Sunday, 15 January 2017

Scientists turn toy into a 20-cent blood centrifuge



Many of us have played with whirligigs as kids, but now these playthings made of buttons and twine are getting a new life as medical lab tools for the developing world. Bioengineers at Stanford University have developed a blood centrifuge based on the children's toy that costs only 20 US cents in materials to build, yet can compete with commercial lab centrifuges costing thousands of dollars.

.. Continue Reading Scientists turn toy into a 20-cent blood centrifuge

Category: Good Thinking

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Blood
Stanford University

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Super Hornets drop world's largest swarm of micro-drones



With a whine like a swarm of giant angry wasps descending on a picnic, 103 micro-drones recently carried out organized maneuvers in the skies over China Lake, California. Billed by the US Department of Defense (DoD) as the world's largest micro-drone swarm, the Perdix drones were launched last October from three F/A-18 Super Hornets and autonomously carried out a series of missions that demonstrated collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying, and self-healing.

.. Continue Reading Super Hornets drop world's largest swarm of micro-drones

Category: Drones

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Plastic bags made from shrimp shells might help Egypt's trash problem



A team of bioengineers from the University of Nottingham and Nile University in Egypt are developing a new substitute for conventional plastic carry bags using a material made out of shrimp shells. This biodegradable alternative to the more conventional polythene made from fossil fuels that is used in shopping bags is not only greener, but can also extend theshelf life of foodstuffs.

.. Continue Reading Plastic bags made from shrimp shells might help Egypt's trash problem

Category: Environment

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Rocket Crafters granted patent for safer, cheaper 3D-printed rocket fuel




We've seen 3D-printed rocket engines, but what about 3D-printed rocket fuel? Florida-based Rocket Crafters, Inc. (RCI) has been awarded a patent for a method of fuelling hybrid liquid/solid rockets using 3D printing technology. The company claims that the process ensures the fabrication of flawless, high-performance, safer-handling fuel grain. It will enter service in 2019 for launching satellites.

.. Continue Reading Rocket Crafters granted patent for safer, cheaper 3D-printed rocket fuel

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Lexus Sport Yacht Concept take Lexus styling and dual V8 power to the water



Lexus has taken the wraps off of something a bit different for the luxury car brand – a Sport Yacht Concept. Making its debut at Di Lido Island on Biscayne Bay, Miami Beach, Florida, the seagoing Lexus is a one-of-a-kind proof-of-concept that uses similar design language to the marque's land-lubber vehicles and is powered by two Lexus V8 engines.

.. Continue Reading Lexus Sport Yacht Concept take Lexus styling and dual V8 power to the water

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Falcon 9 returns to space with Iridium-1 launch



SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster roared back into service today over four months after a disastrous launch pad explosion threw its future into doubt. At 9:54 am PST (17:54 GMT), the reusable rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California carrying the 10-satellite constellation of the Iridium-1 mission. According to the company, this is the first of a series of launches that will eventually form the 81-satellite Iridium NEXT global communication network.

.. Continue Reading Falcon 9 returns to space with Iridium-1 launch

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

New 3D graphene is ten times as strong as steel



It's incredibly strong and has unique electrical, thermal, optical, and chemical properties, but in some ways Graphene's two-dimensional structure makes it a bit like the laser was in the 1960s – a solution in search of a problem. To give graphene a new dimension, a team of MIT scientists have developed a sponge-like 3D version that has only five percent of the density of steel, yet is ten times as strong.

.. Continue Reading New 3D graphene is ten times as strong as steel

Category: Materials

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Graphene
MIT

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Hubble charts path of the Voyager probes out of the Solar System



As NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 unmanned deep space probes head out of the Solar System, they are in territory that is the very definition of "uncharted." To help fill in the map, the Hubble Space Telescope is charting their path in order to learn more about the mysterious regions of deep space.

