PopSci.com
at 05:13 AM Aug 23 2011
Boeing

Commanding an army of drones is one thing; letting drones command themselves is something else entirely, especially when they have very little in common. Boeing recently tested a swarm network to help disparate drones work together, sending two types of unmanned aerial vehicles on a reconnaissance mission over eastern Oregon.

Staff Writers
at 04:12 AM Aug 23 2011
Orbital Technologies
Space // 

Until companies start launching private spaceships, Russian-built space capsules will be the only way to get astronauts up to the International Space Station or other orbital outposts. If these images are accurate at all, Russian-built spacecraft might as well stay the only option. Doesn't this look cozy?

Staff Writers
at 03:05 AM Aug 23 2011
Grathio Labs

Guide dogs are great, but vision-impaired people sometimes need to find their own way through complex environments. Instead of checking for obstacles with a trademark white stick, inventor Steve Hoefer has another idea: Use wrist-mounted sonar. Hoefer designed a haptic gauntlet with ultrasonic sensors mounted just over the knuckles. The Tacit, as it's called, is encased in a neoprene cuff and can sense objects from about two and a half centimetres all the way up to 3 metres.

Staff Writers
at 01:08 AM Aug 23 2011
Ford Motors
Cars // 

Carmakers have spent the past few years aggressively downsizing engines throughout their lineups to meet increasingly tight fuel-economy regulations. But with the sole exception of the three-cylinder Smart Fortwo, four cylinders is as low as carmakers have expected Americans to go. Three-cylinders are common in Europe but have been scorned in the U.S., where they're tainted by association with claptrap cars like the mousy Geo Metro. Now, with fuel-economy standards set to rise as high as 90.4 kph by 2025, Ford is planning to bring the three-cylinder to the American mainstream.

Staff Writers
at 00:03 AM Aug 23 2011
Claire Benoist
Tech // 

Dual-core processors have been a computing mainstay for more than six years, allowing machines to handle two tasks at once without sacrificing speed in either. This year, dual-core chips have begun popping up in app-hungry phones. The next step: cameras. The Olympus PEN E-P3 is the first digital camera running on a dual-core chip, which lets it capture, retouch, and save shots nearly twice as fast as most competitors.

Staff Writers
at 03:01 AM Aug 22 2011
David Wacey/University of Western Australia
Science // 

Clusters of islands poked through hot oceans 3.4 billion years ago, when the world still had no oxygen and the seas churned under a pallid, overcast sky. But life thrived on Earth even then, scientists say - and now they have the world's oldest fossils to prove it.

Staff Writers
at 05:54 AM Aug 20 2011
European Lung Foundation
Science // 

A dog can accurately detect the early presence of lung cancer by sniffing patients' breath, doctors in Germany say. While researchers have known for some time that dogs can sniff out the telltale signs of other forms of cancer, this is the first study that proves dogs can reliably smell this particular kind.

Staff Writers
at 02:55 AM Aug 20 2011
Sony
Tech // 

Digital recording binoculars aren't really new--there are some cheapie versions available--but Sony's new DEV-3 and DEV-5 binoculars lift that humble tech into some really impressive new places. Instead of taking a regular set of binoculars and cramming a cheap video recording device into them, Sony took its high-end HD camcorders and molded them into the shape of binoculars. That means they can both record in 720p (high-def) and in 3-D--these might be the perfect tools for birdwatchers and other nature-types (as opposed to snipers).

Staff Writers
at 00:00 AM Aug 20 2011
Young Naturalist Awards
Energy // 

Plenty of us head into the woods to find inspiration. Aidan Dwyer, 13, went to the woods and had a eureka moment that could be a major breakthrough in solar panel design.

Staff Writers
at 08:16 AM Aug 19 2011
John Mahoney
Mobile // 

Today, in an almost insultingly brief statement in the middle of a press release about something else entirely, HP killed off its most recent acquisition, and perhaps its most beloved platform: WebOS, the mobile OS designed by the scrappy gurus at Palm. It's a bitter, inconsequential end for an OS that in its own way paved as much ground as the iPhone, and that even in its current decrepit state is a damn fine platform. WebOS, you deserved better.

Lawrence Ulrich
at 06:28 AM Aug 19 2011
Cars // 

Brunico, Italy - A snowy K-Mart parking lot would have worked fine. But this being Ferrari, and the star its tradition-shredding FF - a $300,000 all-wheel-drive station wagon -- a little high-altitude showboating seemed in order. So with a boost from the Italian army's Chinook helicopters, Ferrari flew a pair of FF's to the windswept peak of Plan de Corones, a popular ski resort in its wondrous Dolomites, and told us to have at it. Ridiculous? Why, yes. But no more so than a 208-mph, 651-horsepower Italian pony that can carry four tall adults and cargo while galloping safely over snow, ice, dirt or puddles on the Pomona freeway.

Clay Dillow
at 05:26 AM Aug 19 2011
Julio Cortez / AP

As promised, Lockheed Martin finally put its SAMARAI monocopter drone on display at AUVSI's drone extravaganza in DC this week, for the first time flying it before a public audience as PopSci and everyone else in the air demo area looked on in awe. After all, the thing has just one rapidly rotating wing - it doesn't really look like it can stay aloft by itself. Seeing, however, is believing.

Staff Writers
at 04:33 AM Aug 19 2011
ESA / IPMB
Space // 

If it's a space race the Russians want, a space race they shall have. But et tu, Europe? Russian news outlet Ria Novosti is reporting that the European Space Agency (ESA), long the ally of Cold War champion NASA, is teaming with Russia on a joint manned mission to Mars, and that their crew will be the first to set foot on the Red Planet.

Staff Writers
at 03:40 AM Aug 19 2011
Photo by Randy Montoya
Robots // 

At AUVSI's (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) massive robot conference in Washington D.C., in the U.S. this week there is no shortage of robots designed to seek out--and in some cases destroy--human targets. Sandia National Labs chose to go in the opposite direction with their Gemini-Scout, a remotely controlled rolling robot designed specifically to lead search and rescue efforts in the event of a mining disaster.

Staff Writers
at 02:05 AM Aug 19 2011
DARPA

Last week, DARPA's HTV-2 (Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2) Falcon vehicle launched to near-orbital speeds aboard a Minotaur rocket before beginning what was designed to be a Mach 20 glide back to earth, demonstrating the kind of hypersonic capability needed to deliver a payload anywhere in the world in an hour. Then, a few minutes into its flight, HTV-2's data transmitters went silent and so did the DARPA news stream feeding us the play-by-play.

 
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