Dubai Is Test-Flying A Two-Seater Taxi Drone

Since Margot Krasojevic’s conceptualization of the dragonfly bridge, it was only about time that flying vehicles came to light. Dubai is fast-tracking this reality, test-flying a two-seater taxi drone that transports passengers autonomously.

The [Autonomous Air Taxi] is environmentally friendly, powered by electricity, and the prototype version has a maximum flight time of 30 minutes, at a cruising speed of 50 km/h (31 mph), and a maximum airspeed of 100 km/h (62 mph).

As it would, the notion of a crew-less flying taxi may be somewhat petrifying. However, the AAT comes with emergency parachutes and batteries, so you can rest — or fly — easy. Developers also plan to create an accompanying booking app, much like Uber, but for the skies.

“Encouraging innovation and adopting the latest technologies contribute not only to the country’s development but also build bridges into the future,” Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed said in a statement.

Dubai hopes that by 2030, 25% of transportation methods will be autonomous. With many organizations working towards a more efficient traveling system, there is much to look forward to in the future.

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Panasonic’s CityNow Is A Futuristic Metropolis

While the UAE is prepping for life on Mars, Panasonic is keeping it down-to-earth. Taking a more optimistic approach to the future, the electronics company is erecting a smart city. That means self-driving vehicles, clean energy, and free wifi all in one!

“Since early 2016, when we started on Denver CityNow, we’ve vetted 11 technology suppliers, developed an open API, established a carbon-neutral district, got approval from the public utility and installed the first microgrid, with solar panels on Denver Airport property, in partnership with Xcel Energy, which can power this area for 72 hours in the event of a natural, or manmade, disaster.” [said EVP Jarrett Wendt.]

Panasonic is pulling from its previous success with Fujisawa’s Sustainable Smart town, which took 8.5 years to build. The tech metropolis saw a 70% reduction in carbon dioxide and 30% energy return. In essence, it pays to be green. As for Denver becoming its futuristic breeding ground? A lack of legal setbacks did the trick.

“At Panasonic, we’re not political, we just want to get things done,” said Wendt.

Granted, a 400-acre tech-forward city may be something to look forward to — let’s just hope they pull it off!

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Use Mind Control To Play This Virtual Reality Game

I recently established that, while it come with its risks, technology isn’t actually killing us. The rate at which developments are taking place is at an all time high. While we may not have superpowers yet, we are close to it being a possibility. In fact, startup Neurable had created a virtual reality game played using mind control.

It works with an electrode-laden headband that connects to an HTC Vive virtual-reality headset. The technology behind the game… uses dry electrodes placed on the scalp and electroencephalography to track brain activity. Software analyzes this signal and figures out what should happen in the game.

The gameplay is simple — you play as a child escaping a government lab by throwing toys at various targets. While this may not entice many hardcore gamers, you may want to think about the fact that you are moving things just by thinking about them. 

The demo starts with a calibration process during which [players call] out toys—train, plane, and so on—and a person wearing the headset and electrodes [can] accurately and quickly select them from the circle of floating objects in front of [them] in virtual space.

Neurable hopes to develop a more complex game without the need for training. Clashing with the complicated nature of the brain, I can’t imagine a more elaborate game. Bring on the mind tricks!

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Cryogenic Freezing Hints At Possibility Of “Immortality”

Looks like the sleeping pods in sci-fi blockbuster “Passengers” are closer to becoming a reality. If we can figure out out how to grow replacement organs, why not take a crack at immortality? While it isn’t totally possible (yet), cryogenic freezing has brought us a step closer to living forever.

Experts in the US have shown that they can preserve brains and bodies in a state of suspended animation where they freeze an individual to sub-zero temperatures and revive them at a time of choosing in the future.

Initial experiments with fish embryos used anti-freeze as a type of sealant, but wasn’t enough for full preservation. Gold nano-rods, on the other hand, saw success.

When the minuscule rods are added to the anti-freeze, lasers are shot at the frozen embryos which were frozen to -196C.

The nano-rods conduct the laser’s heat, allowing the embryos to be warmed up much quicker.

Some 10 per cent of the embryos survived and then continued to grow as normal.

Not only does the process bring us closer to, in theory, “immortality”, it will allow for long-period traveling. Paying a visit to Mars, for example, takes 6 months, while getting to Pluto takes nearly 10 years. But if space isn’t your thing, maybe you’d prefer to meet your great-great grand children.

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Smart Contact Lenses Could Document Your Life

Just when we thought space teleportation was way beyond our reach, China figured it out. Now, long-awaited technologies are manifesting all over the world. This includes smart contact lenses that record everything you see.

The lenses would record images while they’re “worn on an eyeball.” The data is recorded on their own storage units.

“In a case where predetermined eyelid closure of an eyelid that is in contact with the lens unit is detected, the recording control unit records the captured image captured by the image pickup unit in the storage medium.”

If you’re a frequent concertgoer, leaving your camera behind could now be the least of your worries. However, while it may be a hassle-free perk for most, others see the device as a potential threat.

“While this really sounds futuristic, at the same time we believe that Sony’s contact lenses can cause a breach of an individual’s privacy. The person would never know that someone with such sophisticated tech can record his/her activities with just a blink of an eye.”

Luckily, Sony has time to mull over its decision, as the lenses are still on patent stage. Do you have an eye out for these smart contact lenses?

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Teach Kids To Program With These Tech Toys

I find that the world’s most difficult task is getting my niece to put down her smartphone. Enticing her with a book is impossible. Kicking a ball in my sister’s backyard is no longer something she finds interesting. If we can’t get kids to experience the ‘real world’, Tech Toys has come up with a different solution. The Kitronik MOVE mini and Piper Computer Kit are bring the “learn by building” concept to a whole new level.

The Kitronik MOVE mini for BBC micro:bit is an autonomous (or remote controlled), two-wheeled robot that provides an introduction to basic programming and robotics.

In English, the Kitronik MOVE mini is an entry-level lesson on robotics. Kids can follow a standard code or choose to write their own.

The Piper build starts with a Top Secret message giving you a mission to save the world… The sturdy wooden case is really fun and the screen, Raspberry PI, battery, speaker and circuitboard all connect easily.

The Piper integrates storytelling technology and, to put it simply, looks really cool.

Children’s gadgets are far from what they used to be. They are no longer just a means of entertainment, but a method of learning.

While both products target children, I can’t say I’m not looking to get my hands on both!

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How Slowing Down Can Help You Focus

In an era where most of our desires are fulfilled almost instantaneously, it is often hard for us to take a moment to reflect. We strive to achieve our goals at the bat of an eyelash. What we often forget is that slowing down allows us to be more conscious and mindful of our environment.

In our rapidly changing world, we value speed and efficiency.  However, there is something to be gained by being slow if slow can make you more present, more mindful, and more aware of other people’s perspectives.

Ever heard the phrase good things come to those who wait? Apparently, it’s true.

As a more common example today, a slow Internet connection frustrates most of us.  However, it also makes for more mindful searches and more focus and slower consumption of what they yield.

Today, there are parts of our life that emphasize the benefits of being slow, ranging from a “slow food movement” to “slow parenting” to “slow jogging” to the mindful slowing associated with a meditation.

We are always seeking ways to prevent aging–and yet we demand to accomplish things at the drop of a hat (or in this day and age, a Facebook notification). As the saying goes, think of today as a gift because, after all, it is the present.

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