We've seen robots designed to move inside bodies before. Carefully shaped magnetic objects, these miniature robots are moved by external magnetic forces, like those found in MRI machines. Last month, researchers from Boston Children's Hospital and the University of Houston demonstrated a system of small magnetic "millirobots" designed not only to swim through a person's bloodstream and spinal fluid, but assemble into an electromagnetic gun once inside.
Metal wires are so old school. Nowadays, most of our information (whether on the Internet, TV, or phone) is communicated over fiber optic cables, long strands of material that can transmit information as light over distances. And with a new discovery, fiber optic cables could become cheaper, more efficient, and could literally cover more ground.
“Camera in the hole!" police officers soon shout, as they toss the new Explorer camera orb into a dangerous room before entering. Made by MIT alumnus at Bounce Imaging, the Explorer is a small, grenade-sized sphere full of cameras that first responders can throw into a space ahead of them, and when remotely activated, it assembles a panoramic image of what's inside said space. Now, there are plans to get 100 Explorers into police departments. See them in action below:
An engineer in Perth wants to mechanize one of humanity's oldest jobs. His robot is named “Hadrian,” after the Roman Emperor who built a wall in Northern Britain, and it can lay 1,000 bricks an hour. With a building plan programmed in, it calculates the location of each brick, then uses its 28-foot-long arm to them in place and secures them with mortar.
Elon Musk's Hyperloop is an idea as ambitious as it is fantastical. A train that travels at 760 mph through a pressurized tube is a hard sell, even with it gracing the latest cover of *Popular Science magazine. So it's pretty cool to see a real, working version — albeit in miniature. Engineering students at the University of Illinois recently made their very own, tiny Hyperloop model (1:24 scale) as part of a senior design project, Motherboard reports.
Since it made its courtroom debut in the mid-1980s, DNA evidence has been integral to thousands of cases (including, famously, the OJ Simpson murder trial). Juries and lawyers alike generally consider DNA evidence to be extremely reliable—a 2005 Gallup poll found that 58 percent of people considered it to be “very reliable.” But in reality, DNA evidence is much less reliable and objective than most people think. A story published yesterday by Frontline maps out just how DNA evidence works and how it can lead juries astray.
Imagine a world where we don't have to plug anything in. Your phone, laptop, tablet and headphones are constantly being topped-up whenever they're placed on an inductive surface, so that when you take them out with you into the wider world, your devices are always brimming with battery. Step-by-step, it's what we might be moving toward, if the industry lobbying group The Wireless Power Consortium gets its way. The group's long-in-development wireless charging technology, Qi, is now getting a considerable power boost, which means it will be able to charge more smartphones faster, as well as tablets, which were previously too power hungry for it. While this a big step forward for Qi, and may lead to wider adoption for the fledgling charging standard, there are other barriers still standing in the way on the road to a wireless power utopia.
Scientists from the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago have just released a smartphone app called the Great Lakes Fish Finder. The app will help Great Lakes visitors identify what they're seeing while holidaying, and meanwhile will help researchers learn more about what species are highly prevalent in the lakes in real time. The app is being powered by iNaturalist, and is completely free.
Your home is about to get a whole lot smarter. On Monday, Amazon announced its artificially intelligent bluetooth speaker—the Amazon Echo—is being made publicly available for purchase. The Echo was first unveiled in November 2014, but it was sold on an invitation-only basis until this week. The device is one of the first always-on, voice controlled intelligent home appliances that connects to the Internet and controls third-party services. It can answer trivia questions, tell you the weather, add items to a shopping list, and much more.
You might have thought that BlackBerrys went out of style with the advent of the touch screen, but the company is making a bold move to put their devices back in the limelight. Well, in hospitals at least—BlackBerry announced that it might be in the market to make antimicrobial cell phones for health care workers, Bloomberg reports.
One of Microsoft's most ambitious projects of the last few decades is HoloLens, a prototype headset that displays holograms over the real world as you look around. Also known as augmented reality, the technology has so far-been used for mostly entertainment purposes, putting Minecraft on your tabletop, for example. But now Microsoft is teaming up with NASA to take HoloLens much further than its ever gone before: outer space, to be exact. NASA and Microsoft have already been testing HoloLens in weightless environments simulated on a plane: