15 grand today.
$499 in… three years?
Billion-dollar drone company DJI is expanding from consumer and camera drones into the agriculture industry.
The Chinese firm’s latest model is a crop-spraying drone, which it claims is “40 times more efficient” than manual spraying, despite having just 12 minutes of flight time.
It will be released in China and Korea where hand-spraying is more common.
DJI made $500m (£332m) in drone sales in 2014 and some analysts predict the firm will hit $1bn in sales this year.
The Agras MG-1 has eight rotors and can carry up to 10kg of crop-spraying fluids per flight.
The foldable device is also dustproof, water-resistant and made of anti-corrosive materials, the firm says on its website (in Chinese).
Farmers around the world have used drones for some time but generally for monitoring their crops and livestock.
Huge farms use aircraft for crop-dusting but they can be very expensive.
Via: Los Angeles Times:
Imagine taking Google’s driverless car, mashing it up with Tesla’s zero-to-60-in-three-seconds “ludicrous mode,” and then pushing it to speeds of over 100 mph. Now imagine nearly two dozen of these souped-up robotic cars all speeding around on the same closed track and trying to outdo one another — without a human behind the wheel.
That’s basically what we’ll get next year in the Roborace, a high-speed stress test for 10 teams of driverless car designers who will compete as a part of Formula E, the global auto racing series that uses only electric cars.
Roborace is being billed as the world’s first race involving all-electric, driverless vehicles. With automation becoming increasingly common in consumer cars that move at much slower speeds, Roborace has the promise to showcase vehicle technology that’s even more nimble, more reliable and more capable than what’s on the market today. Just like real drivers, the cars will have to be programmed to pass each other, pull tight turns, make decisions about when and how to accelerate and, above all, avoid crashes at deadly speeds. (Of course, there won’t be any drivers in the cars to get hurt if there is a collision.)
Via: Los Angeles Times:
The Air Force has hired civilian defense contractors to fly MQ-9 Reaper drones to help track suspected militants and other targets in global hot spots, a previously undisclosed expansion in the privatization of once-exclusively military functions.
For the first time, civilian pilots and crews now operate what the Air Force calls “combat air patrols,” daily round-the-clock flights above areas of military operations to provide video and collect other sensitive intelligence.
Contractors control two Reaper patrols a day, but the Air Force plans to expand that to 10 a day by 2019. Each patrol involves up to four drones.
Civilians are not allowed to pinpoint targets with lasers or fire missiles. They operate only Reapers that provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, known as ISR, said Air Force Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command.
“There are limitations on it,” he said. The contractors “are not combatants.”
President Xi Jinping announced a major overhaul of China’s military to make the world’s largest army more combat ready and better equipped to project force beyond the country’s borders.
Under the reorganization, all branches of the armed forces would come under a joint military command, Xi told a meeting of military officials in Beijing, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Bloomberg in September reported details of the plan, which may also seek to consolidate the country’s seven military regions to as few as four.
The Chinese president said the reform aimed to “build an elite combat force” and called on the officials to make “breakthroughs” on establishing the joint command by 2020, Xinhua said. Xi announced the changes at the end of a three-day meeting attended by about 200 top military officials, Xinhua said.
Xi, who also became chairman of the Central Military Commission upon taking power in 2012, is directly managing the overhaul. He made a public display of his commitment to the reforms when he announced that the People’s Liberation Army would shed 300,000 troops at a September military parade in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II.
“This is the biggest military overhaul since the 1950s,” said Yue Gang, a retired colonel in the PLA’s General Staff Department. “The reform shakes the very foundations of China’s Soviet Union-style military system and transferring to a U.S. style joint command structure will transform China’s PLA into a specialized armed force that could pack more of a punch in the world.”
Must see picture of Chinese school desks!
A new global study co-authored by Dr David Wilson of Brien Holden Vision Institute, forecasts that 10 per cent of the world’s population will be at risk of blindness by 2050 if steps aren’t taken to stop myopia turning into high myopia (requiring glasses with a prescription of minus 5 or stronger).
In China, where around 81 per cent of teenagers have myopia, students are being barred from getting too close to their work. Another school has glass walls and as well as glass ceilings to expose children’s eyes to the light.
