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Posts tagged "tech"


Staples Wants to Bring 3D Printing to the Masses

Staples has been selling 3D printers for about a year. Now it wants to begin selling access to them.

The office supply retailer began offering 3D printing services in two stores on Thursday, one in New York and another in Los Angeles. Anyone can walk in and have Staples crank out a tchotchke—or 1,000 of them—while reveling in the glory of the 3D printing revolution without spending thousands on an actual printer. If the pilot takes off, Staples (SPLS) says it will expand 3D printing services to more stores.

Full Story: Business Week

(via kenobi-wan-obi)

Tiny, Logical Robots Injected into Cockroaches

Nanotechnology just got a little bit smarter.

At the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, Ido Bachelet led a team of scientists in building tiny robots that can respond to chemical cues and operate inside a living animal. More than that, they can operate as logic gates, essentially acting as real computers.

That gives the nanobots — on the order of nanometers, or one-billionth of a meter — the ability to follow specific instructions, making them programmable. Such tiny robots could do everything from target tumors to repair tissue damage.

The experimenters used a technique called “DNA origami” to make the robots. DNA comes in a double-helix shape, making long strings. And like yarn, the strings can be linked together to make different shapes. In this case, the researchers knitted together DNA into a kind of folded box with a lid, a robot called an “E” for “effector.” The “lid” opened when certain molecules bumped into it.


Every major recorded earthquake since 1898, showing how Earth is put together.

(via kenobi-wan-obi)


X-Ray Tech Penetrates Rock, Detects Diamonds

In the endless hunt for diamonds in ore, the elusive gems are more frenemy than best friend. A new X-ray technology being developed in Germany promises to locate diamonds deep in rock. Read more


First MeerKAT Antenna & Data Center Launched in Karoo

The first of 64 antennas that will make up South Africa’s new radio telescope - MeerKAT - officially launched on 27 March 2014 by South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Derek Hanekom. The Minister will also officially open the specialised MeerKAT Karoo Array Processor Building - the cutting edge data centre for the MeerKAT telescope that has been built in an underground bunker at the Karoo observatory site.

Dignitaries from around the world, including the Director General of the SKA Organisation, representatives from SKA Organisation member countries and ministers from African SKA partner countries, will convene at the Radio Astronomy Reserve in the Karoo, about 90 km from Carnarvon, for the event.

"The launch of the first MeerKAT antenna signifies South Africa’s ardent commitment to the MeerKAT project and the broader SKA project. It further typifies the excellent engineering and technical capabilities in South Africa that have enabled us to deliver a project of this magnitude within projected timeframes and budget allocations," says Minister Hanekom. He adds that the launch of the processor building and the associated design and development activities undertaken mark South Africa’s readiness to embark on a big data programme at national level.

Standing 19.5 m tall and weighing 42 tons, the new MeerKAT antenna towers above the antennas of the nearby KAT-7 instrument. KAT-7 was completed in 2010 as an engineering prototype for MeerKAT, and is now routinely used for scientific research. MeerKAT is one of the precursors to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope, and will later be incorporated into the mid-frequency component of SKA Phase 1 when that instrument is being constructed. The SKA will be the world’s largest radio telescope, located in Australia and Africa, but shared by astronomers around the globe.


Laser to The Night Sky

ESO’s observatories are privileged spots where astrophotographers can catch amazing views of the cosmos.

But that’s not all — sometimes, they are ideal locations from which to capture otherworldly images of our own planet, too. In this shot, ESO photo ambassador Gabriel Brammer has used a fish-eye lens to create this spectacular round effect. The clear sky over Paranal looks like a glass ball full of stars, with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) platform framing the picture.

In the bottom left the four VLT Unit Telescopes, each some 25 metres tall, are observing the night sky, one of them pointing its laser up into the night. Scattered around the top left of the frame, the round domes of the VLT Auxiliary Telescopes are easily spotted under the bright Milky Way. The two blurry smudges just above the laser are the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, two of the closest galaxies to our own.

This image is created from a number of different wide-angle pictures, stitched together to show the complete view.


NASA’s Starshade

This animation shows the prototype starshade, a giant structure designed to block the glare of stars so that future space telescopes can take pictures of planets.”

(That last GIF is a prototype,’s like we’re using the natural mechanics of flower petals for awesome.)

One day this may be used to take the first picture of another Earth. 

(via kenobi-wan-obi)


Probably The Most Versatile Quadruped Robot: HyQ

The versatile quadruped robot HyQ demonstrates its motion skills that range from planned motion over uneven terrain to highly dynamic motions. Some of the highlights are: chimney climbing, lateral disturbances by 23kg boxing bag, planned motion over stepping stones and pallets, and a flying trot. All experiments are executed on the same machine. There are no physical springs in the legs or body of HyQ, all compliance results from active adjustment of stiffness and damping (by software). The high-performance joint torque control is a key element to achieve such a wide range of stable motions. 

