GLIMPSES OF THE FUTURE – JULY 2018

Uber’s App Will Soon Be Able To Tell If You’re Drunk

 For many commuters who have had one too many after work, Uber has been a godsend, allowing over-the-limit passengers to stumble into a cab and get dropped off outside their door at the touch of a button.

But those days could be numbered after the taxi app inventeda system for detecting drunk passengersand alerting drivers before they are picked up.

patent submitted by Uber details a system that uses artificial intelligence to identify passengers exhibiting unusual behaviour and could even choose to deny them a ride if they are acting “uncharacteristically”.

According to the patent, the algorithm would be able to look out for the user making typos, not precisely clicking on links and buttons and providing other indications of inebriation.

 Apple’s Watch Will Soon Be Able To Monitor Parkinson’s Disease

 The Apple Watch will soon be able to monitor for shakes and tremors associated with Parkinson’s diseaseto help sufferers  better manage the condition.

The wristband will detect hand shakes and dyskinesia, the involuntary movements that often occur while taking medication to treat the disease.

The “Movement Disorder” software could prove ground-breaking for patients who typically visit their doctor and sit through physical tests to show whether their tremors have increased, suggesting a progression of the disease.

It means from later this year, software developers will be able to create apps that check for Parkinson’s symptoms.

In the near future the Apple Watch is likely to be able to detect the early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease long before a traditional diagnosis can be made.

Would You Fly In A Window-less Plane?

In the future, you could find yourself booking an Emirates flight without a real window seat.

The airline has just unveiled a new first class-suite on board its latest aircraft that features “virtual windows”instead of real ones.

The President of Emirates, Tim Clarke, is hoping it will pave the way for removing all windows from future planes, which he says will make them lighter and faster.

But Mr Clarke says on the inside there will be “a full display of windows,” which will beam in the images from the outside.

This will be done using fibre-optic camera technology. So, instead of being able to see directly outside, passengers will view images projected from outside the aircraft — which is almost like the real thing.

In fact, according to Mr Clarke, the technology beaming the images is even better than seeing it “with the naked eye”.

South Korean Government Commissions Public Blockchain

LG CNS, an IT subsidiary of LG Group, has been commissioned to develop the “first public blockchain platform in South Korea.”

KOMSCO plans to utilize LG CNS’ Monachain platform – a blockchain specializing in digital supply chain management, currency, and authentication – for the issuance of community tokens and digital authentication services to the public.

Monachain was developed specifically for commercial and public-sector use:

By choosing the Monachain platform, KOMSCO is able to distribute a variety of digital gift certificates directly to digital wallets in users’ mobile devices without building additional platforms.

The “local currency service” can be used to deliver and receive frictionless payments for welfare and government fines through an interconnected, anchored public distributed ledger platform

Can AI Turn The Apple Watch Into A Blood Pressure Monitor?

Research presented at the American Heart Association meeting in Anaheim last month claims that, when paired with the right machine-learning algorithms, the Apple Watch’s heart-rate sensor and step counter can make a fair prediction of whether a person has high blood pressure or sleep apnea, in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly through the night. Both are common—and commonly undiagnosed—conditions associated with life-threatening problems, including stroke and heart attack.

The new study adds to evidence that the right algorithms might transform the Apple Watch from personal trainer to personal physician. Apple said in September that it is working on a study with Stanford that will test whether the gadget can detect atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, which can lead to stroke or heart failure. A studyindependent of Apple presented in May has already suggested the answer is yes. And health insurer Aetna said last week that it is partnering with Apple to give Apple Watches to members to try to reduce health costs.

Rolls-Royce Plans To Develop Electric Jet Engines

Rolls-Royce has quietly filed a patent for a new breed of electric enginethat could shape the future of air travel.

The company’s engineering research team in Indianapolis has devised a “turboelectric distributed propulsion system” that would power a “blended wing body aircraft”.

The patent, originally filed last October, is one of a string of possible designs that the company believes will one day allow planes to be powered by electrons rather than jet fuel.

Rolls-Royce announced plans last week to cut 4,600 jobs to free resources to invest in new technologies such as electric propulsion for planes, ships and trains.

But the real question is, even if an electric “jet engine” can be made, how will the necessary power be stored and how will it be generated?

Microsoft Sinks Data Centre To Bottom Of The Ocean

 Water-cooling systems have long been used to keep computers from overheating, but how do you scale that up for huge data centres? According to Microsoft, you drop the data centre to the bottom of the ocean. As the second phase of its Project Natick, the company has just deployed a data centre in the frigid waters off Scotland’s Orkney Islands.

Cooling is one of the biggest costs of running a data centre, so companies are coming up with some creative ways to keep the tech nicely chilled. Google set its DeepMind AI loose on the problem, while other companies have strategically built facilities in cold locations like the Arctic circle or beneath the fjords of Norway.

With Project Natick, Microsoft has been experimenting with submerging data centres deep beneath the ocean and pumping cold seawater through to keep them cool. In 2015, Phase 1 of the project saw a 10-ft (3-m) long prototype submerged off the coast of California for 105 days, which proved the feasibility of the concept.

A Gastric By-Pass In A Pill

 While gastric-bypass, or bariatric, surgery can be a very successful weight-loss treatment option for those suffering from obesity, it has also been seen to be extraordinarily effective in reversing Type 2 diabetes. An exciting new study from a team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has now demonstrated an oral agent that can potentially mimic the effects of bariatric surgeryto reduce post-meal blood sugar spikes.

For some years, researchers have identified a connection between gastric-bypass surgery and the reversal of type 2 diabetes. The exact mechanism at play is still unclear, but it seems to operate independently of the weight loss that comes as a consequence of the procedure. One recent studycomprising 20,000 patients found that gastric bypass surgery completely cured 84 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes.

The new research, at this stage only demonstrated in rats, involves an oral agent that can be swallowed and effectively coat the lining of the small intestine for a short period of time. In rat models it was found that this temporary intestinal barrier alters nutrient contact and lowers blood glucose response following a meal. In animal experiments after the oral agent was administered the average glucose response was reduced by 47 percent, and three hours later the effect disappeared, suggesting the temporary barrier had dissolved.

The Solar-Powered Box That Can Wring Water Out Of The Air

 Although there are trillions of litres of water floating around in the air, it’s not easily accessible for those who need it. Now engineers at UC Berkeley have developed a device powered only by the Sun that can pluck practical quantities of drinkable water out of thin air, and they’ve successfully field-tested it in the Arizona desert.

Although it’s not the first device to try to wring water out of the atmosphere, UC Berkeley’s harvester looks far more practical than systems like the Warka Water, and it seems to be further along in its development than others, such as those on the current shortlist for the Water Abundance XPrize.

The key ingredients in the UC Berkeley water harvester are materials known as metal-organic frameworks (MOF). These synthetic compounds are notable for their extremely high surface areas – a MOF the size of a sugar cube, for example, could theoretically be packing the surface area of six football fields. This makes them great for trapping and storing molecules from the air.

www.rayhammond.com