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Rescue

Marine

Radical new icebreaker will travel through the ice sideways

Given that icebreakers clear a path for other ships by traveling through the ice head-on (or sometimes butt-on), then in order for one of them to clear a wider path, it would have to be wider and thus larger overall ... right? Well, Finland’s Arctech Helsinki Shipyard is taking a different, more efficient approach. It’s in the process of building an asymmetric-hulled icebreaker that can increase its frontal area, by making its way through the ice at an angle of up to 30 degrees.Read More

Robotics

DARPA's ATLAS humanoid robot gears up for disaster response

DARPA has revealed the completed ATLAS humanoid robot, which is to star in the upcoming DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) – and it cuts a striking figure. Designed by Boston Dynamics (the guys behind the BigDog, Cheetah, and LS3 quadrupeds), it's being given to the top teams that recently competed in the Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC). Now those teams have less than six months to fine tune their software with the real robot before they face the first of two live challenges.Read More

Automotive

Mercedes-Benz plans to use QR codes to save lives

Open a magazine, go to a shop, get handed a business card or look at a flyer and the odds are pretty good these days that you’ll be staring at a QR code. Those boxy little patterns turn any bit of paper into an interactive medium that, with a quick scan of a smartphone, will unleash all sorts of information, but can they save lives? Mercedes-Benz believes that they can and plans to use QR codes on all its future cars to help rescuers reach victims quickly and safely.Read More

Drones

Canadian police save a man's life, using a drone

While we hear a lot about the ways in which hovering aerial drones can potentially be used to violate peoples’ privacy, it’s always nice to know that they can help us, too. That was the case last Thursday (May 9th), when RCMP from the Canadian city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan used a remotely-operated quadcopter to locate the victim of a single-vehicle rollover, which occurred in the countryside at near-freezing temperatures. Read More

Science

Scientists remotely control live turtles

Last year, much to the delight of squeamish people everywhere, scientists were successfully able to remotely control the paths traveled by live cockroaches. They did so by wirelessly stimulating the insects’ antennae and cerci sensory organs. Now, a group of scientists from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have reported success in controlling the paths of walking turtles. Fortunately for the reptiles, the KAIST researchers’ methods were considerably less invasive than those used on the cockroaches. Read More

Robotics

Pars aerial robot delivers a payload of life preservers to drowning victims

If current technology trends are any indication, it's possible that human lifeguards could be replaced by robots in the future. So far, we've seen a remote-controlled rescue buoy and a salamander-like bot that travels on both water and land, among many others. Rather than having to cut through rough water to get to folks in trouble like many search and rescue robot designs, an Iranian research center proposes a quadcopter called Pars that launches from a floating platform and drops life preservers precisely where they're needed.Read More

Marine

Kymera powered body board set to make crowdfunding splash

When we last checked in with Jason Woods, he’d electrified his Kymera powered body board and was aiming for a 2013 release and US$5,000 retail price. To finally get the Kymera in the hands – or under the bodies – of consumers, Woods has now decided to go the crowdfunding route. The good news is that, if the campaign proves successful, supporters should be able to enjoy their boards this year, and for as little as $2,500.Read More

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