WHAT'S NEW THIS WEEK?
1. Using a new VR system, you may share sights while traveling without getting VR sickness.
A virtual reality (VR) remote collaboration system was developed by researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University that enables Segway users to communicate not just what they see, but also the sensation of acceleration as they move. A user on a customized wheelchair wearing a VR headset can receive feedback from riders equipped with cameras and accelerometers about their experiences. User surveys revealed a considerable decline in VR sickness, indicating a better experience for tasks requiring distant collaboration. Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have developed a system which lets users share not only what they see, but the sensation of movement as well. This was fed back via the internet to a remote user wearing a VR headset on a modified wheelchair, with separate motors attached to the wheels. As the Segway accelerated, so did the wheelchair, allowing remote users to not only see the same scenery, but feel the same acceleration. The Segways can be used in large warehouse facilities, factories, and construction sites.
2. Courtroom witnesses automatic speaker recognition technology performing better than human listeners.
If a speaker on an audio recording is a specific known speaker, for instance, if the defendant is the speaker on a recording of an intercepted phone call, it is a crucial question in many court cases. In most English-speaking countries, expert testimony is only admissible if it will assist the judge or jury to make a decision. UK, Australia and Chile researchers have compared the accuracy of speaker-identification by individual listeners (like judges or jury members) with a forensic voice-comparison system. The research team was made up of forensic data scientists, legal scholars, experimental psychologists, and phoneticians, based in the UK, Australia, and Chile.
Dr. Kristy A Martire, School of Psychology at the University of New South Wales, said she was “surprised” when her computer’s voice-comparison system performed better than all the other listeners. Professor Gary Edmond, Law School of NSW, said, “Identifying unfamiliar speakers by listeners is unexpectedly difficult and much more error-prone than judges and others have appreciated”.
3. Increasing the lifespan of battery packs for electric vehicles by charging lithium-ion cells at varied rates now a possibility
Researchers from Stanford University have developed a new technique to prolong the life of lithium-ion battery packs and reduce the damage caused by fast charging. The research, published Nov. 5 in IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, shows how actively managing the amount of electrical current flowing to each cell in a battery pack can minimize wear and tear. The key is to tailor charging rates to the unique capacity of each cell to stave off failure. Initial simulations suggest batteries managed with the new technology could handle at least 20% more charge-discharge cycles, even with frequent fast charging, which puts extra strain on the battery. “If not properly tackled, cell-to-cell heterogeneities can compromise the longevity, health, and safety of a battery pack and induce an early battery pack malfunction,” said Onori, who is an assistant professor of energy science engineering at the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability.
Part of the impetus for the new research traces back to a 2020 announcement by Tesla, the electric car company, of work on a “million-mile battery.” This would be a battery capable of powering a car for 1 million miles or more (with regular charging) before reaching the point where, like the lithium-ion battery in an old phone or laptop, the EV’s battery holds too little charge to be functional. A battery that can still hold a charge after thousands of recharges could also ease the way for electrification of long-haul trucks, and for adoption of so-called vehicle-to-grid systems, in which EV batteries would store and dispatch renewable energy for the power grid.”
It was later explained that the million-mile battery concept was not really a new chemistry, but just a way to operate the battery by not making it use the full charge range,” Onori said. Related research has centered on single lithium-ion cells, which generally don’t lose charge capacity as quickly as full battery packs do.Intrigued, Onori and two researchers in her lab—postdoctoral scholar Vahid Azimi and Ph.D. student Anirudh Allam—decided to investigate how inventive management of existing battery types could improve performance and service life of a full battery pack, which may contain hundreds or thousands of cells.
4. Paris, Singapore, Rome all set for urban air transportation
Volocopter, a German manufacturer of helicopters, raised 182 million dollars, which will assist the tech company in establishing the public infrastructure required to create an ecosystem for urban air transportation. By 2024, the Bruchsal, Germany-based business hopes to launch eVTOL air taxi services in Paris, Singapore, and Rome. The business is awaiting the accreditations and approvals needed for air taxi trips. A few weeks ago, a crewed test flight of the Volocity eVTOL was conducted from a vertiport in Rome to simulate the experience of flying between the city and the airport. Small flights like this one will be possible on particular routes once Volocopter is certified.
5. Twitter CEO makes bolder moves before US election
Twitter’s CEO, Elon Musk, stated a few days ago that the social media platform will not allow banned accounts to be restored before the US midterm elections. It is anticipated that the approaching midterm elections in North America will determine the country’s political future. Internet users were worried that the new CEO will reinstate the accounts of certain famous and powerful individuals who had been banned from the Twitter site due to their controversial words or activities on the social media platforms. This includes the Twitter account of the former US President Donald Trump, who was banned from Twitter for encouraging the attack on the Capitol building last year in an effort to rig the 2020 election.