Here’s what art looks like in 2018: Spheres that react to your presence

In the 1960s sci-fi spy thriller series The Prisoner, the residents of a small coastal resort are kept from escaping their location by a weird floating white balloon called Rover, which recaptures or eliminates anyone who tries to leave. Here in 2018, a group Random International has created a fleet of similar-looking autonomous flying spheres, which flock together like a slow-motion group of birds, while keeping an eye on nearby humans.

The helium-filled foil spheres are part of a project called Zoological. They are piloted by an onboard drone-style flight system while using Lidar technology — the same pulsed laser technology which helps power autonomous cars — to make sense of what is happening around them. By using Lidar, the spheres are able to work out depth data concerning their environment and determine their formation and groupings. They can also act out different moods by way of programmed “emotions.” These mean that, one day, they might choose to stay away from groups of people by remaining high up in the air. On other days, they might alternatively — and probably a bit more disconcertingly — get bolder and float closer to the ground, while singling out one particular person to follow.

For anyone worrying about these autonomous flying spheres, though, don’t be too alarmed: They are not part of some next-generation surveillance technology (even though police drones really are on the way.) Instead, they are an art installation that make up one part of an exhibition called +/- Human, taking place in the U.K. They are the work of award-winning choreographer and director Wayne McGregor, and are intended to examine the relationship between mechanical autonomy and human beings.

This isn’t the first weird algorithmic art project we’ve covered at Digital Trends. Recently, we wrote about a crazy robot table which uses a grid of ferrofluid liquid rocket fuel “pixels” to respond to passers-by. Then there is also this giant art installation which displays 3D selfies on an enormous 850,000-LED “head.” It seems that, just like the rest of us, the art world is to wrap their minds around exactly what today’s technology will mean for the future!

Emerging Tech

Twitter is officially a teenager now. Are we raising a monster?

On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey sent the first ever tweet. Thirteen years later, Twitter has fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Here are some of the myriad ways it's done that.
Emerging Tech

Scientists use drone to map Icelandic cave in preparation for Mars exploration

Researchers from the SETI Institute and Astrobotic Technology have demonstrated a way that astronauts may be able to map Martian caves using a Lidar-equipped drone that can travel autonomously without GPS.

Here's our guide on how to progress through The Division 2 endgame

Your mission as an agent doesn't end after taking out the three main factions in The Division 2. The endgame brings the Black Tusks, a dangerous new faction, to D.C. Our endgame guide will help you on your quest for the best loot.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 
Emerging Tech

The U.S. Army is building a giant VR battlefield to train soldiers virtually

Imagine if the U.S. Army was able to rehearse battlezone scenarios dozens, or even hundreds, or times before settling foot on actual terrain. Thanks to virtual reality, that's now a possibility.

British Airways’ new Club Suite for business class comes with a door

British Airways is going after a bigger slice of the business class market with the imminent launch of the Club Suite. The plush seating option offers a more private space as well as an easier route to the bathroom.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.
Emerging Tech

A silver bullet is being aimed at the drug-resistant superbugs on the ISS

A bacteria which is benign here on Earth can mutate into a drug-resistant superbug once it enters space. Now this problem is being tackled by a team of microbiologists who have found a way to inhibit the spread of bacteria in the ISS.
Emerging Tech

Tombot is the hyper-realistic dog robot that puts Spot to shame

Forget Boston Dynamics’ Spot! When it comes to robot dogs, the folks behind a new Kickstarter campaign have plans to stake their claim as makers of man’s (and woman’s) newest best friend.
Emerging Tech

Researchers gave alligators headphones and ketamine, and all for a good cause

Researchers in Germany and the United States recently gave ketamine and earphones to alligators to monitor how they process sounds. Here's what it reveals about alligator evolution.
Emerging Tech

Cheese tastes different when it listens to Led Zeppelin, Swiss study finds

A funky new study says that exposing cheese to music changes its aroma and flavor. What’s more, the genre of music matters. Researchers from the Bern University of Arts played music to nine, 22-pound wheels of Emmental cheese.