Saturday, 29 June 2013

Beyond military drones – the future of unmanned flight


In April of this year, a BAE Systems Jetstream research aircraft flew from Preston in Lancashire, England, to Inverness, Scotland and back. This 500-mile (805 km) journey wouldn't be worth noting if it weren't for the small detail that its pilot was not on board, but sitting on the ground in Warton, Lancashire and that the plane did most of the flying itself. Even this alteration of a standard commercial prop plane into an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) seems a back page item until you realize that this may herald the biggest revolution in civil aviation since Wilbur Wright won the coin toss at Kitty Hawk in 1903... Continue Reading Beyond military drones – the future of unmanned flight

Section: Aircraft

Tags: Aircraft, Astraea, Autonomous, Aviation, BAE Systems, Drone, Surveillance, UAV,Unmanned

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Friday, 28 June 2013

Drayson Racing sets world electric land speed record


The old world electric land speed record was shattered on Tuesday when the Drayson B12 69/EV electric Le-Mans Prototype hit 204.185 mph (328.603 km/h) on a racetrack at RAF Elvington in Yorkshire, UK. Driven by former science minister and Drayson Racing chief executive Lord Drayson, the converted Lola LMP1 Le Mans racer easily ticked past the previous record of 175 mph (281.6 km/h) set in 1974 by Battery Box Electric in the US. .. Continue Reading Drayson Racing sets world electric land speed record

Section: Automotive

Tags: Drayson Racing, Electric Vehicle Racing, Record-breaking, World's Fastest

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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

NASA's NEXT ion thruster runs five and a half years nonstop to set new record


On Monday, NASA announced that its advanced ion propulsion engine operated for 48,000 hours, or five and a half years – and that’s without stops for fuel or coffee. Developed under NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) project, the engine now holds the record for the longest test duration of any type of space propulsion system... Continue Reading NASA's NEXT ion thruster runs five and a half years nonstop to set new record

Section: Space

Tags: ion engine, NASA, Spacecraft, World Records

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Robot astronaut Kirobo headed for ISS in August


In what may not be the most historic event in space exploration, but may be the cutest, Toyota has announced that the Kibo Robot Project’s “robot astronaut” Kirobo will be sent to the International Space Station on August 4. Unlike its human counterparts, the 13.4-in (34 cm) tall humanoid robot will travel aboard an unmanned Kounotori 4 cargo spacecraft launched from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Tanegashima Space Center atop a H-IIB rocket. Once at the ISS, Kirobo is scheduled to conduct the first-ever robot-human conversation experiments in December... Continue Reading Robot astronaut Kirobo headed for ISS in August

Section: Space

Tags: International Space Station, Japan, JAXA, Robots, Toyota

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Monday, 24 June 2013

Mining the heavens: In conversation with Planetary Resources' Chief Engineer


It wasn't long ago that asteroid mining was only found in the pages of science fiction. Now, with increasing interest in the commercial exploitation of space, companies are springing up to turn asteroids from things that Bruce Willis blows up, into raw materials for future travellers and colonists. One such firm is Planetary Resources, which is currently winding up a KickStarter campaign aimed at raising public awareness about asteroid mining by offering the public access to a space telescope. Gizmag visits the company’s Bellevue, Washington headquarters and talks to the President and Chief Engineer, Chris Lewicki... Continue Reading Mining the heavens: In conversation with Planetary Resources' Chief Engineer

Section: Space

Tags: Asteroid Mining, Interview, Kickstarter, Planetary Resources

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Sunday, 23 June 2013

UC Davis investigates using helicopter drones for crop dusting


Researchers at University of California are testing UAV crop dusting on the Oakville Experimental Vineyard at the UC Oakville Station using a Yamaha RMax remote-controlled helicopter. The purpose is to study the adaptation of Japanese UAV crop dusting techniques for US agriculture, but not all the hurdles they face are technological. .. Continue Reading UC Davis investigates using helicopter drones for crop dusting

