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On November 16, 2021, an experimental aircraft called the ‘Spirit of Innovation’, designed by Rolls Royce, would record an average speed of just under 556 km/h or 345mph over a 3km span. The Spirit of Innovation is the world’s fastest, all electric aircraft. It superseded the previous record set by the Siemens eAircraft Extra 330 LE Aerobatic aircraft in 2017 by over 213 km/h or 132 mph, and it also climbed over 60 seconds faster to 3,000 meters or about 10,000 ft.

The Lycoming engine was replaced by three electric motors and the fuel tank by three battery packs. Combined, the battery packs, motors and control equipment were similar in weight to the existing power plant, however this fully electric system was now capable of outputting around 530hp continuously and almost 1000hp in bursts. By comparison, in a conventional aircraft, the overall weight is reduced as the fuel is used up. To compensate for this, the aircraft was converted to a single-seater to reduce weight further, though at the cost of moving the center of gravity slightly forward.

Designing the propulsion unit for the Spirit Of Innovation was also another major hurdle for the ACCEL team. Not only must the electric motor be compact and powerful, but also possess a high degree of reliability and the ability to tolerate failures, for aviation use. Because no single electric motor was commercially available that would meet these requirements, the team decided on a propulsion configuration composed of a stack of 3 YASA 750R axial flux electric motors coupled by a single shaft running through them. Using 3 of these motors in tandem not only met the power requirements of the ACCEL team but it also offered redundancy against motor failure.

While the entire triple motor system weighed just 111kg or about 244lbs, it was capable of generating around 750kw or 1000hp, though continuous total power was limited to around 210kw or about 280hp, due to thermal constraints.

Unlike road going vehicles, aircraft require relatively larger amounts of continuous power simply to cruise. For an electric aircraft this creates safety concerns as the high wattage draw, combined with the density of the propulsion system’s packaging, generates significant amounts of heat. Within the battery pack, each individual cell was fitted with both voltage and temperature sensors. This robust sensor array not only drove the thermal management system, but also served as a safety mechanism, providing the pilot information on the health of the battery as well as alerting to potential failure conditions.

Moke International makes the car in Britain before final assembly in France. The revised chassis has been re-engineered to accommodate four passengers, and look for an all-electric version to be released in the summer. Priced from around $30,000, the Moke can be customized with a choice of 13 colors, including eye-popping Flamingo Pink and Florida Orange. My tester also wears gleaming chrome trim and badging on the hood.

Other stylistic touches include leather hood straps and a retro radio, which is actually able to be heard above the wind noise, at least at speeds below 45 mph. And on a wet day, with weather equipment in place, the windscreen can be heated for improved visibility. In all, this upgraded version is not far off from Sir Alec’s initial car—basic in the extreme and as quintessentially British as fish and chips or a warm pint of beer.

There are widely cited forecasts that project accelerating information and communications technology (ICT) energy consumption increases through the 2020’s with a 2018 Nature article estimating that if current trends continue, this will consume more than 20% of electricity demand by 2030. At several industry events I have heard talks that say one of the important limits of data center performance will be the amount of energy consumed. NVIDIA’s latest GPU solutions use 400+W processors and this energy consumption could more than double in future AI processor chips. Solutions that can accelerate important compute functions while consuming less energy will be important to provide more sustainable and economical data centers.

Lightmatter’s Envise chip (shown below) is a general-purpose machine learning accelerator that combines photonics (PIC) and CMOS transistor-based devices (ASIC) into a single compact module. The device uses silicon photonics for high performance AI inference tasks and consumes much less energy than CMOS only solutions and thus helping to reduce the projected power load from data centers.

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Lightmatter has a roadmap for even faster processing using more colors for parallel processing channels with each color acting as a separate virtual computer.

Nick said that in addition to data center applications for Envise he could see the technology being used to enable autonomous electric vehicles that require high performance AI but are constrained by battery power, making it easier to provide compelling range per vehicle charge. In addition to the Envise module, Lightmatter also offers optical interconnect technology that it calls Passage.

