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Chocolate reflection cake

A dazzling cake that’s perfect for any celebration. The cake itself is easy to make, so you can put your efforts into the icing glaze.

Equipment: You will need 2 loose-bottomed cake tins, 20cm/8in wide.

Ingredients

  • 50g/1¾oz cocoa powder
  • 6 tbsp boiling water
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 50ml/2fl oz milk
  • 175g/6oz self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g/3½oz baking spread, plus extra for greasing
  • 275g/9¾oz caster sugar

For the icing

  • 7 sheets (11g) leaf gelatine
  • 225g/8oz caster sugar
  • 75g/2¾oz cocoa powder
  • 5 tbsp double cream
  • 50g/1¾oz dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam, sieved

To decorate

  • 300ml/10fl oz double cream, whipped until stiff peaks form
  • 10 strawberries

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Line the base of two 20cm/8in loose-bottomed cake tins with baking paper and grease the sides with baking spread.
  2. Sieve the cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the water and stir until you have a smooth paste. Add the remaining ingredients. Whisk together using an electric hand whisk until light and fluffy. Spoon into the two tins and level the tops.
  3. Bake for 20–25 minutes, until well risen and coming away from the sides of the tins. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  4. To make the icing, put the gelatine leaves in a shallow bowl of cold water for 5 minutes until soft.
  5. Put the sugar, cocoa powder, cream, and 125ml/4fl oz water into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until melted, then bring up to the boil and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Squeeze from the gelatine leaves and stir into the chocolate mixture until dissolved. Pour through a sieve into a bowl and leave to cool and thicken in the fridge for about an hour, until it reaches the consistency of thick mayonnaise.
  7. Slice each cake in half horizontally. Put one cake half on a wire rack and smooth a layer of whipped cream on top. Continue this process so you have four layers of cake and three layers of cream. Press the cakes down between each layer so the cream comes right to the edges and the cakes are level at the sides. Smooth around the edges with a palette so the excess cream very lightly covers the sides and gives a smooth edge.
  8. Gently warm the apricot jam and brush lightly over the cake, covering the sides and top. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  9. Put about 100ml/3½fl oz of the icing in a heatproof bowl and gently melt over a pan of simmering water. Dip half of each strawberry in the melted icing. Put on baking paper to set.
  10. Once the cake has finished cooling in the fridge, transfer to a wire cooling rack placed on a large baking tray to catch any excess glaze as you pour it over the cake. Pour the remaining icing over the cake and smooth over the top and sides. Be very careful doing this, you want smooth shiny icing. Leave for an hour or so to set. Arrange the glazed strawberries around the bottom edge of the cake.

Italian strawberry and chocolate chunk cake

A delicious taste of Italy using strawberries makes for a perfect dessert or afternoon tea.

You’ll need a 20–22cm cake tin.

Ingredients

  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 175g/6oz extra virgin coconut oil or unsalted butter
  • 200ml/7fl oz honey or maple syrup
  • 150g/5½oz ground almonds
  • 150g/5½oz white spelled flour
  • ½ unwaxed lemon, zest only
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 150g/5½oz dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), broken into large chunks
  • 250g/9oz strawberries, hulled and halved

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Grease the tine and line with baking paper.
  2. Whisk the eggs in a stand mixer or with an electric whisk, on a high speed for 4–5 minutes, until thickened and increased in volume.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat. Pour into a large bowl and stir in the honey, almonds, flour, lemon zest, vanilla, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, and salt. Fold in the whipped eggs until just combined.
  4. Pour half of the mixture into the cake tin, sprinkle half the chocolate chunks on top, and cover with half of the remaining cake mixture.
  5. Place half of the strawberries on top, cover with the remaining cake mixture, and top with half the remaining chocolate chunks and strawberries.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cake feels firm and springs back to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes. Remove from the tin and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
  7. Melt the remaining chocolate in a glass bowl over boiling water, making sure the bowl doesn’t come in contact with the water. Drizzle over the cooled cake and decorate with fresh strawberries.

