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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 21st May 2018

Image result for teresa may

The diagnosis of cancer and other diseases in the UK can be transformed by using artificial intelligence, Theresa May is to say.

The NHS and technology companies should use AI as a "new weapon" in research, the PM will urge in a speech later.

Experts say it can be used to help prevent 22,000 cancer deaths a year by 2033 while aiding the fight against heart disease, diabetes and dementia.

High-skilled science jobs will also be created, Mrs May is to pledge.

Speaking in Macclesfield, Mrs May will say: "Late diagnosis of otherwise treatable illnesses is one of the biggest causes of avoidable deaths.

"And the development of smart technologies to analyse great quantities of data quickly and with a higher degree of accuracy than is possible by human beings opens up a whole new field of medical research."

The prime minister wants to see computer algorithms sifting through patients' medical records, genetic data and lifestyle habits to spot cancer.

BBC health and science correspondent James Gallagher says Mrs May's plans do chime with excitement within medical science about the potential of using data and AI.

But our correspondent added there are many challenges ahead including creating the right infrastructure within the health service, separating hype and genuine innovation and ensuring the public's highly personal data is used responsibly.

More personalised treatment

Cancer Research UK says halving the number of lung, bowel, prostate and ovarian cancers diagnosed at an advanced stage could prevent thousands of deaths a year.

The prime minister will also unveil a new strategy to help older people remain healthy

Sir Harpal Kumar, chief executive officer of Cancer Research, described the government's plans as pioneering but added: "We need to ensure we have the right infrastructure, embedded in our health system, to make this possible."

Simon Gillespie, chief executive at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Using artificial intelligence to analyse MRI scans could spot early signs of heart disease which may be missed by current techniques.

"This could lead to a quicker diagnosis with more personalised treatment that could ultimately save lives."

Mrs May will also use her speech to announce a new target to ensure that five more years of people's lives will be healthy, independent and active by 2035.

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 21st May 2018

 

Image result for child on pc

Schools are to be given advice on how to disable a glitch that allows pupils sitting online spelling tests to right-click their mouse and find the answer.

It follows the discovery by teachers that children familiar with traditional computer spellcheckers were simply applying it to the tests.

The Scottish National Standardised Assessments were introduced to assess progress in four different age groups.

The government said the issue had only affected a "small number" of questions.

A spokesman said the issue was not with the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA) but with browser or device settings on some machines.

Former head teacher George Gilchrist tweeted about the issue after it emerged primary seven pupils were using the online spellchecker on the test.

He wrote: "SNSA P7 spelling. Pupils asked to correct spelling of words. P7 pupils worked out if you right click on your answer, the computer tells you if it is correct! Brilliant! 😂"

Skip Twitter post by @GilchristGeorge

George Gilchrist@GilchristGeorge

SNSA P7 spelling. Pupils asked to correct spelling of words. P7 pupils worked out if you right click on your answer, the computer tells you if it is correct! Brilliant! 😂

12:29 PM - May 16, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @GilchristGeorge

Introduced in 2017, the spelling test asks children to identify misspelt words.

However, on some school computers the words were highlighted with a red line. Pupils who right-clicked on the words were then able to access the correct spelling.

he web-based SNSA tool enables teachers to administer online literacy and numeracy tests for pupils in P1, P4, P7 and S3, which are marked and scored automatically.

Education Secretary John Swinney said they would give teachers "objective and comparable information" to help them identify pupils' specific needs.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: "A small number of questions in the P4, P7 and S3 writing assessment were affected by this issue.

"Advice is being given to schools about how to disable the spellchecking function.

"There is no pass or fail in the assessment, which is one element in a range of evidence a teacher will gather on a child or young person's progress."

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 21st May 2018

File:Mark Zuckerberg at the 37th G8 Summit in Deauville 018 square.jpg

Mr Zuckerberg previously answered two days of questions from US lawmakers

In a change of plan, the public will be able to watch Mark Zuckerberg's response to European Parliament leaders' privacy concerns.

