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Messages - fahad.faisal

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tarting an auto launch event with a dancing car is... odd. Apparently, the new 2020 Mercedes GLE is a slave to the rhythm. But the tech behind the groovin' GLE revealed in front of a San Antonio hotel has real-world uses that don't involve entertainment.

A refreshed luxury SUV that’s had all the technology thrown at it and it comes out the other side looking and driving great. The new MBUX continues to impress and the E-Active Body Control suspension, while weird at first should get a lot of people out of sandpits, but also let them show off their car’s dance moves.

The new Mercedes GLE (starting at $53,700) looks like any other SUV refresh, but under its attractive new design is a vehicle crammed with features that include the new MBUX infotainment system and the impressive E-Active Body Control suspension that makes cornering... weird but better. Oh and that "dancing," it'll actually help you get out of a sand pit.

A new suspension system controls each wheel's spring and dampening force independently. It's how the car is able to dance. That demo I mentioned -- while weird -- was a good representation of what E-Active Body Control can do. Inside the vehicle, you can recreate that dance by actuating the height of each corner of the GLE in real time. Helpful while offroad and one tire is stuck in a ditch.

The real fun comes when you put the vehicle in off-road mode and turn on the rocking feature. It essentially bounces the SUV up and down. This is for when the car is stuck in sand or soft dirt and compresses the terrain giving the vehicle more traction to free itself. Sadly, Mercedes didn't have a sandpit for us to try this feature in, instead, I just pulled over to the side of the road and tried it until I stopped giggling.

The thing is, I've actually used this method as a teenager to help my friends get their trucks unstuck from mud, sand and even snow. It worked then and I'm sure it will probably work without a bunch of teenagers bouncing up and down in the back of a pickup. At least there will be less of a chance of falling out of the vehicle.

One suspension trick you can't pull off with a group of friends is the new Curve feature. When you go around a corner the vehicle actually leans into it. Like everything else with the new E-Active Body Control suspension, it's weird at first. But, after about an hour, you miss it once you turn it off. It's not available in Sport mode, so it's not really built for aggressive driving, but for cruising, it reduces how much the passengers lean while the car corners.

You can push the GLE in Sport mode and it'll deliver superior handling for a car of its size. Cornering is tight and body roll (if you don't have Curve mode enabled) is kept to a minimum. The all-wheel-drive 4Matic system does a good job keeping you on the road, but I did encounter some understeer (the front wheels turn but the car continues straight).

Inside, the GLE's 12.3-inch beautiful display houses the new MBUX infotainment system. I'm happy to report that it feels more responsive to voice commands than the pre-production A-Class I drove a few months back. I was already happy with MBUX in the A-Class, if this is what a few months of fine-tuning does to make it better, other automakers might want to take heed and see what Mercedes is doing.

The dash cluster is equally stunning, with its own 12.3-inch display showing off a myriad of different design modes and options. Mercedes also dropped a huge HUD (Heads up display) into the car. Within it you can add, well, frankly too many things. If you keep it simple, it's great, if you go overboard, it gets far too cluttered for driving in anything other than a long-boring highway straightway.

That tedious freeway could also be suited to the updated Advanced Driver Assistance System. The stop and go feature is more effective than others, thanks to the car-to-x communications for traffic jam assist -- which alerts the vehicle that there's traffic up ahead and primes it for the gridlock. Like the S-Class, it supports the ability to adjust the speed of the adaptive cruise control to what Mercedes deems safe around corners. Also, like the S-Class that speed is usually way slower than I would take a corner and seems overly cautious to me.

Mercedes also added active lane change. When the driver assistance system is up and running with adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist, tap the blinker to move into the next lane (if it's deemed safe by the vehicle). It worked well during my tests and like Route-Based Speed Adaptation is very cautious. Unlike my concern about speed, I'm happy to have the car act less aggressive when dealing with traffic.

Once you get away from the soul-draining traffic of the city, the GLE is a happy cruiser if you opt for the GLE 350 with the 2.0 Liter Inline-4 turbo that puts out 255 horsepower and 273 foot-pounds of torque. If you want to kick up some dust, then the inline-6 GLE 450 (starting at $61,150) with 362 horsepower and 369-foot-pounds of torque is probably more your speed. Yes, the 450 is more fun, but if a majority of your driving is in town where a six-cylinder engine is constrained, you're probably better off the 350.