.. Continue Reading Hubble charts path of the Voyager probes out of the Solar System

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Earth-like planets may not be very Earth-like



When is an "Earth-like" planet not Earth-like? It's a question that the search for life beyond the Solar System revolves around, and a team of scientist are using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to shed some light on the subject. By looking at the composition of exosolar planets, they conclude that some Earth-like candidates, including "garnet planets" may not be as habitable as once thought.

.. Continue Reading Earth-like planets may not be very Earth-like

Category: Space

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Exoplanet

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DARPA's TUNA program completes first phase



If truth is the first casualty of war, then communications come a close second. To keep the US Navy and allied fleets operating when data systems are disrupted, DARPA is conducting its Tactical Undersea Network Architectures (TUNA) program, which has completed its first phase of development. The tactical data network uses a system of rapidly-deployable buoys and advanced fiber optic technology to temporarily reestablish data networks at sea, that may have been destroyed due to enemy action or other forces.

.. Continue Reading DARPA's TUNA program completes first phase

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DARPA

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Friday, 6 January 2017

Britain approves funding to develop laser weapon



Following in the US military's footsteps, Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a £30 million contract to the UK Dragonfire consortium to build a Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) Capability Demonstrator. The prototype laser, which is scheduled for completion in 2019, will be used to assess the practicality and effectiveness of laser weapon technologies in the field.

.. Continue Reading Britain approves funding to develop laser weapon

Category: Military

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U.K. Ministry of Defence
Laser weapon

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New radiation-tracking wearable gives you something else to worry about



To some people, the fact that radiation is an odorless, tasteless, intangible, and invisible potential hazard is alarming. To help reassure this market, Dosime is being released by the company of the same name. This personal radiation dosimeter aimed at the consumer market works with a digital app to display "accurate, reliable and easy-to-understand" information about personal radiation exposure because, you know, worrying about our step counts, resting heart rates and blood pressure thanks to wearables just isn't enough.

.. Continue Reading New radiation-tracking wearable gives you something else to worry about

Category: Wearables

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Robot installs new batteries on space station



While people back on Earth were celebrating New Year's Eve, a robot aboard the International Space Station (ISS) got on with the job of upgrading the station's solar power system. Under ground control, the Canadian-built Dextre Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator robot moved on the outside of the orbiting space station, where it started swapping out old batteries dating from 1998 with new lithium-ion versions without the aid of spacewalking astronauts.

.. Continue Reading Robot installs new batteries on space station

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Aermacchi M-345HET jet trainer makes maiden flight



Italian aerospace company Leonardo recently announced that its Aermacchi M-345 High Efficiency Trainer (HET) has completed its maiden flight. On December 29, the prototype tandem-seat basic jet trainer took to the skies over the Venegono Superiore airfield in Varese, Italy, under the command of test pilots Quirino Bucci and Giacomo Iannelli. According to the company, the 30-minute flight went off without incident.

.. Continue Reading Aermacchi M-345HET jet trainer makes maiden flight

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Boeing T-X jet fighter trainer makes maiden flight



Boeing's T-X single-engine fighter trainer airplane took to the skies for the first time today on a 55-minute flight. The fifth generation trainer being developed in partnership with Swedish defense contractor Saab was flown by Test Pilot Steven Schmidt and Chief Pilot for Air Force Programs Dan Draeger as an initial demonstration of the airworthiness of key systems.

.. Continue Reading Boeing T-X jet fighter trainer makes maiden flight

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ESA Mars orbiter prepares for atmosphere plunge



While many people are taking it easy for the holiday season, ESA is gearing up for a very busy New Year. On January 19, the space agency will begin an unprecedented and complicated year-long maneuver to radically alter the orbit of the ExoMars 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter around Mars using the Red Planet's atmosphere as a giant brake.

