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Aujourd’hui — 24 janvier 2021Vos flux RSS

Un faux prêtre dirige des prières au crématorium de la Seyne-sur-Mer

Par Riposte Catholique
L’évêché du Var alerte sur la présence d’un faux prêtre catholique – accessoirement ancien candidat de Secret Story – au crematorium de la Seyne sur Mer où il dirige des Lire la suite ...

Saint-Viaud (44) : la commune fait refondre le bourdon

Par Riposte Catholique
Après trois mois sans entendre le son des cloches, le bourdon de la commune de Saint-Viaud (44) au sud de Nantes a retenti à nouveau le 25 décembre dernier, pour Noël. La cloche de 1300 Lire la suite ...

Perpignan : des questions au sujet de l’intégration d’une pasteure protestante dans une messe catholique à la cathédrale

Par Riposte Catholique
Perpignan : des questions au sujet de l’intégration d’une pasteure protestante dans une messe catholique à la cathédrale
Le 17 janvier dernier, la « pasteure » protestante Nikola Kontzi Meresse a été intégrée à la messe catholique à la cathédrale de Perpignan. Une présence active qui pose question, Lire la suite ...

Souvenir de Louis XVI : messes ce dimanche à Nice et Nancy, cérémonies à Nantes et Compiègne

Par Riposte Catholique
Le média indépendant breton Breizh Info liste les messes et cérémonies qui ont lieu à partir de ce 21 janvier en souvenir du roi Loui XVI, exécuté par les révolutionnaires le 21 janvier Lire la suite ...
Hier — 23 janvier 2021Vos flux RSS

Un homme retrouve la vue après une greffe de cornée artificielle

Par Frédéric Ballay

Un Israélien de 78 ans, aveugle, a retrouvé la vue après une greffe de cornée artificielle. C'est la première fois qu'une telle intervention réussit.

Cet article Un homme retrouve la vue après une greffe de cornée artificielle est apparu en premier sur Pepsnews -News positives.

Video Friday: Record-Breaking Drone Show Depicts Life of Van Gogh

Par Evan Ackerman

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!):

HRI 2021 – March 8-11, 2021 – [Online]
RoboSoft 2021 – April 12-16, 2021 – [Online]

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos.


A new parent STAR robot is presented. The parent robot has a tail on which the child robot can climb. By collaborating together, the two robots can reach locations that neither can reach on its own.

The parent robot can also supply the child robot with energy by recharging its batteries. The parent STAR can dispatch and recuperate the child STAR automatically (when aligned). The robots are fitted with sensors and controllers and have automatic capabilities but make no decisions on their own.

[ Bio-Inspired and Medical Robotics Lab ]


How TRI trains its robots.

[ TRI ]


The only thing more satisfying than one SCARA robot is two SCARA robots working together.

[ Fanuc ]


I'm not sure that this is strictly robotics, but it's so cool that it's worth a watch anyway.

[ Shinoda & Makino Lab ]


Flying insects heavily rely on optical flow for visual navigation and flight control. Roboticists have endowed small flying robots with optical flow control as well, since it requires just a tiny vision sensor. However, when using optical flow, the robots run into two problems that insects appear to have overcome. Firstly, since optical flow only provides mixed information on distances and velocities, using it for control leads to oscillations when getting closer to obstacles. Secondly, since optical flow provides very little information on obstacles in the direction of motion, it is hardest to detect obstacles that the robot is actually going to collide with! We propose a solution to these problems by means of a learning process.

[ Nature ]


A new Guinness World Record was set on Friday in north China for the longest animation performed by 600 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

[ Xinhua ]


Translucency is prevalent in everyday scenes. As such, perception of transparent objects is essential for robots to perform manipulation. In this work, we propose LIT, a two-stage method for transparent object pose estimation using light-field sensing and photorealistic rendering.

[ University of Michigan ] via [ Fetch Robotics ]


This paper reports the technological progress and performance of team “CERBERUS” after participating in the Tunnel and Urban Circuits of the DARPA Subterranean Challenge.

And here's a video report on the SubT Urban Beta Course performance:

[ CERBERUS ]


Congrats to Energy Robotics on 2 million euros in seed funding!

[ Energy Robotics ]

Thanks Stefan!


In just 2 minutes, watch HEBI robotics spending 23 minutes assembling a robot arm.

HEBI Robotics is hosting a webinar called 'Redefining the Robotic Arm' next week, which you can check out at the link below.

[ HEBI Robotics ]

Thanks Hardik!


Achieving versatile robot locomotion requires motor skills which can adapt to previously unseen situations. We propose a Multi-Expert Learning Architecture (MELA) that learns to generate adaptive skills from a group of representative expert skills. During training, MELA is first initialised by a distinct set of pre-trained experts, each in a separate deep neural network (DNN). Then by learning the combination of these DNNs using a Gating Neural Network (GNN), MELA can acquire more specialised experts and transitional skills across various locomotion modes.

[ Paper ]


Since the dawn of history, advances in science and technology have pursued “power” and “accuracy.” Initially, “hardness” in machines and materials was sought for reliable operations. In our area of Science of Soft Robots, we have combined emerging academic fields aimed at “softness” to increase the exposure and collaboration of researchers in different fields.

[ Science of Soft Robots ]


A team from the Laboratory of Robotics and IoT for Smart Precision Agriculture and Forestry at INESC TEC - Technology and Science are creating a ROS stack solution using Husky UGV for precision field crop agriculture.

[ Clearpath Robotics ]


Associate Professor Christopher J. Hasson in the Department of Physical Therapy is the director Neuromotor Systems Laboratory at Northeastern University. There he is working with a robotic arm to provide enhanced assistance to physical therapy patients, while maintaining the intimate therapist and patient relationship.

