Brown Bag at the Movies – Selected technical topics(13)
For this installment of Brown Bag at the Movies we will be viewing (abstract below):
- Marketing for engineers: Boot or Bust 1:00 + 2:30
- Engineers Fly World’s First ‘Printed’ Aircraft 2:26
- Wireless data from every light bulb 12:52
- The surprising math of cities and corporations 17:34
- Contagion in [Social] Networks 16:14
- 5 ways to listen better 7:50
- The rise of personal robots 14:04
- Financial Crisis for Engineers: E-Trade Baby Loses Everything 1:05
Engineers Fly World’s First ‘Printed’ Aircraft
ScienceDaily (Aug. 2, 2011) — Engineers at the University of Southampton have designed and flown the world’s first ‘printed’ aircraft, which could revolutionise the economics of aircraft design.
The SULSA (Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft) plane is an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) whose entire structure has been printed, including wings, integral control surfaces and access hatches. It was printed on an EOS EOSINT P730 nylon laser sintering machine, which fabricates plastic or metal objects, building up the item layer by layer.
Harald Haas: Wireless data from every light bulb
What if every light bulb in the world could also transmit data? At TEDGlobal, Harald Haas demonstrates, for the first time, a device that could do exactly that. By flickering the light from a single LED, a change too quick for the human eye to detect, he can transmit far more data than a cellular tower — and do it in a way that’s more efficient, secure and widespread.
Harald Haas <http://www.linkedin.com/in/hhaas> <http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/wordpress/hxh/>
Harald Haas is the pioneer behind a new type of light bulb that can communicate as well as illuminate – access the Internet using light instead of radio waves.
Why you should listen to him: Imagine using your car headlights to transmit data … or surfing the web safely on a plane, tethered only by a line of sight. Harald Haas is working on it. A professor of engineering at Edinburgh University, Haas has long been studying ways to communicate electronic data signals, designing modulation techniques that pack more data onto existing networks. But his latest work leaps beyond wires and radio waves to transmit data via an LED bulb that glows and darkens faster than the human eye can see.
The system, which he’s calling D-Light, uses a mathematical trick called OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing), which allows it to vary the intensity of the LED’s output at a very fast rate, invisible to the human eye (for the eye, the bulb would simply be on and providing light). The signal can be picked up by simple receivers. As of now, Haas is reporting data rates of up to 10 MBit/s per second (faster than a typical broadband connection), and 100 MBit/s by the end of this year and possibly up to 1 GB in the future.
He says: “It should be so cheap that it’s everywhere. Using the visible light spectrum, which comes for free, you can piggy-back existing wireless services on the back of lighting equipment.”
CEP COMMENT: See <https://science.slashdot.org/story/11/08/10/0549213/IBM-Plays-SimCity-With-Portland-Oregon>
Geoffrey West: The surprising math of cities and corporations
Physicist Geoffrey West has found that simple, mathematical laws govern the properties of cities — that wealth, crime rate, walking speed and many other aspects of a city can be deduced from a single number: the city’s population. In this mind-bending talk from TEDGlobal he shows how it works and how similar laws hold for organisms and corporations.
Geoffrey West <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_West> <http://www.santafe.edu/about/people/profile/Geoffrey%20West>
Physicist Geoffrey West believes that complex systems from organisms to cities are in many ways governed by simple laws — laws that can be discovered and analyzed.
Why you should listen to him: Trained as a theoretical physicist, Geoffrey West has turned his analytical mind toward the inner workings of more concrete things, like … animals. In a paper for Science in 1997, he and his team uncovered what he sees as a surprisingly universal law of biology — the way in which heart rate, size and energy consumption are related, consistently, across most living animals. (Though not all animals: “There are always going to be people who say, ‘What about the crayfish?’ ” he says. “Well, what about it? Every fundamental law has exceptions. But you still need the law or else all you have is observations that don’t make sense.”)
A past president of the multidisciplinary Santa Fe Institute (after decades working in high-energy physics at Los Alamos and Stanford), West now studies the behavior and development of cities. In his newest work, he proposes that one simple number, population, can predict a stunning array of details about any city, from crime rate to economic activity. It’s all about the plumbing, he says, the infrastructure that powers growth or dysfunction. His next target for study: corporations.
He says: “Focusing on the differences [between cities] misses the point. Sure, there are differences, but different from what? We’ve found the what.”
NYU’s Sinan Aral: Contagion in Networks
Contagion in social networks. Also see the ‘reflection problem.’ <http://ideas.repec.org/a/bla/restud/v60y1993i3p531-42.html>
Sinan Aral <http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/facultyaffairs/facultyindex.cgi?id=421> <http://web.mit.edu/sinana/www/>
Sinan Aral is a professor in the Stern School’s Department of Information, Operations, and Management Sciences and an affiliated faculty member at MIT. His research on the business impacts of IT investment and information flows in massive networks has won numerous awards, including a Microsoft Faculty Fellowship (2010), a PopTech Science Fellowship (2010), an NSF Career Award (2009), an IBM Faculty Award (2009), an ACM SIGMIS Best Dissertation Award (2007), and four best-paper awards at the International Conference on Information Systems.
A former Fulbright Scholar, he worked at the European Commission in Brussels and as a technology consultant before earning his PhD from MIT. He serves on the board of SocialAmp, a social commerce start-up, and is currently organizing the Workshop on Information in Networks. His work is published in leading journals such as Science, Management Science, Marketing Science, Organization Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Julian Treasure: 5 ways to listen better
In our louder and louder world, says sound expert Julian Treasure, “We are losing our listening.” In this short, fascinating talk, Treasure shares five ways to re-tune your ears for conscious listening — to other people and the world around you.
Julian Treasure studies sound and advises businesses on how best to use it. <http://visible.me/juliantreasure1251513>
Why you should listen to him:
Julian Treasure is the chair of the Sound Agency, a firm that advises worldwide businesses — offices, retailers, hotels — on how to use sound. He asks us to pay attention to the sounds that surround us. How do they make us feel: productive, stressed, energized, acquisitive?
Treasure is the author of the book Sound Business and keeps a blog by the same name that ruminates on aural matters (and offers a nice day-by-day writeup of TEDGlobal 2009). In the early 1980s, Treasure was the drummer for the Fall-influenced band Transmitters.
Cynthia Breazeal: The rise of personal robots
As a grad student, Cynthia Breazeal wondered why we were using robots on Mars, but not in our living rooms. The key, she realized: training robots to interact with people. Now she dreams up and builds robots that teach, learn — and play. Watch for amazing demo footage of a new interactive game for kids.
Cynthia Breazeal <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynthia_Breazeal>
At MIT, Cynthia Breazeal and her team are building robots with social intelligence that communicate and learn the same way people do.
Why you should listen to her:
Cynthia Breazeal founded and directs the Personal Robots Group at MIT’s Media Lab. Her research focuses on developing the principles and technologies for building personal robots that are socially intelligent—that interact and communicate with people in human-centric terms, work with humans as peers, and learn from people as an apprentice.
She has developed some of the world’s most famous robotic creatures, ranging from small hexapod robots to highly expressive humanoids, including the social robot Kismet and the expressive robot Leonardo. Her recent work investigates the impact of social robots on helping people of all ages to achieve personal goals that contribute to quality of life, in domains such as physical performance, learning and education, health, and family communication and play over distance.