Showing posts from August, 2018

MIT's Flying, Driving Robots

Quadcopter Drones with Wheels

MIT roboticists have created what may be the world's most versatile robots.  They can fly and drive.  They are also autonomous.  And, according to the scientists, they can find their own safe paths.

No Collisions
The MIT team took 8, 4-rotor quadcopter drones and equipped them with 2 small motors and wheels. They developed algorithms to make sure they don't collide.  In test simulations, they fly and drive perfectly.

Combo Vehicles that Work
The robots can fly for 295 feet and drive 826 feet until their batteries run out.  The scientists say the most important implication of their research is that vehicles which combine flying and driving have the potential to be more efficient and useful than vehicles that just fly or drive.  They believe their experiments are helping to explore and forward ideas for flying cars.

DARPA German Style

Germany's New Cybersecurity Agency

German DARPA
Germany just announced the creation of a DARPA-like agency.  DARPA is the US Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency whose mission is to develop game-changing technology to provide the US military overwhelming technological advantages.  It's behind the creation of the internet, drones, cloud computing and GPS.

Hacking Problems
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen says the new federal agency allows Germany to invest in new technologies and the protection of critical digital infrastructure from cyberattack. Some German officials believe Germany needs better encryption and more open source software.  German ministries have had a problem with being hacked.  Some suspect Russia.

The new agency is expected to be structured like DARPA.  The Ministries of Defense and Interior will manage it.  Some German lawmakers are very concerned about Defense management.  They fear the cybersecurity agency will be …

1st Human X-Rays in Living Color

Straight From MARS and Absolutely Amazing
New Zealand-based MARS Bioimaging has created the world's first color X-rays of the human body.  The company is an award winning manufacturer of small bore spectral CT scanners.  The scans are 3D and used for pre-clinical medical research.

In Depth, In Color
The CT scanners produce color images where different materials can be separated.  In the above photo, soft tissue, fat, bone and the metal of a watch are all identified and differentiated. The company explains this is photon counting technology, originally created as part of MARS founder's work at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

Medical Research Benefits
The benefits for researchers is the wealth of precise chemical data on objects in the scanner.  The careful, multilayers of tissue scans, the company says, enable new precision in medical research.  To do this, MARS has placed sensors inside computed tomography (CT) scanners.  By matching the scans with how diff…

Electricity from Nuclear Fusion 2030

Hotter Than the Core of the Sun
Tokamak Energy
In the United Kingdom, a private nuclear fusion company has heated a plasma of hydrogen to 27 million degrees Fahrenheit.  The company is Tokamak Energy.  Their achievement is a world first.  They hope to be the first to produce electricity from nuclear fusion commercially by 2030.

Next Test
Tokamak's new nuclear fusion reactor will be put to the test again in 2019.  They're going to heat the plasma to 180 million degrees Fahrenheit.  That will put the reactor within the operating temperature needed for controlled nuclear fusion.

Star in a Jar
Nuclear fusion reactors are called Star in a Jar.  The reason is the nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium is the main nuclear reaction that keeps the stars and sun burning for billions of years.  There are a number of companies in the US, Europe and Canada working on fusion reactors to provide power to the grid. Nuclear fusion is renewable energy. There's no greenhouse gas emissions but t…

Satellite Bodyguards - Star Wars

DARPA's Satellite Servicing System

Satellite Bodyguards
The US Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA is developing a robotic system to service satellites in geosynchronous orbit (RSGS).  Besides doing refuels, repairs and other services, RSGS is also designed to protect vital US satellites against adversaries' robotic systems used as antisatellite weapons.  RSGS is a satellite bodyguard system against space threats.

Satellite Stalking Threat
By early 2020, Russia and China will have robotic systems in geosynchronous (G) orbit.  Satellites in G-orbit are difficult to reach by other types of antisatellite weapons.  Experts are warning of a growing threat in space of satellite stalking.

US Budget Issues
The US Air Force wants to launch the US RSGS system in March 2021,  The US Senate just cut the $209 million in launch money from the USAF budget.  As Russia and China ramp up their systems, experts are warning of growing, US satellite vulnerability.  The bu…

Future Crops Go Back Thousands of Years

Future of Food - Forgotten Crops, Measured by Nutrition Not Yield
Wednesday Series:  Innovation Addressing the World's Most Pressing Needs - Food
Land of Forgotten Crops
At the global headquarters in Malaysia of "Crops for the Future", scientists are reviving and cultivating crops relegated to the sidelines.  They have a reason.  Just 4 crops - soybeans, wheat, rice and maize - provide 2/3 of the world's food supply.  The global dependency is huge and it's leading to increasingly uniform diets.  Diversifying the food supply with alternative crops is an urgent need.

7,000 Ignored Crops Go Back Thousands of Years
There are 7,000 crops farmed for thousands of years that are now ignored and sidelined.  They are being re-cultivated at Crops for the Future.  An example is a tart berry called the kedondong.  It's being converted into a sugar-free juice that's high in Vitamin C and great in taste.  Another is the Moringa tree, whose leaves are being use as a replacem…

Plants Clean Up Contaminated Soil From Chemical & Nuclear Accidents

Sunflowers Decontaminating Nuclear Radioactivity

Plants as Biotechnology
It's called phytoremediation.  It's the process of natural plants cleaning up contaminated soil.  Scientists at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia have identified native Australian plants that can decontaminate areas devastated by man-made disasters, such as chemical spills and nuclear accidents.  According to the scientists, it's also 10x cheaper than excavating, digging and hauling the waste away.

