This week we are talking about world’s first robot delivery service launched in the UK, data stored as powder and more!

World’s First Robot Delivery Service Launched in the UK

woman picking a delivery from a robot
The robots will initially operate in Milton Keynes.

Starship Technologies announced ‘ the world’s first commercial rollout of autonomous package delivery on the ground, with hundreds of robots from Starship delivering packages straight to consumers’ front doors.’ The startup want to pioneer safe parcel delivery and give customers a possibility of tracking the whereabouts of their orders in real time. Customers will be able to monitor their parcel via an app and schedule delivery when and where suits them. You will be able to sign up to a subscription for only £7.99 per month.

The company launched the service in Milton Keynes already and is looking to bring their offering to the residents of Bay Area in the US before the end of 2018. Starship chose Milton Keynes as the first location to operate the service due to robot-friendly city infrastructure. They already have 20 machine employees, as well as remote drivers who will assist the robots if they were to encounter any problems. The robots are equipped with GPS, cameras and radars and they will be travelling through pavements at 4 miles per hour. Up unitl now, robots have been delivering food only in a few locations across the world. Substituting human couriers for robots is the next step in company growth. We must admit, it’s a truly revolutionary service – fully bespoke and secure, it will take the hassle out of online shopping. We are excited to see it take off and can’t wait to get in Bristol too!

Time to say goodbye to USB sticks?

Scientists at Ghent University in Belgium found a way to store data in a form of powder – and they vouch for it as being safer and more eco-friendly than USB sticks.

The innovators used multifunctional sequence-defined macromolecules as a storage medium. As they explained: ‘the data can be read by biochemical analysis which links the powder molecules to a website, map or app.’ They have also developed two pieces of software, Chemcoder and Chemreader to facilitate the process of encoding/decoding the binary data and reconstructing sequences from mass spectra to automate the process of chemical writing and reading. The scientists told Telegraph that they were inspired to create this technology by DNA and the way it stored genetic code.

At the moment, only short text and QR codes can be stored in the powder form, however, the inventors want to develop this technology further. They believe that this way of storing data will solve two major problems we face at the moment. Firstly, we’d be able to cut down on the amount of the extracted heavy metals (they are now necessary for manufacturing USB sticks and hard drives. Secondly, storing data in powder form can be more carbon-neutral, as we’d be able to move on from energy-consuming data servers.

AI Could Help Control Religious Violence

Researchers at the University of Oxford conducted a study to understand the reasons for religious violence. The research ‘combines computer modelling and cognitive psychology to create an AI system able to mimic human religiosity.’ The study focused on two cases of extreme religious violence – Northern Ireland Troubles and  2002 Gujurat riots of India.   The researchers created multiple of AI agents who identify with different religious groups, and relied heavily on cognitive psychology: ‘The team programmed these rules for cognitive interaction within their AI programme, to show how an individual’s beliefs match up with a group situation.’ The study revealed that religious violence is most likely to occur when people’s core religious values and beliefs are questioned and dramatically opposed. It is important to emphasize though that violence only occurred in 20% of such cases. The overarching conclusion of the study is that people are non-violent by nature, and generally in times of crisis, they come together.

Off the back of this study, the research team secured funding for a project with the Center for Modeling Social Systems in Kristiansand, Norway. The project will help the Norwegian government integrate refugees ‘by studying demographic shifts related to immigration and integration in Europe such as the Roma in Slovakia, and the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Lesbos to Norway.’

Imperial College London Hosts World’s First Lecture with “Holographic” Experts

ICL organised a special event for its students as a warm-up before deploying lectures with hologram professors wider. The Women in Tech evening hosted a panel of four experts – two of them were the in person, and the other 2 were real-time projections of US-based speakers; the experts were able to interact with each other. The university believes it is a more engaging way of presenting by remote lecturers and creates a ‘greater sense of presence.’ As Dr David Levefre explained:’The lecturers have a high-definition monitor in front of them which is calibrated so they can point at people and look them in the eye. They can really interact.”

What viewers can see are not actual holograms, but rather a projection on glass: “You project upon a glass screen, and a backdrop behind it uses software to give it an illusion of depth.” The company who created this technology, Arht Media, believes this is the solution of the future – it is cost-effective, requires less hassle to set up and a speaker who is in high demand can be projected in several rooms simultaneously.

The university is planning to initially use this technology in their business school, but the long-term plan is to deploy the technology across all departments to bring more value to their students’ academic experience.


About the author: I aspire to help clients connect the dots by offering an extensive and honest experience. I am passionate about digital and in prior roles have assisted C level executives to overcome the challenges posed by a fast-moving, disruptive business environment – I believe that people and not solely technology is imperative in instilling forward-thinking, sustainable business development.

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