CALGARY — It could be a character on a Saturday morning kids show, but this rescue robot is anything but fantasy.
“It’s not science fiction. It’s science and this thing exists,” said Alejandro Ramirez-Serrano at the unmanned vehicles robotarium lab at the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary.
The robot is a man’s height with a space-age helmet for a head, working arms and legs, and interchangeable hands. It looks like a cross between RoboCop and a Transformer.
Ramirez-Serrano has been working on the robot for the last seven years. He hopes it will become a tool to help first responders with disasters such as the collapse of a building.
The goal is to have search-and-rescue robots, which are faster than humans, working in confined spaces and, in the most challenging circumstances, be fully autonomous.
“It does walk … (and) can change its locomotion style and go from walking to crawling to climbing,” he said.
“It has sensors to perceive the environment, create a 3D map of the space and (can) calculate how stable it is to decide what locomotion style to use.”
Ramirez-Serrano said his is the only group in North America and one of only two in the world working on how to deploy robots in confined, chaotic and unstructured spaces for which little information exists.
But it could be another decade before autonomous rescue robots will be ready to use, he said. Robots are already used for some disasters or for bomb disposals, but they are controlled by humans using remote controls.
What needs to be developed is a more advanced artificial intelligence, Ramirez-Serrano said.
“We don’t want the robot to mimic a specific individual. We want the robot to say, ‘I have all this knowledge, and this is what I have to do,’” he said.
“For example, we could have a building collapse. There are victims inside. There’s no recipe. So we’re developing artificial intelligence to enable the robot to be able to perceive the environment and make decisions on the fly.”
Ramirez-Serrano’s robot weighs about 70 kilograms, but he’d like to make it lighter. He estimates it could lift up to 90 kilograms. It’s battery-powered but only works for about 45 minutes.
“This is still a work in progress and will likely be a work in progress for many, many years.”
As with the self-driving car, it might take some time for humanity to get used to a machine able to think for itself, he said. That’s another hurdle that needs to be overcome.
“If someone sees this on the street, some people might be really excited. Some other people might be freaked out. Some people might run and hide.
“The robots are coming to get us,” he laughs.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 20, 2022.
Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
‘Genshin Impact’ V2.8 Primogem Gift Codes, Plus New Banners And Diluc Skin – Forbes
Genshin Impact just wrapped up its v2.8 special program reveal stream, back on schedule with its constant releases after COVID lockdowns forced delays earlier. We are marching toward the 3.0 update of the game with new continent Sumeru, but until then, we have two more patches to go. And v2.8 is proving to be a bit lighter than most.
But still, the stream gave away three gift codes for Primogems and other goodies, as it always does, and that’s probably the main reason you’re here. They are:
- DTNVKAWBWSF5 – Reward: 100 Primogems and 10 Mystic Enhancement Ores
- WANVJAFAXTER – Reward: 100 Primogems and 10 Mystic Enhancement Ores
- HA6C2AFBXSZV – Reward: 100 Primogems and 10 Mystic Enhancement Ores
These have to be redeemed by the end of the day tomorrow, so get on that. And yes, the secondary reward is all Mystic Ore for some reason this time around, I’m not sure why that is. You will want to redeem this on the reward page right here. I just checked them, and all of them work.
As for the character banners for v2.8, we only have one new character this time around, and they’re only a four star. We do, however, have the return of one very coveted 5 star, Kazuha, who is also the main character of the 2.8 story content, it seems.
The banners will be:
- Banner 1 – Kazuha and Klee, with rate-ups for new 4 star Heizou
- Banner 2 – Yoimiya
The entire “storyline” for 2.8 is called Summer Fantasia, and will contain the usual amount of various types of events we get for new patches. Among them will be Summertime Odyssey, Resonating Visions, Reminiscent Regimen, Hidden Strife, Evermotion Mechanical Painting and most impotantly a new outfit for Diluc where he has a high ponytail. Oh and Fischl has one too. Whatever.
Anyway, this should not be the biggest patch in the world, nor does this seem like the set of banners that you will blow every Primogem you have on, unless you are dying for Kazuha which you don’t have yet, or you need to get more constellation tiers on him. I think most people are probably starting to save for 3.0 and all the new Sumeru Dendro characters at this point, and that reveal should be in the next couple months here ahead of what seems like a fall release for that region.
5 Ways to Make Wearing a Mask in the Summer More Tolerable – First For Women
Mask mandates have been dropped in offices, grocery stores, and transit hubs nationwide, and as a result many people have (understandably) stopped wearing them. After living through two years of a pandemic, folks are tired of muffled voices, sweaty faces, and fogged-up lenses.
