The U.K. has launched a national space agency dedicated to coordinating its involvement in civilian spaceflight, with responsibility for overseeing policy and budgets.
The agency, which officially begins work April 1, will negotiate on the U.K.'s behalf with international bodies. In addition, it will take over responsibility for some key U.K. and European space projects, including Galileo, the U.K. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said in a statement Tuesday.
The U.K. Space Agency has been set up to help spur growth in the British space and satellite industry, which employs 68,000 workers … Read more
People are flocking to a new generation of smartphones with rich applications, high-powered Web browsers, and large touch screens. What those products lack, though, is a camera that's equally transformative.
A start-up called InVisage expects to change that for consumers next year with a new approach to digital camera image sensors. Its technology, called QuantumFilm, is four times more efficient at capturing light than traditional silicon-based image sensor chips, meaning the company's sensors will offer either higher sensitivity in low light or more megapixels in resolution.
"With a tiny smartphone 3-megapixel sensor, we could make that a … Read more
The company's implants were not the first artificial retina surgically inserted into human patients, and other studies have shown that implants can help a blind person see light and the outlines of objects, the company acknowledges.
But Retinal Implant's clinical trial, it said, gave all 11 patients the ability to see well enough to read or recognize foreign objects. One patient was so thrilled with the results, … Read more
The Large Hadron Collider has reached its highest power so far, taking CERN closer to its goal of using the particle accelerator to conduct experiments that will discover new physics.
Proton beams at 3.5 tera-electron-volts (TeV) were first circulated in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) early Friday, CERN's director of communications, James Gillies, told ZDNet UK. Reaching that level of intensity in circulating beams is an important landmark, as it will enable physicists to start working toward the target energy of 7 TeV, he added.
"It's great--there's really nothing in our way now to starting … Read more
Despite few options, about one quarter of U.S. consumers surveyed said they are likely to consider a plug-in vehicle on their next auto purchase, according to the Consumer Reports National Survey Center.
Consumer Reports on Thursday published the results of the survey that asked 1,752 adults about their views regarding plug-in electric vehicles. In random phone interviews, 26 percent of people said they are likely to consider a plug-in car when shopping, with 7 percent saying they are very likely to do so.
The survey indicated that consumers were not willing to give up much on performance or … Read more
AUSTIN, Texas--I have seen the future of computing technology in cars, and it's not coming any time soon.
It is coming, though, and when it arrives, it may very well change the way we deal with information while we're driving. But because the auto industry moves at a truly snail's pace when it comes to innovation, it's likely to be at least five years before this vision comes to pass.
My view into this future came from a conversation I had at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) festival with T.J. Giuli, a vehicle software systems engineer in Ford's Infotronics Research and Advanced Engineering division.
Giuli began our conversation with a quick recap of where Ford has taken in-car technology over the last few years, concluding with the fourth, and latest, version of its Sync platform, which is allowing partner companies and developers to access Sync APIs and integrate some smartphone applications with in-dash displays. The idea here, Giuli said, has been to "become more of a part of the human/machine interface."… Read more
Outgoing space station commander Jeffrey Williams and Soyuz commander Maxim Suraev settled to a jarring touchdown in "blizzard-like" conditions in Kazakhstan Thursday after an apparently trouble-free descent from the International Space Station.
Suraev, strapped into the Soyuz descent module's center seat, monitored a computer-controlled 4-minute and 16-second rocket firing at 6:33 a.m. EDT, slowing the ship by about 257 mph to drop it out of orbit.
Just before falling into the discernible atmosphere around 7 a.m., the Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft's three modules separated at an altitude of 87 miles and the central descent … Read more
Prisons separate inmates from society with walls. But the winners of eVolo magazine's 2010 Skyscraper Competition have a very different vision: a prison in the sky where height itself becomes the barrier.
The annual contest recognizes designs that redefine skyscrapers through the use of new technologies, materials, aesthetics, and spatial organization. This year, the contest drew 430 entries from 42 countries.
The Malaysian architecture students who created what they call the Vertical Prison present a futuristic design, to be sure, but it's inspired by current studies showing high levels of post-release offenses that many associate with a lack of prisoner rehabilitation. With resocialization in mind, the designers imagine a kind of parallel prison universe complete with agricultural fields, factories, and recyclable plants. Inmates would work in those ventures to contribute to the host city below, thus maintaining a connection to the world they aim to re-inhabit one day.
Transportation to and from the prison in the sky would take place via various pods--for inmates, prison employees, medical personnel, cargo, and so on. The pods could also provide daily surveillance.
But as envisioned by Chow Khoon Toong, Ong Tien Yee, and Beh Ssi Cze, the Vertical Prison is a fundamentally optimistic place. The modular prison cells would even have openings to reveal life beyond the inhabitants' confined spaces, hopefully inspiring them to want to recapture some of what they have lost while incarcerated.
Second place in the contest went to the Indonesian team that conceived of the Ciliwung Recovery Program, a giant edifice that looks like a cross between a sculpture you'd find outside a modern-art museum and an uber-cool playground climbing structure. Actually, it's a 100 percent sustainable skyscraper that provides housing and office space while collecting garbage from the Ciliwung River river bank in Jakarta and purifying the river's water through a system of mega-filters. … Read more