Birches NEWS No. 31. Loving

While the robot's namesake traveled to Kazan, touch screens evolved again. And also a lecture on love (with slides).

Birches NEWS No. 31.  Loving

Hector rules!

You may have read a lot about Uber self-driving taxis, or Elon Musk's self-driving electric cars. Reading such news, you begin to ask yourself questions and look for analogues among similar domestic developments. And if Yandex can and should be scolded for everything else, then in the field of civil autopiloting there is simply no domestic alternative to them. AI from Yandex, which writes ugly music (the same music is 'written' by a cat walking on the keys of the piano) completely failed, the more pleasant it was to learn that the Yandex-taxi test car with a robot behind the wheel finally left the city of Moscow and reached Kazan. Fun fact, but Yandex has assigned proper names to all test machines. Teddi drives along the streets of Moscow, and Hector went to Kazan. Apparently, someone on Yandex really likes the series 'Wild West', the wild wastelands of which are inhabited by androids. On the roof of Hector, under an additional visor, there are video cameras, lidars, satellite dishes, LTE modules and other sensors, and a server system with three Nvidia GTX1080TI video cards lives and works in the trunk.

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Photo of RBC

It all looks somewhat simpler than that of direct competitors from Uber, who built something like a cross between an air conditioner and a projector on the roof of a car:

Birches NEWS No. 31.  Loving

Photo by

The video with the historical trip was published on June 22 and anyone can enjoy a high-quality video report:

The distance of 780 km was covered in 11 hours, and all this time the operator, who was put there just in case, suffered from idleness at the pilot's place. Despite periodic rains, changing lighting and geometric heterogeneity of the federal highway M7 'Volga', Hector successfully completed the task. And he drove his human passenger to the place safe and sound.

Where is autonomous car technology in general? There are several still unresolved issues, such as payback and safety, equipment reliability, reduction of electronic filling to sane size and power consumption.

Power usage:

A system of three Nvidia GTX1080TI video cards, one or two x86 central processors, several SSDs, satellite positioning and communication systems, cameras and lidars, consumes no less than 5-10,000 watts. The only reasonable way to reduce system energy is seen only in the transition to a scalable ARM-system, with hardware support for processing the incoming video signal and translating it into a 'geometric' form. ARM Corporation has just formulated this thesis, there is no talk of the production technology of such systems put on stream. Maybe there are other options? Express your opinion.


The system is an order of magnitude superior in complexity to any smartphone. Satellite Internet and radars / lidars are added to the already familiar communication modules. Their hardware support is not integrated into any of the existing ARM, RISK, MIPS or X86 chipsets, it is always a discrete solution, connected via crutches. This means that the entire system as a standard product will have to be developed from the lowest level, there are no ready-made solutions. How long will such a development take and how much losses will the beneficiaries receive if people fundamentally refuse to use cars with autopilots?

Safety and reliability:

We have already discussed this topic. Autopilot is not a smartphone, it should not break under any circumstances. This can be achieved only in stages, starting from the very foundations – the development of a new standardization system and requirements for electronics involved in driving a potentially dangerous vehicle. There are no such standards yet.

From all of the above, only one conclusion can be drawn – the first small-scale autopilots will become a toy for wealthy people, and they will not enter the life of an ordinary person very soon.

Birches NEWS No. 31.  Loving

And there is no answer to the most important question, why did Yandex send Hector to Kazan? Indeed, according to the film, it is a cynical creature that hates and kills all living things, although it has a wonderful black humor.

Zytronic has released touch controllers for now almost bezel-less screens

First, a little theory. Recently, there has been a stable idea of ​​a cool smartphone as a device with a screen devoid of frames. Or they are so small that they are invisible at first glance. And there is no doubt that this trend will continue and eventually the main goal will be achieved – the creation of a device that consists entirely of a screen with a touch layer on all sides. What's stopping developers?

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Most modern touch screens in smartphones and tablets are made using projected capacitive technology. A grid of electrodes and voltage sensors are placed under a layer of protective glass / plastic. In the case of screens AMOLED, these electrodes are placed directly between the subpixels of the matrix itself and can only be seen through a microscope. When the finger touches the glass, the nearest electrodes form a kind of capacitor with the conductor (person) and the sensors immediately report to the touchscreen controller about the voltage change in a specific place. If the smartphone screen responds to the touch of gloved hands, then it is the projection-capacitive technology that is used. If not, a surface capacitive screen is used (old technology). In both cases, an alternating current is constantly applied to the grid of electrodes, which makes it possible to determine the place of touch in real time.

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Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge sensor cable is downright thick

The higher the current in the system, the higher the operating voltage, the thicker the 'wires' the designers are forced to lead from the sensor to the screen controller. It is the 'thick wires' that hang like an appendix from one side of the screen and prevent it from eventually turning into 'frameless'. So what's the news from Zytronic?

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They have manufactured and offer everyone to purchase three new generation touchscreen controllers, a distinctive feature of which is stable operation from a power source within the USB2. For the first time in history, the capacitive screen controller and all touch layer accessories, up to 55-inches and larger, operate from the standard 0.5 A for USB.

