research

Ambitious Oculus: Billion-player Facebook MMOs and R&D explosion

Ambitious Oculus: Billion-player Facebook MMOs and R&D explosion

Facebook has ambitious plans to use Oculus Rift to create a billion-player game, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe has teased, immersing social network users in a quite literally massive multiplayer environment, though in the meantime it will focus on a speedier release of the next headset. Oculus VR may be a $2bn addition to Facebook's roster of acquired companies, but the team is still looking at how it can motivate young coders and students to develop new virtual reality applications.

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Science adding new element 117 to Periodic Table

Science adding new element 117 to Periodic Table

Element Z=117 has been acknowledged this week by a team of scientists, these scientists having successfully created several atoms of said element in a lab. This lovely piece of creation will - once it’s finalized - be element 117, for now it’s code-named Ununseptium. Final confirmation will need to be independently carried out - you can’t just jump in after 3 years of research and declare a new element, after all.

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Robot Love: Inside Dean Kamen’s FIRST Championship 2014

Robot Love: Inside Dean Kamen’s FIRST Championship 2014

The screaming in the stadium is so loud, I can hardly hear the announcer. Enthusiasm spills from the stands in waves; only gets louder when President Obama appears on the big screen for an unexpected address. The Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis isn’t playing host to the Rams as usual, however; instead, the seats are filled with row after row of students from K-3 up to high school age, all here for the FIRST Championship 2014. Brainchild of Dean Kamen - better known perhaps for being the father of the Segway - this is no ordinary robotics competition.

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NASA launches Space Station lifeboat project

NASA launches Space Station lifeboat project

If Sandra Bullock in Gravity proved anything, it's that George Clooney is smug even in space and that having an emergency exit back to Earth is probably a good thing. NASA is now working on the latter, with plans to equip the International Space Station (ISS) with a dedicated lifeboat for the first time in forty years, giving the orbiting crew there a place to not only shelter from incidents on the platform, but a way to escape it should something go seriously wrong.

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SpaceX reusable F9R rocket aces 1,000m safe landing trial

SpaceX reusable F9R rocket aces 1,000m safe landing trial

SpaceX has shared new footage of its Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) rocket being tested only for the second time, carefully blasting up to 1,000m and then safely returning back to the ground. The rocket quadrupled the height that it reached before descending over the first trial, making a landing that was a whole lot more successful than that of the SpaceX Falcon 9 last week.

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How to build an Egyptian pyramid? Just add water

How to build an Egyptian pyramid? Just add water

One of the enduring mysteries of the pyramids - how ancient Egyptians managed to transport the huge stones used in their construction - may have been solved, with researchers discovering that simply adding water might have been enough. Blocks were known to have been dragged on sleds, but historians had always been uncertain as to how the Egyptian's workers avoided simply creating vast ridges of sand as the weight of the stones dug in.

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Apple keyboard-display patent tips haptic stroke-friendly keys

Apple keyboard-display patent tips haptic stroke-friendly keys

Apple's future MacBook Pro keyboards could pack displays, haptic feedback, and capacitive touch sensors in each key, with the company filing a patent for multifunction buttons that could bring Optimus Maximus style flexibility. The filing, "Multi-Functional Keyboard Assemblies," describes component-dense keycaps which layer not only the regular mechanical switch but can include capacitive sensors as would normally be found in the trackpad, or displays for changing each key's legend.

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