Natural plant processes can make contaminated soil safe again.  An example is the Chernobyl nuclear accident of 1986.  Subsequent research has shown that sunflowers were able to soak up radionuclides in the soil from the accident.  The actual site is being used again for what's being called environmentally friendly sustainable power.  Mustard plants are also able to absorb heavy metals from the soil.

Nature Giving Back
Little is known about how the process works and which plants…

Sleep Essential for Learning - UK Research

All-Night-ers Don't Work

Students should make sleep an educational priority.  A good night's sleep is essential for human memory.  Neuroscientists are just starting to understand why.  All-night-ers don't work for exams.  In fact, they're the worst thing you can do.

UK Sleep Research
Scientists at the Royal Holloway University in the UK have documented that sleep is essential to embedding knowledge in the brain.  Sleep affects memory, especially the recall needed to learn language.

To Sleep or Not to Sleep
The researchers documented two groups of students learning new vocabulary words.  The group that got a good night's sleep far outperformed the group that pulled-off all night-ers.  The bottom line:  prolonged sleep is actually good for kids and adults.  It's critical for brain function and healthy body rhythms.  And, for students, it's a priority for better test performance and grades.

Shapeshifting Material Morphs with Heat, Light

From Square to Round and Back

University of Colorado Boulder scientists just developed a new shape shifting material that enables a square peg to morph and fit into a round hole.  All before it reverts back to its original shape.

Broad Uses
The material can change into complex, pre-programmed shapes when exposed to light or heat.  It may have a broad range of uses in robotics, 3D printing, medical devices, artificial muscles and biomaterials. It uses liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) which is the same tech in modern TV displays.

Material Science Breakthrough
The new material can go back and forth between 2 separate shapes repeatedly.  It achieves readily programmable 2-way transformations and was just reported by UC Boulder. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the results were just published in the journal Science Advances.  The researchers in UC Boulder's Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering are going to continue developing it.

Norway Plans All Electric Flights

Revolutionizing the Airline Industry

Electric Passenger Planes to Take-Off in Norway
By 2040, Norway is committed to having all of its short-haul flights, from its airports, on electric aircraft.  This is one of the most dramatic government examples of cutting down on carbon dioxide, greenhouse gas emissions from the airline industry.

Booming Industry - 100+ Global Projects
Currently small planes comprise the electric aircraft market.  There are no airliner sized electric planes being built.  But Norwegian government and aviation industry officials believe that will soon change.  Boeing, NASA and Airbus are diligently working on prototype designs.  Boeing's Zunum Aero has plans for a 12-seater by 2022 and a 50-seater by 2027.  There are more than 100 electric powered aircraft projects currently around the world.

Norway's Plans
Norway's terrain is mountainous and there are many offshore islands. There are many airports because in many cases it's easier to fly to locations.…

MIT & DARPA Creating SuperFast Chips

Computer Chips Go 3D

The Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA, MIT and Minnesota based SkyWater Technology are teaming up to push computing speed forward.  They're developing a computer chip that has circuitry on more than 1 plane.  It's a "3D-System on a Chip" to accelerate speed on chips the size of a fingernail.

Pushing the Limits
The chip industry is pushing the space limit.  Right now, transistors on chips are 7 nanometers apart.  Between 2020 and 2024 to increase speed they're expected to be 5 nanometers apart.  Experts forecast that's the space limit to maintain the integrity of the chips.

Building circuits on multiple planes is a solution.  The MIT-DARPA-SkyWater team is designing layer on layer of circuits, both logic and memory, to be stacked up to the 3rd dimension...creating chips with increasing speed.  By 2020, the team hopes to demonstrate their manufacturing process. By 2021, they expect to have it ready for other chip…

Smartphone: May Be 1st Alert on Floods, Natural Disaster

Tel Aviv University Research - Smartphones Can Be Harnessed to Forecast Natural Disasters
This is fascinating research on smartphones just released by Tel Aviv University.  Smartphones are now capable of measuring atmospheric pressure, humidity and temperature.  Why not tap into that? Israeli scientists believe the phones can be "harnessed" to forecast flash floods and other natural disasters.  If so, that would provide time to possibly save lives.
Super Smart Phones
The phones' sensors are constantly monitoring the environment.  This includes atmospheric pressure, gravity, humidity, temperature, light and sound levels and a lot more.  According to lead researcher Prof. Colin Price, the data the phones are gathering could greatly improve the ability to accurately forecast the weather and provide some lead time on impending natural disasters.

Billions of Smartphones Gathering Data
4 billion smartphones containing vital atmospheric data are in use globally.  What the scienti…

"Green" Plastics - Green Production

CO² into Plastic with No Greenhouse Gas Emissions
University of Toronto Green Research
University of Toronto scientists have created a copper catalyst that converts CO² into ethylene to produce plastic.  There are no greenhouse gases, such as methane, output and emissions.  This new technique could lead to the green production of commonly used plastics along with sequestering greenhouse gas through carbon capture technology.

