Here’s one of the more unusual housing ideas we’ve come across in a while. The OPod Tube House, by James Law Cybertecture, is a micro house made from concrete water piping that measures just 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in diameter. Its snug interior features an apartment-style layout suitable for one or two people.
Urwerk can always be counted on to surprise, and its latest UR111C wristwatch is absolutely true to form. Designed by co-founders Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei, the self-winding UR111C does pretty well everything it can to subvert the traditional wristwatch form, including an analog/digital readout that sits to the side of the case rather than on the face.
As the power of artificial intelligence grows, the likelihood of a future war filled with killer robots grows as well. Proponents suggest that lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWs) might cause less “collateral damage,” while critics warn that giving machines the power of life and death would be a terrible mistake.
Last month’s UN meeting on ‘killer robots’ in Geneva ended with victory for the machines, as a small number of countries blocked progress towards an international ban. Some opponents of such a ban, like Russia and Israel, were to be expected since both nations already have advanced military AI programs. But surprisingly, the U.S. also agreed with them.
Yamaha’s Motobot is not alone, it seems. Behind closed doors, BMW has also been working on autonomous motorcycle technology for the last couple of years. And yesterday, BMW Motorrad released footage of a self-driving R1200GS negotiating its own way around a test track.
China is one step closer to leading the search for alien radio signals. On Sunday the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) announced that the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) has begun operations. FAST takes over the title of world’s largest radio telescope from the 305-meter Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.
The U.S. Army seeks a new armed reconnaissance helicopter that will range across the battlefield, acting as the eyes and ears of commanders on the ground. Planned for an introduction in the 2020s, the Future Armed Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) would give the Army back a capability it lost when the service put its scout helicopters out to pasture.
Volvo introduced the 360c concept on Wednesday, opening up a new exploration of the autonomous driving future. More than just a vehicle, Volvo is exploring a new travel paradigm, in which fully autonomous vehicles replace short-distance flights, providing a quicker, more relaxing means of jumping from Point A to B. Volvo’s concept helps passengers pass the time with sleep, work, entertainment and lounge configurations. Forget arriving hours in advance and fighting long lines to board cramped airplanes, the 360c may just be the ticket to a brighter future for city-to-city travel.
For those keeping up with the fledgeling personal jet flight sector, there’s really three people to keep an eye on, and they each neatly fit a superhero model. Australia’s David Mayman of Jetpack Aviation plays Buck Rodgers, with his awesome JB-series jetpacks well and truly operational. France’s Franky Zapata is the Green Goblin, surfing the air on his extraordinary Flyboard Air jetboard. And Britain’s Richard Browning gets the Iron Man role, with a jet suit that features thrusters on his arms and back.