Tuesday, 30 April 2013

IBM developing robot assistance for technicians

If you've ever tried typing while talking to technical support with the phone crammed between ear and shoulder, then you know the meaning of frustration. Now imagine doing that upside down inside an airplane wing while juggling wires, crimps and a schematic printout. For some field engineers, that sort of thing is an everyday occurrence, so IBM in collaboration with the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in the UK is developing a mobile maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) prototype robot. It's a combination of a smartphone app and a camera/projector mounted on a robot arm, that allows supervisors and experts to have a more active presence on the job... Continue Reading IBM developing robot assistance for technicians

Section: Robotics

Tags: IBM, Remote Presence, Robots, Telepresence, University of Sheffield

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CERN recreating the world's first website

To old fogeys like me, it seems like only yesterday that the coolest way to go online was to dial up the AP wire service bulletin board on a 300-baud modem, but it was actually two decades ago that the web as we know it burst onto our world. On Tuesday, it was 20 years ago that the World Wide Web went public, when CERN made the technology behind it available on a royalty-free basis. To mark the occasion, the organization announced that it is recreating the world's very first website for posterity. .. Continue Reading CERN recreating the world's first website

Section: Computers

Tags: CERN, History, Internet

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Saturday, 20 April 2013

Honda "Concept M" MPV heads for the Chinese market

Honda is determined to secure a slice of the growing Chinese motoring market with no less than three concept vehicles set to go into production in the near future. While details are scant, the company showcased its “Concept M” Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) that is due to go on sale in China starting next year at Auto Shanghai 2013... Continue Reading Honda "Concept M" MPV heads for the Chinese market

Section: Automotive

Tags: Car, Concept Cars, Honda, Shanghai Auto Show 2013

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Alpha Dominche's Steampunk gives baristas total control

With baristas able to draw masterpieces in a macchiato, the days when going out for a coffee meant a cup of something scorched in an urn seem long gone. Unfortunately, if your tastes run more toward brewed coffee rather than a double decaf or skinny latte, you’re still likely to be pointed to a vacuum-flask at the end of the counter. Alpha Dominche’s Steampunk Coffee and Tea Brewer aims to redress the balance of power by asking the espresso machine to make room for a computerized coffee maker that gives baristas the power to replicate a wide variety of brewing methods... Continue Reading Alpha Dominche's Steampunk gives baristas total control

Section: Good Thinking

Tags: Alpha Dominche, Coffee, Modular

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Friday, 19 April 2013

Touch Bionics introduces app-controlled prosthetic hand

Whichever marketing genius came up with the Apple catchphrase, "There's an app for that," has a lot to answer for – or brag about. It's heard so often these days that it’s become a cliché. Touch Bionic’s i-limb ultra revolution robotic artificial hand gives yet another reason to repeat the phrase. It’s linked to a smartphone app, which allows for greater control of the hand, including the ability to program it for the wearer’s personal needs... Continue ReadingTouch Bionics introduces app-controlled prosthetic hand

Section: Medical

Tags: Apps, Bionic, Bluetooth, Hand, Prosthesis, Prosthetics, Robotic

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DARPA developing personal LWIR cameras to give soldiers heat vision

With their ability to pick out humans by their heat signatures, long-wave infrared (LWIR) thermal imaging cameras are a valuable asset for soldiers – and alien predators. Unfortunately, non-alien built ones are expensive and so large that they need to be mounted on vehicles. In an effort to make a LWIR camera cheap and small enough for an individual soldier to carry, DARPA is working on a five-micron camera that offers a reduced size without sacrificing performance... Continue Reading DARPA developing personal LWIR cameras to give soldiers heat vision

Section: Digital Cameras

Tags: Cameras, DARPA, Infrared, Prototype, Thermal Imaging

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Thursday, 18 April 2013

Kepler discovers smallest habitable-zone Earth-like planets to date

NASA has announced that the Kepler space probe has discovered two planetary systems that include the smallest planets yet found that lie in the "habitable zone." The systems include three super-Earth size planets, with one of them being a habitable-zone exoplanet that is the closest in size to Earth yet discovered. .. Continue Reading Kepler discovers smallest habitable-zone Earth-like planet to date

Section: Space

Tags: Exoplanet, Habitable zone, Kepler Mission, NASA, Spacecraft, Super-Earth

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Hybrid solar system boosts natural gas powerplant efficiency by 20 percent

Solar power holds the promise of clean, limitless energy, but it currently suffers from high costs and an inherent disadvantage of not working when the sun isn't shining. The Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is taking a best-of-both-worlds approach by developing a hybrid solar/gas system that increases the efficiency and reduces the carbon footprint of natural gas power plants. .. Continue Reading Hybrid solar system boosts natural gas powerplant efficiency by 20 percent

Section: Science

Tags: Alternative Energy, Energy, PNNL, Solar Powered, Sunlight

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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Proba-3 mission will call on satellites to fly in sub-millimeter precision