How to Expose for the Highlights

Are you a landscape photographer looking to create compelling photos? In today’s article, you’re going to learn a simple trick to balance light across your scene.

You need to expose for the highlights in the scene, and post-processing can handle the rest.

Why Expose for the Highlights?

The reason to expose for the highlights is that you want to use post-processing to edit your photo later. Exposing for the highlights will likely mean a large part of your photo is underexposed.

The aim of post-processing is to recover this underexposed part of the photo. This way your entire frame is exposed correctly. In the past, older camera sensors would not process the dark area of your frame so well. Today’s cameras are better able to keep data in the dark parts of your frame.

Of course you’ll want to use RAW to make this style work.

This technique works in a similar way to HDR or digital blending. With those, you take photos of several dynamic ranges and then put them together into one photo. This photo is then correctly exposed across the frame.

The advantage of exposing for the highlights is that you get the same result with one photo and no need to bracket.

What’s Dynamic Range?

Dynamic range describes the exposure value of the photo you’re taking. A camera is only able to take photos in one dynamic range.

This can be great when you want to produce silhouettes in your photos. But how come your eyes don’t see these silhouettes as well? The answer is because your eye is a lot more complex than even today’s most complex cameras.

Your eye is able to process what you see in many different dynamic ranges. It gives you a clear representation of the world. And it’s balanced because it includes many different dynamic ranges.

If your camera only produces results in one dynamic range, how can you fix this?

  • Filters – You can use Graduated ND filters to balance light across the photo.
  • Bracketing – You can take a series of photos at different exposure values. You could use up to seven different bracketed photos for this. These will then be blended together using a process like HDR or digital blending.
  • Post-processing – You can use post-processing to recover the parts of your photo that were not correctly exposed. A RAW file is needed for this process.

Locking the Exposure

This is a relatively simple process. There are a few extra steps you can take to make this even easier on yourself.

  1. Put the spot metering for your photo in the center of the grid. This is what you use to choose where the camera focuses, but it also records exposure as well.
  2. Aim at the area of your frame where the highlights are, this is likely to be the sky.
  3. Press your shutter halfway, and the exposure and focus will be locked. Now keep your finger at this halfway position.
  4. Move your camera back to the composed photo you wish to take, and press to take that photo. Your image will now be exposed for the highlights.

How to Use Visual Metaphor in Photography

A metaphor is a word or phrase that symbolizes something else. In photography, you can use visual metaphors to make your stories more meaningful.

Here is how you can achieve effective visual metaphors with simple photography techniques.

How to Use Visual Metaphors

Symmetry is so appealing because it’s predictable and beautiful. You can use it as a metaphor for inner peace, friendship, or hope.

We can find symmetry almost everywhere. The kind you choose depends on your theme and your preferred genre.

For example, if you nature photographer, you can take photos of water reflections. If you’re a portrait photographer, you can photograph your model in front of a perfectly symmetrical wall.

If you’re a portrait photographer, pay attention to your model’s expressions. If you combine a sad expression with symmetry, your visual metaphor might not work effectively.

Create Hope With Negative Space

Negative space is extra space in your photo. This can be the sky, a wall, or any part of your image that’s empty.

Too much negative space can be distracting. But in commercial photography, it has the potential to be an incredible metaphor. Negative space is often linked to hope and potential.

Here are a few examples:

  • Someone standing on top of a mountain surrounded by a blue sky. This creates a feeling of victory and possibility.
  • People looking into the distance during the golden hour. This implies that they’re looking forward to the future.

Something as simple as an empty sky can make help you symbolize a variety of positive emotions.

Emphasize Emotions

Look at everyday items in your home. Is there anything that reminds you of a specific feeling or theme? You can use these items to make your visual metaphor photography even more powerful.

For example:

  • Paper butterflies can symbolize freedom.
  • Fake cotton clouds can be a metaphor for daydreamers.
  • Flying confetti can be a symbol of joy.

Turn Mirrors into a Metaphor for Self-Reflection

Mirrors are literally a reflection of the self. In photography, you can use them to symbolize self-reflection or self-discovery, you can add even more depth to your images.

