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First full-resolution and panorama images from NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover

August 9, 2012

First full-resolution (1024 by 1024 pixels) long-range image of the Martian surface from one of the Navigation cameras on NASA's Curiosity rover, which are located on the rover's "head" or mast. The rim of Gale Crater can be seen in the distance beyond the pebbly ground. The topography of the rim is very mountainous due to erosion. The ground seen in the middle shows low-relief scarps and plains. The foreground shows two distinct zones of excavation likely carved out by blasts from the rover's descent stage thrusters. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artificial robot muscles that could lift loads 80 times their weight

A future Iron Man technology?
September 4, 2013

An artificial muscle (the transparent strip with thin black lines running down its length) being pre-stretched

National University of Singapore’s (NUS) engineers have created efficient artificial muscles that could one day carry 80 times their own weight and extend to five times their original length when carrying the load.

The team’s invention could lead to life-like robots with superhuman strength and ability and convert and store energy, which could help the robots quickly charge themselves.

Powerful human-like muscles for robotsread more

Next-generation supercomputer will have 180 petaflop/s peak performance

April 9, 2015

Tianhe-2-supercomputer

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has invested $200 million to deliver a next-generation supercomputer, known as Aurora, with a peak performance of 180 petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second).

Scheduled for completion in 2018, Aurora will be based on a next-generation Cray supercomputer, code-named “Shasta,” and will use Intel’s HPC scalable system framework. The  supercomputer will be open to all scientific users.

The current fastest supercomputer is… read more

Black holes growing faster than expected

February 14, 2013

M104_ngc4594_sombrero_galaxy

Black holes are growing faster than previously thought possible, according to new research published Wednesday in the Astrophysical Journal.

Even the black hole in our own Milky Way Galaxy, which otherwise appears very quiet, has probably been consuming the equivalent of one Sun every 3000 years.

Until recently, astronomers thought that black holes grow mostly when galaxies crash into each other, at which time a large… read more

Harnessing the energy of 2,000 suns

April 29, 2013

HCPVT

The Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation has awarded scientists a $2.4 million (2.25 million CHF) grant to develop an affordable photovoltaic system capable of concentrating solar radiation 2,000 times and converting 80 percent of the incoming radiation into useful energy.*

The system would also provide desalinated water and cool air in sunny, remote locations where they are often in short supply.

The prototype HCPVT system… read more

Is this the future of augmented reality?

March 22, 2015

Magic Leap vid pic

Augmented reality start-up Magic Leap has released a mind-boggling video that dramatically dissolves the boundary between real and virtual. In the video, we look from the user’s POV as he manipulates virtual objects — such as a monitor playing a YouTube video and a rolodex — in the air with his fingers, Minority Report-style. He then picks up a real toy ray gun and plays a shooter video… read more

‘We should stop designing perfect circuits’

October 8, 2013

Computer chips (credit: iStockphoto)

Christian Enz, head of the EPFL Integrated Circuits Laboratory (ICLAB), says we should build future devices with unreliable circuits, and adopt the “good enough engineering” trend to reduce energy consumption and continue to reduce transistor size.

The problem: We are beginning to hit a wall on miniaturization. As transistors get smaller, they produce more mistakes, so hardware must be added and performance must be decreased, which… read more

West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse is underway

May 13, 2014

ThwaitesShelf

Antarctica’s fast-moving Thwaites Glacier will likely disappear in a matter of centuries, potentially raising sea level by more than a half-a-meter (two feet), National Science Foundation-funded researchers at the University of Washington have concluded

Data gathered by NSF-funded airborne radar, detailed topography maps, and computer modeling were used to make the determination.

The glacier acts as an ice dam, stabilizing and regulating movement toward the sea… read more

One million metric tons of CO2 stored underground in Illinois

Goal is to help slow global warming trends
January 12, 2015

Carbon storage concept (credit: U.S. Department of Energy)

One of the largest carbon sequestration projects in the U.S., the Illinois Basin – Decatur Project (IBDP), has reached its goal of capturing 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and injecting it deep underground in the Mount Simon Sandstone formation beneath Decatur, Illinois, a Deep Saline reservoir.

For context, three million tons are emitted annually from a typical medium-sized, coal-fired power plant.… read more

Creating custom drugs on a portable refrigerator-size device

A breakthrough for responding quickly to disease outbreak and producing small quantities of custom drugs needed for clinical trials, treating rare diseases, or use as personalized "orphan drugs"
April 1, 2016

custom drugs ft

MIT researchers have developed a compact, portable pharmaceutical manufacturing system that can be reconfigured to produce a variety of drugs on demand — if you have the right chemicals.

The device could be rapidly deployed to produce drugs needed to handle an unexpected disease outbreak, to prevent a drug shortage caused by a manufacturing plant shutdown, or produce small quantities of drugs needed for clinical trials or… read more

How do you feed 9 billion people?

June 11, 2013

(credit: Michigan State University)

An international team of scientists has developed crop models to better forecast food production to feed a growing population — projected to reach 9 billion by mid-century — in the face of climate change.

In a paper appearing in Nature Climate Change, Members  of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project unveiled an all-encompassing modeling system that integrates multiple crop simulations with improved climate change models.

AgMIP’s… read more

A new process for producing synthetic gasoline based on carbon nanofibers

December 4, 2013

carbon nanofibers featured

A chemical system developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago can efficiently perform the first step in the process of creating synthetic gasoline (syngas) and other energy-rich products out of carbon dioxide.

The key to the new process is a novel “co-catalyst” system using inexpensive, easy-to-fabricate carbon-based nanofiber materials that efficiently convert carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide, a useful starting material for synthesizing fuels. The… read more

Rejuvenating blood by reprogramming stem cells

March 27, 2013

Humanbood600x

Lund University researchers have succeeded in rejuvenating the blood of mice by reversing, or reprogramming, the stem cells that produce blood.

Stem cells form the origin of all the cells in the body and can divide an unlimited number of times. When stem cells divide, one cell remains a stem cell and the other matures into the type of cell needed by the body, for example a blood… read more

Houston, we have liftoff: HumanBirdWings guy finally enjoys the miracle of human flight UPDATE

March 21, 2012

flyinglikeabird

Jarno Smeets, famous for his HumanBirdWings project, may just have made semi-self-propelled aeronautical history, flying over 100 meters on his self-built wings. His inspiration: the albatross.

UPDATE: The ‘birdman’ is FAKE

If this video doesn’t inspire you, nothing will. — Ed. 

Drive wearing Glass, get a ticket

... and Glass updates
October 31, 2013

Google-Glass-photo_610x306

In a possible first, Cecilia Abadie received a traffic ticket Tuesday for wearing Google Glass while driving in San Diego, she noted on Google+:

According to CNN, the California law cited in Abadie’s case, V C 27602, prohibits televisions and similar monitors from being turned on and facing the driver. “There are exceptions for GPS and mapping tools and… read more

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