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Could a robot beat humans at table football?

August 27, 2013

table football

Masters students from the EPFL Automatic Control Laboratory (LA) are developing a robot that can play foosball (table football) for their semester project.

One of the levers has a mechanical arm capable of propelling the ball into the opposing goal at a speed of 6 meters per second.

“This is already enough to beat the average player,” said researcher Christophe Salzmann, who heads… read more

DARPA’s human-augmentation suit

August 27, 2013

DARPA's Warrior Web program seeks to create a soft, lightweight under-suit that would help reduce injuries and fatigue and improve Soldiers' ability to efficiently perform their missions. The photos above are examples of three prototypes currently under development.

One of the most common risks that dismounted Soldiers face in the field is injury from carrying their gear — often topping 100 pounds — for extended periods over rough terrain.

Heavy loads increase the likelihood of musculoskeletal injury and also exacerbate fatigue, which contributes to both acute and chronic injury and impedes Soldiers’ physical and cognitive abilities to perform mission-oriented tasks.

To… read more

A secure, private internet and cloud at the tactical edge

August 26, 2013


DARPA has developed a “private Internet” system that allows soldiers or marines on patrol to quickly share current intelligence information and imagery on their mobile devices, instead of waiting until they are back at camp to access a central server.

Called Content-Based Mobile Edge Networking (CBMEN), the program provides an alternative approach to the top-down focus of most military networks.… read more

A giant telescope 80 feet in diameter to capture the Universe

Images 10 times sharper than the Hubble telescope
August 26, 2013


The Steward Observatory Mirror Lab (SOML) at the University of Arizona is spin-casting the world’s largest telescope mirror: the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), which will be more than 80 feet in diameter.

In comparison, the mirror of the Hubble Telescope measures 94.5 inches (just over 7.5 feet) from one edge to the other; that mirror has allowed astronomers to capture some of the most miraculous… read more

Custom-made ultrathin carbon nanomembranes

Could be used for filtering toxins from the air, for example
August 26, 2013

nanomembranes - featured

Bielefeld University researchers have developed a new way to produce a variety of carbon nanomembranes (CNM) from self-assembled monolayers (SAMs). The CNMs consist of just one layer of molecules, with a thickness of ∼0.5 to ∼3 nm. — much thinner than conventional membranes

In the future, CNMs are expected to be able to filter out very fine materials and allow for separating gases from one… read more

How to reconstruct from brain images which letter a person was reading

August 24, 2013

Each letter is predicted using models trained on fMRI data for the remaining letter classes to improve the reconstructions.

Researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands have succeeded in determining which letter a test subject was looking at.

They did that by analyzing the corresponding functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanned images of activity in the visual cortex of the brain, using a linear Gaussian mathematical model.

The researchers “taught” the model how 1200 voxels (volumetric pixels) of 2x2x2 mm from the… read more

Brain circuit that controls anxiety levels discovered

Research could help find better drugs to treat anxiety.
August 23, 2013

The tips of long neuronal extensions from the amygdala (green) contact neurons of the hippocampus (blue). This communication pathway helps to modulate anxiety. (Credit: Ada Felix-Ortiz)

Researchers at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory  have discovered a communication pathway between two brain structures — the amygdala and the ventral hippocampus — that appears to control anxiety levels.

By turning the volume of this communication up and down in mice, the researchers were able to boost and reduce anxiety levels. The research could help find better drugs to treat… read more

NASA spacecraft reactivated to hunt for asteroids

August 23, 2013

This artist's concept shows the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE spacecraft, in its orbit around Earth. In September of 2013, engineers will attempt to bring the mission out of hibernation to hunt for more asteroids and comets in a project called NEOWISE. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA will revive the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) next month with the goal of discovering and characterizing near-Earth objects (NEOs), space rocks that can be found orbiting within 28 million miles (45 million kilometers) from Earth’s path around the sun.

NASA anticipates WISE will use its 16-inch (40-centimeter) telescope and infrared cameras to discover about 150 previously unknown NEOs and characterize the… read more

New imagery of NASA’s asteroid mission released

August 23, 2013

Astronaut on asteroid - featured

NASA released Thursday new photos and video animations depicting the agency’s planned mission to find, capture, redirect, and study a near-Earth asteroid.

The images show crew operations including the Orion spacecraft’s trip to and rendezvous with the relocated asteroid, and astronauts maneuvering through a spacewalk to collect samples from the asteroid.

NASA plans to identify and characterize near-Earth objects for scientific investigation, and to find potentially… read more

How to print wall-sized displays

August 22, 2013


Adapting conventional printing technology, UC Berkeley researchers have developed a way to rapidly and inexpensively make uniform arrays of high-performing transistors out of carbon nanotubes on flexible plastic sheets, MIT Technology Review reports.

The process could eventually lead to a tool for manufacturing large-area, low-power sensor arrays and displays.

Thin-film transistors made from carbon nanotubes are attractive for these types of applications because they are robust and mechanically… read more

Iris, a ready-to-fly UAV quadcopter

August 22, 2013


3D Robotics (3DR) has announced Iris — an advanced quadcopter with full GPS-guided autonomous capabilities.

Iris is designed to provide an “out-of-the-box” flying experience that brings the power of professional-grade aerial robotics to the mass market, the company says.

Iris can be controlled by an Android tablet or phone (iOS coming soon) or through a nine-channel radio control transmitter (included). With a mobile app,… read more

3D graphene could replace expensive platinum in solar cells

August 22, 2013

A field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) image of 3D honeycomb-structured graphene. The novel material can replace platinum in dye-sensitized solar cells with virtually no loss of generating capacity. Hui Wang image

Michigan Technological University, scientists have replaced expensive ($1,500 an ounce) platinum in solar cells with low-cost 3D graphene.

Regular graphene is a two-dimensional form of carbon. Yun Hang Hu, the Charles and Caroll McArthur Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MTU, and his team invented a way to synthesize a 3D version, with a honeycomb-like structure.

The 3D graphene had excellent conductivity and high… read more

Should we use iris images for positive identification?

August 21, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

A new report by biometric researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) used data from thousands of frequent travelers enrolled in an iris recognition program to determine that no consistent change occurs in the distinguishing texture of their irises for at least a decade.

The new study counters a previous study of 217 subjects over a three-year period that… read more

NSA scans 75% of the Internet

August 21, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday the existence of several NSA programs that allow for far greater surveillance than the government has admitted to, and, importantly, detail how the government forces Internet service providers (ISPs) to hand over raw data, TechCrunch reports.

The programs have the ability to “reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic,” according to the Journal, “including a wide array of… read more

Project Loon looking for Internet-by-balloon testers in central California

August 21, 2013


Project Loon is looking for folks in California’s Central Valley who are willing to have a Loon Internet antenna installed on their house or small business building to help test the strength of the Loon Internet balloon connection, Google has announced on Google+.

“When  balloons fly overhead, the Loon Internet antennas will generate traffic that will load-test our service,” Google says.

Google is… read more

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