For fans of dystopian science fiction like “The Terminator”, an incident in Germany may have set off some alarms.
At a Volkswagen factory in Kassel, Germany, a 21 year old worker was killed while installing a robot.
The robot reportedly struck the worker in the chest during the installation, crushing him against a steel plate.
The young man died soon after.
News of the incident spread like wildfire across the Internet, and had some refer to it as the first ever recorded robot homicide.
A representative for Volkswagen stated that this was a robot that would normally work inside of a cage set apart from humans for safety.
The worker happened to be within that cage when the incident occurred.
The news also comes as more and more influential figures in the tech industries are questioning the safety of robots and artificial intelligence being used to the extent that they can surpass regulations and limitations placed on them by human controllers.
The incident has inspired some morbid comedy, especially concerning Sarah O’Connor, who first reported the situation and was assailed by those looking to make the tie-in to the heroine of “The Terminator” cinematic franchise.
Apple is looking to stake a claim in the home of finely-crafted timepieces – Switzerland.
The Apple Watch made its debut in the country last Friday via their store in Zurich.
Close to 40 people were waiting patiently on line to get the chance to purchase the smartwatch.
The majority of those waiting were under 30 years old, and it’s that target base that Apple looks to sway to its device.
Some were intrigued by the smartwatch, while others weren’t too enthused.
Traditional Swiss watch manufacturers have no doubt viewed Apple’s entry into the watch market with a bit of dread — the industry has been struggling with currency conflicts between the Franc and the Euro, as well as lessening demand from China, their biggest foreign market.
In response, these companies are now developing their own smartwatches.
Swatch, based in Biel, Switzerland, will produce a model that allows users to make easier mobile payments.
Other manufacturers looking to follow suit are the high-end brands TAG Heuer and Montblanc.
For those of you who’ve dreamt of living life like the Jetsons, your wait will soon come to an end thanks to the Martin Aircraft Company.
The aerospace company announced that they will be releasing their Martin Jetpack.
Yes, the general public will be able to purchase the jetpack, which has been in development since 1980, in the second half of next year.
The chief executive officer, Peter Coker, did stress that they were looking to government agencies and first responders along with other emergency personnel with the product release.
He went on to elaborate: “for example, in the fire services going around to look at the situational awareness of what’s going on, perhaps through water security or even search and rescue on beach patrol, something along those lines. Naturally for the ambulance service getting to a point of importance of rescuing people in the shortest possible time.”
The Martin Jetpack’s technical specs are none too shabby – it has an estimated top speed of 46 miles per hour, and can fly for a half hour at an altitude of 3,000 feet.
It can be both manually flown and flown by remote.
The maximum weight bearing capacity of the jetpack is 265 pounds, powered by a 200 horsepower V4 engine.
Interested buyers may want to save up though – the initial price tag of the Martin Jetpack stands at $150,000.
Lovers of all things iPhone related will be pleased to hear that Apple has already gotten underway with production of the next version of the popular smartphone.
Sources close to the company have confirmed the news of production, and have also stated that the new iPhone will have the latest Force Touch technology in addition to having similar design features to the iPhone 6 models on the market.
Force Touch is essentially a feature that can detect the force behind the pressure of a user’s touch on the screen of the device.
The new feature is already at work within the Apple Watch and the trackpad of the new MacBook, but in the iPhone there are a bevy of uses that it could be applied to.
High volume production is expected to commence next month, and the phone versions could be referred to as the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 Plus, or, the iPhone 7.
The only complications to the production process could be any unforeseen glitches regarding the quality assurance tests that will be run on the new Force Touch touch screens.
The latest launch for the SpaceX reusable rocket saw an unfortunate end just minutes after takeoff.
The company’s Falcon 9 class CRS-7 rocket, laden with a heavy payload of food supplies, sensitive technology and 30 science experiments, exploded a little over two minutes after its launch.
The rocket was bound for the International Space Station. NASA called it a “non-nominal launch”, and aren’t quite sure what happened.
The CEO and the founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, expressed in a statement that “overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank” might have led to the explosion.
The explosion dashed some hopes for the Falcon 9 rockets; if the mission was successful, it would represent the first time a rocket could be reused for space flight.
Such an event would mean that the costs of space vehicle and rocket production would decrease significantly and affordable space travel would be in sight.
