‘Amazon Go’ has no checkouts, runs on advanced machine learning
From Popular Mechanics:
Amazon is opening its first “Amazon Go,” a brick-and-mortar convenience store, to the public in Seattle. Using machine learning vision, the pilot store promises to make swinging by the corner for milk as frictionless as possible, and to make standing in the checkout line a thing of the past. But it’s not all upsides.
Amazon Go works using advanced machine learning tech the company has already showcased in demonstration videos. After shoppers scan themselves in with an app-generated QR code, cameras all around the store pipe live footage into a robot brain sophisticated enough to recognize items as they are pulled off the shelves and match them to shoppers as they walk around the premises. Instead of heading through a formalized checkout when you’re done, you simply leave the store, and the robot bills you for what you have in hand.
The secret ingredient in this self-healing concrete is fungus
From New Atlas:
If cracks in concrete can be fixed when they’re still tiny, then they can’t become large cracks that ultimately cause structures such as bridges to collapse. It is with this in mind that various experimental types of self-healing concrete have been developed in recent years. One of the latest utilizes a type of fungus to do the healing.
Inspired by the human body’s ability to heal itself, the concrete was created by Congrui Jin, Guangwen Zhou and David Davies from New York’s Binghamton University, along with Ning Zhang from Rutgers University. It incorporates spores of the fungus Trichoderma reesei, along with nutrients, that are placed within the concrete matrix as it’s being mixed.
Once the concrete has hardened, the spores remain dormant until the first micro-cracks appear. When they do, water and oxygen find their way in. This causes the spores to germinate, grow, and precipitate calcium carbonate, which in turn seals the cracks.
Robots will clean up space junk in Low Earth Orbit
After six years in space, China’s first orbital station, the Tiangong-1 (aka the “Heavenly Palace”) has finally outlived its operational limits and begun its descent to Earth. It’s expected to re-enter the atmosphere in a few months, whereupon a majority of the 9.3-ton station should burn up before reaching the surface. This is how defunct satellites are supposed to be disposed of. Unfortunately, until very recently, that hasn’t often been the case.
For the past 50 years, we’ve been filling Low Earth Orbit (LEO) with defunct satellites, launch vehicle upper stages and various bits of broken spacecraft (including frozen water, coolant and paint flecks). Most of this comes from failed launches or spent experiments.
By the start of the 21st century, LEO had become increasingly crowded with satellites — more than 7,000 have been launched since Sputnik first circled the globe — though only 1,500 of them remain active. That number is expected to swell to more than 18,000 man-made objects in orbit in the coming decades as private industry, in addition to national governments, begins sending up communications and observation satellites.
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