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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 11

Scientists create lab-grown penis, with clinical trials expected soon

Scientists have created lab-grown penises and expect a clinical trial to be conducted within the "next four to five years," with the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine providing additional funding for the project. Wake Forest researchers were able to first grow penile erectile tissues in 2009 for rabbits, and exploring possible human tests were considered.

 

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Researchers rely on a donated penis organ that is broken down to its structural cells, with medical patient cells used to help grown prior to a surgery. The surgery requires a patient's own penile cells, so it will not work for transgender men trying to undergo confirmation surgery - but could help men with erectile dysfunction, penile cancer, or congenital abnormalities.

 

"Think of it like a building," said Dr. James Yoo, a collaborator on the project, in a statement to The Guardian. "If you remove all the furniture and the people, you're still left with the main structure of the building. Then you replace the tenants with new ones. That's the whole idea. It's just that the building is a penis and the tenants are cells."

Mysterious X-37B military space plane returns from two years in space

The mysterious U.S. Air Force X-37B space plane returned back to Earth, landing at the Vandenberg Air Force Base after a 674-day mission in space. The aircraft is 9.5-foot tall and is over 29-feet long, and its wingspan is slightly less than 15-feet.

 

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This was the third flight of the X-37B spacecraft, marking the longest stretch in space for the Air Force aircraft. Its X-37B has solar panels that allow it to recharge its wings after it already is in orbit. It remains unknown what the Air Force was doing with X-37B in space, as exact mission details remain classified.

 

"The 30th Space Wing and our mission partners, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, Boeing, and our base support contractors, have put countless hours of hard work into preparing for this landing and today we were able to see the culmination of that dedication," said Colonel Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander, in a press statement.

Growing number of young people suffering from Internet addiction

A surprising 16 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds might suffer from Internet addiction, according to a survey conducted by the Digital Clarity marketing agency. Most of the 16 percent suffering addiction-related problems spend at least 15 hours per day using the Internet.

 

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The Digital Clarity survey took a look at the following characteristics: how many hours were spent online, whether or not they became irritable if they weren't using the Internet, if they felt guilty spending so much time online, possible isolation due to online activity, and noting a sense of euphoria if using the Internet.

 

Researchers are most interested to see if dopamine in the brain is released the same way for Internet addicts as alcoholics or drug addicts. However, critics of trying to label Internet addiction believe the problem could be related to other psychological issues - and is becoming a more talked about debate in the mental health community.

Continue reading 'Growing number of young people suffering from Internet addiction' (full post)

U.S. Navy looking forward to testing counter IED systems

The U.S. Navy has developed a new solution to better combat radio-controlled improvised explosive devices (IEDs), a popular attack method used by terrorists in the Middle East and Africa. The new electronic jamming system was developed with help from the Northrop Grumman Information Systems, with the Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare (JCREW) including three different versions.

 

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The dismounted system is a mobile unit that can be carried in a backpack, with a mounted variant attached to military vehicles. The third version is a fixed variant that can be installed at fixed locations, such as forward operating bases (FOBs) or camps.

 

"This is an important system for force protection and we are very pleased with its progress," said Capt. Aaron Peters, Navy Expeditionary Mission Program Office program manager. "I look forward to the prospect of getting this robust capability into the hands of our warfighters."

New generation of prosthetics help patients regain sense of touch

Technological advances have allowed researchers to create prosthetic limbs that are able to better mimic the natural movement of human limbs, with medical patients able to regain their sense of touch. In one study, researchers in the United States manufactured a prosthetic hand that uses electric signals sent into a medical patient's harm and brain, providing a sense of "feel."

 

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"The sense of touch is one of the ways we interact with objects around us," said Dustin Tyler, Case Western Reserve associate professor of biomedical engineering and the study's author. "The work reactivates areas of the brain that produce the sense of touch. When the hand is lost, the inputs that switched on these areas were lost."

 

A group of Swedish scientists created a mind-controlled prosthetic arm that connects to the medical patient's arm, nerves and muscles. This type of research has great potential for those injured in serious incidents, and will continue to be a topic of focus for researchers.

Toshiba demos humanoid robot able to communicate with sign language

Toshiba recently showed off Aiko Chihira, the humanoid communication robot that is able to communicate via sign language. Dressed in a pink blouse and white skirt, the robot can lip sync to a recorded message while translating the message into Japanese sign language.

