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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 2

New York Governor won't let drones be used in manhunt for fugitives

In the search for two convicted killers able to escape from prison three weeks ago, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has publicly declined assistance from the Air National Guard 174th Attack Wing. The ANG offered its MQ-9 Reaper drones, which are conducting training missions over Northern New York, to aid law enforcement as they search for Richard Matt and David Sweat.




If Gov. Cuomo wanted to use the drones, his office would need to file an official request with the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs. The drones, however, have not been deemed a necessity over state police helicopters.


"The only advantage the MQ-9 would have over a state police helicopter is the loiter time," said Eric Durr, spokesman for the NY DMNA, in a media statement. "And the determination was made that it was not a necessary asset."

Continue reading 'New York Governor won't let drones be used in manhunt for fugitives' (full post)

Robots able to scan faces could find new employment in airports

During the Paris Air Show, a new robot is on display that has a unique purpose: scan faces, verify passports, print boarding passes, and help check-in passengers for flights. The technology already has been deployed to airports across the world, but it looks like this update takes things even further.




The ability to scan to conduct iris scans and capture face images will step up biometric security to hopefully keep passengers safe while flying.


"You would only need one agent for every four or five machines," said Pascal Zenoni, a manager at Thales, speaking during the air show. "These systems can free up staff for the police and create more space in the airport."

Continue reading 'Robots able to scan faces could find new employment in airports' (full post)

Look out for the mice able to sniff out bombs and narcotics

Scientists in China were able to train mice in less than one week to be able to sniff out explosives, narcotics, and other items. The mice, trained by researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences Kunming Institute of Zoology, said they were able to accurately identify targets 98 percent of the time.




Researchers trained the mice by withholding water resources, and then put a custom sensor in the cage that released water droplets after it was touched. After being moved to a box that offered two different smells, water was given as a reward when they pressed the sensor. It took five days for the mice to learn they would receive a water reward every time they detected the appropriate smell.


It's much cheaper to train and store mice over dogs, and could see widespread use in the future, after additional testing is completed.

Continue reading 'Look out for the mice able to sniff out bombs and narcotics' (full post)

Report: Cardiac device wearers face risks from smartphones

People with cardiac devices installed should be vigilant about keeping a safe distance from smartphones, if they want to avoid temporary malfunctions or painful shocks, according to researchers.




The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and device manufacturers recommend a distance of at least 15 to 20 cm between pacemakers and smartphones. Of course, the study was conducted using mobile devices about 10 years ago, and there has been a mobile network change from GSM to LTE and UMTS - but there is still risk when dialing and connecting to a network, and not while talking on the phone.


People with pacemakers installed can still use a smartphone, but make sure it's not placed "directly over" the cardiac device, according to researchers.

Continue reading 'Report: Cardiac device wearers face risks from smartphones' (full post)

Robots need realistic faces and emotions to help us feel comfortable

Just developing a robot is no longer enough, as more humans begin to interact with a variety of different models available. Recent breakthroughs allow robots to look more lifelike and provide even more tasks, such as customer service and assistance - but it's no longer enough to just have a robot look like a human.




To help with better human-robot interaction, the robots must be able to convey realistic emotions, particularly using facial expressions. It is rather disconcerting to see a robot that is smiling but its eyes cannot share the same emotion.


It remains a challenge to perfect facial expressions and emotions, so receptionists, store greeters, and other jobs held by humans will likely be safe - for now.

Continue reading 'Robots need realistic faces and emotions to help us feel comfortable' (full post)

US Navy interested in artificial intelligence for warfighting, support

It looks like the United States military wants to find ways to adopt forms of artificial intelligence and robotics. It won't just be for non-combat support operations, as the Navy wants to evaluate possible warfighting scenarios - and is reportedly looking for feedback from advisers.




The Navy is currently looking for realistic methods to deploy artificial intelligence and robotics into its operational support procedures. It seems highly likely future wars will heavily rely on robots and drones as a way to augment human military personnel.


A recent memo acknowledged the private sector is researching AI and robotics to see how private sector advancements can be used to further naval applications.

Continue reading 'US Navy interested in artificial intelligence for warfighting, support' (full post)

Cutting edge medical research includes VR, laser, mobile apps

Everything from virtual reality and lasers to mobile apps are helping create new opportunities in the medical world - and some of those technologies were recently demonstrated at the Digital Health Summer Summit at the UCSF Medical Center.




UCSF wants to embrace possible disruptive technologies, such as a virtual reality tour of your own brain, or testing an app that mixes big data with 3D images. It will take significantly more time to work out possible bugs, but the use of mobile technologies, augmented reality and VR in the operating room in the past, so it will be a topic of discussion again in the future.


"We have people here on the front lines doing tremendously innovative things," said Dr. Aenor Sawyer, a UCSF Medical Center leader in digital health innovation, while speaking to attendees. "We hope to be part of the wave disrupting health care."

Continue reading 'Cutting edge medical research includes VR, laser, mobile apps' (full post)

Ex-Machina director Alex Garland shares his thoughts about AI

Screenwriter and director Alex Garland, the mastermind behind Ex-Machina, recently answered questions regarding artificial intelligence. Of particular interest was when Garland spoke regarding sentient and non-sentient technology - sentient is a term used to describe the ability to perceive or feel things.




When asked about the idea that non-sentient technology has the capacity for good or danger, he offered the following thoughts:


"No. It wouldn't be capable of good or evil in that way, because it is not sentient," Garland said during a recent conference call. " And [whether] they have a good or evil aspect [...] would be defined by the humans, the sentient things that are defining it, and controlling it and using it, essentially. [... Our] whole system of right and meaning [...] behind intention and in our action is based on [being] sentient."

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US Army wants hoverbikes, enters into research agreements

The US Department of Defense has reached agreements with aeronautics company Malloy Aeronautics and defense contractor SURVICE Engineering to research hoverbikes.



It looks like the US Army Research Laboratory wants to help develop the Hoverbike, which could be used as a reconnaissance tool on the battlefield. The current test model weighs about 600 pounds and is around the equivalent of a small car - and while it can go up to 92 mph, it has only been used while tied to the ground.


The second-generation model can support a rider up to 220 pounds.

Continue reading 'US Army wants hoverbikes, enters into research agreements' (full post)

NASA wants to find out if Jupiter's moon of Europa supports life

NASA wants to launch a mission to Jupier's moon Europa, as it seems like the most logical place in the Earth's solar system able to support life. Beneath Europa's icy surface, researchers believe they will be able to find liquid oceans.



Despite being about half the size of our planet's moon, some scientists estimate there could be twice as much water as the Earth has. Based on the NASA Galileo Mission that studied Jupiter in the late 1990s, it would appear Europa has all the necessary ingredients for life: plenty of salt water, a rocky sea floor, and tidal heating that contribute necessary energy and chemistry.


If everything goes according to plan, NASA wants to launch a spacecraft sometime in the 2020s, which would take the several year journey. Orbiting the entire planet of Jupiter every two weeks, NASA researchers would have plenty of chances to capture data about Europa.

Continue reading 'NASA wants to find out if Jupiter's moon of Europa supports life' (full post)

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