Tech Milestones

Innovations that matter...

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Taxi, anyone? Taxi, anyone?

Uber’s self-driving autonomous cars have started picking up passengers in Pittsburgh. In the first stage of testing, the cars still require a person to monitor their progress and ensure that there are no issues. An engineer will be in the driver’s seat to get things started and make corrections if the car makes a mistake. Notably, the drivers are supposed to keep their hands loosely on the steering wheel so that they can takeover at a moment’s notice.


Read My Lips
Read My Lips

Lip reading is a way of understanding speech by interpreting a person’s lip movement. However, human speech is highly complex and nuanced, where one lip movement could correspond to different phonemes, or basic units of sound. A new AI lip reader has been built to process whole sentences at a time, allowing the AI to teach itself the letter corresponding to each slight mouth movement.
LipNet was 1.78 times more accurate than human lip readers in translating the same sentences.


To Infinity and  Beyond To Infinity and Beyond

Famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced their collaborative venture ‘Breakthrough Starshot’ — an attempt to make an interstellar starship. It involves designing and building ‘nanocraft’, a tiny spacecraft attached to lightsails, which use the power from gigawatt-scale laser arrays to reach speeds upto 1.2 times the speed of light.


The Future of Home Delivery The Future of Home Delivery

Convenience store ‘7-11’ announced that it has conducted 77 deliveries using drones in Reno, Nevada. The chain, which is owned by Japan-based Seven & I Holdings Ltd., said it has partnered with Flirtey, a Reno-based drone delivery company, to make the deliveries. The delivery record is quite impressive since it took place in a densely-populated urban area.


When I get older I will be stronger When I get older I will be stronger

‘Development of Robot-Enhanced therapy for children with Autism-spectrum disorders’ (DREAM) is a project undertaken by researchers at the University of Portsmouth, UK. It aims to help children fight autism, in ways that humans fail to. It will develop robots that will help therapists improve the patient’s social interaction skills; and after a certain point, minimize the contribution of the therapist in the process.


How molecules take the shape they do How molecules take the shape they do

MIT is at it again. Researchers at the esteemed institute have been working on a system that predicts the major product of a chemical reaction with 72 percent probability, and ranks the top three possible major products with 87 percent probability. This system is expected to eliminate the need to perform laborious experiments while dealing with exceptions. The basic idea behind this system is that the user will name a product, and the system will let the user know the different routes of making the required product.


Google here, Google there, Google everywhere Google here, Google there, Google everywhere

Collaborating with ‘Tri Alpha Energy’ of the Californian ranches, Google has entered the field of nuclear fusion. Google Research has developed an algorithm, queerly named Optometrist, which combines high-powered computation with human judgement to solve the challenging problems that nuclear fusion presents. In a classic case of humans and computers working in tandem, Optometrist has resulted in a 50 percent reduction in energy losses and a boost in the total plasma energy.


A New Dimension A New Dimension

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a technique that uses machine learning to develop three dimensional bodies from two dimensional images. Named SurfNet, it is expected to revolutionise the fields of 3D surfing, robotics, and self driving cars once fully developed. It is already more accurate and precise than current deep-learning based 3D methods.