News of the week selected by Impactscool – Novembre 9th
9 November 2020 | Written by La redazione
Research from Stanford University led to the creation of the first autonomous drone system to count how many penguins live in a colony. Useful for knowing the birth rate and the health of a colony of these animals, up to now counting them was a “manual” operation. You would fly a drone or take photos from a helicopter and then go through a tedious numbering process for tens of thousands of penguins. Thanks to the efforts of Mac Schwager and Kunal Shah, the two researchers who published a paper in Science Robotics, a small swarm of drones, driven by an algorithm, optimizes flight times and routes, as well as independently counting penguins. The first tests were carried out in Antarctica, challenging the low temperatures and the climate.
Nature has always been the inspiration for human works, from airplanes to submarines, the forms of human technology can only refer to what evolution has perfected over millions of years. A Harvard research takes its cue from a sponge that lives in the depths of the sea to design newly designed bridges. Euplectella aspergillum has a tubular skeleton with a particular grid structure and diagonal reinforcements which, when emulated in larger dimensions inside bridges, could lead to the creation of stronger and lighter infrastructures.
In the UK, hundreds of people are involved in accidents caused by potholes in the road every year. The methods currently used to identify and repair damaged areas are slow and expensive, which is why the British company Robotiz3d is developing autonomous vehicles driven by artificial intelligence capable of recognizing, identifying and repairing the potholes that dot the roads.
A team of Japanese architects, called SPJ (Space Port Japan Association), designed the concept for a spaceport that could be built in Tokyo Bay. It is called “Spaceport Japan” and at first glance it might seem like a traditional airport with a particular design, the difference, in this case, would be in the destination of the flights, not other countries but space. The HUB would in fact manage the suborbital tourist and scientific flights that agencies such as Virgin Galactic are preparing to launch on the market. The structure has an eye towards sustainability: it is entirely covered with solar panels and will also contain gardens and vegetable gardens, as well as all the necessary services to prepare a traveler to observe the Earth from beyond the atmosphere. We do not know if this project, or others like it, will see the light in the next few years, but the acceleration of the space market could make these images a reality sooner than we can imagine.