Google Dreams of Drone Food Delivery for Six Dollars

By Jeremy Hsu | December 10, 2016 6:52 pm
A Project Wing drone belonging to the Google X labs performs a food delivery run at Virginia Tech. Credit: Google

A Project Wing drone belonging to the Google X labs performs a food delivery run at Virginia Tech. Credit: Google

Google has been dreaming of hot pizzas and freshly-made coffee descending from the sky to your doorstep. The Google X technologies lab has already begun delivering burritos to Virginia Tech students using its Project Wing drones. But the truly bold part of the Google X plan may be the goal of offering drone food delivery for just a $6 fee. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts

Blinded by Technology, CEOs Overlook Human Talent

By Jeremy Hsu | November 30, 2016 11:40 pm
Credit: F. A. Alba | Shutterstock

Credit: F. A. Alba | Shutterstock

Many of the world’s business leaders seem fairly dazzled by the latest advances in artificial intelligence and robotics that promise to help reshape the world. A majority of CEOs surveyed in a global study said that technology would be their company’s greatest competitive advantage in the future and would create greater value than people will. But their confidence in technology may blind them to the fact that their human workers remain the likeliest source of innovation and value in the future. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts

How Department 13’s Anti-Drone Weapon Takes Control

By Jeremy Hsu | November 30, 2016 5:20 pm
The Mesmer anti-drone technology can take control of drones that may pose a threat in civilian airspace. Credit: Department 13

The Mesmer anti-drone technology can take control of drones that may pose a threat in civilian airspace. Credit: Department 13

Shooting down unwanted drones near a crowded sports stadium or concert can be tricky business. Even a fairly small quadcopter could cause injury to people below if it falls out of the sky because a laser weapon has burned its electronics or a jammer has disrupted its flight controls. A startup has a safer anti-drone solution for the skies above the U.S. homeland: hack a potentially dangerous drone’s radio communications and take control. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts, Uncategorized

Volvo Fears Human Drivers Will Bully Driverless Cars

By Jeremy Hsu | November 2, 2016 2:44 pm
A Volvo self-driving car prototype. Volvo plans to test unmarked self-driving vehicles in London by 2018. Credit: Volvo

A Volvo self-driving car prototype. Volvo plans to test unmarked self-driving vehicles in London by 2018. Credit: Volvo

Most companies testing self-driving cars worry about making sure the driverless vehicles obey the rules of the road and avoid accidents. The Swedish automaker Volvo has a slightly different concern about whether human drivers will try to bully driverless cars on the road. That is why the automaker plans to keep its early fleet of test vehicles in London unmarked so that they don’t look any different from a normal Volvo car. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts

Small Weaponized Drones Become Reality

By Jeremy Hsu | October 31, 2016 2:08 pm
A U.S. Army soldier uses the Battelle DroneDefender to practice taking down drones during a military exercise. Credit: Battelle

A U.S. Army soldier uses the Battelle DroneDefender to practice taking down drones during a military exercise. Credit: Battelle

Military drones such as the U.S. Predator and Reaper have soared above battlefields for more than a decade. But small consumer drones that anyone can buy online have also begun to make their presence felt in modern battlefields. The militant group Islamic State has begun turning such small drones into flying bombs in their battles across Syria and Iraq.

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts

Uber’s Flying Car Dream Exposes Its Driverless Car Dilemma

By Jeremy Hsu | October 31, 2016 12:09 pm
An illustration showing Uber's vision for a flying car service from the top of a parking garage. Credit: Uber

An illustration showing Uber’s vision for a flying car service from the top of a parking garage. Credit: Uber

Uber wants to usher in the flying car future depicted in science fiction films such as “Back to the Future” and “Star Wars.” The company has published a paper explaining how its ride-hailing service could help launch flying cars as a fairly affordable option for commuters. But Uber’s plan for flying cars also exposes the company’s more immediate challenges in dealing with self-driving taxi competitors. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts

Military Drone Mother Ship May Get Giant Claw

By Jeremy Hsu | September 30, 2016 7:15 pm
Concept art shows how a manned mothership aircraft could deploy swarms of military drones. Credit: DARPA

Concept art shows how a manned mothership aircraft could deploy swarms of military drones. Credit: DARPA

