Science

  • Elon Musk offers updates on Falcon Heavy, Dragon 2 and Mars mission  During a talk at the ISS R&D conference on Wednesday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk provided a number of updates about progress on the Falcon Heavy rocket, crewed Dragon capsule development and his vision for an eventual crewed mission to Mars with the ultimate goal of human colonization of the red planet. Spoiler alert for those ...
  • SpaceX targets 24-hour first stage rocket re-use turnaround by 2018  In a talk at the ISS R&D conference on Wednesday, Elon Musk shared some more insight into SpaceX’s path to fast and full rocket reusability. The company hopes to achieve its 24-hour turnaround window for used Falcon 9 rockets sometime next year, he said, and there is already “a technical path in place to achieving ...
  • Doggie DNA startup Embark raises $4.5 million in seed to find your puppy’s breed  Ever wanted to know the genetic mix of your mutt? Embark, a doggie DNA startup has raised $4.5 million in seed to expand its offering of genetic kits for your pup’s pedigree. Embark launched in Austin, Texas two years ago with its “Embark Dog DNA Test Kit” that tell dog owners their pet’s pedigree, where ...
  • NASA tests astronaut ocean exit process for Orion crew capsule  NASA has a long and thorough safety certification process for any vessels hoping to transport astronauts to space and back – and its Orion crew capsule is no exception. The vehicle, which is aiming to first launch with a crew aboard the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy lift rocket sometime between 2021 and 2023, underwent ...
  • Meet the adorable robot camera Japan’s space agency sent to the ISS  Science can be cute as hell when it wants to be – take the JEM Internal Ball Camera (“Int-Ball” for short). The device, created by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), was delivered to the International Space Station on June 4, 2017, and now JAXA is releasing its first video and images. The purpose of ...
  • Governments have to invest in the fourth industrial revolution | Larry Elliott Despite the unprecedented speed of current breakthroughs investment is weak and money is either stashed away or distributed to shareholdersPrepare for the age of the driverless car and the robot that does the housework. That was the message from the Wo… Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on ...
  • Researchers 3D print a soft artificial heart that works a lot like a real one  The science of prosthetics has been advancing by leaps and bounds over the last few years, and research into soft robotics has been especially complementary. The same techniques that go into making a robot arm that flexes and turns like a real one can go into making more complex, subtle organs — like the heart, ...
  • Scientists have inserted a gif of a horse into living bacteria, did your brain just explode  In a new study published in Nature, a group of scientists at Harvard have successfully stored a GIF— yes, like a moving meme — into live bacteria (E. coli to be specific). It’s a weird idea, but scientists have actually been using the genetic wonder tool known as CRISPR or “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic ...
  • NYU releases the largest LiDAR dataset ever to help urban development  New York University has made the largest public LiDAR data set ever collected available, via its Center for Urban Science and Progress. The laser scanned data, collected using aerial LiDAR instruments, is about 30 times as dense as a typical data set at a resolution of around 300 points per square meter, and covers a ...
  • These stretchy, durable sensors could be woven right into clothing  If we must have an internet of things, it makes no sense to leave clothes out of the party. But clothes must be worn, washed, bunched up, and folded — it’s hard to make electronics that can survive all that. Plenty are trying, though; the latest attempt is from Harvard’s Wyss Institute, which uses a ...
  • I watched two robots chat together on stage at a tech event  I got a glimpse into the future world of our robot overlords today. It was nervy at times. I watched two robots go on stage at a tech event to “debate” the future of humanity with each other. The robots in question are Sophia and Han, and they belong to Hanson Robotics, a Hong Kong-based ...
  • I watched two robots chat together on stage at a tech event  I got a glimpse into the future world of our robot overlords today. It was nervy at times. I watched two robots go on stage at a tech event to “debate” the future of humanity with each other. The robots in question are Sophia and Han, and they belong to Hanson Robotics, a Hong Kong-based ...
