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Hector the Stick Insect-Inspired Robot Takes its First Steps

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  yesterday

Zothecula (1870348) writes "Hector, the stick insect-inspired robot built by a research team at Bielefeld University in Germany that was first announced in 2011, could be forgiven for feeling lonely as the only one of its kind in world, but has lately been too busy learning to walk to worry on its unique status. It is hoped that Hector, which stands for Hexapod Cognitive autonomously Operating Robot, will benefit not only roboticists but also biologists interested in animal movement."
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Disabled Dog is Now Able to Run, Thanks to 3D-Printed Prostheses

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  2 days ago

Zothecula (1870348) writes "Derby the dog faced a challenge right from Day One. Due to a congenital deformity, he was born with very small forelegs and no front paws. This resulted in his ending up in the care of Hillsborough, New Hampshire-based dog rescue group, Peace and Paws. Fortunately, he then proceeded into the foster home of Tara Anderson. She works for 3D printing company 3D Systems (3DS), and set about using her employer's technology to make him a set of prostheses. As a result, he's now able to run for the first time."
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Startup Helps You Build Your Very Own Picosatellite on a Budget

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  3 days ago

Zothecula (1870348) writes "A Glasgow-based startup is reducing the cost of access to space by offering "satellite kits" that make it easier for space enthusiasts, high schools and universities alike to build a small but functional satellite for as little as US$6,000 and then, thanks to its very small size, to launch for significantly less than the popular CubeSats."
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Amsterdam Central Train Station Sports a High-Tech Rainbow

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  4 days ago

Zothecula (1870348) writes "Every night, for just a short time after sunset, Amsterdam Central Station becomes Rainbow Station. A four-kilowatt spotlight projects a stunning rainbow through a custom-designed liquid crystal spectral filter onto one of the station's 45 by 25 meter (148 by 82 feet) roof arches, just above platform 2b. This liquid crystal optics technology is being developed for research on exoplanets, but it will light up Amsterdam Central – and the lives of thousands of travelers – every night for a year."
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Rolls-Royce Sets Sail For Robotic Shipping With Virtual Bridge Concept

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  5 days ago

Zothecula (1870348) writes "Rolls-Royce, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and Aalto University are expanding on their ideas for a virtual bridge that could soon lead to a future where the line between manned and robotic ships becomes completely blurred. Combining automated ship systems and constant high-data level communications, it's part of what Rolls-Royce see as the "next major transition for the shipping industry.""
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Electronic Skin Can Sense the Direction in Which it's Being Touched

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  about a week ago

Zothecula (1870348) writes "We've already seen artificial skin capable of sensing touch and prosthetics that sense texture, but now a group of Korean scientists has come up with a stretchable electronic skin that "feels" in three dimensions. The artificial skin is made from arrays of microscopic domes that interlock and deform when pressed. It can detect the intensity, location, and direction of pressure, whether from an object or a mere gust of wind."
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"Fat-Burning Pill" Inches Closer to Reality

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  about two weeks ago

Zothecula (1870348) writes "Researchers at Harvard University say they have identified two chemical compounds that could replace "bad" fat cells in the human body with healthy fat-burning cells, in what may be the first step toward the development of an effective medical treatment – which could even take the form of a pill – to help control weight gain."
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Photoswitch Therapy Restores Vision to Blind Lab Animals

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  about two weeks ago

Zothecula (1870348) writes "A new genetic therapy that helped blind mice and dogs respond to light stimulus could restore sight to people who suffer from diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa (a gradual loss of vision from periphery inwards). The therapy uses chemicals known as photoswitches, which change shape when hit with light, to open the channels that activate retinal cells. Treated mice can distinguish between steady and flashing light, while dogs with late-stage retinal degeneration also regain some sensitivity to light."
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Berkeley Lab Builds World Record Tabletop-Size Particle Accelerator

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  about two weeks ago

Zothecula (1870348) writes "Taking careful aim with a quadrillion watt laser, researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab claim to have managed to speed up subatomic particles to the highest energies ever recorded for a compact accelerator. By blasting plasma in their tabletop-size laser-plasma accelerator, the scientists assert that they have produced acceleration energy of around of 4.25 giga-electron volts. Acceleration of this magnitude over the short distances involved correlates to an energy rise 1,000 times greater than that of a traditional – and very much larger – particle accelerator."
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Nanotube Film Could Replace Defective Retinas