Anyone with a fear of flying robots and giant claws may not want to hear what the maker of the U.S. military’s Predator drone has planned for the future. The military contractor General Atomics is working on transforming a huge cargo aircraft into a drone mothership that uses a mechanical arm to grab returning drones in midair. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts

Smiling Self-Driving Cars Could Put Pedestrians at Ease

By Jeremy Hsu | September 29, 2016 1:46 pm
Future self-driving cars could smile to let pedestrians know it's OK to cross the street. Credit: Semcon

Future self-driving cars could smile to let pedestrians know it’s OK to cross the street. Credit: Semcon

Many people crossing the road engage in the simple pedestrian ritual of making eye contact with drivers waiting in their cars at the intersection. But a video shows baffled pedestrians pausing when they see a driver reading the newspaper or sleeping at the wheel. Such confusion could become more common as growing numbers of people cross paths with self-driving cars.

The usual ritual of exchanging looks between pedestrians and drivers is likely to become endangered as self-driving cars free up human drivers to do anything but pay attention to the road. That is why Semcon, an international technology company that specializes in product development, came up with the possible solution of giving self-driving cars a front-end display that allows them to “smile” at pedestrians. The smiling car concept is just one possible way that future self-driving cars might communicate with people around them to avoid any confusion or accidents. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts, Uncategorized

Augmented Reality Rises in Virtual Reality’s Shadow

By Jeremy Hsu | September 27, 2016 5:02 pm
The Microsoft Hololens headset is an example of augmented reality technology that blends the virtual and real worlds. Credit: Microsoft

The Microsoft Hololens headset is an example of augmented reality technology that blends the virtual and real worlds. Credit: Microsoft

This has been hailed as the year of virtual reality. By the end of 2016, four major headsets backed by tech giants such as Facebook, Sony and Samsung will have debuted with the promise of providing total immersion inside virtual worlds. But tech industry leaders still say that augmented reality technologies which blend virtual elements with the real world offer even more promise in the long run.

You would be forgiven if you got the impression that the future is all about virtual reality. Maybe it’s because Hollywood and pop culture have already spent years putting the idea of virtual reality in many people’s heads through films such as “The Matrix.” Maybe it’s awareness of virtual reality benefiting from a previous boom and bust cycle of mainstream excitement in the 1990s. Or maybe it’s simply the fact that the latest generation of more refined virtual reality headsets have grabbed all the headlines recently. Whatever the case, it’d be easy for casual news readers to miss the fact that much of the tech industry is betting big on augmented reality instead of virtual reality. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts, Uncategorized

The ‘Uber of Drone Delivery’ Flies a Domino’s Pizza

By Jeremy Hsu | August 26, 2016 6:06 pm
The drone delivery startup Flirtey conducted a flight test for Domino's Pizza on Aug. 25, 2016. Credit: Flirtey

The drone delivery startup Flirtey conducted a flight test for Domino’s Pizza on Aug. 25, 2016. Credit: Flirtey

Domino’s pizza deliveries may literally fly to your door in the coming years. The pizza giant partnered with a drone delivery startup on a pizza delivery flight test that could pave the way for commercial drone pizza deliveries in New Zealand before the end of the year. If the futuristic scheme takes flight, it could help change the way that people order delivery from huge chain stores such as Domino’s and 7-Eleven.

The startup at the heart of the plan is Flirtey, a Nevada-based company racing against tech giants such as Amazon and Google to get drone delivery services off the ground. Flirtey envisions a future where anyone can use a smartphone app to order time-sensitive food or medicine delivered to their doorstep or backyard by drone. Such capability could help lower delivery costs for companies such as Domino’s and transform customer expectations of swift deliveries involving piping hot pizzas.

“We see ourselves as being the Uber of drone delivery,” says Matt Sweeney, CEO of Flirtey. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts
NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Lovesick Cyborg

Lovesick Cyborg examines how technology shapes our human experience of the world on both an emotional and physical level. I’ll focus on stories such as why audiences loved or hated Hollywood’s digital resurrection of fallen actors, how soldiers interact with battlefield robots and the capability of music fans to idolize virtual pop stars. Other stories might include the experience of using an advanced prosthetic limb, whether or not people trust driverless cars with their lives, and how virtual reality headsets or 3-D film technology can make some people physically ill.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collapse bottom bar
+