  • I watched two robots chat together on stage at a tech event  I got a glimpse into the future world of our robot overlords today. It was nervy at times. I watched two robots go on stage at a tech event to “debate” the future of humanity with each other. The robots in question are Sophia and Han, and they belong to Hanson Robotics, a Hong Kong-based ...
  • MIT’s glasses-free home 3D tech could make help 3D movies more popular  MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) has developed a new method for displaying 3D movies at home without requiring the use of 3D glasses, and without some of the downsides of traditional methods for glasses-free 3D video playback. The method also doesn’t require any new special source material – it converts existing 3D ...
  • DARPA awards $65 million to develop the perfect, tiny two-way brain-computer interface  With $65 million in new funding, DARPA seeks to develop neural implants that make it possible for the human brain to speak directly to computer interfaces. As part of its Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) program, the agency will fund five … Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share ...
  • Ethics and Governance AI Fund funnels $7.6M to Harvard, MIT, and independent research efforts  A $27 million fund aimed at applying artificial intelligence to the public interest has announced the first targets of its beneficence. $7.9M will be split unequally between MIT’s Media Lab, Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center, and 7 smaller research efforts around the world. Read More Share this:Click to email this to a ...
  • MIT researchers used a $150 Microsoft Kinect to 3D scan a giant T. rex skull  MIT’s Camera Culture group has been able to successfully capture a high-resolution 3D scan of a Tyrannosaurus rex skull using about $150 worth of equipment and some free software. The skull, which belongs to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, was discovered in 1990 and is the largest and most complete T. rex skull ...
  • MIT’s new 3D chip design could be the key to powerful edge computing  MIT researchers have developed a new 3D chip fabrication method that uses carbon nanotubes and resistive random-access memory (RRAM) cells together to create a combined nanoelectronic processor design that supports complex, 3D architecture – where traditional silicon-based chip fabrication works with 2D structures only. The 3D design is possible because these carbon nanotube circuits… Read ...
  • SpaceX successfully launches third Falcon 9 in under 2 weeks  SpaceX launched yet another Falcon 9 successfully today, for a mission from its LC-39A launch facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch is the third in under two weeks for SpaceX, since it completed successful missions on both June 23 and June 25. The Intelsat 35e mission today involved launching an orbital ...
  • WTF is a particle collider?  How do things work? To find out, we observe them and we take them apart. But not everything is easily observed, and until recently some things couldn’t be taken apart. Read More Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new ...
  • 5 years after the Higgs boson, the Large Hadron Collider is just getting started  It’s been five years since physicists at CERN reported that they had observed a particle “consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson.” The discovery capped decades of theory and was an important triumph for the Large Hadron Collider, the means by which the elusive particle was found. But they didn’t close up shop and go home ...
  • Outside of AI, companies are doing less research and more development  If you’ve been following the headlines in the world of AI, you might be fooled into thinking that corporations are doubling down, rather than withdrawing, from pure research. But on the ground, things are considerably more complicated — tech companies are spending more on the development part of R&D while relying more on cash strapped ...
  • Watch SpaceX’s second attempt to launch Intelsat 35e live  SpaceX has its second window for launching Intelsat 35e, a satellite bound for geostationary orbit, on Monday at 7:37 PM EDT (4:37 PM PDT). This is a backup window after the first attempt was scrubbed on Sunday, following a computer abort of the launch when the countdown stopped with just 10 seconds left. The Intelsat ...
  • SpaceX’s first re-flown Dragon capsule successfully returns to Earth  SpaceX has another historic achievement under its belt – being first to re-fly a commercial spacecraft to the International Space Station and back. The Dragon capsule it used on its most recent ISS resupply mission was used during a previous trip to ferry supplies and materials for scientific experiments to the orbital facility. This Dragon ...
  • Watch SpaceX launch a communications satellite live right here  SpaceX is launching a Falcon 9 rocket with a satellite from client Intelsat aboard, with a launch window opening at 7:37 PM EDT (4:37 PM PDT). The satellite, Intelsat 35e, will be delivered to geostationary transfer orbit after launching from Kennedy’s LC-39A, with a target deployment window of around half an hour after launch. SpaceX’s ...