The body's president, Antonio Tajani, has tweeted that tomorrow's 75-minute meeting would be livestreamed.

Earlier, news that the Facebook chief's meeting with the parliament's political group leaders would be in private, had been criticised.

The arrangement had been unfavourably compared to his Washington testimony.

I have personally discussed with Facebook CEO Mr Zuckerberg the possibilty of webstreaming meeting with him. I am glad to announce that he has accepted this new request. Great news for EU citizens. I thank him for the respect shown towards EP. Meeting tomorrow from 18:15 to 19:30

9:01 AM - May 21, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @EP_President

"It is disgraceful how Zuckerberg promises more transparency, but does not want to make public statements in the European Parliament. Facebook operates a public platform and therefore has to publicly take responsibility for its actions," said an online petition launched by the German Green Party's MEP Sven Giegold.

"Like the American citizens, we are entitled to a public hearing of Zuckerberg as well."

More than 30,000 people had signed support for his Change.org campaign.

"Pressure works!" Mr Giegold posted in response to the U-turn.

However, some politicians remain unhappy that the meeting is not open to more MEPs.

"This is not enough. We don't want a show, we need scrutiny by competent MEPs. This is how parliamentarism works," posted Austrian MEP Josef Weidebholzer., vice-president of the group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.

Facebook has repeatedly declined to allow British MPs to quiz Mr Zuckerberg about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which millions of users' personal data was shared with a political consultancy in breach of the social network's rules.

The data breach affected over one million UK Facebook users," tweeted Damian Collins - chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee - over the weekend.

"I think [we] should be able to question Mark Zuckerberg about this."

The European Parliament's webstream is due to be broadcast on the European Parliament's website between 18:15 and 19:30 local time (17:15 to 18:30 BST) on Tuesday.

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 16th May 2018

But AMD Rx580s, Vega 56s and Vega 64s are still a bit pricey

Nvidia graphics cards are finally back in stock at normal prices

Graphics cards are back on the menu!

Nvidia has confirmed that its range of PC graphics cards are finally back in stock and at (more or less) normal prices. 

For months, graphics cards bearing both Nvidia and AMD GPUs were either out of stock or available only at eye-watering prices because cryptocurrency miners were buying them in bulk, in some cases, straight from the factory gates. 

That left PC makers, enthusiasts and PC gamers with little choice but to either shell out or wait for prices to come back down to Earth. 

Writing on social media, the company announced that the 10-Series GeForce GTX GPUs are now available for ordinary buyers around the world.

"Inspired. Innovative. In-stock. GeForce GTX 10-Series GPUs are back on shelves at MSRP! #MadeToGame," the company wrote in a Tweet.

Depending on the model, the cards are now selling for manufacturer suggested retail prices and costing from $150 for the GTX 1050 to $800 for top-of-the-range GTX 1080s

Customers can purchase some of these cards straight from Nvidia. For instance, theForce GTX 1070 costs $449 and comes with immediate shipping.

However, the shipping dates of other models vary. While the Founders Edition is now selling for $549, it could take up to a week to ship. It is the same situation with the 6GB GTX 1060, which is priced at $299.

But buyers do have the option to purchase the cards from other retailers, with stocks at the usual places - Aria, eBuyer, Novatech, Box, Overclockers, Scan and others - returning to normal. 

For UK customers, the GTX 1070 costs £379 from Nvidia, with the 1080 costing £529. That is a saving of hundreds compared to the prices during March. 

However, not all customers are satisfied, noting that next-generation graphics cards from Nvidia are due out imminently. One Twitter user complained: "GPU prices are still above MSRP and it's close to next-gen launching."

However, it seems that the prices of AMD's Radeon Cards - which are arguably more popular among cryptocurrency miners - have not fallen quite so dramatically.

In the UK, prices for the AMD RX Vega 56 range between £500 to £600, while the price of RX 580 graphics cards average £300, compared to a launch price last year of just over £200. 