How It Works - The "Magic Metal"
At the heart of the process is the CO² reduction reaction.  An electrical current converts CO² into other chemicals.  The chemical reaction is triggered by a catalyst composed of copper. Copper is the key to this.  Scientists call it the "magic metal".  Only copper can produce ethylene which is used to produce the most common form of plastic - polyethylene plastic.

"Green" Plastic Future
This is a promising, new, green and sustainable way to make plastic.  It's a technology that makes value out of a w…

Sony's Bot Puppy Aibo Unleashed

Robo Pup Aibo Coming to the US

Sony just announced its robot dog Aibo, that's loaded with AI, is coming to the US in time for Christmas.  This is a 6-generation mechanical pup with quite a tech pedigree.

Tech Pedigree
It combines robotics with AI, image sensors and internet connectivity.  It can recognize faces and learn behavior.  In fact, its unique personality is developed based on its interactions with its owners.  It also carries quite a high tech price-tag - $2899..

Just Like Fido
According to Sony, the bot is just like a pet dog.  It can learn tricks, reacts to words and being petted and plays with toys. But unlike your dog, it has an app that owners can use to adjust system settings and build in new tricks. It also doesn't dig holes in your backyard, bark incessantly or chew the furniture. You can also connect Aibo to the internet cloud to store its memories.  6G Aibo has been available to consumers in Japan since January.  Sony says the bot puppy is designed to connect …

Star Wars: USAF Jumpstarts Hypersonics

2 New Hypersonic Weapons Plans

Star Wars
As the photo shows, the USAF hypersonic system looks like Star Wars revisited. The US Airforce is jumpstarting 2, new hypersonic weapons programs.  A compelling reason: intense competitive pressure from Russia and China which have aggressive hypersonic programs of their own.

Space Wars
The USAF has awarded Lockheed Martin 2 contracts for hypersonic weapons in the past few months worth $1.4 billion.  The most recent, last week, is a $480 million contract to design the Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW).  Some call it the most dangerous space weapon ever.

Hypersonic weapon systems travel far faster than the speed of sound.  They do Mach 5 plus or 3,806 mph.  And a key differentiator is that they're highly maneuverable.  Right now, the US has no defense system capable of taking them down because of their hyper speeds and maneuverability.  That's why this research is so important.

US Military Combined Effort
The Pentagon, US…

NASA to Track Earth's Ice Melt

Satellite with Most Advanced Laser Altimeter to Track Global Ice Melt
In mid-September, NASA will launch ICESAT-2.  It's a $1 billion satellite loaded with the most advanced laser system NASA has ever launched into space.  The purpose is to track and precisely document how the earth's ice sheets, sea ice and glaciers are melting.  NASA officials think more than 2/3rds of the earth's ice has melted since the 1980's.
Ice Mission ICESAT-2 is going to provide an unprecedented level of detail and precision on how ice sheets' heights and thickness are changing. It's a 3 year mission and the highly advanced laser onboard adds the 3rd dimension to the measuring.  The system is so precise it can document increases and decreases in ice thickness as small as 1/5 of an inch.
"Revolutionary" Technology NASA says this instrument is "revolutionary" to study both land and sea ice.  The laser beam splits into 6 beams and fires 10,000 pulses per second.  The sy…

Reversing Paralysis

New Brain Implant Size of Matchstick
In Australia, University of Melbourne bioengineers have developed a brain implant the size of a matchstick, that may help people paralyzed walk again.  It's been successfully tested on sheep.
Stentrode The implant is called Stentrode.  It circumvents the spinal cord and enables movement driven by the person's thoughts.  It's a tiny device containing electrodes.
DARPA and Australian Government Research Funding The US Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA and the government of Australia have funded the research.  The research team hopes to test the Stentrode on 5 volunteers.  
Wireless Thoughts
The system relays thoughts wirelessly to an external robotic device such as an exoskeleton or prosthetic limb.  The Stentrode enables patient directed brain control over movement and locomotion.

Human Augmentation
The Stentrode device is part of the growing field of robotics for human augmentation.  By 2025, this sector is fo…

Worlds 1st VR Shoes & Gloves

Japan's Wearable VR Innovation
They're called the Taclim Virtual Reality shoes and gloves.  They're a global VR first.  They have haptic feedback to enable users to feel the virtual world.  As you can see in the photo, they work in tandem with the VR display.

Tactile Devices
Built-in tactile devices give the wearer instant haptic interaction.  The shoes and gloves generate the sensation of stepping onto the ground in a virtual space.

Come September
These products are relatively expensive - $1363 as posted in Japan Trends.  They'll be shipping in mid-September.  They're the creation of Cerevo in collaboration with Nidec Seimitsu Corporation.  This is fun and interesting VR tech I came across while researching Japanese innovation.

