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Research


— Robotics

RHex robot shows off Parkour moves

By - July 25, 2013 8 Pictures
Parkour is all about hurling yourself quickly and efficiently past whatever obstacles are in your path while maintaining as much momentum as possible. It's a challenge for humans, so how would robots fare? In an effort to push the boundaries of robotic agility, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania decided to find out by teaching their RHex robot some Parkour moves. Read More
— Science

HAARP ionospheric research program set to continue

By - July 24, 2013 13 Pictures
Reports that the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) had been shut down permanently were apparently a bit premature. According to HAARP program manager James Keeney, the facility is only temporarily off the air while operating contractors are changed. So why does anyone care? Despite being associated with various natural disasters over the past two decades by the conspiracy fringe, HAARP is in reality a facility for studying the ionosphere. Let's take a look at the goings on at HAARP – past, present, and future. Read More
— Electronics

"Superman memory crystal" could store hundreds of terabytes indefinitely

By - July 10, 2013 2 Pictures
Recently, there have been advances in the area of digital data storage promising outstanding data density and super-long-term data storage. A new data storage technology developed at the University of Southampton can do both. Due to its similarities to the “memory crystals” used in the Superman films, it has been dubbed the "Superman memory crystal." Read More
— Computers

Flexible sensor could lead to better artificial skin

By - July 9, 2013 2 Pictures
Using gold nanoparticles on top of a PVC substrate, researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have built a new type of cheap, flexible sensor that simultaneously detects pressure, humidity and temperature with surprising accuracy. The sensor could be used to monitor cracks in bridges, create a better artificial skin to benefit amputees, or even to give robots that special "human touch." Read More
— Science

All-optical transistor could be a big leap for quantum computing

By - July 9, 2013 2 Pictures
Researchers at MIT, Harvard and the Vienna University of Technology have developed a proof-of-concept optical switch that can be controlled by a single photon and is the equivalent of a transistor in an electronic circuit. The advance could improve power consumption in standard computers and have important repercussions for the development of an effective quantum computer. Read More
— 3D Printing

Ford creates sheet metal prototypes in hours instead of weeks

By - July 8, 2013 5 Pictures
Stamping sheet metal is an efficient form of manufacturing, capable of cranking hundreds or thousands of items an hour. The annoying thing is that making new stamping dies is a long, costly process. This is bad enough when it comes to retooling a factory, but creating prototypes for new products can leave designers waiting weeks. The Ford Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Michigan has taken a page from the 3D printing handbook and is developing a new way of forming sheet metal that allows designers to create prototypes in hours instead of weeks. Read More
— Environment

Wood nanobattery could be green option for large-scale energy storage

By - July 6, 2013 3 Pictures
Li-ion batteries may be ok for your smartphone, but when it comes to large-scale energy storage, the priorities suddenly shift from compactness and cycling performance (at which Li-ion batteries excel) to low cost and environmental feasibility (in which Li-ion batteries still have much room for improvement). A new "wood battery" could allow the emerging sodium-ion battery technology to fit the bill as a long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly battery for large-scale energy storage. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

New cancer treatment beats chemotherapy without the toxic side effects

By - June 28, 2013 7 Pictures
If a locked door must be opened, explosives can be used, but normally it is better to use a key. The conventional treatments for cancer, surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, have a range of terrible side effects that resemble the use of explosives in search of health. Now a key has been found to treat various forms of leukemia and lymphoma with only very minor side effects. The drug ibrutinib has proven sufficiently safe and effective in early clinical tests by physicians at Ohio State University that it has been given breakthrough drug status by the FDA. Read More
— Electronics

New technology from MIT may enable cheap, color, holographic video displays

By - June 24, 2013 8 Pictures
Researchers at MIT’s Media Lab have developed a new form of holographic projector that may enable the introduction of practical color 3D holographic video displays as well as higher-resolution 2D displays with lower power consumption. The new projector is built using principles of guided wave optics to construct the spatial light modulator (SLM) that is the heart of digital holography. The MIT holographic projector, which contains an SLM costing US$10 to fabricate, provides 3D images at 30 frames per second (fps) with a resolution similar to that of a standard-definition TV. Read More
— Electronics

DARPA program develops world's smallest vacuum pumps with big potential

By - June 23, 2013 8 Pictures
Three DARPA-funded research teams have completed a foundational study of chip-scale vacuum pumps by inventing three very different approaches to removing air from a sample chamber with a volume of one cubic millimeter, which is about one-tenth the volume of a grain of rice. These new technologies will enable many micro-scale devices which require a vacuum or a controlled flow of gas, such as Lab-on-a-Chip sensors, radio frequency MEMS switches and microscopic vacuum tubes. Read More
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