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What does this mean? First of all, the touch screen now does not need an additional power source (excluding the matrix); a standard USB output from the smartphone's motherboard is enough. Secondly, the plume hanging from the screen has become thin as paper and bends completely in any direction, protruding at the fold by only a millimeter (for a 55 ″ and more matrix, less than 1 cm). The junior controller ZXY500-U-OFF-64 is designed for a screen diagonal of 5 to 20 inches, work with heavily soiled and even icy screens. Perhaps, it will be installed in future flagships from Samsung and Apple. All controllers support the recognition of 80 touches at the same time (relevant for touch tables), and the signal at the controller output is updated in 1 ms, which is 30% faster than the best modern samples.

A few words in defense of Google and Yandex

From time to time in the domestic and Western media, an information struggle flares up for the right of individuals and individuals to be more 'equal in rights' than others. Each time for this it is necessary to conduct parades, flash mobs or at least single pickets. And, of course, the apotheosis, the apocalypse of the struggle for equality, was the recent announcement of a certain human rights and gender organization that they would make films for adults themselves, where, in their opinion, the concept of equality of partners – participants in the process would be implemented, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and dignity. On the other hand, we see sometimes excessive efforts of state bodies that pay too much attention to all this dance. On the part of information ecosystems such as Google, Yandex, Yahoo and Baidu, there is a desire to please everyone, sometimes strange icons and avatars of system applications and instant messengers appear. To check if the whole world has gone crazy, since they have absolutely nothing else to do, it was decided to conduct research using a free statistics system from Google. Based on the theses 'you are what you eat', 'you are who your friends are', etc., the query 'why everyone…' was derived as a straight three-line query. The human “offense” is so arranged – if someone offended, then all the same are to blame, it's just psychology. So, let's find out what the gender situation is in the Russian segment of Google and Yandex:

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And indeed, everything is in order! Guys think of girls as pompous flirts, and girls think of guys, even though they think they are all 'idiots'. Okay, what Yandex will tell us:

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The situation is similar. All introductions took place through a VPN, on an absolutely clean, just reinstalled Windows with the cloud disabled, the account was not logged in. This confirms that the queries to the search networks were entered by third parties and indeed reflect objective reality.

What about apps on Google Play? What apps are most often searched for by test subjects?

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As you can see from all of the above, the country is in order and inhabited by young people who scold each other and want only one thing.

Friends, don't take this section too seriously. Don't scold Google and Yandex, social networks and publics. The formation and filling with information of any sources depends only on those who do it. Answer good for evil, smile for trolling, and love for hate. And very quickly you will see how the world around you is changing for the better.

I would like to ask a separate question to the female half of readers – why do men more and more often say that you are all alike?

What the British are up to

When it comes to the decimeter range and equipment for it, then we are most often talking about satellite communications and military radars. The fact is that a radio signal with a wavelength of about 10 centimeters and a transmission frequency of 2 to 4 GHz (IEEE standard) is the golden mean between the advantages and disadvantages of using meter and centimeter waves. Meter waves hit at frenzied distances, but enormous radiating antennas are needed to generate them. Centimeter waves can be absorbed or distorted even by atmospheric phenomena, but the equipment for generating them and capturing the reflected signal is relatively compact. All of the above is taken into account by the military when choosing the optimal range for radar.

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The meter range used in old Soviet radars provided an excellent overview of the entire sky for thousands of kilometers, but could not serve as a target designator, due to the low resolution of the resulting projection. These systems have modern descendants, such as the radar module of the 55Zh6M 'Sky-M' complex. Look at the photo above, the cellular structure of the antenna is perfectly visible, and the number of cells will approximately correspond to the number of pixels that will display the entire observation sector on the screen of the complex. Conditionally, of course, but the principle is similar. Not enough, right? Wish at least 12K, and that it could still fit on a mobile chassis.

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The search beam of a centimeter-range radar diverges in a cone with an angle of only 1-2 °, so that it can be compared with a similar analogue of a laser. The range is excellent for detecting and tracking targets in a narrow specific sector of the sky, but to cover the entire sky, such a radar must rotate in three coordinates at the speed of a propeller. The photo above shows the radar station of the American Patriot complex. Its target detection capabilities are modest – the missile's warhead (radio signal reflection area from 0.1 m²) will be seen within 70 km, which is unacceptably close in modern combat conditions. However, when paired with a meter-long radar, it will serve as an excellent target designator for anti-aircraft missiles. Patience, friends, you will soon find out where this is going.

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The golden mean – decimeter range, offers some averaged characteristics. Apparently, therefore, it was chosen for use in the Russian S-400 complex. In the version for the Russian Federation, the standard 91N6E radar detects a target at a distance of about 600 km, and as a gunner begins to work at a distance of 230 km.

In all of the above cases, I propose to pay attention to the applied design solution, when it is not a set of antennas that rotates, but the entire module, together with the combat crew inside. Why is this done? Because to achieve the goal – the rotation of the antennas, this is enough. And to create a rotary node only for antennas, it will be necessary to solve many technical problems, the main one of which is keeping a large number of contacts in a closed position when rotating the antennas. All military designers of all countries of the world think so and choose a proven option with the rotation of the entire module. All but not all!

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The British company Link Microtek has created and launched into production a multichannel swivel unit for UHF radars. The publication “New Electronics” claims that the radar will be used for peaceful purposes, for monitoring and control of civil aircraft and ships. Let me not believe a single word of theirs. It is obvious that installing a standard rotating module on a concrete tower will be orders of magnitude cheaper than developing such an innovation. What is this knot made for? The first, and so far the only reasonable explanation, is that a radar of this type and with such a rotation unit is ideal for a warship with a small displacement. I simply have no other explanation. And you?

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