AI that Pushes Limits of Science

DARPA's AI Exploration Program
The Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA is aiming for an artificial intelligence & machine learning system that enables scientists and researchers to push the limits of science.
Full Speed to Beat Global Competitors This DARPA push is on full speed.  They want to establish the feasibility of new AI concepts within 18 months.  The goal is to outpace AI scientific and technology discovery efforts globally. The program is called ASKE or Automating Scientific Knowledge Extraction.
Fundamentals of Superpowered AI DARPA wants an AI system that rapidly aggregates scientific data and automatically identifies new data.  The system should automatically verify published scientific results and monitor in real time "fragile economic, political, social and environmental systems undergoing complex events."  The info will be integrated into a machine-curated model that generates top of the line hypotheses.  All to drive scientific and …

Gut Check by e-Pill

Electronic Capsule Potentially Big Diagnostic and Dietary Tech

New e-Pill
In Australia, RMIT University scientists have developed an ingestible electronic capsule.  It provides a potentially powerful diagnostic technique and unique information on the effects of diet and medical supplements. The pill is loaded with highly advanced sensors that monitor and measure.

Individualized, Precision Diets
The e-capsule could help to develop individualized, precision diets.  It precisely monitors what's present in the stomach and intestinal track, including oxygen, CO², hydrogen and microbes.  According to the RMIT scientists, it safely and accurately measures the effects of diet - what's working and what isn't.  The e-pill also has the potential of working as a powerful diagnostic tool.

24/7 Info On Cell Phone
The e-capsule monitors 24/7.  It sends the data real-time to a monitor that displays on a cell phone. Every 5 minutes it also displays the information on a hand-held monitor.  Thi…

Micro-Robot Medicine

Micro-Robots to Diagnose and Deliver Drug Therapies

Micro-Robotic Medicine
An international team of researchers, led by the University of Edinburgh, has developed micro-robots that can soon be used to diagnose disease and deliver drug therapies to hard-to-reach areas of the human body.

Harmlessly Biodegradable 
The robots are tiny pieces of algae coated with magnetic particles.  They can smoothly swim in biological fluid like blood.  They harmlessly biodegrade with precise timing within the body to deliver potent drug therapies to specifically targeted disease areas.

Remotely Guided and Trackable
The robots are the size of a blood cell.  Scientists guide them magnetically to desired locations.  They've been successfully tested in the stomachs of lab animals.  The micro-robots are easily tracked by imaging and MRI's.

Initial Results Very Promising
The robots successfully attacked targeted cancer cells.  They also diagnosed chemical changes connected to the onset of illnesses.  Furt…

World's 1st Wind Mapping Satellite

European Satellite to Improve Global Weather Forecasts

Aeolus the Wind Chaser
The European Space Agency has just launched the world's first wind mapping satellite.  It's called Aeolus.  It's the first to measure wind direction and speeds all over the world.

Better Weather
Aeolus'  global wind tracking will allow scientists to provide better worldwide weather forecasts.  This is the 1st time global wind speeds and directions have been monitored 24/7 from space.

Blowing in the Wind
Until now data on air movement has been gathered largely from the ground or indirectly thru observations from planes or space.  Aeolus is equipped with lidar that sends powerful ultraviolet laser light into the atmosphere.  It then observes which way the light scatters when they bounce off tiny particles in the air.  By comparing wavelengths of the light when it goes out and returns, scientists can determine which way the winds are blowing.

Climate Change
Scientists believe Aeolus will help predic…

100 Gigabit Transmission a Reality

Downloads 50 Gigabit Movie in 4 Seconds

Northrup Grumman and DARPA have successfully tested super high speed, 100 gigabit transmissions.  The tests were conducted over a 12 mile stretch in Los Angeles.  They've proved that 100g transmissions work and have set the standard for it.  Northrup disclosed the system can download a 50 gigabit Blu Ray move in 4 seconds.

2-Way and Wireless
DARPA is the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency.  The system makes for much faster delivery of intelligence and surveillance data for the military over long distances. It's a 2-way, wireless transmission data link.

Various Speeds
The system features active tracking.  The transmission speed can vary from 9g to 102g depending on what the transmitting and receiving networks can handle.  Of great note:  it can send 100g speed data directly from aircraft.  That provides real-time access to intelligence and surveillance information on the ground, while the aircraft is still in the air.

Computers Thinking Like Humans

New Switch Enables Computer Chips to Work Like Human Brains

This is a bit of a brainstorm.  The breakthrough research is from the United States' National Institute of Standards and Technology.  Their scientists have developed a superconducting switch that learns like a biological system.  They call the switch a synapse like its brain counterpart. It's an artificial synapse that acts like a human brain.  It can process incoming electrical spikes to customize spiking output signals like the brain.

Switch on "Brain Computers"
This switch appears to be the missing piece for neuromorphic computing - computers that function like our brain.  The switch is small but powerful.  It's a tiny metallic cylinder 10 micrometers in diameter.

New Form of AI
This tech is envisioned by NIST scientists as a new form of artificial intelligence.  Computers enabled by this could increase decision-making and perception for cancer diagnosis and self-driving cars among many oth…

Converting Stem Cell to Nerve Cell

Cellular Path to Reversing Paralysis

Researchers at UCLA have turned human stem cells into sensory interneurons.  These are the cells that give us a sense of touch.  This could be a step toward stem-cell based therapies to restore feeling in people paralyzed who have lost sensation in parts of their body.

Sensory interneurons are a type of neuron in the spinal cord.  They relay information from throughout the body to the central nervous system, which enables a sense of touch.  Creating nerve cells from stem cells is a first. The researchers also did so while maintaining the genetic code of the person they originated from.  That's important because the scientists say it eliminates immune suppression.

