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."
The European Extremely Large Telescope -- the European Southern Observatory's successor to its Very Large Telescope, which will be the world's largest optical telescope when it is built -- finally has a home. The ESO will build its mega-observatory atop Cerro Armazones, a 10,000-foot-high mountain in Chile's Atacama desert, and about 12 miles from the Very Large Telescope.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a crucial diagnostic tool and an all-around cool technology that creates three-dimensional views of living tissues without being invasive or harming living tissues. But MRI is also limited; while telescopes see further and further into the cosmos and microscopes see smaller and smaller bodies, MRI can only go so small. But now, by blending atomic force microscopy with MRI's 3-D capabilities, MIT researchers are making a 3-D microscope 100 times more powerful than hospital MRI machines.
After lots of talk and testing, Japanese researchers are ready to go space sailing. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced its intention to launch its first "space yacht" propelled by solar sails into the heavens on May 18. Ikaros -- the Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun -- will cruise through the solar system powered by solar particles that bounce of its giant, ultra-thin sails.