Social Network: New tech wirelessly charges moving objects

Stanford scientists have developed a way to wirelessly deliver electricity to moving objects, an advance that could charge electric vehicles, smartphones and medical implants on the go. If electric cars could recharge while driving down a highway, it would virtually eliminate concerns about their range and lower their cost, perhaps making electricity the standard fuel for vehicles.
Social Network: New tech wirelessly charges moving objects
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Scientists at Stanford University in the US have overcome a major hurdle to such a future by wirelessly transmitting electricity to a nearby moving object. “In addition to advancing the wireless charging of vehicles and personal devices like cellphones, our new technology may untether robotics in manufacturing, which also are on the move. 
We still need to significantly increase the amount of electricity being transferred to charge electric cars, but we may not need to push the distance much more,” said Shanhui Fan, a professor at Stanford. 
The team transmitted electricity wirelessly to a moving LED lightbulb. The demonstration only involved a 1-milliwatt charge, whereas electric cars often require tens of kilowatts to operate. The team is now working on increasing the amount of electricity that can be transferred, and tweaking the system to extend the transfer distance and improve efficiency. 
Wireless charging would address a major drawback of plug-in electric cars — their limited driving range. “The hope is that you’ll be able to charge your electric car while you’re driving down the highway. 
A coil in the bottom of the vehicle could receive electricity from a series of coils connected to an electric current embedded in the road,” said Fan. Wireless technology could also assist GPS navigation of driverless cars. 
GPS is accurate up to about 35 feet. For safety, autonomous cars need to be in the centre of the lane where the transmitter coils would be embedded, providing very precise positioning for GPS satellites. 
“We can rethink how to deliver electricity not only to our cars, but to smaller devices on or in our bodies. For anything that could benefit from dynamic, wireless charging, this is potentially very important,” he said.
New Microsoft keyboard has hidden fingerprint sensor 
Tech giant Microsoft has unveiled the Modern Keyboard that features a hidden fingerprint sensor located between the Alt and Ctrl keys to make the typing hassle-free. It has also unveiled a Modern Mouse at $50 with nearly invisible buttons and a metal scroll wheel, a report in Engadget said on Friday. 
The Modern Keyboard, priced at $130, is in line with Microsoft’s next generation of Windows 10 input devices that match the latest Surface models in design and finish. According to Microsoft, the new model of the keyboard has “Chiclet”-style keys and aluminium frame that’s heavy and “virtually indestructible”. 
The keyboard works either wired or through Bluetooth with and uses a rechargeable battery and is compatible with Windows 8-10, Windows 10 Phone, Android and macOS. Microsoft has not announced when the products will be available in the market but product pages and YouTube videos suggest that they will be “coming soon”.
This robot uses AI to write and play its own music 
In a first, researchers have developed a robot that can write and play its own music compositions using artificial intelligence and deep learning. The robot, named Shimon, with four arms and eight sticks can play harmonies and chords on marimba. 
It also thinks much more like a human musician, focussing less on the next note, and more on the overall structure of the composition. The researchers, from Georgia Institute of Technology in the US, fed the robot with nearly 5,000 complete songs — from Beethoven to the Beatles to Lady Gaga to Miles Davis — and more than two million motifs, riffs and licks of music. 
Aside from giving the machine a seed, or the first four measures to use as a starting point, no humans were involved in either the composition or the performance of the music. 
“Once Shimon learns the four measures we provide, it creates its own sequence of concepts and composes its own piece. Shimon’s compositions represent how music sounds and looks when a robot uses deep neural networks to learn everything it knows about music from millions of human-made segments,” said Mason Bretan, doctoral student at the Georgia Institute of Technology. 
As long as the researchers feed it a different seed, the robot produces something different each time— music that the researchers cannot predict. Shimon’s debut as a solo composer was featured in a 30-minute video clip in the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) keynote and will have its first live performance at the Aspen Ideas Festival at the end of June, the researchers said.

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