Technology (category filter × )

Hologram-like device animates objects using ultrasound waves

theguardian.com
  • New type of hologram uses ultrasound waves to trace 3D objects with a tiny polystyrene grain.
  • It can trace an object within one-tenth of a second, making the movement of the grain completely invisible to our eyes, and leaving just the visualised object.
  • The device relies on two horizontal plates which control the movement of the grain, and built-in LED lights that add color to the objects.
  • This is a promising technology which, in the far future, could lead to 3D holograms which look like real objects.

Lithium producers hit by first big downturn of electric vehicle era

reuters.com
  • Prices of lithium have dropped because there’s too much of this metal on the market -- but the oversupply is in ‘technical-grade’ lithium, used for small devices.
  • The supply of high-quality lithium, good enough to make batteries for electric vehicles, is actually locked up until 2024.
  • Which means the price of the metal is dropping, but factories need to keep ramping up production to meet future demand for high-quality lithium.
  • Some analysts say that the future supply of battery-grade materials is in doubt, others see this as a momentary slump, and look toward a bright future.

China throws its weight behind A.I. and blockchain as it aims to be the world’s tech leader

cnbc.com
  • China wants to lead the world in terms of several most promising technologies -- AI, blockchain, fintech, and 5G networking.
  • The state plans to make their AI industry worth $147.7 billion by 2030, and they’re already the first country to roll-out countrywide AI systems.
  • In terms of mobile payments, they are already leading the world, since cash and credit cards are already a thing of the past in China.
  • Additionally, three out of 5 top smartphone vendors are Chinese, and the government plans to invest heavily in blockchain.
  • Lastly, China turned 5G networks on ahead of their 2020 date, and will account for the most 5G connections by 2025, more than North America and Europe combined.

Engineers develop a new way to remove carbon dioxide from air

sciencedaily.com
  • Stacks of charged electrochemical plates, under low voltage, hold promise to be the most cost-effective way to capture CO2, useful in a variety of applications.
  • The method is precise and flexible, works in any concentration of CO2, and could be used to produce CO2 for soft-drink bottling plants, or even to produce fuel.
  • All other methods require additional thermal, pressure, or chemical inputs to work — this method only needs a source of electricity.
  • Researchers who discovered this method have set up a company, aiming to commercialize the project.

AlphaStar: Grandmaster level in StarCraft II using multi-agent reinforcement learning

deepmind.com
  • AI agent AlphaStar has been trained, using novel techniques, to be better than 99.8% Starcraft II players, and achieve Grandmaster level for all 3 races in the game.
  • The AI uses a camera interface, it’s limited to receiving similar input information, and playing at a similar speed to human players, and plays anonymously on Battle.net.
  • One of the key innovations was using a League self-play system, which involved flaw-exposing agents alongside win-oriented agents.
  • Other techniques included neural networks, multi-agent learning and imitation learning.
  • The study helped improve those methods by adapting them to a complex, dynamic environment, contributing to the safety and robustness of AI systems in general.

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