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Nick Lavars

Robotics

"Robo-mermaid" combs ocean depths for shipwreck treasure

Even with bottled oxygen and elite training, there are underwater locations that lie well beyond our physical capabilities. But via haptic feedback technology and artificial intelligence, Stanford University's humanoid diving robot is now putting the ocean's depths within human reach. In its maiden expedition, the OceanOne droid has just scoured an untouched shipwreck off the coast of France and returned with a delicate, 17th century vase in its grip. Researchers are now eyeing future voyages to coral reefs, oil rigs and underwater disaster zones.Read More

Drones

Caged selfie drone follows faces and folds up neatly

A new breed of drones are emerging, though you could argue they aren't really drones so much as selfie cameras that can fly. The newly announced foldup Hover Camera is the latest addition to this ultra-portable fleet of micro-aircraft, and with automated flight modes and a carbon fiber protective casing it could land as one of the more user-friendly solutions on the market.Read More

Drones

Brain-controlled drone racing truly is a battle of wills

Drone technology is becoming quite a popular testbed for neuroscientists seeking to put brain-computer interfaces through their paces. Numerous research projects have already impressed us with drones controlled by nothing other than the power of thought, but for some, merely flying the things is already a tad passé. The Brain Drone Race takes this technology and gives it an edge, imploring pensive pilots to will their drones across the finish line ahead of the competition.Read More

Environment

Connected Conservation: Using drones, sensors and Wi-Fi to stop poachers

By their very nature, wildlife reserves are generally located in remote areas beyond the reach of typical communications technologies. This is good news if you're a poacher trying to infiltrate area, and bad news for patrol teams working to keep them out. But a new initiative is looking to tip things in the good guys' favor by fitting out an African nature reserve with high-tech gear, such as seismic sensors and infrared drones, all of which is networked to keep tabs on who exactly is going in and out of the park.Read More

Energy

Nanowire battery electrode powers through hundreds of thousands of charge cycles

With high conductivity and a large surface area, nanowires have become quite the candidate for an advanced battery material. But at thousands of times thinner than a human hair, their delicate nature often causes them to fracture throughout the battery cycle. By designing a nanowire-based electrode with a special protective coating, researchers now claim to have overcome this limitation, which could lead to batteries able to withstand hundreds of thousands of recharge cycles.Read More

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