[ Northeastern ]


Mobile Robotic telePresence (MRP) systems aim to support enhanced collaboration between remote and local members of a given setting. But MRP systems also put the remote user in positions where they frequently rely on the help of local partners. Getting or ‘recruiting’ such help can be done with various verbal and embodied actions ranging in explicitness. In this paper, we look at how such recruitment occurs in video data drawn from an experiment where pairs of participants (one local, one remote) performed a timed searching task.

[ Microsoft Research ]


A presentation [from Team COSTAR] for the American Geophysical Union annual fall meeting on the application of robotic multi-sensor 3D Mapping for scientific exploration of caves. Lidar-based 3D maps are combined with visual/thermal/spectral/gas sensors to provide rich 3D context for scientific measurements map.

[ COSTAR ]


How Is This a Good Idea: Car Dashboard Video Games

Par Stephen Cass

Modern cars have become just another computer peripheral. Internally, a host of embedded processors handle tasks that range in complexity from rolling windows up and down to something close to autopilot. Externally, wireless smartphone connections allow a driver to monitor their car’s performance and send remote instructions to warm up the vehicle or unlock the doors. 

So why not lean into the computery nature of the modern car and use it for more than just driving around? Don’t take yourself so seriously: Use this machine, when safely parked, for having some fun. That appears to be the logic behind the notion of using the car dashboard screen—and often the steering wheel—as a platform and interface for video games.

These car-based games fall into three broad categories: Those that use a car’s center touchscreen for casual gaming recreation while the car is parked; those that co-opt the cars’ controls in some way, so that, for example, a virtual racing car can be controlled by a real steering wheel, also while parked; and finally, the as-yet-not-implemented idea that augmented reality and other games could be integrated into the active driving experience.

The first category falls into the domain of “harmless if somewhat pointless.” Looking at the games already on offer in Tesla cars, many of them are ports of classic Atari arcade titles such as Missile Command and Centipede, although some more recent games such as CupheadFallout Shelter and Beach Buggy Racing 2 have also been adapted. These are intended to allow a driver to kill some time while parked, at an EV charging station perhaps (a longer and more passive experience than popping into a gas station to fill a tank). 

But anyone who is driving a Tesla is going to have a much better piece of hardware to play games already on hand, in the form of their smartphone. Admittedly, a phone’s screen is much smaller than the Tesla’s display, but the phone has the advantage that it has a vastly larger selection of titles and can be played in the hands, rather than requiring the driver to extend their arms to play. I expect that the best use case for this category of game will prove to be in the least flashy games—chess and backgammon—where a driver and passenger might use the screen as board to play against each other. Otherwise, it all feels like a feature for a feature’s sake, good for a flex while showing off a new car, but not much else.

The next category of games—those that use a parked car as a glorified controller—edges into more dubious territory. The fundamental issue is that cars are not just another peripheral. They are heavy machinery. The non-profit National Safety Council estimates that in the United States, 38,800 people lost their lives due to car crashes in 2019, with another 4.4 million suffering serious injury. While there are no good statistics for deaths caused by, say, accidents involving laser printers, I’m willing to bet it’s a much, much smaller number. Until autonomous driving technology is good enough to take humans out of the loop entirely—so called Level 5 autonomy—drivers hold life and death in their hands every time they sit behind the wheel. 

This may seem like a moot point if the games can only be played while the car is parked. But the same controls previously dedicated to the licensed operation of a car are now also used for consequence-free light entertainment. 

In user experience terms, having the same input produce different outputs is known as a mode-based or modal interface. Popular in the days of computing when interactive input was often limited to the channel of a single keyboard, modal interfaces have since fallen out of favor. This was in large part because users tended to make so-called mode errors, where the user’s mental model of the system falls out of sync with the actual state of the system—something known as mode confusion. And they sometimes issue inappropriate commands in the belief that they’re using a different mode.

Mode confusion is irritating if you, for example, accidently delete a file while working at a computer. But it can be lethal when it happens elsewhere. For example, a number of aviation accidents have been caused by pilots making mode errors with controls in the cockpit.

Tesla Arcade does lock out some driving controls when playing a game: pressing the accelerator, for example, produces a warning notice. But turning the steering wheel to control a game car still also turns the wheels of the real car. It is easy to imagine a scenario where somebody parks their car with the wheels aligned straight ahead, then becomes immersed in a racing game while their partner runs an errand. Their partner returns and gets back in the passenger seat. The driver immediately turns off the game, starts the car and begins to back out—forgetting that the last thing they were doing in the game was taking a sharp curve. So instead of reversing straight back out, the wheels are set so the cars turn into another vehicle—or a pedestrian. 

The next proposed category of in-car gaming, where the game is tied into the active driving experience, is even more worrisome. In May, Elon Musk mused on Twitter about the possibility of having something like the augmented reality hit Pokemon Go running on Teslas. Whether any such game is played using an in-car display or some kind of heads-up display, the issue is that it will be inevitably adding to the driver’s mental load, raising the likelihood of distraction at a critical moment. 

There have been some very public incidents where drivers, lulled into a false sense of security by autonomous driving systems, have become so distracted as to be practically somnambulant: A pedestrian crossing the road was killed during a 2018 Uber autonomous driving road test in Arizona, and a driver’s overreliance on a Tesla’s autopilot system got him killed when a truck failed to yield properly in 2016. But it doesn’t take the latest in AI technology to beguile drivers. 