Charles Bolden, an administrator with NASA, stated: “SpaceX has demonstrated extraordinary capabilities in its first six cargo resupply missions to the station, and we know they can replicate that success.
We will work with and support SpaceX to assess what happened, understand the specifics of the failure and correct it to move forward.
This is a reminder that spaceflight is an incredible challenge, but we learn from each success and each setback.
Today’s launch attempt will not deter us from our ambitious human spaceflight program.”
The agency did stress that the ISS had ample supplies for the next several months.
Google has taken the next step in their ambitious drive to make self-driving cars on the roads a reality — by already having them on the road.
On Thursday, the company announced that their autonomous vehicle prototypes were already out and about on the streets of Mountain View, California.
The vehicle was crafted from scratch, and designed to be self-driving.
The company has been vigorously working towards this since 2009, with Toyota Prius cars and then Lexus SUVs being their first testers.
Those vehicles were modified with special software and hardware.
These new AV’s are the potential template for the car that Google seeks to mass produce in 2020 with the help of auto manufacturers like Volkswagen.
The cars are two-door, and have a maximum speed of 25 MPH in accordance with Google’s directive of safety.
In addition, the autonomous vehicles will have a human driver in a backup role, and a removable steering wheel to go with specialized sensors that can detect movement at great distances no matter the size of the object.
The self-driving vehicle industry has another entrant and it’s one of America’s most notable automotive brands.
On Tuesday, Ford announced that they had put together a team for the sole purpose of researching and developing autonomous vehicles.
In the press release, the group vice president of Global Product Development, Raj Nair stated the company’s aim: “During the next five years, we will move to migrate driver-assist technologies across our product lineup to help make our roads safer and continue to increase automated driving capability.”
The team will be based in Palo Alto, California and is expected to grow in size to have 125 employees on the initiative.
In addition to working towards creating autonomous vehicles, Ford’s team will also work on improvements to their systems for automatic braking and pedestrian detection, which already are features in their sedan released for European drivers, the Mondeo.
Their goal is to have all of their vehicles equipped with these features by the end of 2019.
There may soon be no need for clear photographs to have someone be recognized by Facebook.
Recent reports state that the social media network is in the process of developing new technology that will be able to identify someone even if their face isn’t fully presented in the photograph that’s uploaded. In order to bring the process along, Facebook wound up scanning public photos from Flickr – 40,000 plus to be exact.
The pictures mainly had people’s faces in the frame and out of it.
The scanning was powered by an algorithm that assessed different attributes of the individuals that included hair and body type.
The testing results found that the algorithm identified people with an 83% rate of accuracy.
Facebook’s hope is that the algorithm will eventually get out of the testing phase with more success and become a part of the company’s growing application suite.
The company has shifted some of their development focus to photos of late, with their acquisition of Instagram being a prime example. So if this comes to pass, those late night photo mishaps with your buddies could be documented properly for all to share.
As smartwatches gain more and more popularity, they’ve also crossed into other areas of life outside of communication and fitness purposes.
Sometimes, that crossover can lead to problems.
Especially as colleges are now finding that they’re being used to help students cheat on their exams.
To that end, colleges are now beginning to enact bans on wearable tech like the Apple Watch during tests and examinations.
One case where the push has begun in earnest against smartwatches is in Australia.
Two universities in particular, La Trobe University of Melbourne and the University of New South Wales in Sydney, have gone so far as to ask students to not only remove smartwatches but also to remove traditional wristwatches.
And as a final step, test administrators ask: “Watches of any kind must be placed in a clear resealable bag under your exam chair before the exam begins.”
In the United States, the wearable tech is also banned from ACT and SAT testing rooms along with other portable electronic devices.
The insurance company Allstate is highly interested in knowing all it can about the drivers who are signed up with them.
And a new technology idea may help them get closer to that goal.
Allstate was recently granted a patent for a specialized database that would catalog driving behavior.
That database would allow the company and its agents to get an evaluation on drivers’ physiological data including blood pressure rates and electrocardiogram or EKG rates.
The further application could lead to that data being measured by sensors within a car, located possibly in the steering wheel or the accelerator pedals.
Other information that could be gleaned would how fast a car is going and its location through GPS tracking.
The patent states that the database would be designed to collect data every two seconds and lead to getting readings of future events.
One other possibility could be that the database would be able to detect which drivers are risky due to aggressive behavior.