3D-printed self-driving Olli bus to hit the streets in the US

June 17, 2016 by  
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Arizona-based startup Local Motors has created a 3D-printed , self-driving bus that can carry up to twelve people. The bus is named Olli, and it’s designed to serve as an on-demand transportation option. Like human-helmed cars from Uber or Lyft, Olli would arrive to pick up riders after being summoned by a mobile app. Unlike other autonomous vehicle projects from Google and others, which are expected to be available to the public several years in the future, Olli is ready to hit the streets as soon as regulations allow for it. While Olli has no human driver, IBM has volunteered the services of its flagship artificial intelligence system Watson to serve as a friendly interface between riders and the vehicle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymz4SYVr_EE “The technology has been ready—fielding it is what has been hard,” says Local Motors co-founder and chief executive John Rogers. “Local Motors is about selling into the markets that are ready now.” This quick roll-out is facilitated by Olli’s unique assembly through locally based 3D printing shops. “We hope to be able to print this vehicle in about 10 hours and assemble it in another hour,” says Rogers. The company anticipates the eventual establishment of hundreds of micro-factories across the globe, ready to produce Olli buses uniquely suited to local needs. Related: This solar-powered self-driving boat is making a historic journey across the Atlantic Ocean Olli’s driving is guided by a computer system designed by Local Motors and several partners. While IBM is not involved in this process, the tech giant provides the user interface system, powered by Watson. “Watson is bringing an understanding to the vehicle,” says Bret Greenstein of IBM. “A vehicle that understands human language, where you can walk in and say, ‘I’d like to get to work,’ that lets you as a passenger relax and enjoy your journey.” Local Motors and IBM believe that Watson’s “human” touch will allow riders to build a relationship with the artificially intelligent Olli. Local Motors is now in discussions with dozens of cities in at least 50 countries which are interested in bringing Olli to their streets. + Local Motors Via Phys.org Images via Local Motors

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3D-printed self-driving Olli bus to hit the streets in the US

Philadelphia makes a splash with first soda tax in major US city

June 17, 2016 by  
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Philadelphia is making a splash this week as the first major city in the United States to enact a “soda tax,” a levy assessed on sugar-sweetened and diet beverages. Thursday, the City Council voted 13-4 vote to approve the levy after months of tough negotiations and harsh criticism from the beverage industry. Mayor Jim Kenney touts the new soda tax as a victory, telling Philly.com the levy is a step toward “changing the narrative of poverty in our city.” The new soda tax , which will become effective January 1, will cost distributors 1.5 cents per ounce and will apply to thousands of products. The levy will apply to nearly every bottled, canned, or fountain beverage that contains either sugar or artificial sweetener. Baby formula and drinks that are more than 50 percent fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, or milk will be exempt from the levy. While Philadelphia’s soda tax, like many others, was motivated by a desire to raise awareness about consuming too much sugar, it’s uncertain at this time how long it will take for the financial impact of the levy to trickle down to consumers. Related: Berkeley becomes first U.S. city to approve a tax on soft drinks Still, the tax will be a financial boon for the city. It’s expected to raise $91 million annually , and the mayor previously suggested using the additional funds to establish a pre-kindergarten program open to all 3-and 4-year-olds in Philadelphia. “Philadelphia made a historic investment in our neighborhoods and in our education system,” Kenney said in a press release . “Today would not have been possible without everyone coming together in support of a fair future for every zip code.” The city’s new tax is similar in nature to the so-named “sugar tax” recently passed in the United Kingdom , which was also motivated by a desire to raise awareness of the unhealthy effects of consuming high quantities of sugar on a regular basis. Via PBS Images via Allen , James Losey/Flickr and Rex Sorgatz/Flickr

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Philadelphia makes a splash with first soda tax in major US city

Wolfgang Buttress Hive is brought back to life in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew

June 17, 2016 by  
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First installed at the world expo last spring, the multi-award-winning Hive was disassembled at the end of the event and moved to the Kew Gardens, where it was reassembled as the UK’s first-ever rebuilt Expo pavilion. Its lattice-like design was inspired by the lifespan of the honeybee and “highlights the important role of bees and other pollinators in feeding the planet,” says Stage One. The complex structure comprises nearly 170,000 parts assembled in 32 horizontal layers with hexagonal cells for a metal honeycomb effect. Each piece was etched with a reference number to make reassembly a possibility. Related: Wolfgang Buttress-Led Team Wins Bid to Design 2015 UK Milan Expo Pavilion More than just an elaborate artwork, the Hive serves an educational purpose and guides visitors through a multi-sensory experience simulating a real beehive . An array of almost 1,000 LEDs line the Hive’s internal void and are complemented with orchestral sound recordings. Sensors that monitor activity within a real beehive at Kew control the light and sound intensity. The Hive will stay at the London gardens until the end of 2017. + Wolfgang Buttress + Stage One Via Dezeen Images via Stage One

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Wolfgang Buttress Hive is brought back to life in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew

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