Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 269
Science Fiction has long imagined a world where robot sentries patrol the streets, office buildings, and college campuses, and today those fictions became reality. A company called Knightscope has unveiled a new 5-foot tall robot dubbed K5 that is loaded with sensors, cameras, and connectivity to make it the best security robot ever to roam the hallways of silicon valley.
The K5 was launched today in San Francisco, and has the ability to see, feel, hear and smell, and can issue warnings of biochemical attacks, leaks, or even notify officials of high levels of radiation. The robot uses complex algorithms to scan images it captures with its cameras to detect human threats such as a gun wielding criminal, at which point it automatically notifies authorities. K5 is also capable of scanning license plates on-the-fly to verify cars parked in parking lots belong to employees or authorized visitors.
Central America is home to some of the most ferocious tornadoes on the planet, but one scientist wants to see mother nature stopped, through the use of gigantic walls built across Tornado Alley.
Rongjia Tao, a physicist with Temple University, says: "If we build three east-west great walls in the American Midwest .... one in North Dakota, one along the border between Kansas and Oklahoma to the east, and the third one in south Texas and Louisiana, we will diminish the tornado threats in the Tornado Alley forever".
Tao says that the walls would need to be 1,000 feet high, and around 150 feet wide. But at an estimated cost of $60 billion per 100 miles, and the engineering challenges, "it wouldn't work", according to tornado researcher Harold Brooks of the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma. Brooks said that "If his hypothesis was true, we'd already have the thing he wants to build naturally. This is essentially a case of a physicist, who may be very good in his sub-discipline, talking about a subject about which he is abysmally ignorant".
A gigantic 400kg meteor smashed into the Moon on September 11 last year, hitting the lunar surface at 37,900 mph. The meteor itself was ten times larger than the previously recorded hit, which left a 131-foot-wide crater.
Jose Madiedo of the MIDAS project said he "couldn't imagine" such a collision before seeing it himself on the day, where he added: "This is the largest, brightest impact we have ever observed on the Moon". Scientists at MIDAS had been studying lunar collisions since 2009, said that the crash was quite explosive, releasing the equivalent energy of 15 tons of TNT.
The meteor hit the dark side of the Moon, which is unfortunate as the blast was big enough that it would've been visible with the naked eye here on Earth. Madiedo said: "Usually lunar impacts have a very short duration - just a fraction of a second. But the impact we detected lasted over eight seconds. It was almost as bright as the Pole Star, which makes it the brightest impact event that we have recorded from Earth".
For quite some time now, scientist have known that the earth is over 4 billion years old, but just how old exactly has been a mystery with little evidence to back up claims and theories. Today scientist announced that the oldest fragment of the Earth that has ever been found has been discovered in the Jack Hills mountain range in Western Australia.
The Gem is a fragment of Zircon that formed just 100 million years after the meteor impact that caused part of the earth to be ejected into space and formed the moon. This means that the zircon fragment pictured above is a mere 4.375 billion years old, making it the oldest piece of the earth ever uncovered. The age conformation came from the University of Wisconsin, Madison where John Valley and other researchers used atom-probe technology to count the individual lead atoms within the sample. This method allows scientist to accurately date geological samples with absolute confidence in the results.
Previously, a method involving counting lead isotopes was used to date the samples, but proved to be inaccurate as lead can migrate from part of the crystal to another over hundreds of millions of years causing the originating source to have an apparent older age than it actually is. The new atom-probe method is much more accurate and researchers say that it proves the chemical records inside these zircons are trustworthy.
Today Elon Musk unveiled the new landing leg attachments that have been fitted to Space X's Falcon 9 rocket. The legs are intended to make recovery of the rocket's lift stages easier and more efficient. Currently Space X glides the first stage of the rocket into the Atlantic Ocean several hundred miles from the launch site at Cape Canaveral, Florida. As you would expect, this form of recovery is expensive, and time consuming.
With the addition of the new landing legs, Space X hopes to eventually fly the rocket's first stage back to a landing site near the launch pad, and have it land itself vertically, making recovery and reuse much easier and far cheaper than current methods. The new landing legs are built out of a carbon fiber outer skin with a honeycomb inner layer comprised from high-alloy aluminum. The legs are planned to play on the Falcon 9's mission to the International Space Station on March 16th, but the first stage will be guided to the Atlantic for this first flight as Space X needs to test how the legs handle take off before attempting a vertical landing.
