Archive for January, 2019

The Doomsday Clock

The wall clock tells you what time of the day or night it is, allowing you to pick out the appropriate actions that you need to be performing at that given time. What about a Doomsday Clock? Created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the clock is set to be an indicator of the world’s susceptibility to apocalypse. They calculate a number of reasons and assemble the likelihood of the world ending.

For the last two years running the Doomsday Clock has been just 2 minutes from midnight. Midnight being the end of the world as we know it today. The scientists call this a dangerous new normal. The Chicago based scientists have warned that they should see this not as a sign of stability, but as a stark warning to the leaders as well as the citizens of the world.

Events that have contributed to this are the simultaneous nuclear threat from North Korea as well as the effects of climate change that are sweeping through the planet. This is a science project that may not be conventional, but should serve as a warning about things to come. The last time the clock was two minutes from midnight was back in 1953 when the US-Soviet arms race was escalated as Moscow tested a hydrogen bomb.

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Braille Kindle

If you love to read, you would have definitely heard of e-readers such as Kindle. The ease of a thousand books accompanying you on any holiday while just taking up a fraction of the space has been amazing. Not only are the ebooks cheaper in most cases than the paperback versions, you don’t need endless bookshelves in your home to house them. That same convenience is now being offered to visually impaired readers who prefer to get their stories in Braille.

Canute 360 is a Braille e-book reader from Bristol Braille Technology. It has been called the “Kindle for the Blind”. The world’s first multi line Braille e-reader displays nine lines of a text at a time. The prototype has been well received in the scientific community and mass production is likely to begin this year. The price for the Canute 360 is likely to be the same as a high end laptop.

The e-reader has been awarded a £5K runners up grant in the 2018 NESTA inventors prize, awarded in conjunction with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy, for the best new product which uses technology to tackle a social issue. Considering the powerful impact it will have once it is available commercially on the ability of visually impaired readers to access texts, the award is well deserved for this science project.

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Smart Homes With Robots For the Elderly

One of the things that the elderly detest the most is having to give up their independence and moving out of their own personal space for assisted living. With the advent of technology, it may now be possible for them to keep living on their own, with some robotic assistance.

The Robot Activity Support System, or RAS is a robot created by the researchers at the Washington State University. The robot uses sensors embedded in a smart home to determine where the person is, what they are doing and if they need any help. The little robot is able to navigate through the rooms and around whatever obstacles they face in the house.

The RAS is equipped with a mapping and navigation camera, sensors and software that allow it to help the residents perform basic chores such as
getting ready to walk the dog, taking medication with food and water and watering household plants. If required the robot can provide video instructions to the person to perform the task.

Researchers hope that patients with dementia and other mental impairments may benefit from the services of this robotic system in the future. Currently the science project involves 26 graduate and undergraduate students performing the assisted activities to test the robot.

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Hack the Tesla Model 3

There’s nothing like millions in prize money to get the hackers out in full swing. Tesla has always encouraged hacking competitions to help find security issues with it’s new cars. In 2013 about 18 researchers were able to find exploitable issues with the Tesla car. This number has since steadily diminished with 2014 listing 7 people and 2016 just managed to find 2.

Now again Pwn2Own the security conference partnered with the electric car maker, Tesla, is offering a chance to win prizes ranging from $35,000 to $250, 000 if researchers can find any vulnerabilities in the new Tesla Model 3 car. One to find such a flaw will not only get the prize money but also end up listed in the Tesla Security Researcher Hall of Fame. The first person to spot the flaw is also likely to be awarded a car of his own.

The Hackathon, as this science project is known colloquially is going to solve two of the latest security risks that were uncovered as well. It’s a whole nerd army that’s going to get a chance to work on the issues that Tesla has been facing. A fact that makes it so much more easier for Elon Musk to be confident that the best brains will be working on resolving any pending issues that the Tesla Model 3 car may still have.

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Germany Going Green

The non renewable energy resources of fossil fuels are running out for our planet. There is a huge surge in nations turning towards renewable energy sources to meet their energy needs of the future. The more proactive nations are already using greener alternatives to coal to generate their energy needs, one such nation is Germany.

The last year was a land mark year for the nation as for the first time renewable resources took on 40% of the nation’s energy needs. Making coal produced electricity, the usual number one energy source, slip into second position. Europe’s biggest economy hopes to have nearly 65% of their electricity being generated by renewable energy sources by 2030.

Germany has plans to shut down it’s nuclear power plants by 2022 and is also on board with a plan to phase out coal based electricity production in a phased manner as the renewable energy sources are multiplied. The primary focus in Germany is on output of electricity from solar power, wind, biomass and hydroelectric generation.

This truly is a nation that’s pioneering the way everyone needs to act. The science project that this country has successfully implemented is one that other nations of the world need to follow, and soon.

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Bread Bot to Bake Loaves

At the Consumer Electronics Show this month at Las Vegas one robot that is definitely making waves is the Bread Bot. It mixes, forms, proofs, bakes and cools bread all on its own, as per the creators. The bread is supposed to be freshly baked, without preservatives so healthy and eco friendly to boot. This automatic bread making machine can bake up to 235 loaves of bread in a single day!

The people responsible for the bread baker robot are the Wilkinson Baking Company, a family-owned business. Bread is a staple of American life. But in most supermarkets today, it has lost its emotional connection with the shopper said Randall Wilkinson, the CEO of the company. In the age of home delivery, The Bread Bot attracts consumers back to the store because it delivers fresh, delicious bread that is produced with theater and engagement, he added.

Visitors to the Consumer Electronics Show are being invited to taste the healthy and flavorful bread after viewing the fully transparent process of the actual baking. Needless to say it’s one of the more popular displays at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. Here’s to more delicious and edible science projects in the new innovations.

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