Germany’s Festo is no stranger to robots that mimic animal biology, but its new elephant trunk-inspired robot arm is more concerned with the fragility of human physiology than the strength of the elephant. The arm – known as the Bionic Handling Assistant – is certainly strong and flexible like the appendage it’s modeled after, but it’s also safe for humans to work with, employing a battery of resistance sensors that make human-machine interaction less of a safety hazard.
From ancient dragon mythology to the lesser offerings from Samuel L. Jackson’s body of work, mankind has long shown an apprehension toward – one might even say a phobia of – airborne snakes. Perhaps it’s the ability of these flying reptiles to strike fear into even the steeliest of human hearts that has the Pentagon interested in just exactly how these snakes perform their aerial acrobatics.
The problem with most e-paper, as we've come to know it, is that it's not actually anything like paper. Most e-readers like the Amazon Kindle use a glass substrate embedded with complex circuitry to achieve the visual appearance of paper rather than the glow of a computer screen. But a new kind of e-paper under development at the University of Cincinnati could change all that by putting e-ink where it belongs: on e-paper that's actually made out of paper.
The current widely-held theory of life, the universe, and everything holds that at some point roughly 13.7 billion years ago everything that now is was packed into a tight little package from which sprung the Big Bang, which violently hurled everything into existence. But 13.7 billion years to get to where we are isn't enough for renowned physicist Sir Roger Penrose, and now he thinks he can prove that things aren't/weren't quite so simple.
Just as the AK-47 rifle shifted the balance of power on battlefields the world over during the second half of the last century, the improvised explosive device (IED) has defined 21st-century insurgent warfare, allowing relatively low-tech warriors to inflict major damage on better-equipped conventional troops. IEDs have also left some 130,000 U.S. soldiers and marines suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that continue to affect them long after they leave the combat zone.
Forensic scientists have a new tool to help them reconstruct the identities of persons at the scene of crime, at least the kind of crime scene where things got physical. Dutch researchers have devised a method for estimating the age of a suspect or missing person by simply examining blood collected from the scene, even if that blood isn’t particularly fresh.
The "life is persistent" argument is often used to bolster the idea that life exists elsewhere in the universe. While that remains to be seen, the notion certainly keeps proving true here on the home planet. Scientists have found life thriving in near superheated ocean vents, in inhospitable parts of Antarctica, and in the depths of subterranean oil reservoirs.
The Stuxnet worm has generated plenty of commentary from computer industry experts and security pundits, but yesterday the U.S. government’s senior cybersecurity expert at the Department of Homeland Security weighed in, calling the malicious program a “game changer” in cyber warfare. The head of the DHS’s Cybersecurity Center, Sean McGurk, made the statement to the Senate Homeland Security Committee Wednesday.
With all the exoplanet hunting going these days, astronomers have now logged more than 500 planets orbiting other stars in the Milky Way. Detecting planets in other galaxies, however, is still beyond the reach of scientific technology. But researchers have now discovered the next best thing – a planet of extragalactic origins orbiting a star within our galaxy that was deposited there billions of years ago when the Milky Way swallowed up a smaller dwarf galaxy.
The Large Hadron Collider took several years to construct, and it was expected that it would take several more to begin yielding game-changing scientific data. But, to the delight of CERN researchers, that hasn't been the case.