Dogs and robots are both known for their search and rescue abilities, but each has its own flaws. Robots can’t sniff, and other than barking, dogs can’t relay specific information about survivors. But put them together and you’ve really got something.
Sometimes the whole is more than the sum of its parts, and the U.S. Army is about to find out if they can create some amazing ISR synthesis by combining two pieces of bleeding-edge technology from its own stores: Boeing’s A160 Hummingbird unmanned helo and ARGUS--the Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System. Together, the duo will reportedly be able to collect 80 years’ worth of HD video each and every day.
One of the most fun Kinect hacks we’ve seen in a while gives the idea of motion capture a whole new meaning. Behold the Board of Awesomeness, an all-terrain motorized longboard wired to a Kinect and a Samsung tablet running Windows 8. To roll ahead, the rider simply pushes his hand forward.
I just stopped by MakerBot's far-flung booth somewhere in the back caverns of CES (I believe it may technically be in Arizona) to check out their new Replicator 3-D printer. Check out the video below--pretty sure that's a bust of Stephen Colbert being slowly brought to life with swirling circles of molten plastic.
Water and personal electronics are probably the two most essential elements in this modern life, yet the two don’t get along very well at all. Drop your Blackberry in the drink--or even simply spill your coffee on it--and often enough that’s the end of your device. A California-based company called Liquipel feels your pain, and has devised a clever nanotech solution to the water-meets-brand-new-iPhone problem via a thin, clear coating that causes water to wick right off the guts of your gadgets.
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati performed an experiment on a type of the widespread and unnerving wolf spider that shows that these invertebrates may be much more complex than we give them credit for. The spiders were capable of observing, remembering, and mimicking mating dances, just like cast members on Jersey Shore.
Holographic video is sort of the holy grail of video display technology right now. Stereoscopic 3-D is fine and everything, but it basically works by tricking the brain into seeing that 3-D depth via two offset 2-D images--hence the occasional headaches associated with current commercial 3-D displays. Holographic video, by contrast, creates images that are really three-dimensional, no glasses or headaches required.
Roku, makers of, you know, the Roku, introduced a new product this morning, to be called the Streaming Stick. It's a teeny little device that looks mostly like a Roku-branded USB flash drive, but instead of a USB plug, it has a particular kind of HDMI plug. You plug it right into your HDTV's HDMI port, and, theoretically, you have a brand-new connected TV that you can even control with your regular remote.
Telepresence is cool, but it’s currently not very versatile and--at least if you’re going the commercial telepresence robot route--pretty expensive. For a princely sum, you can remotely putter around a faraway office or home and communicate with people there via a computer terminal. Outside of that, the technology has yet to break down any serious walls. That is, until software engineer Taylor Veltrop devised a way to brush his cat remotely via a robotic avatar, spearheading what could be the biggest revolution in cat-grooming technology since that kitty brush that you wear like a glove.
For animals and animal-inspired machines, launching into flight takes lots of energy. Some animals have evolved to achieve air not by accelerating and lifting off, but by jumping and then using their wings or flaps of skin to glide — like sugar gliders, for instance, or grasshoppers. Now a new Swiss robot can do this, too.
Now is the time of year when pomegranates are at their sweetest and juiciest. This video celebrates the season in one of our favorite ways: by tossing a pomegranate into our Vitamix blender and filming the vegetarian carnage in ultra-slow motion with the Phantom supercamera.
The Vitamix blender again. In this ultra-slow-motion video, we visualize the violent but beautiful vortex it creates by floating a layer of red oil on a quart of water. Stare deep, deep into the vortex.
That time is upon us. The science and technology of 2011 have been terrifically exciting, but the year is winding down. Here at PopSci, we're strapping on our jetpacks to go spend time with our nuclear families.
In this video, we kick off the festivities with a Phantom ultra-slow-motion camera and a hyper-powerful Vitamix blender.
Attentive followers of dentistry developments that we are, we've been following the story of the plasma brush for awhile now. And it seems like it's making some serious progress: human clinical trials are supposed to begin in early 2012, and there's also a video (below) of the World's Bravest Dentist shooting a plasma beam into his own mouth.
Over the weekend, faced with the dreaded Yellow Light of Death, I ripped apart a PlayStation 3 and blasted it with a 500-degree heat gun to re-flow the GPU and CPU. It was pretty fun and it worked, much to the delight of the member of my household who was this close to finishing “Batman: Arkham City.” Next time, this new self-healing circuit compound could make our work unnecessary.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.