  • MIT CSAIL research offers a fully automated way to peer inside neural nets  MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab has devised a way to look inside neural networks and shed some light on how they’re actually making decisions. The new process is a fully automated version of the system the research team behind it presented two years ago, which employed human reviewers to achieve the same ends. ...
  • Toyota completes first in-home Human Support Robot trial in North America  Toyota recently wrapped up its first in-home trial in North America of its Human Support Robot platform. The robot, which goes by HSR for short, is one of the mobility assistance bots that the automaker is developing for use in the realm of improving quality of life for everyday people. Toyota has a range of projects ...
  • Facebook’s Aquila drone completes its second test flight, lands well this time  Facebook’s plan to use large solar-powered high-altitude drones to connect areas of the world that traditionally haven’t had reliable internet access marked a significant milestone on Thursday. Aquila, its first functional aircraft, completed its second successful test flight — and landed successfully, too. Read More Share this:Click to email this to ...
  • Disney experiments look to make kid-robot interactions more natural  Sooner or later, our children will be raised by robots, so it’s natural that Disney, purveyor of both robots and child-related goods, would want to get ahead of that trend. A trio of studies from its Research division aim at understanding and improving how kids converse with and otherwise interact with robots and other reasonably ...
  • Watch SpaceX launch 10 satellites into orbit with a Falcon 9 live right here  SpaceX is attempting its second launch in under 48 hours today at 4:25 PM EDT (1:25 PM PDT), from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launch will be the second for client Iridium, a global telecommunications and data provider. The payload for today’s launch includes 10 satellites that make up the second batch of ...
  • Watch a tiny virus take a constitutional under a laser-powered 3D microscope  If you’re anything like me, you spend a significant portion of the day wondering about the paths viruses take when they’re cruising around your internals. Luckily for us, a newly developed microscope from Duke researchers can show the exact path taken by the little critters (?), down to the micrometer. Read More ...
  • IBM is working with the Air Force Research Lab on a TrueNorth 64-chip array  IBM is working with the U.S. Air Force to improve its TrueNorth line of chips designed to optimize the performance of machine learning models at the hardware level. The new 64-chip array will consist of four boards, each with 16 chips. IBM’s chips are still too experimental to be used in mass production,  but they’ve ...
  • Why I left physics for economics I recently decided to abandon the rules which govern nature for the rules which govern people and markets: economics. Why would I do such a thing? I love physics. Brick-by-brick, you can build new theories from established ones and know that they will apply not just on Earth but throughout the entire Universe. The up-sides are ...
  • Google’s Tensor2Tensor makes it easier to conduct deep learning experiments  Google’s brain team is open sourcing Tensor2Tensor, a new deep learning library designed to help researchers replicate results from recent papers in the field and push the boundaries of what’s possible by trying new combinations of models, datasets and other parameters. The sheer number of variables in AI research combined with the fast pace of ...
  • Shape-shifting ‘4D’ printed objects could pave the way for outer space structures  It takes a lot of money to launch stuff into space — even by NASA terms. The cost ranges from around $9,000 to more than $40,000 per pound. With that sort of price tag, weight and space are at a major premium with shuttle missions, causing NASA to look for innovative new ways to create ...
  • No, Peter Thiel is not harvesting the blood of the young  Stories of countesses bathing in virgin blood, or vampiric nobles sucking the juice out of the young, have captured our attention for centuries. But when stories started coming out that tech billionaire Peter Thiel was interested in transfusing teen blood into his own body, it sent Silicon Valley into a fever dream. Peter Thiel, the vampire! ...
  • Facebook teaches machines to negotiate with humans  Though Facebook is rarely mentioned alongside Apple, Microsoft and Amazon in discussions about conversational AI, the company has published a hoard of papers that underscore a deep interest in dialog systems. As has become clear with Siri, Cortana and Alexa, dialog is hard — it requires more than just good speech recognition to deliver a ...
