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Posts tagged "tech"


MIT’s New Robot Glove can Give You Extra Fingers
Have you ever wondered if five fingers is really enough? The folks at MIT have. Researchers in the institute’s department of mechanical engineering have created a robotic glove that adds two additional digits to the standard human claw, positioning two long fingers on either side of the hand. It’s ridiculously easy to use, too. “You do not need to command the robot, but simply move your fingers naturally.” Ford Professor of Engineering Harry Asada says. “Then the robotic fingers react and assist your fingers.” The glove’s movements are based on biomechanical synergy, the idea that each finger reacts to the movements of its peers - if you try to grasp a bottle, the glove’s extra fingers will try to help.

(via afro-dominicano)


Olá Robocup 2014!

Now that the warm-up meatbag football matches have ended in Brazil, it’s time to move on to the main event: Robocup 2014. The international robotics competition runs on July 21-24 in João Pessoa and, though a winner will of course be crowned, the event’s long-term goal is “developing by 2050 a humanoid robot soccer team capable of winning against the human team champion of the FIFA World Cup.”

Go to Robocup 2014 to learn more about the matches that feature fully autonomous multi-robot teams battling it out on the field. See the video below.

Read More

(via afro-dominicano)


Scientists Create a New Type of Ultra-High-Res Flexible Display
We are surrounded by imperfect screens. Our smartphones, laptops, televisions, watches, billboards, thermostats and even glasses all have screens with drawbacks: Some don’t work in sunlight, others mercilessly drain your battery; some can’t do rich color, and some can’t display a true black; most can’t be rolled up and tucked in your pocket. But something better may be on the way. In research published today in Nature, scientists describe what may be the first steps toward creating a new type of ultrathin, superfast, low-power, high-resolution, flexible color screen. If the inevitable engineering difficulties in bringing a product from the lab to the living room can be overcome, these displays could combine some of the best features of current display technologies. The new displays work with familiar materials, including the metal alloy already used to store data on some CDs and DVDs. The key property of these materials is that they can exist in two states. Zap them with heat, light, or electricity and they switch from one state to the other. Scientists call them phase-change materials (PCMs). “It is really fascinating that phase-change materials, now widely used in optical and nonvolatile electronic memory devices, found a potentially new application in display technology,” said Alex Kolobov, a researcher at Japan’s Nanoelectronics Research Institute who was not involved in the new work. (via Scientists Create a New Type of Ultra-High-Res Flexible Display | Gadget Lab | WIRED)


The International Space Station cruises over the Pacific at 28,000kph. Sourced from a Vine sent by astronaut Reid Wiseman.


The International Space Station cruises over the Pacific at 28,000kph. Sourced from a Vine sent by astronaut Reid Wiseman.

(via afro-dominicano)


Mars One Wants to Send Your Experiments to the Red Planet

The nonprofit organization that has raised eyebrows with its plans to send people on a one-way mission to Mars is now accepting proposals for scientific payloads that could fly aboard an unmanned mission to the Red Planet in 2018.

Image: The non-profit Mars One organization wants to send a lander to the Red Planet in 2018. The lander will have seven different science payloads, and people everywhere can submit their ideas to the organization now. Credit: Bryan Versteeg/Mars One Foundation

The Netherlands-based Mars One foundation aims to send a total of seven payloads: four demonstration payloads, one payload selected in a worldwide university competition and two payloads for sale to the highest bidder.

The unmanned 2018 mission will serve as preparation for a planned human mission to Mars in 2024, Mars One organizers said. As of May, the nonprofit had whittled down its pool of potential astronauts to 705 candidates. Mars One aims to send four people on a one-way trip to the Red Planet every two years, starting in 2024.

Mars One is asking for input from the scientific community in order to source the best ideas from around the world, Arno Wielders, co-founder and chief technical officer of Mars One, said in a statement.

"The ideas that are adopted will not only be used on the lander in 2018, but will quite possibly provide the foundation for the first human colony on Mars," Wielders said.

Mars One is expected to send these payloads aboard the lander that is scheduled to launch in August 2018 and will be built on the same platform used for NASA’s 2007 Phoenix mission. Mars One and Lockheed Martin are partnering to develop a mission concept for the lander.

