Can Self-Driving Cars be Modeled for Morality?

Imagine a self-driving car making its way down a foggy road that is suddenly blocked by two separate obstacles – is one of them an object? A person? An animal? Would the autonomous vehicle make the right split-second decision on which one to spare? Can algorithms be used to make decisions in scenarios where harming human beings is possible, probable, or even unavoidable? A study from the Institute of Cognitive Science in Germany’s Osnabrück University suggests that autonomous vehicles have the capability to address moral dilemmas in road traffic.

Posted in: News, Automotive
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'Smart' Transformer Supports Power Grid of Tomorrow

Imagine a system that handles electricity flow not just from the power company to our homes, but also back from our homes to the power company. North Carolina State University researchers say an existing technology – the solid-state transformer — could make the conceptual "smart grid" a reality.

Posted in: News, Power Management, Power Supplies, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy
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Sound-Off: How to Simulate the Impacts of an Exoskeleton

Over the past decade, warfighters’ personal loads have increased, leading to more injuries, pain, and discomfort. To relieve the burden, the military is investigating performance-enhancing exoskeletons. But how does an exoskeleton impact the soldier wearing it?

Posted in: News, News, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Simulation Software, Software
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Sound-Off: How to Set Pass/Fail Thresholds for Self-Driving Vehicles

As Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) technology evolves, how do you test autonomous cars that ‘learn from their mistakes?’

Posted in: News, Automotive, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement
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What’s New on Tech Briefs: Smart Devices, Powered by the Sun

New stories on TechBriefs.com shed light on smart windows, solar paint, and more.

Posted in: News, Solar Power
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Smart Windows Get Smarter (and Self-Powered)

A “smart window” from Princeton University uses a transparent solar cell to selectively absorb and harvest near-ultraviolet light. The advanced window controls the transmission of visible light and infrared heat into the building, while the new type of solar cell uses near-UV light to power the system.

Posted in: News, Energy, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy, Solar Power
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Sound-Off: Can Hydrogen be Stored in Carbon Nanotubes?

The fuel cell, an increasingly popular device in the automotive sector, creates a power source when coupled with hydrogen. The hydrogen can be made from natural gas or electrolysis of water and then compressed for storage. The challenge: How do you store hydrogen at low pressure?

Posted in: News, Energy Storage, Power Transmission, Propulsion
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Handheld Laser Probe Detects Cancer in Real Time

An optical probe that detects cancerous brain cells in real time is impressive enough. Scientists in Montreal say they’ve developed one that is “infallible.”

Posted in: News, News, Diagnostics, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Fiber Optics, Optics, Detectors
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New at Sensors Expo: IoT Platform Collects Data via Bluetooth

Fujitsu Components America released its enhanced BlueBrain Sensor-Based IoT System Platform at the 2017 Sensors Expo & Conference, hosted in San Jose, CA. The BlueBrain platform is now available with boards that allow designers to create a wireless monitoring and data collection system via Bluetooth®.

Posted in: News, Data Acquisition, Sensors
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Ultra-Thin Camera Says Good-Bye to the Lens

A new proof-of-concept design retires one of the most familiar parts of a traditional camera: the lens. By swapping out the glass lens with a tiny array of light receivers, a California Institute of Technology team believes the thinner, lighter model supports a new wave of ubiquitous imaging.

Posted in: News, Cameras, Imaging, Optical Components, Optics
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