  • SpaceX aims to reuse a Falcon 9 booster used in January on June 17  SpaceX is hoping to return the Falcon 9 first stage booster used in its first flight back to active operations on January 14. That’s an impressive turn around time if they can pull it off – roughly six months. SpaceX has reused a Falcon 9 first stage just once, for its March 30 SES-10 mission. The ...
  • Deep analysis of police body cam footage shows pattern of microaggressions towards black people  Police body cameras don’t just record shootouts and other crises — they’re on all day every day, providing unprecedented detail of officers’ interactions with the public. If you can handle that volume of data, that is. Researchers at Stanford created a method to do just that, and soon found that officers in Oakland consistently used ...
  • Google Maps can tell you how bad the pollution is in Oakland, block-by-block  Google Maps has just launched its first map showing the air quality right down to the block you are standing on in Oakland, California. Read More Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share ...
  • IBM creates a new transistor type for 5nm silicon chips  IBM Research has created a new type of transistor for chips that enable 5nm construction, the smallest ever for a silicon processor. This new method, created in tandem with research partners GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Samsung, changes some basic things about how chips are put together, and helps break a barrier with the previous process that essentially ...
  • NASA picks 3 research teams to lay the groundwork for an autonomous future  NASA has greenlighted three of its teams of researchers to perform feasibility studies on projects that could pave the way for autonomous drones and self-driving cars to operate safely and effectively at scale. Many companies are investing both i… Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens ...
  • NASA picks 3 research teams to lay the groundwork for an autonomous future  NASA has greenlighted three of its teams of researchers to perform feasibility studies on projects that could pave the way for autonomous drones and self-driving cars to operate safely and effectively at scale. Many companies are investing both i… Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens ...
  • NASA picks 3 research teams to lay the groundwork for an autonomous future  NASA has greenlighted three of its teams of researchers to perform feasibility studies on projects that could pave the way for autonomous drones and self-driving cars to operate safely and effectively at scale. Many companies are investing both i… Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens ...
  • SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft successfully attaches to ISS  SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, which it launched on Saturday, June 3, has made its rendez-vous with the International Space Station, as planned. The capsule, SpaceX’s first used cargo spacecraft reflown for an active mission, has around 6,000 lbs of supplies and materials on board for ISS crew and to support scientific experiments. The Dragon craft launched ...
  • SpaceX successfully launches reused Dragon spacecraft for ISS resupply  SpaceX’s CRS-11 launch on Saturday was a success, bringing a Dragon spacecraft loaded down with nearly 6,000 lbs of supplies and research equipment on board to orbit. The twist was that SpaceX already sent this Dragon capsule up to resupply the International Space Station once before – back in September 2014, when it carried cargo ...
  • Who catches the IMSI catchers? Researchers demonstrate Stingray detection kit  IMSI catchers, devices used to spoof cell towers and intercept communications, are one of the most resented open secrets of law enforcement. Strict non-disclosure agreements prevent them from being acknowledged as existing, let alone being used — but researchers think they’ve found a way to spot the shady signal-snatchers. Read More ...
  • MIT develops a vibrating wearable to help people with visual impairments navigate  For such a simple tool, the white cane has been incredibly enduring. With all of the technological advances that have been made over the past century, we haven’t come up with much better than a stick with a metal tip for helping the visually impaired get around. Though researchers at MIT have been working on ...
  • Draper’s DragonflEye cyber-bug takes flight  Back in January we heard about Draper’s efforts to outfit a living dragonfly with a sort of solar-powered mind control backpack. This project, known as DragonflEye, is cruising right along, and the R&D firm just released a video of the modified insect taking flight. Read More Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in ...
  • Study suggests last-mile drone delivery could lower carbon footprint  There’s always been talk about how drones could improve the emissions situation produced by our truck-based delivery infrastructure. But you have to look into these things. A new study from University of Washington researchers indicates that drone delivery may indeed lead to a lower carbon footprint — if it’s done properly. Read More Share this:Click to ...
