The Alaskan Way Viaduct was a 60-year-old elevated two-layer highway in Seattle that couldn't handle earthquakes. To replace it, the Washington State Department of Transportation is digging a 2-mile long tunnel instead. The work began in 2013, and as any major construction project is likely to, it's hit a few snags. To show off the progress before drilling resumes, the Department of Transportation flew a drone through the tunnel between shifts:
In recent years, robots have steadily crept their way into the operating room, helping to perform procedures as humans direct their movements. Robotic devices in surgery have a lot of potential benefits; they can help reduce error rates and increase the efficiency of the surgeries. But developing a robotic device that can perform the surgery completely on its own has been challenging, especially for surgeries that involve soft tissue, where the dexterity of the surgeon's hands are vital.
Flying can be simple. While modern helicopters are a complex hodge-podge of parts, the basics are, well, basic: a spinning rotor that generates lift and provides forward momentum, another contra-rotating blade to keep the vehicle level, and a compartment for people to travel inside. Without the need to worry about human passengers, flying machines can be much simpler. In fact, as a team of researchers at ETH Zurich recently proved, a flying machine can be built with just one moving part.
Drones are usually behind the camera. The unmanned flying machines are perhaps best known as filmographers and spy planes, mechanical beasts training unblinking eyes on the ground below. But there is more to the craft than their ability to spy: when outfitted with LED lights and set to a live band, drone swarms themselves become the spectacle--a new high art. Sky high art.
Artificial intelligence promises to fundamentally change the way humans live. By replicating intelligence on any level, we can begin to automate all kinds of jobs and otherwise human tasks, shifting the economy and potentially eliminating the need for a flesh-and-blood workforce.