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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 1

Night vision eye drops give you 50m of night vision in the dark

Science for the Masses, an independent "citizen science" organization has theorised that Chlorin e6 (Ce6), a natural molecule that can be created from algae and other green plants, can be used to create an eye drop that would give wearers amplified eyesight in dark environments.

 

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This molecule is found in some deep sea fish, and forms the basis of some cancer therapies, and has been used in previously prescribed intravenously for night blindness. The lab's medical officer, Jeff Tibbets, said: "There are a fair amount of papers talking about having injected it in models like rats and it's been used intravenously since the 60s as treatments for different cancers. After doing the research, you have to take the next step".

 

After that, the scientists had to moisten the eyes of biochemical researcher Gabriel Licina, with 50 microliters of Ce6. The effect was reportedly almost instantanous, and after an hour, Licina could distinguish shapes from 10m (32 feet) away in the dark, and after a little while longer, even further distances. Licina said: "We had people go stand in the woods. At 50 metres, I could figure who they were, even if they were standing up against a tree".

Continue reading 'Night vision eye drops give you 50m of night vision in the dark' (full post)

Google teams up with Johnson & Johnson to research surgical robots

Google has partnered with Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon medical device company to help develop advanced surgical robotics technology for surgeons, patients and health care providers. Increased collaboration could also mean better information delivery for surgeons and medical practitioners during surgeries.

 

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Both companies look to create a robotic-assisted surgical platform that is able to utilize advanced technologies, making surgeries more efficient for surgeons - and hopefully safer for medical patients.

 

"For more than 60 years, Ethicon has developed products and technologies that have transformed the way surgery is done," said Gary Pruden, Worldwide Chairman of the global surgery group at Johnson & Johnson. "This collaboration with Google is another important step in our commitment to advancing surgical care, and together, we aim to put the best science, technology and surgical know-how in the hands of medical teams around the world."

Continue reading 'Google teams up with Johnson & Johnson to research surgical robots' (full post)

Russia announces plans to create new space station with NASA, others

Russia said it will work with NASA and other partner space programs to develop a next-generation space station, after the International Space Station (ISS) is retired in 2024. It's possible the ISS could be utilized for additional time past 2024, but decisions will be made on projects underway close to the deadline.

 

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The announcement was made alongside NASA administrator Charles Bolden at a Russian launchpad in Kazakhstan.

 

"Roscosmos together with NASA will work on the program of a future orbital station," said Igor Komarov, head of the Roscosmos space agency, told Interfax. "We agreed that the group of countries taking part in the ISS project will work on the future project of a new orbital station."

Continue reading 'Russia announces plans to create new space station with NASA, others' (full post)

The F-35 JSF continues to destroy taxpayer dollars at alarming rate

The escalating cost of the already expensive F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) increased $4.3 billion in 2014 alone - as the project already racked up more than $113 billion than original expected costs, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) discovered.

 

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The US Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy all will have F-35 aircraft designed to one day replace legacy fighter jets. However, the F-35 designed for the USMC won't be operational until this summer, if all goes according to plan, while the Navy won't receive aircraft until 2018.

 

"Affordability is our number one priority, making the F-35 affordable... there's been a lot of improvements and a lot of changes," said Joe DellaVedova, Pentagon F-35 program spokesperson, when asked by ABC News regarding major cost issues. "We have done a lot to reduce the cost of the program... it is going to be able to deliver on the capabilities that the warfighter is going to need."

Continue reading 'The F-35 JSF continues to destroy taxpayer dollars at alarming rate' (full post)

Report: DARPA working on better alternative to GPS technology

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is known for sometimes outlandish project ideas, is reportedly very interested in developing an alternative to GPS. The US government wants a more dependable real-time position tracking technology, seeking something that is unable to be jammed and won't have blind spots.

 

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The new system will be able to track position more effectively, along with increased time and direction of motion. To contribute, DARPA is working on new self-calibrating gyroscopes, accelerometers, and high-precision clocks - and wants to create real-time tracking technologies.

