Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

David Szondy

OSHbots are designed to not only identify and locate merchandise, but to speak to customer...

In the near future, you might be surprised to visit to the giant hardware store in your town and find yourself greeted by a chatty robot rather than a human sales assistant. A harbinger of this age of robotic shopping is being trialled with two Oshbot robot sales assistants at an Orchard Supply Hardware store in San Jose, California. Built by Lowe’s Innovation Labs and Silicon Valley technology company Fellow Robots using "science fiction prototyping," the OSHbots are designed to not only identify and locate merchandise, but to speak to customers in their own languages.  Read More

The robot bartenders aboard the Quantum of the Seas can make two drinks a minute Not content with working as sales assistants and burger flippers, robots are landing jobs on cruise ships as bartenders and entertainers. Leading the way is Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, which is currently on its maiden voyage.  Read More

Artist's impression of the Philae lander at site Agilkia (Image: ESA) Last month, ESA designated the spot where Rosetta’s Philae lander will touch down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as "Site J." However, the space agency didn't think that was zippy enough, so it's now known as "Agilkia," after an island on the Nile.  Read More

The F-35C making its first carrier landing (Image: US Navy)

On Monday at 12:18 pm PDT off the coast of San Diego, California, the F-35C Lightning II made its first arrested landing on an aircraft carrier. Taking place on the first day of a two-week sea trial, the landing of the F-35C test aircraft CF-03 on the flight deck of the nuclear-powered supercarrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) with test pilot commander Tony Wilson at the controls marked a major step towards the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter entering operational service.  Read More

Will the crash of SpaceShipTwo put and end to space tourism before it begins? (Image: NTSB...

With the crash of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo within four days of Orbital Science’s Antares/Cygnus spacecraft exploding on the launch pad, it’s been a bad week for commercial spaceflight in general and space tourism in particular. Even though the investigations into the SpaceShipTwo incident are only beginning, there are those who already claim that Sir Richard Branson’s dream of sending tourists on suborbital flights into space is as dead as the Hindenburg. But is it?  Read More

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has begun an investigation into the cra...

The pilots of the SpaceShipTwo spaceplane that crashed during a test flight on Friday have been identified. Meanwhile, Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart of the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a press conference on Saturday evening, where he provided details of the ongoing accident investigation.  Read More

MINER is a portable neutron scatter camera

It’s been a common trope in films since the 1950s; a madman with an atomic bomb holds a city for ransom while the authorities race to find it in time. If such a thing ever does come about, Sandia National Laboratories is working on taking the suspense out of the situation with its Mobile Imager of Neutrons for Emergency Responders (MINER) – a nuclear device detector capable of narrowing a search to within a city block without door-to-door sweeps.  Read More

Artist's concept of SpaceShipTwo separating from WhiteKnightTwo

One of the two pilots who were aboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo during yesterday's test flight accident is dead. At a press conference at the company’s Mojave Air & Space Port, officials from Virgin Galactic said that local authorities have confirmed the death and that the second pilot, who parachuted from the spaceplane before it crashed in the desert, is in hospital after suffering serious injuries.  Read More

SapceShipTwo has crashed during a test flight Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashed today during a test flight over the Mojave Desert in California. The spaceplane, which is designed to carry passengers into space on a suborbital trajectory, was lost after suffering a "serious anomaly."  Read More

The white solar panel provides architects with more flexibility in using solar power syste...

Solar panels are seen as a way of making buildings greener and more sustainable, as well as making them less dependent on the grid for power. The problem is that the blue/black panels stick out like sore thumbs and end up exiled to rooftops. With the goal of making solar panels aesthetically invisible, the Swiss private, nonprofit technology company CSEM has developed what it bills as the world's first white solar modules – designed to blend into buildings instead of sitting on the roof.  Read More

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