The US Navy has developed a five-pound Spike mini-missile, a precision device that is reportedly the "world's smallest guided missile" available. The speed and missile range are classified, but Spike can be launched from the ground using a stationary launcher or from unmanned aerial vehicles - and a shoulder-launched version is in development.
The Spike missile costs about $50,000 to manufacture and measures only 2.5 inches in diameter, being built as part of the NAVAIR project at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif. Using a small camera mounted on the missile, operators are able to accurately modify Spike's trajectory before it detonates.
"Most of our weapons are fairly large because they're taking out very big targets," said Scott O'Neill, project developer, said in a media statement. "We've started looking at, with miniaturization of electronics, what does that mean to weaponry? How small can we make weapons and keep them effective against the targets that we're talking about?"
Electronics company Samsung Electronics and researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have teamed up to establish the UCSF-Samsung Digital Health Innovation Lab. The UCSF Mission Bay campus in San Francisco will host the research and technology lab designed for mobile health trial testing.
The health and medical worlds are heavily involved in the "Internet of Everything," and wearable computing, health sensors, next-generation medical software, and similar technologies are pushing the industry forward.
"There are many new sensors and devices coming onto the market for consumers, but without medical validation, most of these will have limited impacts on health," said Dr. Michael Blum, UCSF associate vice chancellor for Informatics, in a statement. "Meanwhile, many practitioners also have creative ideas for new devices, but they lack the technological knowledge to fully develop them."
There is increased interest in mobile health solutions, which can be used by doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners in the field - but HIPAA regulations, standardized formats, and other issues must be properly addressed.
NASA researchers are developing a humanoid robonaut, called Robonaut 2, which could be able to one day work with astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). The Robonaut 2 is a $2.5-million device that will also be able to contribute to general tasks as well.
Robonaut research for medical purposes is still in its early stages, so don't expect the humanoids to be in space providing health support immediately. The R2's camera-equipped head lets controllers on Earth see a medical process, and the robonaut has extremely good dexterity so the appropriate amount of pressure could be used during treatment.
"I would say that within an hour I trained him more than with other students I'm working for a week, so I think that he's learning really fast," said Dr. Zsolt Garami, from the Houston Methodist Research Institute, in a recent interview with Space.com.
Astronauts stationed aboard the ISS often are from the United States, Europe or Russia, and come from different backgrounds - the ability to have a robonaut available to either handle all medical issues, or lend a hand, would be greatly beneficial. As space nations look towards potential manned trips to Mars, having a robotics platform with the specialized ability to help with medical emergencies.
The United States Navy is ready to begin rolling out next-generation futuristic weapons that sound like something out of your favorite Sci-Fi movie - but will play an important role in the development of modern warfare.
The new laser system will be deployed on the USS Ponce later this year, and can be controlled by a single person. The laser will be used with a focus on defense against aerial drones, speed boats, and any type of threat to allied warships. Although it's cheaper than missiles or traditional smart bombs, and can fire continuously at targets, it won't be as effective in poor weather conditions.
In addition to the laser, Navy officials want to deploy an electromagnetic rail gun by 2016, which could one day replace regular firearms - and include the ability to launch projectiles almost seven times the speed of sound, according to military sources.
Installing new weapons systems on US military ships helps the Navy "fundamentally change the way" warfare is conducted on an evolving battlefield.
Using a smartphone can lead to an easier time for medical experts to offer remote medical consultations with patients, according to JAMA Dermatology.
Since many hospitals don't have inpatient dermatologist services available to patients, it can be difficult for patients to receive treatment frequently. Using the term of "teledermatology," in-person doctors and remote specialists can work together to more accurately determine possible medical issues.
"Triage decisions were as follows: if the in-person dermatologist recommended the patient be seen the same day, the teledermatologist agreed in 90 percent of the consultations," according to the study abstract. "If the in-person dermatologist recommended a biopsy, the teledermatologist agreed in 95 percent of cases on average."
Doctors and patients could find one day easier methods to diagnose medical issues such as skin disorders without being forced to visit the office.