Welcome to Cyber Dump number 70, your look at what's going on in this insane age of technology that we live in. It's been a while eh? As always, all the source links mentioned are below. Let's go.
Over the past year, the number of drone delivery services and experiments around the world has been growing rapidly.
One such trial occurred recently, where a collaboration between Skyports, SOARIZON and the National Health Service transported medical supplies between remote Scottish Highlands hospitals in Oban and the Isle of Mull.
Ferries between the mainland and the island hospitals were limited to 3 times per week with a 6 hour journey time. The new drone service can complete that same journey multiple times per day, allowing vital supplies and lab samples to travel between the locations.
Out of all the potential use cases for commercial drones, the ones that fly between small islands seem to be particularly valuable. At the end of last year, Pablo Air successfully accomplished their own trial, this time aimed at logistics in South Korea.
Their hydrogen powered drone was able to fly autonomously for 2 hours between islands in the country, travelling a distance of almost 60km.
Transporting time-sensitive samples between mobile test stations and labs is another interesting use-case, and that's just what Quantum-Systems have been trialing in Munich.
Their video claims that regular road travel by courier that usually takes an hour, can be completed in around 7 minutes with the drone.
Researchers at the University of Illinois have been experimenting with 3D printing multi-colored structures using a single custom made ink.
The key to this is in the make-up of the ink, which contains something called bottlebrush block copolymer photonic crystals. Say that three times fast. This allows the color characteristics to change as the ink is deposited by dynamically changing the temperature and printing speed.
It's definitely in the early stages right now, but I'm curious to see how this technique develops.
There have been other advancements in materials research for 3D printing. Two separate teams, one based in China, and another in Lithuania have both developed vegetable-based resins made from Soybean oil.
3D printing for medical applications is another area that seems to be developing quickly.
In a new study, researchers at Texas A&M University have combined 3D printing, biomaterial engineering and stem cell technology to create tailored bone grafts for repairing skull injuries and deformities.
Another example of patient-specific medical care happened recently in Israel, where a anasthesia team used a combination of 3D printing and virtual reality to produce exact models of a 7 year old patients airway.
The team used the technologies in order to thoroughly prepare and practice the procedure to remove part of the childs lung.
In a different area of the industry, Aerospace firm ArianeGroup announced it successfully tested its first combustion engine, created using 3D printing.
The combustion chamber was fire tested multiple times a few months back as part of a European Space Agency project to validate the use of 3D printed hardware components for the ESA's Prometheus Engine.
VIRTUAL / AUGMENTED REALITY
Facebook's research lab recently released a paper titled Holographic Optics for Thin and Lightweight Virtual Reality, where they show a prototype for making VR headsets drastically smaller.
It involves a so-called pancake optics design which combine several thin layers of holographic film with a laser projection system. This basically folds the light, so it bounces back and forth between the layers before hitting your eye, removing the need for the classic lens and LCD setup we're used to.
This prototype features a resolution of roughly 1200 x 1600 pixels per eye, and field of view that's either a 93 degree circle or 92 by 69 degree rectangle. You'd still extra external hardware to use the prototype, but this is really interesting.
In similar news, Apple recently filed a patent for a mixed reality headset that forgoes screens entirely, projecting images directly onto the users retinas.
In theory this could eliminate eye-strain and nausea problems that regular virtual and augmented reality headset can cause, by bypassing the screens and lenses, to accurately focus each pixel as they're projected.
Another continuing trend is the use of virtual reality for training workers in different industries. A few weeks back, headset company Varjo teamed up with Boeing to help train astronauts for it's upcoming Starliner program.
Here's something else I thought was cool. A team out of the University of Chicago has created VR system that tricks you into sensing temperature through smells.
The trigeminal nerve in your face carries sensory data like smells and temperatures from your nose and face, to you brain, and the researchers found that using a device that can pump out specific odorless chemicals tricks your brain into feeling hot and cold.
Team member, Jas Brooks made a video going into more detail about this technique if you'd like to find out more.
Earlier in the year Cradlewise showed off their Smart Crib, which monitors babies sleep patterns, spotting early signs of wake-up and bouncing the baby to sleep.
Not sure how I feel about this one. Maybe it will be useful to some people, but I wonder at what cost?
Special effects company Edge Innovations, along with former execs of Disney's Imagineering department have designed and built a robotic Dolphin to replace the real life animals in aquariums.
The goal is to use these as teaching tools, and they're definitely convincing enough to trick young children. The whole situation seems a bit strange to begin with though, maybe that's just me.
In other news, Agility Robotics is starting to build up their numbers. Kinda reminds me of something...
A few days ago VR developer Grzegorz Bednarski released WalkinVR version 2.0 for free on Steam. This app is designed to help people with all sorts of disabilities to tailor their virtual reality experience to their needs.
Harmonic Bionics recently introduced the Harmony SHR, an upper-extremity rehabilition robot. The system can be used for all sorts of rehabilition, including stroke-therapy, and the programmed exercises and weighted resistance apparently help reestablish neural pathways.
And finally, The Rehabilitation Engineering Laboratory at ETH Zurich have been working on some really cool technologies to help people. The first is a robotic wheelchair, that can do some cool things like self-stabalize, and assist users traveling up inclines.
Another is a wearable soft exoskeleton dubbed the tenoexo. This device reads electromagnetic pulses on the users arms, to aid people with moderate to severe hand impairments. The whole thing is customizable too, with parts that can be tailored to the users needs with 3D printing. Really good job.
Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered NODE Vol 02. The pre-order window closes at the end of today, Friday 3rd July, so if you want a first edition copy, place your order soon.
If all goes to plan, the first prints should be delivered to me at the end of next week, then I will start shipping them out to everyone. You'll receive an email notification once yours has shipped.
I've also added a bunch of new tshirt designs into the shop, including some related to the zine, so check them out if you want.
Anyways, have a good day, and I'll see you in the next video.
Music: Xtract - Audiotool Day 2016 (CC License)