Tech News Review Week 11-17 August 2020, by Stelios Iordanis

Quantum Computing

 

Quantum researchers create an error-correcting cat

https://phys.org/news/2020-08-quantum-error-correcting-cat.html

This versatile new device could enable many aspects of quantum computation with superconducting circuits and make quantum computers more feasible than ever.

 

Scientists discover way to make quantum states last 10,000 times longer

https://phys.org/news/2020-08-scientists-quantum-states-longer.html

“The broad applicability of this breakthrough, due to its simple implementation, allows this robust coherence to impact many aspects of quantum engineering. It makes new research opportunities realistic.

 

 

Honeywell Wants To Show What Quantum Computing Can Do For The World

https://www.forbes.com/sites/gilpress/2020/08/11/honeywell-wants-to-show-what-quantum-computing-can-do-for-the-world/#62034a4b2916

It is predicted that quantum computing devices from this company can boost their performance by an order of magnitude each year for the next five years.

By doubling he computational capacity, i.e., adding one extra bit at a time, a quantum computer scales exponentially in its problem-solving abilities.

 

Vehicles

 

Why Are Cars Still So Dangerous to Pedestrians? – Bloomberg

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-08-12/why-are-cars-still-so-dangerous-to-pedestrians

There are so many technologies ready to be implemented in modern cars that could minimize accidents and fatalities for pedestrians. Still, there is clearly no incentive to do so by the car industries.

 

The Hyperion hydrogen-powered supercar can drive 1,000 miles on a single tank

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/the-hyperion-hydrogen-powered-supercar-can-drive-1000-miles-on-a-single-tank/ar-BB17RY7c

The XP-1 has a much longer range than a battery-powered electric car because compressed hydrogen has much more power per liter than a battery; however, hydrogen-related risks will never be completely eradicated. Meanwhile, the same applies to lithium-based or gasoline-based energy storage, as well. Regardless, H2 always seems scarier when it comes to potential accident severity.

 

Flying Cars Are Actually, Finally Becoming a Reality in Japan

https://futurism.com/the-byte/flying-cars-are-actually-finally-becoming-a-reality-in-japan

Flying cars, a somewhat futuristic and utopic vision from science fiction, could soon become imminent, at least in affluent societies within the next ten years.

 

Biotech

 

Preliminary study of 300+ COVID-19 patients suggests convalescent plasma therapy effective | EurekAlert! Science News

https://sciencesources.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-08/hm-pso081220.php

Monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma therapies are not as scalable as potential vaccines, but they could be superior treatments for many cases, where the vaccine will not be effective.

 

Potential HIV cure Phase I trial gets FDA green light

https://www.outsourcing-pharma.com/Article/2020/08/11/Potential-HIV-cure-Phase-I-trial-gets-FDA-green-light#

The AGT103-T cell product is made from blood cells applying a short process that boosts the HIV-fighting T cells and a gene therapy to help these cells survive in the body. The product reportedly shows the ability to clear itself of HIV when challenged with the virus and HIV-infected human cells.

 

Bacterial enzymes ‘hijacked’ to create complex molecules normally made by plants

https://phys.org/news/2020-08-bacterial-enzymes-hijacked-complex-molecules.html

This R&D venture aims at parsing through the DNA of microbes and other organisms to identify the enzymes they encode—and predict the activities of those enzymes. Billions of distinct enzymes exist in plants, animals, and bacteria on Earth, and just a small percentage of them have been identified up to now.

 

Researchers develop cell injection technique that could help reverse vision loss | EurekAlert! Science News

https://sciencesources.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-08/uotf-rdc081320.php

This new method of injecting healthy cells into damaged eyes could one day reverse forms of vision loss that are currently incurable.

 

Versatile new material family could build realistic prosthetics, futuristic army platforms

https://phys.org/news/2020-08-versatile-material-family-realistic-prosthetics.html

Potential military applications are awe-inspiring, as this approach entails 3-D printability and the ability to self-heal within seconds. These materials are compatible not only for realistic prosthetics and soft robotics but also for agile platforms for air vehicles and futuristic self-healing aircraft wings.”

 

AI

 

Google Lens Announces New ‘Homework’ Filter, Solves Math Problems With Photo

https://interestingengineering.com/google-lens-announces-new-homework-filter-solves-math-problems-with-photo

Families Resources for Back to School from Google for Education

https://blog.google/outreach-initiatives/education/parents-become-teachers/

AI-based software solutions for education will render the role of human teachers obsolete and help parents with homeschooling, which will become even more popular within the next years.

 

The First Wave of GPT-3 Enabled Applications Offer a Preview of Our AI Future

https://www.infoq.com/articles/gpt3-enabled-applications/

Accounting, legal work, translation, programming will require one-thousandth of today’s human resources or even less in a few years: First GPT-3 based code examples offers a glimpse of what is coming.
Robotics

 

These Sleek Houses Are 3D Printed, and They Fit in Your Backyard

https://singularityhub.com/2020/08/13/these-sleek-houses-are-3d-printed-and-they-fit-in-your-backyard/

FedEx is now using industrial robotic arms to sort delivery packages – Inceptive Mind

https://www.inceptivemind.com/fedex-using-industrial-robotic-arms-sort-delivery-packages/14651/

Nikola ready to help collect trash with its electric garbage trucks – Inceptive Mind

https://www.inceptivemind.com/nikola-win-order-2500-electric-garbage-trucks/14639/

ABB’s new 3DQI robot cell makes quality control testing ten times faster – Inceptive Mind

https://www.inceptivemind.com/abb-new-3dqi-robot-cell-makes-quality-control-testing-ten-times-faster/14646/

The common pattern in all these technological innovations is the minimization of the necessity for human workers.

 

 

Ecology

 

Technology can help speed soil recovery after oil spills | EurekAlert! Science News

https://sciencesources.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-08/asoa-tch080620.php

Oil spills are not only harmful in the sea but also in the soil: this innovation curbs this threat very effectively.

 

Telecommunications

 

China successfully builds laser communication links for new-generation space-borne IoT project – Global Times

https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1197631.shtml

Laser-based communication links have zero side effects, in contrast to microwave-based links that are so controversial nowadays.

 

Energy

 

Powerhouses: nanotechnology turns bricks into batteries | Environment | The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/aug/11/powerhouses-nanotechnology-turns-bricks-into-supercapacitor-batteries

Cheap battery materials like bricks, which may not have the power density of lithium (just 1-10% of lithium), but are super cost-effective, are essential for a broad renewable energy adoption.

 

New catalyst efficiently turns carbon dioxide into useful fuels and chemicals

https://phys.org/news/2020-08-catalyst-efficiently-carbon-dioxide-fuels.html

Capturing CO2 produced by industrial facilities like power plants, cement manufacturing, or directly from the air, and converting it into other useful carbon compounds requires an efficient catalyst that is easy to produce and regenerate and inexpensive enough to operate on an industrial scale. This new catalyst is very promising; indeed: it could help western economies reach their ecological goals while remaining economically competitive vs. the industries of the developing world that are not complying with these directives.