Ongoing Research with Significant Potential
Lead researcher Asso. Prof. Samantha Butler noted that you need to be able to feel and sense your body in space in order to walk.  Feeling and walking go hand-in-hand.  This breakthrough research could eventually lead to cell-based trea…


Military's Incoming Laser Arsenal
Top Laser Gun
Top US Air Force officials want to start arming USAF F-15 fighter jets with high powered laser weapons in the early 2020's.  They plan to use SUPER LASERS with 150 kilowatts of power.  That would be capable of destroying an incoming missile on its the side, where it's most vulnerable.  By focusing the beam on the target, it rapidly heats the inside of the missile causing it to explode in mid-air.  It takes just a few seconds.
US Army's Mobile Laser for Tanks For the Army, Lockheed Martin's developed a 100 kilowatt, mobile laser that can take out a drone 500 meters away.  It locks its invisible beam on the target and destroys it in seconds.  It's being prepped for Army tanks and will be field-tested in 2022.

Increasing Laser Power Changing the Face of War
Experts forecast widespread use of lasers by the military in the 2020's.  The high energy laser systems can be mobile, are relatively inexpensive and very effici…

Quantum Opportunity - Quantum Computing

DARPA Goes After Practical, Competitive Uses for Quantum Computing
Exponential Computing Power thru Quantum Computing
The US Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA wants to know how quantum computing can help the US surge ahead of technology competitors like China and Russia. Quantum computing uses the laws of quantum mechanics to accomplish complex data operations.  Unlike traditional computers that use bits, it uses qubits and delivers exponential computing power.

DARPA Questions and Challenge
DARPA specifically wants to know how quantum computing will practically impact AI, physical systems, machine learning, data analytics and enhancing distributed sensing.  This is a leading indicator of the future of technology and innovation as DARPA views it.

Leading Edge of Where Quantum Computing is Taking Us - Harbinger of The Future
DARPA is asking industry and academics for proposals to research the real possibilities of quantum computing.  There are 4 key challenge…

Computer & Human Conversations

Computers Learn from Talking with You

In Japan, researchers at Osaka University have developed a novel, computer learning technique.  Computers can learn new words during conversations with humans.

Computer Knowledge Thru Dialogue
The Japanese system works this way.  When a new word comes up in a conversation with a human, the computer guesses the category.  The computer makes confirmation requests to the human.  The computer uses the responses from the human to determine if its guess prediction was correct.  It does all of this thru machine learning techniques. The computer also uses previous learning from past conversations with humans.

Dialogue Systems Between Humans & Computers
Experts believe there's a big future for dialogue systems between computers and humans.  Computers will grow increasingly smarter by talking with humans.  It's forecasted that computers will also have the ability to customize their responses to the users' situation.

Schools of Robot Fish

Bioinspired Robots that Mimic Fish
Fish Tech Tale
Scientists at New York University have developed  bioinspired robot fish.  The robots "see" and imitate the movements of fish in real time.  The purpose is to get a better understanding of marine life.

What's Different - 2-Way Interaction in 3D
Scientists have used biomimetic robots to better understand animal behavior.  Until now, it's been 1-dimensional.  The animals observe and respond to the robots.  NYU has created a system for 2-way interaction in 3 dimensions.

Latest Tech
The NYU team uses the latest in real-time tracking software and robotics.  They've created the 1st closed loop control system with a robot zebrafish interacting in 3D with a live zebrafish.

The live fish accepts its robot replica with no signs of fear or anxiety.  The scientists say this system gives them a new baseline for research.  They can measure the fish's responses in real-time and allow the robot to watch and maneuver in re…

In Columbia Drones Destroy Cocaine Crops

Columbian Police Drone Test Program to Search & Destroy Cocaine Crops
Drone Test Program to Search & Destroy Illegal Crops Columbian police are testing drones to destroy coca plants used to make cocaine.  There's a surge in the cultivation of illegal crops in Columbia.  New President Ivan Duque prefers drones over planes to drop herbicides and destroy the illegal crops.  There's a reason.  Drones are remote-controlled saving human lives, fly low and are more precise, minimizing collateral damage to legal crops.  
10 Drones on Test Duty With Good Results 10 drones are now deployed in the southwest Narino province.  They weigh 50 pounds when loaded with herbicides.  Thus far, the remotely guided drones have destroyed hundreds of acres of coca plants. The tests will continue until January 2019.
Columbia Cocaine Fields Growing In Columbia, coca fields have increased 160% to 516,000 acres in the past 5 years.  It's a growing problem and a sore spot between Columbia and the…

1st Robocar Built for Snow

Martti of Finland
Scientists at VTT Technical Research Center of Finland have developed the 1st robotic car that can safely drive on snow and ice covered roads.  It's fully autonomous, can go up to 25 mph and is called Martti.  Martti is a research vehicle on the chassis of a VW Touareg.
Martti's Loaded with Tech Martti's equipped with advanced sensors, laser scanners, antennas and cameras.  It's designed for very demanding weather conditions.  It has 3 laser sensors sensing the environment in front of the car.
Rigorous Testing
The Finnish scientists have put Martti through rigorous road testing conditions.  They believe it set a new world record for fully automated driving doing 25 mph in a snowstorm on fully snow and ice covered roads where you couldn't see lane markings.  The vehicle can travel faster but is programmed not to go over 25 mph in test drives.

