Remembering the password to your home Wi-Fi network and sharing it with friends or guests is one of the minor inconveniences of modern life. Many of us probably have our Wi-Fi network password written down somewhere, but it’s easy to misplace or lose that password. When someone comes over and needs to connect to your […] Read More… iDrop News
When your phone’s battery reaches that critically low point, recharging it seems to take eons. If it’s your electric car’s battery that’s low on juice, then having to wait for a charge might be more than an inconvenience if you’ve found yourself stuck somewhere miles from a charging station.
What if you didn’t have to wait hardly at all for your phone to be back in working order? Or to get your car back on the road? What if you only had to wait a few seconds to go from dead battery to that glorious 100 percent charged feeling?
Donald Highgate, director of research at Superdielectrics Ltd. and his team have set out to make that vision a reality. Highgate’s team has created a material that amps up the potential of supercapacitors – devices that can both charge up and release their energy rapidly. Their capacitance for storing energy is “super” because it’s both electrostatic and electromechanical. Therefore, supercapacitors (also called “ultracapacitors”) are kind of like a mashup of normal capacitors and a normal battery.
Highgate has teamed up with researchers from Bristol University and Surrey University to create a supercapacitor that’s not just better than traditional batteries, but that could one day be superior to lithium-ion batteries. So how do they plan to do it? Here are four things to know.
Eye On / Ion
The material Highgate’s team is using actually got its start as the basis for high-tech contact lenses. The soft, flexible material turned out to be really good at holding an electrostatic field — which was just what they needed, as that’s how supercapacitors produce their energy.
Not Your Standard Charger
Supercapacitors don’t create electricity in the traditional way though: they create electrostatic fields. They also only store comparatively small amounts of power; good for jump-starting batteries in devices like your phone, a car, or a train, but “jumping” a battery is not quite the same as providing a steady supply of power. They’re also quite costly and therefore aren’t likely to be a consumer’s first choice.
Other than cost, one of the prohibitive limitations of supercapacitors compared to lithium ion batteries is that they have poor energy denisity: they can’t hold very much energy, and they can’t hold it for a very long time. That’s why supercapacitors in their current form wouldn’t be great for keeping electric cars charged — you’d have to re-up every couple of miles.
Highgate and other researchers working on similar projects are extending the power and range of supercapacitors with materials that enhance these abilities. They don’t necessarily have to be special or rare materials, either: Materials like the soft polymers originally meant for contact lenses that Highgate’s team is using or the graphene-based materials that can super-charge a supercapacitor’s energy-storing power are fairly accessible.
Working With Lithium-ion
While the long term goal may be for amped-up supercapacitors to surpass lithium-ion batteries as the go-to power source for devices, cars, and assembly lines, in the short term it’s more likely that they’ll be used together. When working in tandem, the two create a very strong, reliable power supply — which is especially good news for electric vehicles.
Highgate’s polymer and the other souped-up supercapacitors are very much still emerging solutions that may not be available for years yet. But as the world strives to move toward renewable energy, we’ll need a broad range of sustainable, affordable, alternatives to our traditional energy networks. And faster phone chargers would be cool, too.
The Google of China, Baidu, has just released a white paper showing its latest development in artificial intelligence (AI): a program that can clone voices after analyzing even a seconds-long clip, using a neural network. Not only can the software mimic an input voice, but it can also change it to reflect another gender or even a different accent.
Previous iterations of this technology have allowed voice cloning after systems analyzed longer voice samples. In 2017, the Baidu Deep Voice research team introduced technology that could clone voices with 30 minutes of training material. Adobe has a program called VoCo which could mimic a voice with only 20 minutes of audio. One Canadian startup, called Lyrebird, can clone a voice with only one minute of audio. Baidu’s innovation has further cut that time into mere seconds.
While at first this may seem like an upgrade to tech that became popular in the 90s, with the help of “Home Alone 2” and the “Scream” franchise, there are actually some noble applications for this technology. For example: imagine your child being read to in your voice when you’re far away, or having a duplicate voice created for a person who has lost the ability to talk. This tech could also be used to create personalized digital assistants and more natural-sounding speech translation services.
However, as with many technologies, voice cloning also comes with the risk of being abused. New Scientist reports that the program was able to produce one voice that fooled voice recognition software with greater than 95 percent accuracy in tests. Humans even rated the cloned voice a score of 3.16 out of 4. This could open up the possibility of AI-assisted fraud.
Programs exist that can use AI to replace or alter — and even generate from scratch — the faces of individuals in videos. Right now, this is mostly being used on the internet to bring laughs by inserting Nicolas Cage into the “Lord of the Rings” series. But coupled with tech that can clone voices, we soon could be bombarded with more “fake news” of politicians doing uncharacteristic actions or saying things they wouldn’t.
It’s already very easy to fool swathes of people using just the written word or Photoshop; there could be even more trouble if these technologies were placed into the wrong hands.
On the rare occasion a list of all of the files within a folder are required, there is a simpler way than manually typing it out or creating a collage of Finder screenshots. AppleInsider reveals how to compile the list using TextEdit. AppleInsider – Frontpage News
Xiaomi announced the Redmi Note 5 Pro with dual cameras last week and today was the first flash sale of the phone. According to Xiaomi India, over 300,000 units sold out in less than three minutes, but enraged fans took over the Reply button on Twitter, explaining the phone was out of stock in 10 seconds, and some orders were even canceled after that. The first flash sale of the Redmi Note 5 Pro was boldly called “the biggest sale in the history of smartphones” by Xiaomi India. One user responded with “stop fooling us”, then explaining the site crashed “within a second” and…
Xiaomi launched the the Mi TV 4 for the first time in India last week at a price of Rs. 39,999 . It went on sale in the country today at 2PM. Xiaomi has announced that the TV got huge response from the customers, which was sold out in less than 10 seconds on Flipkart and Mi.com. However the company did not share the number of TVs sold during the sale, unlike it did for the Redmi Note 5 smartphones. Some users said that it sold out before they could see the buy button. [HTML1] The company has launched only the 55-inch 4K Mi TV 4 model in the country and it plans to bring more models based on the response. The Mi TV 4 has a 4.9mm slim frameless design and comes with Patch Wall, a UI layer on top of the Android OS that’s based on deep learning AI technology that can curate content based on recommendations. It brings all the content from the STB and seamlessly integrates right on your homepage. For content, Xiaomi has partnered with Hotstar, SunNxt, Voot, Sony LIV, Hungama and more. The company says that it comes with 500K+ hrs of content, and almost 80% of all content … Fone Arena
The latest teaser for Avengers: Infinity War debuted during the Super Bowl tonight, and features all your favorite heroes from the various Marvel properties that have been piling and interlocking for the last 10 years.
Black Panther is there, as is the original set of Avengers, as is the Guardians of the Galaxy crew, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, and Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man. This should be fun and very confusing! They’re all teaming up to face down Thanos, the evil space god last seen in a post-credits scene from 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. He was fully introduced as a primary villain in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but his status as the big bad guy of the extended universe was hinted at in a…
The Huawei Honor 7X was released in India recently, and the company has now revealed that the first flash sale saw the Amazon-exclusive device getting out of stock “within seconds.” If you were unlucky the first time around, it’s worth knowing that registrations for the second flash sale have started, and the sale is set for December 14. For registration as well as more information, head to the Amazon link below. Source | Amazon India