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Autonomous Air Taxis Will Take Off in 2017, but Won’t Go Far

Larry Page and other entrepreneurs want to let robotic pilots whisk you away

3 min read
Photo-illustration: Edmon de Haro
Photo-illustration: Edmon de Haro

In the future, the joke goes, airliners will each have a pilot and a dog. The dog will be there to bite the pilot if he touches the controls, and the pilot will be there to feed the dog. It’s no joke, though, when NASA scientists begin entertaining [PDF] the idea of replacing the copilot with a wideband connection to a ground controller. Who will take over the plane should the pilot become incapacitated? Nor is it a joke to carry the argument to its logical conclusion and do away with the pilot altogether.

It’s a beguiling vision. An autonomous airplane reliable enough to be trusted by passengers and air-safety regulators could save not just on salaries but also on the cost of managing the glitch-prone minuet by which well-rested flight crews are united with the planes they’re supposed to fly. That logistical problem will get harder as the pilot shortage worsens, and it will be hardest of all for short-hop air service, where the pilot-to-passenger ratio is high.

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AI Could Analyze Speech To Help Diagnose Alzheimer’s

What if a quick voice sample, easily taken at home, could help identify a patient with Alzheimer’s?

4 min read
An elderly woman at home talks on the phone in front of a computer, holding a cup of coffee
iStockphoto

Alzheimer’s disease is notoriously difficult to diagnose. Typically, doctors use a combination of cognitive tests, brain imaging, and observation of behavior that can be expensive and time-consuming. But what if a quick voice sample, easily taken at a person’s home, could help identify a patient with Alzheimer’s?

A company called Canary Speech is creating technology to do just that. Using deep learning, their algorithms analyze short voice samples for signs of Alzheimer’s and other conditions. Deep learning provider Syntiant recently announced a collaboration with Canary Speech, which will allow Canary to take a technology that is mostly used in doctor’s offices and hospitals into a person’s home via a medical device. While some research has found deep learning techniques using voice and other types of data to be highly accurate in classifying those with Alzheimer’s and other conditions in a lab setting, it’s possible the results would be different in the real world. Nevertheless, AI and deep learning techniques could become a helpful tool in making a difficult diagnosis.

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Medal of Honor Goes to Microsensor and Systems Pioneer

The UCLA professor developed aerospace and automotive safety systems

3 min read
Photo of a man in a blue jacket in front of a brick wall.
UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

IEEE Life Fellow Asad M. Madni is the recipient of this year’s IEEE Medal of Honor. He is being recognized “for pioneering contributions to the development and commercialization of innovative sensing and systems technologies, and for distinguished research leadership.”

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Rohde & Schwarz

In this webinar you will learn more about solutions for high test speeds and throughput as well as how to cover multiple tests with one set-up.

Speaker:

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