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Manufacturing

Can Robots Be Job Creators?

In their recent comments on "60 Minutes," and at the Techonomy 2012 conference, MIT economists Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfssonn may have given the impression that robots are poised to swipe the jobs of U.S. workers. As reported in The New York Times, robotics experts assembled at the Automate 2013 trade show in Chicago offered a different outlook. Henrik I. Christensen, Chair of Robotics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said that while he agrees that automation could make certain types of jobs obsolete, it will also create new, higher-paying jobs. The International Federation of Robotics reinforced this argument with the release of findings from a report that predicts the robotics industry will help create 1.9 million to 3.5 million jobs by 2020.   More

Energy & Green Tech

Solar-Powered Plane Flies Through the Night

Two Swiss inventors have developed the first solar-powered plane capable of flying at night. The Solar Impulse has already flown multiple overnight flights, including one 72-hour intercontinental journey, and by 2015 they hope to fly around the world in 20 days and 20 nights. The plane’s carbon fiber frame is super lightweight, and 12,000 solar cells make up the surface of its extra-long wings. The engines use almost all of the solar energy captured, with excess energy stored in batteries. One hitch that makes it unlikely that the plane will be used for commercial flights anywhere in the near future: its optimal speed is only 30 mph.   More