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Joseph’s technocapable coat: energy harvesting for smart clothes

Smart clothes are the territory where style and science are destined to meet. Their rendezvous is already taking place, giving garments a whole host of innovative applications, such as charging depots for personal electronic gadgets, fitness trackers for capturing biometric data and colour-changing fashionable assets that go with everything. After a slow start technology-laden clothing is now available. Practical energy harvesting would drive development faster: there are clear practical problems with plugging clothes in to charge – not least because washing and electricity generally don’t go well together.

Lidar for riders on the autonomous car storm: Lidar and computer vision systems from 1995 to today

The story starts in 1995. A silver Mercedes Benz S-Class W140 drags past more conservative drivers on the German Autobahn at 110 miles per hour (180km/h). It might sound like nothing out of the ordinary. Except this car had a cool name: VaMP. And it was autonomous ...

Autonomous vehicles could spell the end of urban design as we know it

Ever since the first mass produced cars made it to the roads in the early 20th century, the whole urban infrastructure has been designed to accommodate them. Modern cities are automobile-centred by default, although side effects like congestion, slow commutes and shortage of parking spaces often cast doubt on that statement. Today’s vehicles are evolving fast, adopting more and more autonomous features on their way towards fully fledged self-driving status. Cities can’t afford to fall behind in their effort to remain fit for the autonomous vehicles (AVs) of the near future.

The disruptive effect of AI-enhanced media manipulation

Artificial intelligence techniques such as convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and their variant generative adversarial networks (GANs) can be used to create extremely convincing fake images, voices and videos. The technologies are being developed within research institutions, enterprises and the open source community and being deployed in multiple applications – for good (such as Hollywood fantasy blockbusters) and ill (such as fake celebrity videos). Such are the capabilities of AI to help improve the traditional ways of creating manipulated media that there is the potential to disrupt sectors of commerce – as well as presenting a challenge to news organisations and publishers. Two industries that might feel the impact are cyber security and entertainment.

Robotic carers: what can they do and what should they be allowed to do?

Technology advancements and the severe shortage of caregivers are about to turn homes for assisted living into futuristic places where robots are trusted with various aspects of patient care. Although the concept of robotic carers is still in its early days, more countries around the world are seeing it as a reliable tool for tackling the demographic crisis.

What could robotic carers do and what should they be allowed to do to improve the lives of the elderly? As the demand for qualified caregivers already exceeds supply in many countries with aging population, robots are initially faced with a series of gap-filling duties such as helping patients with chores ...

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