Histogen, another regenerative medical company based in San Diego. It markets an injectable neonatal-cell scalp treatment that is slated to go on the market in China next year. The Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido has invested an undisclosed amount since 2013 in a partnership with RepliCel Life Sciences, a stem-cell research outfit (see video below) RepliCel Life Sciences plans to launch a $1,000 treatment by 2018, most likely in the form of topical dermal injectors.
When it comes to the state of the tax code, there’s a surprising amount of consensus in Washington: liberals, conservatives and every President from Bill Clinton to Donald Trump agree that the corporate tax is broken, ineffective and needs to be fixed.
The problem, in a nutshell, is that the 35% corporate tax rate is among the highest in the developed world. But because of loopholes, it produces less federal revenue, as a percentage of GDP, than most other countries’. The current system also creates an incentive for companies to perform feats of legal acrobatics, like relocating corporate headquarters and shuffling intellectual property to far-flung foreign locales, to shield their balance sheets from the IRS.
That’s where the BAT comes in. In theory, this little tax will fix those big problems. Instead of taxing corporate profits, the BAT taxes corporate cash flow. That means it doesn’t matter where a company’s headquarters are located or where its intellectual property is housed. All that matters is where it sells its products. If it sells its products in America, it pays 20% on what it makes. If it sells its products abroad, it pays no U.S. corporate tax at all. (Foreign taxes would still apply.)
But it’s not this blistering performance that has attracted a strategic partnership with France’s PSA Group. It’s the drastic drop in manufacturing cost and complexity that Divergent Manufacturing Platform promises. Here’s what Czinger reckons it will cost to set up a factory for annual production of 10,000 units: 16 3-D printers, 10 flexible robots, 50 technicians, 20 additional staff, and a 100,000-square-foot building. That’s $42 million for the factory and $30 million in tooling.
Those numbers compare with $250 million to build a traditional factory plus $250 million for comparable conventional manufacturing tool-and-die equipment. By his accounting, the rolling chassis unit cost also comes in $500 cheaper (at $3,500), which brings the fully amortized per-vehicle savings of about $3,900. Imagine PSA’s savings on the mainstream Peugeot or Citroën it plans to build this way within three years at 180,000 to 200,000 units annually. Much of that cost and emissions reduction comes by eliminating the paint shop. The aluminum and carbon-fiber chassis doesn’t need it, and the unstressed composite body panels get molded in color or wrapped.
When it only takes a small fortune to get into the car business, Divergent envisions many 10,000-unit microfactories springing up around the country, which would create local jobs and promote local entrepreneurship—just like at the dawn of the automotive age when 1,800 automakers dotted the U.S. landscape.
To use an IQOS, you push a flavored packet of tobacco called a heatstick into the mouth of a tubular, pipelike holder, which is a bit smaller than a kazoo. When you press a button on the holder, it heats up a metal blade inside, which cooks the tobacco to roughly a third of the temperature of a traditional cigarette. Then you puff away. The tobacco is warmed without combusting, so it doesn’t release any fire, smoke, or ash. This, in theory, makes it healthier to inhale when using heat-not-burn gadgets than when smoking, for instance, a run-of-the-mill Parliament.
In between heatsticks, you holster the cyberpipe in a mobile charger, a smooth, palm-size contraption that calls to mind a cigarette pack mated with a smartphone and designed by Apple’s Jony Ive.
But whereas pizzamaking remains high-touch and traditional, pizza marketing is anything but. There, Domino’s Pizza Inc. has decided that modern works better than authentic, and fun is best of all. For the past five years, the company has been emphasizing all the ways you can order pizza with minimal human and maximal digital contact. It’s introduced more ordering methods—Facebook, Twitter, Twitter with emojis, Apple Watch, voice-activated, “zero click,” wedding registry —than new items on its menu. Customers can track their pizzas online, starting as they’re being made, and in San Diego (for now; likely nationwide soon) they can track their drivers. If an Australian wants to pick up her order, a GPS system can monitor her approach so the pizza is hot on arrival.
Domino’s has spent millions to trick out a fleet featuring “the ultimate pizza delivery vehicle”—the DXP, a Chevrolet Spark subcompact with special side doors and warming ovens. An independent franchisee in New Zealand is testing delivery by drone and robot. In 2015, for the first time, more than half of Domino’s orders were placed online, and half of those came via mobile.
Libratus defeated its four human opponents with an average daily win of $206,061 and a grand total win on a hefty $1,766,250 in virtual funds.
But don’t let Libratus scare you — it was only created to play Heads-Up, No-Limit Texas Hold’em poker. It’s the brainchild of Professor Tuomas Sandholm and Ph.D. student Noam Brown from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science and uses the Bridges computer at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center for its computation needs. It doesn’t rely on the experience of expert human players but instead, consists of algorithms that create a strategy based on an analysis of the rules and the opponents.