Thursday, 30 May 2013

Planetary Resources' Arkyd 100 satellite to let public take self-portraits from space

Despite half a century of rushing about the Solar System, the Space Age has been a spectator sport for most of humanity. On Wednesday, at a press conference at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Planetary Resources announced its plans to launch a crowdfunded version of its Arkyd 100 space telescope satellite on Kickstarter that will allow donors to beam back self-portraits from space and even control the telescope... Continue ReadingPlanetary Resources' Arkyd 100 satellite to let public take self-portraits from space

Section: Space

Tags: Kickstarter, Planetary Resources, Satellite, Spacecraft

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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Upgraded Alvin submersible sets sail

You would think that a little sub built almost 50 years ago would be sitting in a museum somewhere, but Deep Submergence Vehicle (DSV) Alvin, which launched in 1964, is still going strong. Owned by the US Navy and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Alvin has completed a major US$41 million redesign and refit. The revamped submersible set sail on Saturday aboard its mothership R/V Atlantis for certification testing off the coast of Oregon and California... Continue Reading Upgraded Alvin submersible sets sail

Section: Marine

Tags: Marine, Submarine, US Navy, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

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Monday, 27 May 2013

Mercedes-Benz plans to use QR codes to save lives

Open a magazine, go to a shop, get handed a business card or look at a flyer and the odds are pretty good these days that you’ll be staring at a QR code. Those boxy little patterns turn any bit of paper into an interactive medium that, with a quick scan of a smartphone, will unleash all sorts of information, but can they save lives? Mercedes-Benz believes that they can and plans to use QR codes on all its future cars to help rescuers reach victims quickly and safely... Continue Reading Mercedes-Benz plans to use QR codes to save lives

Section: Automotive

Tags: Cars, Mercedes-Benz, QR code, Rescue, Safety

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US Army's new portable charger brings power to soldiers in the field

Portable electronic devices have revolutionized warfare, but they've also burdened the soldiers with an increasing number of batteries that adds significantly to their load. To help lighten the load, the US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's communications-electronics center (CERDEC) has developed a military-grade Universal Battery Charger (UBC) to help soldiers in the field keep their electronics powered up... Continue Reading US Army's new portable charger brings power to soldiers in the field

Section: Military

Tags: Batteries, Charger, Soldiers, US Army, wearable electronics

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Saturday, 25 May 2013

CurvACE gives robots a bug's eye view

Robots are getting down to the size of insects, so it seems only natural that they should be getting insect eyes. A consortium of European researchers has developed the artificial Curved Artificial Compound Eye (CurvACE) which reproduces the architecture of the eyes of insects and other arthropods. The aim isn't just to provide machines with an unnerving bug-eyed stare, but to create a new class of sensors that exploit the wide field of vision and motion detecting properties of the compound eye... Continue Reading CurvACE gives robots a bug's eye view

Section: Robotics

Tags: Biomimicry, Cameras, Eye, Insect, Robots

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Friday, 24 May 2013

Prototype BBC radio rewrites scripts on the fly to reflect local conditions

Radio plays can transport listeners to far away exotic settings but the BBC’s prototype Perceptive Radio aims to give listeners a more localized experience. Shown to the public recently at the Thinking Digital Conference in Gateshead, UK, the Perceptive Radio uses local data and onboard sensors to adjust itself and even alter the script of a radio play in real time to reflect local conditions. The goal is to make listening to the radio more like attending live theater... Continue Reading Prototype BBC radio rewrites scripts on the fly to reflect local conditions

Section: Home Entertainment

Tags: Audio, BBC, Interactive, Prototype, Radio

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Thursday, 23 May 2013

US Navy's Triton UAV takes to the skies for the first time

It’s been a busy month for UAVs with some launching from aircraft carriers and otherssaving lives. Now, the US Navy’s latest unmanned Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System, has taken to the skies. This Wednesday, the 47.6-foot (14.5-m) aircraft, powered by a Rolls-Royce AE 3007 turbofan engine, took off from Palmdale, California. It was under the control of Navy and Northrop Grumman personnel, as part of a series of tests to certify the system for fleet operations... Continue Reading US Navy's Triton UAV takes to the skies for the first time

Section: Aircraft

Tags: Northrop Grumman, Reconnaissance, Surveillance, UAV, US Navy

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IBM's Watson gets a job in customer service

IBM’s Watson supercomputer has been riding high for the past couple of years. It won a game of Jeopardy, went to university and did a stint at a cancer lab. But now it’s taking what might seem like a step down with a job in customer service. According to IBM, the current avalanche of information is provoking an oncoming crisis in customer service and the company sees Watson’s advanced learning and data crunching abilities as a solution. .. Continue Reading IBM's Watson gets a job in customer service

Section: Computers

Tags: Artificial Intelligence, IBM, Supercomputer

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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Amazon plans intersecting biospheres for Seattle campus headquarters