Section: Aircraft

Tags: Agriculture, Drone, RMax, UAV, University of California

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Friday, 21 June 2013

Airbus A350 XWB makes surprise visit to Paris Air Show



There was a surprise appearance at the Paris Air Show on Friday as the first prototype Airbus A350 XWB airliner did a flypast of the crowds at Le Bourget Airport. The flypast was part of what was the aircraft’s third time in the air and was a last minute bonus appearance due to it performing much better than expected on its previous two test flights... Continue Reading Airbus A350 XWB makes surprise visit to Paris Air Show

Section: Aircraft

Tags: A350, Airbus, Aircraft, Aviation, Paris Air Show 2013, Prototype

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Thursday, 20 June 2013

Curiosity's panorama of Mars is worth a billion pixels



On Wednesday, NASA unveiled a rather large postcard sent back from Mars by the Curiosity rover. It’s in the form a panoramic image packing more than one billion pixels that was stitched together from 896 images. NASA sees the gigapixel image as a way for “armchair explorers” to take a close-up look at the Red Planet by means of an interactive webpage. .. Continue Reading Curiosity's panorama of Mars is worth a billion pixels

Section: Space

Tags: Curiosity Rover, Image, JPL, Mars, Mars Science Laboratory, NASA, Panorama,Photo

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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Scientists propose using gravity microlensing to keep Kepler in the hunt


Last month, NASA declared its Kepler mission to hunt exoplanets at an end when one of the space telescope’s reaction wheels failed. Unable to keep itself pointed in the right direction, it could no longer carry on its hunt for planets beyond the Solar System. That seemed like the end of things, but Keith Horne of the University of St Andrews and Andrew Gould of Ohio State University disagree. They claim that Kepler could still hunt for exoplanets using gravity microlensing to detect how stars with planets distort space... Continue Reading Scientists propose using gravity microlensing to keep Kepler in the hunt

Section: Space

Tags: Exoplanet, Kepler Mission, NASA, Ohio State University, Space telescope, St Andrews University, Water

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Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Herschel farewelled with shot into solar orbit



On Monday at 12:25 GMT, the European Space Agency (ESA) executed final shutdown on the Herschel space telescope after shooting it into solar orbit. This shutdown marks the end of Herschel’s successful four-year mission of deep space observation, which was terminatedwhen it ran out of liquid helium in April. Without liquid helium to cool its super-sensitive infrared instrument, Herschel was unable to continue its mission, but it was otherwise fully functional, so ESA took the opportunity to use the probe to carry out technical tests that couldn't be done earlier. .. Continue Reading Herschel farewelled with shot into solar orbit

Section: Space

Tags: ESA, Space telescope, Spacecraft

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Twist-off cork shifts the wine paradigm



What could be nicer than a picnic in a pleasant country field, a rotisserie chicken, a loaf of oven-hot bread and a nice bottle of wine? That is, provided you don't forget the corkscrew. This week, Amorim, the world’s largest manufacturer of cork stoppers, and O-I, the world's largest glass container manufacturer, made this nightmare scenario a little less likely by unveiling their Helix cork and bottle that are designed so that the cork can be removed with a simple twist of the wrist... Continue Reading Twist-off cork shifts the wine paradigm

Section: Good Thinking

Tags: Bottles, Drinking, Packaging, Sustainability, Wine

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Tantrum puts 168 new twists on the electric screwdriver



One of the most frustrating parts of DIY projects is when a screw is at just the wrong angle for the screwdriver to reach. It’s even worse when an electric screwdriver with all its bulk is involved. To make things a bit easier, former University of Washington robotics student Joel Townsan of Bellingham, Washington came up with the Flipout Tantrum, an articulated electric screwdriver designed to work in very tight spaces. .. Continue Reading Tantrum puts 168 new twists on the electric screwdriver

Section: Good Thinking

Tags: DIY, Kickstarter, Prototype, Tools

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Monday, 17 June 2013

DARPA developing digital airstrikes



The popular image of modern warfare is the digital battlefield where cyber soldiers have Terminator-like video displays and can call in an airstrike with the shine of a laser beam. While information technologies are revolutionizing the military, when it comes to calling in Close Air Support (CAS), it’s still World War One – where a misread or misheard grid reference can end up with soldiers being hit by their own artillery. DARPA’s Persistent Close Air Support (PCAS) program hopes to improve this... Continue Reading DARPA developing digital airstrikes




