Friday, April 5, 2019

A team of elementary school students from Essex, U.K., survived two rounds of stiff competition that included secondary school students and will compete at the end of the month in the world finals of the Vex IQ Challenge, in Louisville, KY (Dean Kamen, Jersey City, Oct 2009). And we couldn’t be more proud of them—one of the team’s five winning members is the 11-year-old son of TTI/V member Ben Addley, of the U.K. Ministry of Defense. We’ll hear more about the robot the kids built at our June meeting. Meanwhile, follow them on Twitter (@NRoboteers) or at or their team blog.
Speaking of youngsters (well, maybe not quite that young!), how can we improve the collaboration between young, start-up companies and older, more-established organizations? Let’s find out together. Please complete our brief TTI/Vanguard: Start-Up and Large Organization Collaboration Survey. Participants will receive our research findings and contribute to the growing synergy among organizations.
It’s that time again: GPS rollover (Per Enge, Phoenix, Dec 2003; Charlie Trimble, Toronto, Apr 2002). It happens every 1,024 weeks (shades of .COM files, IPv4, and Y2K). But we’re sure it’s fine; who uses GPS these days anyway?
Andreessen–Horowitz (Ben Horowitz and Len Kleinrock, San Francisco, Dec 2017; Benedict Evans, San Francisco, Dec 2015) has decided to leave the sunny shores of venture capitalism for the icy waters of registered investment advisement. What’s motivating the VC-to-RIA shift? A desire to bet bigger on cryptocurrencies—especially Coinbase (Peter Van Valkenburgh, San Francisco, Dec 2017)—than VCs are allowed to do.
Quick Hits

It makes sense to study supercharged proteins on supercomputers, one of which was the Texas Advanced Computing Center’s Stampede2 (field trip, Austin, Feb 2016). Mainly researchers are looking at red blood cells (Amanda Randles, San Diego, Feb 2015).
We’ve seen 3-D-printed prosthetic arms (Jon Schull, San Francisco, Dec 2014) and 3-D-printed ears (Larry Bonassar, San Jose, Feb 2012). How about a transparent, 3-D-printed skull that provides a bird’s-eye (hawk’s-eye?) view into the internal machinations of a mouse’s cogitation?
You know Bay Area rents are out of control when startups are moving to New York City for its more “affordable office space.”
We’re happy to see Northrop Grumman's B-21 Stealth Bomber is on course. The U.S. Air Force announced it plans a procurement of as much as $5.9 billion over the next five years.
Have you ever worried about those periodic updates delivered to your computer whenever the manufacturer thinks they’re needed? Your fears were realized recently if you have an Asus. Hackers injected malware into thousands of computers via the company’s update tool. A patch has been issued, but of course it needs to be trusted too. (Bruce Schneier, Washington, D.C., Sep 2018; Jason Hong, Washington, D.C., Sep 2017; Bill Cheswick, Austin, Feb 2004)
NASA’s new constantly deformable airplane wing is composed of thousands of tiny triangles of matchstick-like struts that self-adjust to each stage of flight. (Vytas Sunspiral, Atlanta, Feb 2014; Pamela Clark, Santa Monica, Dec 2007; Julia Greer, San Francisco, Dec 2015)
Vivienne Ming (Jersey City, Oct 2013) has been named one of the “8 A.I. Entrepreneurs to Watch.” Of course, the TTI/V community has been watching Vivienne for years, inspired by the way she puts her technical prowess in service to her desire for a better world.
Using a couple of stickers on the road, researcher’s at Tencent’s Keen Labs were able to direct a Tesla into oncoming traffic lanes. (George Hotz, Berkeley, Mar 2019)
… and yet, Stanford researchers taught a sports car to take flawless racetrack turns.
Plants are great at responding to the presence of a toxic chemical (just ask RoundUp maker Monsanto). Yet a University of Melbourne chemical engineer has coaxed lotus blossoms to absorb and incorporate fluorescent metal-organic frameworks into their vascular structure and differentially glow when in the presence of acetone vs water. MIT’s Michael Strano (Charlotte, Dec 2010), who has engineered spinach plants to detect explosives, comments: “It’s long overdue that we start to look at plants as the starting point of technology.”
If Elvis Cao (Berkeley, Mar 2019) is looking for a source of carbon dioxide for his HI-Light solar fuel reactor, perhaps he should turn to Carbon Engineering, which claims to be developing an efficient strategy to concentrate and sequester the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere.   

Transparent wood (Tian Li, Washington, D.C., Sep 2018) is getting a temperature-control upgrade with the infusion of polyethylene glycol.

"It is not enough to live together in peace, with one race on its knees."
Daniel H. Wilson, Robopocalypse

Author: Steven Cherry

Director of TTI/Vanguard, “a unique forum for senior-level executives that links strategic technology planning to business success. In private conferences that are part classroom, part think-tank, and part laboratory, its members—corporate and government leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers, and academics—explore emerging and potentially disruptive technologies.”

Twenty years experience as a technology journalist and editor, at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Founded the award-winning podcast series, Techwise Conversations covering tech news, tech careers and education, and the engineering lifestyle. Teaches an intensive writing class as an adjunct instructor at NYU. Previously taught essay writing and creative writing at The College of New Rochelle.