Governments set to regulate and issue their own cryptocurrencies

Why the Bitcoin bubble may explode when it pops:

One reason for regulating blockchain-based cryptocurrencies, also known as digital tokens, is the growing concern that the virtual money they represent could be used for nefarious activities, such as money laundering. Cryptocurrencies could also be a threat to the current financial system because they have at times encouraged unbridled speculation and unsecured borrowing by consumers looking for a piece of the crypot action.

Source: Governments eye their own blockchain cryptocurrencies | Computerworld

Government or central bank issued, blockchained-based cryptocurrencies could be far more useful for legal transactions than the underground currencies like Bitcoin. Bitcoin is great for secret or questionable transactions that do not want to be tracked, of course, but most transactions are not in the camp.

(Note “blockchain” is an important bit of technology that has numerous applications other than cryptocurrencies.)

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Dean Kamen, his organization, the magic of invention

Some of the best inventors I know didn’t have a deep knowledge of any particular technology. They had a deep understanding of what the need is and what we would today call intuition — because we don’t know at the granular level what intuition is — they’d have an intuition about how to solve the problem and then they might go to PhDs for help in implementation.

I think invention is maybe like love. Everybody wants to have it. Nobody knows what it is. It’s an amorphic process. The public has an overly simplistic view of inventors. They suddenly have this brilliant vision and they go running down the street saying,“eureka I’ve got it!” Invention is an iterative, frustrating process in which you keep finding all the wrong ways to get to where you wanted to go. You back up, try a new route, hit another stumbling block, fall down. Eventually you integrate enough of the ideas that might have should have could have would have worked into something that actually does work. Then the world sees it and think it was a straight line from your idea to that solution. That there was instant clarity. As opposed to this iterative, long struggle.

Source: A conversation with Dean Kamen on the myth of “Eureka!” | TechCrunch

I find people like Dean Kamen, Elon Musk, etc to be incredibly inspiring in their tenacity in pursuing and find solutions to real world problems – as compared to those creating endless social media thingies in Silicon Valley 🙂

If you enjoy the process of discovery, invention and engineering solutions, this is a great and enjoyable article to read – highly recommended!

Union angry at Amazon’s new self service mini grocery store pilot test

The largest union representing grocery-store workers has come out strongly against Amazon.com’s launch of a store sans cashiers, a sign of how a recent generation of futuristic technology comes with a dose of angst for big parts of the workforce.

Source: Grocery-workers union lashes out against new Amazon store | The Seattle Times

When workers cost $20/hour ($15 minimum wage + $4 to $5 for benefits), while technology costs are falling, numerous businesses are moving from variable cost labor to fixed cost automation.

The feature photo I attached to this post is a photo of a self order kiosk I took inside a McDonald’s in St. George, Utah. Starbucks has a mobile app that let’s customers place their own order ahead of time. Another coffee shop I visit has, at times, flipped their order entry app (its just an iPod on a stand) around and let customers place their own orders and pay with a credit card, when they are short staffed.

The market (meaning the public) will determine if this is what people want or not.

 

Materials science engineers develop “metallic glass” gears for #robots

Materials science engineers have developed a “metallic glass” gear system that operates at very low temperatures, without lubrication, and provides high strength.

“Metallic glass” has the strength of a metal but sigh the amorphous structure of a glass. Further, parts made from the materials can be injected molded, similar to how plastic parts are made.

Applications include many kinds of robotics, and especially space systems that must operate in extreme temperature conditions.
Source: Metallic glass gears make for graceful robots — ScienceDaily

Vayyer’s 3D Sensors for home applications, sensors that see through walls

Sensors could also be utilized for advanced security and safety features in case of fire or intruder. AlertTracks the real-time movement of individuals inside the home and pinpoints and locates people in a structural fire or if home security has been breached.

Source: 3D Sensors To Make Your Home Smarter And Safer (Image of IC, above, is from the Vayyar web site.)

Their web site does not  yet reveal much about what their technology is about. Presumably their technology uses low power wireless signals with powerful software to interpret reflections. This would enable them to provide a “3D sensor” that sees through walls, providing position information. Perhaps like Kinect but using wireless RF signals.

If my interpretation is correct, this technology could have many useful applications in construction, repair and perhaps even imaging of humans.

Update: A separate tech article from a year ago, describing a product that uses Vayyar technology, suggests the above is exactly what this is about. Basically, this is a low power radar imaging system technology.

The Internet of Things is all about sensors, data collection, data analysis, and actuators/stepper motors and what not. The Vayyar technology adds a new capability to sensing by seeing through surfaces in 3D.