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Dario Borghino

Automotive Feature

Would you buy a car programmed to kill you for the greater good?

Should a self-driving car kill its passengers for the greater good – for instance, by swerving into a wall to avoid hitting a large number of pedestrians? Surveys of nearly 2,000 US residents revealed that, while we strongly agree that autonomous vehicles should strive to save as many lives as possible, we are not willing to buy such a car for ourselves, preferring instead one that tries to preserve the lives of its passengers at all costs.Read More

Automotive

Meet Synthia, the virtual driving school for autonomous cars

For all their hype, self-driving cars are still quite clueless at many tasks that are simple for human drivers, like recognizing a sidewalk or a traffic light. Scientists at the Computer Vision Center in Barcelona have now come to the rescue with Synthia, a virtual city simulation that can train driving AIs to recognize and handle all sorts of obstacles and situations, even in rain or deep snow.Read More

Science

Inside a photon prison, a light-and-matter hybrid is born

Scientists at Cambridge University and the Imperial College London have trapped photons inside a tiny gold cavity, forcing it to interact with matter to form a hybrid state. This unique mixture – or "strong coupling" – of light and matter, achieved for the first time at room temperature, will help scientists develop better on-chip communications, manipulate quantum information, or even tweak the chemical bonds of single molecules.Read More

Materials

Conductive thin film clears the way for improved solar cells

Researchers at the University of Korea and the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed a new thin film material that packs a unique combination of features: it's highly electrically conductive, bendable, stretchable, and almost entirely transparent. The film could help build more efficient solar panels, self-heating smart windows, flexible displays, and high-performance cooling surfaces.Read More

Laptops Feature

The laptop turns 35

April 3, 1981 marked the introduction of the Osborne 1, the first mainstream portable computer. Three-and-a-half decades later, laptops are now much more portable – but how do they compare to the deeper vision that sparked them, and what lays ahead? Gizmag talks with Dr. Alan Kay, the personal computing visionary who came up with the notion of a notebook computer, and Lee Felsenstein, designer of the first commercially successful forerunner to the laptop, to get their views.Read More

Space Feature

Reaching for the stars: How lasers could propel spacecraft to relativistic speeds

How do you send man-made probes to a nearby star? According to NASA-funded research at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), the answer is simple: assemble a laser array the size of Manhattan in low Earth orbit, and use it to push tiny probes to 26 percent the speed of light. Though the endeavour may raise a few eyebrows, it relies on well-established science – and recent technological breakthroughs have put it within our reach.Read More

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