Real-world tests to see how farmer drones can co-exist with planes and other flying objects have been given the green light to begin. The first drone test site in the FAA's trials of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) has been granted its license, the agency said this week, with a team in North Dakota planning to begin flights in early May as it explores the potential in agriculture as well as how smoothly it can integrate with existing air traffic safety systems.
A study has been published that outlines a method of creating a laser beam that can travel further than lasers were previously able to travel. Researchers from the University of Arizona have developed a way to increase the distance the laser can travel in air by encasing it in the beam of light of another laser. The process is described as being similar to wrapping a wire in an insulating layer.
Another Russian meteor has been caught on camera, brightening the 2am sky across the Kola Peninsula and sparking a race to find debris, despite astronomers arguing it probably disintegrated before hitting the ground. The fireball comes a little over a year after a meteorite roughly the size of an SUV exploded over Russia and injured as many as 1,00 people.
Half of the top ten Android smartphones susceptible to Heartbleed hacks are made by HTC, security research firm Lookout claims, with phones like the HTC One X+ and Desire X still running older versions of Google's OS that are unpatched. Lookout describes the issues as "a curse of these phones' own success," with popular hardware unable to support the latest, safer Android versions. However, HTC tells SlashGear that it has a fix in the works.
SpaceX has successfully launched its CRS-3 Mission, the second attempt to send the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station and further demonstrate the effectiveness of its reusable technology. The launch - scratched earlier in the week - will take a number of specialist devices and equipment to the ISS, including a new laser communication array, and high-resolution cameras which will give viewers new glimpse of Earth from orbit.
Honda has revealed a new version of ASIMO, its humanoid robot, now able to climb stairs smoothly and communicate using sign language. Shown off in New York this week, ASIMO may look the same as before to the casual glance, but Honda has in fact reworked both the upper and lower body, including adding extra degrees of freedom to the hands so that they can be used for more precise tasks.
Microsoft has given its IllumiRoom concept a makeover, with the immersive projected gaming experience evolving to deliver interactive web content that fills the living room and engages with Xbox One, Windows Phone, and Windows. Dubbed Microsoft SurroundWeb, the concept relies on the same approach of using projectors to cast digital graphics onto the surfaces of real-world objects, like the wall surrounding a TV or the coffee table in front of it, which then react to the user within that space.
NASA's big news today is the first ever sighting of an Earth-sized planet orbiting a star in the "habitable zone", but it's not the first time the Kepler Space Telescope has caught sight of a potentially intriguing distant rock. The space observatory has already cataloged almost 1,000 exoplanets spread across 76 different stellar systems, though Kepler-186f has the unique privilege of being the first "Earth cousin" spotted.
Following the Fukushima disaster back in 2011, MIT has developed a floating nuclear plant that would avoid several of the issues with present-day plants, including being essentially immune to tsunamis and being able to use sea water to cool down in the event of a catastrophe of some sort.