You can use pieces of glass to symbolize beauty standards or a shattered sense of self. You can make reflections look different to your model. This can be a metaphor for self-development or dishonesty.

A different mirror reflection can also be a metaphor for a dream. For example, a little boy who looks at himself in the mirror and sees.

Create a Feeling of Life and Growth

Nature is often associated with growth, prosperity. You can use something as simple as a flower to suggest that your model is growing from an experience.

Photographer Bella Kotak often uses flowers in her fantasy-themed portraits.

These elements of nature make her images look grounded and magical at the same time. They also work as perfect visual metaphors for progress and growth.

How to Play Along With Chords on Bass

Almost all music is centered around chords. Chords define the harmonic structure of each song and tell you which notes will sound good and which won’t. If you study music theory, you’ll spend a lot of time learning about what the different chords are and how they lead from one to another.

Guitarists and pianists play full chords, simultaneously sounding every note that makes up each chord. They are the ones who really fill out the harmonies. As a bass player, your relationship with chords is a little different. You don’t play every note in a chord, but your deep, low tones ground the chord and help define its sound.

What are Chords?

A chord, by definition, is a group of two or more notes played together. Generally, it is three or four notes and they are separated from each other by intervals of major and minor thirds. Each chord has a root note, the foundation upon which the chord is built, and a “quality,” the structure of the other notes that make up the chord. For example, a C minor chord has the notes C, Eb, and G. Its root note is C and its quality is “minor.”

There are many qualities of chords. Some examples are major, minor, major seven, minor seven, diminished and augmented, and the list goes on. Each one has a different character, created by the different musical intervals between the chord tones.

Importance of Chords on Bass

Your primary job as a bass player, besides rhythmic support, is to provide the foundation for the chords. Your low notes really give a solid tonal grounding to guide listeners’ ears in following the shifts of harmony. For the most part, this means playing the roots of the chords.

Seems pretty easy, right? If all you have to do is play the root notes, why learn all this extra stuff about chord structures? After all, the root note of each chord is the note it is named for. You just have to read the letters.

Well, that’s an option, and indeed it sounds perfectly fine when you do only that. In fact, you’d be surprised how often bass players do nothing else besides playing the roots, perhaps with some interesting groovy rhythms. However, you’ll have very limited creative options and you won’t be coming up with any killer bass lines that way.

Learning how to find the different chord tones and use them will let you play really interesting and great sounding bass lines while still fulfilling your job of grounding and supporting the harmonies of the song. Use the chord tones, especially the root, as your launching points to have some fun and get creative.

Using Chords

To figure out which notes are chord tones and which aren’t, you use chord patterns. First, you need to be familiar with note names on the bass so you can find the root of any chord. Next, you can go from there and find the chord tones based on your knowledge of chord patterns.

As an example, consider the C minor chord again. In any minor chord, there are three chord tones. The first is the root, the second is a minor third above the root, and the last is a fifth above the root. So, you would find the root note, in this case, located at the third fret of the A string. Then, you would find the next note three frets higher at the sixth fret (an E♭). Finally, the last note would be on the next string two frets higher, at the fifth fret (a G). This shape of finger positions is the same for any minor chord.

When you are playing with other musicians, you’ll often have a “chord progression,” a sequence of chords that you all play through. Find the root note for each chord, and just jam on that note at first. Then, try throwing in some other chord tones. The root should always be your home base, and should probably be the first note you play for each chord, but feel free to experiment around and find a bass line that sounds good.

Slash Chords

Sometimes, you’ll see chords written using a slash or dividing line, with a chord on the top and a single note underneath. This is a special message to you, the bass player. The note written under the line is the note that should be played by the bass, instead of the root of the chord. Even if you had some other clever idea of what to play on that chord, you should play the note written.

Arpeggios

An excellent way to practice chords is to play arpeggios. “Arpeggio” is just a fancy word for playing the chord tones up and down. You can “arpeggiate” up through multiple octaves, if you like, or just one. As you learn different chord patterns, you should practice them by playing arpeggios starting with different notes as the root. You can also use arpeggios in bass lines as well.