  • This robot arm’s AI thinks like we do about how to grab something  Robots are great at doing things they’ve been shown how to do, but when presented with a novel problem, such as an unfamiliar shape that needs to be gripped, they tend to choke. AI is helping there in the form of systems like Dex-Net, which uses deep learning let a robotic arm improvise an effective ...
  • Google’s AlphaGo AI defeats team of five leading Go players  Are five human heads better than one computer brain? Not when it comes to playing Go. AlphaGo, the AI created to play the game of Go better than anyone alive, has defeated a team made up of five Go champions in a demonstration match on Friday. The team included Chen Yaoye, Zho Ruiyang, Mi Yuting, ...
  • Sana Health aims to stop insomnia with smart goggles  When Solar Impulse pilot Bertrand Piccard set out to fly around the world in a plane that uses no fuel, he knew he wasn’t going to get much rest. During the journey, he would be able to sleep, at a maximum, three hours per day with rest meted out in twenty-minute intervals. The plane, which could only ...
  • These flat-pack turtlebots will crawl across minefields for safety’s sake  The threat of minefields is an ongoing and horrifying one, and the duty of clearing them is as difficult as it is dangerous. All the more reason, then, that it should be done by robots! A new type of inexpensive, versatile bot modeled after turtl… Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new ...
  • No prison for Colombian biologist who uploaded scientist’s thesis to Scribd “I have been cleared. I am innocent.” Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens ...
  • This ultra-twee soft robotic gripper was inspired by Venus flytraps  The problem with tiny robots, if there can really be said to be one, is that you can’t put enough stuff on them. Cameras and motors don’t shrink down very well, meaning if you want your robot to grab something, you’d better come up with a new way to see it and hold onto it. ...
  • Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown says VCs need to ask harder scientific questions  Impossible Foods has raised more than $200 million to make a burger engineered from plants that tastes at least as good as ground beef. The company’s many backers are hoping to disrupt the massive “animal products” industry with food that is appealing, affordable and produced in an environmentally sustainable way. Read More Share this:Click to email ...
  • Project recreates cities in rich 3D from images harvested online  People are taking photos and videos all over major cities, all the time, from every angle. Theoretically, with enough of them, you could map every street and building — wait, did I say theoretically? I meant in practice, as the VarCity project has demonstrated with Zurich, Switzerland. Read More Share this:Click ...
  • Caribou Bioscience’s CEO on CRISPR’s legal and ethical challenges  Caribou Bioscience co-founder and CEO Rachel Haurwitz joined us onstage at Disrupt this morning to help unpack some of the myriad complexities around her company’s pioneering work in the field of CRISPR biology. The gene editing tool has been the source of tremendous excitement over the last several years for its potential to help science ...
  • Scientists 3D-printed ovaries and made mouse babies  Scientists from Northwestern University have developed a bioprosthetic ovary using 3D-printing technology and produced living, breathing mouse offspring from them. Northwestern’s Feinberg school of medicine and McCormick school of engineering came together for the project using 3D-printing technology and follicles from prior ovarian tissue to form a scaffold that was then placed inside… Read More Share ...
  • Facebook’s ParlAI is where researchers will push the boundaries of conversational AI  To most of us, communication is a single task. But in reality, it’s not and if you’re a machine trying to replicate dialog, you need to be good at lots of tasks like answering questions, completing sentences and even having small talk. It’s common for research in each of these areas to be done independently, to the detriment of ...
  • Facebook posts its fast and accurate ConvNet models for machine translation on GitHub  In its latest paper, the Facebook AI Research (FAIR) team dropped some impressive results for its implementation of a modified convolutional neural network for machine translation. And to complement its research, the company is releasing its pre-… Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new ...
