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— Science

MIT investigating ways to combat boredom in drone pilots

By - November 18, 2012 4 Pictures
The saying that "war is long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror” could have been written for military UAV pilots. The news media like to portray drones like the MQ-1 Predator as robot warriors, but behind each one is a human pilot with only limited powers of endurance. On long missions, pilots get bored and distracted, so a team from MIT’s Human and Automaton’s Lab is studying how what can be done to stave off boredom and keep pilots alert. Read More
— Science

SBU’s Reality Deck breaks one billion-pixel resolution barrier

By - November 18, 2012 7 Pictures
If you’re impressed by the 4K TVs set to hit the market from the likes of Sony, Toshiba and LG, then get an eyeful of the new Reality Deck officially opened at New York’s Stony Brook University (SBU) last week. Described by its creator as the closest thing in the world to Star Trek’s holodeck, the four walls of the Reality Deck are covered in a total of 416 high resolution screens that provide a total resolution of 1.5 billion pixels. SBU says this makes it the largest resolution immersive display ever built driven by a graphic supercomputer. Read More
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Cell-powered "bio-bots" get a wriggle on

By - November 17, 2012 1 Picture
Using a 3D printer, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed synthetic "bio-bots" about seven millimeters long that are powered by embedded cardiac cells that give them the ability to "walk" on their own. The researchers say they are just scratching the surface of what is possible, with their work potentially leading to millimeter-scale medical or environmental sensors that that can seek out and neutralize harmful toxins. Read More
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Hubble discovers most distant galaxy ever observed

By - November 16, 2012 10 Pictures
NASA's Hubble telescope has discovered the most distant object yet seen in the universe. The object, a galaxy called MACS0647-JD, is 13.3 billion light years from Earth and can only be seen with the help of a lens of intergalactic proportions. The light from MACS0647-JD left it only 420 million years after the Big Bang, so it provides a valuable look into the nature of the early universe. Read More
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Raytheon and Lockheed Martin submit USAF Space Fence construction proposals

By - November 16, 2012 4 Pictures
In response to the rapidly increasing danger from space debris, a new system called the "Space Fence" has been under development. It would replace the 50-year-old Air Force Space Surveillance System (AFSSS) with a system of highly-sensitive phased array S-band tracking radars. Prototype "Space Fence" systems able to detect and track objects ten times smaller than those that can be detected by the AFSSS have been demonstrated by Raytheon and by Lockheed Martin. The USAF will now choose between construction and installation proposals submitted from both companies for building the new US$3.3 billion (est.) Space Fence, to be operational by 2017. Read More
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ISS astronauts control robot on Earth via "interplanetary internet"

By - November 14, 2012 5 Pictures
The internet has changed a great deal of modern society, and now it promises to change space exploration as well. In late October, International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 33 commander Sunita Williams used a NASA-developed laptop aboard the station to control a LEGO Mindstorm robot, located at the European Space Agency (ESA) European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. Using a “space internet,” she was able to control the robot in real time despite being in orbit at an altitude of 230 miles (370 km). Read More
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Cold mirror makes hot astrophotos a snap

By - November 14, 2012 9 Pictures
While nearly everyone enjoys a good astrophoto, the precision with which the astrograph (the telescope taking the photograph) must follow the stars is not widely appreciated. To take a good astrophoto of any but the brightest objects requires following their motion through the sky accurately. There are a number of approaches toward addressing this problem in the digital era. Perhaps the best option has now been enabled by Innovations Foresight's new ON-Axis Guider (ONAG). Read More
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GRIN optical technology could mean better implantable lenses

By - November 13, 2012 3 Pictures
Although many people may think that the lenses in our eyes are just like those found in cameras, there is in fact one key difference between the two – while man-made lenses have just a single index of refraction, meaning that they only bend light in one direction, our natural lenses refract light by varying degrees. This is why artificial implanted lenses, such as those used to treat cataracts, can create visual distortions. A new technology, however, now allows for the fabrication of lenses that work just like the ones in our eyes. Read More
— Science

Hybrid nanomaterial converts light and heat into electricity

By - November 13, 2012 1 Picture
We’ve seen nanomaterials that can be used to convert light into electricity and others that can convert heat into electricity. Now researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington and Louisana Tech University have created a hybrid nanomaterial that can do both. By pairing the material with microchips, the researchers say it could be used in self-powered sensors, low-power electronic devices, and biomedical implants. Read More
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