Tech content trusted by users in North America and around the world
6,411 Reviews & Articles | 42,725 News Posts

TweakTown News

Refine News by Category:

Science, Space & Robotics Posts - Page 7

Private drone pilots taking to the skies, but safety concerns mount

Many first-time drone pilots are taking to the skies in the United States, and that has increased safety concerns regarding drone crashes. One such concern is a "flyaway" when the small drones catch a jet stream and simply blow away - and pilots are unaware of how to regain control of the flying craft.

 

private-drone-pilots-taking-skies-safety-concerns-mount_01

 

Most consumer drones weigh around 2.2 pounds, and if it was being flown at 400 feet, can yield more than 900 pounds of force if it slammed straight into the ground.

 

"There's just too many people that just have no idea what they're doing flying with their cool cameras," said Bill Stockwell, drone flight instructor at McHenry County Community College, in a statement to the Chicago Tribune. "I fly a competitive 7-foot helicopter that goes about 140 mph. If it was flying at 400 feet, which is legal, it would hit the ground with 2,200 pounds of force. Can you imagine what that would feel like?"

NASA is testing helicopter drones that could be used to explore Mars

Exploring Mars has proven to be a beneficial yet extremely tricky operation for NASA, with the Mars rovers helping yield a lot of insightful knowledge - and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory hopes to use the Mars Helicopter to add to exploration.

 

 

The Mars Helicopter would be able to travel up to three times the distance that either rover can travel in a single Martian day, along with pinpointing new locations for the rovers to explore.

 

The light craft could weigh just 2.2 pounds and measure 3.6 feet from the tip of one blade to the other - and the prototype body looks similar to a medium-sized tissue box. The JPL is currently testing the proof-of-concept in California, with no possible launch dates discussed.

Continue reading 'NASA is testing helicopter drones that could be used to explore Mars' (full post)

Europe, China team up for robotic space mission ready before 2021

The European Space Agency (ESA) and Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have announced a partnership to launch a robotic space mission that will lift off by 2021. Both programs will share proposals and development duties equally, as each proposal must be signed by a lead investigator from Europe and in China.

 

europe-china-team-up-robotic-space-mission-ready-before-2021_01

 

Proposals are due in March, peer review begins in April, and mission selection is scheduled to occur before the end of the year.

 

"The goal of the present Call is to define a scientific space mission to be implemented by ESA and CAS as a cooperative endeavor between the European and Chinese scientific communities," the ESA recently said in a statement. "The mission selected as an outcome of the present Joint Call will follow a collaborative approach through all the phases: study, definition, implementation, operations and scientific exploitation."

Continue reading 'Europe, China team up for robotic space mission ready before 2021' (full post)

Commercial drone industry poised to boom over next six years

The consumer and commercial drone markets are booming, despite continued hesitancy demonstrated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the commercial market could rise from $609 million in 2014 to $4.8 billion by 2021.

 

commercial-drone-industry-poised-boom-over-next-six-years_01

 

There are a few verticals that are expected to drastically increase commercial drone use, including package delivery, utility line inspection, agriculture, and for use in oil and gas mapping. The FAA is quickly trying to create guidelines to provide guidance regarding drone flights and safety regulations that must be met by operators.

 

Commercial drones have been used in Japan, Australia and select markets since the 1980s - but with increased hardware developments and lowering costs - will increase in the United States, UK, Western Europe, and other developed nations.

Drug smuggling drone crashes near US-Mexico border, police report

A drone quadcopter flying with more than six pounds of methamphetamine crashed in a parking lot on the Mexico side of the US-Mexico border.

 

drug-smuggling-drone-crashes-near-mexico-border-police-report_01

 

A Mexican citize informed authorities regarding the crashed drone, with police saying the crystal meth was tethered to the drone using plastic materials and black tape.

 

Drug smuggling is a major business for organized cartels in Mexico, with techniques ranging from hiding drugs insides humans and vehicles to using catapults and sophisticated tunnels under the border. The use of drones, however, provides a typically fast, reliable method to smuggle a few pounds of narcotics across the border.

Google teams up with SpaceX for satellite Internet project

Google is wanting to get back into space, where it is teaming up with SpaceX to join its Internet satellite venture. The Mountain View-based search giant has agreed to value SpaceX at over $10 billion, before it invests large sums of money into Elon Musk's space transportation business.

 

google-teams-up-spacex-satellite-internet-project_01

 

The total round of funding on SpaceX is said to be even bigger, with some very big names throwing their checks into the company. SpaceX wants to launch countless micro-satellites that would operate in low-orbit around Earth, with the company already in the early stages of development. Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and real-life Tony Stark has said that this venture will end up providing cheap Internet for the entire world.

