Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 428

All the latest Science, Space, Health & Robotics news with plenty of coverage on space launches, discoveries, rockets & plenty more - Page 428.

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Real wireless charging coming soon, charge devices from a distance

Jeff Williams | Jan 26, 2016 3:06 PM CST

Wireless Power Transfer, of Tesla fame, is about to become a reality. His vision of actually transmitting power to charge devices is almost here.

Tesla's original design

Wireless charging is currently limited to simply not having to plug something physically into your phone. You still need to make contact with something, like a pad, to charge that battery. But soon, we'll have true wireless charging, where that precious power is beamed through the air to your device. From a distance.

Continue reading: Real wireless charging coming soon, charge devices from a distance (full post)

Planet 10 times as big as Earth believed to exist beyond Pluto

Sean Ridgeley | Jan 22, 2016 7:04 PM CST

Strong evidence suggests a new planet 10 times the size of Earth has been hiding out at the edge of our solar system for...quite some time now. Tentatively named "Planet Nine", it would found in the outer darkness 30.5 billion kilometers from the sun, or about five times farther than Pluto.

Evidence for this possible planet surfaced in 2014 but wasn't strong enough to be taken too seriously. Recently, scientists Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown at the California Institute of Technology uncovered "anomalies in the orbits of a handful of smaller bodies they can see", indicating they were being "shepherded" by the gravity of a planet. As a result, the likelihood Planet Nine does indeed exist has majorly increased, and the scientific community at large is taking note.

While there's no detection as of yet, Chad Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii says it's "pretty convincing", while David Nesvorny, a solar system theorist at the Southwest Research Institute remarks, "These guys are really good. They make a good case."

Continue reading: Planet 10 times as big as Earth believed to exist beyond Pluto (full post)

Researchers have made brain-scanning implants that dissolve completely

Jeff Williams | Jan 21, 2016 9:03 AM CST

Neurosurgeons and engineers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have just created an exciting new medical device. An tiny sensor that can send life-saving information wirelessly, then dissolve completely, not requiring surgery to take out.

Their device is made of a polylactic-co-glycolic acid and silicon mixture, making it very safe for humans. It's a huge breakthrough because cranial surgery can be dangerous and risky. Now this tiny little device, which is smaller than the tip of a pencil, can be implanted into key areas in your head to monitor intracranial pressure and temperature, and then just be completely absorbed by the body.

Since these new devices dissolve over time, they avoid a lot of the common complications that can occur. There's very little worry of infection, inflammation or any other kind of triggered immune response that can occur with implants of this kind. That means it can help more people more readily. A lot of lives could potentially be saved by using this device. There's a quoted 50,000 people that die of traumatic brain injuries that go undetected or aren't properly monitored.

Continue reading: Researchers have made brain-scanning implants that dissolve completely (full post)

Over 5 million jobs could be lost to robots by 2020

Anthony Garreffa | Jan 19, 2016 4:11 AM CST

Robots are slowly taking over the human population, in factories, retail and service industries - slowly, but surely. But, how much worse can it get? The World Economic Forum has now weighed in, with some estimates.

The WEF says that over 5 million jobs will be lost to robots, with the white-collar workers (admin/office jobs) being the ones most at risk. The WEF surveyed 15 countries that have over 1.9 billion workers - including China, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the UK and the US. These 1.9 billion workers make up 65% of the global workforce, with hope that robots won't take over all of our jobs - as people will need to adapt to technology as it arrives.

WEF founder Klaus Schwab and board member Richard Samans explained: "To prevent a worst-case scenario -- technological change accompanied by talent shortages, mass unemployment and growing inequality -- reskilling and upskilling of today's workers will be critical". You can read their full report "The Future of Jobs" here.

Continue reading: Over 5 million jobs could be lost to robots by 2020 (full post)

US Marine Corps put robotic mule project on backburner

Sean Ridgeley | Jan 1, 2016 8:16 PM CST

The $32 million collaboration between the Google-owned Boston Dynamics team and DARPA has been put on the backburner indefinitely, as the US Marines Corps has decided not to go forward with the LS3 "robotic mule" produced by the project. The main reason: it's too damn loud. Repairs and squad integration were also concerns.

The purpose of the creatures was to carry up to 400lbs worth of equipment, though judging from the look of them, enemy intimidation was part of the appeal as well.

It's not all for naught, though: Boston Dynamics and DARPA explain this was a research opportunity from the start more than anything else.

