The tech world is rapidly evolving and it’s hard to keep up! To help you get up to date we’ve rounded up the best tech articles from this past week that you should be reading.
It’s been a big news week for RE.WORK speakers, especially Megan Smith, as the White House has just named her U.S. Chief Technology Officer. Megan will be joining us at our Internet of Things Summit this coming November.
Minecraft For Real Life: This Video Game Wants To Help Redesign Actual Cities
The game will be open-source and free to play, and as players come up with various designs, they’ll be able to add to a growing database of designs that a city could actually implement. The researchers will also be able to pull data from the game and look for patterns in citizen ideas that official urban planners might be overlooking in their own work.
Biodesign: Why the future of our cities is soft and hairy *RE.WORK Speaker*
"We are working towards an actual reality. Society needs to understand that biotech is the best — and perhaps the only — way to achieve sustainability for the whole planet.
"People need to appreciate the benefits for it. Nature has such huge potential. Humans need to take advantage of it to solve the big challenges in the world today."
Alberto T. Estevez, Director of Genetic Barcelona Project will be speaking about their biodesign project at RE.WORK Cities, London, 4-5 December.
Controlled Crystals Make a New Solar Material Practical
A new way to control the growth of crystalline materials called perovskites could lead to commercial solar cells that hit a sweet spot of high performance and low cost. Although individual perovskite cells have achieved promising results in the lab, until now it hasn’t been clear how they might be made in uniform batches.
White House Names Google’s Megan Smith Chief Technology Officer *RE.WORK Speaker*
Exciting news for RE.WORK speaker Megan Smith! You can hear more from Megan at RE.WORK Internet of Things Summit in San Francisco on Nov 6-7.
“Megan has inspired so many people through her commitment to inclusion and innovation,” said co-founder Sergey Brin. “We’ll miss her at Google [x] and are excited to see what the future holds for her in Washington.”
The language of the internet of things
Once more things connect, many scenarios present themselves. Connected smoke alarms could enlist nearby light bulbs to flash and speakers to sound an alert. A warning about the smoke’s location could appear on a television. And door locks could be automatically opened. Many other not-yet-thought-of applications will arise, says Liat Ben-Zur, chairwoman of the AllSeen Alliance. “Unexpected capabilities pop up when devices speak the same language,” she says.
‘Matchmaking’ site for lonely algorithms can make sense of raw data
If the service is to become fully functioning, companies could simply run their data through a search function that will ‘match’ it with the best algorithm which could then make an understandable pattern to otherwise unintelligible data.
So far, the biggest challenge to the idea could be from academics themselves who might feel uncomfortable with the idea of their research being used for commercial gain but, according to their business model, both the company and researcher who designed the algorithm will receive a cut of any payment by a company.
Jan Peters talks opportunities & obstacles for the future of robotics *RE.WORK Speaker*
“Learning algorithms that allow robots to automatically acquire new skills and refine their task execution will allow for a huge shift in possibilities of robot application. Robots will be able to do a much larger variety of tasks due to the decreased robot programming cost, reducing the need for slave labor in sweatshops all over the world. Robot programming will be possible for laymen, enabling highly specialized surgeons to bring their expert skills to a much wider application, but also the use of robots at home.”
Misfit launches a development kit that gives other companies access to its sensor algorithms *RE.WORK Speaker*
Misfit, a company best known for making the Shine fitness tracker, has been in the process of transitioning to a company that sells its sleep and activity tracking algorithms in addition to tasteful hardware. On Thursday, it took that process one step farther and announced the Misfit Developer Toolkit, which will allow interested developers and companies to incorporate Misfit’s activity tracking capabilities into their own applications.
Buses are the future of urban transport. No, really.
As it happens, innovation in urban affairs has developed a distinctly Latin flavour of late. From Porto Alegre’s experiments in participatory budgeting to the cable cars of Caracas, this most urbanised of regions would appear to have quietly stolen a march on the rest of the world. Latin American cities have found great success by deploying existing techniques (material or social) at relatively low cost, in unexpected and startlingly effective new combinations – precisely the manner in which Brazilian and Colombian cities have forged a high-capacity mass-transit system from the lowly city bus.
Sparks fly as NASA pushes the limits of 3-D printing technology
NASA engineers pushed the limits of technology by designing a rocket engine injector —a highly complex part that sends propellant into the engine—with design features that took advantage of 3-D printing. To make the parts, the design was entered into the 3-D printer’s computer. The printer then built each part by layering metal powder and fusing it together with a laser, a process known as selective laser melting.
The cognitive Internet of Things: an interview with Raffaele Giaffreda *RE.WORK Speaker*
RE.WORK speaker Raffaele Giaffreda took some time out of his busy schedule to speak to Web Magazin about the cognitive internet of things and how this will impact our day to day lives in the future.
Google Launches Effort to Build Its Own Quantum Computer
Quantum computers could be immensely faster than any existing computer at certain problems. That’s because qubits working together can use the quirks of quantum mechanics to quickly discard incorrect paths to a solution and home in on the correct one. However, qubits are tricky to operate because quantum states are so delicate.
Top 10 Companies Innovating Using the Smart Grid
Smart grid innovation doesn’t always have to be about technology. Tendril’s Energy Services Management platform helps utilities and energy service providers better understand the uses and needs of their customers. The platform even uses gamifacation in the form of leader boards so one user’s usage can be compared to another.
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