60. Self-Driving Shipment Truck, Faster Internet Standard, NASA is Venus Bound
60. Self-Driving Shipment Truck, Faster Internet Standard, NASA is Venus Bound
Cool News Timestamps:
Google’s speedier internet standard is now an actual standard | Engadget (01:29)
- Internet Engineering Task Force has published Google’s QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connections) as an official internet standard.
- Could be a signal that this faster data transmission technology is ready to be used on a broad level.
- QUIC is a protocol for transmitting data between computers, improving speed and security on the internet.
- Replacing a standard that dates back to 1974, TCP.
- Been in development for nearly eight years when it was an experimental addition to its Chrome browser.
- QUIC uses the faster UDP (User Datagram Protocol) while also boasting faster recovery of dropped data packets.
- It also provides faster encrypted connections and better handling of network switches.
- In short that just means less time waiting for things to load!
- According to a Google Research paper published in 2017 on QUIC:
- Cut the wait for search results by 8% on PCs and 4% on phones.
- YouTube buffering was cut by 18% for PC users and 15% for mobile users.
- To show how slow this approval process was, they submitted QUIC to the IETF for standard consideration back in 2016.
- Widespread rushed adoption remains unlikely.
- Could spread gradually among companies and services that could benefit from the added speed.
New tool activates deep brain neurons by combining ultrasound, genetics | ScienceDaily (07:31)
- Neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy have had some treatment success with deep brain stimulation.
- Normally requires a surgical device implantation.
- A team at Washington University in St. Louis has developed a new brain stimulation technique using focused ultrasound that is able to turn specific types of neurons in the brain on and off.
- Activation of neurons in the brain by combining ultrasound-induced heating effect and genetics, which they have named sonothermogenetics.
- Hong Chen, assistant professor of biomedical engineering & team lead provides optimism for this new field of sonothermogenetics:
“Our work provided evidence that sonothermogenetics evokes behavioral responses in freely moving mice while targeting a deep brain site … Sonothermogenetics has the potential to transform our approaches for neuroscience research and uncover new methods to understand and treat human brain disorders.”
- How does this process work?
- Utilizing Mice, the team injects it with a specific ion channel, TRPV1, which binds to genetically selected neurons.
- Through a wearable device, heat is provided through low-intensity focused ultrasound to the select neurons.
- The heat, a few degrees warmer than body temperature, activates the ion channel basically acting as a switch to turn the neurons on or off.
- According Yaoheng Yang, first author of the paper, this method because it is noninvasive has the potential to be “scaled up to large animals and potentially humans in the future.”
- Sonothermogenetics has the promise to target any location in the mouse brain with millimeter-scale resolution without causing any damage to the brain
A Self-Driving Truck Got a Shipment Cross-Country 10 Hours Faster Than a Human Driver | SingularityHub (16:07)
- Last month a transportation company, TuSimple, focused on self-driving technology for heavy-duty trucks, shipped a truckload of watermelons from Arizona to Oklahoma using the truck’s autonomous system for over 80 percent of the journey.
- Starting point was Nogales, at Arizona’s southern end right on the border with Mexico.
- A human driver drove the first 60 miles, from Nogales to Tucson.
- From Tucson auto-pilot was engaged. Driving itself from Tucson to Dallas, TX.
- 950 miles!!!
- A human safety driver on board the whole time.
- The truck drove the route in 14 hours and 6 minutes.
- According to TuSimple’s press release, “A human driver can complete the entire trip in 24 hours and 6 minutes, while TuSimple demonstrated its autonomous system can make this trip in 14 hours and 6 minutes, which is 42% faster.”
- 24 hours, could be conservative estimate not taking into account the amount of stops a driver can take.
- Additionally why this autonomous driving makes better time than the human drivers is that we as humans need breaks.
- According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, drivers are only allowed to drive their truck for up to 11 total hours.
- The watermelons ended up in “better shape”.
- Makes sense if they arrived a day earlier they would be in better shape.
- Jim Mullen, the company’s chief administrative officer thinks this angle will boost TuSimple’s business:
“We believe the food industry is one of many that will greatly benefit from the use of TuSimple’s autonomous trucking technology … Given the fact that autonomous trucks can operate nearly continuously without taking a break means fresh produce can be moved from origin to destination faster, resulting in fresher food and less waste.”
