research

HoloLens courts academics to give AR a serious spin

HoloLens courts academics to give AR a serious spin

HoloLens might be fun as an augmented reality gimmick, but Microsoft clearly knows that without software the fancy headset will die in short order. The company has put a call out among academics to come up with potential applications for holographic computing, whether that be novel teaching methods, building art installations that bridge the real and the virtual, or new opportunities to get inside big data. To sweeten the proposal, meanwhile, Microsoft is looking to hand out ten HoloLens prototypes and a total of $500,000 among five universities.

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Self-driving cabs could slash emissions 90%

Self-driving cabs could slash emissions 90%

Autonomous taxis could have a huge impact on environmental emissions, with new research suggesting cuts of as much as 90-percent versus private ownership. Although self-driving projects have for the most part focused on the safety and convenience handing over the wheel to a computer would allow, the team at the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory looked instead to per-mile greenhouse gas emissions. The potential for greener driving, they discovered, was far greater when a smarter taxi system could take into account just how many people they'd need to be transporting.

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New Horizons Pluto mission blinks out just days from goal

New Horizons Pluto mission blinks out just days from goal

Before you start having a heart attack at the idea that we won't get any closer to Pluto, take heed - New Horizons is now back online. For just a short period of time - right around an hour - the craft blinked offline. This was a radio communications glitch that seemed to fix itself - somehow or another - by 3:15pm EDT on the 4th of July, when everyone was out at the beach sipping on brewskies. Except NASA engineers, of course, who were on the task at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, making certain this wasn't an error that'd have the craft offline just days before it reaches its closest point to Pluto.

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Rosetta comet unlikely to carry life, despite scientist claims

Rosetta comet unlikely to carry life, despite scientist claims

One set of scientists suggest this week that Rosetta's comet could have micro-organic life - another says no. Nearing the end of its ten-year journey to catch up with comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, Rosetta's met with some controversy this week. Several astrophysicists from Cardiff and Buckingham Universities have spoken up at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, suggesting that 67P appears to have frozen lakes embedded within. This, they say, could mean that the comet could have organic debris on it. Not all scientists agree with this hypothesis.

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Babibasiliscus alxi “Jesus Lizard” ran on water 50-m years ago

Babibasiliscus alxi “Jesus Lizard” ran on water 50-m years ago

A new (rather old) lizard has been discovered by scientists who suggest it was the first "Jesus Lizard" in the world. This isn't the only lizard in history to have the ability to run across the water. This creature's very distant cousins still skim the surfaces of lakes today. The Babibasiliscus alxi, or "Babi", is now the most ancient known lizard to be able to appear to use superpowers to run across bodies of water where most any other creature would quickly sink.

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Aftermarket autonomous vehicle tech enters testing in California

Aftermarket autonomous vehicle tech enters testing in California

Autonomous vehicles are the future of driving and there is no way we will get away from that. Like most cool new features, initially the only way to get the ability for your car to drive autonomously will be to buy a new car that has the tech built-in from the factory. The good news for folks who don’t want to buy a new car or have a car they love currently is that there will be aftermarket autonomous vehicle tech such as the offering that Cruise Automation is working on.

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Rosetta finds sinkholes that could swallow a pyramid

Rosetta finds sinkholes that could swallow a pyramid

Rosetta continues its extended mission in capturing information on its nearby comet this week, finding massive sinkholes in the process. A number of these massive "cavities" have shown themselves in comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. These holes appear as deep as 590 feet (180 meters) and as wide as 656 feet (200 meters) in diameter. While scientists are not certain why these pits are appearing, lead researcher Jean-Baptiste Vincent suggested that it could be because of the heat of the sun, this heat creating jets of surface-collapsing dust.

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NASA begins prototyping first airplane to fly over Mars

NASA begins prototyping first airplane to fly over Mars

NASA has revealed a new prototype design for an aircraft that will eventually be the first to fly on Mars in the 2020's. Dubbed the Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars, or "Prandtl-m" for short, features a flying-wing design and is said to be ready for testing later this year via launching from a balloon at an altitude of 100,000 feet to simulate Mars' atmosphere.

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SpaceX explosion leaves NASA reliant on Russian resupply

SpaceX explosion leaves NASA reliant on Russian resupply

With SpaceX's CRS-7 rocket in pieces and future launches grounded until the cause of Sunday's explosion is identified, the ISS is again dependent on Russia for supplies. Although the astronauts currently on the International Space Station have food, water, and other essentials in their orbiting stock cupboard to last them through October 2015, NASA says, it's still vital that the ISS Progress 60 rocket makes it up in one piece when it lifts off this coming Friday.

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Researchers double fiber optic capacity limit

Researchers double fiber optic capacity limit

Fiber optics offer incredibly fast data transfer speeds, but the logistics of setting up the actual fibers has stymied companies from rolling out the service. The further that data from fiber optic cables has to go, the less likely it is to be accurately interpreted by a receiver. This means that distance is a limiting factor in designing fiber optic transmission networks. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, specializing in photonics, have uncovered a way to increase a the maximum power of optical signals travelling through optical fibers. By increasing the power, the distance is effectively increased, too. The researchers sent information over a record-breaking distance of 12,000 km without using any repeaters (electronic regenerators.)

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Samsung develops new tech that could double Li-on battery life

Samsung develops new tech that could double Li-on battery life

As our smart-devices become capable of doing more, it usually means that battery life takes a back seat, especially as smart-devices keep shrinking. Samsung researchers have developed a new method of constructing lithium-ion batteries that tackles the issue of extending battery life on a nanoscale. The use of silicon in lithium-ion batteries is a widely researched development, but a caveat to using silicon as an active material in Li-On batteries is that its volume drastically changes through charge-discharge cycles. This can lead to weakening the battery's life cycle energy density.

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