Continue reading: US Marine Corps put robotic mule project on backburner (full post)

Astronaut calls wrong number from the ISS, apologizes on Twitter

Jeff Williams | Dec 27, 2015 7:09 PM CST

Tim Peake, the first British ESA astronaut on the ISS, seems to have accidentally called the wrong number on Christmas. From space.

Presumably he was trying to reach his family on Christmas day when he accidentally phoned an unknown lady and said "Hello, is this planet Earth?", which he was likely promptly hung-up on. I can't imagine that that wouldn't sound like a prank call to someone on Earth, even if it's an endearing message from anyone who knows who the message was.

But these types of wrong numbers aren't unusual, either. Astronaut Sam Christoforetti has also accidentally called the wrong number while orbiting the Earth, to 911. Though I'm not sure that the police ever responded to let them know the dangers of calling if it's not an emergency.

Continue reading: Astronaut calls wrong number from the ISS, apologizes on Twitter (full post)

Engineers create world's first biologically powered computer chip

Derek Strickland | Dec 23, 2015 7:46 PM CST

Columbia University Engineers have successfully created the world's first biologically powered computer chip, which could ultimately usher in a new harmonious union of nature and technology.

Engineers create world's first biologically powered computer chip

Thanks to a new advancement in the field of bioelectronics, the union of man and machine may not be that far away. Researchers at New York's Columbia University have tapped the energy created by a natural biological process to power an integrated CMOS circuit, which is found in common electronics such as cell phones.

"In combining a biological, electronic device with CMOS, we will be able to create new systems not possible with either technology alone," says Ken Shepard, Lau Family Professor of Electrical Engineering who led the study. "We are excited at the prospect of expanding the palette of active devices that will have new functions, such as harvesting energy from ATP, as was done here, or recognizing specific molecules, giving chips the potential to taste and smell. This was quite a unique new direction for us, and it has great potential to give solid state systems new capabilities with biological components."

Continue reading: Engineers create world's first biologically powered computer chip (full post)

58 years of space junk in 60 seconds looks awesome, terrifying

Jeff Williams | Dec 23, 2015 9:08 AM CST

Stuart Grey has created a great animation that shows a time-lapse of all of the wonderful things we've shot into space. It's gorgeous and downright terrifying if you understand the implications.

Space debris flying around our beautiful blue and green planet is a real threat to us and our future ventures in space. We've put a tremendous amount of stuff into space, and a lot of it is still there. In fact, almost 20,000 pieces of debris, or inactive and non-used space objects are still out there today.

Just imagine what happened in Gravity actually happening in real-life. We track a lot of the stuff up there, but there's just so much that one day it's possible that something will slip through and actually hit a communications satellite or GPS satellite that you're using. Whoops! Thankfully there are some efforts underway to clean some of it up, before it falls into peoples homes.

Continue reading: 58 years of space junk in 60 seconds looks awesome, terrifying (full post)

Microsoft has software to predict future crimes, Minority Report style

Jeff Williams | Dec 22, 2015 10:03 AM CST

Microsoft has developed software, called predictive policing, that's able to predict whether inmates will end back up into jail within six months from release with a 91% accuracy rate. Check out the video presentation here.

It might sound like the program that was depicted in 2002's silver-screen adaptation of Philip K. Dicks 1956 Minority Report, and it mostly is. Just without all the special powers. Instead of having gifted humans predict the future through the Force, or similar powers, the piece of software actually under development is instead a complex algorithm that uses historical data and trends to predict future trends.

It's not magic, but it's based on science and statistics in order predict the probability that someone will repeat their behavior. Past behavior, as they say, is the greatest predictor of future behavior, as much as we'd like to believe that we can change drastically, sometimes it isn't necessarily so for everyone. And we are ultimately a predictable lot, prone to patterns.

Continue reading: Microsoft has software to predict future crimes, Minority Report style (full post)

LG's new robotic vacuum doubles as a mobile security system

Anthony Garreffa | Dec 22, 2015 5:14 AM CST

LG has just unveiled its new robotic vacuum, the Hom-Bot Turbo+, which has some nifty features.

First off, it's a normal robotic vacuum, so you can schedule your cleaning duties to be done while you're out of the house, or asleep. The Turbo+ has three cameras that, with the assistance of the Robonavi software, allow the robotic vacuum to navigate your house, apartment or wherever you call home, and keep it clean.

LG has used these cameras in a unique way, as you can view the Turbo+ in real-time, and remotely control it through the Home-View function. The Home-View function has the cameras working as a mobile security system, which lets owners of the Turbo+ receive still images to their devices if it detects movement in a home that should be empty.

Continue reading: LG's new robotic vacuum doubles as a mobile security system (full post)