The GLE 450 also gets an additional 21 horsepower from the EQ boost system. A small electric motor and battery that add a little bit of oomph and can potentially shut off the engine in certain driving conditions.

At its core, the new GLE is a good SUV made better. Handling is improved and it feels like Mercedes did more than tweak a few things under the hood. While driving and riding in the passenger and rear seats, the experience was the luxurious Mercedes ride you've come to expect. Massaging seats, cushioned headrests and a refreshed dash layout that, at first glance, I wasn't sure about -- but it grew on me once I actually got in the car.

« on: January 09, 2019, 06:21:51 PM »
Thanks for sharing.

Latest Technology / DJI built a drone remote with an HD display
« on: January 09, 2019, 05:47:30 PM »
To date, steering one of DJI's more accessible drones has usually meant using your smartphone as a screen. You now have a better option -- DJI has released a Smart Controller with its own 5.5-inch display. The remote gives you both more tactile flight controls as well as a view of what the drone sees in 1080p. It might be a better choice if you regularly fly under bright sunlight, too, thanks to a 1,000cd/m2 screen brightness that should remain visible outdoors.

The Smart Controller is available now and works with newer DJI drones, including the Mavic 2 family. There's just one obstacle: the price. At $649, it costs roughly half as much as a Mavic 2 Zoom and nearly as much as a reasonably high-end smartphone. This makes the most sense if you're an enthusiast or make a living from your aerial footage. There will be Mavic 2 bundles that could make the remote more palatable, but you might want to stick to your phone you aren't quite that dedicated.

Source: DJI

Latest Technology / Nissan unveils its longest-range Leaf EV yet
« on: January 09, 2019, 05:46:57 PM »
Even though it's one of the oldest EVs on the market, the Nissan Leaf has only been available with just 150 miles of range -- far less than its newer rivals. Nissan has finally rectified that at CES 2019 by unveiling the 2019 Leaf e+. It packs a 62 kWh battery pack that can propel it about 226 miles, approaching the range of Chevy's Bolt and the Tesla 3 base version.

There wasn't much to improve besides battery life over the 2018 Leaf, which introduced a sleeker design, the excellent ProPilot driver assistance tech and a 40 kWh battery. The Leaf e+ continues that progress on the drivetrain side, not only increasing range by 40 percent, but adding a new 150 kW motor (around 200 HP), which bumps power by 33 percent. That means it's not only much quicker off the line, Nissan says, but faster on the freeway, too, making passing and other maneuvers safer.

Nissan also updated its "Intelligent Mobility" interface with a larger 8-inch display. It's controlled by smartphone-like swiping, scrolling and tapping gestures, and apps, maps and firmware are updated over the air. Nissan now offers door-to-door navigation that syncs to your smartphone and has integrated Nissan Energy -- its vehicle-to-home system for managing battery-assisted solar power and other home energy installations.

The launch of the Leaf was actually delayed because of the dramatic arrest of former CEO Carlos Ghosn in Japan. It's coming this month to Japan for 4,162,320 yen ($38,000), will hit Europe later this quarter for 45,000 euros and arrive to US shores sometime this spring. US pricing has yet to be announced.

Source: Nissan

A Chinese scientist claims to have created the world's first genetically-edited babies using the CRISPR/Cas9 tool. He Jiankui (pictured) told the Associated Press that twin girls, Lulu and Nana, were born earlier this month following embryo-editing using CRISPR to disable the CCR5 gene, which allows the HIV virus to infect cells. An American scientist, Michael Deem, also reportedly assisted He on the project at the Southern University of Science and Technology of China.

According to He, embryos were edited for seven couples affected by HIV, with one pregnancy resulting thus far. He added that the patients refused to be identified or interviewed.

However, the hospital where He reportedly conducted the work has poured cold water over his claims. "What we can say for sure is that the gene editing process did not take place at our hospital. The babies were not born here either," a spokesperson for Shenzhen HarMoniCare Women's and Children's Hospital told TechCrunch.

The news is already causing an outcry among researchers in the US, who slammed it as "unconscionable" and "immoral and unethical." It follows similar reactions to China's breakthrough on genetically-modified human embryos in 2015, which saw researchers remove a gene called HBB, responsible for the fatal blood disorder β-thalassaemia.

Notably, He's work has not been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, meaning there's no independent confirmation of the research. In an earlier report, the MIT Technology Review linked to Chinese medical documents posted online in the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry -- a primary registry of the World Health Organization's International Clinical Trial Registry. Scientists shown He's materials by the AP concluded that the tests so far are insufficient to say the editing worked or to rule out harm to the genetically-edited babies.