Source: v3.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 16th May 2018

Image result for facebook

Facebook says it deleted or added warnings to about 29 million posts that broke its rules on hate speech, graphic violence, terrorism and sex, over the first three months of the year.

It is the first time that the firm has published figures detailing the scale of efforts to enforce its rules.

Facebook is developing artificial intelligence tools to support the work of its 15,000 human moderators.

But the report suggest the software struggles to spot some types of abuse.

For example, the algorithms only flagged 38% of identified hate speech posts over the period, meaning 62% were only addressed because users had reported them.

By contrast, the firm said its tools spotted 99.5% of detected propaganda posted in support of Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and other affiliated groups, leaving only 0.5% to the public.

The figures also reveal that Facebook believes users were more likely to have experienced graphic violence and adult nudity via its service over the January-to-March quarter than the prior three months.

But it said it had yet to develop a way to judge if this was also true of hate speech and terrorist propaganda.

"As we learn about the right way to do this, we will improve the methodology," commented Facebook's head of product management, Guy Rosen.

Violent spike

Facebook broke down banned content into several categories:

  • graphic violence
  • adult nudity and sexual content
  • spam
  • hate speech
  • fake accounts

On the latter, the company estimates about 3% to 4% of all active users on Facebook are fake, and said it had taken 583 million fake accounts down between January and March.

The figures indicate graphic violence spiked massively - up 183% between each of the two time periods in the report.

It said that a mix of better detection technology and an escalation in the Syrian conflict might account for this.

Graphic violence graphic

A total of 1.9 million pieces of extremist content were removed between January and March, a 73% rise on the previous quarter.

That will make promising reading for governments, particularly in the US and UK, which have called on the company to stop the spread of material from groups such as Islamic State.

Terrorist propaganda graphic'Hate speech button' causes confusion

"They're taking the right steps to clearly define what is and what is not protected speech on their platform," said Brandie Nonnecke, from University of California, Berkeley's Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society.

But, she added: "Facebook has a huge job on its hands."

'Screaming out of the closet'

The complexity of that job emerges when considering hate speech, a category much more difficult to control via automation.

The firm tackled 2.5 million examples in the most recent period, up 56% on the October-to-December months.

Hate speech graphic

Human moderators were involved in dealing with the bulk of these, but even they faced problems deciding what should stay and what should be deleted.

"There's nuance, there's context that technology just can't do yet," said Alex Schultz, the company's head of data analytics.

"So, in those cases we lean a lot still on our review team, which makes a final decision on what needs to come down."

To demonstrate this, Mr Schultz said words that would be considered slurs if used as part of a homophobic attack had different meaning when used by gay people themselves. So, deleting all posts using a certain term would be the wrong choice.

Facebook said that 2.2 billion people used its service at least once a month as of March

"But how do you know I'm gay if you're reviewing my profile?" he asked.

"For me, I put it at the top of the profile - I've come screaming out of the closet, I am very openly gay.

"But that isn't true of everyone, and we can't know that. This is a very difficult problem."

Staggering samples

In an attempt to discover what it may have missed, the social network carried out random sampling.

It took an unspecified number of posts that had been viewed on Facebook, and made a note of how often a piece of content was in violation of its policies.

The results were troubling.

According to the sample, as many as 27 posts in every 10,000 contained some form of graphic violence. Given the 1.5 billion daily users of the service, that could means tens of millions of violent posts go unchecked every day.

The same technique estimated between seven to nine posts in every 10,000 contained adult nudity or sexual content.

The amount of terrorism-related material was too small to sample in this way, Mr Schultz said. And on hate speech, he said, the company lacked any "reliable data" on total volume.

"We can't currently measure how prevalent hate speech violations were on Facebook, because when we're asking our representatives to go and look, 'Is this hate speech, is this not?', it is very difficult to score that.

"We're making mistakes and we're trying to get better at measuring it."

'Privilege payroll'

But Dottie Lux, an event organiser in San Francisco, who campaigns against Facebook's perceived failure to combat the targeting of minority groups, said difficulty was no excuse.

