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Advance Technology

Misbehaving Particles Shakeup Scientific Models

Everything in this world is made up of matter that is bound together by natural forces. Most of these forces follow a very typical pattern that is outlined in the Standard Model of physics.

However, recent experiments involving electrons and their larger counterparts may be cause for adjusting this model. In theory, electrons, muons, and tau leptons should all share a similar behavior despite their different sizes. This is due to the fact that they all have the same type of charge.

Based on several recent observations, it is clear that there is some unknown force causing the particles to behave differently. In addition, this force interacts differently with each of the three particle types.

Scientists have known for many years that the standard model was not able to account for certain forces like dark matter and gravity. Unfortunately, the majority of large scale experiments did not produce any results that proved the existence of these forces and the standard model was upheld.

However, there have been many new signs of particle misbehavior since 2012 that pertain to a little-explored area of the Standard Model known as lepton universality. In short, this area of the model stipulates that particles like electrons and its larger cousins should behave in much the same way with the exception of variances due to their different masses.

The first surprise relating to this area occurred in 2012 during the BaBar experiment. In this experiment, the concentration of Tau particles was much higher than it should have been. Nothing in the current model explains why the concentration numbers were so off.

Two other experiments since then have had similar results where the concentrations of particles left over after high-speed collisions did not add up based on the Standard Model.

While the results are still being reviewed, it is clear that there is more to these particle interactions than the Standard Model can currently explain. With further research, these findings may open up new pathways for research in the future.

Solar Powered Trains coming to India

India is making strides to reduce its carbon emissions by upgrading its extensive rail network to use a form of clean energy.

The country’s first train to feature solar-powered coaches became operational in June. The ventilation, lights, and information displays in all carriages will be powered by panels that are attached to the roof. A six-carriage train could save over 21,000 liters of diesel fuel per year by some estimates.

The trains will initially service routes and lines in New Delhi, which happens to be one of the more polluted parts of India. Twenty four more coaches are then expected to be fitted with the system, which costs about $13,500 to install.

Jackson Engineers, an Indian company, developed the system in partnership with a Taskforce aimed at exploring alternative fuels in the railway system. The Taskforce also looked into bio-diesel and natural gas options for reducing emissions. One challenge with designing the system was developing a structure that could withstand the 80kph speeds the trains travel at.

There’s still a long way to go for India’s railway system, and the country as whole, when it comes to investment in renewable energy. The country has set a goal of generating 175 giga watts of renewable energy by 2022. This project will help with that goal but is only expected to produce 1,000 to 5,000 mega watts of power when fully scaled. Paired with additional renewable energy projects the country will still need to look for other ways to reduce fossil fuel usage.

Robotic Solutions For Leaky Pipes

One of the most important resources that are worth protecting worldwide is fresh water. We’re not just talking about water in developing nations like Africa. We’re also talking about water in areas like the United States.

A prime example is the city of Monterrey located in Mexico. Each year, they lose an estimated 40 percent of their fresh water due to leaks throughout their distribution pipes. This equates to almost $80 million in lost revenue each year.

The large amount of water they lose each year is likely the reason they agreed to be a pilot location for researchers at MIT. They recently developed an innovative robotic system that is capable of detecting even the smallest leaks.

Most standard leak detection systems that are available today cannot be used in systems that use materials like plastic, clay, and wood. This means they are practically useless in developing countries. The product being developed at MIT doesn’t have these limitations. This is why so many industry professionals are excited about this new robot being developed at MIT.

The product being developed by MIT looks a bit odd at first glance. It looks like something that belongs in a badminton match instead of snaking its way through pipes. However, the technology it uses is very sensitive and can detect even the smallest leaks.

It recently passed a series of trials provided by PipeTech LLC where the robot had to traverse over two miles of rusty pipe. It accurately detected the leaks while also identifying natural pressure fluctuations that commonly occur in plumbing.

It does this by measuring the vibrations and pull of the water flow that occurs along the soft rubbery edges of the device. By helping nations fix quickly and easily identify leaky pipes, we can help preserve access to clean drinking water for generations to come.

Artificial Intelligence

One of the biggest opportunities and issues facing the economy today is artificial intelligence. There are a lot of people who are excited about all of the possibilities in this area. However, there are also many people who are concerned that artificial intelligence could become so powerful that it takes over the world.

Many people today are listening to what Elon Musk has to say on the subject. He is worried that regulations are not strong enough in this area. Here are some of the benefits and challenges of artificial intelligence.

Benefits

Artificial intelligence has the potential to transform the world as we know it. There are many people who believe that this is the only way for people to find the cure for various diseases like cancer. With all of the information that artificial intelligence can read through, it is a great time to try and use this ability for the greater good.

