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A Tablet for Seniors That Comes With Uber

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My family spends a lot of time talking about how my grandfather, now 95, probably shouldn’t drive. But living in a suburban town means that without a car, any visit to see friends or go to the gym (because he still works out more than I do) is impossible. He could call an Uber, but he doesn’t have a smartphone and frankly, would be baffled by the app.

But maybe not for long. A new version of a tablet called grandPad—specifically designed for seniors—will come preloaded with a special version of Uber tailored toward the needs of older people, so that it can be used by even reluctant adopters of new-fangled tech.

As many as 43 percent of older adults report experiencing social isolation—which can have dire health effects. So in communities where people can’t walk out of their house and down the street to shop or go to the doctor or visit friends and family, older adults who can’t drive or have their licenses taken away are at a major disadvantage. Cabs tend to be uncommon outside of major urban areas, and public transportation options are more often than not abysmal.


The Uber app for grandPad comes with a preset list of destinations that can be set by a caregiver or relative, and can be set to send real-time updates about the ride to a family member. So people who aren’t the type to regularly comment on their relative’s Facebook events (hi, Grandma!) don’t need a complete crash course on how to work an app that is more designed for New Year’s Eve revelers trying to get home at 3 a.m. than an 80-year-old trying to get to the pharmacy. If they are into technology, they can break open the app themselves, but with the large-format, simplified interface, they won’t have to strain quite so hard to see the tiny icons of mainstream apps.

Granted, a tablet-based app isn’t a perfect solution. Many people won’t want to go out for dinner or to the grocery store carrying a tablet so that they can call a ride home. But it’s one of the better options facing older people stuck in the suburbs without a car these days.

[h/t: Los Angeles Times]

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Wired, YouTube
Watch This Robot Crack a Safe in 15 Minutes
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Wired, YouTube

When Nathan Seidle was gifted a locked safe with no combination from his wife, he did what any puzzlemaster—or, rather, what any engineer with a specific set of expertise in locks and robotics—would do: He built a robot to crack the safe. Seidle is the founder of SparkFun, an electronics manufacturer based in Denver, and this gift seemed like the perfect opportunity to put his professional knowledge to the test.

The process of building a safecracking robot involved a lot of coding and electronics, but it was the 3D printing, he said, that became the most important piece. Seidle estimated that it would take four months to have the robot test out different combinations, but with one major insight, he was able to shave off the bulk of this time: While taking a closer look at the combination dial indents, he realized that he could figure out the third digit of the combination by locating the skinniest indent. Thanks to this realization, he was soon able to trim down the number of possible combinations from a million to a thousand.

Watch the video from WIRED below to see Seidle's robot in action, which effectively whittled a four-month safecracking project down to an impressive 15-minute job.

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Big Questions
How Does Autopilot Work on an Airplane?
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How does autopilot work on an airplane?

Joe Shelton:

David Micklewhyte’s answer is a good one. There are essentially a few types of features that different autopilots have. Some autopilots only have some of these features, while the more powerful autopilots do it all.

  • Heading Hold: There’s a small indicator that the pilot can set on the desired heading and the airplane will fly that heading. This feature doesn’t take the need for wind correction to desired routing into account; that’s left to the pilot.
  • Heading and Navigation: In addition to holding a heading, this version will take an electronic navigation input (e.g. GPS or VOR) and will follow (fly) that navigation reference. It’s sort of like an automated car in that it follows the navigator’s input and the pilot monitors.
  • Altitude Hold: Again, in addition to the above, a desired altitude can be set and the aircraft will fly at that altitude. Some autopilots have the capability for the pilot to select a desired altitude and a climb or descent rate and the aircraft will automatically climb or descend to that altitude and then hold the altitude.
  • Instrument Approaches: Autopilots with this capability will fly preprogrammed instrument approaches to the point where the pilot either takes control and lands or has the autopilot execute a missed approach.

The autopilot is a powerful computer that takes input from either the pilot or a navigation device and essentially does what it is told to do. GPS navigators, for example, can have a full flight plan entered from departure to destination, and the autopilot will follow the navigator’s guidance.

These are the majority of the controls on the autopilot installed in my airplane:

HDG Knob = Heading knob (Used to set the desired heading)

AP = Autopilot (Pressing this turns the autopilot on)

FD = Flight Director (A form of navigational display that the pilot uses)

HDG = Heading (Tells the autopilot to fly the heading set by the Heading Knob)

NAV = Tells the autopilot to follow the input from the selected navigator

APR = Tells the autopilot to fly the chosen approach

ALT = Tells the autopilot to manage the altitude, controlled by the following:

VS = Vertical Speed (Tells the autopilot to climb or descend at the chosen rate)

Nose UP / Nose DN = Sets the climb/descent rate in feet per minute

FLC = Flight Level Change (An easy manual way to set the autopilot)

ALT Knob = Used to enter the desired altitude

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.


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