If you think you can’t motivate the kids to put down the Sega or whatever it is they’re playing with these days, Japanese robotics manufacturer Sakakibara-Kikai would beg to differ. The company that created the Landwalker bi-pedal exoskeleton has created a five-and-a-quarter-foot exoskeleton just for the kiddies that is sure to captivate even the most technophobic youngster, assuming such a thing exists.
Robots are a major part of the cultural fabric of Japan; they’re performing weddings, buying groceries and keeping people company. A team of researchers at the University of Tokyo is taking this robotic cultural immersion a step further — they’re making animal-robot hybrids. Sort of.
China has never been particularly apologetic about its contribution to the looming threat of space debris, but authorities might finally have to offer up some kind of conciliatory “sorry we nearly bombed your village with huge chunks of used rocket.” Last night residents of two separate villages in Jiangxi, China, awoke to very large pieces of the lunar probe Chang’e II’s launch rocket falling back to Earth around them.
A sniper crouches near an open window and zooms in on his target, who sits a half-mile away. He peers through a scope and holds his breath, preparing to squeeze the trigger. But it’s windy outside, and he can't afford a miss. What to do?
Google filled in some of Street View's gaps today, and with the addition of Antarctica, is now able to claim Street View's availability on all seven continents. Why it took Google as long to add Brazil and Ireland as it did the frigid giant ice-float that is Antarctica, we have no idea. But now you can get the real extremes, whether it's tropical heat in Brazil, subzero temperatures in Antarctica's Half Moon Island, or, um, bogs in Ireland.
Typhoons threaten the western Pacific relentlessly year-round, dogging coastal cities along the eastern coast of Asia and sometimes unleashing devastating power that can cost human lives. But even as Taiwan and China clean up after Typhoon Fanapi flooded streets and claimed a handful of lives earlier this month, a Japanese company has patented a scheme that uses submarines to downgrade the force of typhoons as they threaten to make landfall.
A pair of Russian aerospace companies have announced plans to launch the first commercial space station, in 2015 or perhaps 2016. The station will have room for up to seven astronauts, scientists, and wealthy citizens to perform experiments or just take in the scenery. Meanwhile, U.S.
As Congress adjourns there’s still plenty left for them to argue about, but NASA’s mission going forward isn’t one of them. The House of Representatives passed a NASA authorization bill late last night, outlining the budget – $19 billion in 2011 and $58 billion through 2013 – and goals for the space agency going forward. On deck: increased commercial space investment, a new heavy-lift rocket, and a focus on future deep space missions to an asteroid or even Mars.
A couple of math geeks recently calculated that the discovery of the first "habitable" exoplanet would be announced in May of next year -- but a few stargazers from UC Santa Cruz and their colleagues simply couldn't wait that long. In a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal, the astronomers report the discovery of what may be the first truly habitable earth-like exoplanet orbiting the nearby red dwarf star Gliese 581.