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Archive for the ‘engineering’ category

Mar 11, 2020

Engineers crack 58-year-old puzzle on way to quantum breakthrough

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, particle physics, quantum physics

A happy accident in the laboratory has led to a breakthrough discovery that not only solved a problem that stood for more than half a century, but has major implications for the development of quantum computers and sensors. In a study published today in Nature, a team of engineers at UNSW Sydney has done what a celebrated scientist first suggested in 1961 was possible, but has eluded everyone since: controlling the nucleus of a single atom using only electric fields.

“This discovery means that we now have a pathway to build quantum computers using single-atom spins without the need for any oscillating magnetic field for their operation,” says UNSW’s Scientia Professor of Quantum Engineering Andrea Morello. “Moreover, we can use these nuclei as exquisitely precise sensors of electric and magnetic fields, or to answer fundamental questions in quantum science.”

That a nuclear spin can be controlled with electric, instead of magnetic fields, has far-reaching consequences. Generating magnetic fields requires large coils and high currents, while the laws of physics dictate that it is difficult to confine magnetic fields to very small spaces—they tend to have a wide area of influence. Electric fields, on the other hand, can be produced at the tip of a tiny electrode, and they fall off very sharply away from the tip. This will make control of individual atoms placed in nanoelectronic devices much easier.

Mar 7, 2020

Study: Modern electric grid needs smarter modeling for improved resilience

Posted by in categories: energy, engineering

Power systems and communication networks are increasingly interdependent, which can affect the response and recovery times when problems occur.

Today’s smart involves components that talk to each other, sending signals over networks to keep flowing smoothly and efficiently. But what happens when the “conversation” goes quiet?

A team of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and the Illinois Institute of Technology recently explored the literature on this link between the and its communication networks, finding that many studies do not adequately consider the two-way nature of this relationship and its impact on grid resilience. Their paper, “Electric Power Grid Resilience with Interdependencies between Power and Communication Networks—A Review,” was recently published in IET Smart Grid, a journal from the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Mar 5, 2020

Stanford’s AI Index Report: How Much Is BS?

Posted by in categories: economics, engineering, health, information science, law, mobile phones, robotics/AI, sustainability, transportation

Another important question is the extent to which continued increases in computational capacity are economically viable. The Stanford Index reports a 300,000-fold increase in capacity since 2012. But in the same month that the Report was issued, Jerome Pesenti, Facebook’s AI head, warned that “The rate of progress is not sustainable…If you look at top experiments, each year the cost is going up 10-fold. Right now, an experiment might be in seven figures but it’s not going to go to nine or 10 figures, it’s not possible, nobody can afford that.”

AI has feasted on low-hanging fruit, like search engines and board games. Now comes the hard part — distinguishing causal relationships from coincidences, making high-level decisions in the face of unfamiliar ambiguity, and matching the wisdom and commonsense that humans acquire by living in the real world. These are the capabilities that are needed in complex applications such as driverless vehicles, health care, accounting, law, and engineering.

Despite the hype, AI has had very little measurable effect on the economy. Yes, people spend a lot of time on social media and playing ultra-realistic video games. But does that boost or diminish productivity? Technology in general and AI in particular are supposed to be creating a new New Economy, where algorithms and robots do all our work for us, increasing productivity by unheard-of amounts. The reality has been the opposite. For decades, U.S. productivity grew by about 3% a year. Then, after 1970, it slowed to 1.5% a year, then 1%, now about 0.5%. Perhaps we are spending too much time on our smartphones.

Mar 4, 2020

Podcast #42: Going to Mars, featuring Moriba Jah

Posted by in categories: biological, economics, Elon Musk, engineering, space travel

Elon Musk and the late Stephen Hawking are not alone in their calls for humanity to become a multi-planetary species. But they certainly are the most visible advocates for space colonization. And while the moon might be the most obvious jumping off point to the solar system and beyond, nothing stands out as a potential site for long term settlement more than Mars.

But just how realistic is sending astronauts to the Red Planet anytime soon–let alone colonizing it permanently? The obstacles are many, and aerospace engineering may well be the least of them. The human biological, psychological tolss and survival strategies–radiation, low gravity, isolation and the marshalling air, water, and food resources–all stand in the way. And then there is the economic cost and the political and public will. In this edition of Seeking Delphi,™ I talk to former NASA Mars mission navigator, Moriba Jah, about the many challenges of leaving of our home planet.

Mar 4, 2020

Filipino siblings invent lamp that runs on just water and salt—and it can last for 8 hours straight!

