Welcome to the BYTE, where we serve up the latest home and tech news from the last week for you to sink your teeth into.
This week, we’re taking a BYTE out of McDonald’s drive-thru robots, cement in space, drones that fly around planes, a washing machine that can clean eyeglasses, and artificial legs. Dig in!
A New Way to Order
If you’ve ever ordered food through a McDonald’s drive-thru, you know it’s fast. Add in AI robots and you don’t even need an actual person to order.
McDonald’s recently acquired AI company, Apprente. With this new technology, you will now be able to talk to robots while ordering your food. Creepy or awesome? We think the latter! In addition, this fast food giant is trying to tweak their menu displays based on weather, traffic, and time of day. According to Steve Easterbrook, president and CEO of McDonald’s, Apprente “will take our culture of innovation one step further”.
Can Concrete Handle Space?
Scientists sure think so. Imagine traveling to space and landing on Mars with no shelter in place. So what construction materials would you bring? Wood? Metal? Nails? How about none of the above. Astronauts from NASA have actually been experimenting with concrete and how it changes after being exposed to gravity. So what was their verdict? According to Aleksandra Radlinska, principal investigator from Penn State University, “we know there are some differences between Earth- and space based systems and we can examine those differences to see which ones are beneficial and which ones are detrimental to using this material in space.”
Drones to the Rescue
Drones are not new to the technology space. We see them being utilized in a wide-range of industries. Just recently, Austrian Airlines started using drones to inspect the outside of their planes for damage. Their reason? To reduce the number off man-hours spent on inspecting a plane from 4-10 hours to less than 2 hours.
Washing Machine 2.0
Your basic washing machine is getting an upgrade. Looking at this new machine by TLC, the only thing that stands out is its touch feature. However, digging deeper, you realize there’s more than meets the eye. Dubbed the Classified X10-110BDI, this washing machine can not only clean your clothes, but also your eyeglasses, jewelry, and wearable devices.
Sensory Feedback in Artificial Legs
Although we’ve come a long way with prosthetics, we still haven’t figured out a way to allow amputees the ability to feel again. However, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology has created leg prosthetics with sensors. These sensors connect to residual nerves in the thigh of the wearer by way of electrode implants. Will this newly redesigned prosthetic become available for consumer use? As of right now, it’s in the testing phase.
Test Out a Cabin on Mars
It’s not on Mars, but it’s built for Mars. With a resemblance to Marsha, this new cabin – dubbed Tera – was 3D-printed using the same material – basalt composite. Don’t be fooled by its egg-shaped physique. Tera houses a small kitchen, living room, bathroom, and a bedroom upstairs. And the best part? You can prebook now for a stay in March!