 

 

"We wanted to develop a sign-language robot because it's challenging technologically, requiring speed and precision movements," said Hitoshi Tokuda, from the Toshiba New Business Development Division. "It needs a humanlike appearance and expression because a C-3PO appearance wouldn't work."

 

Toshiba received help from the Shonan Institute of Technology and Shibaura Institute of Technology, as both universities provided robot driving solutions and sensor-based motion-teaching technology. Japan remains a leader in humanoid robotics research, with universities and companies developing life-like technologies able to provide assistance in day-to-day activities.

Continue reading 'Toshiba demos humanoid robot able to communicate with sign language' (full post)

Drone use among farmers becoming popular, as private use increases

The focus of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology remains on military aircraft launching strikes, but there is a booming private sector in the United States. As the government considers opening up airspace for drone flight, farmers across the country are benefitting from using small drones for crop scouting and other once-difficult tasks.

 

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Instead of investing millions in technology, farmers can spend significantly less - and can use something as simple as a quad copter and GoPro camera - to more expensive winged drone aircraft to photograph larger crops.

 

"That's the beauty of UAV," said Chad Colby, experienced UAV user recently noted. "You pull off on the side of the road and you have images of an entire field in a matter of 10 minutes. If this industry can save farmers just 1% on inputs, then it becomes a $1 billion industry overnight."

Inventors for blue LED lights gets a Nobel Prize in physics

The researchers of blue light-emitting diode (LED) are the recipients of the 2014 Nobel Prize in physics. The winners are Isamu Akasi, a professor at Meijo University and Nagoya University, Hiroshi Amano, also a professor at Nagoya University and Shuji Nakamura who is a professor at the University of California. Along with the Nobel Prize, the scientists will also be splitting $1.1 million award money.

 

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The three scientists were the ones who found a way to produce blue light beams in the early 1990s, but the red and the green light diodes were produced by others. According to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in its prize citation that white light couldn't have been invented if it wasn't for the blue LED invention. The invention of blue LED is 20 years old, but has been used in multiple electronic appliances, devices, day-to-day electronic equipment, traffic signals, headlights and even PCs.

 

The main advantage of LEDs is that it significantly reduces the consumption of electricity in comparison with incandescent and fluorescent lights. The widespread adoption of the practical invention, and the versatility in other fields is what makes them deserve this award. LEDs are used in smart bulbs that are made by few companies like GE and Phillips.

NASA researches putting space crew in deep sleep in mission to Mars

As NASA ramps up research efforts to one day send a manned crew to Mars, putting the spaceflight crew in stasis would allow for better mission logistical support. The use of therapeutic torpor has occurred for up to one week, but would require intravenous feeding as a one-way trip to Mars could take more than 180 days, researchers note.

 

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"We haven't had the need to keep someone in (therapeutic torpor) for longer than seven days," said Mark Schaffer, aerospace engineer for SpaceWorks Enterprises. "For human Mars missions, we need to push that to 90 days, 180 days. Those are the types of mission flight times we're talking about."

 

Using stasis allows mission planners to cut supply requirements down from 400 tons to around 220 tons, with less consumables such as food and water needed.

India teams up with the United States for the exploration of Mars

With Mars being orbited by India's satellite Mangalyaan, it has spurred scientists back here on Earth for their next mission, with NASA and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) signing a new agreement to work together on the future exploration of Mars.

 

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The two space agencies also agreed to collaborate on observations and scientific analysis from their respective satellites that are orbiting Mars. With India now the first Asian nation to research to reach Mars, and the only country in the world that succeeded on its first attempt. NASA has its own Maven satellite that entered Mars' orbit two days before Mangalyaan arrived, with Maven the first spacecraft to explore the upper atmosphere of Mars, and Mangalyaan studying the surface of the planet, in search for evidence of methane, and more.

 

NASA spent north of $740 million on its latest journey to Mars, with India spending just a tenth of that, at a cost of $74 million. Analysts have said that this puts India directly into the big league when it comes to space, nudging out China and Japan in space exploration in one small step for the country. So far, Chinese and Japanese missions to orbit Mars have failed. In six more years, the two space agencies hope to launch NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar, or NISAR. NISAR will observe the Earth, measuring changes in our land surface. NASA said in a statement: "Nisar will improve our understanding of key impacts of climate change and advance our knowledge of natural hazards".

Continue reading 'India teams up with the United States for the exploration of Mars' (full post)

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