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NASA releases “flying saucer” test video

NASA releases “flying saucer” test video

NASA's flying saucer has successfully made it to near-space, with the latest test flight for the experimental Mars lander pushing the boundaries of high-speed parachute deployment. The Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) represents NASA's strategy for taking larger payloads safely down to the Martian surface, using both an inflatable air-brake and a vast parachute twice the size of that which set the Curiosity rover down.

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The dirty little secret about in-car voice control

The dirty little secret about in-car voice control

Speaking to your car's dashboard has been hailed by many as the answer to driver distraction, but most systems are flawed, respond poorly, and motorists don't really care about their features, research indicates. Automotive survey heavyweight J.D. Power went digging through reported vehicle quality, and found that lackluster infotainment - substandard voice control systems in particular - was a frequent complaint.

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Lasers and carbon-nanotubes pave way to live brain scanning

Lasers and carbon-nanotubes pave way to live brain scanning

Lasers and carbon nanotubes peering into the brain might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but tests that could one day mean precise non-invasive diagnosis of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other diseases are already underway. The technology, developed by chemists at Stanford University, has so far been tested on mice, but opens the door to an alternative to physically removing sections of the skull to track cellular-level changes.

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IBM SyNAPSE: The neuron-inspired future of computing

IBM SyNAPSE: The neuron-inspired future of computing

A computer chip that thinks like a neuron in the human brain and sips a fraction of the power of traditional processors could finally open the door to cognitive computing, IBM researchers claim today. Dubbed IBM SyNAPSE, the groundbreaking chip squeezes a million "programmable neurons" and 256 million "programmable synapses" into something the size of a postage stamp, but which could one day allow for advanced digital versions of human senses.

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NASA flirts with far-out tech: Methane subs and solar sails

NASA flirts with far-out tech: Methane subs and solar sails

A submarine for diving through lakes of methane, a tiny satellite designed to snare an asteroid, and solar sail for deep-space probes are all among NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program for 2014, as the space agency hunts for the next big thing in exploration. Several of the new NIAC proposals, notable for often taking more outlandish approaches to science and technology than mainstream NASA research, tackle planetary exploration such as the advances needed for human missions to be safe and affordable.

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NVIDIA and UNC cook up truly immersive AR wearable

NVIDIA and UNC cook up truly immersive AR wearable

As reactions to Google Glass show, the world isn't ready for ungainly wearable displays, but NVIDIA and researchers from the University of North Carolina think they've come up with a far more aesthetically pleasing - and discrete - alternative. Pinlight Displays promise not only to be far less clunky than suspending a tiny screen in front of the wearer, but offer a far broader field-of-view in the process, and even do it all cheaper than standard wearable displays.

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