 Dottie Lux is unconvinced by Facebook's efforts

"I'm running out of sympathy for 'This is really hard,' because it's really not new," she said.

"They find time to release dating apps and they find time to attach to my bank account, but they don't find time to figure out who their users are."

Ms Lux, who described herself to me as a "gay Jewish lady with a gay Jewish perspective", said relying on user reports to police hate speech was fundamentally flawed because it could be abused to silence others.

"You just give people with malicious intent the ability to act maliciously," she said.

Facebook spam graphic

Moderation army

Facebook remains coy about the make-up of its human moderation team.

It said it did try to make sure US-based workers handled incidents where an understanding of American culture was beneficial - likewise for incidents in other countries.

But Ms Lux feels the company needs to be more open.

"If you are hiring people who don't exist in certain social circles, different cultures, it's not going to be effective," she said.

"It's just going to perpetuate the same issue."

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 16th May 2018

Across the UK, small businesses are in something of a panic over GDPR. And among those worried about whether they will be ready for the new data protection laws are 650 firms based in Westminster.

I am talking about MPs - and there is worrying evidence that they and their staff may be getting poor advice.

The issue was raised in the Commons yesterday by Labour MP Chris Bryant.

He tweeted this: "Just raised a point of order on the ludicrous exaggerated advice to MPs on the General Data Protection Regulation that we should delete all casework information from before June 2018."

Mr Bryant told me that his staff had attended a GDPR training session organised by the House of Commons. It seems they were informed that the new law meant that they could not keep any information about constituency cases that had been completed. They came away with the impression that all data from before the last general election would have to be deleted.

The MP said this would make it impossible to do his job properly, comparing it to a doctor getting rid of all previous files on patients. "My constituents expect me to have their previous details when they visit."

It seems staff in some MPs' offices have already deleted old casework data, having been told that "all MPs are doing this".

But this morning, the Speaker responded to Chris Bryant's concerns, telling the House of Commons that it was not at all clear that the trainers had advised deletion of data.

MP Chris Bryant

"Despite vigorous inquiry yesterday by the House Authorities and the contractor commissioned by the House Authorities to support Members and their staff, no trace has been found by those responsible of such advice having been given."

Earlier, one Conservative MP told me that his staff had not seen any need for mass deletion. He showed me a letter from the chairman of the Commons Administration Committee relaying what seems like more measured advice from the information commissioner.

The letter includes this line: "The impact of the GDPR should be limited if you are compliant with the current laws and regulations."

That should be comforting, although I suspect some MPs will be nervously asking their staff to just check what their data policy has been over the years.

While the advice on issues such as how to respond to requests from constituents to erase data is reasonably complex, the letter quotes the Information Commissioner's Office as saying they are "not going to be looking at perfection, we're going to be looking for commitment".

Nevertheless, many MPs may have been tempted to take a safety first approach - just like all those firms that have sent you an email asking for your consent to remain on their mailing lists, when it probably was not necessary.

You may say that the very people who have been examining the data protection legislation should be better informed. But they are among many small businesses still struggling to make their way through the fog of confusing advice.

There have been plenty of warnings about the huge fines awaiting those who fall foul of GDPR - perhaps that message from the information commissioner about not looking for perfection straight away needs to be reinforced.

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 16th May 2018

Image result for school

The government has halted researchers and others from accessing personal information about UK schoolchildren, it has emerged.

The Department for Education said the step was a temporary move to modify the national pupil database's approval process.

It told the BBC that the step was required to be compliant with a shake-up of EU data privacy rules.

The law gives children and others new rights and comes into force on 25 May.

"The department takes the use of personal information and the implications of the General Data Protection Regulation very seriously," the DfE said in a statement.

"We've temporarily paused applications for data from the national pupil Database ahead of the implementation of the GDPR."

The national pupil database is designed to help experts study the effect of different educational strategies over time.

Access was "paused" on 1 May, and the DfE has said it expects to provide further information in June.

Campaigners have raised concerns that many parents are unaware that data on millions of English schoolchildren can be shared with academics and businesses.