Safety experts have previously raised concerns about common in-vehicle information systems, which are intended to help drivers with navigation, provide audio entertainment, or support hands-free phone calls or text messaging. A 2017 report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety warned that many such systems already place excessive visual or mental demands on drivers. The truth is that we are simply not as good at multitasking as we like to think we are. And every additional task we try to perform simultaneously—such as completing a game objective while also paying attention to traffic—pushes us closer to a condition that accident investigators refer to as task saturation

As a person reaches task saturation, their situational awareness becomes more and more spotty, and they can end up simply ignoring critical warnings, or become incapable of completing all the things they need to do in time to avoid disaster. And given that every game designer’s objective is to grab and hold our attention, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine that actively playing a game while driving would make more mental demands than using, say, a satellite navigation display. 

So let’s keep the games where they belong—away from steering wheels and actual car dashboards.

À partir d’avant-hierVos flux RSS

France Télévisions va lancer une chaîne éphémère pour soutenir la culture

Par Frédéric Ballay

Le groupe France Télévisions lancera début février Culturebox, une chaîne de télévision éphémère dédiée à la culture, au spectacle vivant et aux artistes.
Face aux circonstances inédites provoquées par la crise sanitaire qui impose la fermeture des lieux culturels et l'annulation de la tenue des spectacles, Culturebox offrira quotidiennement au plus grand nombre, un accès direct et gratuit à la culture.

Cet article France Télévisions va lancer une chaîne éphémère pour soutenir la culture est apparu en premier sur Pepsnews -News positives.

How Tech Is Revitalizing the Medical Product Approval Process

Par Kathy Pretz
Illustration of a pill with data read outs and icons
Illustration: iStockphoto

THE INSTITUTE It took less than a year for coronavirus vaccines to go from experimentation to people’s arms. Compare that to the decade or so it typically takes to get a new drug or medical device evaluated, approved, and released to the public.

Why does the process normally take so long? It takes time to recruit volunteers for clinical trials, conduct the trials, analyze the data, file the appropriate paperwork, and get regulatory approval. In the case of the COVID-19 vaccines, all the steps were greatly accelerated.

What if there is a way to generally speed up the clinical trial process and make it more efficient? Some groups—including IEEE, pharmaceutical companies, and regulatory agencies—say the solution is to use artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud-based platforms, health-monitoring devices, and other technologies.

The technologies could be used to help conduct clinical trials using telehealth and similar processes. Sometimes called remote or patient-centric trials, such “decentralized” clinical trials could streamline the approval process and reduce the time burden on participants.

In September 2019 the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) initiated the Technology and Data Harmonization for Enabling Decentralized Clinical Trials (DCT) Industry Connections Program.

Through that incubator, activities are in the works, such as new technology and data standards; a testing and training laboratory; a certified technical workflow for the trusted and validated use of remote digital health technologies; and the use of artificial intelligence, blockchain, and distributed ledger technologies designed to increase participant efficacy and safety while accelerating trial operations.

Walter De Brouwer, chair of the IEEE SA DCT Industry Connections Program overseeing the project, says decentralized clinical trials are still an emerging industry and “a bit of a Wild West.”

“We are experiencing an irreversible and transformative change in the clinical research field in which decentralized clinical trials enabled by technology will become mainstream,” says Isaac R. Rodriguez-Chavez. “IEEE standards will assist with the implementation of these trials.” Rodriguez-Chavez is senior vice president of scientific and clinical affairs as well as head of the Global Center of Excellence for Decentralized Clinical Trials at PRA Health Sciences. He also is co-leader of the IEEE SA DCT Industry Connections Program.

Pharmaceutical companies are interested in conducting such trials because it could fast-track the drug-development process and reduce their costs.

But, De Brouwer says, “the problem is pharma [companies] are uncertain in how to do them, because too much engineering of technology is involved.”

Maria Palombini, IEEE SA’s director of emerging communities and opportunities development and health care life sciences practice lead, says a lot of companies involved with sponsoring and conducting clinical trials are hesitant to apply a decentralized approach.

“There continue to be concerns over patient privacy and verification, data validation and security, and uncertainties with regulatory compliance,” Palombini says. “There are many unanswered questions, so there’s quite a bit of hesitancy in transitioning to this approach to conducting clinical trials.”

The IEEE SA program plans to address those concerns. The group is recruiting members from academia, biology and pharmaceutical companies, the tech community, and regulators across the globe. Individual workstream groups are already looking at developing a variety of protocols, remotely monitoring participants, improving the logistics of shipping clinical trial kits to participants, and gathering and validating trial data. The program is also considering how to enable a more inclusive patient recruitment process with increased participation from minority groups, which are often underrepresented in clinical trials.

IMPROVING PATIENT RECRUITMENT

Clinical trials involve testing a new drug or device on hundreds and sometimes thousands of volunteers. For example, Moderna recruited 30,000 participants for its COVID-19 vaccine’s clinical trials.

De Brouwer says it’s becoming increasingly difficult to recruit people, because of the length of time it takes to monitor them. The people’s health needs to be regularly checked by medical professionals. Also, if the trial involves a drug, the dose needs to be monitored and any side effects must be documented.

“There are only a limited number of participants who are disciplined enough to go through a clinical trial,” he says.

On average, about 20 percent of participants drop out, according to a study of clinical trials by CenterWatch.

Other challenges are travel and safety measures imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused hundreds of clinical trials to be suspended.

Decentralized clinical trials are expected to boost recruitment of volunteers because people could participate from the comfort of their home and nearby health care facilities. The drugs being studied would be mailed to them, or health care workers could make house calls to administer the medication. The participants’ health could be checked using mobile apps, telemedicine, or wearable devices and recorded in electronic health records, Palombini says.