 

This project would eventually see wireless networks installed around Mars, when humans get to the point of colonizing the red planet. While satellite Internet is usually considered worse than most wired and fiber methods, it will bring Internet connectivity to parts of the world that wouldn't otherwise receive Internet connections.

Don't want drones to creep up on you? Use a drone detector

As more private drone operators take to the skies for the first time in 2015, privacy concerns appear to be at an all-time high. Drone Labs recently introduced its Drone Detector solution, alerting users to a drone's presence - able to detect recreational and commercial drones. Instead of using acoustics-based solutions, the Drone Detector uses multi-factor authentication to identify a drone's presence.

 

want-drones-creep-up-use-drone-detector_01

 

"To be clear, most [drone] pilots are responsible, law-abiding people," said Zain Naboulsi, co-founder and CEO of Drone Labs. "We [at Drone Labs] are drone pilots ourselves. Unfortunately there are some bad pilots out there who don't follow the rules. We are committed to protecting people from unwanted drone invasions."

 

The FAA estimates up to 30,000 commercial drones flying by 2030 over the United States, but hasn't estimated the number of private drones.

UCSF Medical Center using robots to help conduct hospital activities

The University of California, San Francisco Medical Center at Mission Bay officially opens on Sunday, February 1, and will make use of 25 autonomous robots. Each robot is pre-programmed with the hospital's floor plans, and can autonomously navigate the best route to get to assigned areas - taking supplies to and from labs, stock rooms, the pharmacy and kitchen.

 

ucsf-medical-center-robots-help-conduct-hospital-activities_01

 

The robot is unable to answer voice commands, but can say 70 different phrases to communicate with staff and visitors. Furthermore, it has 30 onboard infrared and sonar sensors, a laser and camera, providing better ability to avoid collisions.

 

"Tissue samples, blood samples need to get from point A to point B very fast," said Ken Goldberg, UC Berkeley professor of robotics, in a statement to CNET. "You can't afford to wait for someone to show up. The robot that never gets distracted, never stops for coffee, could be great for these critical deliveries."

Continue reading 'UCSF Medical Center using robots to help conduct hospital activities' (full post)

NASA uses CPU from the original PlayStation in a probe sent to Pluto

A bit of a weird one for the world today: NASA has repurposed the the original processor that powered the first PlayStation from Sony in its probe sent to Pluto.

 

nasa-uses-cpu-original-playstation-probe-sent-pluto_03

 

The MIPS R3000 CPU was the chip found in the original PlayStation, but NASA is using the CPU to control thrusters, guidance, and other systems in its probe to Pluto. The processor has been "radiation hardened" to survive the harsh elements of the sea of stars that we call space, too. The PlayStation may have used a 33MHz R3051 CPU, but the New Horizons spacecraft features a 12MHz Mongoose-V CPU.

 

An Imagination spokesman told Electronics Weekly: "It is found in workstations and servers designed by companies such as Evans & Sutherland, DEC, Silicon Graphics, Tandem Computers and Whitechapel Workstation. Most notably, it was the CPU chosen for the original PlayStation game console from Sony and is still being used by Toshiba in a range of microcontrollers". Seven years after it launched, the New Horizons spacecraft has "awoken" and is taking a look at Jupiter. It is a whopping 3.5 billion miles from the Sun, and should start orbiting the dwarf planet soon.

Continue reading 'NASA uses CPU from the original PlayStation in a probe sent to Pluto' (full post)

US Army Research Laboratory working on battery that doesn't corrode

The US Army Research Laboratory is developing a new type of battery for the battlefield, with scientists testing different materials. Ideally, they want to create a battery that corrodes slower - if it all - and the rechargeable batteries have less charge/discharge cycles, while increasing stability during high-voltage scenarios.

 

army-research-laboratory-working-battery-corrode_01

 

Over the next few months, the ARL team wants to begin evaluations of larger battery cells from commercial manufacturers, so they are able to analyze safety and performance. If approved, the ARL will have created new batteries that are lighter and can last longer during use in tough environments.

 

"We help to develop new battery materials that are lighter and last longer for the Soldier, so he doesn't have to carry so many batteries," said Cynthia Lundgren, Chief of the Electrochemistry Branch of the Power and Energy Division in the Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate. "If we could raise the voltage of a single cell - energy density is a direct function of the voltage - we could make the battery lighter."

Latest News Posts

View More News Posts

Forum Activity

View More Forum Posts

Press Releases

View More Press Releases
Or Scroll Up Or Down