Airmail, to your door

first_imgInternet retail giant Amazon.com hopes eventually to deliver packages by using flying robots, self-guided drones akin to those used by the military. The concept conjures images of holiday skies clouded with black “octocopters” coming to the rescue of last-minute shoppers. The futuristic plans, announced by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, would deliver small packages within 30 minutes of placing an order and conceivably could begin within four or five years. First, however, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules would have to change.To gain some perspective on the drone-delivery suggestion, the Harvard Gazette talked with Robert Wood, the Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences, who has been building insect-sized flying robots. GAZETTE: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos said he’s serious about using flying robots to deliver packages, saying that the technology is almost there — within four or five years — and that Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] regulations might permit it by 2015. What was your reaction when you heard this?WOOD: The technology is actually quite close. My first reaction is that the technology is much closer than overcoming the FAA and liability barriers.  Of course they will need to refine the vehicle and controller designs to first ensure safety and, second, to verify efficiency and efficacy of this method.“In a laboratory setting, moving an object from one position to another using a flying vehicle is something that has been demonstrated,” said Wood. “When you start to move this out of a lab setting, there are tremendous challenges … But the robotics community is working on solutions to all of these topics.” File photo by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerGAZETTE: How realistic is the scenario of using flying robotic drones to deliver packages? I’m sure it seems completely “out there” for most of the public. Is it?WOOD: I think technically this is quite reasonable. In a laboratory setting, moving an object from one position to another using a flying vehicle is something that has been demonstrated.  When you start to move this out of a lab setting, there are tremendous challenges, including weather, turbulence when moving around buildings or objects, dynamic objects in the environment such as people or cars, and imprecise or unreliable sensor information. But the robotics community is working on solutions to all of these topics — [like] the “self-driving car” — so I suspect the answers are not far off.GAZETTE: Is this an extension of military drone use, or is the technology fundamentally different?WOOD: I am not sure of the connections to military drones.  I would guess that there are some similarities in some of the technologies and goals.GAZETTE: How does this relate to your own research? Is it mainly a matter of scale, or is it technically entirely different?WOOD: The different scales make these two problems — transporting packages via flying drones versus making flying robots the size of insects — quite different.As you may suspect, when you make things bigger, some things get easier and some get harder.  For example, the Amazon drones could use off-the-shelf components for batteries and motors, whereas for our robots everything must be developed from scratch.  However, as you get bigger, the robots become more expensive and dangerous, so you have to be extra cautious to avoid people or other objects. As for our robots, if one of them hit you, you wouldn’t feel it any more than you notice a fly that lands on your shirt.GAZETTE: What is the technology coming out of your lab that is closest to deployment, and what would the main use be?  How does that fit into what you envision as our robotics future?WOOD: We are far away from having usable flying robotic insects, at least out of a lab setting.  But we try to be creative with the technology fallout that comes from the various pieces.  For example, our solution to mesoscale manufacturing turns out to be quite useful for a host of interesting applications. And one of my former students started a company, Vibrant Composites Inc., to explore this. Similarly for the sensors and actuators we make. As for robotics in the future, I think this is right in line with robots becoming more ubiquitous and accepted as a useful convergence of multiple technologies.last_img read more

Neymar leads PSG to Champions League quarter final

first_img Loading… Those supporters brandished flares as the team bus arrived before the game and sang and set off fireworks throughout the match. Mbappe was only named among the substitutes after struggling with illness and even undergoing a test for coronavirus in the build-up to the game. The France striker missed two training sessions this week with a sore throat and a fever. His test for COVID-19 came up negative. His absence from the starting line-up was just the latest blow for coach Thomas Tuchel, who was also without the suspended Marco Verratti and injured centre-back Thiago Silva. That meant Edinson Cavani and Pablo Sarabia started through the middle of the attack, while Argentine international Leandro Paredes was selected in midfield. Cavani was denied the opener in the 25th minute when Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki stretched out a leg to tip his shot around the post. The opening goal followed soon after, with Angel Di Maria swinging in a corner from the right and Neymar stealing in front of his marker to stoop and head in from close range. The PSG supporters outside the ground responded to the Brazilian’s second goal in the tie by exploding more fireworks in celebration. Jadon Sancho and Thorgan Hazard tried their luck from outside the area for Dortmund but PSG scored again in first-half stoppage time. This time Di Maria laid the ball out to Sarabia on the right side of the box, and his low driven ball was diverted into the far corner by Bernat. Di Maria nearly scored another in the second half from a free-kick before Mbappe came on with just under half an hour remaining. Dortmund were only one goal away from forcing extra time but rarely troubled Keylor Navas in the home goal and Can saw a straight red card with a minute left for throwing Neymar to the ground. The Brazilian was also booked following that incident along with Di Maria, now watching from the dugout and who will miss the quarter-final first leg as a result. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Paris Saint-Germain shrugged off having to play in an empty stadium as Neymar set the French club on their way to a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night that took them into the Champions League quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate. PSG came into the game at the Parc des Princes needing to overturn a 2-1 defeat in the first leg of their last-16 tie in Germany, but Neymar’s 28th-minute header put them ahead on the night in the second leg amid a surreal atmosphere, as banned supporters gathered outside the ground instead. Neymar celebrates putting PSG ahead against Borussia Dortmund as captain Marquinhos gives chase Juan Bernat then deflected in a Pablo Sarabia assist to make it 2-0 and PSG – for whom Kylian Mbappe was only fit enough to appear as a substitute – go through to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2016. The victory breaks a run of three straight exits in the first knockout round of the competition, at the hands of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United. Indeed Dortmund are just the fourth team PSG have defeated in a Champions League knockout tie since the Qatari takeover in 2011, following wins against Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen and Chelsea, the latter on two occasions. However, their opponents were disappointing, with Erling Braut Haaland never looking like repeating his first-leg heroics when he netted twice. They finished the game with 10 men as Emre Can was sent off late on. This was one of several Champions League matches this week and next being played out in an empty stadium after authorities banned fans from attending due to the coronavirus outbreak. – Fireworks outside ground – However, PSG fans still congregated in significant numbers outside the stadium despite the French government banning all gatherings of more than 1,000 people.center_img PSG fans were prevented from entering the stadium for their team’s game against Borussia Dortmund so many instead gathered immediately outside the ground, singing and setting off fireworks Promoted Content6 Extreme Facts About HurricanesWho Earns More Than Ronaldo?7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend Better6 Most Handsome Indian Actors8 Scenes That Prove TV Has Gone Too Far14 Hilarious Comics Made By Women You Need To Follow Right Now11 Most Immersive Game To Play On Your Table TopA Hurricane Can Be As Powerful As 10 Atomic BombsWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?Top 10 Female Stars Everyone Had A Crush On In The 90s6 TV Shows That Got Better After A Major Character Had LeftIt’s Time To Show How Bad Some Women Can Really Belast_img read more