The four demonstration payloads will test technologies needed for the permanent human settlement of Mars. These will include an experiment to collect Martian soil for water production, an experiment to extract water from the soil, a thin-film solar panel for energy generation and a camera system that will interface with a Mars-synchronous communications satellite that will relay live video to Earth, according to Mars One.


Private Team Prepares to Fire 36-Year-Old NASA Probe’s Engine

  A 36-year-old spacecraft controlled by a private team nearly performed an engine firing Wednesday (June 25) to increase its spin, but the maneuver was called off due to concerns that the probe did not receive all commands.
  NASA’s International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 probe, controlled by a group that calls itself the “ISEE-3 Reboot Project,” is expected to be redirected to a more advantageous orbit for Earth communications next week. But first, the team needs to increase the spacecraft’s roll very slightly.
  An earlier attempt to increase the roll rate was called off last Friday (June 20) after the team could not confirm the spacecraft received some test commands from Earth. This time around, the group inched closer to making the roll, but decided to stop when the very last command did not get confirmed.


Private Team Prepares to Fire 36-Year-Old NASA Probe’s Engine

A 36-year-old spacecraft controlled by a private team nearly performed an engine firing Wednesday (June 25) to increase its spin, but the maneuver was called off due to concerns that the probe did not receive all commands.

NASA’s International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 probe, controlled by a group that calls itself the “ISEE-3 Reboot Project,” is expected to be redirected to a more advantageous orbit for Earth communications next week. But first, the team needs to increase the spacecraft’s roll very slightly.

An earlier attempt to increase the roll rate was called off last Friday (June 20) after the team could not confirm the spacecraft received some test commands from Earth. This time around, the group inched closer to making the roll, but decided to stop when the very last command did not get confirmed.


Milky Way Meets Desert Sky by Babak Tafreshi

As seen on the National Geographic News our Milky Way galaxy gleams in all its splendor, as seen from La Silla observatory in the southern outskirts of the Atacama Desert, Chile.

The clear, high altitude dry desert air provides a perfect home for the La Silla, operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), where the 3.6-meter New Technology Telescope (NTT) makes its nightly rounds of the sky’s far reaches.

The telescope rests between the open doors in the photo. The Milky Way spans more than 100,000 light-years across, putting Earth in the cosmic suburbs, some 27,000 light-years away from the brightly glowing center of the galaxy, seen at the center of this image.

Visible to the left of the Milky Way is the bright orange star Antares at the heart of Scorpius (The Scorpion). Saturn can be seen as the brightest point to the upper left of Antares and Alpha and Beta Centauri glow in the upper right of the image. The Southern Cross (Crux) and the Coalsack dark nebula are also visible at the upper right corner.



Computer games, Los Angeles, California, November 11, 1984, photo by Anne Knudsen. Original caption: “Six-year-old Jennifer Chadorchi, a student at Hiteach computer school in Westwood, has developed a friendly attitude toward the computer.” (Los Angeles Public Library)

bbys in STEM :’)


A hovercraft that rides like a motorcycle

With what looks like a Speeder Bike from Star Wars, UCLA alum and aerospace engineer Mark DeRoche has developed a new type of hovercraft known as The Aero-X.  When onboard the rider feels like they’re driving a motorcycle.

The idea was to build a vehicle that could quickly glide over rough terrain. Your cruising speed could top out at 45mph at 10 feet off the ground on this thing.  DeRoche says it could be used by farmers, security personnel or search and rescue missions, but admits that it could also be for those who want to joyride out in the desert.

An unmanned version is also in the works for agricultural uses such as crop dusting large areas of land.

Read more about it here 


These Students Want to Send a Time Capsule to Mars

A student-led project aims to send a time capsule to Mars for future explorers to discover, its organizers announced today (June 23).

Time Capsule to Mars (TC2M), a project of the nonprofit organization Explore Mars, plans to land three small satellites, known as CubeSats, on the surface of the Red Planet within the next five years. The satellites will contain images, videos and other forms of expression from people around the globe, according to the project’s organizers.

If successful, the $25-million mission would be the first privately funded mission to Mars, the first student-led mission to another planet, the first trial of a new propulsion system and the first interplanetary CubeSat, the team said here today in a press briefing.

"We’ve got a lot of firsts, and it’s very exciting," said Emily Briere, a senior at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and the mission’s founder and director.