[HyQ] [read more at IEEE]


Austrian Superfast Adaptive Optics Algorithms for the E-ELT

As part of the Austrian contribution when it joined ESO, a specialist team from institutes in Linz has developed adaptive optics algorithms and software methods that are much faster than those using more traditional approaches.

These methods are used for the correction of images that are degraded due to atmospheric turbulence — and are in particular intended for use with the future 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).

The challenging goal was to invent a new and different approach to this problem that is as effective as current techniques while, at the same time, greatly reducing the computing load on the computer that performs the calculations. This four-year project has just completed a very successful final review.

The new adaptive optics algorithms are very fast and provide excellent quality results. This leads to enormous savings in computing power required to handle adaptive optics data from the E-ELT. But probably the most significant achievement of this study is to make the control of those systems manageable with computers of reasonable size and cost and, in the case of more extreme kinds of of adaptive optics, to bring such a complex system into the realm of feasible implementations.


Google Glucose Contact

I think one of the greatest contributions from the so called “tech-bubble” is the creative technology being developed by the tech giants. Here is one amazing thing. 

“We hope a tiny, super sensitive glucose sensor embedded in a contact lens could be the first step in showing how to measure glucose through tears, which in the past has only been theoretically possible.”

The chip and sensor would be embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material, while a pinhole in the lens would allow fluid from the surface of the eye to seep into the sensor.

This can save so much efforts of monitoring diabetes. We won’t need any more finger pricking, or difficult devices to monitor blood levels. Rather, we can get this completely connected to our phones and always be aware of whats going on!


Robot care for aging parents?

FREDERICK, Md. – In the five years since her husband Wendell died, Edith Duff has lived on her own in a retirement community just outside Washington, D.C. But now at age 86, she has a new roommate: a robot.

The Double Robot can’t clean or cook, but it allows Duff’s daughter Wendy to join her for lunch from 2,000 miles away. It’s one of a new generation of devices and services that companies are scrambling to build, as an enormous market – the Baby Boomers who make up a quarter of America’s population – hit retirement age in a steady stream. The technologies let seniors stay in their homes for longer and with greater independence, while giving assurance to adult children that their loved ones are safe.

Wendy’s brother Don, a former telecom executive, discovered the Double Robot through his company, which considered buying them as a way for employees to visit foreign factories from afar. It was a couple thousand dollars, and required only a Wi-Fi connection. He thought about his mom, and bought it.

Read more

(Photo: America Tonight)


New Technique Allows Fishing Line and Sewing Thread to be Used to Make Artificial Muscles

”The high cost of powerful, large-stroke, high-stress artificial muscles has combined with performance limitations such as low cycle life, hysteresis, and low efficiency to restrict applications. We demonstrated that inexpensive high-strength polymer fibers used for fishing line and sewing thread can be easily transformed by twist insertion to provide fast, scalable, nonhysteretic, long-life tensile and torsional muscles. Extreme twisting produces coiled muscles that can contract by 49%, lift loads over 100 times heavier than can human muscle of the same length and weight, and generate 5.3 kilowatts of mechanical work per kilogram of muscle weight, similar to that produced by a jet engine.”

(via Artificial Muscles from Fishing Line and Sewing Thread | Science ht freshphotons)


3,200 Acre Solar Power Plant Opens in Mojave Desert, Will Power 140,000 Homes

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, formally opens Thursday after years of regulatory and legal tangles ranging from relocating protected tortoises to assessing the impact on Mojave milkweed and other plants.

The $2.2 billion complex of three generating units, owned by NRG Energy Inc., Google Inc. and BrightSource Energy, can produce nearly 400 megawatts — enough power for 140,000 homes. It began making electricity last year.

Larger projects are on the way, but for now, Ivanpah (EYE’-ven-pah) is being described as a marker for the United States’ emerging solar industry. While solar power accounts for less than 1 percent of the nation’s power output, thousands of projects from large, utility-scale plants to small production sites are under construction or being planned, particularly across the sun-drenched Southwest.

The opening of Ivanpah is “a dawn of a new era in power generation in the United States,” said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group. “We are going to be a global leader in solar generation.”

(via Huge Solar Thermal Plant Opens as Solar Industry Grows)


NASA’s Next Great Space Telescope Passes Major Milestone

The James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s next flagship space observatory, has passed a major milestone on its road to its planned 2018 launch: the delivery of the last three mirrors that will make up its complicated infrared-seeking innards.

The mirror delivery for the $8.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope lays a critical brick in the road toward deploying the most powerful space telescope ever built. When complete, the telescope is expected to have seven times the light-collecting power of its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, and should provide answers to questions about the early universe and the chances of life on other planets.

The telescope “is an absolutely impressive piece of engineering and includes technologies that make this spacecraft unlike any other we’ve ever developed before,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a news conference here Monday (Feb. 3), adding that the telescope is on track for launch in 2018.

YAAAASSSS!! Get your life JWST! :D