News

Will packages be effectively delivered by parachute?

This week's Question: Amazon recently filed a patent for parachute-aided delivery of packages. The proposed idea imagines drones releasing parcels from the sky, deploying parachutes to slow their descent and ensure the valuables inside remain intact. To address gusts of wind or unexpected obstacles, a drone will hover nearby, monitoring a package as it falls. If the parcel moves off course, the drone can deploy methods (like bursts of compressed air!) to correct its descent. What do you think? Will packages be effectively delivered by parachute?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Aviation

Read More >>

Will "$100-per-killowatt-hours" batteries boost wind and solar energy efforts?

This week’s Question: The Department of Energy (DOE) has set a goal of building a battery that stores energy for less than $100 per kilowatt-hour, making stored wind and solar energy competitive with energy produced from traditional power plants. Today’s lead INSIDER story featured a new flow battery that offers the potential to significantly decrease the costs of production. "If you can get anywhere near this cost target then you change the world," said researcher Michael Aziz. "It becomes cost effective to put batteries in so many places. This research puts us one step closer to reaching that target." What do you think? Will "$100-per-killowatt-hours" batteries boost wind and solar energy efforts?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Energy, Energy Storage

Read More >>

Will telepresence drones take off?

This week’s Question: According to a recent application made public last week, Google is hoping to patent a "mobile telepresence system." The proposed drone is designed for collaboration with colleagues from remote locations. The technology will fly indoors and move from room to room, adjusting to unpredictable floor plans. What do you think? Will telepresence drones take off?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Robotics

Read More >>

Will metallic hydrogen improve transportation?

This week's Question: Today's lead INSIDER story featured the development of metallic hydrogen, a technology that has a range of potential applications, from advanced rocket propellants to room-temperature superconductors. According to the Harvard University researchers, the material could support the magnetic levitation of high-speed trains. What do you think? Will metallic hydrogen improve transportation?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Materials, Metals

Read More >>

Will touchscreens take over the dashboard?

This week's Question: With backup cameras now mandatory in today's vehicles, screens in cars are increasingly becoming a standard feature. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this month, Corning Glass presented a demo of a new kind of automotive interior — one making full use of touch-based smart glass, from the windshield to the console. A head-up display built into the driver's side, for example, provided on-windshield navigation; a smart screen in the steering wheel provided access to all of the car's controls; and a full video display enabled passengers to watch videos. The maker of "Gorilla Glass," used in the latest iPhone, envisions a future a where a driver's dashboard will be entirely screen-based. What do you think? Will touchscreens take over the dashboard?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Automotive

Read More >>

Would you use a flexible phone?

This week's Question: The Korea Herald reported last week that Samsung is developing a "fold-in" phone. The device's flexible display folds open into a 7-inch tablet. According to the article, the team is expected to ship more than 100,000 units during the third quarter of 2017. The paper reported that the Korea-based company had initially abandoned development out of concern that consumers would find it inconvenient to continuously unfold the phone before each use. New designs, however, could perhaps spark interest in a market that, some analysts say, has reached its saturation point. What do you think? Would you use a flexible phone?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Communications

Read More >>

Will the voice become a mainstream way to control our devices?

This year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas showcased many new consumer products featuring voice control. LG, for example, introduced a smart refrigerator equipped with Amazon's Alexa voice service. Other CES technologies with voice-recognition capabilities included televisions, home lighting systems, and vehicles. Last Tuesday, Shawn Dubravac, Chief Economist of the Consumer Technology Association, said vocal computing is replacing the traditional graphical user interface, and "the ability to infuse AI into small things at relatively low cost is present." What do you think? Will the voice become a mainstream way to control our devices?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Data Acquisition, Sensors

Read More >>

The U.S. Government does not endorse any commercial product, process, or activity identified on this web site.