Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 390
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.
With the underwhelming performance and reviews of Terminator: Genisys, it should come as no surprise that Paramount Pictures has put any future sequels on hold, indefinitely.
Even though the studio pulled in $440 million worldwide on a budget of $155 million, marketing costs have to be put on top of that, and I'm sure Paramount really splashed out on marketing for the new Terminator movie in hopes it would win big at the box office. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Terminator: Genisys is still losing money, even with the $440 million box office haul.
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.
Predator drones are already scary enough, but what if you couldn't see them at all? This is the next step for the US government, with UC San Deigo developing a new camouflage technology that they will submit to the Department of Defense later this month.
The new camouflage material is called "dielectric metasurface cloak", which continues the work from Duke University in 2006. The new material is a thin layer of Teflon studded with ceramic particles and capable of modulating wavelengths of energy along the electromagnetic scale (including both visible light and radar). The study's lead author, Li-Yi Hsu, said in a statement: "Previous cloaking studies needed many layers of materials to hide an object, the cloak ended up being much thicker than the size of the object being covered. In this study, we show that we can use a thin single-layer sheet for cloaking".
This new material isn't there yet, as its thickness is a determining factor into which wavelength it's capable of blocking as the material can only block a single wavelength at one time. Even with the right wavelength, "the system only works if the incoming signal hits it at a 45 degree angle (within 6 degrees or so)," reports Engadget.
Why haven't aliens contacted us? Encryption. That's at least the reason NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has given, which is his explanation to the Fermi paradox.
Snowden had a chat with Neil deGrasse Tyson on his StarTalk podcast (where we're hoping Snowden used encryption, pun intended), where he said that our need for highly encrypted information could be the reason aliens haven't contacted Earth. He said that their communications could be so encrypted that they would be nearly impossible to distinguish from the surrounding noise.
Snowden said: "When you look at encrypted communications, if they are properly encrypted, there is no real way to tell that they are encrypted. You can't distinguish a properly encrypted communication, at least in the theoretical sense, from random noise. So if you have an alien civilization trying to listen for other civilizations, or our civilization trying to listen for aliens, there's only one small period in the development of their society where all of their communications will be sent via the most primitive and most unprotected means"
Robot ethicist Dr. Kathleen Richardson doesn't want to see robots developed for a primary function of sexual interaction with humans. In her public campaign, Dr. Richardson said developing robots for this use is unnecessary and undesirable, as more advancements progress.
"Sex robots seem to be a growing focus in the robotics industry and the models that they draw on - how they will look, what roles they would play - are very disturbing indeed," Dr. Richardson told the BBC. "We think that the creation of such robots will contribute to detrimental relationships between men and women, adults and children, men and men and women and women."
Some "adult entertainment" companies are implementing robots and electronics into their products, and True Companion is preparing Roxxxy - the first "sex robot" - which is expected to launch sometime in 2015.
Qualcomm has been mostly down and out with its current Snapdragon processor, with Samsung opting for its Exynos 7420 inside of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge handsets, but the company wants to see its Snapdragon processors inside of drones in the future.
Qualcomm has just announced its new Snapdragon Flight, which is their optimized platform for everything drones and robotics. Snapdragon Flight is a tiny 58 x 40cm circuit board, which will be used on drones and other robotics in the future. The new Snapdragon Flight features Qualcomm's Snapdragon 801 processor, clocked at 2.5GHz.
Senior Vice President of Qualcomm, Raj Talluri, explains: "Today, drones are made from multiple component vendors providing separate solutions for photography, navigation and communications, adding to the cost and bulk of consumer drones. The Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight brings together the technologies that have defined the mobile industry onto a single board, enabling OEMs to build drones that are lighter, smaller, easy to use and affordable with long battery life and superior functionalities".
Ras Labs has created a unique synthetic material that mimics human muscles under an electric current, which could lead to a new generation of comfortable prosthesis solutions...and lifelike skin for robots.
"Luke Skywalker's prosthetic arm in Star Wars is somewhat the ultimate goal of prosthetics," Ras Labs CEO Eric Sandberg said to TechCrunch. "It provides that lifelike motion, control, and dexterity."
The material, dubbed as Syntethic Muscle, expands and contracts just like living muscle tissue under an electric current. The "electroactive" substance can directly convert energy into motion with a highly adaptable form factor; it can be hard and firm when it needs to be, or soft to conform to various curves and shapes of body parts. While Ras Labs wants to first revolutionize prosthetic limbs, the material has infinite potential: it could even be used to give lifelike flesh to robots and pave the way for synthetic androids straight out of the Alien canon.
Each day is another day we move closer to Skynet activating, with NASA saying that it has found a new material that is capable of self-healing from a bullet being shot at it within two seconds. Insanity.
The US space agency has said that the discovery has far-reaching applications, where it could be used on spacecrafts so that they could take a few hits from micro asteroids that would otherwise cause catastrophic damage, or down to 'self-healing' military equipment - you know, Terminators. NASA says that when one or both of the polymer layers were punctured, oxygen entered and mixed with an ingredient inside the gel called tributylborane.
When this reaction takes place, it caused the liquid center to solidify and heal the wound. NASA researchers told IFLScience: "Within seconds of coming into contact with the atmosphere, it goes from a liquid to a solid".
Space agencies have shown a great interest in manned missions to Mars, even though the technology and resources available will need to greatly advance in coming years. Some critics wonder if we should try to send humans to a planet so far away - especially since Earth and Mars were 34.8 million miles apart at their known closest pass to one another.
However, the European Space Agency (ESA) feels like mankind has the ambition - and evolving technological prowess - to make a manned mission possible. It would take up to 10 months to reach the Red Planet, and a crew could stay up to one year, and then take up to 10 months to make a return trip home again.
"Humans will go to Mars, I'm very sure of this," said Alexander Gerst, an astronaut for the ESA, in a statement published by Euronews. "You just have to look back in human history and you'll know. As soon as we learned to build ships, we took them not only to go to the next island, we took them to sail over the horizon."