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The SpaceX Grashopper on its most recent test flight

Back in June, SpaceX's Grasshopper reusable VTOL rocket was flown to an altitude of 325 meters (1,066 feet) before landing on its original launch pad. The video of the flight (taken by a hexacopter drone hovering at 325 meters) has now been made available. The purpose of the flight was to test Grasshopper's full navigation sensor suite with the F9-R closed loop control flight algorithms to improve the precision of its landings. Grasshopper is designed to develop and test the technologies needed to return a reusable rocket from space missions. (There is no word on whether the cowboy mannequin was carried along by Grasshopper on this flight.)  Read More

Points is an internet-connected street sign that pulls data from social media and spins 36...

In our increasingly connected world, isn't it about time the humble street sign received a high-tech upgrade? That's certainly the thinking behind Points, the newest project from Breakfast, a New York-based design group. Points is an internet-connected directional sign that pulls data from social media and spins its arms up to 360 degrees to aim in the direction of a location or event.  Read More

The new Ambit2 S and Ambit2 from Suunto

Launched last year, the Suunto Ambit brought a new level of functionality to the GPS watch market. Not only could its GPS keep tabs on your speed, distance and vertical, but it allowed for full navigation functions, routing you in and out of the great outdoors. Suunto has now revealed the second generation of Ambit watches with something for both explorers and athletes.  Read More

3D images taken in daylight from 910 meters away using the new imaging system (Photo: Opti...

Physicists at Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University have created a 3D imaging camera system capable of resolving depth on a millimeter scale at distances of up to one kilometer. Working much like a laser version of radar, the “Time-of-Flight” (ToF) measurement system “pings” a low-powered infrared laser beam off distant objects and records a pixel-by-pixel map using a detector that counts and positions individual photons as they arrive back at the source.  Read More

DARPA's “timing & inertial measurement unit” (TIMU) is a chip-based self-sufficient naviga...

The Global Positioning System (GPS) has proved a boon for those with a bad sense of direction, but the satellite-based system isn’t without its shortcomings. Something as simple as going indoors or entering a tunnel can render the system useless. That might be inconvenient for civilians, but it's potentially disastrous for military users for whom the system was originally built. DARPA is addressing such concerns with the development of a self-sufficient navigation system that can aid navigation when GPS is temporarily unavailable.  Read More

Picasso’s top speed is 175 km/h (109 mph) or 209 km/h (130 mph), dependent on the engine o...

Presented as an amalgamation of the mini-van, station wagon and hatchback, Citroen's new C4 Picasso is 308 lb (140 kg) lighter than its predecessor, thanks to a variety of tricks like an aluminum hood, composite tailgate and other lightweight materials.  Read More

Rapyuta: The RoboEarth Cloud Engine allows robots to perform complex data processing in th...

For the past few years, a consortium of six European research institutes has been collaborating on a project known as RoboEarth. Essentially a “worldwide web for robots,” the idea is that it will allow robots to access a shared online database of each others’ software, thus allowing them to learn how to perform new tasks from one another. The first phase of the project, Rapyuta: The RoboEarth Cloud Engine, is now up and running.  Read More

Tallinn University's Prof. Maarja Kruusmaa inspects one of the FILOSE robotic fish

We’ve already seen several underwater robots that mimic the swimming abilities of fish. The European FILOSE research project, however, is also interested in copying another feature of our finned friends – their lateral line. The result could be swimming robots that use differences in water pressure to navigate and save energy.  Read More

A rendering of a future version of the crash-proof AirBurr, navigating a disaster site

If you’ve ever watched a fly trying to find its way around a house, you might have noticed that it didn’t take a particularly graceful approach – it probably bounced off a lot of windows and walls, until by process of elimination, it found a route that was clear. Well, researchers at Switzerland’s EPFL Laboratory of Intelligent Systems are taking that same approach with the latest version of their autonomous AirBurr UAV – it’s built to run into things, in order to map and navigate its environment.  Read More

North Paw Directional Anklet Kit vibrates to provide a constant reference to magnetic nort...

If your hobbies include using a soldering iron and spending time exploring the great outdoors, then the North Paw Directional Anklet Kit from ThinkGeek may be of interest. It's a self-build vibrating compass which straps to the ankle, allowing the user to always tell which direction magnetic north lies.  Read More

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