Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Spectacular space images, a flying car, tech advances in healthcare and more in our look around the web

Klein Vision’s Flying AirCar Takes Off

Slovakian aviation company Klein Vision’s AirCar V5 gracefully transforms from a car into an aircraft that actually flies. New video footage highlights the vehicle’s maiden voyage, wherein the AirCar races along an airport track before pausing to deploy its wings and tails. Upon reaching 200 kilometers per hour, the AirCar lifts off and rises to 1,500 meters above the ground. A BMW 1.6l engine powers the two-seat aircraft. This car-plane’s inventor, Professor Stefan Klein, has dedicated his life to flying cars and with it he achieves something undeniably futuristic. Watch the video at designboom.

Image courtesy of Klein Vision

MIT’s AI Detects Asymptomatic COVID-19 Coughs Through Sound

“There’s, in fact, sentiment embedded in how you cough,” Brian Subirana, a research scientist at MIT, tells designboom. This knowledge informs a new AI that Subirana’s lab is currently developing for use in COVID-19 detection. Using information gleaned from forced-cough recordings, the AI “distinguishes asymptomatic people from healthy ones.” While the nuances in sound cannot be identified by human ears, the AI can detect asymptomatic carriers with up to 98.5% accuracy. When available—likely through app integration, and only once approved by the FDA—users will simply cough into the microphone on their smartphone. Ideally, the system could be used to screen people before entering public and semi-private spaces. While not a formal test, this could be a valuable, accessible and free weapon to help in decreasing the spread. Read more at designboom.

Image courtesy of Christine Daniloff / MIT

Nightclub Art Troupe House of Yes + Digital Platform Bramble’s Virtual Spectacle, “House of Hallucinations”

Halloween may be over but the reverberations from the “House of Hallucinations” still linger. In lieu of an in-person affair, nightclub art party programmers House of Yes built a spooky world within Artery’s new digital platform, Bramble, to host a multi-room, multi-person event online. Guests who signed in were prompted to select an avatar and give it a name. From there, attendees used computer directional buttons to walk a red carpet and then enter the digital warehouse space. When avatars approached one another, Zoom-like boxes appeared to reveal the human behind the avatar and dialogues could take place “face to face.” It was a mesmerizing blend of fantasy and reality—with psychedelic backdrops, DJ sets, “live” performers and an entire room aswirl with art. This was no Zoom trivia night; it was a surreal digital realm with a dose of IRL. Learn more about House of Yes at their site.

Image courtesy of House of Yes

NASA’s Astounding New Images

Mind-blowing new images of space released by NASA reveal distant galaxies, gas clouds, supernova remnants and more. The spectacular pictures were gathered from various missions and pieces of equipment including the sophisticated Chandra X-ray Observatory, which detects X-ray emissions from extremely hot (in the millions of degrees) regions of the universe—like exploded stars or matter just 90 kilometers from a black hole. Seeing M82 (a starburst galaxy about 12 million light-years away) and Eta Carinae’s “death spiral” (a stellar system of two stars located about 7,500 light-years away) proves mesmerizing for anybody, but for scientists, it provides vital information to understand the universe just a little more. See more of these images at Deseret News.

Image courtesy of NASA

Decades of Video Game Console Design

With the arrival of the so-called ninth-generation of video game consoles, Wired created a list of devices that have debuted over the past 40 years. The article traces the industry’s earliest consoles (the Atari 2600) through to contemporary iterations (the Xbox X Series and the Playstation 5) and offers plenty of insight into how and why they look the way they do—from cultural influences and advertising campaigns to technological advancements and abject failures. Writer Dia Lacina likens the new Xbox X Series to rectangular bookshelf speakers and the new Playstation to “a tacky casino-hotel in miniature,” despite its heft when compared to competitor products. Though the piece ends with further criticism (“Regardless of what we think of how the current generation looks, it has nothing pleasant to tell us about ourselves,” Lacina writes), it’s an altogether fascinating look at the evolution of gaming consoles. Read more at Wired.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

London’s Connaught Bar Claims the Top Spot in The World’s 50 Best Bars 2020 List

Though so many of us are not frequenting bars right now, the annual World’s 50 Best Bars announcements were made digitally this week and London’s prestigious Connaught Bar took the top spot—after years of top 10 finishes. Last year’s number one, NYC’s Dante, slipped to number two. The Clumsies in Athens placed third and Singapore’s Atlas gin bar took the fourth spot. It’s the first time the top four positions were filled by bars in different cities (though five and six are also London spots). Bars from 23 countries made it on the list this year. Although it’s not possible to travel to them, each bar deserves the acclaim it has worked for—and will make a worthy destination when it is safe to visit. Erstwhile, the World’s 50 Best Bars organization helped to raise $1.25 million in recovery funds for the hospitality sector this year. Check out the complete list at World’s 50 Best Bars online.

Image courtesy of the Connaught Bar

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily in Link and on social media, and rounded up every Saturday morning. Hero image courtesy of NASA