Technology:

This robot could eventually rid the agricultural sector of pesticides

Nowadays, the adoption of automated robots is a common practice among many industries that seek to improve their effectiveness – from automated robots that are tightening the knots and bolts on cars to automated hoovers that clean your home. Now, in efforts to stop the use of pesticides, researchers have developed an autonomous robot that uses ultraviolet light to kill diseases on strawberries. The robot, which goes by the name of Thorvald, emits ultraviolet light to kill common fungal diseases like the downy mildew, which attacks a variety of fruits and vegetables. For ultraviolet light to work efficiently, Thorvald is…

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  • UPI
  • Date:04/23/2019

Thanks to amazing 3D scans, Notre Dame can be rebuilt almost exactly as it was

The world watched in horror Monday night while flames tore through the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. As the fire consumed the roof and toppled its iconic central spire, it seemed as though the historic church could be lost forever — but it’s possible, thanks to cutting-edge imagining technology, that all hope may not be lost. Thanks to the meticulous work of Vassar art historian Andrew Tallon, every exquisite detail and mysterious clue to the building’s 13th-century construction was recorded in a digital archive in 2015 using laser imaging. For his scans of Notre Dame, Tallon recorded data from more than 50 locations…

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  • Forbes
  • Date:04/18/2019

Light pollution is wreaking biological havoc. Self-driving cars can change that

When it comes to self-driving cars, the conversation usually revolves around a few central points, including more safety, less traffic, and more freedom for people with disabilities. But there’s one potential outcome of autonomous driving that’s often overlooked: less light pollution. According to researchers, street and parking lot lighting accounts for some 90% of outdoor illumination in the industrialized world. Roughly 2% of all energy used in the European Union goes into streetlights; globally that figure is about 1.6%, and headlights consume about 3% of vehicular fuel. That’s a lot of energy—and, as far as streetlights go, much of it…

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  • Quartz
  • Date:04/18/2019

This smartphone app lets farmers control where their cows graze from afar

When left alone, livestock will often cluster in certain areas of a field while leaving other regions alone. That causes some sections to be overeaten, which makes the grass and soil there less healthy over time. The neglected areas—left to overgrow and develop weeds, and without the benefits of being fertilized—also suffer. And unhealthy grass hurts a farmer's bottom line. For decades, farmers have combated this problem using a method called rotational grazing. Generally, that entails building several fenced-in paddocks between which they can alternate their livestock, giving the grass in each area time to grow back before it's eaten again. A San Diego-based startup by…

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  • Inc.
  • Date:04/17/2019

The ‘electric quadricycle’ could soon replace delivery trucks in busy cities

The air quality is really bad in cities like London and the traffic is really slow. Meanwhile, with the growth of online shopping, there are more and more delivery trucks clogging the streets. That's where Electric Assisted Vehicles, or EAV, come in to play. The company just introduced an electric cargo bike, or more accurately, an electric quadricycle that could become revolutionary on the congested streets of London. The quadricycle steers like a traditional bike but has a 250-watt motor that gains power when the rider peddles. Simply by turning a crank, the rider gets a little electric assistance as it…

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  • Treehugger
  • Date:04/16/2019

MIT scientists have created a recycling robot that sorts items by touching them

Sorting recycling can be a real pain for workers, both because of safety reasons and the sheer monotony of it. Using robots to do the sourcing would be a great alternative, but they don't have the sense of touch to be able to tell the difference between a can and a cardboard tube. That is, until now. MIT researchers have developed a recycling robot, RoCycle, that uses sensors in its hands to determine the nature of an item and sort it accordingly. A strain sensor gauges an object’s size, while pressure sensors determine the object’s material by how much it…

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  • Engadget
  • Date:04/12/2019

This project shows drones can be the key to restoring the world’s forests

Drones are really starting to prove their worth—beyond just taking cool videos up in the air. Last September, drones were used to drop seeds across abandoned fields in Myanmar where industry or farming once took place. Just a half a year later, tiny mangrove saplings around 20 inches tall are sprouting out of the ground, providing early proof that drones could help restore forests at the pace needed to fight climate change. The startup behind the project goes by the name BioCarbon Engineering, and they’ve been using drones to plant trees and grasses at abandoned mines in Australia and on…

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  • Fast Company
  • Date:04/11/2019

Ecologists are turning to star-spotting cameras to count endangered orangutans

If thermal cameras are capable of spotting distant starts, then they must be capable of finding animals here on Earth, right? Such is the logic of researchers from Liverpool John Moores University who are testing the thermal infrared technology that astrophysicists use to discover stars in order to spot and count endangered Bornean orangutans, a critically endangered species that hides in the forest of Borneo. To make this happen, the university installed a thermal camera on a drone and flew it over a half square mile of forest land where the orangutan rehabilitation center is. Over the course of 28…

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  • Earther
  • Date:04/11/2019

How Facebook is using AI to improve crisis relief in Africa

When you know where people live, it’s a whole lot easier to provide people with aid. The problem is in Africa, truly detailed population maps are basically non-existent. Now Facebook is creating AI-based ultra-detailed population density maps that cover the “majority” of Africa, helping relief agencies know where to go when providing aid. This isn’t the first time Facebook is making such maps, but it’s the first generating them on a truly massive scale. To make the map, the project had a neural network classify a whopping 11.5 billion satellite images to find out where people lived based on the…

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  • Engadget
  • Date:04/10/2019

VR-based therapy can do wonders for patients with social anxiety disorders

There’s no doubt that Virtual Reality (VR) is a technological game-changer, but new research shows that it could also become a breakthrough in treating mental health problems. According to a recent study, combining cognitive-behavioral therapy with VR technology could help people suffering from social anxiety disorder. In the study, psychotherapists provided cognitive behavioral therapy to 15 patients with generalized social anxiety disorder. This type of treatment often involves exposing patients to situations that provoke their anxiety, making some of them reluctant to undergo such therapies due to feelings of unsafety. But for the study, this was accomplished with the aid…

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  • PsyPost
  • Date:04/08/2019
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