Alternative Winter Commuting 
This vehicle paves the way for an alternative source of winter travel for commut…

World 1st - 4D Printing of Ceramics

Hong Kong Research Has Big Applications - Telecom, Electronics, Aerospace

Researchers at the City University of Hong Kong have just achieved a first. They're able to 4D print ceramics in large sizes with high strength and mechanical robustness.  This tech may have very significant use in telecom, electronics and aerospace.
Ceramic Ink The scientists developed a unique "ceramic ink".  It's a mix of polymers and ceramic nanoparticles.  They 3D printed with it and the objects created -"ceramic precursors" - are soft and can be stretched 3 times their shape and size.
4D Reconfiguration Being flexible and stretchable allows for complex shapes such as origami folding. The structures are also mechanically robust and strong.  With heat treatment, they reconfigure into ceramics with complex shapes, making them 4D ceramics, like the (above) image of their Sydney Opera House. The research, led by City University of Hong Kong's Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineeri…

Landmark UN Meeting on Global Oceans in Sept.

Global Meeting on Ocean Biodiversity - Species at Risk

Leatherback turtles are living fossils.  They date back 100 million years.  The species live for decades and weigh up to 2 tons.  But they are critically endangered.  97% of them have been wiped out in the Pacific Ocean over the past 30 years.  The biggest problem is long, drag fishing lines trailing miles from fishing boats.  The lines are loaded with hooks and tens of thousands of leatherbacks get caught up in the lines every year.  Many other ocean species and habitats are also unprotected and endangered by plastic pollution, climate change, fishing, tourism and other causes.

Demand for Global Action
A landmark meeting will be held in NYC in September by the United Nations.  The purpose is to protect biodiversity in the oceans before the species are wiped out.  It will be followed by more meetings.  The hope is these sessions will result in a treaty by 2020 to control and protect ocean wildlife and habitats.  The September meeti…

Global Robot Wars

China Seeks Dominance
Global Battle Bots At the World Robot Conference in Beijing, that just ended last night, China showed off its star robots.  Robot musicians, doctors, athletes and teachers.  Most observers say the biggest stars of the show were small, "battle bots" that smashed and hammered their way through opponents to the cheers of the crowds.  These Chinese warriors, made by robot enthusiasts, are designed to entertain.
China's Robot Economy China is pushing hard on automation.  It has an aging workforce, a labor shortage and increasing labor costs as the nation becomes wealthier.  President Xi Jinping is calling for a robot revolution.  The government is subsidizing the sector.
Robotics Hot and Getting Hotter The US, with R&D funding from the US Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA, is a dominant contender in robotics.  Some of the standouts in the industry include breakthrough robotics developed by MIT and Boston Dynamics, both fun…

Paper Water Test: Quick, Cheap, Green

Biosensor ID's Water Quality - Point of Use, Quick and Easy

Breakthrough Water Test
University of Bath UK scientists have developed a simple, paper-based test to determine if water is contaminated.  It's potentially a simple, low cost way for developing countries to limit the spread of water-born disease.

Simple as a Litmus Test
It's paper based like a litmus test to measure acid in water.  But the new device is breakthrough.  It consists of a microbial fuel cell (MFC).  It's made by screen-printing biodegradable carbon electrodes onto a single piece of paper.  MFC uses natural biology processes of electric bacteria- attached to the carbon electrodes - to generate an electric signal.

Don't Drink the Water
When the bacteria are exposed to polluted water, there's a change in the electric signals.  That's the red alert not to drink.  You're warned that the water is contaminated.

Lots of Potential
This is a revolutionary way to test water.  It's point of us…

REV Ocean Built to Save Oceans

World's Largest Research and Expedition Vessel
Norway Based REV Ocean
Rev Ocean, based in Norway, is currently building the REV, the world's largest research and expedition vessel.  Rev Ocean's CEO Nina Jensen has been honored  by the World Economic Forum as one of the world's top 5 visionary leaders determined to save our oceans.  REV Ocean is globally known for is dedication to identifying technology solutions for the health of the oceans.

REV is fitted to house 60 researchers, marine scientists, oceanographers and engineers at any given time.  Outfitted with highly advanced equipment, its mission and promise are to uncover sustainable and environmentally helpful solutions for the world's oceans which are under threat.  Construction on the vessel is being done in Romania and is progressing at a rapid pace.

Oceanic Needs
Only 5% of the ocean has been explored but there's evidence that the entire ocean ecosystem is under threat.  The number of fish in the wor…

Russian Lasers Target Space Junk

Russia's Cosmic Guns
Target: Space Junk
Russian scientists are developing cosmic guns to obliterate orbiting space junk of which there are a half million pieces.  The Russians aren't alone.  Japan and China have similar plans to train laser guns on space debris and decimate it.

Russia's Federal Space Agency ROSCOSMOS is behind the plan.  It wants to convert 10 foot optical telescopes into laser cannons.   The new technological device will be an optical debris detection system with an onboard solid state laser to vaporize debris.

