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  • Tesla's Big Announcement Is PowerWall: A Battery For Your Home

    PowerWall: A Battery For Your Home

    Could a battery big enough to power your whole home be coming to market soon? Yes, says Elon Musk. More than that, he says it will change the world. Rumors have swirled for weeks about a new ... More >
  • Blue Origin's Rocket Flies 58 Miles High [Video]

    The Latest Private Rocket Launch!

    New Shepard--the primary rocket from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' private spaceflight venture, Blue Origin--flew a successful test flight yesterday. It climbed 307,000 feet, or 58 miles high, and did so ... More >
  • Watch Pluto And Its Moon Rotate Around A Center Of Mass [Video]

    Watch Pluto and Charon Orbit Each Other [GIF]

    Dwarf planet Pluto is coming into view. And we're already discovering a few exciting things about this mysterious little space rock. More >
  • Secret Air Force Space Plane Gets Darth Vader-Style Engine

    Secret Space Plane Gets Darth Vader's Engine

    The Air Force's secret robot space plane is going to try out a new engine. The X-37B has so far spent a total of 1367 days tooling around in Earth's orbit, doing classified things. Yesterday, the ... More >
  • Watch Thermal Video Of A Lithium-Ion Battery Exploding

    Watch This Li-Ion Battery Explode!

    This Friday, Europe's largest freight carrier, Cargolux, will ban bulk shipments of lithium-ion batteries from its freight planes. Last month, an international group of airplane manufacturers ... More >
Sarah Fecht
at 11:46 AM May 26 2015
NASA
Science // 

Thousands of Chicagoans will take to the streets next week to celebrate the 2,600th anniversary of science.

Alexandra Ossola
at 10:32 AM May 25 2015
Tech // 

In what has been called an “act of evil,” four people were murdered on May 14 in a mansion in Washington, D.C. At first glance, the crime appeared to be motivated by money and seemed to be random, so investigators didn't have much information to go on when trying to identify a suspect. But then, a stroke of luck: Police uncovered a box of Domino's pizza, one of two that was delivered to the house when the victims were being held hostage.

By Jason Cipriani
at 10:32 AM May 25 2015

The whole point of virtual reality is to offer up the feeling of being transported into another world. But currently, avatar facial expressions fail to live up to VR's promise. Interacting with another human in a VR realm has more closely resembled a conversation with Zoltar, the infamous robotic fortune teller.

Brooke Borel
at 10:32 AM May 25 2015
Nature // 

When my book Infested came out last month, I got an email from a reader in Toronto—an entomologist named Sam Bryks. He generally liked the book, he said, but he wished I had focused more on a process called Integrated Pest Management.

Alexandra Ossola
at 10:32 AM May 25 2015

Muscle loss, lack of balance, backaches: human bodies act in strange ways in space. But scientists are only now starting to understand the changes that happen in the microbiome, the community of bacteria that live in our guts and elsewhere on our bodies and that have a huge effect on functions such as digestion and immunity. In space, the gut microbiome can get a bit out of whack, according to a recent article published in the International Reviews of Immunology. As commercial space travel and longer stints away from Earth seem more inevitable, researchers are trying to figure out how these changes in the gut microbiome might make humans sick in space.

Sarah Fecht
at 10:32 AM May 25 2015

In 2013, professional sprinter Dutee Chand was banned from competing as a female athlete. She wasn't accused of doping, and she wasn't accused of not being a woman—she was born and raised as a girl. Instead, her hormones were at fault.

Kelsey D. Atherton
at 10:31 AM May 25 2015
SmartChutes
Drones // 

The worst part of having a drone is losing it. Pilots will go to great lengths to make sure their drones stay clear of harm, whether it's diving into a canal to save it from drowning or turning a mishap on national television into a learning experience and warning for others. SmartChutes is a crowdfunding campaign Kickstarter right now that envisions a better way: parachutes for drones that deploy automatically when the drone is in peril.