Applicants can request different levels of access, with the highest level includingindividual children's names, addresses, ethnicities and disabilities, among other factors.

A recent survey by the data privacy campaign Defend Digital Me suggested most parents (69%) did not know about the data-sharing.

Currently, parents and children are not allowed access to their data.

Gender, ethnicity, exam performance and reasons for absence can all be accessed by third parties under certain rules.

Defend Digital Me is calling for a change in how the data is managed.

Prof Ross Anderson - a leading cyber-security expert at the University of Cambridge - has also raised concerns, despite the fact that other researchers at the institution have made use of the data.

"The government is forcing schools to collect data that are then sold or given to firms that exploit it, with no meaningful consent," he blogged on Monday.

"There is not even the normal right to request subject access so you can check whether the information about you is right and have it corrected if it's wrong.

"Our elected representatives make a lot of noise about protecting children; time to call them on it."

Academic research

English records in the national pupil database have been kept since 1998 and include more than 21 million named English schoolchildren.

Freedom of Information (FoI) requests made by Defend Digital Me also found data on 1.2 million Scottish children had been collected since 2007, though in that case the pupils were not named.

The information, collected by the DfE, is generally gathered via school censuses.

Country Number of children Year data collection started Named?
England 21,230,000 1998 Yes
Scotland 1,265,501 2007 No
Wales 1,034,907 2003 Yes
Northern Ireland 327,122 2006 Yes

Source: Defend Digital Me

Records of who has accessed the data and why are available on the DfE's website.

Requests from academic researchers make up the majority of data extract applications processed by the DfE.

Many relate to projects studying education in the UK, for example.

Academic researchers' use of personal datasets has faced scrutiny recently - notably after it was revealed that data gathered by a Cambridge University researcher had been passed to Cambridge Analytica.

There is no suggestion that Cambridge Analytica had accessed national pupil database records.

Presentational grey line

Who accesses data on school children?

Besides academic researchers, there are also requests from private companies, which use the data to aid education policy consulting services to local authorities.

The Home Office has requested data on schoolchildren under its immigration control and Syrian resettlement programmes - though the latter request has yet to receive approval.

The BBC's Newsnight programme also requested data, in March 2017, when it was producing a package on the English school system. It was given tier-two access, which includes pupils' ages and ethnicities but not names or home addresses.

The DfE records that Newsnight later destroyed the data in accordance with rules around access.

Defend Digital Me has said that the government does not currently allow parents or children the right to see records relating to them or to have them corrected if inaccurate.

According to the group's survey of 1,004 English parents - carried out by Survation - 79% would choose to see the records if they were able to.

"Defend Digital Me is campaigning to have that changed, and wants the government to respect children's subject access rights... in the General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR]," the report said.

Jen Persson, the group's director, told the BBC: "As a mother with three children in primary school four years ago, I didn't know there was a national pupil database at all or that my children's personal data were stored at named level, given away to commercial third parties."

'Parents unaware'

She said that everything she had since discovered, thanks to research and FoI requests, was "not widely known at all".

The research by Defend Digital Me "raises serious questions", said Ailidh Callander, a legal officer at civil liberties group Privacy International.

"It is important that data practices in the education sector are examined thoroughly - particularly given the sensitivity of children's data," she told the BBC.

Defend Digital Me has also investigated the use of web monitoring software on computers used at school

A spokeswoman for the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said that it had engaged with the DfE about its processing of pupil data in the past "and continues to do so".

"The GDPR requires that personal data is processed fairly, lawfully and transparently, as well as enhancing people's rights," she said.

"We understand that the DfE is reviewing its processing of pupil data as part of its GDPR preparations. And the ICO will continue to engage with the DfE on this."

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 15th May 2018

When Paul Curtis designed an app for his running club, he had no idea it would become a big hit across the country.

Freelance designer Paul, from Coventry , joined Massey Ferguson Running Club in 2016. He saw an opportunity to help his fellow club members get easier access to news and personal best records – and so he designed an app.

