RISC-V is quickly proving itself to be a valuable CPU instruction set architecture thanks to its open-source nature, lack of licenses, and freedom for implementation. As RISC-V continues to push the boundaries of open-source computing, a joint venture between DeepComputing and Xcalibyte has developed the world’s first RISC-V laptop set to be released in September. Why is RISC-V’s popularity growing, what are the specs of the new laptop, and could this help push the use of Linux onto everyday users?
Top Stories Of The Week
Hardware Business News
Hadrian Automation Raises Over $36 Million To Create Automated Aerospace Factories
Most industries around the world have integrated automation and mass production thanks to the ability to lower cost, introduce consistency across designs, and speed up manufacturing. However, the aerospace industry has traditionally been difficult to scale up due to the few rocket launches and the lack of privatization. Now that companies such as SpaceX are demonstrating the advantages of commercialized spaceflight, the ability to reduce the cost of key aerospace components could help reduce the cost of spaceflight in general, and this is the vision that Hadrian Automation has with its latest funding round having raised over $36 million from investors. What challenges does the Aerospace industry face, what does Hadrian Automation do, and how will automated processes reduce the cost of spaceflight?
Merlin Labs Raises $105 Million And Partners With US Air Force For Autonomous Flight
While autopilot systems capable of stable flight and landing do exist, there are currently no autonomous planes capable of flying entirely without human control. To make matters more challenging, it is extremely challenging trying to retrofit automated systems onto a pre-existing platform which is why older planes typically have ageing hardware. Now, start-up company Merlin Labs has raised $105 million to help continue its development in the field of autonomous flight with its retrofitted system. Additionally, Merlin Labs have also formed a partnership with the US Air Force that could use its systems for future military platforms. Why are autonomous planes challenging to design, how does Merlin Labs solve this, and how would the military use this technology?
PureLiFi Obtains £10 Million Investment From Scottish Government
Li-Fi (Light Fidelity) is a technology that some believe could replace Wi-Fi in numerous applications including homes, offices, and industrial sites. Instead of using radio waves to send data, light from a lamp or panel can be modulated to convey information, and this is then picked up by a light sensor connected to a device. Recently, PureLiFi received £10 million from the investment arm of the Scottish Government to help pursue the technology. What challenges does traditional Wi-Fi face, what is Li-Fi, and how could Li-Fi replace Wi-Fi?
Panasonic announces $4bn plans to build EV battery plant for Tesla in US
Of all the components that make an electric vehicle, the battery is by far the most important. The battery is responsible for storing the energy needed to operate the vehicle, and being able to increase the capacity of the battery increases the range hence making the vehicle more practical. In the case of Tesla vehicles, Panasonic has played a critical role in Tesla batteries and has recently announced its plans to open a $4bn battery facility in the US to help Tesla. What challenges do EV batteries present, what will the new site do, and how will Tesla utilize the new battery technologies being developed by Panasonic?
Hardware Engineering News
Dryad Networks To Deploy Sensor Technologies In Italy To Fight Forest Fires
Forest fires cause unimaginable amounts of damage, destroy natural habitats, contribute to CO2, and displace people from their homes. Furthermore, forest fires are extremely difficult to stop due to the intense heat and availability of fuel. But if the initial smoulder that starts the fire is found before it spreads, a bucket of water can literally be the difference between a wet patch and thousands of hectares lost. Recently, Dryad Networks have been tasked to implement their IoT sensor platform in an Italian forest to test its ability to detect smoulders before they spread. What challenges do forest fires present, what does the Dryad Networks solution offer, and how will it be used to prevent forest fires?
Switzerland Aims To Launch Underground Cargo System By 2031
Transportation is critical to any functioning economy, but the increasing need to transport cargo efficiently is placing pressure on pre-existing infrastructure. Not only is the number of cars on roads increasing, but existing roads are hard to widen, and railways are extremely expensive to install. One project in Switzerland aims to solve this challenge with the development of underground autonomous cargo transport systems that will shift cargo across the country without the need for drivers. What challenges does pre-existing infrastructure present, what will the proposed system do, and what challenges will it have to overcome?
Apple To Launch Lockdown Mode To Protect Users Against Spyware
Cybercriminals constantly look for methods to steal personal information, access device hardware, and control user devices to launch their attacks, but one form of malware that has become more concerning is spyware. One such example was Pegasus which has the ability to remotely install itself without any user interaction, interface with hardware, and spy on user messages. As a result of such attacks, Apple has recently announced that it will be releasing its latest Lockdown Mode which allows users to disable all access to cameras, microphones, and network connections to hinder spyware. How does spyware such as Pegasus get access to user devices without needing any user interaction, what will Lockdown Mode do, and what can users do to protect their privacy?
Top AI Executive Responsible For Tesla Autopilot Leaves
Tesla is known for many things, but its Autopilot feature easily stands on par with the electric nature of Tesla vehicles. The past few years have proven to be challenging for Tesla for numerous reasons including the COVID pandemic, disrupted supply chains, and changes in the labor market. Now, the top executive in the Autopilot department, Andrej Karpathy, has announced that he will be leaving Tesla putting the Autopilot project at risk. What challenges does autonomous driving present to engineers, what was Andrej Karpathy’s role at Tesla, and how will this affect Tesla going forward?
Hardware R&D News
Researchers Develop Wearable Heart Rate Sensor That Is Self-powered
Wearable devices present many opportunities in the field of medical science which is why smartwatch manufacturers are trying to get biomarker systems integrated into the next generation of products. But the need for a battery in such devices can introduce challenges if the device needs to be used in remote locations such as in mountainous regions, remote deserts, or out at sea. To solve this challenge, researchers have recently demonstrated a wrist-worn sensor capable of detecting and wirelessly reporting the user’s heart rate while being entirely self-powered. What challenges do batteries face, what does the device do, and how could it help the medical industry?
Scientists Create Laser Tracking System Able To Identify Robots Underwater
Underwater communication between devices is extremely challenging to solve due to the ability of water to absorb radio waves and light which is why sound-based communication is frequently used. This problem becomes an order of magnitude more challenging when trying to track robots underwater from above water as the air/water barrier prevents sound from getting through. Recognizing these challenges, researchers have recently developed a laser tracking system that can be fitted onto drones and track robots underwater. What challenges do underwater robots face, how does the new laser system work, and where could it be used?
Open-Source Hardware News
US Navy Runs Trial Of Using 3D Printers On USS Essex For Naval Research
3D printing has introduced the world to a phenomenal form of additive manufacturing. Unlike other manufacturing techniques, 3D printers can use reels of materials that are easily stored, easily printed with the use of an extruder, and be used to create complex 3D models all from a single machine requiring no customization or tooling for each model printed. Recognising the advantages of 3D printing, the US Navy is now installing 3D printers on the USS Essex to test out their abilities at sea, and how 3D printers could be used to print essential parts when far away from ports. How has 3D printing transformed the prototyping industry, what 3D printer has been used on the ship, and how could it help naval missions of the future?