Section: Military




Tags: Battlefield, Communications, DARPA, GPS




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Sunday, 16 June 2013

Cruise terminal replaces Hong Kong's legendary Kai Tak Airport



Flying into Hong Kong was once an aerial adventure as gigantic passenger planes made alarmingly steep descents over the harbor and then low over crowded high rises to runway 13. Those adrenalin-filled landings ended when the new Hong Kong International Airport to the west opened in 1998, however, the site of those dramatic flights has now been repurposed as the new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. It was formally opened on June 12 as the Commissioner for Tourism, Mr Philip Yung, welcomed the inaugural berthing of the cruise ship Mariner of the Seas... Continue Reading Cruise terminal replaces Hong Kong's legendary Kai Tak Airport

Section: Architecture

Tags: Building and Construction, Cruise, Hong Kong, Ships, Tourism

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Robots take a pounding for Ford test drivers



Self-driving cars seem like they’ll be on our roads any day now, but what about self-testing cars that can drive themselves around insanely destructive tracks? Engineers at Ford’s Michigan Proving Grounds in Romeo, Michigan, say that they've come up with the industry’s first robotic test system designed to drive trucks and vans over roads that are intended to put a decade of wear on a van in ten minutes... Continue Reading Robots take a pounding for Ford test drivers

Section: Automotive

Tags: Autonomous Vehicles, Ford, Robotic, Robots, Safety, Self-Driving

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Thursday, 13 June 2013

Carnegie Mellon robot hunts for life in one of the deadest places on Earth



Scientists looking for life on Mars are studying the driest desert on Earth. This month, Carnegie Mellon University's ZoĆ« robot will traverse Chile’s near-uninhabitable Atacama Desert as part of an astrobiology experiment aimed at testing technologies and techniques for NASA’s next rover to search for life on Mars at the end of the decade. .. Continue Reading Carnegie Mellon robot hunts for life in one of the deadest places on Earth

Section: Space

Tags: Carnegie Mellon, Chile, Mars, NASA, Robotics, Robots

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iRobot Ava 500 autonomous telepresence robot is designed for chatting



Business grows more global everyday and what was once done by a single corporation is now more likely to be spread over many small businesses. Ideally, managers and remotely-based employees would like a virtual presence at a location, but telepresence robots are often more like smartphones on remote-controlled sticks, so they lack a feeling of personal presence and naturalism. At the InfoComm 2013 Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida, iRobot, in collaboration with Cisco, have unveiled the Ava 500; a telepresence robot that combines auto navigation and a high-definition screen for a more natural telepresence. .. Continue Reading iRobot Ava 500 autonomous telepresence robot is designed for chatting

Section: Robotics

Tags: Autonomous, Cisco, iRobot, Robots, Telepresence

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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Pink Cloud's Pop-Up Hotel could turn empty offices into chic accommodation



Empty office space is a sheet anchor on a city’s economy and Midtown Manhattan has been dragged down particularly hard, so the Copenhagen-based group Pink Cloud has come up with a new way to make vacant New York office buildings pay by turning them into temporary hotels. Winner of Hospitality Magazine’s 2013 Radical Innovations in Hospitality competition, the Midtown Pop-Up Hotel isn't a place, but a system that uses flat-pack modules to quickly convert vacant office space into hospitality centers... Continue Reading Pink Cloud's Pop-Up Hotel could turn empty offices into chic accommodation

Section: Architecture

Tags: Hotel, Luxury, Modular, New York

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Shenzhou-10 blasts off for Chinese space station



China marked nearly a decade of manned spaceflight with the June 11 launch of the Shenzhou-10 mission. As reported by Xinhuanet, the 7,840 kg (17,284 lb) craft with a crew of three lifted off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center’s LC43 Launch Complex at 17:38 Beijing time (09:38 GMT) atop a Long March 2F rocket on its way to rendezvous with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space lab... Continue Reading Shenzhou-10 blasts off for Chinese space station

