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— Space

Brown dwarf aurora may help characterize distant exoplanets

The discovery of a powerful aurora surrounding a distant failed star may in future aid astronomers in their hunt for habitable planets. The aurora is the first to be discovered around a brown dwarf, known as LSRJ 1835+3259 (LSRJ). It's a type of star that shares many characteristics with known exoplanets, and the technique used to observe the phenomenon could one day be a factor in determining whether a planet could sustain life.

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— Science

Scientists create a "water tractor beam"

If you've ever tried to retrieve an object that's floating away in a lake or the ocean, then you'll know how frustrating it can be, trying to draw that item towards you. According to research recently conducted at The Australian National University (ANU), however, it's possible to move such objects in whichever direction you wish – as long as you can generate the right type of waves. Read More
— Automotive

McLaren's ultrasonic force field to replace windshield wipers

Windshield wipers are life-savers, but also can drive one to distraction with their incessant streaking and chattering. Well, the tyranny of the wipers may soon be over. McLaren Automotive’s chief designer Frank Stephenson told The Sunday Times that the performance motoring company is investigating the use of "ultrasonic force fields" to replace windshield wipers in automobiles. While Stephenson referred to a military source for McLaren's tech, there appears to be very little public information on how such force fields might clean a windshield during a storm, so I'm taking a look at the patent history to see how this might be accomplished. Read More
— Science

Cloaking technology could protect offshore rigs from destructive waves

Recent years have seen much progress in the development of invisibility cloaks which bend light around an object so it can't be seen, but can the same principles be applied to ocean waves that are strong enough to smash steel and concrete? That's the aim of Reza Alam's underwater “invisibility cloak.” The assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, recently outlined how to use variations of density in ocean water to cloak floating objects from dangerous surface waves. Read More
— Marine

WaveJet - a motorized surfboard for big waves

In order to surf those massive walls of salt water known as big waves, brave surfers usually need to get towed in by a personal watercraft (PWC). This presents some logistical problems (i.e. having to bring a buddy along to tow you around all day). The WaveJet gives you the power you need without requiring a large tow-in vehicle or separate person. Read More
— Environment

Using aerospace principles to ride a wave of limitless energy

The ocean is a potentially vast source of electric power, yet wave-energy systems are rare as they generally offer limited efficiency, must withstand battering storms, and need to be tethered to the sea floor. But by applying the principles that keep airplanes aloft, a team of aerospace engineers is creating a new wave energy system that is durable, extremely efficient, and can be placed anywhere on the ocean, regardless of depth. Read More