Robotics – for a better future in Dubai

Robots are playing an increasingly important role in our daily lives, and Dubai is leveraging its position as a forward-thinking, technology-savvy city to take advantage of a future with robots. In this sci-tech episode, we look at the role of these smart machines Dubai.

Robots are playing an increasingly important role in the modern city of Dubai. Robotics is already having an impact on several key industries in the emirate, from manufacturing and surgery to security and deliveries.

Khalifa Al Qama, director of Dubai Future Labs at the Dubai Future Foundation, told Euronews, “We have embarked on this journey over the past 20 years where robots are enabling digital services to provide additional convenience to the citizens of the city. Because of this infrastructure, we can now benefit from robots existing in our society and providing us with services.”

Impact on industry

Healthcare is an important area where robotics provides essential support. Dr. Yaser Saeedi, a consultant urologist and robotic surgeon at Dubai Hospital, is the first Emirati to be trained in robotic surgery in his specialty of urology. He currently uses a fourth-generation robotic system developed by NASA. The Da Vinci Xi is considered the most advanced system currently available.

Dr. Yaser explained that the technology helps surgeons perform complex procedures and offers benefits such as minimally invasive surgery and increased accuracy using robotic arms. He told Euronews, “With robotic surgery, laparoscopic surgery has evolved…the results are much better than with traditional surgery…. Less blood loss, faster recovery, and all these benefits…. And most surgeons are gradually moving to robotic surgery.”

AI and digitalization company DG World provides robotics, industrial automation and advanced mobility solutions, benefiting from the industrial sector’s move towards autonomous systems. The company develops self-driving trucks, small delivery vehicles and robotic arms. The Boston Dynamic autonomous robotic dog performs inspection tasks, including crime scene investigation and high-risk areas to retrieve data.

Matthias Krause, managing director of DG World, said, “There has been a significant increase in interest in robotics, especially the Boston Dynamic robotic dog. There are nuclear authorities who want to check nuclear power plants. Police are very interested in how they can use it for various civilian tasks, crime scene evaluation, and many other applications and ideas. We had contact with Dubai Customs, which was looking at modern surveillance of areas. There were a lot of such application requests that were more or less triggered by the customers.”

A self-thinking city

Arious Holding’s Singularious project takes robotics and artificial intelligence to the next level, one step beyond a smart city. The group is helping to plan and develop the world’s first self-thinking city in the United Arab Emirates and is in the process of redefining the way we build communities in the future.

Chris Roberts, Chairman of Singularious and Group CEO of Eltizam, said, “We want to create and build new cities for the future. Cities based on AI rather than traditional buildings. A ‘conscious city’ that thinks for itself thanks to AI. This is something that will have a dramatic impact on our everyday lives, on how we maintain and manage cities in the future.”

Dr. Ben Goertzel, managing director of SingularityNet and chief scientist at Singularious, who helped develop the social humanoid robot Sofia, the music robot Desdemona and the health robot Grace, is also working on the master plan for Singularious’ self-thinking city. He told Euronews, “In most smart cities, you’re dealing with a kind of disparate collection of smart devices that do certain things. They’re not unified into one overall cognitive system. And that’s the goal of the self-thinking city: city-level intelligence at the service of the people who live in the city.”

Scary or cool? This airport billboard displays personalized information

You’ve just arrived at the airport, you’re running late, and you need to know the number of your gate as soon as possible. But the departure board is incredibly slow, and it takes what feels like an eternity for the information about your particular flight to reappear on the display.

Most passengers can probably relate to the impatience of being stuck in front of a screen waiting to find out how much your flight is delayed or which gate you need to sprint to – especially during this time of travel chaos in Europe.

But now – at least in the U.S. – all it takes is a quick glance at an airport screen to get personalized flight information: with Delta Air Lines’ futuristic new “Parallel Reality” flight information board.

Developed in partnership with Misapplied Sciences, a California-based startup, it can display personalized information for 100 people at once on a single screen.

It is now available to Delta passengers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Each traveler who looks at this high-tech screen is shown completely different information tailored to their travel preferences.