But that approach would come with challenges. Health-monitoring devices, for example, differ in how they measure heart rate and other vital signs. The differences make it difficult to have a standardized way of measuring the data for clinical research purposes.

That’s why the group will be defining technical standards and recommendations for how to build, calibrate, verify, and qualify digital health technologies used for monitoring. The project also aims to create best practices and processes for protecting participants’ safety and privacy. Ways to securely ship investigational drugs and the logistics of doing so are also being worked on.

DATA COLLECTION

How to gather, verify, validate, and share data in a consistent manner is another concern. Because each facility that conducts clinical trials uses its own hardware and software to collect the information, sharing the data with the study’s sponsor, clinical investigators, review boards, and regulatory agencies can be difficult.

The data could be decentralized with the use of artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and cloud computing.

“In simple terms, we are talking about data portability, compatibility, and interoperability, because data has to be able to be distributed, accepted, utilized, and mined,” Palombini says.

De Brouwer notes that progress with new technologies does not have to mean less privacy.

“Through technologies like edge AI, federated learning, and zero-trust infrastructure we can preserve privacy by sharing data in limited ways—and the clinical learnings more broadly,” he says.

Another new tool being explored is a smart contract for auditing and authenticating patients informed-consent agreements, which trial participants are required to sign. Smart contracts use lines of code to trigger and track the terms of the agreement while protecting the patient’s privacy. That streamlines the process, accelerates auditing and verification, and aligns the patient’s trial data experience to one original record.

“Combined with the use of distributed ledger technology, chronological tracking of the terms of the smart contract [is] immutable [and] can be verified and easily tracked,” Palombini says.

She says the IEEE SA program is not seeking to change regulatory policies. Instead, she says, “we are looking to create solutions for legacy challenges that have impeded efficacy, optimization, and acceleration of trialing therapies.”

To learn more about the program, view decentralized clinical trials webinar episodes or listen to De Brouwer’s Re-Think Health podcast episode.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

N’y a-t-il que des saints au Ciel?

Par Réponses catholiques

Les âmes sont-elles toutes Saintes au Ciel ?

Oui. C’est pour cela qu’on parle de la Communion des saints entre les vivants et les morts : les saints du Ciel et les saints de la terre, qui ne savent pas encore qu’ils sont saints, sont solidaires les uns des autres.

Être au Paradis, c’est contempler Dieu face à face. C’est cela la sainteté : être dans une communion telle avec le Seigneur qu’on vit en Lui, de Lui, en union avec Lui.

Cela ne veut pas dire que tous les saints du Ciel sont canonisés par l’Eglise. La plupart sont inconnus. C’est pourquoi on les fête à la Toussaint (la fête de tous les saints).

Éco-village de Pourgues : «Ce choix a bousculé mon rapport à moi, aux autres, au temps, au vivant»

Par Sophie Renassia

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En 2019, le film "En Liberté !" mettait en lumière un éco-village où chacun est libre de faire ce qu'il entend. Où en est-on aujourd’hui ?

Lire l'article sur POSITIVR : Éco-village de Pourgues : «Ce choix a bousculé mon rapport à moi, aux autres, au temps, au vivant»

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Building a Stereoscopic Camera With the Raspberry Pi 4 Compute Module

Par Eugene Pomazov
The StereoPi v2 relies on the Raspberry Pi 4 Compute Module for its brains. The StereoPi provides dual interfaces for camera modules, and also supplies other external interfaces, including for video, so that a complete handheld stereoscopic camera can be easily assembled.
Illustration: James Provost

Getting access to prerelease versions of a platform that you know is going to sell by the million is a great opportunity to get a jump on developing a new open-source product. But it’s no guarantee of success: As the team responsible for StereoPi, we soon discovered in building a new version of our stereoscopic vision systems that preliminary hardware can introduce its own quirks into the development process.

In its original single-board computer form, the Raspberry Pi was created for tinkerers and learners. But it has become increasingly used as an industrial platform: Two years ago, it was estimated that at least half of the 6 million Pi computers sold were used commercially. To aid embedded developers, since 2014 each Pi model has also been released in a minimalist “compute module” format, which eliminates the Pi’s user-friendly interface sockets and header pins. Not surprisingly, it’s far less common to see compute modules in maker projects, but in 2018 we took advantage of the Pi 3 version of the compute module (CM3) to create a popular compact DIY stereoscopic camera, the ­StereoPi. The StereoPi is a circuit board that allows you to plug in a compute module and two cameras and restores some of the standard Pi’s user-friendly interfaces, such as USB connectors. Consequently, our team was invited by the Pi Foundation to develop a revised version in tandem with the development of the Pi 4 compute module (CM4).

Diagram of StereoPi v2
Illustration: James Provost
Double Vision: The StereoPi v2 relies on the Raspberry Pi 4 Compute Module for its brains. The StereoPi provides dual interfaces for camera modules, and also supplies other external interfaces, including for video, so that a complete handheld stereoscopic camera can be easily assembled.

Since 2013, adding one camera sensor to a Pi has been a relatively trivial exercise, with standard single-board versions equipped with a dedicated CSI (camera serial interface) port. This led to the Pi being used in many computer-vision and digital photography projects, but stereoscopic imaging was relatively neglected, despite its utility in fields such as computer navigation, and hence the creation of the first StereoPi. The specs of the Pi 4 module offered a chance for new features and other upgrades that had been requested by users of the StereoPi, so we embraced the opportunity.

For the StereoPi v2, we realized we could offer the ability to do things like create point clouds within the camera—rather than having to stream images to a more powerful external computer for processing—and simplify our existing design.

