research

Scientists study ancient lizards encased in 99 million year old amber

Scientists study ancient lizards encased in 99 million year old amber

Scientists are studying chunks of amber that have been discovered that have ancient lizard specimens encased inside. The lizards have been inside the amber for about 99 million years and the 12 specimens were discovered in the forests of a region now known as Myanmar. The specimens show a diverse population of lizards living in the region at the time.

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New quantum computer could mean trouble for encryption

New quantum computer could mean trouble for encryption

The FBI and the Justice Department might still be at an impasse with Apple, but technology could give it the break it needs in a distant future. In a paper published in the Journal Science, researchers from MIT and Austria's University of Innsbruck have revealed that they were able to not only design but also build a quantum computer that only needs five atoms to factor the number 15. But equally important is the claim that the design is completely scalable, allowing for the addition of more atoms to factor numbers of much larger magnitudes.

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Stanford’s autonomous Audi hits the track to improve its AI safety

Stanford’s autonomous Audi hits the track to improve its AI safety

While Audi already has its own, err, self-driving Audi, researchers at Stanford University have been working with an autonomous TTS for several years now, developing their own artificial intelligence. Now the school has shared that they're even hitting the race track, letting their car navigate the course at speeds up to 120mph. The purpose is not to have the Audi TTS, dubbed "Shelley," compete in a circuit with real humans, but rather to use the data from high speed driving to improve safety.

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This is the new blackest black material on Earth

This is the new blackest black material on Earth

Back in 2014, researchers in the UK at Surrey NanoSystems created the darkest material on the planet with Vantablack, made from low-temperature carbon nanotubes. As the blackest of blacks ever, the material could absorb 99.96% of light that comes into contact with it, basically creating the appearance of empty void when looked at in broad daylight. Well, now Surrey NanoSystems is back with Vantablack 2, an even blacker black than the previous blackest black.

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Scientists discover ‘ghostlike’ octopod playing on sea floor

Scientists discover ‘ghostlike’ octopod playing on sea floor

Researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have discovered a ‘ghostlike octopod’ that had, until now, remained unknown to scientists. The octopod was discovered during the year’s first operational dive for Okeanos Explorer, particularly the Deep Discoverer remotely operated vehicle, which had set out to gather some geological samples from a ridge near Necker Island.

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Researchers create robotic octopus skin that’s soft, stretchy, and changes colors

Researchers create robotic octopus skin that’s soft, stretchy, and changes colors

A team of scientists at Cornell University have developed a skin-like material that is not only soft, flexible, and capable of stretching to six times its original size, but features robotics such as color-changing displays and pressure sensitivity. If you've had a fear of robot octopuses before now, your nightmares are coming true. With cephalopods as their inspiration, the engineers imagine the technology could not only lead to soft, adaptable robots, but to stretching and folding display screens.

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DARPA VTOL X-Plane moves into phase 2 design with Aurora Flight Sciences

DARPA VTOL X-Plane moves into phase 2 design with Aurora Flight Sciences

DARPA wants a new unmanned aircraft that combined the best aspects of a helicopter with the best aspects of fixed wing aircraft. The program to create this new aircraft is called the VTOL X-Plane and DARPA has now announced that the project is moving into phase 2 design. The contact for this phase of the program was awarded to Aurora Flight Sciences.

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Sony’s Future Lab Program will let users in on R&D ideas

Sony’s Future Lab Program will let users in on R&D ideas

Many companies, especially tech ones, have research and development divisions and groups, but almost all of those happen behind close doors. Sony, surprisingly, is taking a daring, and perhaps risky, contrary approach, at least for some of its technologies. With its new Future Lab Program, it is opening the doors wide to its technological R&D, inviting users to be part at least of the conceptual and prototyping stages. It is the beginning of a new culture that will kick off when Sony unveils "N", the first Future Lab project, at SxSW next week.

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Artificial trees generate electricity from small vibrations

Artificial trees generate electricity from small vibrations

Windmills are great, but they do have their downsides: ice is a problem in wintery places, they’re loud if you’re too close, and they’re, you know, enormous. In the future, wind energy generation may look less like giant spinning windmills and more like trees…artificial trees, that is. Researchers with Ohio State University have found that trees experience a type of vibration when shaken that can be used to generate electricity, and this energy generation could be conducted with small-scale artificial trees.

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JJ Abrams documentary with Google heads to the moon

JJ Abrams documentary with Google heads to the moon

The folks behind XPRIZE and Google have just revealed that they'll be doing a documentary with Director Orlando von Einsiedel and Executive Producer J.J. Abrams. This piece of work will be a 9-part digital documentary that'll premiere on the 15th of March on Google Play and on the 17th of March on YouTube. It'll cover the set of teams competing in the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. Their "quirks." Their sacrifices. Their challenges. All the good stuff.

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Mystery surrounds repeating short bursts of cosmic radio waves

Mystery surrounds repeating short bursts of cosmic radio waves

Astronomers have been searching the skies for a long time seeking out radio signals that they believe intelligent life would be producing. So far, none has been discovered that have proven to be from intelligent life. A new source of very short bursts of radio waves has been discovered from a source that is well beyond the edge of the Milky Way galaxy.

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Ancient sea bear had same bite as saber-toothed tiger

Ancient sea bear had same bite as saber-toothed tiger

An ancient sea bear called Kolponomos ate in the same manner as a saber-toothed tiger, according to researchers. The creature, which is now extinct, has been known to researchers since a handful of skulls were discovered in the Pacific Northwest region of the US, though researchers originally believed them to be some sort of raccoon-like critter. Most recently, scientists have found the sea bear had the same bite pattern as the saber-toothed tiger, which existed millions of years after the bear.

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