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Ben Coxworth

The Endeavour space shuttle is currently on its final flight, and the second-last flight o...

The NASA space shuttle Discovery flew its last mission on February 24th, and now it's the Endeavour's turn to bow out of service. At 8:56 a.m. EDT this Monday (May 16), the shuttle launched from the Kennedy Space Center for the final time, on a mission to bring supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). Not only is it the last flight for the Endeavour, but the second-last flight within the entire shuttle program.  Read More

Computing and robotics expert Henrik Christensen, with one of the MAST robots (Photo: Geor...

Imagine you're a firefighter arriving at a burning building, but you have no idea what the interior layout of that building is. Do you just enter, then risk your life by randomly walking up and down smokey hallways looking around? What would work better would be if someone or something could quickly map out the building first, then you could take that information and concentrate on getting directly where you need to go. That's the idea behind the U.S. Army's Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (MAST) Collaborative Technology Alliance Program, which would see swarms of small rolling, hopping, crawling or flying robots working together on reconnaissance missions in civilian or military applications.  Read More

The ADEL features an inflatable tip, that is said to minimize or eliminate discomfort in t...

It’s no big secret that wearing in-ear devices, such as stereo earphones or hearing aids, can cause the ears to hurt over time. According to the engineers at Colorado’s Asius Technologies, however, this isn’t due simply to a poor fit or high volume levels. Instead, it’s caused by an “acoustic reflex,” that no amount of earbud-reshaping or decreases in volume will alleviate. There are reportedly ways of minimizing or even eliminating what’s known as “listener fatigue,” though – these include a flexible membrane, and even an inflatable ear-tip device created by Asius.  Read More

Dr. Mohamed Halabi, with his lab setup for performing sorption enhanced catalytic reformin...

Hydrogen is certainly one of the big candidates when it comes to finding cleaner fuels to replace petroleum. While it only produces water when burnt as fuel, the process of obtaining hydrogen from natural gas is not quite so eco-friendly – it consumes a lot of energy, and creates carbon dioxide. Now a new process being developed at the Netherlands' Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) promises a much more efficient, innocuous alternative.  Read More

The Zoomy Handheld Digital Microscope

If you want to get a child interested in the sciences, just let them loose with a microscope. Proper stage microscopes can be pricey, however, and are somewhat tricky for youngsters to use. Fortunately, there are options like the Zoomy Handheld Digital Microscope – it's a simple device that plugs into the USB port of a PC or Mac, then feeds through illuminated, magnified images of whatever it's placed over.  Read More

A metallic glass rod before heating and molding (left); a molded metallic glass part (midd...

What do you do if you want a material that’s as hard as glass, but that can bend without shattering, like steel? Well, if you’re a researcher at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), you invent metallic glass. There are several types of metallic glass – which is said to be stronger than steel or titanium – all of which consist of a metal with the disordered atomic structure of glass. Although it’s been possible to produce the material in bulk since the early 90s, the production process has limitations, that have kept metallic glass from coming into common use. Now, however, a Caltech team has come up with a new process, in which the material can be shaped as easily as plastic.  Read More

One of the GCDC participants will be the AnnieWAY team, from Germany's Karlsruhe Institute...

When it comes to developing new technologies, running a competition is always a good way of helping to speed progress. Not only do such events give researchers more of an incentive to develop their ideas to the fullest, but they also give them a chance to see and be inspired by what other people in their field have been working on. While last year’s Automotive X-PRIZE helped usher in utra-efficient yet practical automobiles, hopefully this weekend’s Grand Cooperative Driving Challenge will do the same for cars utilizing cooperative adaptive cruise control (CACC).  Read More

Cornell University's Ranger robot has beaten its own endurance record, by walking 40.5 mil...

On July 6th of last year, Cornell University’s Ranger robot set a world record for untethered legged robots – it walked 14.3 miles (23.01 km) in about 11 hours on a single charge, with no hands-on assistance. The record had previously been held by Boston Dynamics’ BigDog, when it walked 12.8 miles (20.6 km). Both of those achievements were eclipsed last Monday (May 2nd), however, when Ranger beat its own record by walking a whopping 40.5 miles (65.18 km) on a single charge.  Read More

Luna is a new personal robot that should reportedly sell for around US$1,000

Ah, the personal robot. While flying cars and jetpacks are now here – for some people – we still don't have robots that help us out around the house. However, maybe we soon could. This week, California's RoboDynamics introduced its Luna personal robot to the world. While the company currently isn't providing too much other information, her(?) makers are calling Luna "a breakthrough in robot design."  Read More

B-Squares are flat electronic modules that can be joined together in different configurati...

Connecting blocks are one of the all-time greatest types of toys. Unfortunately, when we grow up, many of us seem to think that it’s silly to make stuff just for the sake of making it – we still enjoy putting things together, but they have to be functional. That’s where B-Squares come in. The flat electronic modules serve a variety of functions, and can form a variety of devices when connected in different combinations.  Read More

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