The Patriots, VR, and Solar Panels | Mingis on Tech


hi and welcome back to Mingis on tech
I’m Ken Mingis executive news editor for computer world it’s Tuesday February 7th
2017 I’m here with senior writer at Lucas Marion multimedia editor Keith
Shaw we’re here to talk about the technology of the Superbowl game in fact
we’re here to talk about the technology of drones used by lady gaga at halftime
not really no we’re just here to like laugh about the fact that the Patriots
came back from other amazing audience but we should know we are in
Massachusetts and therefore we’re little bleary-eyed but very happy oh yeah and
still stunned that that game turned out the way I mean at one point I said to my
friends I turned I said well at least we’re not biting our nails we know it’s
a done deal they’ve lost we can just sit back and
you know and relax misery until the very end until the very end when the robot
Tom Brady there’s your technology angle robots to
exist their name Tom Brady actually no we want to talk today about is a little
bit of emerging tech Lucas has been writing about energy technology for us
and he recently had a story about floating solar which just really caught
my eye cause it’s the first time I’ve ever heard of anything up you know like
that and so we’re gonna talk about that for a minute and then we’re gonna catch
up on VR AR with Keith and see what’s going on whether there’s anything really
there or whether it’s just hype but first floating solar motors right
legs just enlightened me why not intended so we all know real estate is
expensive yes it’s about anywhere in the world and that’s really what floating
solar is all about it’s predominantly developed in developing countries and
nations like Japan that don’t have a heck of a lot of land resources and so
they’re looking to put floating solar that panels sooner so these are the
kinds of panels basically that you would put on a building or minha you see them
along the high whatever they have now figured out a way to sort of put them on
top of bodies of water canals reservoirs sewage treatment plants I can see why
latex cover that up places you especially don’t want to look
at you don’t want to be the tech that has to go on some problems with vertex wires right
exactly so these are all right so these this is something that you said is seems
to be emerging in like places like Japan there yeah land use lands are expensive
yeah so they’re trying to find basically alternatives to land without water yeah
but also interestingly enough in places like well I guess the island will be
probably pretty limited in the UK as well but but places like Brazil and
China because China is kind of leading the market in a lot of ways with
photovoltaics you know in fact today they announced that their News Service
announced that they are now producing more solar energy than any other nation
on earth not surprising giving a big given how
big they are and how many people they have but it does seem like you know
there’s been this this real push in the US over the last few years to make
sustainable energy sources more cost-effective right now and and in fact
isn’t solar now the largest employer in the u.s. in the energy tech yes he is in
the world actually in the world yeah I believe it’s in mmm I better not say
that I’m gonna stick with the US it may be now probably just the u.s.
considering you know how much we produce for coal and whatnot but yeah yeah it’s
leading in the u.s. job producer and it’s the fastest growing energy in the
world well what caught my eye was you know you
had the the details about how fast the markets gonna grow it was thirteen point
eight million in 2015 but it’s expected to be 2.7 billion by 2025 yes I mean now
again 2.7 billion in the larger scheme of things sounds like a lot it’s not but
when you look at that kind of growth over the next seven or eight years
that’s a that’s a pretty fast takeoff and that’s what you have to keep in mind
like when China says they’re the largest producer of solar energy with I think is
77 gigawatts they doubled it last year it’s still less than one percent of
their total energy production so it’s great it’s it’s going to get there
eventually but right now in the big picture it’s it’s still a relatively
small slice of all overall energy production but an important one I mean
we need to get there and for people who say well it’s you know they scream it’s
subsidized well guess what the oil
Nerone fossil fuel industry has been subsidized for decades hundreds of
billions of dollars has been poured into an industry that arguably doesn’t need
it so screaming about how renewable energy
is being subsidized by governments is ridiculous yes it’s they don’t they’re
not getting a sliver of that pie compared to other so the question about
the the floating part of it yeah what are some of the kind of things that the
people have to think about when using solar on a water versus you know just
kind of setting up a solar farm on a land or you know that kind of stuff like
do they have to worry about the water type salt water versus fresh water and
then obviously there are other things that live in the water how do they
prevent like a whale from coming up and destroying it or well an evil whale they
need to charge their iPods to hook in no actually the seagoing
the solar floating solar isn’t as viable and I think that because the wave yeah
it is being done but in much smaller way okay so these are these are calmer wall
bodies of water typically landlocked bodies of water else but interestingly
enough if you’re putting it on a pond or a lake it reduces algae production so it
can actually be healthier for the water so the algae fans will not be happy at
