New Delhi: Researchers from Harvard University have developed a technique that can quickly change the opacity of a window, turning it cloudy, clear or somewhere in between with the flick of a switch.
Previous technologies used in “tunable” windows relied on electrochemical reactions and were very expensive.
“However, the new technology uses geometry to adjust the transparency of a window which is a much cheaper option,” said David Clarke from Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
The “tunable” window is comprised of a sheet of glass or plastic, sandwiched between transparent, soft elastomers sprayed with a coating of silver nanowires, too small to scatter light on their own.
With an applied voltage, the nanowires on either side of the glass are energised to move toward each other, squeezing and deforming the soft elastomer.
Since the nanowires are distributed unevenly across the surface, the elastomer deforms unevenly.
The resulting roughness causes light to scatter, turning the glass opaque in less than a second.
“It’s like a frozen pond. If the frozen pond is smooth, you can see through the ice. But if the ice is heavily scratched, you can’t see through,” added postdoctoral fellow Samuel Shian in a paper that appeared in the journal Optics Letters.
“Because this is a physical phenomenon rather than based on a chemical reaction, it is a simpler and potentially cheaper way to achieve commercial tunable windows,” Clarke noted.
The team is now working on incorporating thinner elastomers, which would require lower voltages, more suited for standard electrical supplies. (IANS)
Hawking said everyone has a role to play in making sure that this generation and the next are fully engaged with the study of science at an early level to create “a better world for the whole human race.”
Lisbon, November 7, 2017 : Technology can hopefully reverse some of the harm caused to the planet by industrialization and help end disease and poverty, but artificial intelligence (AI) needs to be controlled, physicist Stephen Hawking said on Monday.
Hawking, a British cosmologist who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease aged 21, said technology could transform every aspect of life but cautioned that artificial intelligence poses new challenges.
He said artificial intelligence and robots are already threatening millions of jobs — but this new revolution could be used to help society and for the good of the world such as alleviating poverty and disease.
“The rise of AI could be the worst or the best thing that has happened for humanity,” Stephen Hawking said via telepresence at opening night of the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon that is attended by about 60,000 people.
“We simply need to be aware of the dangers, identify them, employ the best possible practice and management and prepare for its consequences well in advance.”
Hawking’s comments come during an escalating debate about the pro and cons of artificial intelligence, a term used to describe machines with a computer code that learns as it goes.
Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk, who is chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Inc and rocket company SpaceX, has warned that AI is a threat to humankind’s existence.
But Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, in a rare interview recently, told the WSJ Magazine that there was nothing to panic about.
Stephen Hawking said everyone has a role to play in making sure that this generation and the next are fully engaged with the study of science at an early level to create “a better world for the whole human race.”
“We need to take learning beyond a theoretical discussion of how AI should be, and take action to make sure we plan for how it can be,” said Stephen Hawking, who communicates via a cheek muscle linked to a sensor and computerized voice system.
“You all have the potential to push the boundaries of what is accepted, or expected, and to think big. We stand on the threshold of a brave new world. It is an exciting — if precarious — place to be and you are the pioneers,” he said. (VOA)
Washington, October 8, 2017 : Most Americans believe their jobs are safe from the spread of robots and automation, at least during their lifetimes, and only a handful says automation has cost them a job or loss of income.
Still, a survey by the Pew Research Center also found widespread anxiety about the general impact of technological change. Three-quarters of Americans say it is at least “somewhat realistic” that robots and computers will eventually perform most of the jobs currently done by people. Roughly the same proportion worry that such an outcome will have negative consequences, such as worsening inequality.
“The public expects a number of different jobs and occupations to be replaced by technology in the coming decades, but few think their own job is heading in that direction,” Aaron Smith, associate director at the Pew Research Center, said.
The Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. on July 6, 2005, is the author of a 2017 study looking at the spread of automation and robotics in the workplace.
More than half of respondents expect that fast food workers, insurance claims processors and legal clerks will be mostly replaced by robots and computers during their lifetimes. Nearly two-thirds think that most retailers will be fully automated in 20 years, with little or no human interaction between customers and employers.
Americans’ relative optimism about their own jobs might be the more accurate assessment. Many recent expert analyses are finding less dramatic impacts from automation than studies from several years ago that suggested up to half of jobs could be automated.
Skills will need to be updated
A report issued by the education company Pearson, Oxford University, and the Nesta Foundation found that just one in five workers are in occupations that will shrink by 2030.
Many analysts increasingly focus on the impact of automation on specific tasks, rather than entire jobs. A report in January from the consulting firm McKinsey concluded that less than 5 percent of occupations were likely to be entirely automated. But it also found that in 60 percent of occupations, workers could see roughly one-third of their tasks automated.
That suggests workers will need to continually upgrade their skills as existing jobs evolve with new technologies.
Few have lost jobs to automation
Just 6 percent of the respondents to the Pew survey said that they themselves have either lost a job or seen their hours or incomes cut because of automation. Perhaps not surprisingly, they have a much more negative view of technology’s impact on work. Nearly half of those respondents say that technology has actually made it harder for them to advance in their careers.
Contrary to the stereotype of older workers unable to keep up with new technology, younger workers — aged 18 through 24 — were the most likely to say that the coming of robots and automation had cost them a job or income. Eleven percent of workers in that group said automation had cut their pay or work hours. That’s double the proportion of workers aged 50 through 64 who said the same.
The Pew survey also found widespread skepticism about the benefits of many emerging technologies, with most Americans saying they would not ride in a driverless car. A majority are also not interested in using robots as caregiver for elderly relatives.
Thirty percent of respondents said they think self-driving cars would actually cause traffic accidents to increase, and 31 percent said they would stay roughly the same. Just 39 percent said they thought accidents would decline.
More than 80 percent support the idea of requiring self-driving cars to stay in specific lanes.
The survey was conducted in May and had 4,135 respondents, Pew said. (VOA)
As new smartphones hit the market month in month out, one Slovak technology buff is offering visitors to his vintage phone museum a trip down memory lane – to when cell phones weighed more than today’s computers and most people couldn’t afford them.
Twenty-six-year-old online marketing specialist Stefan Polgari from Slovakia began his collection more than two years ago when he bought a stock of old cell phones online. Today, his collection at the vintage phone museum boasts some 1,500 models, or 3,500 pieces when counting duplicates.
The vintage phone museum (website: http://www.mobilephonemuseum.org/), which takes up two rooms in his house in the small eastern town of Dobsina, opened last year and is accessible by appointment.
The collection includes the Nokia 3310, which recently got a facelift and re-release, as well as a fully functional, 20-year old, brick-like Siemens S4 model, which cost a whopping 23,000 Slovak koruna – more than twice the average monthly wage in Slovakia when it came out.
“These are design and technology masterpieces that did not steal your time. There are no phones younger than the first touchscreen models, definitely no smartphones,” said Mr. Polgari.
“It’s hard to say which phone is most valuable to me, perhaps the Nokia 3510i Star Wars edition,” said Mr. Polgari – who uses an iPhone in his daily life. (VOA)