There’s been some debate surrounding masks’ effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 infection — particularly at the start of the pandemic — but laboratory studies show that masks protect those who wear them.
If you’re among those still masking up, you’re likely looking for solutions to make masking more comfortable — especially during the warm summer months. Here are five easy tricks to make wearing yours more tolerable.
Ease the Strain of Mask Strings
When you’re wearing a mask all day, the ear loops may begin to put a strain on the backs of your ears. Your tender ears will thank you for purchasing some mask clips. There are several options availble, from simple straps with buttons or hooks to silicone and rope accessories.
We like this Candace Cort ear saver, which is clear, bendy, and subtle. Mask extenders can also help you to customize your mask fit (if you, like me, have a head that’s far smaller than average). Try this silicone mask extender set from EVGLOW that comes in a variety of colors ($6.99 from Amazon).
De-Fog Your Glasses
If you’ve ever worn glasses and a mask simultaneously, you know the foggy lens struggle. This problem can range from a mere nuisance to an actual hazard — if you can’t see where you’re going, it doesn’t matter how protected you are from COVID-19. The most effective way to reduce fogging while masking is to improve the seal between the top of the mask and your skin. Masks with adjustable nose-bridge wires (which tend to be the best quality masks anyway, most adept at virus protection) make it easier to close off this seal.
If you have a well-fitting mask that’s sealed off at the nose but are still experiencing lens fog, try Ultra Clarifty’s Defog kit ($15.99 from Amazon). It’s compatible with many different types of lenses; just be warned that it does require frequent reapplication, and you might want to keep a small microfiber cloth on hand to scrub away any vision-blurring streaks.
Make Your Mask Smell Nicer
We’ve all become intimately familiar with the smell of our own breath over the last two years. Even when you’re certain of your minty-freshness, there’s something about “mask breath” that’s just… unpleasant. To fix this, spritz a nice-smelling refreshing spray in your mask before heading out the door.
Enfusia’s mask deodorizer spray ($19.99 from Amazon) is made with pure essential oils — a blend of eucalyptus, spearmint, peppermint, rosemary, lavender, and tea tree. The scent is sure to relax you throughout the day; and even if it doesn’t, it’s probably better than smelling your breakfast.
Buy a Cute Necklace Chain
If you’re like most of us, you periodically take your mask off for a breather and then put it back on when needed. But it’s annoying to search frantically for a mask that’s lost in your jacket pocket or in the dirty dregs of your handbag. The solution? A cute mask chain. This invention looks like a necklace and functions like an eyeglass chain. It hangs around your neck to ensure your mask rests on your chest like a pair of sunglasses when not in use — and it makes your mask immediately accessible when you do reach for it.
Try the Reuven Designs Gold Face Mask Chain ($14.50 from Etsy), a simple gold chain best-seller with a customizable length. For a classy option that looks like real jewelry, consider the Lima Jewelry Pearl Necklace Chain ($20.64 from Etsy).
Find a Comfortable Fit
Cloth masks are the most breathable options, but health experts don’t recommend using them against Omicron. Instead, they suggest wearing an N95, KN95, or KF94 to protect against this more transmissible variant. Surgical masks are slightly better than cloth, and placing a cloth mask on top of a surgical one is more effective than wearing a surgical alone (because it tightens the fit).
KN95s come with ear loops, which are undoubtedly more comfortable to wear than the headstraps of N95s. However, you need to watch out for counterfeit N95s. Get yours from a site like Project N95, the National Clearinghouse for personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 tests. Their KN95 in stylish black ($14 from Project N95) and N95 ($35 from Project N95) provide the ultimate in protection.
For a more in-depth look at the best kind of masks to protect you from Omicron, check out this thorough breakdown of masks we recommend for the variant. Stay safe out there, and enjoy your summer!
We write about products we think our readers will like. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the supplier.
TCL 30 XE 5G Smartphone Review – CGMagazine
TCL or “Telephone Communication Limited” is a lesser-known company in North America, more known for their TVs than they are known for their cell phones. While they may have used Blackberry’s brand name for the production of the KEY2, recently TCL has started producing cell phones under their own name and brand. Today we are looking at one of their latest models, the TCL 30 XE 5G, part of their 30 Series lineup. Listed at $355 CAD, the 30 XE is targeted more at the budget to lower mid-range class of users. Running alongside competitors such as the Samsung A13 5G, can TCL bring enough to the table to make a bigger name for themselves?
Unboxing the phone is your fairly standard experience as with most phones these days. You get the phone, a USB-C charging cable with power brick, SIM Card eject tool and some basic paperwork. No headphones or case, unfortunately. The box itself shows a photo of the phone along with TCL branding and notable specs and features of the phone.