The European Space Agency (ESA) wants to bring the sort of precision normally associated with Swiss watch making to satellite navigation. When it launches in 2017, ESA’s Proba-3 mission will incorporate the first satellite pair capable of flying in formation to within a tolerance of a millimeter to one another. It's part of a demonstration technology that could one day be used to build space telescopes using formation-flying satellites as a “rigid structure” that would be impossibly large to achieve in a single spacecraft... Continue Reading Proba-3 mission will call on satellites to fly in sub-millimeter precision

World's largest optical telescope gets construction approval

The world’s largest optical telescope got the go ahead last Friday when the Hawaiian Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) granted a building and operating permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) to be sited on a plateau of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii. The next-generation telescope, which uses a 30-meter (98 ft) segmented mirror promises to capture images from the near-ultraviolet to the mid-infrared wavelengths with unprecedented clarity. .. Continue Reading World's largest optical telescope gets construction approval

Section: Science

Tags: Astronomy, Telescope

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Monday, 15 April 2013

Scientists bioengineer functional, transplantable rat kidneys

About 100,000 people in the United States alone are on the list to receive a kidney transplant and 400,000 are kept alive by kidney dialysis machines. Unfortunately, there are only 18,000 kidneys available each year in the U.S. and those lucky enough to receive one face a lifetime of immunosuppressant drugs. To increase the supply and remove the risk of tissue rejection, a team of researchers led by Harald Ott of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine has built an experimental bioengineered kidney that not only produces urine, but has been successfully transplanted into a rat... Continue Reading Scientists bioengineer functional, transplantable rat kidneys

Section: Medical

Tags: kidney, Massachusetts General Hospital, Stem Cells

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Saturday, 13 April 2013

Time Traveler watch uses landmarks to tell the time

World-time functions have been available on digital watches at the press of a stud for over 30 years, but for world weary travelers touching down in a new time zone sometimes even that might be too much effort. To fill this admittedly niche market, Mr. Jones Watches has come up with its Time Traveler watch, which allows you to see at a glance what time it is in 16 different time zones – provided you’re good at recognizing landmarks. .. Continue Reading Time Traveler watch uses landmarks to tell the time

Section: Wearable Electronics

Tags: Time, Travel, Watches

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Russian space enthusiasts may have found lost Soviet Mars lander

Russian space enthusiasts have pinpointed the resting place of what is believed to be the Soviet lander, Mars 3, which failed shortly after landing in 1971. Using images returned by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a crowdsourcing effort has found what may be four components of the lander, its parachute and descent module... Continue Reading Russian space enthusiasts may have found lost Soviet Mars lander

Section: Space

Tags: Historic, Mars, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA, Spacecraft

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Friday, 12 April 2013

AirRider hovercraft uses hybrid design

Even though hovercraft have been around for over half a century, they still have an air of the future about them. They’re used in everything from sports to oil exploration, yet they still leave a lot to be desired in terms of ride and stability. Hoverworks of Parry Sound, Ontario hopes to improve matters with its AirRider hovercraft, which uses a hybrid hull and skirt design that combines the best of conventional hovercraft technologies. .. Continue ReadingAirRider hovercraft uses hybrid design

Section: Marine

Tags: Hovercraft, Hybrid, Inflatable, Watercraft

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Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Boeing announces Phantom Phoenix family of small satellites

One problem with satellites is that they’re either one-offs or part of a constellation of a single, costly design. Both can be expensive and neither lends itself to getting a specialized satellite into orbit quickly and on a budget. Boeing’s answer to this is a kit car class of a small satellites called Phantom Phoenix that are relatively easy to customize and economical to launch. .. Continue Reading Boeing announces Phantom Phoenix family of small satellites

Section: Space

Tags: Boeing, Satellite

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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

U.S. Navy to deploy Laser Weapon System on warship

The U.S. Navy took a step farther away from John Paul Jones and closer to James T. Kirk as it announced that a solid-state laser weapon will be deployed on a U.S. Navy ship in fiscal year 2014. The announcement that the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) will deployed on board USS Ponce (AFSB[I] 15) two years ahead of schedule was made on Monday at the Sea-Air-Space exposition, National Harbor, Maryland. The deployment is the latest in a line of recent recent high-energy laser demonstrations carried out by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and Naval Sea Systems Command... Continue Reading U.S. Navy to deploy Laser Weapon System on warship

Section: Military

Tags: Laser, Laser weapon, US Navy

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Margaret Thatcher and soft-serve ice cream

As if restoring Britain's pride, crushing the unions, saving the Falklands and helping defeat Communism wasn't enough.

Researchers developing fusion rocket to slash travel time of Mars missions

Traveling through deep space is a hazardous undertaking and choosing the right engine can mean the difference between a fast, successful mission and a slow one with mounting dangers of radiation sickness, equipment failures and personal conflicts. A team of researchers from the University of Washington (UW) and Redmond, Washington-based MSNW are aiming to expand the options by developing a new fusion drive rocket engine that promises to make possible a manned spacecraft that could reach Mars and return to Earth in months rather than years... Continue Reading Researchers developing fusion rocket to slash travel time of Mars missions

Section: Space

Tags: Fusion, Mars, Prototype, Rocket, Space Travel, University of Washington

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Monday, 8 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher (1925 - 2013)

Her claim as Britain's greatest prime minister is surpassed only by Churchill's.