It was such a success, other clubs came calling – and now the My Running Club app has been made available across the UK.

“I put together the app just to help out and make sure everyone could easily keep on top of what was going on, stay in contact with each other and share their successes all in one place,” Paul explained.

“It was put together over the course of a year and after we started using it, word must have spread because we had other clubs getting in touch to see if there was a version they could use.”

Margaret Bull with Paul Curtis

Paul took his original idea to the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce , and received help and support via the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme.

“The actual design part of the app was something that I am very familiar with, but the ideas on how to push My Running Club as a business was where the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce really helped,” he said.

“I worked with a mentor at the Chamber, Margaret Bull, who assisted me in marketing and pricing and where we might also add in extra services to help the business grow.”

The app has now expanded and can be used to monitor track and field events and triathlon races.

“You can now customise the app in terms of its design to suit your running club and we have more than 10 clubs across the country taking part,” Paul adds. “The feedback has been great and of course I still get feedback from members of the Massey Ferguson Running Club.”

Margaret Bull, business adviser at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce , said: “Paul came to us with his app technically completed, so the main emphasis was on developing his marketing strategy and defining his client profile.

“It’s very often the case that people have a great idea but it’s actually the business side where help is needed – and that’s where we can assist.”

The Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, in partnership with Coventry City Council , Warwickshire County Council and the District and Borough Councils.

Free trials of the app are available. Contact hello@myrunningclub.net

Source: coventrytelegraph.net
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 15th May 2018

Image result for rescue drones

Drones may be best known for taking impressive aerial videos and inspecting buildings, infrastructure and crops, but they also promise to improve mobile and internet connectivity for emergency services and consumers.

Poor mobile signal in rural areas is frustrating, but it can also be life-threatening in emergency situations. Slow emergency response times mean higher mortality rates.

Mobile signals are usually sent via base stations, attached to buildings or special masts. These are tough to put up in a hurry - so why not attach a base station to a drone?

For the last two years, the Finnish tech firm Nokia and British mobile operator EE have been flying small quadcopter drones mounted with portable mobile base stations in Scotland.

The idea is that in an emergency, a drone could hover over a disaster area to provide instant 4G mobile network coverage with a 50km (31 mile) radius.

But drones can't fly for very long before the battery runs out - 30 minutes is a typical maximum.

So US telecoms giant AT&T is developing a large, helicopter-like drone known as the "Flying COW", short for "Cell on Wings". It is tethered to the ground by a cable that gives it power.

This enables the drone stay in the air 24-hours-a-day at a maximum height of 168m (550ft).

AT&T says it used Flying COW to provide emergency 4G coverage to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in November. Each drone was able to cover an area measuring 36 sq km.

Nokia wants to take things a step further, and turn police vans and fire engines into command and control centres to help emergency responders make crucial decisions much faster than they do today.

The idea is for fire engines to have their own personal 4G network with a 50km radius.

From the command centre, fire fighters would launch drones and use their cameras to survey the scene. The same concept is being used for search and rescue, with artificial intelligence linking the drones together into a "swarm", so only one pilot is needed to direct a whole group of drones.

Image captionA firefighter from a UK fire and rescue service pilots a drone

Nokia is testing out the technology with Vodafone and firefighters in Dusseldorf, Germany.

"You don't need to send firemen into the hostile environment, you will have full situational awareness immediately," says Thorsten Robrecht, Nokia's vice president of advanced mobile networks solutions.

"What we see from the police is that this is much quicker and lower cost than a helicopter, which they still mostly use today."

British start-up Unmanned Life has developed software to send out multiple autonomous drones at the same time to gather information during a crisis, such as when a building is on fire.

One drone hovers in the air providing 4G coverage, while another flies around the building providing live video. A third equipped with heat sensors creates a heat map of the building, while a fourth uses sonar to map structural damage.

Unmanned Life is in talks to provide its system to BT and Verizon, who currently hold government contracts for emergency communication networks in the UK and US.

Swarms of co-operating drones, each with different tasks, help address the flight-time issue because single-function drones can be lighter.

