Having trouble treading water in the dating pool? A Chinese man found one possible solution by creating, then marrying a robot girlfriend.
At Digital Trends, we certainly love technology, but do we love technology? Maybe not in quite the same way that Zheng Jiajia, from the Chinese city of Hangzhou, does.
Previously an employee of Chinese multinational telecommunications firm Huawei, and now a builder of robots and an artificial intelligence practitioner, the 31-year-old Zheng recently “married” a robot that he had created for himself. The robot’s name is Yingying, and among her abilities are image-recognition tools for Chinese characters and pictures, as well as a vocabulary of a few basic words — presumably including “I do.” Now that they are man and robo-wife, Zheng plans to add some all-important upgrades, such as granting his newfound beloved the skill of walking and helping out with household chores.
The pair allegedly got married in a simple ceremony late last week, with Yingying dressed in black with a red scarf to cover her head.
The wedding was witnessed by Zheng’s mother and some of his friends. According to one of his friends, Zheng built the robot at the end of last year because he has been unable to find a human spouse.
As unlikely as the story sounds in some ways, this isn’t the only report of a robot wedding that we’ve come across. In 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court was busy legalizing same-sex marriage, 100 people gathered in Tokyo for the world’s robotic nuptials.
Admittedly, things were a little different in this case as both parties were of the robot persuasion — with the event organized by electronics accessories company Maywa Denki. Still, with more serious reports emerging about AI-equipped robot sex dolls, and some experts suggesting that robot-human romantic relationships will soon be a regular occurrence, maybe stories like Zheng and Yingying’s fairy tale romance won’t seem unusual for much longer.
December space launch could make Israel 4th country to land on moon
In an age in which the high-profile space stories and competition typically involve companies like SpaceX, Boeing, and others, it’s easy to forget that it used to feel like more of a national rivalry — summoning memories of the U.S. and Soviet Union from the height of the Space Race. One country which clearly hasn’t forgotten those halcyon days? Israel, which announced its intentions to be the fourth country to land a mission on the moon — after the U.S., Russia, and China.
With this goal in mind, it’s planning to launch an unmanned spacecraft in December as a collaboration between Israel Aerospace Industries and the nonprofit organization SpaceIL. The launch will take place from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The two companies behind the launch have raised $88 million from private donors to fund the project over the course of the past eight years. Their diminutive craft is a little over 5 feet in height and tips the scale at 1,322 pounds. It will take around two months to reach the moon, with a target date of February 13, 2019. No launch date has yet been announced.
“The launch of the first Israeli spacecraft will fill Israel, in its 70th year, with pride,” said SpaceIL President Morris Kahn. “It is a national accomplishment that will put us on the world’s space map.”
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SpaceIL was previously part of Google’s Lunar XPrize competition, which promised a $20 million prize for any non-governmental organization able to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon by 2014. Ultimately, no organization was able to achieve this, although clearly, SpaceIL was not ready to throw in the towel just because it had missed Google’s deadline. Half a decade later, it may well claim the moral victory, if not the financial one.
If the group’s spacecraft does successfully reach the moon, it will be the smallest craft to have done so in history. On the moon’s surface, it will take assorted videos and photographs, as well as measuring the moon’s magnetic field using a magnetometer.
Israel Aerospace Industries hopes that the space mission will trigger an “Apollo effect,” which captures the imagination of kids and gets them inspired about the possibility offered by STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) subjects.
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new laser eye surgery fixes vision without any gnarly eyeball slicing
As someone who wears glasses, the idea of corrective laser eye surgery is certainly tempting. But then you start reading about how the invasive surgery is actually performed, along with some of (admittedly rare) risks, and suddenly glasses don’t seem so bad. Things could change, however, thanks to research coming out of Columbia University. Researchers there have developed a new noninvasive laser eye surgery which could permanently correct vision — minus any of the less pleasant-sounding aspects of regular laser surgery.
“The main difference between our approach and commonly used refractive surgeries is that in our method there is no flap cutting and no ablation,” Sinisa Vukelic, a researcher on the project, told Digital Trends. “Patients with thin corneas and other abnormalities that make them ineligible for refractive surgery could be treated with the proposed treatment, which in turn increases the population of eligible patients.”
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The new methods involve something called a femtosecond oscillator, an ultrafast laser capable of delivering pulses of low energy very quickly. Using this laser, it’s possible to change the biochemical and biomechanical properties of the eye’s corneal tissue. Unlike laser-assisted corrective surgeries like Lasik, this can be done without thinning — and thereby potentially weakening — the cornea. Instead, the procedure involves using the laser to ionize the water molecules within the cornea. This creates a reaction oxygen molecule which interacts with collagen fibrils to selectively form “crosslinks” or chemical bonds that change the eye’s properties. Doing this can alter the overall corneal curvature of the eye, modifying its refractive power in order to correct the patient’s vision.
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