How many nuclear centrifuges does Iran have? That's academic. Always showing off its tech might, the Islamic republic now has a bipedal robot that can walk around like a person, albeit at sub-human speeds. It's the latest volley in the humanoid arms race pushing us all toward the Singularity.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad showed off the terrifying humanoid at an event over the weekend marking Iranian industrial prowess. A state-run newspaper report said the automaton is designed for work in "sensitive jobs" but did not elaborate.
No, I didn't begin my Independence Day celebrations a week ago. Please, bear with me a little. We'll get to Daytona shortly.
You see, the Associated Press has offered the information that the National Federation of the Blind and Virginia Tech University have come together to develop technology that will allow blind people to get behind the wheel of a car and go wherever they like.
2011 should see the debut of a prototype vehicle equipped with "nonvisual interfaces." This technology transmits information to blind drivers about … Read more
MOSCOW/WASHINGTON--His face wracked by age and his voice rasping after decades of chain-smoking coarse tobacco, the former longtime Russian minister of nuclear energy and veteran Soviet physicist Viktor Mikhailov knows just how to fix BP's oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.
"A nuclear explosion over the leak," he says, nonchalantly puffing a cigarette as he sits in a conference room at the Institute of Strategic Stability, where he is a director. "I don't know what BP is waiting for, they are wasting their time. Only about 10 kilotons of nuclear explosion capacity and … Read more
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla.--The automated approach of an unmanned Russian Progress supply ship to the International Space Station was aborted Friday when telemetry between the spacecraft and the Russian command module was lost during final approach.
The Progress 38 cargo ship flew safely past the lab complex and the station's six-member crew was not in any apparent danger. But Russian flight controllers were unable to immediately resolve the problem.
Amid ongoing troubleshooting, the Russians plan to carry out two Progress rocket firings overnight Friday and one on Saturday, setting up a second docking attempt around 12:17 p.… Read more
IBM is looking to help genome experts further their research by providing a cloud where they can better share information with their colleagues.
IBM and the University of Missouri announced Friday a new initiative to develop a cloud-computing environment where universities and medical professionals could work together on genome research on a large-scale, regional basis.
Tapping into Big Blue's high-performance computers, the joint IBM-Missouri cloud would let researchers share their findings and discoveries with each other more quickly and efficiently than they do now. Such an advancement would push the university's current bioinformatics research even further, potentially improving … Read more
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla.--After assessing payload-processing issues and projected traffic to and from the International Space Station, NASA managers on Thursday formally retargeted the program's final two missions for launches November 1 and February 26.
The shuttle Discovery, which had been scheduled for launch September 16 on mission STS-133, is now targeted for liftoff at 4:33 p.m. EDT on November 1. The primary goals of the two-spacewalk mission are to deliver spare parts and supplies, along with a modified cargo transfer module that will be permanently attached to the station to provide additional storage space.
This 4th of July weekend, you might, either at its beginning or its end, find yourself wishing your car could fly.
Thanks to a new FAA decision, this wish might seem slightly less Peter Pan and slightly more Peter Perfect.
It seems that the soaring minds behind the Terrafugia Transition have secured a remarkable weight exemption from the FAA, allowing it to carry such vital necessities as crumple zones, airbags, and a structural cage on its revolutionary flying car.
No, the airbags won't help much in the air. But road safety is just as vital for this dual-purpose flying … Read more
Even origami--that centuries-old art of folding paper into delicate shapes--isn't safe from the cold, metal hand of robotics. Thanks to scientists at Harvard and MIT, programmable electronic sheets can now fold themselves into a cute little boat or plane that virtually any origami aficionado could appreciate.
Why would the brilliant minds at two of the nation's top universities concern themselves with the likes of origami? The technology behind the self-folding sheets, they say, could lead to all sorts of shape-shifting devices, including "smart" cups that adjust themselves based on the amount of liquid needed, or Swiss Army knife-type devices that could transform themselves into tools like wrenches and tripods.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) helped fund the research, which suggests the multitasking material could hold promise for military applications where space--and free hands--are limited.
The researchers, who detail their work this week in an online issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, constructed the thin and flexible sheets from a composite of rigid tiles and elastomer joints.
Their material, which they call "programmable matter by folding," is studded with thin foil actuators. The sheets are made up of interconnected triangular sections with universal crease patterns; triggering the right actuator groups in sequence leads the sheets to fold themselves into a given shape. … Read more
This is Oscar. The cute little feline from Jersey in the U.K. had an accident about nine months ago when a combine harvester ran him over while he napped in a field, severing the bottom part of his two back legs.
But Oscar is plucky. His local vet, Peter Haworth, consulted another vet, Noel Fitzpatrick of Surrey, England, who has an advanced practice. They discussed Oscar's case via phone and e-mail, and after viewing X-rays and photos, they reasoned that Oscar was a good candidate for a cutting-edge new procedure Fitzpatrick had been developing: bionic cat legs.