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Researchers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) are researching new ways to get things to stick in space, and have found inspiration from geckos.
Unlike tape, which loses its ability to adhere objects together after several uses, geckos have tiny hairs on the bottom of their feet so they are able to easily cling to objects over and over again. Researchers now hope a new material with thin synthetic hairs is able to make the material stick to desired surfaces - even in space.
The new technology has a great advantage over Velcro, a popular solution used in space, as it doesn't leave residue and there is no mating surface required on intended targets. The new gecko-inspired gripping technology is being tested during microgravity tests, including on a 20-pound cube and 250-pound person.
Don't worry, no asteroids will be slamming into the Earth in September, NASA has confirmed following a recent viral video caused a bit of a stir.
In the video, it was falsely reported that an asteroid would impact around Puerto Rico, with the incident expected to take place from September 15 to September 28 - but there is no immediate threat to Earthlings. The video made it sound like there would be a threat to the United States, Mexico, Central America and South America.
"There is no scientific basis - not one shred of evidence - that an asteroid or any other celestial object will impact Earth on those dates," said Paul Chodas, manager of the Near-Earth Object office for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
Will robots steal our jobs? There seems to be mounting fear that the human labor force will face pressure from robotic automation, though a new report from Deloitte indicates job creation among the creative, care, tech and business service sectors make up for jobs lost in agriculture and manufacturing.
"It's been very easy to identify where jobs have been destroyed," said Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, in a statement to CNBC. "Job losses generally are very conspicuous, whether it's a middle manager replaced by software, or checkout staff displaced by auto terminals, whereas job gains [are] harder to identify."
Machines help drive down production costs, and consumers are more willing to spend on new consumer goods and services. Researchers point to increasing sales for things like short holidays, morning cups of coffee at a local café, and other luxuries consumers may not be able to splurge on.
Japanese company Suidobashi Heavy Industry accepted a giant robot battle challenge from MegaBots, and now the team wants a bit of your help. The US robot will need some significant upgrades to make it suitable for hand-to-hand robot combat, which is a condition the Japanese company requested.
The US team created a Kickstarter campaign, raising more than $200,000 of an expected $500,000 goal - supported by 2,900 backers with 29 days remaining. The Mk. II needs heavy duty armor plating, additional firepower, updated hydraulics, and better motor to reach a higher maximum speed.
In addition to public support, the company has received backing from NASA, which is sharing some of its technology with a specific purpose:
IDF 2015 - As we were walking through the halls of the Intel Developer Forum, we thought that Skynet had been born and that Intel was its creator.
The chipmaker had some awesome robotic spiders crawling around, with one looking like the spider mothership, while its smaller creations of sheer horror are under its command. Something to break up the pace of the super serious topics of IDF 2015.
Boston Dynamics recently demonstrated its Atlas humanoid robot going for a walk outside, testing how it handles a dynamic environment outside of the lab.
"We're interested in getting this robot out in the world. All kind of stuff happens out there. You can't predict what it's going to be like," said Marc Raibert, founder of Boston Dynamics, in a statement during the Fab Lab robotics panel.
The Atlas humanoid robot has been designed so it can navigate rough terrain, using bipedal motion, though it can also use its hands and feet to move around. Atlas features stereo cameras and a laser range finder in its head, and supports 28 hydraulically-actuated degrees of freedom, with fully functioning hands, arms, legs, feet and torso.
The current human population on Earth is 7.3 billion today, and will rise to 9.7 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion by the year 2100, according to the United Nations (UN) Population Division.
Africa is expected to see another surge in population figures, with a current population of 1.2 billion up to 5.6 billion. Asia, which has 4.4 billion and is the most populous continent, is estimated to peak at 5.3 billion by 2050, and then decline back down to 4.9 billion by 2100.
Here in the United States, where the population is around 322 million, we're going to add 1.5 million people per year until we reach 450 million by 2100.
3D printers can do weird, wacky and amazing things, but 3D-printed drugs? The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug to be 3D-printed, Aprecia's epilepsy-fighting Spritam.
Spritam will use a porous, 3D-printed formula that will give an even stronger dose of up to 1000mg, while maintaining a smaller size making it easier to swallow. The 3D-printed drug won't be available until the first quarter of 2016, and you'll need a prescription to get your hands on the next-gen pills.
If Aprecia's first run is successful, we could see a new wave of drugs using 3D printers, easier for patients to swallow.
Imagine walking into a restaurant and seeing a team of robots making your meal for you... sure, some people don't like the idea of machines doing this type of work, but it is the future. Technology runs so much of our lives, from the smartphone in your hand to the cloud it connects to, right up into space to satellites and everything in between.
But now we're looking at a group of experts based in the UK who are working on the first "robotic kitchen" which can be installed into any home. The scientists behind the project have made a machine that is capable of emulating human chefs in the kitchen while packing access to an unlimited library of programmed recipes.
They plan to have the robotic kitchen ready by 2018, for just $75,000 with the costs coming down "substantially" if the unit sells well. But the sheer tease of this is exciting, as custom home builders could start including a robotic kitchen in their designs in the next decade. Imagine walking through a new home that you're planning to buy, and it featuring a robotic kitchen making world-class meals, without you having to lift a finger from food preparation, cooking, and cleaning.
A hitchhiking robot managed to survive several major trips, but researchers had to pull the plug after it was vandalized in Philadelphia. Just two weeks into its expected cross-country trip across America, after starting on July 17 in Massachusetts, the robot was damaged beyond repair. Researchers don't know who is responsible for damaging the robot, or why it happened.
For drivers courteous enough to pick up the robot, it was designed to provide informative factoids and enjoy "limited" conversations. hitchBOT has a GPS tracker installed and a built-in camera able to take photos every 20 minutes, so researchers can follow its progress.
"hitchBOT's trip came to an end last night in Philadelphia after having spent a little over two weeks hitchhiking and visiting sites in Boston, Salem, Gloucester, Marblehead, and New York City. Unfortunately, hitchBOT was vandalized overnight in Philadelphia; sometimes bad things happen to good robots."