The October 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

iCandy: Better Robot Bartenders and More Tipsy Tech

Also featuring a bordeaux battery, autonomous brewmasters and cork-less wine pours

1 min read
iCandy: Better Robot Bartenders and More Tipsy Tech
Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

Photo: Enviro-Cool
The V-Tex chiller from Enviro-Cool can bring a bottle of champagne or any other beverage from room temperature to 5 °C in under a minute. The key to this quick cooling was figuring out how to chill wine while preventing the liquid closest to the inside surface of the bottle or can from freezing before the rest of the liquid cools down. The device’s developers came up with an algorithm that tells the machine how much and how fast to spin—not shake—a particular container so that its contents are cooled evenly. What’s more, the spinning won’t cause carbonated drinks to fizz when they’re opened.

The Conversation (0)

From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
Vertical
Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush
Yellow

Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

Keep Reading ↓Show less