This week’s great tech stories from around the web (until April 2nd)

BIOTECH

This startup wants to initiate a revival of molecular electronics
Karmela Padavic Callaghan | MIT Technology Review
“The new vision, shared by Roswell and other on-chip molecular technology manufacturers, is biosensors that would allow humans to check biomarkers such as vitamin levels or signs of infection with little more effort than is now required to check your heart rate on a smartwatch. In Roswell’s case, thousands of biosensors could simultaneously detect different molecular interactions, and the chips would be disposable.”

DRONES

The drone operators who stopped the Russian convoy made their way to Kyiv
Julian Borger | The guard
“A week after its invasion of Ukraine, Russia deployed a 40-mile mechanized column to launch an overwhelming attack on Kyiv from the north. But the convoy of armored vehicles and supply trucks stalled within days, and the offensive faltered, in large part due to a series of nighttime ambushes carried out by a team of 30 Ukrainian special forces and drone operators on quads a Ukrainian commander .”

ROBOTICS

Boston Dynamics’ “Stretch” robot goes into production and is already sold out
Ron Amadeo | Ars Technica
“Stretch is available for purchase, but the price isn’t public, so you’ll have to call the Boston Dynamics sales team. Whatever the cost, it seems stretch is already a hit. The company’s press release states: “Stretch has been piloted with a select group of customers over the past few months. All units planned for 2022 have already sold out thanks to strong demand from these early customers.’I

AUTOMATION

FedEx will test autonomous cargo flights next year
K. Holt | Engadget
“The company has partnered with Elroy Air, which is developing a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) cargo drone to transport packages between sorting centers using autonomous flights. Elroy Air introduced the Chaparral C1 drone in January. The company claims the hybrid-electric system has a range of up to 300 miles and can carry a load of up to 500 pounds in its cargo pod (so FedEx would need lots of those if it wants to replace planes). The drone has 12 electric motors and 12 propellers.”

CRYPTOCURRENCY

Bitcoin nears full supply with 19 million coin milestone
Brady Dale | axios
“Bitcoin hit a milestone today that brings the world ever closer to the moment when the last new bitcoin will be born – the coin supply has surpassed 19 million. …Bitcoin is hard-coded to have both a predictable issuance schedule and a hard cap of 21 million Bitcoin. …The 18 millionth bitcoin was mined in 2019, but the 21 millionth won’t be mined until 2140, assuming the network sticks to the plan. Because the emission plan is halved every four years.”

INTERNET

This prepper is building a post-apocalyptic internet
Matthew Gault | motherboard
I“Not only do we need one large network built as an overlay on top of the Internet, we need multiple networks and we need to connect them in myriad ways. We need thousands of networks without kill switches and controls, and we need to connect them together, both on, around, and off the Internet.” [Mark Qvist] called. “We need a hypernet that is constantly changing and evolving, reconnecting, healing and self-evolving. …The internet is great, but we need a lot more than just one of them.”I

DIGITAL CURRENCY

The future of digital cash is not in the blockchain
Gilad Edelman | Wired
“The only money that doesn’t leave a paper trail is paper. A bill introduced in Congress Monday seeks to recreate the virtues of cash, privacy and everything in digital form. The ECASH Act would direct the US government to experiment with issuing digital dollars that are stored on hardware rather than bank accounts and can be used without an internet connection.”

ROBOTICS

The 11 commandments of hugging robots
Evan Ackerman | IEEE spectrum
I“HuggieBot 3.0 is (in my humble and unbiased opinion) really fun to embrace,” says author Alexis E. Block IEEE spectrum. “We’re not trying to fool anyone by saying it feels like hugging a person because it doesn’t. You’re hugging a robot, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.” … The researchers tested HuggieBot 3.0 with real human volunteers, who appeared perfectly fine when they were partially crushed by an experimental hugging robot. Some of them actually can’t seem to get enough.”

EXPANDED REALITY

Looking through Mojo Vision’s latest AR contact lens
Tekla S.Perry | IEEE spectrum
“This isn’t the first time I’ve seen the Mojo lens in person. But since that last demo in 2020, the engineering team has switched from wireless power to onboard batteries, increased the display’s resolution from 8,000 pixels per inch to 14,000, thinned out commercial motion sensors, and developed its own radio and power management and is creating several apps.”

CALCULATE

Quantum computing has a hype problem
Sankar Das Sarma | MIT Technology Review
“It took the airline industry more than 60 years to go from the Wright brothers to jumbo jets carrying hundreds of passengers thousands of miles. The immediate question is where the development of quantum computing in its current form should be placed on this timeline. Is it with the Wright brothers in 1903? The first jet planes around 1940? Or are we perhaps still far back in the early 16th century with Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machine? I do not know. Nobody else either.”

TECHNOLOGY

Chatbots could one day replace search engines. Here’s why that’s a terrible idea.
Will Douglas Sky | MIT Technology Review
“The vision of a know-it-all AI dishing out relevant and accurate information in easy-to-understand, bite-sized chunks is shaping how tech companies are approaching the future of search. And with the advent of voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, voice models are becoming a popular technology for finding things out in general. But critics are starting to hit back, arguing that the approach is wrong.”

Photo credit: Simone Hutsch/Unsplash

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