Illustration of the four layers of the StereoPi’s printed circuit board
Illustration: James Provost

Wireless Window: The Raspberry Pi 4 Compute Module has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi hardware built in. The StereoPi team had to ensure that no occluding metal traces or planes crossed under the module’s antenna in any of the four layers of the StereoPi’s printed circuit board.

For example, the CM4 has a dramatically reduced set of voltage requirements: Instead of seven different power feeds, ranging from 1.8 to 3.3 volts, the CM4 runs from a single 5-V supply, generating the different voltages needed internally and also making them available to supply external components. The CM4 also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities built in, eliminating the need for external hardware to support wireless operation. And a system architecture change has cleared a bottleneck that affected high-speed data exchanges; with the previous CM3, USB and network data flowed through a single USB 2.0 internal hub. On the CM4, wireless, Ethernet, and USB all have independent connections.

Our team asked the Pi Foundation for two engineering versions of the CM4, along with a debug board. We then promptly bricked one of the modules by accidentally shorting a 5-V line and a 3.3-V line—we’d gotten away with such a mistake with the CM3 without causing irreparable damage, but it seems the CM4’s new power arrangement is more sensitive to abuse. We became very careful about safeguarding our remaining module, triple-checking connections and ensuring that no metal debris could cause an unexpected short.

The CM4’s architectural improvements meant changes in form factors. Before the CM4, compute modules looked very much like PC memory modules, and used standard SO-DIMM-style connectors (albeit with a very different wiring plan!). We were able to use a SO-DIMM slot that provided enough vertical clearance to allow us to wire up large interface connectors such as USB or HDMI ports on the opposite side of the board and not have to worry about the soldered pins poking up and creating shorts on the compute module. This let us shrink the size of the StereoPi’s printed circuit board. But the CM4 switched to using a more compact DF-40 style of connector, which we couldn’t find in a version that provided sufficient clearance, so we were forced to move our interface ports off to the side, lengthening our PCB.

This led to a search for smaller connectors, replacing our original full-size HDMI connector with a micro HDMI connector. Both the full-size HDMI and micro HMDI connectors are functionally identical, with 19 pins, so in a rational universe the pinouts would be the same, yes? Hahaha! No. The pinouts are permutations of each other: Pin 1 on the full-size connector is pin 3 on a micro connector and so on, which caused much scratching of heads until we realized what was going on.

Another issue was the integration of wireless connectivity on the CM4. With the CM3, we could treat it as largely a black box, but wireless signals inevitably mean an antenna. Consequently, we had to keep the exact location of CM4’s antenna in mind when we were routing the traces for our circuit board. Each one of its four layers needed to have an unmetallized window beneath the antenna for optimum performance.

After that, the issues became more subtle. Developers using Raspberry Pi hardware are used to excellent documentation, but as the team was more or less working from live engineering documents we were sometimes led astray by errors. (For full details of all our major issues, you can visit our website!)

We have finally completed the new design, and by the time you read this we should have launched the StereoPi v2 on Crowd Supply. We are also working on a complete handheld stereoscopic camera kit that we expect to release shortly for those who want to get up and running as quickly as possible. But the thing my partners—Sergey Serov and Sergey Roshupkin—and I are most looking forward to is seeing the wave of cool new projects we hope are enabled by our efforts!

This article appears in the February 2021 print issue as “Stereo Vision.”

VIDÉO. « Je suis un nuage de rêves suspendu à l’orage » : le poème puissant de Gaël Faye

Par Mégane Bouron

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Gaël Faye : "J’ai peur d’être cynique, pessimiste ou défaitiste, d’être un chiffre, une croix, un nom sur une liste."

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VIDÉO. François Morel défend le dessinateur Xavier Gorce : un discours brillant

Par Mégane Bouron

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À travers son discours édifiant, François Morel défend le dessinateur Xavier Gorce après son croquis sur l'inceste.

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PODCAST. Violences conjugales : Rachida raconte le jour où elle a décidé de porter plainte

Par Contribution

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"Il fallait que le monde entier sache ce que j'avais besoin de dire" : victime de violences conjugales, Rachida a fini par porter plainte.

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Extension de l’aéroport Bâle-Mulhouse : “La mobilisation est très forte, surtout chez nos voisins helvètes”

Par Mathilde Sallé de Chou

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Dans l'Est, les associations s'interrogent : pourquoi agrandir un aéroport alors que la pandémie a mis le secteur aérien K.O. ?

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Recette: Sauce Alfredo rapide et facile

Par sophie

Cette sauce Alfredo au fromage à la crème est le plat réconfortant crémeux et à l’ail ultime! On utilise des ingrédients simples du quotidien et cela ne prend qu’environ 15 minutes à préparer. Utilisez cette sauce pour préparer les meilleurs Fettuccini!

Temps de préparation: 5 minutes

Cuisson 10 minutes 

Ingrédients pour 6:

  • 500g de fettuccine
  • 2 cuillères à soupe de beurre
  • 150g de fromage à la crème (j’ai utilisé 1/2 bloc de Philadelphia) ramolli
  • 1 tasse de crème épaisse
  • 2 grosses gousses d’ail émincées
  • 1 tasse de parmesan fraîchement râpé
  • Sel et poivre au goût

Instructions:

Sortez le fromage à la crème du réfrigérateur pour le ramollir au moins 30 minutes (ou plus) avant de commencer la recette.

Râpez le parmesan.

Faites bouillir une casserole d’eau salée pour les fettuccini. Faites-les cuire al dente selon les instructions sur l’emballage.

Ajouter le beurre, le fromage à la crème, la crème et l’ail dans une poêle à feu moyen.

Une fois le fromage à la crème incorporé à la sauce, laissez-le bouillonner doucement pendant 3-4 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que la sauce ait un peu réduit.

