I am in the process of re-reading one of the most inspiring and therefore important (especially for the YGPs) books that I have ever read. The book is Imagine by Jonah Lehrer. The main theme is creativity and how it can be applied to solving problems, in some cases very difficult problems that have gone unsolved by some of the smartest scientists in the world, but more on that in a minute.
Imagine focuses a lot on the brain and in particular on the fact that the brain has two hemispheres – the left and the right. The left is responsible for analytic problem solving and the right handles creativity.
Here’s just one example of the inspiration that Lehrer provides. When you are trying to solve a problem and find yourself stumped, that is exactly what you want to happen. Why, because until your left brain gets stumped the right brain will not assume control and start supplying the creative solutions needed to solve the problem. Who knew getting stumped was a good thing?
In perhaps the most impressive example of this phenomena Alpheus Bingham, a vice president at Eli Lilly, one of the largest drug companies in the world made a high risk decision in the late 1990’s concerning a number of difficult problems that had gone unsolved for years. One day Bingham announced he was going public via a website with the problems and to make it attractive for people he was offering to pay a substantial fee for the solution to the problems that have gone unsolved by his scientists for years.
Elon Musk is promising to provide a software update to all Tesla’s with a “full self-driving” suite for urban environs, he claims. The systems will still require full driver attention. Looks like he is going to play the safety statistics game which just might work. Stay tuned.
From an article in the Boston Globe.
Tesla is racing to be first to the market with a self-driving car made for the masses, promising to send as soon as this year an over-the-air software update that will turn hundreds of thousands of its vehicles into robo-cars. But its push to put untested and unregulated features in the hands of its drivers is putting industry executives and regulators on edge.
Once the update arrives, Tesla vehicles will be able to drive themselves in a city the way they can perform highway cruising now, the company said. That means interpreting stop signs and traffic lights, making sharp turns, and navigating stop-and-go urban traffic and other obstacles — a far more difficult task than navigating long, relatively straight stretches of highways.
Voyant Photonics claims they have a lidar sensor, based on the use of silicon photonics that is so small it can balance on the head of a pin. Now this is where things start to get interesting.
From an article in Tech Crunch by Devin Coldeway.
Lidar is a critical method by which robots and autonomous vehicles sense the world around them, but the lasers and sensors generally take up a considerable amount of space. Not so with Voyant Photonics, which has created a lidar system that you really could conceivably balance on the head of a pin.
Before getting into the science, it’s worth noting why this is important. Lidar is most often used as a way for a car to sense things at a medium distance — far away, radar can outperform it, and up close, ultrasonics and other methods are more compact. But from a few feet to a couple hundred feed out, lidar is very useful.
Mobile Laser Scanning the Blue Mountain Rail Corridor
One of our valued RIEGL mobile laser scanning customers, Michael Finlay who is a Geospatial Engineer with Jacobs, recently shared an amazing railroad video that he worked on with his team.
This project took the RIEGL VMX-450 mobile system scanning through the Blue Mountains rail corridor. The length of the project extended from Springwood to Lithgow to scan some of the most challenging conditions for an MLS system, happening even between the regular train services!
The Rev-1 may not be as exciting as some of the other autonomous delivery robots, but it just might work, assuming it doesn’t snow where you live. And you need a bike lane.
From an article in Smart Cities World.
Low-cost, lightweight autonomous delivery robots that can operate in both the bike lane and on the roadway has been launched at the TechCrunch Mobility event.
Refraction AI, founded by University of Michigan professors Matthew Johnson-Roberson and Ram Vasudevan, has developed the Rev-1 solution for last-mile logistics. The company is backed by eLab Ventures and Trucks Venture Capital.
By now most people have heard of 3D modeling and how it is revolutionising entertainment industries such as film, video games, and social media for special effects.
From an article in BestinAU by Luke Fitzpatrick.
But you may not be as familiar with 3D modelling in the world of construction. It is being utilised in innovative ways by engineers, architects and construction managers that are wanting to save time and money in the design and construction of buildings.
Here’s a fresh look at how 3D modelling in general and at building information modelling (BIM) are improving productivity for construction managers in Australia.
The webinar on 3D positional uncertainty and accuracy seemed to be well received. There was an excellent level of registrations. Attendance was good and the request for additional information were amazing.
For those who were unable to register click here for a link to the recording.
A few more thoughts from Dennis Milbert and yesterday’s blog on standards and specifications.
I was nervous yesterday about my webinar presentation on 3D survey accuracy and positional uncertainty specifications and standards. It’s a complicated subject and I knew there would be a number of smarter and more experienced people than me in the audience.
Overall things went well, but I did hear from the most experienced and knowledgeable heavy construction, control surveyor that I know. (Tunnels – see above being the toughest control survey challenge of them all.) He passed along a paper by Dennis G. Milbert at the NGS from 1983 entitled, “A Specification is Not a Classification Standard.” One may think that the differences are subtle, but as the author points out that is not the case. So I will be more careful about interchanging those terms in the future.
If you are not aware, Lidar News is hosting an educational webinar today at 2PM EDT on the subject of specifying 3D accuracy. This important event is co-sponsored by Paracosm and the USIBD. To register click here.
A lot of work has gone into the preparation of the material for this webinar. I am sure you are going to want to take advantage of this. Even if you can’t attend, if you register you will receive a link to the recorded session so that you can watch it on demand.
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