Out of the Box Thinking & Food for Thought

Is Quantum Computing advancing in Real Life Applications? BMW is planning to use a Honeywell quantum computer to find a more efficient way to purchase the myriad components that go into its vehicles. The company is using this new computer to optimize the choice of supply from a number of options, including which components to purchase from a particular supplier and the best time to ensure the lowest cost while also maintaining production schedules. Other applications could be improvement of battery chemistry in electrical vehicles, figuring out the best places to install charging stations. The aim is, in 18-24 months, to use the quantum computers to tackle optimization problems no classical computers can handle. Another use case is given by Quantum Delta NL, a Dutch public-private foundation that received €615million from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy to support research and development in this area, to transfer quantum technology to businesses and society, to educate a new generation of quantum scientists.

Will Robots and Holograms Perform Work Instead of Human-Beings? Companies like Domino’s Pizza are testing, in cooperation with robotics firm, such concepts as autonomous pizza delivery whereby customers can select delivery by small self-driving cars. Qualcomm CEO believes that avatars and digital twins could help humanize the remote work experience within a decade, with employees finding themselves being represented by avatars or working alongside one in the workplace.

How far have helicopters gone in their capabilities? Far enough to be able to perform the first controlled flight on another planet. This was done by NASA’s 1.8kg helicopter on Mars, under very different conditions than on Earth and with a very low atmospheric pressure (1% of that of Earth) that creates a challenge to make a vehicle that is light enough to lift.

For 3D printing, how far have its capabilities advanced? A 3D printed home was recently finished in Eindhoven (the Netherlands) as the first such home in Europe. The new detached, a single story two-bedroom house, is built from 24 concrete elements which are printed layer by layer at the printing plant. The elements are transported to the location by truck, placed on a foundation and provided with a roof and window frames before finishing touches. The house has thick insulation and is connected to the city central heating, making it highly comfortable and energy efficient. This new technology opens the possibility to build affordable homes with control over the shape of the house.