Incorporer le parmesan à la sauce et laisser fondre (environ 30 secondes), puis retirer du feu.

Assaisonnez de sel et de poivre au besoin.

Une fois les pâtes cuites, je les jette avec la sauce directement dans la poêle (j’ajoute également un peu d’eau chaude pour les pâtes), et je les sers avec un supplément de parmesan râpé sur le dessus et un peu de persil frais haché.

Bon ap!

  

Nutrition Calories: 526kcal

Auteur: Natasha Bull – source – Librement traduit de l’anglais par JDBN – crédits photos: saltandlavender

Three Frosty Innovations for Better Quantum Computers

Par Rahul Rao

For most quantum computers, heat is the enemy. Heat creates error in the qubits that make a quantum computer tick, scuttling the operations the computer is carrying out. So quantum computers need to be kept very cold, just a tad above absolute zero.

“But to operate a computer, you need some interface with the non-quantum world,” says Jan Cranickx, a research scientist at imec. Today, that means a lot of bulky backend electronics that sit at room temperature. To make better quantum computers, scientists and engineers are looking to bring more of those electronics into the dilution refrigerator that houses the qubits themselves.

At December’s IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), researchers from than a half dozen companies and universities presented new ways to run circuits at cryogenic temperatures. Here are three such efforts: 

Google’s cryogenic control circuit could start shrinking quantum computers

Google’s first generation cryogenic-CMOS single-qubit controller (center and zoomed on the right) packaged and ready to be deployed inside our cryostat. The controller measures 1mm by 1.6mm.
Photo: Google
Google’s cryo-CMOS integrated circuit, ready to control a single qubit.

At Google, researchers have developed a cryogenic integrated circuit for controlling the qubits, connecting them with other electronics. The Google team actually first unveiled their work back in 2019, but they’re continuing to scale up the technology, with an eye for building larger quantum computers.

This cryo-CMOS circuit isn’t much different from its room-temperature counterparts, says Joseph Bardin, a research scientist with Google Quantum AI and a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. But designing it isn’t so straightforward. Existing simulations and models of components aren’t tailored for cryogenic operation. Much of the researchers’ challenge comes in adapting those models for cold temperatures.

Google’s device operates at 4 kelvins inside the refrigerator, just slightly warmer than the qubits that are about 50 centimeters away. That could drastically shrink what are now room-sized racks of electronics. Bardin claims that their cryo-IC approach “could also eventually bring the cost of the control electronics way down.” Efficiently controlling quantum computers, he says, is crucial as they reach 100 qubits or more.

Cryogenic low-noise amplifiers make reading qubits easier

A key part of a quantum computer are the electronics to read out the qubits. On their own, those qubits emit weak RF signals. Enter the low-noise amplifier (LNA), which can boost those signals and make the qubits far easier to read. It’s not just quantum computers that benefit from cryogenic LNAs; radio telescopes and deep-space communications networks use them, too.

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, are among those trying to make cryo-LNAs. Their circuit uses high-electron-mobility transistors (HEMTs), which are especially useful for rapidly switching and amplifying current. The Chalmers researchers use transistors made from indium phosphide (InP), a familiar material for LNAs, though gallium arsenide is more common commercially. Jan Grahn, a professor at Chalmers University of Technology, states that InP HEMTs are ideal for the deep freeze, because the material does an even better job of conducting electrons at low temperatures than at room temperature.

Researchers have tinkered with InP HEMTs in LNAs for some time, but the Chalmers group are pushing their circuits to run at lower temperatures and to use less power than ever. Their devices operate as low as 4 kelvins, a temperature which makes them at home in the upper reaches of a quantum computer’s dilution refrigerator.

imec researchers are pruning those cables

Any image of a quantum computer is dominated by the byzantine cabling. Those cables connect the qubits to their control electronics, reading out of the states of the qubits and feeding back inputs. Some of those cables can be weeded out by an RF multiplexer (RF MUX), a circuit which can control the signals to and from multiple qubits. And researchers at imec have developed an RF MUX that can join the qubits in the fridge.

Unlike many experimental cryogenic circuits, which work at 4 kelvins, imec’s RF MUX can operate down to millikelvins. Jan Cranickx says that getting an RF MUX to work that temperature meant entering a world where the researchers and device physicists had no models to work from. He describes fabricating the device as a process of “trial and error,” of cooling components down to millikelvins and seeing how well they still work. “It’s totally unknown territory,” he says. “Nobody’s ever done that.”

This circuit sits right next to the qubits, deep in the cold heart of the dilution refrigerator. Further up and away, researchers can connect other devices, such as LNAs, and other control circuits. This setup could make it less necessary for each individual qubit to have its own complex readout circuit, and make it much easier to build complex quantum computers with much larger numbers of qubits—perhaps even thousands.

Le Sénat fixe le consentement sexuel des mineurs à 13 ans : une avancée insuffisante

Par Mégane Bouron

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Cette nouvelle infraction, qui marque un premier pas dans la lutte contre les crimes sexuels sur mineurs, connaît néanmoins ses limites.

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PODCAST. Fermes en Vie : une agriculture plus respectueuse des hommes et de l’environnement

Par Contribution

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Fermes en Vie, c'est un projet de fermes en polyculture et à taille humaine, qui veut créer lien entre agriculteurs et néo-ruraux.

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VIDÉO. Après « l’effet apéro », Bertrand Usclat décrypte « l’effet goûter »

Par Axel Leclercq

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"Avant, les vrais teufeurs, c'était ceux qui partaient tard. Maintenant, c'est ceux qui arrivent tôt" (Bertrand Usclat)

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« Quelle génération êtes-vous en train de façonner ? » : la lettre d’une étudiante à Emmanuel Macron

Par Mégane Bouron

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"Mon sourire s'en est allé, mes rêves se délayent de jour en jour, mon intérêt pour mes études n'est plus qu'un lointain souvenir."