Briere told reporters that "millions of people from around the world [will be able to] send in their photo, their picture of their dog, their handwritten poem, and feel that they themselves are going to Mars and making an impact."

IRIS - Sunrise II - Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research

3D Printed Liver

A new method of 3D printing an anatomically accurate replica of the human liver is now helping to guide surgeons during tricky procedures, researchers report.

Image credit: Cleveland Clinic

The 3D-printed models of the human liver are made of transparent material that is threaded with colored arteries and veins.

These livers could help surgeons prevent complications when performing liver transplants, or removing cancerous tumors, researchers said.


High voltage art by Phillip Stearns

Stearns on his project:

I’m unable to find the source of the sentiment that the camera is an extension of the eye, but it’s that very idea which I’ve intentionally taken literally, to an extreme. When looking through the datasheets on various instant color film, I was struck by the similarities between the layering of materials in the film and the layering of cells in the retinal. Though I’m not well versed in the history of film development as parallels the development in the understanding of the physiology of the retinal, the similarities were striking…

Without a camera, images were produced through a combination of processes which parallel techniques utilized in previous experiments with low-resolution digital cameras. Various household chemicals are applied to the surface of the film both before and after exposure. Through symbolic act of cleansing, the fidelity of the film is compromised. The film is also subjected to 15,000 volts of alternating current. In a flash, arcs spread out across the surface, sometimes burning holes, even igniting the film. As in our eyes, images are conveyed in a stream of such electric impulses, only here amplified some 300,000 times. I find it curious and exhilarating that the impressions left behind after developing these extreme exposures so perfectly resemble networks of blood vessels in the retina.

You can see his process in this video:

"Retinal Pigment Epithelium…" Process Documentation 2013 Phillip Stearns from Phillip Stearns on Vimeo.

(via afro-dominicano)


World Science Festival: Photo Recap

1) Demonstrating how gravitational distortion in space time works.

2) Water recycling methods!

3) NASA specialist showing kids the difference between fire on earth and fire in space

4) Wish it were the real martian rover but this inflatable one will do

5) Yaaaaas get ur fuckin life on the hydraulic spaceship lil kids!

6) A modded rover running on a desktop motherboard booting with ubuntu.

7) A robot for practicing your shots in basketball.

8) Be an astronaut for a few seconds~

9) The folks from the amateur astronomer association.

10) Today was a good day :)


We’ll Find Alien Life in This Lifetime, Scientists Tell Congress

Humans have long wondered whether we are alone in the universe. According to scientists working with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, the question may be answered in the near future.

Image 1: SETI uses the Arecibo’s 305-meter telescope — the largest in the world — to scan the sky for signals from alien civilizations all year round. Credit: Arecibo Observatory/NSF

Image 2: Kepler-186f, the first Earth-size planet orbiting in the habitable zone of its star, is just one of the many potentially habitable planets in a galaxy teeming with satellites. Credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

"It’s unproven whether there is any life beyond Earth," Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, said at a House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing Wednesday (May 21). “I think that situation is going to change within everyone’s lifetime in this room.”

Scientists search for life beyond Earth using three different methods, Shostak said.

The first method involves the search for microbial extraterrestrials or their remains. Investigations include robotic missions to Mars, such as Curiosity and Opportunity, which are currently searching for signs that the Red Planet could once have hosted potentially habitable environments.

Local habitable worlds?

But Mars isn’t the only target in the solar system. In fact, Shostak said there are "at least half a dozen other worlds" in Earth’s neighborhood that have the potential to be habitable. Icy moons such as Jupiter’s Europa and Ganymede hide subsurface oceans, while Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, contains lakes of liquid methane, all of which could make the moons appealing homes for life.

A second technique involves examining the atmospheres of planets in orbit around other stars for traces of oxygen or methane or other gases that could be produced by biological processes. As an observed planet passes between Earth and its sun, a thick enough atmosphere has the potential to be detected.

Shostak said both of these methods could yield results in the next two decades.

The third plan involves searching not just for life, but also for intelligent life — a project that SETI pioneers. By scouring the universe for signals in a variety of spectrums, SETI hopes to find intentional or accidental broadcasts from extraterrestrial civilizations.