  • BlindPAD’s tablet makes visual information tactile for the vision-impaired  It’s truly amazing, the wealth of information we all have at our fingertips — that is, of course, unless your fingertips are how you have to access that information. An innovative new tablet that uses magnetically configurable bumps may prove to be a powerful tool for translating information like maps and other imagery to a ...
  • These 11 technologies want to hack your brains  Picture a day where you flip through your memories like you would Facebook or Instagram or you get a chip sewn into your brain to help you learn languages twice as fast and communicate your thoughts in an instant to millions of people. Such are the promises of so-called brain hacking technologies and for the ...
  • This DIY Google Home uses Raspberry Pi and cardboard to make the magic happen  Want a Google Home but would rather prioritize cost savings over fit and finish? Getting the latest issue of the officially magazine of Raspberry Pi, the MagPi. The Raspberry Pi foundation has often included freebies along with its magazine, but this might be the best yet – it’s a kit co-created by Raspberry Pi and ...
  • This neural network could make animations in games a little less awkward  The graphical fidelity of games these days is truly astounding, but one thing their creators struggle to portray is the variety and fluidity of human motion. An animation system powered by a neural network drawing from real motion-captured data m… Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook ...
  • Watch Elon Musk’s TED talk on his grand tunnel plan, self-driving cars and more  Elon Musk, the CEO of at least three companies that we know of, was on stage at the 2017 TED conference in Vancouver last Friday, mostly blowing minds with a demonstration video for his vision of how a network of underground tunnels might ease traffic concerns. Musk talked about The Boring Company in more detail ...
  • MIT’s wireless walking speed measurement is way more accurate than a Fitbit  MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab has figured out a way of measuring walking speed to within 95 and 99 percent accuracy – all without requiring a wearable or other on-body measurement device. The tech uses wireless signals, dubbed “WiGait” by the research team, sent out by a router-like devices within the home to ...
  • Imagining five retro technologies as startup pitches  Silicon Valley is a bubble. Go into any SoMa coffee shop and you’ll hear founders and investors alike singing the praises of Hyperloop and flying cars — sci-fi tropes reincarnated by billionaires with a god complex. This isn’t to say these technologies shouldn’t be pursued, but sometimes it’s healthy to remember that we are effectively pulling ...
  • Trump’s first 100 days: The good, the bad, and the ugly for tech and science NASA stalls, net neutrality goes on life support, coal wins, and pollution reigns. Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new ...
  • MIT’s giant mobile 3D printer can build a building in 14 hours, and some day it may be headed to Mars  At first glance, the Digital Construction Platform looks as awkward as its name. The system is actually a giant, mobile 3D printer, and the MIT team behind it believes it could help revolutionize home construction both here on Earth and other pla… Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share ...
  • The first ever 4K video live stream from space left us wanting more  If you tuned in to the AWS/NASA live stream from space that happened on Wednesday, then you already know: It looked very, very good. The 4K quality and relatively shallow depth of field made it feel like you were watching Chef’s Table on Netflix, rather than a live feed from a space station orbiting Earth ...
  • How to watch the first 4K live stream from space at 1:30 PM ET  Space deserves the highest resolution available. Even if all you’re broadcasting is a tabletop inside the International Space Station – it’s a work surface in space, it deserves special attention. That’s why it’s important that Amazon Web Services and NASA are partnering to deliver the first ever 4K video live stream from the International Space ...
  • Chinese and European space agencies in talks to build a moon base  A ‘lunar base’ is a phrase previously used mostly by Bond villains, but the Chinese and European space agencies are discussing creating exactly that in a new collaborative effort. The discussions were confirmed by the ESA’s Pal Hvistendahl, speaking to Bloomberg on Wednesday, and involve working together to build a human-occupied “moon village” from which ...
  • Creepy facial projections, 3D hair capture, digital creepers and more from Eurographics 2017  The Eurographics conference is underway in Lyon and among the more technical offerings from computer graphics specialists are a few cool enough for just about anyone to appreciate. Unless you’re afraid of clowns. In that case, don’t click. Read More Share this:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook ...