As the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan continues to leak radiation, engineers at MIT are devising a robot that could help limit contamination from nuclear facilities in the U.S.
The egg-size device, described in this paper for ICRA 2011 earlier this year, is being developed by MIT's Harry Asada and others.
The robot would swim through pipes, capturing images and checking for corrosion that could lead to contaminated groundwater. It's spherical without appendages so it doesn't snag on reactor plumbing parts.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla.--By the light of a waning moon, the shuttle Atlantis fell back to Earth this morning, dropping out of predawn darkness to close out NASA's 135th and final shuttle voyage, a long-awaited--and long-dreaded--milestone marking the end of an era for American manned space flight.
Coming home to a future clouded by tight budgets and uncertain political support, commander Christopher Ferguson guided Atlantis through a sweeping left overhead turn and lined up on runway 15, quickly descending into the glare of powerful xenon spotlights.
Approaching the 3-mile-long runway, Ferguson pulled the shuttle's nose up in … Read more
Electric motorcycles have been around for a while, but most of them look like glorified dirt bikes where styling takes a backseat to function.
The upcoming Orphiro electric motorcycle is pretty, oh so pretty. Rounded lines, spoke wheels, sliver paint, and bronze accents harken back to the days when motorcycles were gorgeous creatures, long before the Honda Gold Wing came around.
What's missing is the big chrome gas engine. The Dutch-designed, fully electric Orphiro has a range of 60 miles and a top speed of 75 miles per hour. This is definitely meant for laid-back cruising on scenic roads (near an electrical outlet).
The bike is expected to launch this fall, but the official price tag hasn't been announced. Don't expect to find one at your local Harley dealer. Production will be very limited.
Just as the Tesla Roadster brought glamor to electric cars, the Orphiro is bringing class and slick styling to electric motorcycles. That makes this creation a shoe-in for celebrity buyers from Hollywood. You get both a rebel image and an environmentally conscious glow at the same time.… Read more
One is the Robo TAP Cleaner by Gyu-Ha Choi of Handong Global University in South Korea. This design improves upon automatic vacuums like Roomba by giving users more hands-on (well, make that feet-on) control.
Robo TAP makes use of an indoor positioning system as it follows its own route to vacuum household floors. But when you want it to pay attention to a particularly dirty spot, you just tap your foot twice to summon it. … Read more
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla.--After 37 space station assembly flights over the past 12 and a half years, the shuttle Atlantis undocked from the lab complex for the final time today in a long-awaited milestone that marks the beginning of the end for NASA's last shuttle mission.
With pilot Douglas "Chunky" Hurley at the controls, Atlantis pulled away from the station's forward docking port at 2:28 a.m. EDT as the two spacecraft sailed through orbital darkness 243 miles above the Pacific Ocean east of Christchurch, New Zealand.
"Physical separation, Houston," commander Christopher … Read more
Drug companies have long used plants to produce pharmaceuticals--and tobacco plants, perhaps ironically, have been explored for their potential role in fighting such things as cancer, cavities, scorpion venom, and more.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla.--In the dwindling hours of the shuttle program's last visit to the International Space Station, the Atlantis astronauts detached a bus-size cargo module from the space station today and mounted it in the shuttle's payload bay, wrapping up NASA's final shuttle station resupply mission.
The astronauts then gathered for a brief farewell to the lab crew before moving back aboard Atlantis to rig the ship for undocking early Tuesday. Landing at the Kennedy Space Center is targeted for 5:57 a.m. EDT Thursday.
The Falcon Heavy rocket from SpaceX will soon have a launch site.
The company--better known as SpaceX than by its official name, Space Exploration Technologies--announced earlier this week that it has broken ground in Southern California at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, which is a Department of Defense space launch and missile testing site.
SpaceX has high hopes for the Falcon Heavy, which will be used by NASA to bring cargo to the International Space Station.The rocket is the first to break the $1,000-per-pound-to-orbit barrier, a feat that many in the space industry thought wouldn't happen for … Read more
What if, instead of waiting a few weeks for your dentist to produce a cast for dental implants or replacement crowns, your jaw was scanned and, during that same dentist's visit, you were able to pull a perfect polymer shape out of a 3D printer and be on your merry way?
While the process could be prohibitively expensive for years to come, it turns out that 3D printing, coupled with the comparatively affordable cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT), may ultimately revolutionize prosthetic dentistry.
The tech, called rapid prototyping, uses a 3D image to control a laser that cures powdered or liquid polymer into highly complex shapes. In fact, Hossein Kheirollahi of the Imam Hossein University and Farid Abbaszadeh of the Islamic Azad University say this technology can produce just about any solid, porous, or complicated shape.
While the Iranian team has been able to demonstrate the use of rapid prototyping in developing dental objects quickly, we're likely at least a few years out from actual commercial development.
Below, watch tool replication via 3D printing:… Read more
Grammy Award winner Imogen Heap has a firm grasp on her music. In fact, she's able to perform it with little more than her own hands and one awesome set of gloves.
At a TEDGlobal 2011 event in Edinburgh, Scotland, Heap debuted the "magical musical gloves," which allow her to control music through gestures, in a four-minute performance. The system is connected wirelessly to a laptop that does the actual audio processing.
"The gloves comprise a high-tech musical instrument that enables artists to manipulate multilayered recordings of vocals, acoustic, and virtual instruments live on-stage," says Tom Mitchell of the University of the West of England, who developed the gloves with Heap in mind. "It takes improvisation to a new level and frees the artist from interactions with electronic equipment on-stage."… Read more