Both the UK and Japan have given the green light to edit donated human embryos to better understand developmental processes. Meanwhile, the National Academy of Sciences also endorsed embryonic engineering last year, but only in cases that would otherwise result in children being born with serious genetic diseases.

Source: Associated Press, MIT Technology Review

You might not want to get too excited about the prospects of finding water on Mars. A recently published study has determined that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's approach to handling water data is flawed, potentially invalidating some earlier discoveries of salty water flows. The machine's Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) can be confused by some high-contrast areas, and the software used to correct that data can inadvertently produce false signs of perchlorates that hint at salt water flows. There appeared to be an abundance of perchlorates in the corrected results, but there doesn't appear to have been any in the raw data.

This doesn't rule out every hint of salty water, but whatever is there might be harder to recognize. The researchers are developing a detection method that would use multiple pieces of evidence rather than the one from before. In the meantime, though, the science team suggests tempering expectations. These salts are on Mars -- you just shouldn't expect them to be quite so ubiquitous when Mars 2020 and future missions touch down on the Red Planet.

Source: Wiley

Just because Alphabet's Verily shelved its glucose-monitoring contact lens doesn't mean you're stuck without an unintrusive way to manage diabetes. IEEE Spectrum has discovered a recent study that shows promise for Dutch startup Noviosense's own wearable glucose monitor, which measures tears by sitting in your lower eyelid. The spring-like coil was accurate enough that 95 percent of its data was either as good as blood or close enough to be acceptable. For contrast, previous studies suggested that tears might only have a 70 percent correlation at best.

The technology works by tapping into "basal tears," or a continuous stream of tears that don't require stimulation. According to Noviosense founder Christopher Wilson, contact lenses like Verily's tend to dry out an eye layer, pool up fluid and otherwise create an unreliable source of tears. And before you ask: yes, it should be comfortable. It can sit in the eyelid for long periods and won't pop out when you rub your eyes.

There's one main problem with the study: it involved just six people. Noviosense will need to conduct more tests and implement further refinements before there's something that would be practical. However, the very fact this technology is advancing forward is important. There might still be a time when you can keep tabs on diabetes in a subtle way without needles, implants or other methods that might be painful, inconvenient or simply conspicuous.

Source: ACS

The space race is heating up again in ways we haven't seen since the end of the Cold War. We haven't been to the moon since 1972 but a number of private companies and national agencies have begun looking to our nearest celestial neighbor with renewed interest, not only as a site of scientific study but also as a fuel resource and potential staging area for trips further out into the solar system.

Last December, Trump signed Space Policy Directive-1, which directs NASA "to lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities."

Essentially, the move will help NASA better organize exploratory efforts with its international partners and private spaceflight companies."I don't even like to use the word return -- to go forward to the moon, sustainably," NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine told a Senate subcommittee hearing in September. "What we're doing now is entirely different than what we did back [during the Apollo era]."

To that end, NASA has since submitted to Congress a plan to establish the necessary infrastructure to not just get us back to the moon but to return there regularly. Dubbed the "Exploration Campaign", this plan focuses on three core areas: low-Earth orbit (LEO), the crewed missions to the moon for long-term habitation and study, and robotic missions to Mars and beyond.

"EM-1 will take Orion and the Space Launch system into a high lunar orbit and that's actually the orbit that NASA has identified to do the asteroid retrieval mission that will bring a large boulder into that orbit" Lockheed Martin's Orion program manager Mike Hawes told the Observer in 2016. "This will essentially be a dress rehearsal for that mission. To go and prove Orion systems and come home."

The LEO phase looks to shutter the ISS by 2025 while simultaneously increasing "the breadth and depth of commercial and international LEO activities." As for its lunar aspirations, NASA hopes to send the first uncrewed SLS flight around the moon on a three-week mission by 2020, followed by establishing the Gateway, an orbital moon base that will serve as a transition point for researchers to and from the lunar surface (aboard Lockheed Martin-designed landers) as well as a jumping off point for missions to Mars. At the same time, NASA plans to send a rover to Mars by 2020 on a sample return mission, which will hopefully pave the way for more robotic missions to the red planet in an effort to search for evidence of life and help scout the way for crewed missions in the future.