The screen greets the passenger by name and shows them the departure time, gate number and even how long it will take them to get there and which direction they need to go.

How is that supposed to work, please?

After security, Delta passengers who opt for the digital experience can go to the Parallel Reality Display kiosk near the Delta Sky Club at the airport.

There, they must either scan their boarding pass or use facial recognition at the kiosk once they are enrolled in Delta’s digital ID program.

After that, each customer can see flight information tailored to their individual journey as they walk past the parallel reality display panel.

“This experience will always be voluntary, and customer information will not be stored,” Delta, the airline, explains.

What’s the technology behind it?

According to Misapplied Sciences, parallel reality displays are enabled by special pixels that allow different things to be projected onto different people at the same time.

Unlike a conventional pixel that projects only a single color, Misapplied Sciences’ Parallel Reality pixels can simultaneously project “millions of controllable beams of varying color and brightness.”

Each beam can then be directed to a specific person via software, the company adds.

Inside the airport, the personalized experience is enabled by a system of motion cameras and sensors.

“A relationship is created between your identity and your position, so the motion camera follows your shape,” Greg Forbes, Delta’s “managing director of airport experience,” told Business Insider.

“That tells the display which direction to point the information. As you move through the viewing space, your location is tracked, and your message follows you.”

The technology only works within a certain field of view in front of the screen. Once a passenger leaves the area, their data is erased, Forbes added.

The screen only works for those who actively choose to participate in the experience, said Albert Ng, CEO of Misapplied Sciences.

“We don’t automatically recognize who you are when you walk through the airport,” he said.

Euronews Next could not immediately reach Delta and Misapplied Sciences for more details about the technology and whether it might one day be rolled out in other countries.

For us here in Europe, the travel chaos will likely continue throughout the summer. But if you’re leaving the continent to vacation in Detroit, we hope it will make for a slightly more pleasant travel experience.

A biosensor for the agriculture of the future

Food Screening EMR is an Interreg V Euregio Meuse-Rhine project. It aims to support regional SMEs in the agri-food sector in their transition to a more sustainable, future-proof business model. The EU project focuses on three distinct areas: integrating sensor technology into agricultural value chains, developing food and health claims to improve product placement, and exploring new farming techniques that produce healthier food crops.

Measuring the vitamin content of fruits and vegetables in real time

Europe is moving toward the agriculture of the future. The EU Food Screening EMR project is helping producers and growers in the transition phase, like here in Holland. Work is underway on a biosensor that will determine, in real time and in the field, the amount of vitamins contained in these cucumbers or other vegetables or fruits.

Thanks to this information, farmers can adjust variables such as humidity and improve the nutritional quality of their crops. The raw data is presented in a way that farmers can understand and access on a smartphone. John Van Helden, Director & Owner of Yookr, recounts:

“Previously, if you wanted to know how much vitamins were in a vegetable or fruit, it took days to get the results: The measurements went to the lab and had to be sent back. Now you measure it with a sensor. It gives the results within a minute.”

The current version of the biosensor detects the vitamin in the food using a color code. At Maastricht University, researchers are developing the chemical part of the biosensor, the receptor element, which evaluates the exact vitamin content.
Facts & Figures

The project budget is 1.9 million euros. Half of it is funded by the European Union’s cohesion policy. About ten universities, scientists and companies from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands are involved.

Producers and consumers will use the technology to learn about the nutritional quality of individual foods: the goal is to add health claims to products to improve their product placement on the market.

“One of the things you want to know is how many nutrients are in the food,” says Bart Van Grisven, project manager Food Screening EMR . “The offerings in the supermarket are supposed to be healthy, but are they really? A sensor that can quickly tell you the vitamin C content is very useful.”

Communication is important in the shift to advanced agriculture. Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo, a center specializing in healthy food and the future of agriculture, is responsible.

“We contact innovative companies that want to do something to help consumers eat healthier and more consciously, but also to help develop innovations,” explains Max Vogel, business developer at Brightlands Campus. “We encourage businesses to participate and help make a difference in the community.”