These laser-armed robots are saving tortoises from being eaten

September 29, 2016 Tom Connon

Future Tech: Plus LEGO-like homes & burrito drone delivery.

Play a game to save tortoises from predatory ravens

"The desert tortoise is a small, humble species that ambles across the Mojave and Sonoran deserts in southern California. Once abundant, the desert tortoise is being driven towards extinction by increasing urbanization.

"Leading that charge is the wily raven. Ravens are natural predators of the desert tortoise, and tear into the shells of helpless juvenile tortoises. In the past, the scarcity of food and limited habitat kept the ravens in check. But as people moved into the tortoise’s territory, we brought garbage for ravens to scavenge and built structures for them to roost on. Their population exploded. ...

"The front-line defense in his fight against ravens is the Guardian Angel rover. Guardian Angel is a mobile, internet-controlled, RC buggy outfitted with a user-controllable camera for livestreaming video. Guardian Angel is roughly the same size and speed as the tortoises. It is designed to minimize disruption to the tortoises, but the ravens hate it. ...

"There’s another angle to Shields’ technology-driven raven defense system. Ravens may hate the Guardian Angel rover, but they abhor lasers. ... An intelligently guided laser is an extreme negative stimulus for a raven. Shields says that they “learn to run from the dot.” ...

"Here's where things get really wild. Because ravens are notoriously smart, the lasers work best when there’s an intelligent operator behind it, or, better yet, many intelligent operators to break up any perceived pattern. So Shields decided to make it into a game. ... Raven Repel, which will allow users to take control of the lasers and chase off ravens."" - Motherboard

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Move over LEGO! Building affordable houses with plastic bricks and no construction experience.

sustainable housing 1

"A company in Colombia is tackling plastic waste issues and affordable housing with a single ingenious solution: interlocking LEGO-like bricks that can be used to build houses for a few thousand dollars per structure. Walls are formed using a slim slotted brick then framed using a thicker module used for beams and columns, locking the smaller units into place and providing rigid vertical and lateral support. ...

sustainable housing using plastic blocks

"Conceptos Plásticos is addressing their technology to rising populations of urban poor, families with the time but not financial means or materials to construct their own dwellings. The company works with locals to source plastic and create all kinds of spaces, including emergency shelters, community and educational buildings.

"The upcycled plastic blocks are easy to use and require no construction experience. They are durable, fire- and earthquake-resistant and much cheaper than other available materials. The company estimates the lifespan of the blocks at 500 years." - Web Urbanist

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Delivering burritos via drone? Mmmmm. Drone burrito.

This story comes out of the minds and magicians at Alphabet, the parent company of Google, and Chipotle in the USA, and is sure to change the way we get take-out food.

burrito drone delivery

"In what’s sure to be a college student’s dream come true, drones will soon be delivering burritos on the campus of Virginia Tech.

"The experimental service, to begin this month and last just a few weeks, is a test by Project Wing, a unit of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and the Blacksburg, Virginia, university have agreed to participate.

"The Federal Aviation Administration approved the venture, the most extensive test yet in the U.S. of what many companies -- including Amazon.com Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. -- hope will eventually become routine drone deliveries of products. Amazon has begun a round of trials at a location in the U.K. - Bloomberg Technology

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About the Author

Tom is a previous small business owner/operator and now has over 17 years of telecom experience. As a Portfolio Manager he specializes in product/service development, managing technical workforces and Customer/Segment Marketing. Outside of the office, Tom can be found shuttling his kids around from Lacrosse, hockey and ringette practices at a rink near you.

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