While about 30 per cent of the risk of myopia is genetic, experts say daily exposure to sunlight can stop the disease from progressing. One Chinese school is locking the doors for two hours a day, and refusing to let children back inside.
Research Credit: DF
Hundreds of genetically modified mosquitoes that are incapable of spreading the malaria parasite to humans have been created in a laboratory as part of a radical approach to combating the disease.
The move marks a major step towards the development of a powerful and controversial technology called a “gene drive” that aims to tackle the disease by forcing anti-malarial genes into swarms of wild mosquitoes.
The procedure can rapidly transform the genetic makeup of natural insect populations, making it a dramatic new tool in the fight against an infection that still claims over 400,000 lives a year. The same technology is being considered for other human diseases and infections that devastate crops.
“This is a significant first step,” said Prof Anthony James at the University of California, Irvine. “The mosquitoes we created are not the final brand, but we know this technology allows us to efficiently create large populations.”
But gene drive technology is so powerful that leading researchers have urged scientists in the field to be cautious. A warning published in August in the prestigious journal Science, by teams in the UK, US, Australia and Japan, said that while gene drives have the potential to save lives and bring other benefits, the accidental release of modified organisms “could have unpredictable ecological consequences.”
The end of daily injections for diabetes sufferers could be in sight after scientists showed it is possible to restore insulin production for up to a year by boosting the immune system.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Britain suffer from Type 1 diabetes and need to inject themselves daily to keep blood sugar levels under control.
The disease attacks insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas. Healthy people have billions of ‘peacekeeping’ cells called ‘T-regs’ which protect insulin-making cells from the immune system but people suffering Type 1 diabetes do not have enough.
Now researchers at the University of California and Yale have shown that the ‘T-regs’ can be removed from the body, increased by 1,500x in the laboratory and infused back into the bloodstream to restore normal function.
An initial trial of 14 people has shown that the therapy is safe, and can last up to a year.
“This could be a game-changer,” said Dr Jeffrey Bluestone, Professor in Metabolism and Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Back then, the public knew little about a covert operation that had been running since 1968. Only a limited number of senior police officers knew about it. Kennedy was one of more than 100 undercover officers who, over the previous four decades, had transformed themselves into fake campaigners for years at a time, assimilating themselves into political groups and hoovering up information about protests that they had helped to organise.
More than 10 women have discovered that they had relationships with undercover policemen, some lasting years, without being told their true identity.
On Friday it was announced that police had agreed to give a full apology and pay compensation to Lisa and six other women for the trauma they suffered after being deceived into forming intimate relationships with police spies.
Lisa, for her part, welcomed the apology. But it comes more than a decade after Kennedy’s mission began. “No amount of money or ‘sorry’ will make up for the lack of answers about the extent to which I was spied upon in every aspect of my most personal and intimate moments,” she says.
It started with a boom and ended with a touchdown: Blue Origin, the space company founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, has sent a craft past the edge of space and then landed its rocket safely – and vertically — in Texas.
The flight of the New Shepard spacecraft was the second full test of Blue Origin’s system that’s designed to take six humans into space before returning to Earth. The company plans to reuse both the capsule and rocket assemblies – and it calls the rocket’s safe return today a “historic” achievement. In a similar test in April, the rocket failed to land safely. The craft’s capsule lands via parachute.
In Monday’s test, the vehicle reached an altitude of 329,839 feet (100.5 kilometers) before landing back on Earth in a controlled descent. The craft went just over the Karman Line, which designates anything over 100 kilometers above sea level as space.
The world’s biggest animal “cloning factory” is due to open in China, producing one million calves a year, sniffer dogs and even genetic copies of the family pet.
The factory, which will include a 15,000 square metre laboratory, an animal centre, a gene bank and an exhibition hall, is currently being built in the port city of Tianjin, near Beijing, and is due to open in the first half of next year.
BoyaLife will operate the facility with its South Korean partner, Sooam Biotech, that runs a centre that can clone dogs for customers willing to pay $100,000 (£66,000), and has already produced more than 550 puppies.