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Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 48

Obama administration considering another drone attack on U.S. citizen

The Obama administration is having a difficult time internally battling whether or not to launch a coordinated air strike against a U.S. citizen reportedly planning attacks as an active al-Qaida member. The CIA has the unnamed citizen under surveillance, but the Justice Department still hasn't built a strong enough case for the strike.

 

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"An American citizen who is a member of al-Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say, and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year," an official told Associated Press.

 

However, the target is reportedly located in a well-guarded, remote region, so manned missions to capture him are unlikely.

 

The use of drone strikes continues to be a controversial topic, with officials in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other nations publicly voicing displeasure over UAV attacks. To complicate matters further, many U.S. citizens don't like the idea of targeting U.S. citizens for immediate execution without arrest and trial.

PG&E to install additional security following gun attack in San Jose

PG&E will build fences around critical power substations after its Metcalf power substation located in South San Jose was hit with numerous gun shots. During the nighttime attack last April, there was 19 minutes of shooting with more than 100 rounds fired, hitting 17 transformers which took more than a month to properly repair. Prior to the shooting, those responsible also cut through AT&T fiber-optic cables, with phone service temporarily disrupted.

 

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The FBI said the PG&E power station attack doesn't appear terror-related, from domestic or international terrorists, but is a significant security issue that must be properly addressed. Even if this case wasn't direct terrorism, some PG&E officials are concerned the San Jose shooting attack was a precursor for a bigger, more sophisticated future attack.

 

This attack, which went largely unnoticed by most Americans, was "the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred", said Jon Wellinghoff, former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman.

Dyson wants to see 'advanced household androids' in every home

You might have heard of the brand Dyson - which makes some of the best-engineered vacuum cleaners and hand dryers - with British entrepreneur, Sir James Dyson, outlining his latest vision for what he sees as the future of households: advanced household androids.

 

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Dyson envisions a future where this autonomous robots will clean your house, guard your property, and as the technology improves, many more household tasks. Dyson has announced a new $8.2 million robotics center at Imperial College London, where the inventor says the technological revolution is coming, and he sees a future where every home in Britain is filled with "robots that understand the world around them".

 

Dyson's team of engineers are now working on the first multi-purpose household android with scientists in Japan, where researchers at Waseda University have just unveiled their Twendy-One robot, which is capable of obeying voice commands, cooking, and providing nursing care. Dyson employs close to 2,000 engineers and scientists, with his plans involving the new center to overcome the problem with robotic "vision", so that the androids could see, and react to everything around them.

Continue reading 'Dyson wants to see 'advanced household androids' in every home' (full post)

Army developing injectable sponge that stops bleeding in seconds

Medical researchers are working on a military-funded project to find ways to stop wounded soldiers from bleeding out, the top killer of wounded on the battlefield, according to the U.S. military. The RevMedx-created XStat uses a small injector that implants 92 sponges able to stop bleeding in a mere 15 second, with the sponges expanding to put pressure on the wound.

 

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"If you pack gauze into a wound and take your hands off, there's no pressure on the [blood] vessel," said John Steinbaugh, RevMedx VP, in a press statement. "Every minute you're holding pressure, that's time a medic can't treat someone else because he's trying to stop bleeding."

 

An Army study two years ago found blood hemorrhages made up 90 percent of cause of death in survivable battlefield wounds - and despite casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan - contractors continue to improve military technology. Officials have showed higher interest in using XStat for wounds in which tourniquets aren't as effective, including locations on the arms and legs.

US Marine Corps testing futuristic autonomous base defense system

The United States Marine Corps and U.S. Army are now testing the Mobile Detection Assessment Response System (MDARS), a futuristic automated intrusion system for use by the Department of Defense.

 

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Moving objects are detected via onboard radar system, with multiple laser systems used to autonomously drive the vehicle during security patrol. Infrared and color cameras help the MDARS identify friendly forces and enemy combatants.

 

"We are trying to use it to its full capabilities and (further improve) our defense," said Sgt. Timothy Hanla, Platoon Sergeant, Air Base Guard Force. "It will help reinforce certain areas and catch things our eyes can't catch."

 

Starting in October 2010, there has been continued MDARS testing on U.S. military bases, offering a continued security presence at an affordable price. These systems could also provide an additional layer of defense when used in overseas combat regions, aiding manned and automated defenses.

Google engineering boss says we'll have nanobots in our body by 2035

It feels like something right out of the NBC show Revolution, but Google engineering director Ray Kurzweil has said that by the 2030s, we'll have "millions, billions of blood cell-sized computers in our bloodstream... keeping us healthy, augmenting our immune system, also going into the brain and putting our neocortex onto the cloud".