The TCL itself is made of a sturdy-feeling matte plastic along the sides and back with a flat glass display. The side buttons are also made of plastic. Not a dealbreaker considering the price, and should be solid enough to satisfy most users. Along the top of the device is a microphone and a headphone jack, a very welcome addition in my opinion. Along the bottom, you will find another microphone, a single firing speaker, and the USB-C port for charging and data transfer.
The sim tray along the left includes a single sim card slot and SD card slot supporting up to a 512 GB card, something I personally wish flagship devices continued to incorporate. Along the back you will find the triple camera array along with a snappy and accurate fingerprint reader. On the front you find a teardrop notch for the single selfie camera, the earpiece speaker and the pleasantly smooth 90 Hz 720p display.
“Using the TCL 30 XE 5G as my daily device for the last little while has been an interesting experience.”
Upon booting up and setting the phone up for first use, you are greeted by one of your first notable surprises, a nearly stock build of Android 11. TCL is claiming to offer two years of security and software upgrades so, it will be interesting to see whether they follow through with that on a budget device. Most included stock apps are built by Google, although TCL includes their own camera and music player apps, along with a few others including a compass app, notes and even FM tuner app! That being said, those wanting to use the FM tuner will need to plug in a set of headphones to use it.
Using the TCL 30 XE 5G as my daily device for the last little while has been an interesting experience. Coming from my current flagship Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5g, the TCL 30 XE 5G was able to comfortably fit into my lifestyle and daily use without too much compromise. The reasonably large 64 GB of on-board storage was able to allow me to download all my apps without any hassle. Any files I needed on the go I stored on an SD card.
The built-in 4500 mah battery was able to easily get me through a day and a half of fairly heavy use with tasks of snapping several pictures, messaging/calls, GPS use and even some moderate gaming. I was always going to bed with over 40% battery life and over 5 hours of screen-on time, all while having Bluetooth and 5G antennas enabled.
“The built-in 4500 mah battery was able to easily get me through a day and a half of fairly heavy use with tasks of snapping several pictures, messaging/calls, GPS use and even some moderate gaming.”
Apps all launched quickly and ran smoothly without any notable issues thanks in part to the 4 GB of onboard RAM. This means browsing the web and scrolling endlessly through your social media feeds will feel generally seamless. Videos looked sharp and crisp despite only being a 720p display. Watching videos on the 6.52” screen meant I didn’t have to squint to see what I was watching, like on smaller phones of yesteryear.
The 90 Hz display made the device feel much more premium that competitors in this class of device. Many other devices still only offer a 60 Hz display. TCL’s included NXTVision software shines in this aspect as it helped to enhance the media I was viewing. Even under bright sunlight, the display was fully readable and clear, something those constantly outdoors will appreciate.
Charging the phone when the battery was low was done at a respectable 18W, far from the slowest on the market but certainly not as fast as much more expensive phones. I found it generally took about two hours to completely recharge the phone, perfectly acceptable for those charging the phone at night or at a desk, not so much for the on-the-go user.
“TCL has done an overall superb job with the TCL 30 XE 5G, they have certainly produced a great value phone for the price.”
With all the great stuff TCL has managed to pack into the TCL 30 XE 5G, there are bound to be some negatives, right? Unfortunately, this is all too true being a less expensive phone. Many times, I found myself wishing I had my Samsung for its photo quality. The included rear camera array TCL includes worked alright in well lit environments but inside with less-than-optimal lighting, images often came out blurry, grainy and did not produce an image I would want to share with others.
The same can be said for the selfie camera. In bright lighting, images look acceptably sharp but are not overly flattering. On top of that, while the single firing speaker can get adequately loud for a quiet room, I found it to be rather “tinny” at higher volume. I also found myself missing the stereo speakers on other past flagship level devices I’ve become accustom to.
All that being said, it is important to remember that the TCL 30 XE 5G smartphone wasn’t built to impress high-end users such as myself. While I’d love to sit and tell you that I wish it had features such as wireless charging or an IP rating, it was made for the user who doesn’t want to spend a small fortune on a device. Someone looking for a device that can do day-to-day tasks without breaking the bank but still wants modern comforts with some of yesterday’s tech as well.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the TCL 30 XE 5G smartphone. It really goes to show that you don’t need a high-end flagship to do a lot of regular tasks these days. Smartphones have come a long way in the last several years, even the budget market has greatly stepped up their game. TCL has done an overall superb job with the 30 XE 5G, they have certainly produced a great value phone for the price.
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