Sleep well, Ma'am.

MIT researchers study electro-hydrodynamic thrust

Imagine an aircraft that is silent, invisible to infrared detectors, has zero emissions and can hover in an eerie manner that helicopters can’t. Now imagine it coming from technology currently used to suck dust out of living room air. That’s what a team of researchers at MIT are doing. They've conducted a study that indicates that ionic thrusters, currently a science fair curiosity, might one day take to the skies... Continue Reading MIT researchers study electro-hydrodynamic thrust

Section: Aircraft

Tags: Aviation, ion engine, MIT, Research

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Sunday, 7 April 2013

Bracelet uses social network to protect civil rights activists

Fighting for human rights is a noble undertaking, but it’s also extremely dangerous in places where that fight isn't about simply arguing over abstractions. Aware of the very real possibility of campaigners being beaten, kidnapped or murdered, Civil Rights Defenders in Stockholm has launched the Natalia Project. Named after Natalia Estemirova, a human rights activist who was abducted and murdered in Chechnya in 2009, it’s based on an electronic bracelet that sends a pre-programmed text alarm if activated or forcibly removed. .. Continue Reading Bracelet uses social network to protect civil rights activists

Section: Good Thinking

Tags: Alarm, Bracelet, Security

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Friday, 5 April 2013

Boeing completes final certification test of new 787 battery system

On Friday, Boeing completed the final certification test required by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for approval of the company’s lithium-ion battery modifications for the 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The test flight was made using a Boeing-owned production airplane built for LOT Polish Airlines with the company reporting that the test was “straightforward and the flight was uneventful.” .. Continue Reading Boeing completes final certification test of new 787 battery system

Section: Aircraft

Tags: 787, Aircraft, Aviation, Battery, Boeing, Lithium-ion

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2014 Honda Odyssey has a built-in vacuum

If you’re like me and have kids and dogs, then a day out can leave the car looking as if the interior was marched through by a battalion of crisp-munching soldiers. To help deal with this everyday reality and eliminate the need to hunt down a hand vac, Honda has installed a built-in vacuum system into its 2014 Odyssey Touring Elite. Unveiled at the 2013 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), it's the latest iteration of Honda’s eight-passenger van... Continue Reading 2014 Honda Odyssey has a built-in vacuum

Section: Automotive

Tags: Cleaning, Honda, Vacuum, Van

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Thursday, 4 April 2013

Detroit Electric unveils "fastest pure-electric production car on the market"

High-performance electric cars have been around for some years now, but despite the fact that Detroit and the electric car go back a long way, no all-electric supercars have been built in the Motor City. That is, until now. After giving us a bit of a tease last month, Detroit Electric has taken the wraps off its Limited-edition SP.01. According to its maker, the SP.01 is not only the “first pure electric sports car” to come out of Detroit, but it's also reportedly the fastest, and the first to be fully integrated with a smartphone... Continue Reading Detroit Electric unveils "fastest pure-electric production car on the market"

Section: Automotive
Tags: Detroit Electric, Electric Vehicles, World's Fastest

Austria sends manned mission to Mars ... in Morocco

Of all the nations who might get to Mars first, Austria doesn’t loom large. Yet the Austrian Space Forum (OEWF) has sent a manned mission to the Red Planet – or at least, to an Earth-bound version of “Mars” located in the northern Sahara near Erfoud, Morocco. During February OEWF conducted a series of experiments and simulation tests with the aim of gaining a better understanding of how to execute a manned mars mission and develop technology for making it a reality... Continue Reading Austria sends manned mission to Mars ... in Morocco

Section: Space

Tags: Communications, Mars, OeWF, Simulator, Space Travel

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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Parasound CD 1 CD player uses multiple readings to reduce errors

Audio files may seem to have put paid to CDs, but new technology shows that, like vinyl, the format still has a few tricks left in it. CDs do a pretty good job of reproducing music, but for many an audiophile the digital format lacks “warmth” and often suffers from tiny, yet detectable, imperfections that can be as jarring as serving Gordon Ramsay ketchup with lobster. The Parasound CD 1 player strives to eliminate these imperfections by ditching the conventional CD player in favor of a CD-ROM drive that spins CDs at four times normal speed in order to find and eliminate imperfections before they reach the speakers... Continue Reading Parasound CD 1 CD player uses multiple readings to reduce errors

Section: Home Entertainment

Tags: Audio, Audiophile, CD Player, Computer

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Monday, 1 April 2013

ESA develops "snap-proof" space tether

This month, the University of Helsinki and the European Space Agency (ESA) will test a new space tether that has less chance of snapping under the stresses of operating in orbit. Installed aboard Estonia’s ESTCube-1 cubesat, the new tether is scheduled to launched with ESA’s Proba-V satellite atop a Vega rocket as part of an experiment in developing an electric solar sail... Continue Reading ESA develops "snap-proof" space tether

Section: Space

Tags: CubeSat, ESA, Satellite, Solar Sail, Spacecraft, University of Helsinki

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