Two scientists at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, U.S.A discussed the state of xenotransplantation--the use of cells, organs, or tissue from one animal in another--in a review in The Lancet. In that review, they touch on the history of one particular subject: pig-to-human transplants. Their conclusion? Clinical trials of pig-to-human transplants could begin in just a few years.
China may only have 30 percent of the rare earths in the world, but they essentially have a monopoly--which the rest of the world has been tirelessly trying to work around. (To wit: Japan looks to Vietnam, the U.S. looks to California and Missouri, everyone looks under the sea.) In a slightly devilish business move, China sought to tighten their grip and raise prices by eliminating all sales to its major buyers, the U.S., Japan, and Europe, for one month.
When it comes to planetary formation, water is often one of the trickiest questions scientists find themselves trying to answer. Where is space did it come from, and how on earth did it end up on... well, Earth? It seems we might have the glimmering of a solution, after scientists observed a nascent solar system surrounded by a cloud of water vapour – enough to populate several thousand Earths.
Robert Bigelow is not a small name in the space world. His company Bigelow Aerospace is a pioneer of inflatable spacecraft, and the company has made waves with its plans for an inflatable, orbiting space hotel (not coincidentally, Bigelow's fortunes come from his ownership of the Budget Suites motel chain). So when he says something about the future of space travel, we listen. On the other hand, when he says that China is planning to take over the moon circa 2025, we listen, but with scepticism.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are (ostensibly) winding down and military budgets are facing the axe in countries such as the US, but that's not stopping contractors from building bigger and badder combat-ready robots. Today in badass autonomous military hardware: Mesa Robotics' Acer, a 2,045 kg mine-clearing, bulldozing, drone-launching, ordnance disposing, pack-muling mini-tank.
Microsoft's Research department is always coming up with cool new ways to interact with gadgets, and this newly released video of the "Holodesk" is definitely one of the cooler ones. It uses a Kinect ("hacked" doesn't seem really correct when it's a Microsoft project) to see your hands and face, and allows you to juggle completely virtual 3D objects--balance a virtual ball on a book, then tip it into a bowl of water, or stack virtual 3D blocks. It's pretty amazing.
A Soyuz rocket will lift off Friday from the northern coast of French Guiana, carrying two satellites that will formally kick off the European Space Agency's own version of GPS. It will be the first Soyuz ever to launch outside of the former Soviet Union, and its payload will free Europeans from relying on American navigation tech.
The back and forth on the National Broadband Network is seemingly never ending. Everytime someone makes a comment in the media from one side, there’s a torrent of a response from the other. The last couple of days has seen exactly this happen in regards to a pricing analysis by online comparison site WhistleOut, who also made comments on the fibre-wireless issue in the media. We dig through the issue and examine some of the fallout.
If you're feeling lucky after NASA's UARS satellite fell safely from orbit into the middle of the Pacific--rather than into the middle of Sydney--let's hope your luck doesn't run out. The German Aerospace Center says the retired ROSAT satellite's orbit is rapidly decaying, and pieces of it could start falling from the sky as early as Friday and up until Monday. That should make for an exciting weekend.
Like most machines, Robots are generally built toward a purpose or a set of narrowly defined applications, like automobile manufacturing or explosive ordnance disposal or making doner kebabs. So how do you make a robot that is truly multi-utility, adaptable to any job? You make a robot that can make itself.
Buried in the avalanche of features in the newest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, was the addition of a new sensor to accompany the standard GPS, proximity, and accelerometer: a barometer. It's one we'd never have thought to add to a smartphone, and we sat for a little while, scratching our heads at the possible use for a sensor that tests atmospheric pressure. So we talked to the experts over at Weather Underground, and got a better sense of what this is--and, more importantly, what it is not.