5 Crazy/Cool Things That Happened This Week (June 9th, 2017)

by Srikar Kalvakolanu

Prince Lightning, Water-Based Drones, Olympic Flying Cars

It’s time to take a look at some of the weird things that happened in the world of technology this week. As always, you can check out previous week’s editions in my This Week In Tech column. Let’s get started!

1. Purple Rain? Lightning creates Prince symbol on his birthday.

Prince is one of the greatest musicians of all time—even though he passed away, he is still making the world light up. Literally. On his birthday—June 7th—a few individuals found a strange pattern in the lightning that looks a lot like the love symbol that Prince made famous. The symbol itself is speculated to be a fake, but nonetheless its a pretty cool way to remember Prince.

2. This AI-Powered Web App Turns Your Doodle Into Nightmare Fuel

pix2pix is using Machine Learning to take human drawn images and make them look real. The results are pretty creepy considering that people started trying to break the algorithm by making hideous drawings and trying to make them convert it to a human form. The app does a fairly good job of recognizing where the major parts of the face are in an image, but it takes a lot of good drawing skills to really make the image look human or accurate.

3. These drones take urban art to new heights.

Carlo Ratti developed a new form of art called “phygital graffiti” which basically uses drones to fill blank surfaces in public areas of cities. The drones are synchronized and equipped with sensors and spray paint cans and can start painting a bunch of crowd-sourced images onto public areas. The technology allows for hyper precision of up to 20 centimeters, which will allow cities to create new murals and artwork without scaffolds and all the effort.

4. Toyota Could Bring A Flying Car to the Olympics

Toyota recently invested 386,000 Yen into Carivator Resource Management which is attempting to create a “flying car” that is being called the SkyDrive. The machine itself doesn’t really look like a car, but it definitely does fly. The SkyDrive can fly 33 feet above the ground at a 62 MPH clip. The coolest part about this whole machine is that Toyota is planning to use in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics to light the torch opening the games.

5. This Drone Can Travel Long Distances By Stopping To Recharge In Lakes

If you have purchased a drone, one of the things you might notice is that the battery life is often pretty short. This has a lot to do with the fact that drones need to stay light in order to fly effectively and batteries are often heavy. So, University of Sherbooke created the SUWAVE drone which basically can rest in lakes and use solar power to charge up before continuing on its trip. The result allows it to fly for days, weeks, or even months depending on if the area where it’s flying around has enough water. The drone itself is really light at 584 grams, and is being developed into a machine that can fly around forever.