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering

Electric supply is one of the lacking necessity in certain parts of the world even until today. Thinking to overcome this problem, these three siblings from the Philippines came out with one genius invention.

Aisa Mijeno is a computer engineering graduate who came out with the idea to make a lamp that runs on salt water together with her brothers Ralph Mijeno and Oscar Bryan Magtibay.

Aisa Mijeno is currently a member of the engineering faculty of the De La Salle University in Lipa, Batangas.

Continue reading “Filipino siblings invent lamp that runs on just water and salt—and it can last for 8 hours straight!” »

Mar 4, 2020

High energy Li-Ion battery is safer for electric vehicles

Posted by in categories: energy, engineering, transportation

A lithium-ion battery that is safe, has high power and can last for 1 million miles has been developed by a team in Penn State’s Battery and Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Center.

Electric vehicle batteries typically require a tradeoff between safety and . If the has and , which is required for uphill driving or merging on the freeway, then there is a chance the battery can catch fire or explode in the wrong conditions. But materials that have low energy/power density, and therefore high safety, tend to have poor performance. There is no material that satisfies both. For that reason, battery engineers opt for performance over safety.

“In this work we decided we were going to take a totally different approach,” said Chao-Yang Wang, professor of mechanical, chemical and materials science and engineering, and William E. Diefenderfer Chair in Mechanical Engineering, Penn State. “We divided our strategy into two steps. First we wanted to build a highly stable battery with highly stable materials.”

Mar 3, 2020

Computing at the speed of light: Team takes big step toward much faster computers

Posted by in categories: drones, engineering, robotics/AI, supercomputing

Circa 2015


University of Utah engineers have taken a step forward in creating the next generation of computers and mobile devices capable of speeds millions of times faster than current machines.

The Utah engineers have developed an ultracompact beamsplitter—the smallest on record—for dividing light waves into two separate channels of information. The device brings researchers closer to producing silicon photonic chips that compute and shuttle data with light instead of electrons. Electrical and computer engineering associate professor Rajesh Menon and colleagues describe their invention today in the journal Nature Photonics.

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Mar 3, 2020

Engineers zap and unstick underwater smart glue

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, engineering

With a small zap of electricity, biomedical engineers at Michigan Technological University take an underwater smart glue prototype from sticky to not in seven seconds.

Turning adhesion on and off is what makes a smart. It’s one thing to do this in the open air and quite another under water. Inspired by nature, catechols are synthetic compounds that mimic the wet-but-still-sticky proteins secreted by mussels and offer promise for smart adhesives that work in water. The technology could help with underwater glue, wound dressings, prosthetic attachments or even making car parts and in other manufacturing.

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Mar 3, 2020

Anders Sandberg — Freeman Dyson, Galactic Megastructures, Physical Eschatology & the Fermi Paradox

Posted by in categories: alien life, bitcoin, computing, cryptocurrencies, engineering, existential risks, transhumanism

Many of you know the sad news that theoretical physicist & mathematician Freeman Dyson has passed away, so in celebration of his life and achievements, Anders Sandberg (Future of Humanity Institute) discusses Freeman Dyson’s influence on himself and others — How might advanced alien civilizations develop (and indeed perhaps our own)?
We discuss strategies for harvesting energy — star engulfing Dyson Spheres or Swarms, black hole swallowing tungsten dyson super-swarms and other galactic megastructures, we also discuss Kardashev scale civilizations (Kardashev was another great mind who we lost recently), reversible computing, birthing ideal universes to live in, Meinong’s jungle, ‘eschatological engineering’, the aestivation hypothesis, and how all this may inform strategies for thinking about the Fermi Paradox and what this might suggest about the likelihood of our civilization avoiding oblivion. though Anders is more optimistic than some about our chances of survival…

Anders Sandberg (Future of Humanity Institute in Oxford) is a seminal transhumanist thinker from way back who has contributed a vast amount of mind blowing material to futurology & philosophy in general. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Sandberg

Continue reading “Anders Sandberg — Freeman Dyson, Galactic Megastructures, Physical Eschatology & the Fermi Paradox” »

Mar 1, 2020

This 81-Meter Superyacht Was Engineered With Space Technology

Posted by in categories: engineering, space

The Dutch shipbuilder Royal Huisman used an engineering process developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) for space missions in the design of the superyacht Sea Eagle II — expected to become the largest aluminum sailing yacht in the world upon delivery to its owner this Spring.


Engineering design used by the European Space Agency was used to create the largest aluminum superyacht.

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