How to Increase Your Disposable Income

1. Get a Raise – or a Second Job

There is no shortage of books and articles that give advice about getting more money out of your employer. Their counsel includes everything from dressing well to taking a pay cut in exchange for performance bonuses. One of the most highly touted techniques is to go for further training or education. This can cost you money now, but it will hopefully translate into higher wages and a more secure position in the company.

Regardless of how you go about it, getting a raise is the most obvious way to increase your income. Along the same lines is the possibility of having another job on the side. Working two jobs in tandem can be physically and mentally draining, but it will bring more money in when you need it.

The problem with increasing your income through your job is that you expose yourself to increased income taxes. The loss resulting from entering a higher income bracket is not prohibitive, but it is discouraging. You are working harder and often longer hours, but the returns on your effort are diminishing as your income tax rate increases. Basically, you have to work harder just to add a little more to your pocket.

This is compounded by the fact that most people never really profit from the extra wages because their lifestyles adjust to absorb it. For example, you may notice that your taxes have increased so, in order to minimize your tax bill, you decide to move into a bigger house to take more advantage of the homeowner’s deductionon the mortgage. Although you can technically afford it, the larger mortgage payment leaves you with the same disposable income as before.

2. Start a Business

Starting a business, even a small one, is a legitimate way to bolster your income. Much like a raise or second job, running a business will put more demands on your time and require more effort. The difference is that you will see more of the income from your labor because taxation for business owners is a small pinch when compared to the slap that the IRS gives to employees. Some of your business write-offs can even be claimed against other income sources, but you have to follow the rules carefully.

3. Investment Income

Investment income is considered a form of passive income. That’s a bit of a misnomer, because it does take active effort to create income from investing – you have to research investments, build and maintain your portfolio, etc. – but it is generally considered to take less effort than, let’s say, shoveling concrete day in and day out. Investing income can come from stocks, bonds, real estate, or many other types of assets. The common theme is that they ideally produce a return on the money you put into them.

Creating income through investing is a process of accumulation. Even if you consistently get a return on investments (ROI) of 20%, if you only have $1,000 in the investment, you will add a little less than $200 to your yearly income after any fees and taxes have been paid (and there is no guarantee of consistent returns of even 10%). Searching for stocks with a history of dividends, sometimes called income stocks, can help create some income now, but it will still not be as rapid in results as a second job.

As you put more money in, however, more money comes out in the form of returns. Investing is a great way to increase your disposable income in the long run, but it won’t do wonders for your immediate situation unless you have a huge chunk of capital just sitting around. Investing takes patience, time and discipline (it is also subject to taxation). That said, it is one of the surest ways to gradually add to your disposable income without exerting yourself too much.

4. Spend Less

The best way to increase your disposable income is by spending less. Tightening your budget will take some effort in the form of sacrificing a few luxuries, but the increase to your disposable income will not require longer hours or incur any extra tax. The more after-tax dollars you hold onto, the easier it is to do things like investing to secure more income in the future.

You don’t have to scour the classifieds or create a business model or subscribe to a bunch of financial magazines – you just have to shell out less  than you currently are, and certainly less than you are currently making. Earning more may help you, but spending less is the only iron-clad solution to the problem of living paycheck to paycheck and never having enough.

The Bottom Line

Of all the ways to increase your disposable income, the simplest one is by far the best. Spending less/saving more can be used in conjunction with any of the other strategies. It’s also the only one that isn’t going to affect your taxes or require more of your time. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “If you know how to spend less than you get, then you have the philosopher’s stone.”

How Artificial Intelligence Robotics Market Is Gaining Growth Prospects

AMA recently introduced Artificial Intelligence Robotics Comprehensive Study by Type Market study with in-depth overview, describing about the Product / Industry Scope and elaborates market outlook and status to 2023. The market Study is segmented by key regions which is accelerating the marketization. At present, the market is developing its presence and some of the key players from the complete study are NVIDIA (United States) , Intel (United States) , IBM (United States) , Microsoft (United States) , Xilinx (United States) , Alphabet (United States) , Softbank (Japan) , Hanson Robotics (China) , Amazon (United States) and Blue Frog Robotics (France) etc.