- TuSimple already operates seven autonomous routes between Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, and Dallas, and are in the process of adding routes to Houston and San Antonio.
- Humans will still be a big part of the equation for many years to come, acting as safety drivers and last-mile drivers.
- Making their job a lot easier
- TuSimple is aiming for its trucks to operate without safety drivers on board by the end of 2024.
Ordinary Microscope Sees in Super-Resolution With Specially Engineered Light-Shrinking Material | SciTechDaily (26:15)
- Electrical engineers at the University of California San Diego developed a technology that improves the resolution of an ordinary light microscope so that it can be used to directly observe finer structures and details in living cells.
- Super-resolution microscope
- Work published in Nature Communications.
- Utilize a material that shortens the wavelength of the light allowing for higher resolution imaging to take place.
- Zhaowei Liu, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC San Diego talks about the simplicity of this technology:
“This material converts low-resolution light to high-resolution light … It’s very simple and easy to use. Just place a sample on the material, then put the whole thing under a normal microscope — no fancy modification needed.”
- Conventional light microscopes have a resolution limit of 200 nanometers.
- Any objects closer than 200 nanometers will not be observed as separate objects.
- Issue when trying to image a living cell, which cannot be imaged in a higher resolution electron microscope because samples need to be placed inside a vacuum chamber.
- Now with the new technology the team developed, a conventional light microscope can be used to image live sub-cellular structures with a resolution of up to 40 nanometers.
- Essentially the researchers are taking a light-shrinking material to pass the light through, which that light shortens and scatters into multiple patterns.
- Those patterns illuminate whatever is being imaged creating multiple low-resolution images.
- These low-resolution images are captured and then pieced together by a reconstruction algorithm to produce a high-resolution image.
- According to the researchers, the super-resolution technology has great potential for high-speed operation.
- Their future goal is to incorporate high speed, super-resolution, and low phototoxicity in one system for live-cell imaging.
Venus is so very nice, NASA is going there twice | Arstechnica (31:10)
- NASA announced Wednesday (June 2nd) that it will send two spacecraft to Venus this decade as part of its efforts to ramp up exploration of the closest planet to Earth.
- NASA has not sent a robotic spacecraft to Venus since the launch of the Magellan orbiter in 1989.
- Venus researcher Ellen Stofan, the Smithsonian Under Secretary for Science and Research, in an interview relays the excitement in the Venus community:
“The Venus community is absolutely elated and excited and wants to just get to work and see this happen … We all are so hungry for data, for moving the science forward. A lot of us worked in this field since Magellan. We’ve had these really fundamental science questions for so long.”
- The missions, named DAVINCI+ and VERITAS, have a cost cap of $500 million apiece and were selected as part of NASA’s “Discovery” program.
- The two missions were announced by NASA administrator Bill Nelson:
“These two sister missions both aim to understand how Venus became an inferno-like world capable of melting lead at the surface … We hope these missions will further our understanding of how Earth evolved and why it’s currently habitable, when others in our solar system are not.”
- DAVINCI+ will study how the atmosphere formed and evolved as well as determine whether the planet ever had an ocean.
- Will carry what is called a descent sphere, which will plunge through the planet’s thick atmosphere, making precise measurements to understand why Venus’ atmosphere is a runaway hothouse planet.
- The data collected by DAVINCI+ will help scientists interpret observations of Earth-sized exoplanets with atmospheres, giving researchers a way to tell exo-Earths from exo-Venuses.
- VERITAS will map Venus’ surface topography to determine the planet’s geologic history utilizing a synthetic aperture radar.
- Will also map infrared emissions from Venus’ surface to map its rock types.
- These observations could provide data for a future mission to land on Venus.
- Both missions are slated to launch during the 2028 to 2030 timeframe, NASA said.
Elon Musk: SpaceX Ocean Spaceport Deimos Under Construction for Starship Launch Next Year | TechTimes (38:21)
- In the recent tweet by the CEO of SpaceX (@elonmusk), he has confirmed the spaceport’s existence and its possible first look from a fan render posted on social media.
- The Twitter image depicts an offshore platform in the middle of the ocean, where a standing Starship was erected, and the facility getting ready for its launch.