If Apple can have a "spaceship," then Amazon can have a biodome. Although the company isn't creating a totally self-contained ecosystem so its employees never have to leave work, documents filed with the Seattle Department of Planning and Development indicate it is planning to build something not too far removed from that at its new campus headquarters in Seattle. .. Continue Reading Amazon plans intersecting biospheres for Seattle campus headquarters

Section: Architecture

Tags: Amazon, Dome, Office

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Jaguar concept art embodies future design language

It may look like the strangest concept vehicle ever, but the new art installation unveiled by Jaguar as part of Clerkenwell Design Week in London is, according to the company, a “vision of Jaguar's future design language.” Created by Royal College of Art (RCA) students in conjunction with Jaguar Advanced Design in Whitley, Coventry, the installation was the winner out of nine entries in the Jaguar Advanced Design competition... Continue Reading Jaguar concept art embodies future design language

Section: Automotive

Tags: Art, Competition, Jaguar, London, Luxury, Royal College of Art, Sports, Vehicle

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Monday, 20 May 2013

Christie's putting 1950s vintage Cygan robot under the hammer

Most modern robots look nothing like those predicted by 1950's era science fiction. But if you’re in the market for a retro-style robot with world-domination-worthy looks you might want to dust off your auction paddle. Christie’s auction house is putting the vintage robot Cygan on the block as part of its Out of the Ordinary sale on September 5. .. Continue Reading Christie's putting 1950s vintage Cygan robot under the hammer

F-35B makes first vertical takeoff

Lockheed Martin has revealed that an F-35B fighter jet made its first vertical takeoff on May 10 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. This follows on the heels of its first verticalnight landing on April 2 at the same location. The vertical takeoff capability is designed for moving the strike fighter over short distances in an emergency when a runway isn't available, but it is not seen as a combat feature due to its heavy use of fuel... Continue Reading F-35B makes first vertical takeoff

Section: Aircraft

Tags: Aircraft, F-35 JSF, Lockheed Martin, Marines

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X-47B makes first touch-and-go landings on carrier

On Friday May 17, the US Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator took another historic step as it conducted its first touch-and-go landings on the nuclear aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush off the coast of Virginia. This maneuver is a critical achievement in the Navy’s program to develop an autonomous, unmanned, jet-powered combat aircraft capable for operating from a carrier... Continue Reading X-47B makes first touch-and-go landings on carrier

Section: Aircraft

Tags: Autonomous, Northrop Grumman, US Navy, X-47B

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Friday, 17 May 2013

NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission goes to development

NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission took a step closer to reality on Wednesday, as the OSIRIS-REx project was cleared for development and testing. Scheduled to launch in 2016, the mission passed a series of detailed project assessments and now goes on to the development phase. The Origins-Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security REgolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) is intended to rendezvous with the asteroid Bennu (1999 RQ36) in 2018, carry out an extensive survey, and return a 2-ounce (60 gm) sample of its surface to Earth in 2023... Continue Reading NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission goes to development

Section: Space

Tags: Asteroid, NASA, OSIRIS REx, Spacecraft

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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Makr Shakr: World’s first crowd-controlled robotic bar makes debut

Robot bartenders aren’t new, but they tend to be more drink vending machine than cool mixologist. To inject a little panache, researchers at the MIT Senseable City Lab in collaboration with Coca-Cola and Bacardi Rum have developed Makr Shakr – a robot drink-mixing system that made its debut at the Google I/O annual developer conference in San Francisco on Wednesday as the world’s first crowd-controlled robotic bar... Continue Reading Makr Shakr: World’s first crowd-controlled robotic bar makes debut

Section: Robotics

Tags: Alcohol, Drinking, Google I/O, MIT, Robots

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Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Planned Vikings Stadium will have world's largest transparent roof

The Minnesota Vikings American football team has announced the final design for a new stadium to built in the Minneapolis city center that will feature the world’s largest transparent roof. This feat will be achieved using state-of-the-art polymer instead of glass to resist the extremes of Minnesota’s climate, while providing views of the city skyline and a sense of openness for fans and players alike... Continue Reading Planned Vikings Stadium will have world's largest transparent roof

Section: Architecture

Tags: Polymer, Sports, Stadium, World, World's Largest

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X-47B makes historic carrier launching

Naval aviation history was made today, as an autonomous unmanned aircraft took off from a US Navy nuclear aircraft carrier in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia. The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator (UCAS-D) took to the air from the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) and is part of a program to develop carrier-based unmanned combat aircraft capable of carrying out missions according to pre-programmed instructions rather than being under constant control by a ground-based pilot... Continue Reading X-47B makes historic carrier launching 