Request Sample of Artificial Intelligence Robotics Comprehensive Study by Type (Service Robots, Industrial Robots, Industry Segmentation, Military & Defense, Law Enforcement, Healthcare Assistance, Education and Entertainment, Personal Assistance and Caregiving), Application (Public Relations, Stock Management, Others), Technology (Machine Learning, Computer Vision), Offering (Graphical Processing United (GPU), MIDI Processing United (MPU)) Players and Region – Global Market Outlook to 2023 .

Market Drivers
Increasing Applications of Robots for Personal Use including Entertainments and Companionship
Growing Automation and Robotics Infrastructure is Enhancing the Global Demand

Market Trend
Increasing Demand of Artificially Intelligent Robots in Household Applications
Introduction to Unmanned Assistance Systems in the Farming Industry and Proliferation of AI Enabled Drones

Opportunities
Concentration in Developing AI enabled Robots in Numerous Special Purpose Application where the robots can generate Maximum Return on Investment and Growing Awareness about Highly Automated Robots in Underdeveloped Countries

Competitive Analysis:
The key players are highly focusing innovation in production technologies to improve efficiency and shelf life. The best long-term growth opportunities for this sector can be captured by ensuring ongoing process improvements and financial flexibility to invest in the optimal strategies. Company profile section of players such as NVIDIA (United States) , Intel (United States) , IBM (United States) , Microsoft (United States) , Xilinx (United States) , Alphabet (United States) , Softbank (Japan) , Hanson Robotics (China) , Amazon (United States) and Blue Frog Robotics (France) includes its basic information like legal name, website, headquarters, its market position, historical background and top 5 closest competitors by Market capitalization / revenue along with contact information. Each player/ manufacturer revenue figures, growth rate and gross profit margin is provided in easy to understand tabular format for past 5 years and a separate section on recent development like mergers, acquisition or any new product/service launch etc.

Market Segments:
The Artificial Intelligence Robotics Comprehensive Study by Type Market has been divided into type, application, and region.
On The Basis Of Type: Service Robots , Industrial Robots , Industry Segmentation , Military & Defense , Law Enforcement , Healthcare Assistance , Education and Entertainment and Personal Assistance and Caregiving.
On The Basis Of Application: (Public Relations , Stock Management and Others
On The Basis Of Region, this report is segmented into following key geographies, with production, consumption, revenue (million USD), and market share, growth rate of Artificial Intelligence Robotics Comprehensive Study by Type in these regions, from 2013 to 2023 (forecast), covering
– North America (U.S. & Canada) {Market Revenue (USD Billion), Growth Analysis (%) and Opportunity Analysis}
– Latin America (Brazil, Mexico & Rest of Latin America) {Market Revenue (USD Billion), Growth Share (%) and Opportunity Analysis}
– Europe (The U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Sweden & RoE) {Market Revenue (USD Billion), Growth Share (%) and Opportunity Analysis}
– Asia-Pacific (China, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Rest of Asia) {Market Revenue (USD Billion), Growth Share (%) and Opportunity Analysis}
– Middle East & Africa (GCC, South Africa, North Africa, RoMEA) {Market Revenue (USD Billion), Growth Share (%) and Opportunity Analysis}
– Rest of World {Market Revenue (USD Billion), Growth Analysis (%) and Opportunity Analysis}

Getting a grip on human-robot cooperation

The answer comes from the study entitled “On the choice of grasp type and location when handing over an object,” published in Science Robotics by a research team of The BioRobotics Institute of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna and the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision. The study reveals the guiding principles that regulate the choice of grasp type during an exchange of objects, encouraging cooperation between a robotic system and a person.

The study, conducted in 2018, analysed the behavior of people when they have to grasp an object and when, instead of using it themselves, they need to hand it over to a partner. The researchers investigated the grasp choice and hand placement on those objects during a handover when subsequent tasks are performed by the receiver. Passers tend to grasp the purposive part of the objects and leave “handles” unobstructed to the receivers. Intuitively, this choice allows receivers to comfortably perform subsequent tasks with the objects.

