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The SkyDrive SD-03 is the flying car of tomorrow

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It seems we won’t have to wait long to finally realize the dream of riding in a flying car. Three days ago, the SkyDrive SD-03 made its first piloted voyage around the Toyota Test Field in Japan. SkyDrive is a Toyota-backed Japanese startup that aims to make flying taxis a reality by as early as 2023. The test flight was on a single-seat model powered by four pairs of propellers and an electric battery.

Sure, the SkyDrive SD-03 didn’t actually ‘soar’ to the heavens and move through time like in Back to the Future 2, but it managed to lift and hover six feet on the ground with a pilot on board. The entire flight lasted around five minutes and is the company’s first manned flight aboard the SD-03 flying car.

“We are extremely excited to have achieved Japan’s first-ever manned flight of a flying car in the two years since we founded SkyDrive in 2018 with the goal of commercializing such aircraft,” said Tomohiro Fukuzawa, CEO of SkyDrive. “We want to realize a society where flying cars are an accessible and convenient means of transportation in the skies and people are able to experience a safe, secure, and comfortable new way of life.”

Granted the SD-03 is merely a single-seat flying car prototype, but the commercial version is envisioned to have two seats. It’s not exactly a car per se made obvious by the absence of driving wheels, but the SD-03 is designed to be the world’s smallest electric eVTOL or electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle. Measuring two meters high and four meters wide, the SD-03 requires as much space as two parked cars.

The SkyDrive SD-03 is powered by eight electric motors that drive rotors in opposite directions and in four locations to produce lift. According to SkyDrive, using eight motors is a safety precaution to ensure the aircraft remains stable during emergencies. “We aim to take our social experiment to the next level in 2023 and to that end we will be accelerating our technological development and our business development,” added Fukuzawa.

At the moment, SkyDrive SD-03 can only fly for up to 10 minutes and low speeds. In the future, the startup plans to conduct flights outside the Toyota Test field pending full compliance with the Civil Aeronautics Act. The next prototype can fly up to 40 mph in 30-minute durations per single charge.

The burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic has killed other flying car projects around the world, namely the Flyer by Kitty Hawk Corp. and Uber’s flying cab development, but it’s good to know SkyDrive is keeping the flame burning. Then again, the flying car race – a production model for commercial viability – is still open, but SkyDrive is in a big lead.

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The Real Reason Canada Is Banning Huawei Technology

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In an official statement, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Francois-Phillipe Champagne mentioned that the move ensures the long-term safety of the country’s telecom infrastructure. The decision was made after “a thorough review by our independent security agencies and in consultation with our closest allies,” says the statement.

The Canadian government claims to have conducted an extensive examination of 5G technology and arrived at the conclusion that — despite its benefits — the next-gen cellular technology opens the doors for new security threats. The government has raised concerns that Huawei and ZTE could be forced by the Chinese government to engage in activities that are not in Canada’s best interests. In the past, Huawei has repeatedly denied the claims of being influenced by the Chinese government and even has a dedicated 5G myth-busting resource page on their official company website.

China, on the other hand, has opposed the ban, claiming that it will take all necessary steps to ensure the well-being of Chinese companies. “We will take all necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate interests of Chinese firms,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin was quoted as saying by Reuters.

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The Most Expensive NFTs Ever Purchased

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One of the earliest examples of an NFT collection on the Ethereum blockchain, CryptoPunks have grown to be among the most valuable collections in the world. They are a set of 10,000 unique, algorithmically-generated “Punk” characters that, according to their creators Larva Labs, served as the inspiration for the ERC-721 standard, an interface that now powers that majority of Ethereum-based NFTs. A CryptoPunk’s value is determined by the rarity of its attributes: the rarer the attributes, the more valuable the NFT.

CryptoPunk #5822 is one of the rarest of all, which explains its incredible selling price. Firstly, it has just one attribute, a feature that only 2% of the collection shares. That single attribute is a bandana, which is rare in itself, as only 5% of the collection sport one. The Punk’s skin type is alien, which is the biggest factor in pushing up this NFT’s value, as only 0.09% of the collection share this skin, a total of 9 NFTs out of a collection of 10,000. Punk #5822 was bought by Deepak Thapliyal, CEO of blockchain tech company Chain, for 8,000 ETH, roughly $23.7 million USD at the time of sale.

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Self-Repairing Electronics Are Closer To Reality Than You Think

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A research group led by Professor Yehonadav Bekenstein from the Faculty of Materials Sciences and Engineering and the Solid-State Institute at Technion was studying perovskite nanoparticles for their potential to provide a green alternative to toxic lead materials used heavily in electronics. In doing so, they found something unexpected.

The team found on a microscopic level that the nanocrystals moved a hole (damage) through the areas of a structure to self-heal. Surprised by this, the researchers drew up a code to analyze microscopic videos and understand the dynamics and movements within the crystal. The researchers realized that the damaged area, or hole, formed on the surface of the nanoparticles, then moved to energetically stable areas inside, and was finally “spontaneously ejected” out. Researchers explained that through this self-healing process, the nanocrystals essentially reverted back to being undamaged (per Technion). 

Researchers with Technion believe that this discovery is a key step toward understanding the processes by which perovskite nanoparticles can heal themselves. The team also thinks that perovskite nanoparticles should be used in solar panels and other electronic devices. The full study, published by Advanced Functional Materials and made available at the Wiley Online Library, is titled “Self-Healing of Crystal Voids in Double Perovskite Nanocrystals Is Related to Surface Passivation.”

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