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Biology

Sensor to detect Earth’s magnetic field discovered in an animal for very first time

It has been a long-held belief in scientific circles that many creatures navigate across land, through water, and through the skies using the Earth’s magnetic field for guidance. Now scientists and engineers working at The University of Texas at Austin (UT) have finally discovered the organic mechanism responsible for this in an animal. Looking just like a microscopic TV antenna, the structure has been found in the brain of a tiny roundworm that uses it to work out which way to burrow through the soil. This breakthrough may help scientists discover how other species with internal compasses use the magnetic field of our planet to pilot their course.Read More

Space

NASA to test atomic clock to keep space missions on time

If you thought the Apple watch was something to write home about, take a look at NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC). This miniaturized, ultra-precise mercury-ion atomic clock is described by the space agency as "orders of magnitude more stable than today's best navigational clocks," and is smaller and more accurate than any that's been previously sent into space. In 2016, it will fly on a test mission to demonstrate a technology that NASA sees as key to a number of high-priority Earth-orbit and deep space missions.Read More

Science

Blind rats navigate maze using implanted compass

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have successfully used geomagnetic compasses to help blind rats navigate with a similar level of success to their fully-sighted counterparts. The team believes that the technology may be useful in helping blind people move around more freely. Read More

Space

Precision planetary lander technology tested by NASA

In anticipation of more ambitious planetary missions, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, in collaboration with Masten Space Systems in Mojave, California, has recently been testing new landing technologies using an Autonomous Descent and Ascent Powered-flight Testbed (ADAPT). Aimed at developing new systems for landing on Mars and other planets with much greater precision, a new imaging landing system and algorithm were tested using the demonstration vehicle on two successful flights.Read More

Drones

Insect-inspired eye may allow drones to navigate their environment more naturally

Most modern aircraft, cruise missiles, spacecraft – in fact, almost all flying vehicles – use an accelerometer for flight stabilization. Living creatures that fly, on the other hand, rely on their own innate sense of balance determined by environmental observation and inbuilt organ-based systems. Now French researchers have designed a bio-inspired, sight-based system that could be used in conjunction with accelerometers to vastly increase the autonomous capabilities of drones by endowing them with more natural flying abilities. Read More

Automotive

Porsche offering retrofit navigation system for classic cars

As cars become more sophisticated, drivers have been able to say farewell to many of the challenges that driving used to hold – from power steering to sat-nav, cars are making it easier than ever to get from A to B. Porsche has decided that owners of its classic cars deserve some of this high-tech help, and has designed a sat-nav system to fit into the dash of cars dating back to the 1960's. Read More

Drones

Quick look: Parrot drones and 'phones, screens and greens

Though it was surrounded by an absolute ocean of cool technology at the greater Consumer Electronics Show, French electronics manufacturer Parrot managed to stand out with the diversity and breadth of its booth. It showcased the latest drones, aftermarket vehicle infotainment systems, wireless sport-tracking headphones, and even a smart flower pot. Step through the door and experience Parrot's latest, most innovative products for yourself. Read More

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