technology

NTSB wants collision avoidance tech to be a standard feature

NTSB wants collision avoidance tech to be a standard feature

Just as buyers don't pay extra for seatbelts, they shouldn't have to pay extra for collision avoidance systems either. This was the line of reasoning presented by the National Transportation Safety Board as it reiterated its position that such features should become standard in any modern car instead of an optional buy-in left at the discretion of consumers. In the NTSB's ideal situation, the US government would mandate all car makers to install such assistive technology, potentially decreasing chances of vehicular accident but also potentially increasing prices.

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DJI’s new Matrice 100 self-guided drone keeps developers in mind

DJI’s new Matrice 100 self-guided drone keeps developers in mind

As drones evolve from military applications to playthings and back again, we're seeing an incredible variety of drone technology from waterproof drones capable of withstanding a splashdown to replicas of Star Wars' Millennium Falcon. Drone-manufacterer DJI has released its newest drone, the Matrice 100. This quadcopter uses an onboard guidance system that has integrated ultrasonic sensors and visual cameras. The onboard guidance system is designed to track the drone's environment from all sides, providing 360-degree awareness of its surroundings. Therefore, the drone should adjust its flight path automatically when faced with an impending obstacle.

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Robot samurai is real: man, machine face off in swordplay

Robot samurai is real: man, machine face off in swordplay

Forget SkyNet. This is the robot you should be looking out for. We've seen quite a few robotic arms that move and grip with grace and finesse to replicate the capabilities of the human hand, but there is one case that requires an insane amount of grace, strength, and concentration that has not yet been tested on robots. Until today. Yaskawa Electronics has brought its MOTOMAN-MH24 robot to learn from and compete against Isao Machii, a 5-time world record holder in the art of iaijyutsu, combative quick-draw sword technique.

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After glitch, LightSail spacecraft finally unfurls its sails

After glitch, LightSail spacecraft finally unfurls its sails

The LightSail has finally deployed its solar sails after encountering glitches that if unsolved, could have scrapped the mission. LightSail was launched into space almost forty years after science fiction genius, Carl Sagan, first thought of the idea of a spacecraft that could sail by solar rays. The project is headed by the Planetary Society, which touts Bill Nye (the Science Guy) as its CEO. After encountering a software glitch that left the LightSail unresponsive and unable to send data back to earth, the ground team went into overdrive trying to solve the problem.

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Researchers harness the power of Wi-Fi to charge devices

Researchers harness the power of Wi-Fi to charge devices

A team of researchers from the University of Washington (UW) are working on perfecting a method of charging electronic devices using ambient Wi-Fi signals. They technology, PoWiFi (power over Wi-Fi) makes a small change to routers, so they send out a constant signal that can be harnessed and converted into DC power by a "harvester". The idea isn't new, embodied by Energous's WattUp, but the UW scientists' PoWiFi works with pre-existing hardware, so there is no need to buy a separate device. Their modified routers are able to send data and power over the same signal.

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Japanese robot could replace your moving company, shoves like a human

Japanese robot could replace your moving company, shoves like a human

In a robot, strength is important, but sometimes it's more important how the strength is directed. If you've ever had to move a refrigerator, you know that the best course of action involves pushing or pulling the object instead of lifting up, directly. The latest human-like robot developed by the University of Tokyo's JSK Laboratory takes that logic and expands on it, pushing, pulling, and scooting washing machine and large objects. The robot uses impressive posture and crouches, bracing itself so well that if it were human, it would be protecting its back from lifting strain.

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Tiny self-folding origami robot walks, swims, and then dissolves

Tiny self-folding origami robot walks, swims, and then dissolves

MIT researchers are at it again. This time, a joint research team with TU Munich has developed a self-folding origami robot capable of a range of tasks. The robot can even self-destruct after it completes its mission. The tiny device starts completely flat, and is made from ultra-thin laser-cut polystyrene layers that sandwich a magnet and PVC. The self-folding process is instigated by placing the tiny machine over a heating element. The PVC then contracts along the laser-cut lines, creating folds. The robot weighs only 0.31g and is 1.7cm long, laid flat. It can "walk" at a top speed of 4 cm per second.

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FCC proposal frowns upon robotexts and robocalls

FCC proposal frowns upon robotexts and robocalls

Robocalls are a no-no in most places, and robotexts are treated largely the same way. That doesn’t stop them from happening, however, and so the FCC would like to see options for consumers to block them entirely. As such, the commission has proposed changes to the auto-dialing rules, and it’ll be voting on the proposal the middle of next month. Under it, service providers will be able to offer “technologies” of some sort for blocking the robocalls if they’re unwanted, as well as robotexts in the case of wireless carriers.

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Wolverine claw glove is activated by flexing muscles

Wolverine claw glove is activated by flexing muscles

A bunch of weaponized gloves based on various superheroes exist, including ones that help kids and ones that shoot lasers powerful enough to pop balloons. Then there's this new Wolverine glove, which fits over one's hands and wrists and ejects pointed claws on command. That's nothing new. What is new is how you control it: by flexing your muscles, which causes the claws to pop out and presumably make some bad guy's day a little less productive.

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New biodegradable computer chip is made from trees

New biodegradable computer chip is made from trees

As a way to combat the potentially toxic, metallic waste created by computer components that are thrown away, researchers from the University of Wisconson-Madison (UWM) have come up with a new kind of semiconducting chip--created from trees. It turns out that the actual conductive materials on a chip don't take up nearly as much space as the supporting materials, which are usually non-biodegradable plastics and metal. The researchers developed a method to create biodegradable chips from wood pulp, similar to paper.

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