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AI Algorithm 'Learns' Beyond its Training

A new machine-learning training method developed at the University of Toronto enables neural networks to learn directly from human-defined rules. The achievement supports new possibilities for artificial intelligence in medical diagnostics and self-driving cars.

Posted in: News, Diagnostics, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, Software

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The Synergy of Engineering

At the Hannover Messe trade fair in Germany, Eplan Software & Service, with its affiliate company Cideon, introduced Syngineer, an innovative communication and information platform that integrates mechanical engineering, software engineering, and controls engineering through one mechatronic structure. Eplan, a sister company of Rittal Corporation in the Friedhelm Loh Group, offers Syngineer as a solution for simplifying synchronization across all three disciplines, accelerating design engineering and development.

Posted in: Articles, News, Communications, Electronics & Computers, Software

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Celebrate Pi Day with NASA Goddard and Discover Pi-Sat

The Innovative Technology Partnerships Office (ITPO) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (Goddard) in Greenbelt, MD, invites you to celebrate Pi Day on March 14 and discover Pi-Sat. Current technology trends indicate a shift in satellite architectures from large, single satellite missions, to small, distributed spacecraft missions. At the center of this shift is the smallSat/cubesat architecture.

Posted in: Articles, News, Software

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New Navigation Software Cuts Self-Driving Car Costs

A new software system developed at the University of Michigan uses video game technology to help solve one of the most daunting hurdles facing self-driving and automated cars: the high cost of the laser scanners they use to determine their location.Ryan Wolcott, a U-M doctoral candidate in computer science and engineering, estimates that the new concept could shave thousands of dollars from the cost of these vehicles. The technology enables them to navigate using a single video camera, delivering the same level of accuracy as laser scanners at a fraction of the cost."The laser scanners used by most self-driving cars in development today cost tens of thousands of dollars, and I thought there must be a cheaper sensor that could do the same job," he said. "Cameras only cost a few dollars each and they're already in a lot of cars. So they were an obvious choice."Wolcott's system builds on the navigation systems used in other self-driving cars that are currently in development, including Google's vehicle. The navigation systems use three-dimensional laser scanning technology to create a real-time map of their environment, then compare that real-time map to a pre-drawn map stored in the system. By making thousands of comparisons per second, they are able to determine the vehicle's location within a few centimeters.The software converts the map data into a three-dimensional picture much like a video game. The car's navigation system can then compare these synthetic pictures with the real-world pictures streaming in from a conventional video camera.SourceAlso: See more Software tech briefs.

Posted in: News, Automotive, Cameras, Imaging, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics, Software

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NASA Computer Model Reveals Carbon Dioxide Levels

An ultra-high-resolution NASA computer model has given scientists a stunning new look at how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere travels around the globe.Plumes of carbon dioxide in the simulation swirl and shift as winds disperse the greenhouse gas away from its sources. The simulation also illustrates differences in carbon dioxide levels in the northern and southern hemispheres, and distinct swings in global carbon dioxide concentrations as the growth cycle of plants and trees changes with the seasons.Scientists have made ground-based measurements of carbon dioxide for decades and in July NASA launched the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite to make global, space-based carbon observations. But the simulation — the product of a new computer model that is among the highest-resolution ever created — is the first to show in such fine detail how carbon dioxide actually moves through the atmosphere.In addition to providing a striking visual description of the movements of an invisible gas like carbon dioxide, as it is blown by the winds, this kind of high-resolution simulation will help scientists better project future climate. Engineers can also use this model to test new satellite instrument concepts to gauge their usefulness. The model allows engineers to build and operate a “virtual” instrument inside a computer.SourceAlso: Learn about the NASA Data Acquisition System (NDAS).

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Electronics & Computers, Environmental Monitoring, Green Design & Manufacturing, Greenhouse Gases, Software, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement

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Thirsty? There’s an App for That

Clean, potable water is one thing the world universally cannot live without. It hydrates. It cleans. It keeps us alive and well. That makes water very valuable to soldiers. However, as many mission planners know, water planning can be a nightmare. Too much water can strain already heavy combat loads, perhaps forcing some soldiers to pack too little in favor of a lighter pack. When soldiers don't have enough water, dehydration could set in, decreasing performance and increasing the risk of serious heat illnesses. To help solve this logistical problem, researchers from the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine’s (USARIEM) Thermal and Mountain Medicine Division and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory worked to develop an app that will help unit leaders accurately predict water needs with the goal of minimizing the burden of water transport and sustaining hydration. The app is designed to satisfy the military’s desire for paperless guidance that is simple, accurate, mission-specific and available in real time.

Posted in: News, Defense, Electronics & Computers, PCs/Portable Computers, Software

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New Computer Codes Enable Design of Greener, Leaner Aircraft

A computer model that accurately predicts how composite materials behave when damaged will make it easier to design lighter, more fuel-efficient aircraft. Innovative computer codes form the basis of a computer model that shows in unprecedented detail how an aircraft's composite wing, for instance, would behave if it suffered small-scale damage, such as a bird strike. Any tiny cracks that spread through the composite material can be predicted using this model. 

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Aviation, Electronics & Computers, Green Design & Manufacturing, Greenhouse Gases, Composites, Materials, Software

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