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Argentine : ce dinosaure est probablement le plus grand animal de tous les temps

Par Mégane Bouron

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Oubliez tout ce que vous pensiez savoir sur le plus grand dinosaure de l'Histoire, car cette découverte pourrait bien tout changer.

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VIDÉO. Sécurité routière : au Québec, une campagne créative et percutante

Par Axel Leclercq

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Derrière chaque piéton se cache une vie unique à préserver. Un message simple rappelé avec force dans cette campagne créative.

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Beyond Bitcoin: China’s Surveillance Cash

Par Mark Pesce
Illustration of a wallet with 1's and 0's coming out.
Illustration: Greg Mably

Of all the technological revolutions we’ll live through in this next decade, none will be more fundamental or pervasive than the transition to digital cash. Money touches nearly everything we do, and although all those swipes and taps and PIN-entry moments may make it seem as though cash is already digital, all of that tech merely eases access to our bank accounts. Cash remains stubbornly physical. But that’s soon going to change.

As with so much connected to digital payments, the Chinese got there first. Prompted by the June 2019 public announcement of Facebook’s Libra (now Diem)—the social media giant’s private form of digital cash—the People’s Bank of China unveiled Digital Currency/Electronic Payments, or DCEP. Having rolled out the new currency to tens of millions of users who now hold digital yuan in electronic wallets, the bank expects that by the time Beijing hosts the 2022 Winter Olympics, DCEP will be in widespread use across what some say is the world’s biggest economy. Indeed, the bank confidently predicts that by the end of the decade digital cash will displace nearly all of China’s banknotes.

Unlike the anarchic and highly sought-after Bitcoin—whose creation marked the genesis of digital cash—DCEP gives up all its secrets. The People’s Bank records every DCEP transaction of any size across the entire Chinese economy, enabling a form of economic surveillance that was impossible to conceive of before the advent of digital cash but is now baked into the design of this new kind of money.

China may have been first, but nearly every other major national economy has its central bankers researching their own forms of digital cash. That makes this an excellent moment to consider the tensions at the intersection of money, technology, and society.

Nearly every country tracks the movement of large sums of money in an effort to thwart terrorism and tax evasion. But most nations have been content to preserve the anonymity of cash when the amount conveyed falls below some threshold. Will that still be the case in 2030, or will our money watch us as we spend it? Just because we can use the technology to create an indelible digital record of our every transaction, should we? And if we do, who gets to see that ledger?

Digital cash also means that high-tech items will rapidly become bearers of value. We’ll have more than just smartphone-based wallets: Our automobiles will pay for their own bridge tolls or the watts they gulp to charge their batteries. It also means that such a car can be paid directly if it returns some of those electrons to the grid at times of peak demand. Within this decade, most of our devices could become fully transactional, not just in exchanging data, but also as autonomous financial entities.

Pervasive digital cash will demand a new ecosystem of software services to manage it. Here we run headlong into a fundamental challenge: You can claw back a mistaken or fraudulent credit card transaction with a charge-back, but a cash transfer is forever, whether that’s done by exchanging bills or bytes. That means someone’s buggy code will cost someone else real money. Ever-greater attention will have to be paid to testing, before the code managing these transactions is deployed. Youthful cries of “move fast and break things” ring hollow in a more mature connected world where software plays such a central role in the economy.

This article appears in the February 2021 print issue as “Surveillance Cash.”

S.K. Ramesh and Francis Grosz Run for 2022 President-Elect

Par Joanna Goodrich
Photo of Fellow S.K. Ramesh and Life Senior Member Francis Grosz
Photos: S.K. Ramesh; Francis Grosz

THE INSTITUTE The IEEE Board of Directors has nominated Fellow S.K. Ramesh and Life Senior Member Francis Grosz as candidates for IEEE president-elect. The winner of this year’s election will serve as IEEE president in 2023.

Ramesh is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at California State University Northridge’s college of engineering and computer science, where he served as dean from 2006 to 2017. While dean, he established centers on renewable energy, entrepreneurship, and advanced manufacturing. He created an interdisciplinary master’s degree program in assistive technology engineering to meet emerging workforce needs.

Ramesh is the founding director of the university’s nationally recognized Attract, Inspire, Mentor, and Support Students program, which advances the graduation of underrepresented minorities in engineering and computer science.

He has been an IEEE volunteer for almost 40 years and has served on the IEEE Board of Directors, Awards Board, Educational Activities Board, Publication Services and Products Board, and Fellows Committee.

As the 2016–2017 vice president of IEEE Educational Activities, he championed several successful programs including the IEEE Learning Network and the IEEE TryEngineering Summer Institute.

He expanded chapters of IEEE’s honor society, Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN), globally to serve all 10 regions, and he increased industry support as the society’s 2016 president.

Ramesh was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 2015 for “contributions to entrepreneurship in engineering education.”

He serves on the board of ABET, the global accrediting organization for academic programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology, and is an experienced program evaluator.

Ramesh has served IEEE Region 6 at the section, chapter, and area levels. He currently serves on the IEEE Buenaventura (California) Section member development team, which received a 2020 Gold Award for its work.

His many recognitions include the 2004 IEEE Region 6 Community Service Award and the 2012 John J. Guarrera Engineering Educator of the Year Award from the Engineers’ Council.

