Japan's robot love is set to go out of this world with a plan to put a bipedal robot on the moon by 2015. Yet the bipedal robot's main mission seems curiously lacking in ambition – it's tasked only with planting the Japanese flag on the lunar surface, according to CrunchGear.
America may have taken her first steps in what is sure to be a long, incremental, and sometimes painful shift toward a large-scale clean energy future. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar finally approved the Cape Wind project today, allowing for the construction of 130 turbines at Horseshoe Shoal south of Cape Cod.
The project will be the first major offshore wind project backed by the federal government, and if successful it might not be the last. Salazar said today that Cape Wind is only the first of many wind projects that will dot the Atlantic coast, piping carbon-free electricity back to shore for use in public power grids.
It's one thing to tell someone how you feel, but seeing is believing. So their inability to see the face and body language of other people can potentially leave visually impaired people working with a communication deficit. A novel thesis project at Umeå University in Sweden has created a sort of Braille codification for emotions using a tactile display and a Web cam to allow blind people to "see" emotion as they are displayed on a subject's face.
Micro-supercapacitors could enable future geeks to go longer without recharging their smartphones or computers. Researchers have developed a way to build the energy-storing supercapacitors by using microfabrication methods similar to those which create microchips for electronic devices, according to ScienceDaily.
Touchscreens can start polishing their resumes now, because a touchless future is drawing closer for the next generation of smartphones. The ever-industrious Ishikawa Komuro Laboratory in Tokyo has enabled mobile devices to touchlessly recognize movements and gestures from user's fingers, according to Geek.com.
Have a good idea that you've been dying to test in zero gravity? NASA is opening up a few spots on the International Space Station for research ideas from private entities, providing some of its prized zero-gravity research real estate to ideas from commercial firms, non-profits, and academic institutions as well as federal, state and local governments.
A group of undergraduate and graduate students at the Virginia Tech College of Engineering's Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa) have unveiled CHARLI, which they are calling the first full-sized, walking, untethered, humanoid robot, complete with four moving limbs and a head, to be built in the United States. While walking robots are nothing new, this one's humanoid counterparts, such as Petman and Honda's Asimo, are apparently disqualified for lack of height, autonomy, and nation of origin.
We can't verify the specs of every humanoid robot in every garage out there, so for now, we'll accept the university's claim that their machine is the first of its kind.
U.S. armed forces have been using video games to train troops for years, but the Office of the SecDef wants something way cooler than the combat simulators of yore. The OSD is soliciting proposals for a new kind of immersive training video that really gets inside troops' heads, using EEG, eye tracking, voice pattern recognition, and physiological indicators like heart rate and respiration, to help soldiers learn good decision-making skills in high-pressure environments.
All of us who needed glasses as kids know that nothing frustrates learning more than being unable to read the blackboard. California-based designer Yves Béhar, of One Laptop Per Child fame, has partnered with the Mexican government to create a program that will supply 400,000 free pairs of glasses a year to children in need.
The program, called See Well to Learn Better, follows Béhar's philosophy that "design should continue to make a difference beyond the commercial world."