Laser Vision and Precision
The search and destroy missions will happen in low earth orbit and fire up the space junk until they're destroyed.  The space junk is composed of pieces of broken spacecrafts and other objects launched into space.  They range in size from a marble to much larger, including 20,000 that are the size of a softball.  This is a very significant problem because the space junk travels at speeds up to 17,500 mph which …

London's Look at Medicine's Future

Breakthrough in Tissue Regeneration thru 3D Printing

Researchers at the Imperial College London have developed a way to 3D print soft biological structures. They match the structure and softness of body tissues.  As a result researchers say these structures could be used to build life-like models of the brain and lungs for medical procedures.  Specifically to form scaffolds that act as a template for tissue regeneration - allowing damaged tissue to regrow.

Scaffolds to Rebuild and Heal
The Imperial College medical scaffolds are super soft.  The scientists don't believe they have the issues that normally face tissue replacement transplant procedures like rejection by the body.  This innovation has many significant applications for tissue or organ transplants.

Future of Medicine
This research is pointing the way to the future of medicine.  3D printing of soft biological structures may lead to the seeding of neuronal cells involved in the brain and spinal cord to restore tissue and fun…

Hypersonic Race Heats Up

China's Starry Sky Hypersonic Wave Rider

China just successfully tested its hypersonic aircraft, the XingKong-2, Starry Sky.  It reportedly can travel 6-times the speed of sound at Mach 6.  Within a few days, the US Air Force ordered more hypersonic weapons from Lockheed Martin -  the 2nd order this year.  The global hypersonic arms race is intensely heating up.

Hypersonic Competitors
Russia, China and the US are trying to dominate in hypersonic delivery systems and weapons that travel 5 and 6 times the speed of sound.  Some military experts believe the Starry Sky can evade existing missile defense systems and potentially carry both conventional and nuclear payloads.  They don't expect it to be weaponized for 3 to 5 years. USAF Secretary Heather Walker wants to get hypersonic capability to our military as soon as possible.

Starry Sky Hypersonic Tech
Starry Sky is an experimental hypersonic wave rider that accelerates to Mach 6.  It rides the shock waves generated during its supe…

RedAlerts on Building Collapse, Mudslides

New Tech Predicts Building Collapses & Landslides 2 Weeks in Advance

This is a global example of technology helping humanity and alerting them of impending danger.  Australian researchers at the University of Melbourne have just developed breakthrough software.  It predicts when a mudslide could occur, a dam collapse, a foundation move or a building crack and collapse.  The software can make the forecast up to 2 weeks in advance.

Based on Applied Mathematics, Algorithms & Big Data Analytics
The software turns algorithms and big data into risk assessment and management action.  It spots the warning signs of imminent danger. And it does so at the microstructure level.  The early warning sign alerts include motion patterns that change over time and become synchronized.

Forecasts of Collapse In Time to Make a Difference
The scientists' model decodes the data on movement and turns it into a network.  That allows the scientists to identify hidden patterns in motion and how that is…

DARPA Wants Rapid Underground Mapping Tech

Real-time Mapping For Unban Infrastructure Like Subway Systems, Tunnels, Caves
It's a DARPA technology challenge.  The Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency is challenging teams to build tech systems that rapidly chart urban infrastructure like subway systems, also caves and tunnels.   It's called the Subterranean Challenge.  DARPA wants tech to navigate underground areas while humans stay on the surface.  They want the systems to rapidly map and search often dangerous underground areas.

For the Military, First Responders
This tech is primarily to be developed for the military and first responders in subterranean conditions.  Often they face a time sensitive situation, difficult technical challenges, dynamic terrain, bad communications and an expansive area of operation. These systems could also be used for infrastructure inspection, mining, construction and archeology.

3 Year Challenge
This is a 3 year challenge for technology development.  There's $4 million in …

Bullletproofing Electronic Documents From Cybercrime

DARPA's SafeDocuments Program for Internet

DARPA's newest project is targeted at ensuring the integrity of documents that move over the web.  The goal is to improve the ability of software to spot when documents, whether text, video or image, have been maliciously tampered with.  DARPA is the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency.  It's the moving force behind the creation of the internet, cloud computing, drones and much more.

Safer Internet Requires Safer Electronic Documents
DARPA's looking for better ways to detect and reject invalid and hacked data without impacting the functioning of the data formats themselves.  As DARPA officials put it, to create a safer internet requires safer electronic documents.  According to DARPA SafeDocs Manager Sergey Bratus:  "We're looking for ways to reduce the complexity of electronic document exchange and minimize the means of exploitation from cybercriminals to nation states."

Increasing Problem
A recent st…

Floating on Air - Sound Beam Levitation - No Joke

Acoustic Tractor Beams

Researchers from the University of Bristol UK have developed a system that helps objects levitate - literally floating on air.  They're called acoustic tractor beams.  The power of the sound can hold particles in midair.  And, unlike magnetic levitation they can hold most solids and liquids.

Medical Significance
This technology is a first.  It may lead to the manipulation of micro-surgical instruments and drug capsules within the human body.  The scientists have shown they can trap & stabilize objects larger than the wavelength of sound in an acoustic tractor beam.