Panasonic to distribute 100,000 solar lantern/chargers to the developing world

We live in an age where people in the developed world are so dependent on electricity that if it wasn't available a whole civilization would collapse in a week. It’s therefore ironic that 1.32 billion people around the world are still without what most people have come to see as a basic necessity. To mark its 100th anniversary, the Panasonic Corporation plans to distribute 100,000 solar lanterns that the company has developed that can not only provide light, but also charge mobile phones and other small devices... Continue Reading Panasonic to distribute 100,000 solar lantern/chargers to the developing world

Section: Good Thinking

Tags: Electricity, Lamp, Lighting, Mobile Phones, Panasonic, Solar Powered

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Monday, 13 May 2013

Sony's dives in with smaller, more waterproof Xperia ZR

In the unpleasantness stakes, dropping your smartphone in a bucket or water is right up there with bread landing butter-side down – only much more expensive. Sony has unveiled its Xperia ZR that, if it lives up to expectations, will mean you’ll not only be able to drop it in the pond, but take high-definition videos while doing so... Continue Reading Sony's dives in with smaller, more waterproof Xperia ZR

Section: Mobile Technology

Tags: smartphone, Sony, Waterproof, Xperia

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Sunday, 12 May 2013

Abu Dhabi International Airport lets travelers rest up in cocoon-like GoSleep pods

If you’re a claustrophobic insomniac, the GoSleep sleeping pods probably won’t be of much interest to you, but for international travelers fighting with jet lag and tight schedules, being able to rent a private place to kip for an hour can be godsend. Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) announced last week that it has installed ten of the Finnish-designed GoSleep pods at Abu Dhabi International Airport to provide passengers with individual sleeping quarters while waiting for flights. .. Continue Reading Abu Dhabi International Airport lets travelers rest up in cocoon-like GoSleep pods

Section: Good Thinking

Tags: Abu Dhabi, Airports, Sleep, Travel

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Northrop Grumman completes commercial lunar lander study

There are so many private space ventures under development these days that it seems like you need a scorecard to keep track of them all. This week, Northrop Grumman Corporation announced that it has completed a feasibility study on a new lunar lander for the Golden Spike Company as part of a plan to send to people to the Moon within ten years at a cost of US$750 million per person... Continue Reading Northrop Grumman completes commercial lunar lander study

Section: Space

Tags: Golden Spike, Lunar Lander, Moon, Northrop Grumman

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Friday, 10 May 2013

Eidos allows users to tune their senses

They may look somewhat bulky and a bit like someone wandered out of an avant garde theater, but a pair of concept pieces developed by students and the Royal College of Arts in London allow wearers to fine tune their senses of sight and hearing. Called “Eidos,” from the Greek for "form," "essence," "type," or "species," the system uses sensors and computer processing to select sensory input and alter it for applications in sport, the arts and medicine... Continue Reading Eidos allows users to tune their senses

Section: Wearable Electronics

Tags: Audio, Bone Conduction, Royal College of Art, Sensory, Video

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Thursday, 9 May 2013

Solar Socket

The bull*** factor on this thing is phenomenal.  Never mind how it's supposed to work through a window or how it works if you're not facing dead south, just how much electricity are you supposed to suck up with a five-inch photovoltaic panel and a tiny battery to justify a plug that size?

I suppose that maths is something that happens to other people.

LROD system helps robots to discover objects for themselves

One of the major anticipated applications for robots is in care for the elderly and helping them with daily tasks. This means that robots have got to adapt to human lifestyles, not the other way around, because granny can’t be expected to program the robot or rearrange her house to suit the machine’s limitations. The Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute’s Lifelong Robotic Object Discovery (LROD) project aims to address this by developing ways to use visual and non-visual data to help robots to identify and pick up objects so they can work in a normal human environment without supervision... Continue Reading LROD system helps robots to discover objects for themselves

Section: Robotics

Tags: Carnegie Mellon, Research, Robotics, Robots

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Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Armstrong’s “one small step” EKG among aerospace treasures up for auction

Some of the most desirable items for collectors are those with historical significance that tell a story. RR Auction has a whole raft of such items set to go under the hammer as it hosts a major sale of space and aviation memorabilia from the past century. Each one is a bit of history and each one tells a story, but since we can’t go through over 800 stories, we’ll look at ten of the standout items from the height of the Space Age that you can buy – if your pockets are deep enough... Continue Reading Armstrong’s “one small step” EKG among aerospace treasures up for auction

X-47B makes first carrier-style arrester landing

The robot takeover came a step closer as Northrop Grumman and the US Navy carried out a successful carrier-style landing of the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator. The test, which was carried out on Saturday at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, used a land-based version of an aircraft carrier cable-arrested landing system as the beginning of the final phase of testing prior to carrier-based trials planned for later this month... Continue Reading X-47B makes first carrier-style arrester landing

