A couple of months ago, Sandia National Laboratory, in conjunction with Boston Dynamics (they of Big Dog fame) and DARPA, announced the creation of a robot that could jump 25 feet in the air. Designed for use in urban combat, the robot, named the Precision Urban Hopper (PUH), would give special forces troopers their own lightweight, easily deployable ground UAV.
Wasting no time after the publication of the Augustine Report, both NASA and a competitor for the Lunar X-Prize used this week to test lunar exploration technology. For NASA, this meant a Thursday test of the Ares rocket that forms the bedrock of their Shuttle replacement efforts. For Armadillo Airspace, a test of their X-Prize-contending lunar lander prototype.
Nanotechnology, lasers, genetics, and cancer? If there was also something about space, this story might have been a PopSci full house. Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), have figured out a way to deliver cancer-stopping RNA directly into the nucleus of a diseased cell. To get into the nucleus, the RNA is wrapped in special gold nanoshells which are then selectively opened by a laser.
When first-person-shooter video games first hit the market, the computer-controlled bot characters that were deployed in multiplayer matches to fill out the ranks ran around like the Keystone Cops. Now, the bots do a bit better, but not nearly good enough for the people behind the BotPrize.
Hoping that many hands will make lighter work, German energy company Lichtblick has teamed up with Volkswagen on a project to install 100,000 miniature gas power plants in people's homes over the next year.
According to the companies, using more, smaller plants, instead of fewer, larger plants, will allow Germany to move away from nuclear power, and reduce carbon emissions by 60 percent. Together, the 100,000 mini-plants would produce 2,000 megawatts, or as much as two nuclear power plants.
Sure, your iPhone may play games, tell you where to eat, and surf the Internet, but can it tell you what you did the other day and how to do it better? Enter the Polaris phone, a new system designed by the giant mobile phone company KDDI and Japan's Flower Robotics.
After months of research, public hearings, and debate, the NASA Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, also known as the Augustine Committee, has finally submitted its recommendations to the White House.
In a development sure to give Eric Cartman some conflicted feelings, a pair of studies have found that cells taken from freckles or fat cells produce stem cells faster, and with a higher success rate, than more commonly used skin cells.
Currently, scientists create stem cells from regular skin tissue, in a lengthy and inefficient process. Only one in 10,000 skin cells succeeds in transforming into a pluripotent stem cell, and it takes a month for that transformation to occur. Both the fat cell and the freckle cell experiment improve on those numbers.
Forget the Orkin Man; with pests like this, you might need to call Ripley. Scientists have recently discovered two new, giant versions of common pests.
In this corner, hailing from Papua New Guinea and weighing in at a hefty 3.3 pounds comes the the Bosavi woolly rat. And in the other corner, in the bright yellow outfit and representing Malaysia, please welcome Heteropoda davidbowie, "the Spider from Mars."
Imocapimage courtesy Animation Weekly News
Much like puberty and Ramadan, the movie awards season begins earlier and earlier each year. But this year, the nerds get to fire the opening salvo. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (emphasis on the "Sciences") has released its short list of nominees for the Science and Technical Oscars. The list includes some of the best known names in computer animation and special effects, like Pixar and Industrial Light and Magic, as well as some less famous companies that have been quietly changing the process of filmmaking.