research

MIT researchers envision a future without traffic lights

MIT researchers envision a future without traffic lights

We have just barely reached the tip of the iceberg when it comes to self-driving cars but researcher's from MIT's "Senseable City Lab" are already preparing the theoretical ground work for one of that technology's biggest implications. Cars are slowly getting more independent of their human drivers and more interconnected with each other as well as other connected devices. In the future, this could translate to a sophisticated system that directs and manages the flow of cars at an intersection, without the use of traffic lights.

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CRACUNS land and sea drone can operate underwater

CRACUNS land and sea drone can operate underwater

Researchers with John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory have created a new type of drone that is able to position itself beneath water, lying in wait until it is time for it to take off in the air. The drone is made using a corrosion-resistant material that can handle being submerged without suffering damage. As expected, the drone — dubbed the Corrosion Resistant Aerial Covert Unmanned Nautical System (CRACUNS)— is able to operate while underwater.

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Google pressures government to fast-track its self-driving cars

Google pressures government to fast-track its self-driving cars

Google is pressuring the US government to green-light more advanced autonomous car testing, including ditching the requirement that prototype vehicles have controls for emergency use. Leader of Google's project, Chris Urmson, has penned a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx requesting more flexibility in how self-driving vehicles are judged, a move which would not only affect Google but any other company working on such technology.

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King Tut’s tomb: scans find hidden rooms with metal, organic objects

King Tut’s tomb: scans find hidden rooms with metal, organic objects

Back in October, evidence was found suggesting King Tut’s tomb could have a secret room or two, and that the secret room may prove to be the long-sought tomb of Queen Nefertiti. Some experts dismissed the idea at the time, pointing out apparent flaws with the notion. Nevertheless, radar scans were performed and Egyptian antiquities minister Mamdouh Eldamaty has good news to report: there are hidden chambers in the tomb, and there are unidentified objects hidden within them. The objects are made of both organic materials and metals.

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Panasonic is building Ninja exoskeletons and Aliens-style Power Loaders

Panasonic is building Ninja exoskeletons and Aliens-style Power Loaders

Panasonic is working on a full body exoskeleton which will give workers super-strength, the company has said today, building on its "Ninja" power assist suits. The PLN-01 wearables, developed by Panasonic division Activelink, and their AWN-03 counterparts, are intended to help industrial workers lift heavy objects without destroying their backs in the process.

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SCAMP robot is a quadrotor drone that can fly, climb, and perch

SCAMP robot is a quadrotor drone that can fly, climb, and perch

Quadrotor drones can perform all sorts of tasks from monitoring air quality to performing surveillance. The catch is that the limited battery life means that they can only perform their assigned tasks for short periods of flying. Researchers from Stanford University have developed a quadrotor drone aircraft that is able to extend its useful life by saving its batteries with the ability to perch like a bird in a place where it can still perform its assignment and save battery power.

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DARPA Improv project seeks to weaponize your appliances

DARPA Improv project seeks to weaponize your appliances

DARPA’s back with yet another project, and this one aims to turn everyday, benign appliances and other electronics into weapons and other “unanticipated security threats.” No, the agency isn’t hoping to equip soldiers with modified home appliances — rather, it wants the hive mind to come up with novel and unexplored methods for turning easily accessible devices into things that could threatened national security, helping to bolster preventative technologies.

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Ceres’ mystery spots are dimming, brightening daily

Ceres’ mystery spots are dimming, brightening daily

Ceres' bright spots entertained astronomers and enthusiasts for most of 2015, but ultimately ended as we'd expected all along -- all signs point toward them being shiny salt patches reflecting the sun's light. Enter 2016 and a new plot twist no one anticipated -- the dwarf planet's bright spots are randomly changing in intensity, growing brighter and dimmer throughout the day in a way that doesn't fully line up with the planet's rotation.

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Sensor laden pigeons test for air pollution in London

Sensor laden pigeons test for air pollution in London

A flock of ten pigeons has a big job in London. The pigeons will be flying around the city wearing tiny backpacks that are fitted with sensors designed to monitor air quality around the city. The pigeons will live free for three days before returning with their little backpacks. The project is called Pigeon Air Patrol and was one of the winners of a contest called #PoweredByTweets that Twitter held last year.

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Australia has mysterious ‘fairy circles’ all over the place, too

Australia has mysterious ‘fairy circles’ all over the place, too

We’ve all heard of crop circles, but ‘fairy circles’ are lesser known and, usually, less interesting to look at. These circular patches have a shape roughly -- and consistently -- like that of a six-sided honeycomb and feature a hard dirt shell resulting in a plant-free bare region within an otherwise grassy landscape. Fairy circles are commonly found in Namibia but not elsewhere — until recently, at least, when researchers stumbled across a bunch of them in the empty Australian outback.

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MIT device makes power by burning fuel-coated carbon nanotubes

MIT device makes power by burning fuel-coated carbon nanotubes

Scientists and researchers at MIT have come up with a new portable method of making power that uses heat and doesn't require metals or toxic materials. The new method of generating power is based on a discovery made by MIT professor Michael Strano and co-workers in 2010. That team created a wire using small carbon nanotubes that is able to create an electrical current when the tube is progressively heated from one end to the other.

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T-Rex missing link: a horse-sized predator with super hearing

T-Rex missing link: a horse-sized predator with super hearing

The “missing link” between the smallest T-Rex ancestors and the larger Tyrannosaurs was discovered in the Kyzylkum Desert in Uzbekistan more than a decade ago. Researchers recently studied the fossils and have published the results of their study, saying the creature -- which has been dubbed Timurlengia euotica -- was about the size of a modern horse and holds signs about how such a small species evolved into the massive Tyrannosaurus Rex.

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