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Scientists Develop Robotic Lens That Can Zoom In When You Blink Twice

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The future is nigh. Rather, it seems the future is now. Scientists and engineers have been developing robotic technology for decades, and now we are finally beginning to see the amazing results.

Many factories are almost entirely automated now, cars are able to drive themselves, and surgeries can be performed by robots.

We have even seen bionic parts being implanted in humans to replace lost or damaged limbs. And now a set of robotic contact lenses may provide super sight. The Six Million Dollar Man may have just gone from Eighties television show to real life.

According to a report by The Independent, scientists have recently been able to create robot contact lenses which mimic the electrical signals in the human eye.

Soft Robotics

Soft robotics, what these lenses are considered, normally need to be pre-programmed or controlled manually. However, these lenses can be controlled with eye movement.

Photo: Wikimedia

Soft robotics is the subfile of robotics in which highly compliant materials are used in constructing moving parts which are able to move much like living organisms, enabling robots to adapt to their surrounding environment.

In order to control the device, these scientists, from the University of California in San Diego, have been able to harness the human eye’s natural electrical charge which is active even when the eye is closed.

They have been able to measure the electrical potential of the eye, also known as the electro-oculographic signal. The robotic lens responds to that signal.

Shengqiang Cai, a lead researcher from the university, reported to New Scientist that even if the eye is unable to see, as in a blind individual, people are still capable of moving the eyeball and the electro-ocular signal is still present.

This lens is made from polymers which are able to expand when electrical signals are present. It has five electrodes surrounding the eye which act like muscles to control the lens.

According to the research published by Advanced Functional Materials, the lens can be switched between “near vision mode” and “distance vision mode” by its user blinking twice, triggering a change in focal length. Within each vision mode, the lens is able to move following the eye’s direction.

Robotic Lens

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

In the paper titled, A Biomimetic Soft Lens Controlled by Electrooculographic Signal, the researchers wrote – “The four moving directions of the eyes could control the planar movements of the tunable lens and double blink of the eyes could trigger the focal length change of the lens.”

Scientists developed this study in the hopes that it could one day help develop a prosthetic eye as well as a camera that could be controlled by the human eye.

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Implications of This Technology

While it may seem like an episode of Black Mirror and might even conjure some theories about how this technology could be used for surveillance, it might also provide hope for people struggling with poor eyesight which have not been able to be corrected by conventional prescription glasses or surgery.

Bionic prosthetics, while still a fairly new field with much research and development ongoing, shows much promise in helping those with missing or non functioning body parts.

This robotic lens is not the first electrical device to help correct vision. The Arugs II was developed by a company called Second Sight over the last decade and is now approved by medicare in some states. It is a digital device implanted in the eye and programmed and controlled by an external apparatus.

JP is a social media and marketing specialist. He has a cum laude BA in Psychology from Kean University. He is an activist within the sociopolitical spectrum and a proponent for radical reform. He loves to write and produce Hip Hop and EDM. He is also a Deadhead.

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Study Shows Electric Cars Become Practically Useless In Cold Weather

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According to recent studies, cold temperatures significantly reduce the performance of electric cars, especially when it comes to battery life.

One study by AAA suggested that cold temperatures can reduce the range of the batteries in most electric cars by over 40 percent. It was also noted that the performance can be even worse when the interior heaters are used.

However, even electric car owners who live in hot regions are not safe, because high temperatures can also reduce battery range, although to a far lesser degree.

Luckily, this damage is not permanent, and the battery range returns to normal when average temperatures return, but even if that is the case, this would make electric cars unfeasible for a large portion of the population who live in areas where the temperature is not ideal.

Electric car owners have been discovering this fact over the years as they have attempted to drive their vehicles in extreme temperatures. Electric car owners are finding that their new vehicles are much more sensitive to temperature than the ones they owned before.

Electric Cars

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Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering, said that it is important for drivers of electric cars to understand that these vehicles have limitations in extreme climates, this way they are less likely to get caught off guard and stuck out in the cold when their car unexpectedly runs out of battery life.

In the study, AAA tested 2018 models for the BMW i3s, Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen e-Golf and the 2017 Tesla Model S 75D. Each of these cars has a minimum range of at least 100 miles per charge, but many dropped significantly when exposed to severe temperatures. The researchers used a machine called a dynamometer to test the cars.

Electric Cars

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A dynamometer is a measuring device that is built similar to a treadmill and is inside a climate-controlled cell. Once in the dynamometer, the researchers tested the cars running at different temperatures, 20 degrees, and 95 degrees, then compared how the cars performed under those circumstances with how they performed in a setting where the temperature was set at 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Electric Cars

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The researchers found that the driving range for these vehicles fell by 12 percent while driving in 20 degree temperatures. When the interior heater in the car was used, that range dropped to an incredible 41 percent of its normal capacity.

Meanwhile, when driving in 95 degree heat, the battery life for these vehicles dropped 4 percent on average. However, these numbers got worse if air conditioning was in use. When air condition was used in 90 degree heat, the expected battery life for these cars was reduced by 17 percent.

Tesla responded to the results in a statement, suggesting that the data they collected from their customers shows that there was only a 1 percent drop at 95 degrees, but the company refused to release their data for cold weather.

AAA stands by their results, saying that the study followed test procedures drawn up by the auto engineering trade group, SAE.

To mitigate the reduction in range caused by severe temperatures, AAA suggests that electric car owners warm their vehicles up while they are still plugged in.

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Engineer Creates First Ever Working Lightsaber With Plasma That Can Cut Through Steel

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James Hobson, a Canadian engineer and YouTuber based has created a filly functional lightsaber using plasma that can melt through metal. Hobson is known to his YouTube fans as “The Hacksmith” and he has accomplished incredible engineering feats in the past.