Results & Someday Human Levitation
Using this system, the scientists held a 2 centimeter polystyrene sphere in the tractor beam.  That's the largest object ever levitated by sound.  Their research suggests much larger objects can be levitated.  The scientists use rapidly fluctuating acoustic vortices similar to tornadoes of sound.  The loud sound surrounds a silent core.  By expanding th…

Augmented Reality Booms by 2025

Trillion Dollar Industry

By 2025, Augmented Reality technology will be a $trillion industry.  And it will impact a slew of economic sectors. Augmented reality is a view of the real world in which elements are augmented by computer generated sensory, like sound, graphics and video.  Here's the revenue forecast put together for Lumus, a maker of optical displays for AR, by nowsourcing.  The dollars reflect the amount of AR tech that will be sold for use in each industry in 2025.

2025 AR Revenue Forecast

Video Games  $11.6 billionHealth Care $5.1 billionEngineering $4.7 billionLive Events $4.1 billionTravel $4.1 billionVideo Entertainment $3.2 billionReal Estate $2.6 billionMilitary $1.6 billionRetail - $1.6 billion

The list goes on.  Augmented Reality is a disruptive technology that will change business as usual and generate tremendous revenues.  Clearly video games dominate the market.  But the tech is going way beyond that.

Whiskey Biofuel, Renewable & Works

Celtic Renewables Driving on Whiskey

No Engine Modification Needed
It's called biobutanol.  It's a whiskey powered biofuel that's sustainable, renewable with no CO2 emissions.   And, it works.  Celtic Renewables, the startup behind the breakthrough biofuel, has demonstrated its viability by fueling a car with it and taking it for a spin. That was the world's 1st drive powered by whiskey biofuel.  It's a case of Scotch whiskey powering Green transportation with no engine modification needed.

Scottish Ingredients for Spirited Biofuel
The biofuel was created in Edinburgh at Napier University by an Irish Professor Martin Tangney.  His company Celtic Renewables works with a large distillery.  The biofuel is produced from draff, the sugary barley kernels that make fermentation happen.  Another ingredient is pot ale, the liquid loaded with yeast after the distillation of whiskey.  It's an all-natural renewable.

Whiskey for a Good Ecofriendly Purpose
Celtic Renewables is …

Medical Breakthru with Virtual Reality

Swiss Scientists Use Virtual Reality to Help Amputees Feel Prosthetics as Part of their Body

Scientists at Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) combined virtual reality with artificial tactile sensation to help two amputees feel their prosthetic hand as part of their body.  They also demonstrated that the phantom limb actually grows into the prosthetic hand.

Mind-Body-VR Connections
The basis of this breakthrough approach is how the brain identifies what belongs to its own body.  Their breakthrough was combining two senses - sight and touch.  According to the lead scientist Giulio Rognini of EPFL:  "We showed exactly how vision and touch can be combined to trick the amputee's brain into feeling what it sees" thru VR.

Portable Therapy
This process is portable and could be turned into therapy to help patients embody their prosthetic limbs permanently.  It's a case of VR providing life enhancing feeling and experience.

Breakthru Battery for Electric Cars

Charging as Quick as Pumping Gas

New Supercharge Battery
A team of scientists from the University of Glasgow in Scotland have developed a new battery technology that charges electric and hydrogen powered cars in seconds.  It could make these renewable, alternative energy vehicles real contenders.

This battery breakthrough is a big deal because currently it takes hours to charge electric cars. The new Scottish system uses nano-molecules that allow energy to be stored and then outputted as electricity or hydrogen gas.  Both are emissions free.

"Exotic Rust"
According to the scientists, the secret ingredient in their battery breakthrough is "exotic rust".  It's a metal oxide that when added to water can be charged with electricity.  The battery is at the prototype stage.

The new technology allows electric or hydrogen car refueling much the same as getting gas at a gas station.   The rust liquid is removed with a special nozzle at the pump and…

Super Metamaterials - Penn State's Sound Cloaking

Sounds of Invisibility

Penn State researchers have created an underwater ground cloaking technology that's capable of redirecting sound waves so objects appear invisible.  What's different here is sound waves not light waves are used to cloak.  And it's not just theory.  It's been tested and works.

Super Metaterials
The cloak uses a metamaterial not found in nature.  It allows sound wave to bend around objects as though they weren't there.

Put to the Test
The Penn State scientists tested their cloaking tech.   They created a 3 foot tall pyramid of steel and placed it underwater.  They used a hydrophone to produce sound.  The metamaterial redirected the sound waves around the pyramid, making it invisible.

Cloaking Emerges from Science Fiction
According to Asst. Prof. Amanda Hanford their metamaterial is real and works. "We're working to open the floodgates to see what we can create with these materials."  In the past couple of years, there have been signif…

Invisible by Light Cloaking Gets Real

Technical University of Vienna's Landmark Cloaking Technology Research

Viennese Cloaking
Cloaking technology has been a source of fascination in Star Trek and Harry Potter adventures.  It's also among the Holy Grail for technologists.  According to a study by physicists at Technical University of Vienna, it could become a reality with a specially designed material that can mask itself from other forms of light when it's hit with a "beam of invisibility".  The Viennese have developed a special light wave, masking technology that they think delivers cloaking.  They're experimenting with it and developing it.

Shining the Light on New Cloaking Tech
The concept involves shining a beam, like a laser, onto material from above to pump it full of energy. Here's the trick.  The pattern that's projected into the object to render it invisible has to perfectly match the inner irregularities of the object that usually scatter light.  In other words, it needs to be i…