The Gateway is going to be wild. It will consist of at least "a power and propulsion element [with] habitation, logistics and airlock capabilities," per NASA. The power and propulsion bits will be launched first, around 2022, via an SLS rocket. These will not only allow the Gateway to adjust its lunar orbit, but they'll also serve as communications platforms for space-to-Earth and space-to-moon messages. The habitation elements are expected to be delivered in 2024 and should allow astronauts accommodations for up to 60 days.

"The Gateway will give us a strategic presence in cislunar space. It will drive our activity with commercial and international partners and help us explore the Moon and its resources," William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator of NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, said in a press statement. "We will ultimately translate that experience toward human missions to Mars."

But the US will not be heading to the moon alone. China is not messing around when it comes to lunar surveys. The nation's "Chang'e" mission series will seek to return samples from the Moon via robotic rovers and orbiters. Chang'e 5 is slated to launch in 2019 and return with 2 kilos of pure, uncut moon rock. Chang'e 6 is still under development but is expected to take off between 2020 and 2024 for a similar sample return mission.


Japan has announced similar plans to deploy a pair of robotic rovers to the moon in 2020 and 2021. Unlike the US, Russia or China, all of whom put their assets into orbit using house-made rockets, a Japanese company, ispace, has opted to outsource its liftoff to SpaceX and its team of Falcon 9s. The plan is to load an encapsulated HAKUTO rover (which was a finalist in Google's recent X Prize competition) into SpaceX's launch vehicle, lift them into high-Earth orbit, and then release the payloads so that they may slingshot the rest of the way to the Moon using inertial force.

Israel has equally ambitious plans in the works as well. As part of the LDEP (Lunar Discovery and Exploration Program), NASA and Israel-based space launch company SpaceIL will partner to deliver a lunar rover to the moon's surface in 2019.

This mission will hinge on the rover's ability to kick up as much moon dust as possible as it sets down. Doing so will enable NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to scan the plume for signs of mercury and hydrogen, which could eventually be used as rocket fuel precursors. The SpaceIL lander will also be outfitted with laser retroreflectors -- mirror arrays that can be used to hyper-accurately measure distance. There's no plan to use the arrays just yet but they could form the base for a larger navigational array sometime in the future.

But the European Space Agency plans to top all of these missions -- they're moving in. The project, announced this August, involves using the moon's abundant supply of basaltic dust as a building substrate. Specifically, concrete.

"Moon bricks will be made of dust," ESA science advisor Aidan Cowley wrote in a recent press release. "You can create solid blocks out of it to build roads and launch pads, or habitats that protect your astronauts from the harsh lunar environment." Not only that, this moon dust might also hold the key to significantly extending our stay, once we get there.

"One of the great things about the lunar soil is that 40 percent of it is made up of oxygen," Cowley added. If we can figure out a way to efficiently break the chemical bonds binding the oxygen, we'd be able to exploit dust deposits not just for breathable gasses but also as a rocket fuel component. Private enterprise has jumped into this renewed race to the moon as well.

Obviously, you've got the major players like SpaceX, which plans to send its first set of space tourists around the dark side of the moon early in the next decade; Blue Origin, which recently announced reservations for its suborbital spaceflight tours and hopes to make lunar supply runs by 2023; and Virgin Galactic, which, after a tragic flight failure earlier this year, is set to restart powered flight tests on its SpaceshipTwo.

A number of smaller startups are also working their way to la luna. Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic is developing a lunar lander, dubbed Peregrine, which should be able to carry 584 pounds of payload to the moon's surface at a rate of $545,000 per pound. The company expects to make its first trip sometime in mid-2020. "It's a pretty pivotal moment, we think, for the moon, and the country, and the world," Dan Hendrickson, vice president of business development for Astrobotic, told Space in January.

With interest in lunar real estate on the upswing, things are likely going to get pretty crowded up there, which in turn could lead to international conflicts over both territory and finite resources. Unfortunately, the 1979 Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (aka the Moon Treaty) won't be of much use seeing as how none of the major players (like the US, China, or Russia) actually signed on to it. But then again, there's always the Space Force.

Source: NASA, Orion, SLS

Power System and Renewable Energy / Re: Principle of Alternators
« on: November 17, 2018, 06:41:55 PM »
Thanks a lot for sharing.

Information Sources and Services / Re: ISLM-103:Lecture#06
« on: November 17, 2018, 06:40:38 PM »
Thanks a lot for sharing Sir.

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