Sunday, May 17, 2020

Have you seen the agenda for Ubiquitous AI, our first digital-only conference? Find out what is happening with TTI/Tuesdays in June: 14 speakers, 2 virtual field trips, plenty of Q&A. We are committed to bringing you digital-only content and networking for as long as necessary - and we are also impatient to see each of you in person as soon as we can.

By now, you have likely noticed that we’re releasing our podcasts on Tuesdays. This week’s was a conversation with Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Robert Green on what geneticists can contribute to living with the coronavirus. Next week’s conversation will be with Joshua Weitz, a scientist at Georgia Tech who has written about a new idea for sending workers back to work safely.

In 2017, an interstellar object visited our solar system. Now an MIT researcher wants TTIV member firm NASA to create a “dynamic orbital slingshot for rendezvous with interstellar objects” i.e., to send tiny satellites equipped with solar sails out to look for them before they arrive (Erika DeBenedictis, Vienna, Jul 2013). Once spotted, the sail would power up, the satellite would chase the interstellar object, and hopefully tag it with a CubeSat (Jordi Puig-Suari, Boston, Apr 2017).

On the other hand, outer space recently reminded us it isn’t a friendly companion by hurtling a 20-ton piece of debris at us, passing over Los Angeles and New York City before missing Africa and safely slamming into the Atlantic Ocean.

Worried about China’s influence on the development of 5G? Join the crowd. Google, Samsung, Cisco, AT&T, Vodafone, and 26 other firms “urge research into radio access networks (RAN) that would move 5G infrastructure away from expensive proprietary hardware dominated by China,” according to an article in the South China Morning Post (which is, interestingly, an English-language paper published in Hong Kong and owned by Alibaba). The 31 companies have now formed a group called the Open RAN Policy Coalition.

They’re not interior designers anymore, they’re social-distancing consultants.

Twitter is ready for members of its global workforce to continue working from home indefinitely. Per the head of HR, “Opening offices will be our decision; when and if our employees come back will be theirs.” Will other tech firms follow suit, thereby forever altering the nature of professional work? (Laura Forlano, Vancouver, Oct 2010)

For 2020 and 2021 there will be a new Gordon Bell Special Prize for HPC-Based COVID-19 Research to recognize “outstanding research achievements that use high performance computing applications to understand the COVID-19 pandemic.” (The fourth in our new podcast series, “Coronavirus and Data Science: A Conversation with Anthony Goldbloom,” is right on point.)

Singapore will deploy robot guard dogs to enforce social distancing in its parks. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but we’re getting there! (Marc Raibert, Brooklyn, Jul 2016)

The flip side of privacy debates about contact tracing is, what if you want to tell tracers where you were the past few days but can’t remember? Sixteen-year-old inventor Syu Kato has designed an iPhone app that uses GPS so you can keep your own records of your recent whereabouts. (See the recent podcast: “Privacy in the Age of Coronavirus: A Conversation with Stephen Wicker.”)

Remember Anouk Wipprecht’s (Atlanta, Feb 2014) dress that changed color when someone got too close at a party? A company that sells wristbands that will buzz or light up when co-workers aren't maintaining social distance has been selling “tens of thousands” of them to workplaces. (Marco Della Torre, San Francisco, Dec 2013; Deborah Estrin, Jersey City, Oct 2009)

Power generation from renewables is set to outpace coal in the U.S., for the first time ever. Imagine how much better renewables would do if a new University of Surrey design for a super-capacitor works out?

In a classic unintended consequence, while having fewer airplanes in the air is a good thing in terms of their carbon footprint, it’s also making weather forecasting less reliable, because we’re now lacking the weather data provided by the thousands of sensors that ride along on our flights. (Anne Miglarese, Vienna, Jul 2013)

May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive. Fennel Hudson 

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.

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