technology

Ford jumps in the race to develop self-driving cars

Ford jumps in the race to develop self-driving cars

Ford is amping up its research into autonomous technologies in the hopes of creating a self-driving car. The company is a bit of a late-comer to the emerging market of autonomous vehicles. Auto industry competitors such as Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz are already well on their way past proof-of-concept. (We even took a spin in the autonomous Mercedes F 015!) Tech industry giants like Google and newcomer, Uber, already have prototypes on the road.

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NASA tests new avoidance systems for UAVs

NASA tests new avoidance systems for UAVs

NASA is has developed a new sense-and-avoid system that will let unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) fly routine operations. The technology is currently undergoing its third round of testing. The researchers will use live data to validate the aircraft's trajectory, sensor, and other simulation models. The real-time data collection is designed to help the UAV move out of the path of incoming hazards like other aircraft.

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U.S. Army and Air Force build laser-blasting bomb-disposal vehicle

U.S. Army and Air Force build laser-blasting bomb-disposal vehicle

The latest technology from the U.S. Air Force and Army that could head into the battlefield involves harnessing laser power to destroy fields of landmines from a safe distance. The Air Force-built laser will be incorporated into the Army's mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs). The specific prototype is known as RADBO which stands for Recovery of Airbase Denied by Ordinance. It's a lengthy moniker, but it accurately describes the missions in which the laser should be used--turning an airfield that is littered with landmines into a usable airbase with as few casualties as possible.

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Icefin robot could be how NASA explores Europa’s icy oceans

Icefin robot could be how NASA explores Europa’s icy oceans

Georgia Tech has a new robotic vehicle called Icefin, and it is designed to explore the depths of the ocean in icy regions. Previously Icefin was used to explore beneath the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica, and in the future it could have a mission that extends beyond Earth. The technology could be key to getting a look at the ocean that (likely) lies beneath the icy shell of Europa, one of Jupiter's moons. NASA has been working on plans to explore the frozen moon.

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Robo-Mate exoskeleton gives industry workers a hand

Robo-Mate exoskeleton gives industry workers a hand

They actually give them two hands, two legs, and superhuman strength. Sort of. Dubbed as the first industrial exoskeleton, the Robo-Mate aims to literally take a load off labor workers shoulders, backs, and limbs and help them get through the most strenuous parts of their job. Although it's still a long way to go before a finished product is ready, the exoskeleton already shows promise, bringing a bit of robotics into the workplace without threatening to displace humans as the primary actors of the industry.

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This 3D-printed flute can play new microtones

This 3D-printed flute can play new microtones

3D printing has the opportunity to revolutionize yet another industry, music. We've seen some amazing 3D-printed instruments like this violin from Monad Studios. Now, a research group from the Australian University of Wollongong has created a new type of flute that can play notes that are unreachable on a traditional flute. Nitpicking, but this flute does resemble a traditional recorder more than an orchestral flute. The 3D-printed flute operates on a microtonal scale, which utilizes tuning rations that vary from the traditional Western scale. The microtonal creation allows more opportunities for varied harmonies and pitch.

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Jaguar uses brain wave monitoring to keep drivers alert

Jaguar uses brain wave monitoring to keep drivers alert

Auto manufacturers are getting smarter all the time. Jaguar Land Rover has just created a car that can read your mind. The car won't psychically take you to your destination, but it will hold your attention. The prototype feature, dubbed Mind Sense, measures brainwaves to monitor the driver's concentration. It was developed as a safety technology research project, which has the overall goal of decreasing accidents on the road. Drivers whose concentration fades due to stress or distraction pose a real threat to others on the road. It doesn't matter if a driver's eyes are on the road, it just takes a daydream to keep him out of touch with surroundings--only to be yanked back by a car horn or an accident. Jaguar's Mind Sense project found a way to tell whether the driver is paying attention or not based on his brain wave patterns.

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Google Sidewalk Labs: a think tank for building better cities

Google Sidewalk Labs: a think tank for building better cities

Google is, by nature, a tech company. But gone are the days when "technology" was confined in electronics inside the living room or, more recently, inside our pockets. All technology, no matter how diverse or different, are developed for one ulterior goal: making our lives better. That is the basic idea behind Google's launch of its new company, Sidewalk Labs. With Sidewalk, Google is dipping its toes into urban development, researching and developing technology that will hopefully be used to improve life in the city, whether it be for residents, business, or governments.

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June smart oven wants to take your cooking to the next level

June smart oven wants to take your cooking to the next level

If you've had trouble perfecting quiche florentine, or simply burn your microwave popcorn, the June Intelligent Oven has got you covered. This oven is smart. It is light-years beyond precook settings such as "popcorn" and "defrost". This oven can identify what you've put inside, and use a wide array of sensors and built-in algorithms to cook it properly. It's a step towards an Internet of Things level smart house without having to remodel the kitchen to make room for a smart device. June is small, about the size of a microwave or large toaster over. It has a 1 cubic foot cooking chamber than can fit a small turkey or a standard 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

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U.S. Navy tests electromagnetic catapult for aircraft

U.S. Navy tests electromagnetic catapult for aircraft

The U.S. Navy is developing a faster, more efficient way to get aircraft off of ships and into the sky. Aircraft carrier vessels have exceedingly short runways. Pilots need a great deal of skill to takeoff from the narrow decks, and they usually get some help from the runway crew to ensure that the plane has enough speed to achieve flight. The best way to get a plane off the deck without hitting the sea involves a launch catapult. The Navy is going beyond the catapults in standard use to create an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS).

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