Facebook Translates Your Thoughts Into Text

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Facebook has many ambitions, some of which are obvious, some of which are not so obvious. Yesterday, Facebook announced its intention to build a brain computer interface that could allow people to type a message with just your mind.

Essentially….FB uses a technology to that scans your brain more than 100 times per second to detect you silently speaking and translate that into text. If you stop for a moment when you are typing an email, you will notice you are silently speaking what you are typing…this is what they are picking up on (try it and you’ll get it.)

They apparently have about 60 engineers working aggressively on the concept and have working prototypes of individuals being able to type 8 words per minute. They believe they can eventually accelerate this to 100 words per minute (well above typing speeds for average workers.) The applications are endless…help for people living with complete paralysis, people who suffer strokes and lose mobility skills to augmented and virtual reality controls.

FB is running all of this (and much more) through their Building 8 program and in partnership with UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Ultimate goal is to be able to solve the need for implants and to deliver non-surgical solutions at scale across a broad set of use cases.

Pre Order Your Flying Car

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The moment we have all been waiting for is here…It’s no longer about getting in line to buy the world’s best electric car, it’s about the new line for buying a flying car.

Aeromobil (known as the flying car company) announced the launch of its new model and plans to begin taking pre orders for a limited 1st run of production. Car company has committed to making its model commercially available this year with scale building on deliveries between now a 2020.

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Concept is pretty cool and definitely looks interesting. Car can transform from car mode to air mode is roughly 3 minutes, has a driving distance of 434 miles and a flight range of closer to 466 miles depending on conditions and throttle usage.

Top speed is said to be roughly 100 mph in care mode and 225 mph in air mode.

Good news is that is hasn’t skipped safety…plane or car (whatever) can deploy a parachute in case of emergency and comes with a full suite of airbags and pilot assisted flight functions.

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Pricing is TBD, but don’t expect it to come cheap until scale builds.

Google “Aero” Gets In On Home Services Market.

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Google has emerged (no surprise) as the next big player to take advantage of the growing restaurant and home services business. Last week, Google announced the launch of Google Aero, a new app that emerged in Mumbai and Bangalore, India, focused on allowing users to order food and schedule appointments with local service e providers (e.g. electricians, painters, cleaners.)

In this scenario, Google is basically brokering the dialogue between local advertisers and merchants and the consumers (a platform play), making it easier and more accessible to find what’s needed from any mobile device.

Google is already operating and scaling its rapid delivery service “Google Express” which is delivering items from Costco, Walmart, Petsmart, Whole Foods and more.   Google faces steep competition from Amazon who already is operating a Home Services  Business through which consumers and find and book local service offers.

Knowing these two, the battle will become big and aggressive, especially as Amazon looks to monetize more of the consumer traffic with Google like ad services.

Clear Coffee Launches In UK and Slovakia

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Clear coffee is apparently a possibility says the brother and co founder duo of Adam and David Nagy.

They have invented a way to remove the dark colored appearance of normal coffee, keep your teeth from endless staining, and still deliver you the full dose of caffeine you are looking for. The product is called Clr Ciff (or Clear Coffee with no vowels) and claims to be free of preservatives, artificial flavors, sweeteners and or stabilizers…in fact ingredients simply state water, coffee and caffeine.

Big question will be how people feels about adding milk to their clear beverage…making an even merkier looking beverage.  Consumers in UK and Slovakia will be first to find out

Hybrid Air Travel By The End Of The Decade.

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Regional air travel has long been the foundation driver for the airlines, however the costs of fuel and ever increasing tax structures have led many companies to rethink the future.

Enter Zunum, a startup company (backed by Boeing Horizon X and Jetblue’s tech venture arm) which has announced an aggressive plan to develop and fly hybrid electric aircraft on regional routes by 2020. Aircrafts will be limited in terms of distance initially, targeting 700 miles, but the potential for 1,000 is real and expected to follow within the decade. Sounds like they will build multiple versions from 10 seats to 50 seats depending on route and need.

Zunum Aero Planes are designed to provide lower cost, more efficient regional based air travel that could become a viable option for commuters…understanding that rail and highways systems are only going to worsen over next 50 years.

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In terms of efficiency, electric drive systems (hybrids) hard targets including 40% minimum reduction in costs, 40 percent decrease in the overall travel time between spots on busy commuter corridors, 80% decreased emissions vs. purely gas powered regional jets and most importantly 75% drop in noise.

The Future Of Farming Is Here?

vertical-farmImagine a farm scenario that increases productivity by 130%, uses 95% less water, involves no pesticides and can be harvested 24 times per year, rain, snow or shine.

Aerofarm, a new jersey based vertical farm company has become a pioneer in this type of farming. What’s driving the explosive growth in this areas…the globe climate changes which are driving significant draught scenarios in many places where farming flourished. Aerofarm isn’t the cheapest game in town. Not yet at least. They will need to invest significantly in the latest robotics and automation capabilities to drive costs down significantly. They are facing high energy costs of running the plants, facility costs of building out the factories with optimized fixtures…all leading to a premium, yet higher quality, sales price initially.

Carnegie Mellon’s University of Computer Science is aggressively working to address the paradigm shift in how we grow food….using government grants to invest heavily in the development of sensing technology, robotics and AI technologies to improve overall crop management using data driven decision making. This is a big market opportunity with growth of agricultural robots set to increase from 32,000 units in 2016 to almost 600,000 units by 2024…creating a ~$75B market.

Implications will change how large scale suppliers invest for the future…quickly retiring old farming techniques susceptible to further climate impacts with faster, better and more scalable solutions. Orange groves, apple orchards and generally vegetables of any type will be produced at scale in a fraction of the time as traditional impacts.

Meet Harry…The Self Driving Shuttle To Solve London’s Rural Commuting Challenges

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London introduces “Harry”, it’s prototype driver-less pod capable of carrying up to four passengers to and from designated routes at breakneck speeds of 10 MPH. This is an initiative born from the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) which is designed to behave like the modern day, street legal mono rails.

Essentially shuttling passengers between commuting points and or high traffic areas via a special lane. London is hoping to break the traffic congestion problem by building a network of these autonomous commuting capabilities in both the city and in areas that are not regularly services by bus, train or trams.

Pilot begins in the next week.