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David Szondy

David Szondy

David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.

— Computers

Intel and Micron announce memory breakthrough

If being a processor chip was a human job, it would be one of the most boring. That's because modern processors spend a lot of their time doing not much of anything, as they wait for the slower memory chips to catch up with them. But that may change if Intel Corporation and Micron Technology's new 3D XPoint (3D Crosspoint) technology pans out. Described by the makers as a "major breakthrough in memory process technology," it's the first new class of non-volatile memory to be released since 1989 and is reportedly 1,000 times faster than NAND flash memory.

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— Medical

CERN develops miniature linear accelerator for medical use

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN is where the miraculous meets the impractical. In addition to probing the secrets of the Universe at the subatomic level, it also has potential for a variety of medical applications. Unfortunately, with a circumference of 27 km (16.7 mi) the LHC is so unwieldy that it would be about as practical as using Big Ben for a wristwatch. In the hopes of creating something a bit more useful for the medical fraternity, CERN engineers have come up with a miniature linear accelerator (mini-Linac) that, at 2 m (6.5 ft) long, is small enough to be set up in hospitals for medical imaging and radiotherapy applications.

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— Space

Mars orbiter prepares for next year's InSight lander arrival

Space travel is a constant exercise in forward planning, with mission control thinking years and sometimes decades in advance. A case in point is NASA's InSight Mars lander, which is scheduled to touchdown on the Red Planet on September 26, 2016. This may be more than a year away, but the space agency is already moving its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) into a new orbit to provide communications support during the landing.

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— Space

Human error and inadequate training blamed for SpaceShipTwo crash

The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released the conclusions of its accident investigation into the crash of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo last year over the Mojave Desert. According to the report, the accident was due to an error by the co-pilot, who prematurely released the spacecraft's feather system, placing too much stress on the fuselage and causing it to break up.

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— Robotics

GE sees robots as the apprentices of the future

It's widely believed that we're in the middle of a robotics revolution, but at this stage robots are still largely confined to cages doing tasks that don't require a lot of intelligence or interaction with us humans. We spoke with John Lizzi, Manager of the Distributed Intelligent Systems Laboratory at GE Global Research, about General Electric's approach to the future of robotics – specifically the future of what the company calls "service robotics," where robot apprentices will work closely with humans and take over many of the dull, dirty and dangerous jobs of today.

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— Space

Ice flows, hazy hydrocarbons among latest Pluto reveals

NASA has detailed fresh discoveries and released the latest batch of images from New Horizons. Sent as the unmanned probe hurtles away from Pluto and out of the Solar System, the new images and readings show a haze that may be the source of Pluto's reddish color and exotic ice that flows like glaciers. The space agency has also shared a spectacular New Horizons flyby simulation video.

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— Aircraft

Could bomb-proof lining prevent another Lockerbie?

On December 21, 1988, a terrorist bomb detonated in the luggage hold of Pan Am flight 103 causing the 747 airliner to break up over Lockerbie, Scotland, and killing 243 passengers, 16 crew, and 11 people on the ground. To help prevent such a tragedy from occurring again, a European consortium, including the University of Sheffield, is developing Fly-Bag; a flexible fabric and composite liner capable of containing explosions inside an aircraft to improve its chances of survival.

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