There are other complex problems that artificial intelligence could solve in the future as well. Many people in the technology field are excited about all of the potential changes that are taking place in this area today.

Challenges

Without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges with artificial intelligence is how to control it. There are a lot of people who fear that it will become too powerful and take out entire industries.

This is happening today with the taxi industry. A lot of people have made their living through driving people around. There are more options than ever before for this, and many taxi drivers are going out of business. There are a lot of industries that could be wiped out entirely if artificial intelligence continues to progress at the current rate that it is on today. It will be interesting to see how various industries respond to this threat.

Google Glass is Back and is Coming for the Enterprise

Although the Google Glass project was seemingly killed off 2 years ago, it recently made the news again. Alphabet X, a Google subsidiary designed to foster innovation, has revealed a new edition of the Google glasses. This time, the glasses aren’t targeted towards traditional consumers, but are instead designed to help enterprises. After initial tests with the Google Glass project a few years ago, Google discovered that the product was more helpful in the enterprise space than for consumers wanting to check their email. The new version of the glasses specifically targets the needs of businesses.

In limited tests with GE, DHL, and a few other companies, Google was able to reduce manufacturing times by up to 25%. DHL saw efficiency increases of 15% on their supply chains. Healthcare professionals also reported benefits of reduced paperwork times, with Google Glass recording their conversations and automatically documenting patient notes. This allowed doctors to have 50% more face-to-face time with patients.

New design improvements made to the Glass also make them better suited to enterprise customers. Longer battery lives and a lighter frame make them perfect for long-term wear and in rigorous work environments where they’ll be exposed to debris and sweat. A new Atom processor inside the lenses will also provide power to a larger display.

As an example of one of the improvements made to Google Glass, DHL had a custom software solution installed that would help factory workers see where to place packages on carts to be delivered. The glasses make recommendations in real-time, saving workers time and saving space on delivery carts.

GE is also using custom software to help workers see where to weld, solder, or install components during manufacturing. This helps save time by not having workers looking down at complex diagrams each time they need instructions.

What was once a fashion accessory has morphed into a very helpful enterprise solution. Prices and release dates have not been revealed.

Fusion Power May No Longer Be Science Fiction

For many years scientists all across the world have dreamed of harnessing the sun’s energy and with good reason. The average amount of energy the sun releases in a typical day is more than the entire Earth uses in a year.

This is why scientists are turning to fusion power as a potential solution. Long thought of as nothing more than science fiction, an experimental reactor is finally being constructed in France. In total, there are 35 nations that have agreed to take part in this daunting task.

There are many proponents that would argue that nuclear fusion is far too dangerous to explore. They frequently state the inherent dangers that come with the technology. For example, the average temperatures that would be released with fusion are far greater than any other equivalent technology on the planet.

However, this type of energy release is the reason the technology is so viable for solving the energy crisis for the entire world. As far as fuel sources go, the experimental fusion reactor would use deuterium. This material is extremely plentiful all across the globe and is more commonly known as heavy water.

The excessive heat can reach temperatures as high as 150 million degrees Celsius. To put that in perspective, it is over 10 times hotter than the core of our sun. To contain the heat, the reactor will use a unique design known as a tokamak.

A tokamak design works by using magnetic fields to contain the high-temperature energy within the structure. The heat generated is absorbed by the surrounding walls and is then used to produce steam for electricity.

While there are many potential scientific hurdles that remain for fusion technology, the development of this reactor is a step in the right direction. If we can harness the power of the sun, we are on our way to a much greener future.

The New Google Glass Makes Work Efficient

The Google Glass is back: this time, targeting businesses.

Alphabet X, a branch of the Google conglomerate, has officially introduced the Glass Enterprise Edition. Despite the public’s ultimately negative reaction to the invasiveness and bugginess of the 2015 Google Glass, Alphabet discovered that the product helped workers increase their productivity.

When Google stopped sales of the original Glass in 2015, they assured users that “the journey doesn’t end here”. And it truly didn’t, as the company continued to send the Glass Explorers Edition to several American companies including GE, AGCO, and DHL.

At AGCO, Glass helped cut back production times by 25%, and at DHL, it improved efficiency by 15%. Medical workers also swear by Glass, which immensely lessens their paperwork and gives them more time with patients.

Discovering this, developers at Alphabet X strived to create the Glass Enterprise Edition, a more comfortable and durable version of the product. The new Glass is equipped with a faster Atom processor, larger display area, and foldable form. It also has a longer battery life than its predecessor, according to Alphabet X’s Jay Kothari.