In a new video for Hacksmith Industries’ “Make It Real” series, Hobson shows how he was able to create the device. The video has already gathered over 12 million views. The lightsaber is attached to a portable backpack connected to a hilt that pumps out a constant stream of propane gas which. Once the gas is mixed with oxygen, it creates a beam of plasma that looks very similar to the lightsabers from the Star Wars franchise. The device burns at over 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which means that it can cut right through thick pieces of metal and steel.

In his video, Hobson also demonstrated how the color of the lightsaber can be changed by adding different salts to the mixture. For example, boric acid can make the beam green, while sodium chloride, more commonly known as table salt can turn it yellow. Calcium chloride will produce an amber color, while strontium chloride will turn the beam red.

“Even with all of our new equipment and capabilities, we’re still bound by the laws of thermodynamics. Well, theories say that plasma is best held in a beam by a magnetic field, which, scientifically, checks out. The issue is producing a strong enough electromagnetic field to contain a blade, well the lightsaber would have to be quite literally built inside a box coated in electromagnets, which turns it into a kind of useless science project,” Hobson explained in his video.

The device was incredibly expensive to make, the laminar nozzle alone cost about $4,000.

The lightsaber first appeared in the original Star Wars film and has since appeared in every Star Wars movie, with at least one lightsaber duel occurring in each main film installment. In 2008, a survey of approximately 2,000 film fans found it to be the most popular weapon in film history.

For the original Star Wars film, the film prop hilts were constructed by John Stears from old Graflex press camera flash battery packs and other pieces of hardware. The full sized sword props were designed to appear ignited onscreen, by later creating an “in-camera” glowing effect in post-production. The blade is a three-sided rod which was coated with a Scotchlite retroreflector array, the same type that is used for highway signs. A lamp was positioned to the side of the taking camera and reflected towards the subject through 45-degree angled glass so that the sword would appear to glow from the camera’s point of view.

(David McNew/Getty Images)

Animator Nelson Shin, who was working for DePatie–Freleng Enterprises at the time, was asked by his manager if he could animate the lightsaber in the live-action scenes of a film. After Shin accepted the assignment, the live-action footage was given to him. He drew the lightsabers with a rotoscope, an animation which was superimposed onto the footage of the physical lightsaber blade prop. Shin explained to the people from Lucasfilm that since a lightsaber is made of light, the sword should look “a little shaky” like a fluorescent tube. He suggested inserting one frame that was much lighter than the others while printing the film on an optical printer, making the light seem to vibrate.

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Lamborghini Releases GoKart Pro For Adults For $1,500

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Lamborghini has released a new electric go-kart in its typical black and yellow colors and they are relatively cheap at $1,500.

You might be too broke to afford the luxury famous sports car, however, the new electric go-kart from the Italian sports manufacturer is affordable and fast at 25 mph (40 km/h), which is faster than typical go-karts. Although, its not street legal here in the U.S. like its bigger brothers for different reasons. The new Lamborghini is built strictly for the race track and can fold up into the trunk of your car.

But don’t let laws stop you! Speed limits can be adjusted using a smartphone app and if you are going faster than the cop chasing you, you can zip off into an alleyway or the woods disappearing from his vision. Your brand new pocket lamborghini comes with a big bucket seat which holds a maximum passenger weight of 220 lb (100 kg.) This go-kart is also equip with an electric engine sporting a 432Wh battery, which gives you a maximum travel distance of about — 15.5 miles, or about 25 km – the equivalent of 62 laps around a 400-meter track.

Officially known as the Ninebot GoKart Pro Lamborghini Edition.

The go-kart is designed in partnership with Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, which owns a personal transporter company Segway-Ninebot, whom have teamed up with the Italian carmaker to bring consumers the Ninebot GoKart Pro Lamborghini Edition, electrek, reported.

The signature yellow racer with black wheels has a self-balancing Xiaomi scooter which propels it forward, whle its rear tires are high-traction rubber wheels for safe turning and drifting. Again, those coppers will never catch you in this baby with the ability to drift and make sharp turns, just watch out for the spike strip.

On top of all that, your new $1,500 play toy will have Ackermann steering, meaning that each wheel will have its own pivot to allow for sharp and accurate turning. Functional headlights will ensure that there won’t be any nasty collisions or spills on the raceway, while the sick rear wing on the kart will give it sharp aerodynamism and handling improvements.

Want additional features? Lamborghini has you covered, the kart also includes built-in Bluetooth speakers to allow you to play music or mabe you want the loudness  of a Lamborghini’s V8 and V12 piston engines, compared to the relatively silent sound of the kart’s electric motor.

“In addition, as a bonus, there is a program in the go-kart, which will ensure the release of loud noises, which will make not only the driver but also the surroundings reveal that there are beasts ‘under the hood’, in the form of a Lamborghini engine,” a press release from Xiaomi a Chinese tech giant that is popular among consumers in Latin America, Europe, and Asia due to its high-quality mid-range and budget Android smartphones.

The Chinese smartphone manufacturer also produces a range of other odd affordable tech products, ranging from sleek miniature washer dryers to electric toothbrushes, e-bikes and scooters, air conditioners and even rice cookers – as well as other eccentric internet-connected (IoT) devices that comprise Xiaomi’s expanding line of “smart lifestyle” products.

Now, you’ll be able to get your very own “Lamborghini” for the insanely low price of 9999 Chinese Yuan, or about $1,480, from the Mi Store. Tbat’s less than 100 payments of $150. Save up those pennies if you want to style with the Lamborghini go-kart. Although, though I hope you don’t mind paying in Chinese Yuan because that’s your only option to obtain this sweet ride.

The only reason you wouldn’t want to try this out is if you hate having fun. You can wattch a video below of the revealing of the product.

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