Grosz, who retired in 2012, was an assistant professor of engineering at the University of New Orleans for six years and an adjunct professor for two years, as well as an adjunct engineering professor at Tulane University, also in New Orleans, for two years.

Before and after his time in academia, he designed systems for defense contractors Litton Data Systems, Omni Technologies, and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. He was granted two U.S. patents—one for a method of transmitting data through a ship’s bulkhead and the second for a NASA fiber-optic communication system for rocket engine testing.

Grosz has been an IEEE volunteer for more than 35 years, serving at the section, region, and institute levels. He has held almost all offices at the section level, including chair, secretary, and vice chair of the IEEE New Orleans Section, and he has been a member of the IEEE Region 5 executive committee for 18 years.

He served on the IEEE Board of Directors as the 2016–2017 Region 5 director and the 2019 vice president for IEEE Member and Geographic Activities (MGA). He was 2017 chair of the audit committee and cochair of the 2019 ad hoc committee on member engagement, which included three subcommittees examining member value and leading MGA efforts in realigning IEEE’s regions.

Grosz, a member of IEEE-HKN, has received several recognitions including an IEEE Third Millennium Medal, the 2008 IEEE Region 5 Outstanding Member Award, and a 1999 NASA Space Act Award, which recognizes a technical innovation of significant value to the agency’s activities.

An amateur radio operator, his call sign is K5FBG.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

White paper on flame retardant epoxies and silicones

Flame retardant epoxies


Epoxies and silicones used in aircraft applications must maintain their primary role as adhesives or coatings while exhibiting resistance to heat and flame in accordance with government and industry specifications. Master Bond’s flame-retardant systems comply with specifications for flame resistance and reduction of smoke density and toxic emissions.

Plasmonics: A New Way to Link Processors With Light

Par Samuel K. Moore

Fiber optic links are already the main method of slinging data between clusters of computers in data centers, and engineers want to bring their blazing bandwidth to the processor. That step comes at a cost that researchers at the University of Toronto and Arm think they can greatly reduce.

Silicon photonics components are huge in comparison to their electronic counterparts. That’s a function of optical wavelengths being so much larger than today’s transistors and the copper interconnects that tie them together into circuits. Silicon photonic components are also surprisingly sensitive to changes in temperature, so much so that photonics chips must include heating elements that take up about half of their area and energy consumption, as Charles Lin, one of the team at University of Toronto, explained last month at the IEEE International Electron Device Meeting.

At the virtual conference Lin, a researcher in the laboratory of Amr S. Helmy, described new silicon transceiver components that dodge both of these problems by relying on plasmonics instead of photonics. The results so far point to transceivers capable of at least double the bandwidth while consuming only one third the energy and taking up a mere 20 percent of the area. What’s more, they could be built right atop the processor, instead of on separate chiplets as is done with silicon photonics.

When light strikes the interface between a metal and insulator at a shallow angle, it forms plasmons: waves of electron density that propagate along the metal surface. Conveniently, plasmons can travel down a waveguide that is much narrower than the light that forms it, but they typically peter-out very quickly because the metal absorbs light.

Hybrid plasmonic waveguide could handle more than three times the data.
Image: AS Helmy Group/University of Toronto
As part of a transceiver system, a photodetector based on a coupled hybrid plasmonic waveguide could handle more than three times the data of a silicon photonics system.

The Toronto researchers invented a structure to take advantage of plasmonics’ smaller size while greatly reducing the loss. Called the coupled hybrid plasmonic waveguide (CPHW), it is essentially a stack made up of silicon, the conductor indium tin oxide, silicon dioxide, aluminum, and more silicon. That combination forms two types of semiconductor junctions—a Schottky diode and a metal-oxide-semiconductor—with the aluminum that contains the plasmon in common between the two. Within the metal, the plasmon in the top junction interferes with the plasmon in the bottom junction in such a way that loss is reduced by almost two orders of magnitude, Lin said.

Using the CPHW as a base, the Toronto group built two key photonics components—a modulator, which turns electronic bits into photonic bits, and a photodetector, which does the reverse. (As is done in silicon photonics, a separate laser provides the light; the modulator blocks the light or lets it pass to represent bits.) The modulator took up just 2 square micrometers and could switch at as fast as 26 gigahertz, the limit of the Toronto team’s equipment. Based on the device’s measured capacitance, the real limit could be as high as 636 GHz. The plasmonic photodetector was near match to silicon photonics’ sensitivity, but it was only 1/36th the size.

One of the CPHW’s biggest advantages is its lack of sensitivity to temperature. Silicon photonics components have a temperature tolerance that can’t swing farther than one degree in order for them to operate at the proper wavelength. Temperature sensitivity is a “big challenge for silicon photonics,” explains Saurabh Sinha, a principal research engineer at Arm. Managing that tolerance requires both extra circuitry and the consumption of energy. In a simulated 16-channel silicon photonics transceiver heating circuits consume half of the circuit’s energy and take up nearly that fraction of their total area, and that translates to huge difference in area: 0.37 mm2 for silicon photonics versus 0.07 mm2 for plasmonic transceivers.

Simulations of the CPHW-based plasmonics transceiver predict a number of benefits over silicon photonics. The CPHW system consumed less than one-third of the energy per bit transmitted of a competing silicon photonics system—0.49 picojoules per bit versus 1.52 pJ/b. It could comfortably transmit more than three times more bits per second at acceptable Ethernet error rates without relying on error correction—150 gigabits per second versus 39 Gb/s.

Sinha says Arm and the Toronto group are discussing next steps, and those might include exploring other potential benefits of these transceivers such as the fact that CPHWs could be constructed atop processor chips, while silicon photonics devices must be made separately from the processor and then linked to them inside the processor package using chiplet technology.

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