“We realised that, to date, insufficient attention has been given to the way a robot grasps an object in studies on human-robot interaction,” explains Francesca Cini, PhD student of The BioRobotics Institute and one of the two principal authors of the paper. “This aspect is very pivotal in this field. For example, when we pass a screwdriver knowing that the receiver should use it, we leave the handle free to facilitate the grasp and the subsequent use of the object. The aim of our research is to transfer all these guiding principles onto a robotic system so that they will be used to select a correct grasp type and to facilitate the exchange of objects.”

The impact of the collaborative study opens new scenarios of technological innovation, bringing benefits to various social activities where human-robot cooperation is well-established and yet to be established. Indeed, it would be possible to ameliorate the production steps in an industrial context while, in rehabilitation, robots could assist patients with more natural and effective results.

“Collaborative Robotics is the next frontier of both industrial and assistive robotics,” says Marco Controzzi, researcher of The BioRobotics Institute and principal investigator of Human-Robot Interaction Lab. “For this reason, we need a new generation of robots designed to interact with humans in a natural way. These results will allow us to instruct the robot to manipulate objects as a human collaborator through the introduction of simple rules.””Perhaps surprisingly, grasping and manipulation are regarded as very intuitive and straightforward actions for us humans,” says Valerio Ortenzi, a Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision and the other principal author of the paper. “However, they simply are not. We intended to shed a light on the behavior of humans while interacting in a common manipulation task and a handover is a perfect example where little adjustments are performed to best achieve the shared goal to safely pass an object from one person to the other.”

“Real-world manipulation remains one of the greatest challenges in robotics and we strive to be the world leader in the research field of visually-guided robotic manipulation,” says Australian Centre for Robotic Vision Director Peter Corke. “This research collaboration with Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna forms a vital partnership towards our goal of overcoming the last barrier to the ubiquitous deployment of truly useful robots into society. While most people don’t think about picking up and moving objects — something human brains have learned over time through repetition and routine — for robots, grasping and manipulation is subtle and elusive.”

The first walking robot that moves without GPS

Desert ants are extraordinary solitary navigators. Researchers were inspired by these ants as they designed AntBot, the first walking robot that can explore its environment randomly and go home automatically, without GPS or mapping. This work opens up new strategies for navigation in autonomous vehicles and robotics.

Human eyes are insensitive to polarized light and ultraviolet radiation, but that is not the case for ants, who use it to locate themselves in space. Cataglyphis desert ants in particular can cover several hundreds of meters in direct sunlight in the desert to find food, then return in a straight line to the nest, without getting lost. They cannot use pheromones: they come out when the temperature would burn the slightest drop. Their extraordinary navigation talent relies on two pieces of information: the heading measured using a sort of “celestial compass” to orient themselves using the sky’s polarized light, and the distance covered, measured by simply counting steps and incorporating the rate of movement relative to the sun measured optically by their eyes. Distance and heading are the two fundamental pieces of information that, once combined, allow them to return smoothly to the nest.

AntBot, the brand-new robot designed by CNRS and Aix-Marseille University (AMU) researchers at ISM, copies the desert ants’ exceptional navigation capacities. It is equipped with an optical compass used to determine its heading by means of polarized light, and by an optical movement sensor directed to the sun to measure the distance covered. Armed with this information, AntBot has been shown to be able, like the desert ants, to explore its environment and to return on its own to its base, with precision of up to 1 cm after having covered a total distance of 14 meters. Weighing only 2.3 kg, this robot has six feet for increased mobility, allowing it to move in complex environments, precisely where deploying wheeled robots and drones can be complicated (disaster areas, rugged terrain, exploration of extraterrestrial soils, etc.).