Section: Aircraft

Tags: Aircraft, Northrop Grumman, Unmanned, US Navy, X-47B

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Breitling Emergency II watch doubles as a satellite emergency beacon

Emergency beacons are great insurance for aviators and sailors, but they aren't worth much if a disaster leaves you in one place and the beacon in another. Just to be safe, you might as well strap the beacon to your wrist, which is what the Breitling Emergency II does. The Swiss-made wrist chronograph watch provides those who travel in remote, risky places with a dual-channel emergency satellite transmitter that activates with a twist and a yank... Continue Reading Breitling Emergency II watch doubles as a satellite emergency beacon

Section: Wearable Electronics

Tags: Breitling, Emergency, Satellite, Watches

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Arzum Firrin takes a sideways approach to toasting bread

If you find the toast popping up in the morning too much to handle, then the Arzum Firrin toaster may be more your speed. Winner of the 2012 Design Turkey award, the Firrin forgoes alarming pop-out mechanisms for a more sedate sliding tray that is not only easier on the nerves, but also allows the toaster to handle a wide variety of rolls, bagels and other doughy products... Continue Reading Arzum Firrin takes a sideways approach to toasting bread

Section: Around The Home

Tags: Cooking, Kitchen, Toaster, Turkey

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Would you wear a shirt for 100 days without washing it?

A good wool shirt is awesome, but would you wear one for 100 days straight without washing it? Kickstarter startup Wool & Prince claims that you can do exactly that with its buttondown shirts, which it handed out to 15 “wear testers” who wore them while engaging in such activities as backpacking in the Andes and dancing in "Tropical" NYC clubs. According to the makers, the shirts not only proved durable, but still looked – and smelled – fresh after over three months of straight wear... Continue Reading Would you wear a shirt for 100 days without washing it?

Section: Good Thinking

Tags: Clothing, Kickstarter, Shirt, Wool

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Smartphone satellites beam down pictures from space

When most people send images from their smartphones, they tend to be of what the photographer is having for dinner or someone doing something very silly in the pub [or cats – Ed]. NASA has raised the bar for phone snaps out of the atmosphere by using smartphones installed in "nanosatellites" in low Earth orbit to send back images of the Earth. The three satellites, called Alexander, Graham and Bell, flew in space between April 21 and 27 as part of a mission to show how satellites could be built cheaper using off-the-shelf components... Continue Reading Smartphone satellites beam down pictures from space

Section: Space

Tags: NASA, Photography, Smartphones, Spacecraft

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Waverider makes hypersonic history

It was fourth time lucky for Boeing’s X-51A Waverider, as it blasted into the history books on Monday. The fourth test of the hypersonic drone achieved the longest scramjet-powered hypersonic flight yet, hitting a top speed of Mach 5.1. Dropped from a B-52H bomber out of Edwards Air Force Base in California, the unmanned craft flew at top speed for three and a half minutes before it made a controlled dive into the Pacific Ocean after six minutes of flight... Continue Reading Waverider makes hypersonic history

Section: Aircraft

Tags: Aircraft, Boeing, Hypersonic, Research

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NASA wants public to send haikus to Mars

Haikus to Mars may sound like the title of a 1950s sci-fi B movie, but that’s what NASA is asking for. The space agency is inviting the public to submit haikus to be recorded on a DVD that will be carried by the unmanned Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft, which is scheduled to launch in November. .. Continue Reading NASA wants public to send haikus to Mars

Section: Space

Tags: Art, Mars, MAVEN, NASA, Spacecraft, Writing

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Ford's eWheelDrive has designs on the urban car of the future

It's predicted that by the year 2050 there will be 9.3 billion people on Earth and 6.4 billion of them will be living in cities. There could also be four times as many cars on the roads as today, leading to an incredible degree of urban congestion and gridlock. That’s the impetus behind Ford and technology partner Schaeffler’s eWheelDrive electric research car, that moves the motor to the wheel hubs... Continue Reading Ford's eWheelDrive has designs on the urban car of the future

Section: Automotive

Tags: Automotive, Cars, Electric Vehicles, Ford, Schaeffler

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IBM creates world's smallest movie using individual atoms

Anyone who’s tried their hand at stop animation will know it’s an incredibly time consuming and delicate job. But spare a thought for scientists at IBM Almaden in California who have produced the world’s smallest stop animation movie by using a scanning tunneling microscope to move individual atoms. Rather than competing with Aardman or Pixar for a slice of the international box office, the film is intended to make the public aware of new technology that could increase computer memories far beyond what is possible today... Continue Reading IBM creates world's smallest movie using individual atoms

Section: Science

Tags: Animation, Atoms, Data Storage, IBM, Movies, World's Smallest

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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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Northrop Grumman's CUTLASS UGV ready to tackle hazardous situations

The arrest of one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects was carried out, in part, with the help of a remote controlled robot.