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  about two weeks ago

Zothecula (1870348) writes "A promising new study suggests that a wireless, light-sensitive, and flexible film could potentially form part of a prosthetic device to replace damaged or defective retinas. The film both absorbs light and stimulates neurons without being connected to any wires or external power sources, standing it apart from silicon-based devices used for the same purpose. It has so far been tested only on light-insensitive retinas from embryonic chicks, but the researchers hope to see the pioneering work soon reach real-world human application."
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Hayabusa 2 Launches on Asteroid Bombing Mission

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  about two weeks ago

Zothecula (1870348) writes "Sometimes it seems as if the history of spaceflight is a long exercise in oneupsmanship with each agency trying to top the others. Case in point is Japan's Hayabusa2 mission, which, following the landing of Philae on on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko last month, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirmed was successfully launched this Wednesday at 1:22:04 pm JST from the Tanegashima Space Center on a mission to not only land on an asteroid, but to bomb it."
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Practical Magnetic Levitating Transmission Gear System Loses its Teeth

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  about three weeks ago

Zothecula (1870348) writes "A new transmission device that uses magnetic levitation to almost completely eliminate friction and wear has been developed as part of the MAGDRIVE research project, a collaboration of seven European nations. The creation of the unit entailed the development of a magnetic gear reducer and corresponding frictionless magnetic axles. Aimed primarily for use in spacecraft due to its extended mechanical life, the system is also adaptable for use in automobiles, railways, and aircraft."
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Quantum Memory Storage to Help Quantum Communications Go the Distance

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  about three weeks ago

Zothecula (1870348) writes "The technologies made possible by breakthroughs in quantum physics have already provided the means of quantum cryptography, and are gradually paving the way toward powerful, practical, everyday quantum computers, and even quantum teleportation. Unfortunately, without corresponding atomic memories to appropriately store quantum-specific information, the myriad possibilities of these technologies are becoming increasingly difficult to advance. To help address this problem, scientists from the University of Warsaw (FUW) claim to have developed an atomic memory that has both exceptional memory properties and a construction elegant in its simplicity."
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Swiss Scientists Discover DNA Remains Active After Space Journey and Re-entry

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  about three weeks ago

Zothecula (1870348) writes "It may sound like the first chapter of a Quatermass thriller, but scientists from the University of Zurich (UZH) have discovered that DNA can survive not only a flight through space, but also re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere and still remain active. The findings are based on suborbital rocket flights and could have considerable impact on questions about the origins of life on Earth and the problems of terrestrial space probes contaminating other planets."
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Uber's Android App Caught Reporting Data Back Without Permission

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  about three weeks ago

Zothecula (1870348) writes "Security researcher GironSec has pulled Uber's Android app apart and discovered that it's sending a huge amount of personal data back to base – including your call logs, what apps you've got installed, whether your phone is vulnerable to certain malware, whether your phone is rooted, and your SMS and MMS logs, which it explicitly doesn't have permission to do. It's the latest in a series of big-time missteps for a company whose core business model is, frankly, illegal in most of its markets as well."
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WaveNET – the Floating, Flexible Wave Energy Generator

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  about three weeks ago

Zothecula (1870348) writes "Scotland's Albatern is putting a new, modular spin on renewable energy generation. WaveNET is a scalable array of floating "Squid" generator units that harvest wave energy as their buoyant arms rise and fall with the motion of the waves. Each Squid can link up to as many as three others, effectively creating a large, floating grid that's flexible in every direction. The bigger this grid gets, the more efficient it becomes at harvesting energy, and the more different wave movements it can extract energy from. Albatern's 10-year target is to have 1.25 kilometer-long floating energy farms pumping out as much as 100 megawatts by 2024."
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NASA to Deploy Four Spacecraft to Study Magnetic Reconnection

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  about three weeks ago

Zothecula (1870348) writes "NASA has released a video depicting the initial deployment of an undertaking designed to study a phenomenon known as magnetic reconnection. The launch of the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission will see four identical spacecraft deployed from a single Atlas V rocket, set to lift off from cape Canaveral, Florida, no earlier than March next year."
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Nuclear Weapons Write Their Own Security Codes

Zothecula Zothecula writes  |  about a month ago

Zothecula (1870348) writes "Nuclear weapons are a paradox. No one in their right mind wants to use one, but if they're to act as a deterrent, they need to be accessible. The trick is to make sure that access is only available to those with the proper authority. To prevent a real life General Jack D Ripper from starting World War III, Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Defense Technologies Division is developing a system that uses a nuclear weapon's own radiation to protect itself from tampering."
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