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Watch a swarm of DRONES navigate through dense forest with incredible precision – Daily Mail

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Blade Runner 2049 eat your heart out! Incredible footage shows a swarm of DRONES navigating through a dense forest with expert precision

  • In the film Blade Runner 2049, flying cars navigate among skyscrapers
  • Scientists took inspiration from the film to train drones to navigate forests
  • Since the drones do not rely on any outside infrastructure, such as GPS, swarms could be used during natural disasters

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From Blade Runner 2049 to Star Wars: Episode III, many of the most popular science fiction blockbusters feature swarms of flying cars. 

Now, scientists have taken inspiration from these films, to train swarms of drones to navigate through dense forests with expert precision.

The team from Zhejiang University captured incredible footage of a swarm of 10 bright blue drones swerving through a bamboo forest in China.

Referring to the science fiction blockbusters, the team, led by Xin Zhou, wrote: ‘Here, we take a step forward (to) such a future.’

How could the drone swarms be used? 

Since these drones do not rely on any outside infrastructure, such as GPS, swarms could be used during natural disasters.

For example, they could be sent into earthquake-hit areas to survey damage and identify where to send help, or into buildings where it’s unsafe to send people.

It’s certainly possible to use single drones in such scenarios, but a swarm approach would be far more efficient, especially given limited flight times.

Another possible use is having the swarm collectively lift and deliver heavy objects.

There’s also a darker side: swarms could be weaponized by militaries, just as remote-piloted single drones are today. 

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The palm-sized robots were purpose-built, with depth cameras, altitude sensors and an on-board computer.

The biggest advance was a clever algorithm that incorporates collision avoidance, flight efficiency and coordination within the swarm.

The team tested their drones in different scenarios – swarming through the bamboo forest, avoiding other drones in a high-traffic experiment, and having the robots follow a person’s lead.

‘Our work was inspired by birds that fly smoothly in a free swarm through even very dense woods,’ wrote Zhou in a blog post.

The challenge, he said, was balancing competing demands: the need for small, lightweight machines, but with high-computational power, and plotting safe trajectories without greatly prolonging flight time.

Since these drones do not rely on any outside infrastructure, such as GPS, swarms could be used during natural disasters.

For example, they could be sent into earthquake-hit areas to survey damage and identify where to send help, or into buildings where it’s unsafe to send people.

It’s certainly possible to use single drones in such scenarios, but a swarm approach would be far more efficient, especially given limited flight times.

Another possible use is having the swarm collectively lift and deliver heavy objects.

There’s also a darker side: swarms could be weaponised by military forces, just as remote-piloted single drones are today. 

The Pentagon has repeatedly expressed interest and is carrying out its own tests.

‘Military research is not shared with the rest of the world just openly, and so it’s difficult to imagine at what stage they are with their development,’ Enrica Soria, a roboticist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, who was not involved in the research, told AFP.

But advances shared in scientific journals could certainly be put to military use.

Drone swarms have been tested in the past, but either in open environments without obstacles, or with the location of those obstacles programmed in. 

The palm-sized robots were purpose-built, with depth cameras, altitude sensors and an on-board computer. The biggest advance was a clever algorithm that incorporates collision avoidance, flight efficiency and coordination within the swarm

‘This is the first time there’s a swarm of drones successfully flying outside in an unstructured environment, in the wild,’ Ms Soria said, adding the experiment was ‘impressive.’

For Ms Soria, it could only be a few years before we see such drones deployed in real-life work. 

First, though, they will need to be tested in ultra-dynamic environments like cities, where they’ll constantly come up against people and vehicles.

Regulations will also need to catch up, which takes additional time, Ms Soria said.

HOW CLOSE IS A NEAR MISS BETWEEN AIRCRAFT AND DRONES?

Near miss is a common term used to describe encounters between different airborne vehicles.

Governed by Airprox, there is no specific distance stated, instead it is gauged by the opinions of the pilot, air traffic controller and the drone operator. 

Earlier this year a ‘near-miss’ report was filed between a police drone and two fighter jets travelling at 520 mph.

Governed by Airprox, there is no specific distance stated, instead it is gauged by the opinions of the pilot, air traffic controller and the drone operator

The Devon and Cornwall officer was convinced there would be a collision as the military jet came into view.

The Airprox board reported the 13lbs device was flying at an altitude of around 300ft when the pilot heard a fast jet approaching.

The F-15 pilot, who was flying at an altitude of 500ft, could not see the drone but the drone pilot said the risk of a collision was ‘high’.  

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The Gadget Market Keeps Generating Billions for Manufacturers

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Hardware and software technology has been on an ongoing stage of evolution for more than five decades. People of all ages and backgrounds have at some point purchased gadgets of all shapes and sizes and for all kinds of activities, from Walkman portable cassette players to iPods and from Casio electronic watches to smartwatches. These purchases have given manufacturers like Apple, Sony or Samsung the ability to establish themselves in the market, create powerful brand names and reinvest their funds in new technologies.

Everyone Uses Some Kind of Gadget

People rely on technology for many of their daily activities. Laptops and mobiles are at the top of the preference list, as people can use them in order to work, play games, find information about online casino bonuses, or plan their holidays. Just with a few clicks of a button or a few taps on the screen, people can instantly find information without having to take one step. There are also those who use the above devices or devices similar to them, in order to exercise, to find new friends, to find their destination in unfamiliar cities or regions and to ask the AI virtual assistance of every operating system for instructions.