And they can be lighter still if many of their computational and sensing functions - navigation for example - are undertaken by computers on the ground "talking" to the drones wirelessly.

The lighter the drone, the more it can carry.

In February, Ericsson tested this concept with BT and Verizon together with King's College London university in London to show that a drone could autonomously carry 5kg of medical supplies from one location to another, without human intervention.

A woman watches on a tablet as a man loads a drone with first aid supplies

The trial demonstrated that next-generation superfast 5G networks would be powerful enough to transfer data streams between the drone and the ground, as well as ensuring that the connection to the drone never dropped.

"I think drones together with 5G networks and the IoT [internet of things] offer tremendous opportunities," says Phil Bonner of Ericsson.

"We need to keep the drone very simple and cheap."

But drones for deliveries and emergency services will only be viable if they can be flown autonomously without crashing into buildings, trees, pylons, or each other.

So many tech and telecoms companies are racing to build air traffic control systems for them.

"Nokia has a system run on the 4G network that can connect all the drones and knows where they are," says Mr Robrecht.

"And we have a commercial aircraft 4G network covering the entire airspace in Europe in order to connect all the aircraft flying around.

"We're trying to work out how to connect the two networks."

Once this problem is solved, communications drones won't just be for the emergency services. They could help civilians in all sorts of ways too, such as at sports events.

Drones helped fans watching the 2018 Super Bowl enjoy better mobile connectivity

"One of the challenges we see is when people are using their devices in stadiums during the Super Bowl," says Art Pregler, AT&T's unmanned aircraft systems programme director.

"If there's a really good football play, they're all taking video or looking for an instant replay. That creates a lot of demand on the network.

"But we could have drones in the air augmenting our existing capacity, and that will improve their experience at the event."

Technology firm Ericsson thinks that in future we could even pay to have a drone launched if we need internet coverage on-demand in an area with bad signal - great for music festivals.

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 15th May 2018

Image result for bmw 5 series i electric car

Wireless charging is gradually becoming a more common feature for smartphones, so why not for electric cars, too?

Well, BMW is taking a major step in precisely that direction as it embarks on production of its cutting-edge inductive charging system in July 2018.

News of BMW’s decision to start manufacturing its charging pad comes courtesy of Car magazine, which said the system will work with many of the German carmaker’s plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, beginning with the 5-series 530e iPerformance.

 

It will be available to European customers by the end of the summer and — according to Autoblog — will also land in the U.S., albeit as a pilot program limited to 530e drivers in California. That’s pretty narrow; hopefully it won’t be too long before it becomes more widely available.

BMW’s charging technology comprises a base pad with an integrated primary coil that can be installed not only in a garage, but also outdoors. A secondary coil is located in the underside of the vehicle.

“An alternating magnetic field is generated between the two coils, through which electricity is transmitted without cables or contacts at a charge rate of up to 3.2kW,” the Munich-based automaker explains. “This form of power supply to the high-voltage battery is extremely convenient for customers and involves a charging time of around 3.5 hours.”

So how does it work in a real-world setting? Well, when the driver parks over the pad in a car that has the wireless technology, blue lines on the car’s display guide the driver to the precise position to enable charging to begin. Green circles appear when the vehicle is perfectly aligned.

Charging starts automatically the moment you turn off the ignition. Yes, it’s that simple.

An app keeps the driver informed of charging progress, and will also alert the driver to any disturbances to the process such as a cat or other animal resting on the pad. For the safety conscious, BMW says the inductive charging system’s field strength falls well within regulatory limits, while the electromagnetic radiation it produces is less than that of a typical kitchen hotplate.

BMW’s inductive charging technology has been several years in the making, with the company first revealing plans for the system in 2014 as part of a collaborative effort with Daimler.

The automaker’s introduction of the technology may be a touch on the tentative side, but with a slew of other carmakers working on similar systems, we can expect to see more rapid developments before too long, making charging electric vehicles such a convenient process that owners will hardly have to think about it.

Source: digitaltrends.com
 
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