Determining the success rate of such a program is difficult, but Shostak said that the best estimates suggest that a reasonable chance of success would come after examining a few million star systems. So far, SETI has examined less than 1 percent of those star systems. However, Shostak expects that number to increase as technology advances.

"Given predicted advances in technology, looking at a few million star systems can be done in the next 20 years," he said.

"Teeming with … life"

NASA’s Kepler telescope has revealed that planets are abundant in the galaxy. Each of the 4 billion stars in our galaxy has an average of 1.6 planets in orbit around it, with one out of five of those planets are likely to be “Earth cousins.” That means there are tens of billions of potentially habitable planets in the Milky Way alone.

"If this is the only planet on which not only life, but intelligent life, has arisen, that would be very unusual," Shostak said.

On Earth, life arose in the first billion years of the planet’s 4.5-billion-year history. Its rapid origination suggests that it could arise quickly elsewhere as well, which could result in a profusion of life on planets across the galaxy.

"I suspect that the universe is teeming with microbial life," Dan Werthimer, director of the SETI Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, told the committee.

How much of that life might be intelligent is another question altogether.

On one hand, although life arose early in Earth’s existence, complex — and then intelligent — life took much longer to develop.

"This place has been carpeted with life, and almost all that time, it required a microscope to see it," Shostak said.

However, Werthimer noted that intelligent life evolved in several species on Earth. He suggested that some planets evolve selective pressures that guide evolution toward different characteristics. On one planet, it may be most beneficial for life to be fast, while on others, it might need to be strong to survive.

"I think there are going to be some planets in the universe where it’s advantageous to be smart," Werthimer said.

Hunting for intelligence

Werthimer outlined several of the programs SETI utilizes in its search for intelligent life. The most well known of these is its use of the largest telescope in the world, the 1,000-foot (305 meters) Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Although most astronomers would feel lucky to obtain a day of observations with the instrument, scientists at SETI have figured out how to “piggyback” their research onto other observations, allowing for virtually continuous observation of the universe.

It requires a significant amount of computing power to churn through the resulting data in search of signals. In 1999, SETI@home was released to allow members of the public to put their computer to work when it might otherwise be idle. Today, 8.4 million users in 226 countries have the program running as a screensaver.

"Together, the volunteers have created the most powerful supercomputer on the planet," Werthimer said.

When asked about potential safety issues with downloading the program, Werthimer said, "In my opinion, SETI@home is one of the safest things you can install on the computer." He pointed to the millions of users who have put it through its paces over the last 15 years. On top of that, the program is open source, which means that anyone can examine it for viruses or potential problems in the code.

In the next few months, SETI will launch its Panchromatic SETI program, using six telescopes to scour the skies for signals in a variety of wavelengths, including radio, optical and infrared.

"This will be an extremely comprehensive search," Werthimer said.

Another program seeks to eavesdrop on potential communications between two bodies in an alien solar system. Just as NASA sends signals to the Curiosity rover on Mars, or would need to communicate with a future outpost on another body in the solar system, alien civilizations may be in the process of exploring or colonizing their own neighborhood. By using information from Kepler, SETI scientists can observe when two planets line up in another system and attempt to eavesdrop on potential signals.

By relying on a multitude of technologies in the search for advanced alien civilizations, SETI hopes to increase its odds of finding intelligent life beyond the solar system. Programs continue to evolve alongside technology, as SETI attempts to put a new one in play each year.

"I think the best strategy is a multiple-[pronged] strategy," Werthimer said. "We should be looking for all kinds of different signals and not put all of our eggs in one basket."

Shostak agreed, and noted that dated technology, such as radio signals, may not necessarily be obsolete.

"One shouldn’t discount a technology just because it’s been around awhile," he said. "We use the wheel every day."

If scientists were to discover a signal that might potentially stem from an alien civilization, the news would spread fairly rapidly. SETI might ask observers at another observatory to verify the data before officially announcing it, but such news would never stay under wraps for long.

"The public has the idea that the government has a secret plan for what we would do if we picked up a signal," Shostak said.

But he said he’s received no calls or clandestine visits for the false alarms SETI has already observed.

In fact, Shostak said the news will spread before it can be fully verified.

"There will be false alarms," he said.

But what about the funding? Read the full story at LiveScience

(via afro-dominicano)