.. Continue Reading ESA Mars orbiter prepares for atmosphere plunge

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Maiden flight for Gulfstream G600 business jet



Gulfstream Aerospace's long-cabin, twin-engine G600 business jet has taken to the air for the first time, kicking off its flight-test program. According to Gulfstream, the test flight went off without a hitch with test pilots Scott Martin and Todd Abler at the controls supported by Flight Test engineer Nathaniel Rutland. It took off on December 17 at 1:50 pm EST from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, Georgia and was in the air for two hours and 53 minutes.

.. Continue Reading Maiden flight for Gulfstream G600 business jet

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ExoMars 2020 rover mission gets green light



ESA and Thales Alenia Space have signed a contract that puts the ExoMars 2020 mission on track to place a rover on the Red Planet. Scheduled to launch in 2020, the signing of a contract authorizes the final development, construction, and testing of the European components of the lander/rover, including the parachute, radar, inertial measurement unit, UHF radio elements, and the computer and software.

.. Continue Reading ExoMars 2020 rover mission gets green light

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First production-configuration Scorpion takes to the skies



The first production conforming version of the Textron AirLand Scorpion light reconnaissance/strike/training aircraft has made a successful maiden flight at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas. Experimental test pilots Don Parker and Dave Sitz carried out a series of tests on the multi-mission, twin-seater, twin-engine jet during the one hour and 42 minute flight to verify the avionics and flight performance of the aircraft as well as other flight systems.

.. Continue Reading First production-configuration Scorpion takes to the skies

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DARPA's ALIAS aircraft automation program spreads its wings



The age of widespread autonomous flight came another step closer as DARPA announced its Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) has completed Phase 2 of its development program. The drop-in, removable kit designed to convert conventional aircraft into advanced automated vehicles requiring fewer crew was installed in two different Cessna 208 Caravan fixed-wing aircraft, a Diamond DA-42 fixed-wing aircraft, and a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter.

.. Continue Reading DARPA's ALIAS aircraft automation program spreads its wings

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Samsung VR7000 robot vacuum takes orders via Amazon Echo



Samsung Electronics will be debuting its latest Powerbot vacuum cleaner, the VR7000, at CES next week. The VR7000 is not only 28 percent slimmer than previous Samsung robotic vacuums, but can be operated by voice commands using Amazon's Echo smart speaker.

.. Continue Reading Samsung VR7000 robot vacuum takes orders via Amazon Echo

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What goes up: The year in space, 2016



2016 was a busy year in space with new Mars missions launched, a NASA probe saying hello to Jupiter, and the most ambitious comet exploration mission drawing to a close. It was a year when NASA geared up for the return of astronauts to deep space, and technological milestones reached in new launch vehicles followed by frustrating setbacks. And it was the year when we said goodbye to the last of the Mercury Seven astronauts. So join us as we look back on the highlights of the year in space, 2016.

.. Continue Reading What goes up: The year in space, 2016

Category: Space

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New frontiers: The year ahead in space



2016 was a busy year in space and 2017 looks like things aren't going to slow down. It's a year that will see new US space priorities, a dramatic ending to a veteran space probe, new missions launched, an orbital cliff hanger, and a free space spectacle for free if you happen to be in the US in August. New Atlas looks at the highlights of the coming year in space.

.. Continue Reading New frontiers: The year ahead in space

Category: Space

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SpaceX Falcon 9 cleared for flight after investigation



After four months of intensive investigation, SpaceX says that its Falcon 9 booster has been cleared for flight and will return to service on January 8. The reusable booster was grounded after a catastrophic launch pad explosion during a fueling operation on September 1, 2016 at Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. According to the company, the cause of the accident has been identified and steps have been taken to prevent its recurrence.

.. Continue Reading SpaceX Falcon 9 cleared for flight after investigation

Category: Space

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Monday, 19 December 2016

Gatebox reimagines Amazon Alexa as fawning anime girlfriend



While artificial intelligence-based smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home may be grabbing the headlines, Tokyo-based Vinclu's Gatebox is looking to set itself apart with a virtual assistant who isn't just a disembodied voice, but takes the holographic form of a tiny anime girl who seems a bit too eager to please. The device was first announced back in January, but Vinclu is now taking limited pre-orders for those interested in a virtual personal assistant that also doubles as a surrogate girlfriend.