 

"The need to be able to operate effectively in areas where GPS is inaccessible, unreliable or potentially denied by adversaries has created a demand for alternative precision timing and navigation capabilities," DARPA has noted.

Elon Musk on AI: they would treat us like 'pet Labradors'

We've heard Elon Musk talk about artificial intelligence before, with not-so-great things to say, and he is back saying that when AI gets to the point of being smarter than people, they will treat us like 'pet Labradors'.

 

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The quote is coming out of a recent interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, where Musk was warning the world on superintelligence. According to author Nick Bostrom, superintelligence is "any intellect that greatly exceed the cognitive performance of humans in virtually all domains of interest". Musk said to Tyson: "I mean, we won't be like a pet Labrador if we're lucky".

 

Tyson and Musk had a great back-and-forth talk about superintelligence, where Tyson continued saying "we'll be their pets", with Musk replying that "it's like the friendliest creature". Tyson replied with "no, they'll domesticate us", with Musk agreeing, but adding "Yes. Or something strange is going to happen" to which Tyson replied "they'll keep the docile humans and get rid of the violent ones". Musk agreed, saying "yeah" while Tyson added "and then breed the docile humans".

Drones are being enjoyed by Hollywood, filming unique shots

Drones are being embraced by Hollywood directors, as the small unmanned aircraft are able to capture photographs and video footage from unique angles. Drones also are being tasked with live news footage, as they can be rapidly deployed and are relatively inexpensive.

 

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However, there is some concern related to drone safety due to the ease in which drones can be utilized - experience isn't really a necessity before flying a drone. It can become even more dangerous on a film set, which tend to be high-pressure and fast-moving.

 

"Whenever you have a tool at your disposal that allows you to tell the story more efficiently and more poignantly, you use it," said Pieter Jan Brugge, executive producer of "Bosch," in a statement published by the Wall Street Journal. "The shot tells the story."

Continue reading 'Drones are being enjoyed by Hollywood, filming unique shots' (full post)

US government wasting plenty of money on drones, with little oversight

The US government and military are spending large amounts of money for drones, maintenance, and drone flights - and not all of it is being done with proper oversight.

 

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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) racked up almost $600,000 to purchase six drones, but none of them actually saw any real flight time. There were too many technical issues regarding flight time and maneuverability, according to a federal report by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

 

The ATF decided to just scrap its drone program altogether because of the logistical headaches, and a short time later, the National Response Team - an ATF unit - invested $15,000 in five small drones - with no proper oversight. Not only did the National Response Team neglect to get ATF approval, the small unit never bothered to gain approval for a drone flight by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Facebook developing solar drones that will provide Internet access

Facebook is working on a new solar drone designed to provide Internet access to billions of people across the world. The codenamed Aquila project is still in the early stages of testing, but Facebook said one test flight was already conducted in the UK.

 

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The Aquila drone weighs less than a car and has a wingspan similar to a Boeing 767, and should be able to fly for months at a time. The drone must be extremely light so it can stay at altitudes higher than 60,000 feet for up to three months at a time.

 

"Aircraft like these will help connect the whole world because they can affordably serve the 10 percent of the world's population that live in remote communities without existing Internet infrastructure," Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.

Continue reading 'Facebook developing solar drones that will provide Internet access' (full post)

Amazon puts feds on blast over slow drone regulation efforts

Amazon has called out the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for dragging its feet in regards to commercial drone testing. The United States runs the risk of falling behind other countries interested in embracing commercial use of drones.

 

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Even though the FAA approved Amazon's drone delivery tests, the popular e-tailer said its prototype became obsolete while waiting for movement in Washington. Commercial drone technology is advancing at a fast pace, and it has become clear that the bureaucratic regulatory process in the US is making a mess of things.

 

"We don't test it anymore," said Paul Misener, VP for global public policy at Amazon, in a statement in front of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security. "We've moved on to more advanced designs that we already are testing abroad. Nowhere outside of the United States have we been required to wait more than one or two months to begin testing."

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