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31 May, Wed
Elon Musk's Solar Roofs Have Some Serious (and Seriously Cheap) Competition

While Tesla enters the order-taking stage for its new solar roofs, which cost about the same as regular roofs, scientists in Australia think they've found an even cheaper solution: 2-D printed solar panels.


A team of researchers at the University of Newcastle​ is in the testing phase for the new invention. According to Mashable, the bendable solar panels are printed on plastic film that's less than 0.1 millimeter thick.

The panels are made mostly of polyethylene terephthalate, the material used to create soft drink bottles. That also means they're recyclable, so old panels can be melted down and formed into new ones.

Paul Dastoor, the researcher leading the project, hopes the panels can eventually cost as little as about $7.50 per square meter. By comparison, Tesla's solar roofs cost around $235 per square meter.

While the team hasn't yet said how efficient the panels are overall, Dastoor tells Mashable that they outperform traditional photovoltaic solar panels in low light. One advantage the panels have is that they can be placed on a roof that faces any direction, instead of needing to be strategically pointed toward the sun.

The first few solar panels have been installed as a test, and the company will observe how well they perform in various weather conditions.

Traditional solar panels are bulky and unattractive, and usually cost upwards of $15,000 to install. Tesla, which last year completed its acquisition of SolarCity, is one company looking to find an alternative to that. Its solar roofs look like regular roofs and harvest energy about as efficiently as solar panels.

Should the printed panels survive testing and reach consumers, they'd likely be far cheaper than what's already on the market. But they still wouldn't solve the aesthetic issue that tends to be a point of resistance with many customers. Though less of an eyesore, the panels would still blanket a roof, which could still be a turnoff for homeowners who resist traditional panels for similar reasons.

Even so, a cheaper alternative is a welcome development in the industry. While solar energy is now cheaper than nonrenewable energy in much of the U.S., it still accounts for only 1 percent of the country's energy consumption.

July 2017
28 July, Friday
Apple imagines AR glasses that fulfill the dream of Google Glass

Tim Cook has not-so-subtly hinted that Apple is working on some sort of augmented reality product. And while ARKit may be the start, a patent application published today hints at what Apple could be picturing down the road.


27 July, Thursday
Amazon has a secret health tech team called 1492 working on medical records, virtual doc visits

  • Amazon has a secret skunkworks lab called 1492, dedicated to health care tech.
  • Areas of exploration include a platform for electronic medical record data, telemedicine and health apps for existing devices like the Amazon Echo.

26 July, Wednesday
Apple and Cochlear team up to roll out the first implant made for the iPhone

Apple has teamed up with Australian-based Cochlear to bring iPhone users the first made for iPhone Cochlear implant.

Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June, Cochlear’s Nucleus 7 Sound Processor can now stream sound directly from a compatible iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to the sound processor.

25 July, Tuesday
Google’s DeepMind made an AI that can imagine the future

Google’s London-based AI outfit DeepMind has created two different types of AI that can use their ‘imagination’ to plan ahead and perform tasks with a higher success rate than AIs without imagination. Sorry if I made you click because you wanted AIs predicted flying cars. I promise this is cool too.

24 July, Monday
Scientists are now using Wi-Fi to read human emotions

Scientists at MIT are using Wi-Fi and AI to determine your emotional state. They’ve created an algorithm that can detect and measure individual heartbeats by bouncing RF signals off of people.

21 July, Friday
This little USB stick is designed to make AI plug-and-play

The Neural Compute Stick from Movidius makes it easy to add a machine vision processor to any device.

18 July, Tuesday
GOOGLE GLASS 2.0 IS A STARTLING SECOND ACT

Yep. Glass is back.

17 July, Monday
Elon Musk Lays Out Worst-Case Scenario for AI Threat

Powerful technology will threaten all human jobs, could even spark a war, Tesla CEO says

14 July, Friday
High-speed Hyperloop project ready for key test in Nevada

Engineers will soon conduct a crucial test of a futuristic technology championed by entrepreneur Elon Musk that seeks to revolutionize transportation by sending passengers and cargo packed into pods through an intercity system of vacuum tubes.

13 July, Thursday
Uber, Yandex combine ridesharing and UberEATS in Russian markets in a $3.72B JV

Uber announced that it will be combining its rides-on-demand business and UberEATS, its food ordering and delivery business, in Russia and neighboring markets, with Yandex.Taxi, the ridesharing business.

12 July, Wednesday
Microsoft's new iPhone app narrates the world for blind people

The app uses AI to recognize people, objects, and scenes

07 July, Friday
Tesla will build world’s largest battery storage facility for Australian wind farm

Tesla will up its game in the renewable energy storage market with the largest lithium-ion battery storage facility in the world, to be built for Australia’s Hornsdale Wind Farm, with a completion date of December 1, 2017. 

05 July, Wednesday
Amazon’s Alexa passes 15,000 skills, up from 10,000 in February

Amazon’s Alexa voice platform has now passed 15,000 skills — the voice-powered apps that run on devices like the Echo speaker, Echo Dot, newer Echo Show and others. The figure is up from the 10,000 skills Amazon officially announced back in February, which had then represented a 3x increase from September.

June 2017
29 June, Thursday
Instagram now uses AI to block offensive comments

Instagram is introducing an enhanced comment filter today meant to wipe out nasty remarks using AI. 

28 June, Wednesday
Russia and Brazil aim to develop high tech partnerships

During official talks with his Brazilian counterpart, Michel Temer, in Moscow on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed the cooperation between the two countries in the field of technologies.

Putin noted that Russia and Brazil already cooperate closely in space exploration and that there are plans to develop cooperation in Earth monitoring from space.

27 June, Tuesday
Apple acquires SMI eye-tracking company

In a move that is sure to stoke rumors about Apple’s future work in augmented and virtual reality technologies, Apple has acquired SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI), an eye-tracking firm, MacRumors reports.

22 June, Thursday
X-Ray Eyes in the Sky

UCSB researchers have proposed a new method for 3D through-wall imaging that utilizes drones and WiFi

21 June, Wednesday
Why Atlanta is a great place for startups

Atlanta has long been a hub for big companies—think Home Depot, UPS, Cisco, and Coca-Cola—and now it’s quickly becoming the tech startup center of the South

20 June, Tuesday
Global risk analysis gets an artificial intelligence upgrade with GeoQuant

The global risk analysis used by big banks, hedge funds, and governments to inform their decision-making around everything from foreign currency investment to foreign aid is getting the machine learning treatment with the launch of the new startup GeoQuant.

May 2017
25 May, Thursday
Airbnb is running its own internal university to teach data science

Tech companies, and increasingly even non-tech companies, are struggling with the fact that there are not enough trained data scientists to fill market demand. 

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