 

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The nanobots in your brain will give you instant access to the cloud, where Kurzweil explains: "In 2035, I see somebody approaching me and I want to impress them and I want to think of something clever... I'll be able to access additional neocortex and think of something clever".

 

Kurzweil believes that over the next 30 or so years, we'll see technology reach a point where we are capable of immortality.

Age reversing process in mice successful, next step is human trials

Scientists have been working for years on the age reversing process, but it looks like we're very close to it being a reality. Scientists have successfully reversed the aging process in mice, according to a new study.

 

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The next step? Human trials, something that will begin possibly before 2014 wraps up. The study itself was published in the peer reviewed science journal, Cell, after US and Australian scientists made the breakthrough discovery. David Sinclair of the University of New South Wales, and lead researcher, says he's hopeful that the results can be duplicated in human trials.

 

Where this gets amazing, is that not only could the aging process be slowed down, but a measurable reversal. The study showed that after administering a certain compound to the mice, muscle degeneration and diseases caused by aging were reversed. Sinclair was amazed at the results, saying they had exceeded his expectations, he explained: "I've been studying aging at the molecular level now for nearly 20 years and I didn't think I'd see a day when ageing could be reversed. I thought we'd be lucky to slow it down a little bit. The mice had more energy, their muscles were as though they'd be exercising and it was able to mimic the benefits of diet and exercise just within a week. We think that should be able to keep people healthier for longer and keep them from getting diseases of ageing".

Continue reading 'Age reversing process in mice successful, next step is human trials' (full post)

Fight against veteran brain injury going high tech to change lives

Medical researchers and military veterans are increasingly teaming up to study traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that U.S. personnel are dealing with after returning home from the battlefield. An estimated 15 to 23 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer TBI, which equates to about 300,000 to 460,000 soldiers in need of various levels of medical treatment.

 

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Researchers are developing new objective imaging testing methods that provide better insight of brain scans and cognitive testing - and while progress is accelerating - there are a large number of veterans that aren't receiving proper medical treatment. However, using a new diffusion tensor imaging helps indicate nerve track fiber damage and provides better guidance to detect mild-TBI episodes that can be more easily corrected if discovered quickly.

 

"Traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress is a different kind of wound," noted Arnold Fisher, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund staff member. "It's unseen. Apparently, because it's unseen, very many people don't understand it."

 

A new medical research facility focused on treating brain injuries and post-combat mental and physical injuries recently broke ground at Fort Bragg. There are a limited number of TBI research centers, so some veterans can end up waiting months, or years, before they are able to begin receiving proper medical treatment.

Smartphone usage at night can tire you out the next day, study says

A smartphone "hangover" plaguing people that check their smartphones after 9:00 p.m. revealed users tend to be more exhausted the next day, according to a new study from Michigan State University. The drop in energy and productivity level is similar to a drinking hangover suffered the morning after partaking too much at the local pub.

 

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"It can be a double-edged sword," said Russell Johnson, MSU assistant professor of management, in a statement. "The night-time use of smartphones appears to have both psychological and physiological effects on people's ability to sleep and on sleep's essential recovery functions."

 

How everyone feels each day is strongly correlated to healthy sleeping habits, with sleep quality - and quantity - impacting personal health. As more people begin to look for ways to improve sleep, a custom sensor-based inference algorithm is being tested to help educate sleepers and help develop better habits. There also are a growing collection of wearables and accessories that help study - and improve - sleep habits.

 

Smartphones - and other technologies - tend to force users to engage in activities instead of leaving time for the brain to mentally unwind.

Scientists develop 'space cops', satellites that patrol Earth's orbit

US researchers and scientists have developed the Space-Based Telescopes for Actionable Refinement of Ephemeris, or STARE, which is basically a bunch of small satellites that orbit the Earth, helping satellites avoid collisions with space junk - so, really, space cops.

 

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These 'space cops' have the researchers seeing a future of deploying countless satellites into Earth's orbit, with the space cops then relaying information about potential collisions between satellites and space debris back to Earth, which would then send alternative coordinates to the satellites that are in trouble.

 

A ground-based satellite was used to refine the orbit of the NORAD 27006 satellite, which was based on the first four observations made within 24 hours. The team managed to predict NORAD's satellite trajectory to within 50m, in under 36 hours. Considering that current technology is only capable of working out the pace of a space object within a 1km range, which gives ground operators the hard time of weeding through thousands of false alarms, for that one rock that might cause trouble.

Continue reading 'Scientists develop 'space cops', satellites that patrol Earth's orbit' (full post)

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