Doctors, factory workers, and managers now wear the Glass to improve their work days– a far cry from the trendy product that Diane von Furstenberg and Sergey Brin wore to fashion week.

Glass also features apps that maximize its potential for businesses; for example, GE utilizes an app from Upskill that gives workers visual instructions so that they automatically know what they have to do next. Healthcare workers can fully listen to their patients while their notes are transcribed by an Augmetix app.

Will Glass go on sale to the public again? Maybe someday. But for now, the Enterprise Edition seems to be thriving. According to Alphabet, it is available through “our network of expert partners”.

India’s Trains Get a Solar Boost

Earlier this month, Indian Railways introduced a train to their fleet powered by solar panels. The panels will provide electricity to internal systems, lights, and passenger coaches. While the locomotive will still be powered by diesel, 16 solar panels installed on the top of each car will replace all of the diesel motors usually required to provide power to each coach.

The estimated savings for each complete train is approximately 21,000 liters of fuel each year, or about $20,000 USD.

Indian Railways’ trains consume an average of 2.5 billion liters of fuel each year, about 70% of their total fuel bill.

The new solar powered train will be introduced in a small rail network in Delhi as a trial run. If the trail is successful, 24 additional trains will be introduced around the city. Delhi is known for its pollution and the Railway authorities hope this is a step towards addressing the problem.

The cost to install these new solar panels on existing rail cars is recoupable in less than a year, making it an obvious choice for the Indian Railway group to retrofit as many trains as possible. Each retrofit includes a power inverter and additional batteries to store unused power.

By 2020, Indian Railways, a government organization, hopes to contribute to the country’s renewable energy goals by generating 1,000 MW (megawatts) of energy from solar power. By 2025, they hope to increase this number to 5,000 MW. While the obvious effects are that the rail company can reduce fuel costs, these contributions will help the country reach its goal of generating 175,000 MW of energy from renewable sources by the start of the next decade.

What Will NASA’s EM Drive Mean for Space Travel?

Over the last year, a number of researchers around the world have suggested that NASA’s controversial EM Drive might work after all. Tests done over the last two years at NASA’s Eagleworks Lab seem to indicate that thrust is being produced by this device without any propellant of any kind. Even the military is taking an interest.

The problem with the EM Drive is that it seems to contradict the known laws of physics – a point that has made most scientists reject the possibility that the EM Drive could actually work. According to Newtonian theory, all reactions require an equal and opposite reaction. But that doesn’t seem to be happening with the EM Drive.

But despite the skepticism of much of the scientific world, researchers from Europe to the United States and China have found small but consistent thrust being produced by this device – dare we say engine. But if the EM Drive functions as advertised, it could mean a revolution in space propulsion.

Today, space propulsion is dominated by chemical rockets that have to carry tons of fuel with them as they travel. This places a limitation on their speed and how much cargo they can carry. Without the necessity of carrying fuel along, a spacecraft equipped with an EM Drive and powered by solar panels or a nuclear reactor could travel ridiculously far and fast.

Currently, it takes anywhere from six months to two years to reach Mars from Earth. Calculations show an EM Drive equipped spacecraft – manned or unmanned – could reach Mars in 70 days or less. This is roughly equivalent to how long it took colonists on sailing ships to travel across the Atlantic to the New World. So this is literally a game changing technology – if it works.

Disney Leads in Highly Advanced Robotics

Disney has been ahead of the curve when it comes to robotics since the 1960s when they first placed animatronic attractions in their theme parks. While those older attractions might seem a bit outdated in the modern world, they were once centerpieces of the technological prowess of the family-focused Disney experience. Disney has once again proven that they are an industry leader in the field of robotics with their newest animatronic addition, which is a rendition of a Na’vi shaman from the popular Avatar franchise.

Disney opened Pandora: World of Avatar at the end of May, and it is located in the Animal Kingdom park as part of the main attractions of the location. The entire area is themed after Avatar, and while it has only been accessible by the public for a few weeks, it has already attracted a lot of attention. In particular, the Na’vi River Journey ride offers an experience unlike any other in the world of animatronics. As the ride comes to an end, riders will be greeted with an incredibly lifelike robotic Na’vi shaman that dances and chants with the realism of a living creature. There is no doubt this piece of technology represents one of the most, if not the most, advanced animatronic creations ever conceived.

A look under the artificial blue skin of the robotic figure reveals an exceptionally intricate animatronic skeleton with many, many points of motion and control. To look at the robotic skull in action is to see technology that would have seemed to be nothing more than science fiction even just ten years ago. Disney plans to incorporate more of these animatronic figures into their attractions, and there are even rumors that they are considering fully autonomous figures that could move and act independently of any robotic foundation or direct human control.