The optical compass* developed by the scientists is sensitive to the sky’s polarized ultraviolet radiation. Using this “celestial compass,” AntBot measures its heading with 0.4° precision by clear or cloudy weather. The navigation precision achieved with minimalist sensors proves that bio-inspired robotics has immense capacity for innovation. Here we have a trio of advances. A novel robot has been developed, new, innovative and unconventional optical sensors have been designed, and AntBot brings new understanding on how desert ants navigate, by testing several models that biologists have imagined to mimic this animal. Before exploring potential applications in aerial robotics or in the automobile industry, for example, progress must be made, for instance in how to operate this robot at night or over longer distances.

This work received support from the Direction Générale de l’Armement, CNRS, AMU, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and from ANR under the Equipex/Robotex project.

This compass is composed of only two pixels topped by two polarized filters that turn to be equivalent to an optical sensor composed of two rows of 374 pixels. Turning the filters mechanically is an innovation that has reduced the sensor’s production cost quite considerably, from over 78,000€ to only a few hundred euros, within the constraints of the biomimetics.

Five ways technology is changing Learning and Development

Technology is fundamentally shaping the way organisations learn…

Thanks to the development of various e-learning technologies, online learning has become a reality. This makes carrying out continuing professional development (CPD) absolutely vital for L&D practitioners who want to keep their skills relevant.

We spoke to Watson Martin Partnership, a leading provider of professional qualifications, to find out five of the key ways technology is changing Learning and Development

  • The rise of mobile and tablet devices

The rise of portable devices has given us a lot: a way to browse social media and chat on-the-go; a platform to enjoy a range of apps; the opportunity to Google the symptoms of every illness we’ve ever had (OK, this one might not be a benefit).

But aside from offering a sense of convenience in our recreational lives, mobile and tablet devices have also provided the perfect place for interactive learning content.

As materials can now be accessed via a range of devices, learners are offered an increased level of autonomy, flexibility, and control. Not only can they choose when and where they study, they can also learn at their own pace.

These developments have additionally provided L&D practitioners with the foundations they need to better support individual learning processes.

  • The increase in ‘bringing your own device to work’

With an increasing number of employees opting to use their own devices not only at work, but also from home or when working remotely, organisations have come up with new ways to make universal access easier.

By creating learning apps and programmes, organisations are able to give individuals direct access to learning materials and resources from any device, which ultimately helps to maximise their workforce’s productivity.

L&D practitioners also use apps to communicate more effectively with delegates – whether it’s to track an event, register its attendance, or provide an online vault of learning materials.

  • The gamification of learning

Chances are, you’ve had your fair share of mild addictions to mobile games (see: Plants Vs. Zombies/ Candy Crush/Pokemon GO/all of the above).

With the wide variety of mobile and tablet games that are now available, it’s no surprise that the learning and development industry have utilised their popularity.

From gamified micro courses that help employees get to grips with procedures or software, to educational apps that teach through quizzes, videos, flashcards, and memory games – the gamification of learning materials provides a fast and easy way to digest information.

By linking games with learning activities, organisations can tap into people’s desires of socialising, being rewarded, and making choices – which consequently makes them more likely to engage with the content and apply what they’ve learnt practically.

  • The opportunity to interact virtually

Don’t understand a question? Working on a group project? Just need to vent? No problem.

Whether it’s to assist the communication of virtual teams, or to build an online learning community, the rise of social media and other communication tools have played a big part in supporting learners.

It offers the perfect way to connect groups of people who are getting to grips with the same topic – whether they’re taking an online or classroom course, carrying out an independent learning venture, or doing work-based learning and development.

By creating online groups or utilising hashtags, instructors, L&D professionals, and learners are able to share and access a range of information; from quizzes and questionnaires, to images and tips.

Because social media doesn’t need to be a distraction (as long as you use it right).

  • The assessment of progress

As a result of advancements in tech, tracking your development has never been easier.

In the past, feedback was only able to be given at the end of a learning intervention, consisting of a review – rather than an on-the-spot assessment. With new online tools, learners can benefit from a better monitoring system that tracks their learning as they go.

This means learners receive a more personalised, tailored and effective approach in their e-learning and online modules. And with more formative types of assessments, self-reflection and improvement is much easier.

Personalised feedback can also be provided if needed, which allows the learner to immediately identify and reflect on their learning.