Cambodian children grow up in a nation where millions of landmines left by decades of civil war have continued to cripple and kill hundreds of people each year. Now they could get a life-saving lesson from a video game developed by Michigan State University researchers.
In the game, players navigate photos of Cambodian jungle landscapes in search of photos for several adorable cartoon pets -- no cartoon landmine characters here. The point of the maze-like game is to train players and embed warning signals about landmines in their minds.
Mating a rocket with a helicopter sounds improbable, but only until you watch the Dragonfly DF1 take to the skies. DVICE reports that the rocket-powered copter received airworthiness certificates last November, and may go on sale as early as this year.
The copter makes use of tiny hydrogen-peroxide-powered rocket motors on the tips of the blades, which replaces the traditional engine-powered rotor. Large fuel tanks surrounding the pilot allow the Dragonfly to travel at up to 40 mph for 50 minutes.
Lithium-ion batteries used in hybrid cars, laptops and cell phones have occasionally undergone recalls and false scares concerning the possibility of exploding. Stanford University scientists have created lithium-sulfide electrodes that could create batteries that last four times longer and avoid any risk of possible explosions, Technology Review reports.
Springtime on Mars means the thaw of carbon dioxide ice in the northern hemisphere. And when the dry ice goes, the party's over for any trapped debris that then goes tumbling down Martian cliffs in spectacular images such as this.
Human skin is apparently a very energy-efficient conduit for transmitting data. A recent experiment achieved a rate of 10 megabits per second, which may put my Internet connection to shame. The experiment used small, flexible electrodes and took place at Korea University in Seoul, New Scientist reports.
Solar storms could wreak havoc on satellites and power grids, and so scientists have humbly turned to netizens across the world to help watch our sun for possible signs of such storms. Anyone who can spare some time from YouTube and Facebook also gets to peer at nifty 3-D images of the sun, according to BBC.
Piezoelectric materials that create energy when flexed might go beyond recharging our smart phones and help make hydrogen fuel. Scientists have harnessed piezoelectric energy from nanocrystal fibers to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas.
"This is a new phenomenon, converting mechanical energy directly to chemical energy," said Huifang Xu, a geologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He and his colleagues have dubbed it the piezoelectrochemical (PZEC) effect.
Tiny manufacturing flaws on the atomic level might cause most companies to throw up their hands, but MIT-spinoff Verayo saw them as the key to creating the perfect anti-counterfeiting tags for everything from Walmart DVD shipments to futuristic passports. The company's radio frequency identification (RFID) tags rely upon no two chip being exactly alike on the atomic level, Technology Review reports.
Here's one genius computer program you might consider pushing virally for science's sake. The "Quake Catchers" program aims to make earthquake detection a lot easier and cheaper by taking advantage of accelerometers built into MacBooks and other newer laptops, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Our solar system's 'hood may get a bit rougher sometime during the next 1.5 million years. An astronomer has given an 86 percent chance for a neighboring star to smash into the frozen Oort Cloud surrounding the outskirts of the solar system, and may scatter some comets toward Earth, Technology Review reports.