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David Szondy

Robotics

Bespoke processor gives robot movement a speed boost

In structured environments, such as on manufacturing lines, robots are able to carry out pre-planned movements much faster than humans, but in unfamiliar environments it takes a lot of time for robots to plan movements that humans make almost without thinking. To give robots a speed boost, engineers at Duke University have developed a new processor that enables robots to perform motion planning 10,000 times faster than conventional methods.Read More

Military

Tank crews get 360-degree X-ray vision

Battle tanks are about the least invisible thing ever invented, but Elbit Systems has come up with a way to make them as see through as glass – at least from the inside. The company's new IronVision Helmet-Mounted System (HMS) doesn't use magic to achieve this. Instead, it employs sensor and display technology originally developed for fighter and helicopter pilots to provide a virtual 360º panoramic view of the battlefield to tank commanders and crews.Read More

Space

Falcon 9 landing ends in "rapid unscheduled disassembly" (Translation: it crashed)

The latest attempt by SpaceX to land a Falcon 9 booster on a sea barge ended in what founder and CEO Elon Musk called a "rapid unscheduled disassembly." After three successful sea landings in a row by the company, the unmanned rocket impacted on the deck of the droneship "Of Course I Still Love You" at 10:37 am EDT after successfully sending its payload of two communications satellites into orbit. According Musk, the fiery crash was due to an engine malfunction.Read More

Space

NASA sets fire to unmanned cargo ship in the name of safety

An unmanned Cygnus cargo ship left the International Space Station today, and then NASA set it on fire. At 4:55 pm EDT, ground control activated the Saffire-I experiment in the hold of the Orbital ATK Cygnus Pressurized Cargo Module as it drifted away from the station, triggering the largest fire ever started in space. The controlled burn inside an insulated container is part of a study to learn more about the nature of fire in zero gravity and improve spacecraft safety.Read More

Science

Robotic microscope locks on to wiggly worm's brain

Microscopes are an indispensable scientific instrument, but they don't do much good if the object under study keeps crawling out of view. To keep things in focus, a team of scientists from Osaka University and Tohoku University led by Professor Koichi Hashimoto has developed a new robotic microscope that automatically tracks moving objects as part of a study of brain activity.Read More

Space

ESA's potential space garbage collector nets itself a drone

ESA has provided a preview of its plan to net space debris by unveiling a prototype net gun designed to envelope and capture tumbling dead satellites. Wojtek Gołebiowski of Poland's SKA Polska, which is developing the gun under a contract with the space agency, used a small version to target and take down a low-flying drone at the Industry Days event for ESA's Clean Space initiative.Read More

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