.. Continue Reading Gatebox reimagines Amazon Alexa as fawning anime girlfriend

Category: Around The Home

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Saturday, 17 December 2016

Ice found in the eternally dark craters at Ceres' poles



NASA's Dawn deep-space probe has discovered ice inside the eternally shadowed craters of the polar regions of the dwarf planet Ceres. Discovered using onboard cameras built by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS), the water ice survives in the crater interiors thanks to the extreme cold there.

.. Continue Reading Ice found in the eternally dark craters at Ceres' poles

Category: Space

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Latest Northop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye makes maiden flight



Northrop Grumman's newest version of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye has made its maiden flight. The latest iteration of the carrier-borne turboprop airborne early warning aircraft – designed for the US Navy starting in the late 1950s – the new Hawkeye now has the ability to refuel in the air from a tanker aircraft. This allows it to remain on station longer and operate at longer range.

.. Continue Reading Latest Northop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye makes maiden flight

Category: Aircraft

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Friday, 16 December 2016

Sideways launch for microsatellites set to study heart of hurricanes



NASA launched a new class of hurricane monitoring microsatellites today – and did it sideways. At 8:37 am EST Dec. 15, a modified Orbital ATK L-1011 Stargazer aircraft dropped a Pegasus XL rocket from an altitude of 39,000 ft (11.900 m) over the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast of Florida as part of NASA's Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission. The three-stage booster then fired its engines in midair before soaring into orbit with its payload of eight microsatellites designed to monitor hurricanes with a new generation of remote sensors.

.. Continue Reading Sideways launch for microsatellites set to study heart of hurricanes

Category: Space

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Orbital Sciences Corporation
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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Autonomous, unmanned swarmboats secure harbor approaches for US Navy



The US Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) recently showed off the progress it's making in the area of robotic warfare with a demonstration of how autonomous swarmboats can patrol and secure harbor approaches. The swarm of rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB) equipped with the latest version of the agency's Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command and Sensing (CARACaS) technology patrolled the reaches of lower Chesapeake Bay, Virginia with only remote human supervision as they coordinated actions to intercept and evaluate targets on the water.

.. Continue Reading Autonomous, unmanned swarmboats secure harbor approaches for US Navy

Category: Military

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US Marine Corps receives first Amphibious Combat Vehicle I.I prototype



At its York, Pennsylvania facility, BAE Systems has unveiled the first of 16 Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) 1.1 prototypes it is developing for the US Marine Corps. The fully amphibious, ship-launchable and ship-recoverable 8x8 wheeled armored troop carrier is being developed under a US$103.7 million contract for the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development phase of the ACV 1.1 program.

.. Continue Reading US Marine Corps receives first Amphibious Combat Vehicle I.I prototype

Category: Military

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ACTUV unmanned sub-hunter begins operational trials



Main contractor Leidos has announced that it is starting operational trials of the robotic sub-hunter it's building for DARPA. The Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) will take to the seas off the coast of San Diego, California in the coming months for tests of the unmanned ship's sensors, mission control hardware and software, and the autonomy system.

.. Continue Reading ACTUV unmanned sub-hunter begins operational trials

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First manned flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft postponed until 2018



SpaceX has suffered another setback with the first manned flight of its Crew Dragon spacecraft being delayed until 2018. According to NASA, the SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 will not fly until May 2018 instead of in the second quarter of 2017 as previously planned. Though no reason was given for the postponement, it's likely related to the ongoing investigation of the September 1 launchpad explosion of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket during fueling operations.

.. Continue Reading First manned flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft postponed until 2018

Category: Space

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Dragon
SpaceX

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