The Volocopter

There were many highlights of the two full days at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The drone light show described earlier was the most amazing, but there were many amazing things. The crowd of 180,000 was like a swarm everywhere in town. Fifty+ pictures of some of the things my son and I saw are here.

AI was everywhere. Samsung showed an 8K TV which used AI to scale up the video content since Hollywood has not yet produced anything in 8K format. Samsung also showed The Wall a 146 inch screen with brilliant colors and contrast. All the major car manufacturers were there showing off their latest autonomous driving vehicles. Electric cars and trucks were everywhere at the show and were supplemented with some fuel cell cars and trucks.

IBM had a nice presence with Watson and its new Quantum Computer. If you scan through the pictures I posted, you will see one which looks like a chandelier. That is the quantum computer. One company showed a device which looked like kitchen appliance. You put a shirt in it, and the appliance folds it perfectly.

The lowlight of the conference was the power failure which occurred on Wednesday morning, and lasted for two hours. Thousands of people were lined up at multiple entrances to the Las Vegas Convention Center, but not allowed in. People already in were coming out, which made the crowds swell. Lines everywhere. Ironic and unprecedented for a high technology to be hijacked by an electrical problem. 

One of the other highlights was the volocopter, a German feat of engineering. It represents the first autonomous, fully electric and safe Vertical Take and Landing aircraft in the world. The company sees the volocopter as humanity’s dream of flying come true and an aid to help modern cities resolve their increasing mobility issues. With 18 propellers, it looks like a giant drone. The plan is to make a request to go somewhere and a volocopter will come get you and take you there with no pilot. Take a look at the video below. 

 

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Home Attitude – How Can Home Attitude Help Me Make My Home Smart?

The YouTube video today is #6 of a seven-part series. I hope you enjoy it. There are now ten 5-star reviews of Home Attitude. Feel free to add yours here. I continue to wish all a happy and healthy New Year.

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Drone Light Show in Las Vegas

The highlight of the two full days at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas was the 10 PM Wednesday night drone performance by Intel. I was not aware Intel was building their own drones. They do not offer them for sale, but are using them for marketing purposes. My son and I stood on the Bellagio terrace when the performance began with more than a thousand fountains dancing in front of the hotel, enhanced by music and light. The display spans more than 1,000 feet horizontally with water soaring as high as 460 feet into the air. 

Off to the far left, dots of light began to appear (see the video). As the dots got closer, they began to change colors and form patterns in the sky as the music began. The music was loud and clear, and Intel’s 250 drones were choreographed to synchronize with the music. The drones weighed next to nothing, and they were roughly a foot in diameter. The video does not do justice to the spectacular performance. You had to see it in person to believe it. 

The most amazing thing to me was none of the 250 drones bumped into each other. After the 5 minutes or so of music, the drones turned around and headed back to somewhere near the Las Vegas Convention Center to land. All the drones were controlled by one Intel person using one computer (no doubt with “Intel inside”). 

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The Future of Flu Vaccine

Influenza

It seems we like to shorten a name to make it more friendly: Rosemary becomes Ro, Timothy becomes Tim, and influenza become the flu. As I enter my fourth day with the flu, I can attest there is nothing friendly about it. I am hardly alone. My wife has it also, and there are more than 3 million cases per year in the United States. The virus spreads easily, and attacks the lungs, nose, and throat. Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headaches, and fatigue. Young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with chronic disease or weak immune systems are at high risk. Approximately 375,000 people per year die from the flu. An annual vaccine can help prevent the flu and limit its complications, but the efficacy varies from year to year. My wife and I had a high-dose vaccination less than 90 days ago. Being over 65, our human immune defenses become weaker and places us at greater risk of severe illness from influenza. The higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is supposed to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu. Not this time. 

Controversy surrounds flu vaccines, how it is formulated, how it is manufactured, and the impact on our immune systems. Scientists from around the world look at recent trends, analyze a lot of data, and then develop a consensus on what the upcoming seasonal design for the vaccine should be. The lead time from the design decision and getting the vaccine distributed is at least four months. Unfortunately, things change, and the ultimate efficacy can be as low as 10%. This year looks like it will be a particularly bad year. Its not the weather, its the process. The vaccine is made using chicken eggs in huge pharmaceutical facilities operating much like they have for decades. There has to be a more modern and better way.

Dr. Craig Venter, an American biochemist, geneticist, and entrepreneur known for being one of the first to sequence the human genome, is an advocate for a new and innovative approach for the development of vaccines. Venter said the current process for developing the H1N1, otherwise known as swine flu, vaccine took many months and the supply was barely adequate to cover healthcare workers. He said if the H1N1 virus had been as deadly and widespread as some had forecasted, we would have had a very bad situation. Venter envisions vaccines being developed using synthetic DNA instead of billions of eggs. He has written how data about the DNA of the virus to be protected against can be developed into a digital recipe and emailed to laboratories which could then begin production of the vaccine within 12 hours. Venter said FDA approval is imminent. As new and more complex viruses emerge, the new approach to vaccine development could become extremely important.

Read more about vaccines in Health Attitude: Unraveling and Solving the Complexities of Healthcare.

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Home Attitude – Can A Home Be Too Smart?

The YouTube video today is #5 of a seven-part series. I hope you enjoy it. There are now ten 5-star reviews of Home Attitude. Feel free to add yours. I wish all a happy and healthy New Year.

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