this turn of events you know there’s a group out there a little banner and says
go but fuck canal use you know there’s actually there was a canal in the in the
UK project in the UK that recently completed and I was looking at photos of
it it’s actually it’s kind of interesting because so they build it up
over the canal in ships and boats whatever can go still go through it but
they have got a little bit of shade as you’re going through what’s interesting
when this goes back to Lucas’s story is that one of the things that’s an
advantage of being on the water is that you actually get more reflectivity of
sunlight awesome water which the panel’s can then collect yeah and you also have
the cooling of the water which the panel’s can take
advantage of so there are some advantages here that right because I
think they’re only on the land ones like some of these have caught fire because
of the heat that’s generated right there’s been some fires at some that’s
concentrated solar we’re just a little different yeah that’s the mirrors that
reflect up to like a song generate same thing it’s all game engine basically
right the soul is being concentrated on molten salt more often than not molten
salt but sometimes water and that generates steam to turn a turbine okay
anyway so that’s the update on floating solar or concept I hadn’t heard of until
last week but we’re gonna be hearing a lot more of over the next few years
Keith I wanted which gears and and and look at virtual reality and augmented
reality we talked about this about six months ago and at the time you know we
were all impressed I had one of those little cardboard viewer things yeah and
I was looking at some of the virtual you know things that are used with the phone
I don’t even know where my cardboard viewer is now I’ve kind of forgotten
about virtual reality so I’m trying to figure out is this thing is this
something that’s still actually going to happen is it just hype is this like the
3d TV of 2010 that in five years no one will be thinking oh yeah I’m not gonna
say that kind of hype is over I think they’re still lovely yeah there’s still
a movement for VR in consumer use and we’re starting to see enterprise usage
of it but I think that after 2016 which saw a huge amount of hype you also saw a
lot of products products come out to Sony especially came out at the end of
the year with their their PlayStation VR and their gaming and I think that drew
the wave from like here up to here and now I’m I’m getting a sense that
we’re gonna kind of level off a little bit until we see some more products and
then it’ll either go up or it’ll or it’ll start to either plateau or go down
which sort of way I’m kind of in that little bump because so you know January
was CES right and I spent a lot of time on the show floor half of the floor and
in one of the halls was VR the other half was drones so you know that those
are the two big areas where you’re getting a lot of people but there’s a
lot of interest in there but there are still some pretty big hurdles in order
get it from a niche market whether it’s the gamers now that’s a pretty big niche
market right talking about gaming to that next level of where everybody’s
comfortable with it everyone wants to use it everyone likes what they see and
I and I don’t know if we’re there yet because so this is the this is the Royal
I wanted to ask about it’s a virtual theater it’s not an actual VR it’s more
about like you put this headset on I’m gonna take my glasses off we can put
this headset on and then you can then watch a movie from like so this is
connected to a box somewhere there we go so there’s like content on here and then
I can watch a movie and these are noise cancelling headphones the cool part
about this headset is the touch controls yeah so I can then navigate the menus
with my finger and I could go up in volume and it goes you know you you kind
of go up or down on volume you tap to basically move on the menu screens what
what I’m disappointed about is is that the fit is it pinches my nose on this
okay this is suppose you’re supposed to be able to wear you know just yeah
there’s some adjustments but I think right now this unit is a little bit too
heavy and the company’s gonna send me another mask that that helps this is
called the immersion mask you know they’re gonna send me there they’ve
redesigned it to be less pinchy because this is a company called raw Royale
r-ohio le ok their main business in fact are the sensors to touch sensors so I
would say that they’re gonna take this technology licensed it to other makers
right and they’ll make a lot of money on that but this is just their proof of
concept of the touch sensor so it’s basically an entertainment device yeah
yeah so you know you got a bunch of movies you got music you want to listen
to it on a plane you’ve kind of bring this out the other problem though is is
that this is tethered via wire and a lot of these other headsets like the oculus
rift things like that they’ve all got these
bulky wires and you’ve got to kind of connect it to a big PC system right the
movement in that space is to try to get rid of that those wires and cables and
so technology like 802 11 ad which is in the 60 gigahertz space very high data
rates a lot of bandwidth very low distance okay so you can’t walk from one
room to the other and then expect to have
your connection but for VR where you’re gonna be in that space you can do a
wireless between that in the computer so if you’re sitting maybe in one room so
that all of the you don’t leave the room writing the wireless would worry but I
mean that’s the sort of thing that that again if they could make it Wireless