Section: Space

Tags: China, Shenzhou, Spacecraft, Spaceflight

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Sunday, 9 June 2013

"Houston, we don't have a problem" – Zero-gravity 3D printing heads for space



Imagine the first manned mission to Mars is three months out from Earth when a one-of-a-kind vital component fails. Today, such an accident would mean a choice between desperate invention and death, but it may not be too long before astronauts will just download a file and print out any part as needed. Turning such a potential drama into a simple task is the goal of NASA and Made in Space Inc., whose plan is to send a 3D printer to the International Space Station (ISS) next year as part of demonstration to show the potential of the technology... Continue Reading "Houston, we don't have a problem" – Zero-gravity 3D printing heads for space

Section: Space

Tags: 3D Printing, International Space Station, NASA

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Saturday, 8 June 2013

Mind-controlled quadcopter flies using imaginary fists



Researchers at the University of Minnesota have done away with all that tedious joystick work by developing a mind-controlled quadcopter. It may seem like the top item of next year’s Christmas list, but it also serves a very practical purpose. Using a skullcap fitted with a Brain Computer Interface (BCI), the University's College of Science and Engineering hopes to develop ways for people suffering from paralysis or neurodegenerative diseases to employ thought to control wheelchairs and other devices... Continue Reading Mind-controlled quadcopter flies using imaginary fists

Section: Science

Tags: Brain, EEG, Quadrocopter, Thought-control, University of Minnesota

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Wednesday, 5 June 2013

DARPA's Unattended Ground Sensor uses smartphone techology



While the needs of the modern digital warrior are growing rapidly, military sensors take three to eight years to develop while private industry can produce similar technology in only one or two years. In the hope of speeding things up, DARPA’s Adaptable Sensor System (ADAPT) program is looking to smartphone industry technologies and practices... Continue Reading DARPA's Unattended Ground Sensor uses smartphone techology

Section: Military

Tags: DARPA, Sensors, Smartphones, Surveillance

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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Radical design proposals floated for new Penn Station


Like many US railway stations, New York’s Penn Station is a shadow of its former self. With redevelopment of the station hindered by its location under Madison Square Garden, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) of New York hopes to relocate the Garden and rebuild the station for the 21st century. Last week, the MAS announced four possible designs for Penn Station and Madison Square Garden as part of its Design Challenge aimed at replacing or remodelling the current structure... Continue Reading Radical design proposals floated for new Penn Station

Section: Architecture

Tags: Architects, DS R, H3 Design, New York, SHoP Architects, SOM, Transport

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Monday, 3 June 2013

Bath University uses bacteria for self-healing concrete



You’d think that concrete would last forever. After all, it’s pourable stone, so it should hang around as long as the Rock of Gibraltar. But, under the right (or wrong) conditions, concrete decays with alarming speed. To combat this, researchers at the University of Bath in the UK are working on a self-healing concrete that uses bacteria to seal the cracks that lead to decay. In this way, they hope to cut down on maintenance costs and increase the life of concrete structures... Continue Reading Bath University uses bacteria for self-healing concrete

Section: Science

Tags: Bacteria, Bath, Building and Construction, Concrete, Self-healing

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Sunday, 2 June 2013

DARPA uses nerve/muscle interfaces to give amputees feedback and improve control



Artificial limbs have come a long way in recent years with the development ofprostheses that can be controlled directly by the patient’s nerves. The problem is, links between living nerves and the prostheses break down over time, which makes permanent attachment and practical control difficult. To understand why this happens and to help give patients more control over their prostheses, DARPA has instituted a number of programs aimed at improving neural interfaces and allowing amputees to have better control of advanced prostheses in the near term... Continue Reading DARPA uses nerve/muscle interfaces to give amputees feedback and improve control

Section: Health and Wellbeing

Tags: DARPA, Interface, Muscle, Prosthesis, Prosthetics

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Saturday, 1 June 2013

Charlotte the robot talks its way around obstacles



There are robots that walk around like spiders, there are robots that avoid objects, and there are robots that talk, but what about a robot spider that talks while avoiding objects? Hobbyist Kevin Ochs’ creation, Charlotte, is just that. Charlotte is a hexapod robot with a talking head that lets it narrate its progress as it avoids collisions... Continue Reading Charlotte the robot talks its way around obstacles

Section: Robotics

Tags: Asus, Raspberry Pi, Robotics, Robots

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