Airbus has revealed three concepts for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft which could enter service by 2035. All the concepts rely on hydrogen as a primary power source – an option which Airbus believes holds exceptional promise as a clean aviation fuel. The three concepts – all codenamed “ZEROe” – for a first zero-emission commercial aircraft include: a turbofan design (120-200 passengers) with a range of 2,000+ nautical miles, a turboprop design (up to 100 passengers) using a turboprop engine and a “blended-wing body” design (up to 200 passengers) concept in which the wings merge with the main body of the aircraft.
Amazon is preparing to launch an ambitious networking and location system later this year under the name Amazon Sidewalk. Sidewalk will link smart home devices and other Amazon products using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), connecting beyond the range of a standard Wi-Fi network. Sidewalk would turn devices like smart floodlights and home assistants into network bridges, passing along security updates and commands from a central Wi-Fi hub. Similar to a mesh network, adding more devices will extend Sidewalk’s range and functionality, so it’s critical for Amazon to integrate Sidewalk into as many home devices as possible.
Geobacter – a ubiquitous, groundwater-dwelling genus of bacteria – swallow up organic waste and “exhale” electrons, generating a tiny electric current in the process. Using advanced microscopy techniques, the researchers have uncovered the “secret molecule” that allows Geobacter to breathe over tremendously long distances previously unseen in bacteria. The team also found that, by stimulating colonies of Geobacter with an electric field, the microbes conducted electricity 1,000 times more efficiently than they do in their natural environment. “We believe this [discovery] could be used to make electronics out of the bacteria beneath your feet.”
Researchers have found a way to send tiny, soft robots into humans, potentially opening the door for less invasive surgeries and ways to deliver treatments for conditions ranging from colon polyps to stomach cancer to aortic artery blockages. Under this system, doctors would use magnetic fields to steer the soft robot inside the body, bringing medications or treatments to places that need them. The soft origami robot can be used to deliver multiple treatment selectively based on the independently controlled folding and deploying of the origami units. “By just applying the external field, the material can respond itself — it does not need any wired connection.”
TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance is seeking a valuation of $60 billion for TikTok Global, its proposed new US company. Technology services company Oracle and retailer Walmart will take stakes of 12.5% and 7.5%, respectively in TikTok Global. The two will pay a combined $12 billion if they agree to ByteDance’s $60 billion asking price. The final valuation has still not been calculated, as both firms still need to decide on measures for data security as well as the equity structure. The deal is still pending approval from China. The US says that the app threatens the country’s national security and ByteDance needs to find a US buyer for TikTok.
Aecom is to design the infrastructure for a region of Saudi Arabia that is set to house more than a million people. It will design the transport and utilities backbone for Neom, a region being developed in the northwest of the country on the Red Sea. Neom, which is being built from the ground up, will include towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centres, sports and entertainment venues, and tourist destinations. It is envisaged as a hub for innovation, where entrepreneurs, business leaders and companies will come to research, incubate and commercialise new technologies. It will be a beacon for future living.
The wealthiest 1% of the world’s population were responsible for the emission of more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorer half of the world from 1990 to 2015. Carbon dioxide emissions rose by 60% over the 25-year period, but the increase in emissions from the richest 1% was three times greater. Oxfam wants more taxes on high-carbon luxuries, such as a frequent-flyer levy, to funnel investment into low-carbon alternatives and improving the lot of the poor. Globally, richest 1% are people earning more than about $100,000.
At least 25 pilot whales have died and more than 200 are stranded at Macquarie Harbour on Tasmania’s west coast in what is believed to be one of Australia’s worst beaching events. Tasmania is a known whale stranding hotspot as the mammals pass it to and from Antarctica. Beachings were not uncommon in the area, but it was the first in at least 10 years. “They are in water. It’s very difficult to see how many might be deceased or what condition they’re in.” Authorities hope to launch a rescue mission for surviving whales early when there would be an outgoing tide.