Lightmatter is making optical AI processors that can provide fast results with less power consumption than conventional CMOS products. Their compute module combines CMOS logic and memory with optical analog processing units useful for AI inference, 0, natural language processing, financial modelling and ray tracing.

How about this as an incentive to relocate: $10K in crypto and a bike.

Northwest Arkansas hopes to lure remote tech workers and entrepreneurs to the region by offering them $10,000 worth of Bitcoin (BTC-USD) and a bicycle.

“Northwest Arkansas is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country, and we’re now seeing more explosive growth in our tech sector,” said Nelson Peacock, president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council.

When he’s not busy with his day job as professor of computer and automotive engineering at Weber State University, [John Kelly] is a prolific producer of educational videos. We found his video tracing out the 22+ meters of high voltage cabling in a Tesla Model S (below the break) quite interesting. [John] does warn that his videos are highly detailed and may not be for everyone:

This is not the Disney Channel. If you are looking to be entertained, this is not the channel for you.

We ignored the warning and jumped right in. The “high” voltages in the case of an electric vehicle (EV) like the Model S is approximately 400 volts. Briefly, external input via the charge connector can be single or three phase, 120 or 250 VAC, depending on your region and charging station. This get boosted to a nominal 400 VDC bus that is distributed around the various vehicle systems, including the motors and the battery pack.

Russia’s first newly manufactured Tupolev Tu-160M strategic missile carrier made its first flight on 12 January. The flight – performed at the airfield of the Kazan Aviation Plant – took place at an altitude of 600 meters and lasted about 30 minutes. The crew of test pilots of Tupolev PJSC performed maneuvers to check the stability and controllability of the aircraft in the air. It comes under the umbrella of the United Aircraft Corporation, UAC, part of the state-owned Rostec entity.

The program for the reproduction of Tu-160 aircraft in the modernized form of the Tu-160M is a part of a state contract between the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia and Tupolev. As a part of the program, the design documentation for the Tu-160M aircraft was completely digitized in a short time, the technology for vacuum welding of titanium products was restored, the production of aircraft airframe units was resumed. Also, new cooperation was formed from advanced industrial enterprises in the field of metallurgy, aircraft manufacturing, mechanical engineering, and instrument making.

The team has restored the full production cycle of the Tu-160, but in the M modification, using modernized engines, modernized aircraft control systems, navigation systems, weapons control systems. The modernization of the Kazan Aviation Plant played an important role in restoring the production of unique aircraft. The aircraft retains its appearance but is created on a completely new technological base using digital technologies.

A new biologically inspired battery membrane has enabled a battery with five times the capacity of the industry-standard lithium ion design to run for the thousand-plus cycles needed to power an electric car.

A network of aramid nanofibers, recycled from Kevlar, can enable to overcome their Achilles heel of cycle life—the number of times it can be charged and discharged—a University of Michigan team has shown.

“There are a number of reports claiming several hundred cycles for lithium-sulfur batteries, but it is achieved at the expense of other parameters—capacity, charging rate, resilience and safety. The challenge nowadays is to make a battery that increases the cycling rate from the former 10 cycles to hundreds of cycles and satisfies multiple other requirements including cost,” said Nicholas Kotov, the Irving Langmuir Distinguished University Professor of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, who led the research.

Designed and built by LEGO creator Mr. Platinum using 2,800 LEGO Technic pieces, this absolutely delightful mini replica of the DMC DeLorean from Back To The Future comes complete with a detailed exterior as well as interior, functioning doors, glowing lights, and a Bluetooth controller that lets you remotely drive the little car around!

The video above is a mashup of scenes from the original Back To The Future movie showing the DeLorean’s reveal, combined with video snippets of Mr. Platinum’s highly detailed build. The LEGO DeLorean is a stunning MOC (My Own Creation) that boasts of functioning headlights and taillights, glowing pipes around the car’s periphery as well as on the inside, motorized doors that open on command to reveal the detailed interiors, and for good measure, repositionable tires that become horizontal to resemble the car flying through space and time. If there ever was a near-perfect LEGO DeLorean build, this 2800-brick masterpiece is clearly it.

Designer: Mr. Platinum