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How to Build a Green City

Shanghai hopes to build the world’s first truly sustainable city

10 min read
How to Build a Green City
Photo: Arup

For the next three years, much of the world’s ­attention will be directed toward China and its two biggest cities, Beijing, home to the 2008 Olympics, and Shanghai, site of a World Expo in 2010. For now though, these cities are often known for something else: pollution.

No visitor returns without remarking on it. “The sky was a yellow haze the whole time,” is a typical comment, or “It looked like rain every day, but it was just the pollution.” Noon can be indistinguishable from dusk. Car headlights gleam through the smog, disclosing the very traffic that causes much of it. The blog “Mad About Shanghai” maintains an “Oriental Pearl Tower Visibility Index,” named for the shapely television tower on the city’s skyline, the third-tallest man-made structure in the world. The index is a scale of one to five, where five represents, in the blogger’s words, “What Tower—I can’t see a freakin’ thing!” By April of this year, the government had twice issued its most severe Air Pollution Index rating, which advises, “The aged and patients should stay indoors.”

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Video Friday: Humanoid Soccer

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
Humans and human-size humanoid robots stand together on an indoor soccer field at the beginning of a game

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
ICRA 2023: 29 May–2 June 2023, LONDON

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Computing With Chemicals Makes Faster, Leaner AI

Battery-inspired artificial synapses are gaining ground

5 min read
Array of devices on a chip

This analog electrochemical memory (ECRAM) array provides a prototype for artificial synapses in AI training.

IBM research

How far away could an artificial brain be? Perhaps a very long way off still, but a working analogue to the essential element of the brain’s networks, the synapse, appears closer at hand now.

That’s because a device that draws inspiration from batteries now appears surprisingly well suited to run artificial neural networks. Called electrochemical RAM (ECRAM), it is giving traditional transistor-based AI an unexpected run for its money—and is quickly moving toward the head of the pack in the race to develop the perfect artificial synapse. Researchers recently reported a string of advances at this week’s IEEE International Electron Device Meeting (IEDM 2022) and elsewhere, including ECRAM devices that use less energy, hold memory longer, and take up less space.

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Designing Fuel Cell Systems Using System-Level Design

Modeling and simulation in Simulink and Simscape

1 min read
Designing Fuel Cell Systems Using System-Level Design

Design and simulate a fuel cell system for electric mobility. See by example how Simulink® and Simscape™ support multidomain physical modeling and simulation of fuel cell systems including thermal, gas, and liquid systems. Learn how to select levels of modeling fidelities to meet your needs at different development stages.