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Posts Tagged ‘Engineering’

Engineering,Future

What will life look like in 2030?

From surgery to household tasks, humanity is about to see its daily life transformed. Prof. Irad Ben-Gal is planning for the biggest unknowns of our future.

Only twenty years ago, connecting to the internet meant sitting next to a desk and sorting through various cables, when downloading a photo could take ten minutes or more. Today, it seems like everything happens online – it’s where we find our friends and where elections and revolutions are won and lost.

But as we spend more and more of our lives in cyberspace, the question is: what’s next? The rate of change and growth is so rapid, even ten years can make a huge difference. Humanity’s biggest “unknown” is the immediate future: what can we do to foresee and cope with the next set of changes and challenges?

To answer these questions, Tel Aviv University partnered with Stanford University to create the Digital Living 2030 program. It will connect engineering students from Israel and the U.S. to lead the development of infrastructures, processes, methods and algorithms, hardware and software components, to create and support this new world. 

When our digital self goes grocery shopping

According to Prof. Irad Ben-Gal, from the Department of Industrial Engineering, a founder of the Digital Living 2030 project, we’ll see many changes over the next ten years. Some for the better, some, potentially, for the worst.

What are the biggest changes waiting around the corner?

“In general,” Prof. Irad Ben-Gal said. “A lot of sectors will see accelerated progress in the coming decade, such as autonomous transportation, personal digital medicine, smart cities, industry (robots and artificial intelligence), virtual environments and applications that affect our personal lives.

 

“On a personal level, we will witness a more complete integration between our digital world and our physical world. People will live simultaneously in both worlds when their digital self will perform different tasks for them – it will learn, make decisions (in collaboration with other digital agents), perform social interactions, and more.”

What about our lives will be better by 2030?

“In principle, a large section of society will benefit from having a better life: personalized services such as autonomous transportation, personalized medicine, a longer and healthier life, increased leisure time, more efficient handling of information overload, and a variety of new and interesting professions.”

What are the biggest problems we’ll have to deal with?

“First and foremost, there is a danger of widening economic and social gaps between different people – experts and laymen in the digital world, between the rich and the poor, between developed and developing countries, between technologically advanced and non-technological sectors…

But we’ll have to cope with all of this just like previous generations had to cope with their own technological leaps forward. Every innovation introduces new risks, from the discovery of fire and stone tools, to dynamite, to artificial intelligence.”

What about 2130? On the basis of what you know today, what will life look like in a century?

“Nothing is truly certain, of course, but there’s one thing I’m sure of: the integration of the digital world with the physical world will be complete.

 

 

“The individual will not only be a physical entity represented in digital worlds (as we are today represented in social networks) but a perfect dual entity. The digital entity will be aware, make independent decisions, learn on its own, work in parallel with the physical entity and be rewarded accordingly, and will contain elements of emotions and awareness that don’t exist today.”

So, what are you most looking forward to in the coming decade, or the coming century? And how will you prepare? Are you looking forward to outsourcing your grocery shopping to your digital avatar or dreading having to be even more involved in cyberspace than you already are?

One thing’s for sure: the engineers taking part in Digital Living 2030 will do their best to make sure we’re as ready as it’s possible to be.

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Engineering,Future

Better maps for better self-driving cars?

New research on object detection breaks with long-held principles of radar technologies

Radar technologies were originally designed to identify and track airborne military targets. Today they’re more often used to detect motor vehicles, weather formations and geological terrain.

Until now, scientists have believed that radar accuracy and resolution are related to the range of frequencies or radio bandwidth used by the devices. But a new Tel Aviv University study finds that an approach inspired by optical coherence tomography (OCT) requires little to no bandwidth to accurately create a high-resolution map of a radar’s surrounding environment.

“We’ve demonstrated a different type of ranging system that possesses superior range resolution and is almost completely free of bandwidth limitations,” says Prof. Pavel Ginzburg of TAU’s School of Electrical Engineering, one of the principal authors of the study. “The new technology has numerous applications, especially with respect to the automotive industry. It’s worth noting that existing facilities support our new approach, which means that it can be launched almost immediately.”

The new study was conducted jointly by Prof. Ginzburg, Vitali Kozlov, Rony Komissarov and Dmitry Filonov, all of TAU’s School of Electrical Engineering. 

Preventing the traffic jams of the future

It was commonly believed that radar resolution was proportional to the bandwidth used. Meaning, a good, accurate radar, required a lot of bandwidth, something that could become a limited resource in the future.

“Our concept offers solutions in situations that require high-range resolution and accuracy but in which the available bandwidth is limited, such as the self-driving car industry, optical imaging and astronomy,” Kozlov explains. “Not many cars on the road today use radars, so there’s almost no competition for allocated frequencies. But what will happen in the future, when every car will be equipped with a radar and every radar will demand the entire bandwidth?

“We’ll find ourselves in a sort of radio traffic jam. Our solutions permit drivers to share the available bandwidth without any conflict,” Kozlov says.

The TAU researchers have now demonstrated that low-bandwidth radars can achieve similar performance at a lower cost and without broadband signals by exploiting the coherence property of electromagnetic waves. The new “partially coherent” radar, which uses significantly less bandwidth, is as effective as a standard “coherent” radars in experimental situations.

Using radar for rescue

“Our demonstration is just the first step in a series of new approaches to radiofrequency detectors that explore the impact of low-bandwidth radars on traditional fields,” Prof. Ginzburg concludes. “We intend to apply this technology to previously unexplored areas, like rescue operations — sensing if an individual is buried in a collapsed building — or street mapping — sensing if a child is about to cross the street behind a bus that conceals him.”

Research for the study was supported by an ERC grant and Kamin, and it was conducted at TAU’s Radio Physics Laboratory’s anechoic chamber.

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