Wind Power in Paradise

How an international team of engineers brought wind power to the Galápagos Islands

15 min read
Wind Power in Paradise
Photo: San Cristóbal Wind Project

img Photo: San Cristóbal Wind Project

A gentle breeze blows across the harbor of San Cristóbal, the easternmost island in the Galápagos archipelago. Sea lions bask on the beach under the equatorial sun, and blue-footed boobies dive for anchovies in the Pacific waters. A round brown finch swoops down from a prickly-pear cactus, flutters in midair for an instant, and then lands on my head.

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A First: An AI System Has Been Named An Inventor

A patent was granted that lists it as the creator of a food container

4 min read
A photo-illustration of a robotic hand holding a light bulb against a starry sky.

The South African patent office made history in July when it issued a patent that listed an artificial intelligence system as the inventor.

The patent is for a food container that uses fractal designs to create pits and bulges in its sides. Designed for the packaging industry, the new configuration allows containers to fit more tightly together so they can be transported better. The shape also makes it easier for robotic arms to pick up the containers.

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Making Driverless Cars More Expressive

Exaggerated stopping movements help pedestrians read autonomous cars’ minds

4 min read
autonomous cars and pedestrians in city scene

Judging whether it's safe to cross the often road involves a complex exchange of social cues between pedestrian and driver. But what if there’s no one behind the wheel? As self-driving cars become more common, helping them communicate with human road users is crucial. Autonomous vehicle company Motional thinks making the vehicles more expressive could be the key.

When he’s waiting at a cross walk, Paul Schmitt, chief engineer at Motional, engages in what he calls the “glance dance”—a rapid and almost subconscious assessment of where an oncoming driver is looking and whether they’re aware of him. “With automated vehicles, half of that interaction no longer exists,” he says. “So what cues are then available for the pedestrian to understand the vehicles’ intentions?”

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Electric utility infrastructure habitually falls prey to overgrown Right-of-Way, high winds, and harsh weather. Impactful events causing outages are increasing in frequency, and need to be endured without major disruptions in electric service. This webinar will discuss the application of covered aerial conductor to "harden" the electric utility grid so that unpredictable events don't result in unsustainable outages.


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