Kelsey D. Atherton
at 10:31 AM May 25 2015
Horizon Unmanned Systems
Drones // 

The biggest physical constraint on small drones is their power supply. Batteries can only hold so much energy, and as adding more batteries to a drone also increase the weight of that drone, there are finite limits on how long quadcopters can fly in a single flight. A new drone concept by Horizon Unmanned Systems seeks to overcome that limitation, by turning to an alternative power source: hydrogen fuel cells.

Alexandra Ossola
at 10:31 AM May 25 2015

If science textbooks are to be believed, you have about 200 different types of cells in your body. But several teams of scientists are now debating that number, saying that the estimate is significantly larger. Using the new technique of looking at a cell's RNA, a handfulof researchers are prying open thousands of cells at a time to figure out what makes them different from one another, according to the MIT Tech Review. The results could change how we treat diseases where cells proliferate or die off, such as cancer or Alzheimer's respectively, for which treatments are increasingly targeted to specific cell types.

Sophie Bushwick
at 10:31 AM May 25 2015
Hacks // 

To a harried subway passenger, learning that there's a delay ahead can trigger groans, rolled eyes, or mere stoic despair. But commuters might be even more annoyed if they realized the track ahead was perfectly clear: Sometimes, the system holds a train in place to fix a delay behind it. In this 8-bit video, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority explains how slowing down one train can actually reduce the total delay on the line.

Erik Sofge
at 10:31 AM May 25 2015
Sonia Chernova
Robots // 

Sonia Chernova wants you to train her robot. Two years ago, Chernova and some of her fellow roboticists at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachussets launched a remote robotics lab called RobotsFor.Me, a site where users can log in and teach robots how to function in physical space. It's both more and less exciting than it sounds. Participants might play a game where they rack up points based on the number of objects they can help the robot pick up in 10 minutes. But these tutors aren't exactly diving into an immersive, robot's-eye-view interface. “We abstract everything,” says Chernova, who directs WPI's Robot Autonomy and Interactive Learning lab. “They've never seen this robot. They've never been trained to use it properly. They don't realize the robot costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Sophie Bushwick
at 10:31 AM May 25 2015
Robots // 

Friendly humanoid robots, a staple of science fiction, may soon staff stores, hotels, airports, hospitals, and even our own homes. Not everyone will be able to afford a shiny robot companion—but anyone can 3-D print one.

By Jason Cipriani
at 10:31 AM May 25 2015
Google/YouTube

A new Chrome extension, called Google Tone, released this week makes it possible to share a URL with another computer in the room using a series of beeps and boops. The concept is dead simple yet instantly instills a sense of disbelief. A computer making seemingly random sounds can transmit the URL for the tab I have open in Chrome across the room? Get out.

Erik Sofge
at 11:01 AM May 21 2015
Ossur

For a full decade, Gudmundar Olaffson was unable to move his right ankle. That's because it wasn't there. Olafsson's amputated lower leg was the delayed casualty of an accident from his childhood in Iceland, when he was hit by an oil truck. “I lived in pain for 28 years,” says Olafsson. “After 50-plus operations, I had it off.” For years after the operation he wore a Proprio Foot, a prosthetic with a motorized, battery-powered ankle, sold by the Reykjavik-based company Ossur. The Proprio is essentially a wearable robot, with algorithms and sensors that automatically adjust the angle of the foot during different points in its wearer's stride. Olafsson's ankle moved on autopilot.

Loren Grush
at 11:01 AM May 21 2015
Popular Science/Loren Grush

In 1976, renowned astrophysicist Carl Sagan brought a weird, reflective prop with him to the Tonight Show Staring Johnny Carson. The toy was a mockup of a solar sail—a revolutionary idea for space travel propulsion that eschews fuel. “[It] travels on the radiation and particles that come out of the Sun—the wind from the Sun,” Sagan explained to Carson, comparing the technology to how an ordinary sail boat moves through the ocean.

 
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