truly well right and allow you to sort of explore whatever environment you’re
in yep then I can see how it might take off but
again that all these limitations that right now I just wonder if the
technology is it’s basically the wires and then the fit on on the headset to
make sure it’s it’s comfortable on your head and then the issue with the optics
in terms of people that wear glasses and I think they said like 70% of the world
has corrective lenses whether it’s either glasses or oh good I’m not alone
contacts so you got to kind of fix those three hurdles well and then the content
– you really need to have any gauging Khanda I don’t see wireless as you know
distant Wireless is as big a problem because I mean unless you’re gonna walk
around with a cane in front of you you can’t be tripping over furnace so
ideally if you had augmented me okay you could see where you are with something
superimpose right okay both I think when you when you talk about mobility of this
it’s gonna be augmented reality where where you have a camera that you can
then see what’s in front of you but another big branding car for instance if
you’re stepping into the street the other big trend is with these things
called depth sensors and I’ve so at at CES and and some other company
announcements Intel is making a lot of noise in terms of the depth sensors that
they’re creating so if you go down to the processor level and some of these
sensors you’re gonna start seeing like the headset will trigger you when you’re
about to walk into a wall or something like that right now you set it up kinda
tracking cameras like you set up like these giant poles and then they can tell
you where you are and they create that virtual space so I would some other
trend to kind of look to it sort of like smart VR which knows where you are and
can then give you a feedback yeah yeah yeah because in my mind I keep seeing at
Dick Van Dyke over the Ottoman somersault yeah and that’s that’s an issue that’s
why most of these games that require some sort of movement and have you do it
in a space that’s all a safe space yeah so and again but and then whether or not
they make it that can make the jump to enterprise use or you know work work use
I still don’t see me going back to my cube and putting this on and doing my
work but there are some interesting applications that are being developed on
that space too it will have to give you something that you don’t get now in your
real reality yeah you know something augmented or you know
and I guess so alright so the hype is there a little bit I think we’re all
kind of like I’m not hearing as much about VR as I was six months ago or a
year ago yeah I think you were just waiting for some more content to come
out and then maybe add some more equipment and then as they adjust the
equipment let me ask you something would is there something that you might
compare this to that hasn’t taken off the way that the industry thought it had
like I don’t know smartwatches or something like that is it something that
goes blast range of TV 3d TV I think a lot of the 3d stuff that came out people
didn’t want to wear the glasses but I think again most of the people that came
out with the hype then they they scaled it back a little bit and now 3d is just
if you’re gonna buy a new TV it’s you know do you want to pay an extra 100
bucks or 200 bucks for the 3d or do you want to just kind of wait till the
prices come down on that again and then says alright I guess I’ll watch it I
think 3d TVs dead though I think they pulled it but it’s an add-on you know I
mean you want this particular I mean I think they actually some of the
companies have actually just kills killed it yeah movies and then these and
again a lot of the 3d content you can they’ll kind of see on these things –
yeah I would say again again it depends on your comfort I don’t want to wear
this all day yeah because of the comfort range you you did the roller coaster
thing didn’t you that the amusement park ride with no noise which I would need a
barf bag but I guess you’re a virtual world yes okay so not only was that more
enjoyable wearing it on the on the roller coaster barf bag
anyway sorry okay we’ve lost the show we’re blur okay yes we at CES there was
another company that was showing off a chair that you sit in yeah and the chit
they were doing a demo you put the headset on but then the chair moves with
you so then and again the idea is is that your brain when you’re sitting in a
chair that not moving you’re more likely to get motion sickness but when you’re
on the chair that moves left and right with the virtual then you don’t get a
sense of what your body is feeling is it reflects what your eyes are seeing and
therefore the disconnect doesn’t make you tricking the brain in a better way
than when you’re just tricking it when you sit down and not moving
all right sounds counterintuitive but I see a future like you know the the the
residents off of a spaceship on wall-e we’re all just basically sitting in
chairs and we never get up I think we’re almost there now it’s going to be yeah
that’s gonna be predictive that dystopian maybe our grandkids will be
there those kids they’re moving on alright so hype hope still evolving
we’ll check back in six months and find out
yeah we’re weak where we stand I’m pretty sure I won’t be on this show
maybe one of these days we’ll all be virtual here I’m sure I’ll be on the
show before so yeah but well you will be but we’ll talk about this then yeah all
right Lucas thanks for the update on floating solar
thanks for the update on virtual reality Thank You Tom Brady for a great evening
yeah go Pat that’s a wrap

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