As virtual reality continues to grow and interactive gaming in general becomes a bigger focus, some Stanford engineers have developed the next item of attention: an emotion-sensing game controller, which could lead to customized game play based on how the gamer is responding.
Scientists are looking at a number of celestial bodies in our solar system as potential habitats for life. One of the spots that we are looking at is one of Saturn's moons called Enceladus. This moon is particularly interesting because it is known to spew water into space. Gravity measurements suggest that the moon has an ocean between its rocky core and the icy shell that is about the size of Lake Superior.
Google's Project Loon to float global internet in high-atmospheric balloons sounded far-fetched, but the floating web platform is already circling the globe an update from the team reveals. Tests of Loon balloon Ibis-167 saw it do a loop of Earth in 22 days, with a new design that includes twice the number of solar panels.
Google Maps isn't just driving directions and traffic any more; Google has taken another tour to off-the-beaten-path locations with new Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia, adding digital renderings of over 100 local temples. Featuring more than 90,000 panoramas of the external designs, the interior, and close-ups of individual carvings, the new content saw Google take its Street View photography equipment to historic sites most would never see.
The biggest mass extinction known to affect Earth likely had the smallest of causes, scientists at MIT have concluded, blaming microbes for killing out around 90-percent of every species on the planet 252 million years ago. The huge wipe-out - which, it had previously been speculated, could have been the result of an asteroid strike or uncontrollable volcanic eruptions - was, new fossil research indicates, the result of vast quantities of carbon dioxide or methane changing ocean chemistry and throwing the climate into a tailspin.
Google isn't the only team working on digital tattoos, with a new adhesive patch that can not only track biometrics but administer drugs being developed that could potentially revolutionize how long-term conditions like Parkinson's disease and epilepsy are treated. The 0.003 millimeter thick sticky patch is the handiwork of a team at the University of Texas in Austin, and layers sensors, onboard storage, medication, and microheaters into a Band-Aid scale rectangle.
In its third run, the X-37B, which is a highly secretive and classified spacecraft, has set a new record for the number of days in space. This unmanned craft has crossed 469 days of orbiting on a mission that is tightly sealed and is reporting to the Air Force and the U.S. Military. There is a possibility that it could be testing new space-based surveillance technologies.
Late last year we mentioned that DARPA was working on a new project to create a next generation vertical takeoff and landing aircraft or VTOL. The project is called X-Plane and the goal is to design aircraft that can take off and land like a helicopter but fly much faster than a helicopter.
New tech created by a researcher named Mark Shriver of Pennsylvania State University may one day be able to create a virtual mug shot using DNA. The tech could be used to catch criminals in the future by making up a virtual mug shot using DNA material left at crime scenes. Shriver and his team created 3D images of 600 volunteers from a range of racial and ethnic groups.
NASA is planning to explore the depths of space with its most powerful launch vehicle, flying the cosmos more like a fighter jet than a traditional rocket. The US space agency aims to use the Space Launch System (SLS) to take probes, satellites, and even crewed stations like the proposed Deep Space Habitat far out through the galaxy, testing jet systems that would allow it to change course in real-time to avoid unforeseen obstacles.