 

High-Tech Gadgets Are Always in High Demand

Gaming, computing and communications have taken over a big piece of the electronics market pie, but modern gadgets can offer people a lot more than that. In many electronics stores, one can find gadgets that can help their users manage their weight, gadgets that help you sleep or gadgets that can help with one’s personal hygiene. The important thing is to avoid buying things you do not really need just because they look cool.

An example of a gadget that people are going crazy about is the green iPhone 13 Pro. The moment Apple announced a price drop for one of its best-selling products, customers started standing in line in order to buy it. It is not the first time this has happened, of course, but now that people have started to retail-shop again, the queues at stores selling Apple products are back to being endless. Functionality-wise, the green phone is exactly the same as the functionality of the other iPhone 13 Pro versions, so if one already owns this model, then buying the green phone just because it is green would not really make much sense, even if the consumer can afford to buy it.

 

Know What You Are Buying

When it comes to gadgets, consumers always expect a lot more from a product before they buy it. Some buy a smartwatch and expect it to offer as many things as the gadgets the Batman uses in the movies or in comic books. Others buy an iPhone and expect its battery to last forever just because people say that Apple’s products have a higher battery life than that of products marketed by other manufacturers. However, every product has its limitations and consumers need to take that into account before purchasing it, regardless if it is a phone, a laptop or smart glasses.

 

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Apple Podcasts Update Enables Annual Subscriptions – PCMag

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Apple this week unveiled a host of fresh podcast tools for managing storage across devices, enabling annual subscriptions, and allowing creators to more easily distribute content through third-party providers.

With the release of iOS 15.5, iPadOS 15.5, and macOS 12.4, podcasters can now present annual subscription plans(Opens in a new window) alongside monthly offerings through the new plan picker, which appears when listeners tap “Subscribe” or “Try Free” on a show or channel with a subscription option. Annual plans are selected by default.

To make the move from monthly to annual subscription, open the Apple Podcasts app and navigate to Listen Now > Account > Manage Subscriptions, then choose your preferred program and upgrade to a 12-month plan. Changes can be made on a per-podcast basis. The picker also displays how much listeners can save with an annual subscription (if lower than the monthly alternative).

While you’re at it, check out Apple’s new automatic download preferences, available through your iDevice Settings app. Open the Podcasts tab and tap Automatically Download to choose how many episodes are saved for offline streaming: a certain number per show, all recent episodes, all new episodes, or none. Customize individual shows by tapping “…” on a program page, opening the Settings, and selecting a preference from Automatically Downloaded.

Users will be prompted to remove automatically downloaded episodes that don’t meet the newly selected criteria; those that were manually downloaded or saved will not be removed, though the app does recommend removing old downloads to free up storage space.

Recommended by Our Editors

Apple also introduced a new feature for podcast creators: Delegated Delivery(Opens in a new window) aims to save creators time and energy by letting authorized platforms publish free and premium episodes to Apple Podcasts on their behalf. Starting this fall, creators can use their favorite hosting providers’ dashboards to schedule the release of exclusive, early access, bonus, and ad-free content using WAV, FLAC, and MP3 files. Initial partners include Acast, ART19, Blubrry, Buzzsprout, Libsyn, Omny Studio, and RSS.com; more providers will be “announced in the future.”

While anyone can utilize the new feature—free to all creators through Apple Podcasts Connect—to publish gratis shows, a $19.99 annual Apple Podcasters Program(Opens in a new window) membership is required to share premium shows and episodes. Creators can check support for Delegated Delivery via the Hosting Providers page(Opens in a new window); interested providers, meanwhile, can contact Apple for more information.

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Ecobee releases two new smart thermostats with a classic glass face look – MobileSyrup

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A recent leak suggested that Ecobee might be working on two new smart thermostats. Now the Toronto-based company has officially announced its new Smart Thermostat Premium and Smart Thermostat Enhanced.

“Today’s introduction of Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium and Ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced pushes the boundaries of the category to improve comfort, home health, and security, while continuing to deliver the energy saving features synonymous with ecobee.” reads the company’s press release.

Both of the new devices feature radar, which Ecobee says is its most advanced sensor technology to date, along with improved occupancy and motion detection and a 50 percent larger display that boasts Ecobee’s new UI (user interface). The Smart Thermostat Premium and Enhanced have been outfitted with a “stunning glass face and smooth waterfall edges” for a classic look and feel, whereas the updated radar can now detect motion from further away. The new radar, unlike an infrared sensor, is hidden inside the thermostat, providing a clean look for the device on your wall.

Both the new devices can be controlled with your Apple Watch or by integrating them with Apple Homekit+. What makes the Premium version better, however, is that it now shows the indoor air quality carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, and relative humidity with alerts to warn you if air quality inside your house is poor. The Thermostat will also share tips like ‘open a window’ to improve indoor air quality.

“Smart Thermostat Premium and Smart Thermostat Enhanced are Ecobee’s first products to be paper manual-free with a mobile-only approach to installation,” reads the Toronto-based company’s news release.

Both new smart thermostats are now available to order in Canada via Ecobee’s website. Follow the links to check out the Smart Thermostat Premium and Smart Thermostat Enhanced, available for $329.99 and $239.99, respectively.

Image credit: Ecobee

Source: Ecobee

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