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The NFL is an impressively progressive organization technology-wise, recently implementing the use of sensors in shoulder pads to deliver player data, tiny digital cameras, Surface tablets, and Internet feeds are now used for replays instead of the slower tape and radio technology, and virtual reality is being tested for player training and looked into for broadcasting.
Now the NFL -- specifically, its head of football technology John Cave -- is thinking about even more strides. That is, a future where ball sensors determine whether a player had possession prior to a fumble, or whether his foot was out of bounds -- calls like these are among the most contentious in the league. He sees this possibly happening within five to 10 years.
Scientists at the University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science have created a new type of glass that is insanely strong, where it is almost as hard as steel.
Assistant Professor at the University of Tokyo, Atsunobu Masuno, said: "We will establish a way to mass-produce the new material shortly. We are looking to commercialize the technique within five years". This breakthrough is significant, as it could, and most likely will lead to the development of much tougher windows, and so much more.
How does the new glass work? The Asahi Shimbun reports: "Oxide glass mainly consists of silicon dioxide, with its strength boosted by mixing in alumina, an oxide of aluminum. But it had been difficult for scientists to form glass containing a large amount of alumina because the oxide causes crystallization when the glass comes into contact with its container".
The scientists went around this problem by using a containerless processing technique. The scientists used gas to push the chemical components into the air, where they were then able to synthesize it to form the glass. From there, the glass was colorless, transparent, super touch, with 50% of it being composed of alumina. The modulus of the new glass, the indicator of rigidity, was twice as high compared to typical oxide glass and nearly the same level as steel and iron.
Yamaha doesn't just build guitars, it also builds robots riding motorcycles, apparently. That's the case with its "Motobot" which it showed off at the Tokyo Motor Show this week.
The long-term goal is to have Motobot ride an unmodified motorcycle autonomously at over 200 km/h. As you can see in the video above, much progress has been made.
The second annual Love and Sex with Robots conference was scheduled to be held in Malayasia this year, a conscious choice related to the Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE) conference being held there as well. But Malayasian authorities were much less welcoming to the former, and shut it down and banned it before it began.
Topics that were to be discussed include "teledildonics," "intelligent electronic sex hardware," and "roboethics."
While its organizers defend the conference as academic, authorities were put off by the title, saying, "It is an offense to have anal sex in Malaysia, what more with robots." Public backlash encouraged in part by media was abound, which in part, provoked the police response. It should be noted Malaysia is a deeply religious country.
It looks like the US government wants to put its stamp of approval on any drones you own, with a report from NBC News indicating that the Obama administration is ready to announce new plans for drones.
The new plans would see drone owners needing to register their drones with the Department of Transport, so that they can make sure you don't fly your drone into any aircraft coming in, and out of airports. I don't know how registering your drone would stop that, apart from the government being able to better identify who owns the drone, but what do I know.
The new plan is expected to be announced as soon as Monday, with the DoT wanting to get drone registration happening by Christmas - just in time for those aerial drones wrapped up under the tree.
Low-cost robotic hands maker Open Bionics has teamed up with Disney to create Disney-themed robotic hands for kids. The current designs are based on Iron Man, Frozen, and Star Wars, with more planned.
The idea here, of course, is to turn a disability into something empowering, even moreso than a standard prosthetic. By the looks of the designs, it should succeed wildly.
It should be noted Disney has very generously providing royalty free licenses and donating the free time of its creative teams to help the project.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) isn't your ordinary school: the final assignment for students of Sertac Karaman's Rapid Autonomous Complex-Environment Competing Ackermann-steering Robot (RACECAR) class is building robots and racing them one by one in a competition for the best time.
The cars, NVIDIA is happy to note, are designed with the company's Jetson TK1 embededded computer, which "helps the 1:10-scale cars deploy the open-source Robot Operating System, assess their environment and develop a language to help them race the fastest while careening around the course."
Karaman, who is the assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, has extensive education on embedded computer systems found in airplanes, drones, autonomous cars, and other vehicles, so he thought he'd try his hand at robots, too. The results have been a wild success among students, and as such, he'll be putting off an even bigger event next year that will pit cars with GPU-powered stereo cameras and feature detection against each other in a proper Formula 1-style race.
NASA has just opened up the Project Apollo Archive Flickr account, dumping a huge 8,400 photos onto it at 1800 DPI. The photos are also sorted by the roll of film they were on.
The new Project Apollo Archive is also on Facebook, where NASA will be showing off new renderings of some of the best images. NASA is also including some rarer photos, such as the Apollo 11 training photos.
There's times when I'm using my smartphone or computer, and I think to myself "there has to be a faster way of using this, I wish I could just think and my computer/smartphone would do/record/act". Well, we're bloody close.
Scientists in both China and the United States have found a way of injecting a tiny electronic mesh sensor into the brain that fully integrates with cerebral matter, enabling computers to monitor brain activity. Researchers from Harvard and the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology in Beijing have successfully created a flexible electrical circuit that first inside of a 0.1mm-diameter glass syringe in a water-based solution.
When this solution is injected into the brains of mice, the "mesh unfurled to 30 times its size and mouse brain cells grew around the mesh, forming connections with the wires in the flexible mesh circuit. The biochemical mouse brain completely accepted the mechanical component and integrated with it without any damage being caused to the mouse", reports IBT.
But where is the human cyborg part of it? Well, if the "neural lace is able to completely integrate with the human brain, this would enable doctors to treat all sorts of neurodegenerative diseases that are currently difficult to cure" we're going to be one step closer to being a Terminator, kinda. According to Charles Lieber, a nanotechnologist at Harvard University and co-author of the study: "We're trying to blur the distinction between electronic circuits and neural circuits".
Stephen Hawking has no misconceptions about the universe, and reading his answers to interview questions is like wading through a sci-fi novel. In a recent session, the renowned astrophysicist talks about what it'd be like if aliens visited earth, how humanity has to breach the firmament to survive, and computer AI overtaking the world in a not-so-distant future.
In a recent interview, Hawking says that aliens visiting earth would somewhat like the aftermath of Columbus' exploration of the Americas, with interstellar beings completely dominating all life on our home planet. "If aliens visit us, the outcome could be much like when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," Hawking told Spanish publication El Pais. "Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach. To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational. The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like."
This metaphor resonates with truth for me in particular, as I've long thought that the most deadly gift aliens could deliver wouldn't be their technology, it'd be their space flu. These intergalactic viruses and bacteria could completely devastate our population the same way smallpox spread havoc and death in the New World.