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Jump in this drone and fly like a bird

Future Tech: Featuring farming apps & facially-controlled mobility.

No pilot license required to fly this aircraft

From Engadget:

While the likes of Uber, Airbus and Porsche tinker away on their respective passenger and transportation drones, a lesser-known startup is taking an altogether different approach. Instead of getting mired in the logistics and regulatory frameworks of city-wide drone rides, Lift Aircraft wants you to use its 18-rotor “Hexa” aircraft for short recreational flights. The large drone — which weighs 432 pounds and is capable of 10-15 minutes of continuous flight with a single passenger — could be available to the public as early as next year.

Lift is promising flight experiences at hubs located in “scenic, uncongested areas” in 25 cities across the US. Because the Hexa doesn’t count as a “real” aircraft (it’s a “powered ultralight”) it doesn’t require a pilot’s license. However, you also can’t go past a few hundred feet of altitude or fly over populated areas.

Here’s how it will work: if you decide to fork out around $150-$200 for the experience on a day out, you’ll first have to complete a VR training simulator. Budding pilots must be over 18 years of age, up to 6 foot 5 inches in height and weigh under 250Ibs. You’ll then be able to take to the skies for up to 15 minutes at a time, controlling the drone using a joystick and an iPad, while its onboard computer keeps it stable.

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A new farming app that detects pests

From Popular Mechanics:

Farmwave is a new app that incorporates artificial intelligence to help farmers detect pathogens and pests and recommends ways to combat them and reduce their spread, thus saving crops.

Craig Ganssle, founder and CEO of Farmwave, who has a background in telecommunications engineering and was a former Communications Intelligence Specialist in the Marine Corps, wanted to create an affordable, efficient way for farmers to detect crop destruction and stop its spread early in its tracks.

Back in 2013, he was one of the early adopters of Google Glass, the Explorers edition. Later that year, he went to a John Deere developer’s conference in Iowa where he heard about some of the shortfalls of crop scouting. Putting two and two together, he had the idea of using image recognition to identify pathogens and pest infestation.

In 2015, he founded InteliSCOUT, which became Farmwave — A.I. packaged in an affordable, user-friendly app. Basically, a farmer takes a picture of a crop and Farmwave will explain what the crop is, if there are any pathogens or pests present on it, what the severity is, and then suggestions on how to contain and handle the situation if necessary.

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See how a smile can control this wheelchair

From Fast Company:

Simply getting around can be a challenge for the roughly 288,000 people in the United States who are living with spinal cord injuries as a result of car accidents, falls or gunshot wounds — and 18,000 new people are affected each year. Motorized wheelchairs help, but only to a point as not everyone can easily handle the controls. But the Wheelie 7, a new adapter kit that can be plugged into any motorized chair, aims to change that by using the controller’s smile or wink, or even eyebrow raise.

The breakthrough comes from Hoobox Robotics, a company that uses facial recognition and artificial intelligence to improve human well-being. In this case, much of the underlying technology comes from a partnership with Intel’s AI for Good division, which provides expertise and various kinds of hardware and software to humanity-improving efforts.

That includes an Intel RealSense computer vision camera to capture and 3D-map different facial expressions, and an onboard mini-computer with Intel Core processors to help the device interpret incoming signals quickly. The entire process happens in near real time — there’s less than a 100-millisecond delay — thanks to Intel’s OpenVINO (aka Visual Inference & Neural Network Optimization) toolkit.

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The Editors

The Editorial Team develops articles, company profiles and resources for the Business Hub to bring IT, tech and innovation stories to the Manitoba business community.

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