Monthly Archives July 2014

Emotional robot set for sale in Japan next year

TOKYO (AP) — A cooing, gesturing humanoid on wheels that can decipher emotions has been unveiled in Japan by billionaire Masayoshi Son who says robots should be tender and make people smile.

Son’s mobile phone company Softbank said Thursday that the robot it has dubbed Pepper will go on sale in Japan in February for 198,000 yen ($1,900). Overseas sales plans are under consideration but undecided.

Masayoshi Son, Pepper

The machine, which has no legs, but has gently gesticulating hands appeared on a stage in a Tokyo suburb, cooing and humming. It dramatically touched hands with Son in a Genesis or “E.T.” moment.

Son, who told the crowd that his longtime dream was to go into the personal robot business, said Pepper has been programmed to read the emotions of people around it by recognizing expressions and voice t...

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TSA deploys drones to watch you from space

Citing the ongoing domestic terrorist threat (aka, the “most dire threat to national security since Grandma Betty at the airport”), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has deployed a fleet of drones with the ability to destroy dangerous contraband like baby formula and remotely monitor “shady individuals” like 10-year-olds, grandparents, and those in wheelchairs – all from nearly 10,000 miles above sea level in the upper reaches of the exosphere.

peeping tom-from space image

The MQ-7 Peeping Tom will monitor the population and annihilate dangerous substances that could pose an extreme threat to national security like baby formula and H20.

A TSA spokesman called the new program a “cost-effective way to keep tabs on the population”, and though details on the MQ-7 Peeping Tom are scarce, a few sni...

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The first guided .50-caliber drone bullets in this video

Snipers have to take numerous factors into account, including the terrain, weather, wind-resistance, and over long distances, even the curvature of the Earth — at 1,000 yards, the Coreolis Effect will alter a bullet’s trajectory by about .5 moa (Minute of angle). And military snipers have confirmed kills up to 2,707 yd (the current world record). But until now, we haven’t been able to intentionally alter the course of a bullet.

DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program aimed to change that, and in recent tests, demonstrated in-flight guidance of .50-caliber bullets...

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Homeland Security’s robotic tuna

Inspired by the real tuna, BIOSwimmer is a UUV designed for high maneuverability in harsh environments, with a flexible aft section and appropriately placed sets of pectoral and other fins.

For those cluttered and hard-to-reach underwater places where inspection is necessary, the tuna-inspired frame is an optimal design.


It can inspect the interior voids of ships such as flooded bilges and tanks, and hard to reach external areas such as steerage, propulsion and sea chests. It can also inspect and protect harbors and piers, perform area searches and carry out other security missions.


Henry Sapiecha

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Drones: Next big thing in aviation is small

LONDON (AP) — The next big thing in aviation may be really small.

With some no bigger than a hummingbird, the hottest things at this week’s Farnborough International Airshow are tiny compared with the titans of the sky, such as the Airbus 380 or the Boeing Dreamliner.

What’s got aviation geeks salivating at Farnborough, this year’s biggest aviation jamboree that features participants from 40 countries, are the commercial possibilities of unmanned aerial vehicles – drones to most of us.

Britain Farnborough Air Show

Drones are more commonly known for their use in conflict areas. This week Hamas launched for the first time an unmanned drone into Israeli airspace that was shot down.

But drones, which can weigh less than an ounce, have potential commercial applications that are vast...

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New-generation thin flexible screen made by robots in LG Korean factory

We are not allowed cameras, so I’m taking every detail in. The room is vast but almost full, with gigantic metal contraptions repeating themselves into the orderly distance.

worker inside LG Display's Paju complex. image -

Two men in head-to-toe plastic perform some kind of complex cleaning ritual just below our observation window. They are the only humans to be seen, but the whole room is moving, robotic arms rising, turning and operating on massive sheets of copper and glass.

Soon, those sheets will be all over the world, cut up into the phones in our pockets, the laptops in our bags, the TVs in our lounge. It does not seem nearly loud enough.

curved screen prototype. With new OLED technology, one can 'print' a screen onto basically any shape image

A curved screen prototype. With new OLED technology, one can ‘print’ a screen onto basically any shape. Photo: Henry Cooke

I am at the largest screen factory in the world – LG Display’s Paju ...

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New Aerial Testbed for Sensors & Communications Devices

Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) are developing an airborne testing capability for sensors, communications devices, and other airborne payloads. This aerial test bed, called the GTRI Airborne Unmanned Sensor System (GAUSS), is based on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) made by Griffon Aerospace and modified by GTRI. The project includes development, installation, and testing of a sensor suite.

This suite consists of a camera package, a signals intelligence package for detecting and locating ground-based emitters, and a multi-channel ground-mapping radar. The radar is being designed using phased-array antenna technology that enables electronic scanning...

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Comprehensive Airborne Remote Sensing System Transforms Wildfire Research

Scientists from Colorado State University (CSU) are partnering with the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) to lead a large-scale wildfire impact study on 2012’s High Park Fire – one of the most devastating in Colorado’s history. The study will provide crucial data to the communities still dealing with major issues related to water quality, erosion, and ecosystem restoration. Supported by the National Science Foundation, the collaboration will integrate airborne remote sensing data collected by NEON’s Airborne Observation Platform (AOP) with ground-based data from a targeted field campaign conducted by CSU researchers.

This marks the first time a comprehensive airborne remote sensing system of this caliber will be used to enhance research on wildfire causes and impacts...

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Laser Message from Space Says “Hello World”

On June 5th, 2014, the ISS passed over the Table Mountain Observatory in Wrightwood, CA, and beamed an HD video to researchers waiting below. Unlike normal data transmissions, which are encoded in radio waves, this one came to Earth on a beam of light. “It was incredible to see this magnificent beam of light arriving from our tiny payload on the space station,” says Matt Abrahamson, who manages the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Better known as “OPALS,” the experimental laser device was launched to the space station onboard a Space-X Dragon spacecraft in the spring of 2014. Its goal is to explore the possibility of high-bandwidth space communications using light instead of radio waves...

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9 New Tools That Will Change the Future of War

These weapons, drones, and battlefield devices—some recently deployed, others in early R&D—will help the Pentagon fight more effectively with fewer troops.

By Joe Pappalardo


new-arsenal-rail gun image

The concept has been around for nearly a century: use electromagnetism instead of explosive charges to fire artillery rounds. The U.S. Navy has been working on just such a weapon since 2005—a railgun prototype that’s compact enough for a ship. Designed to support Marines during land strikes and harass enemy vessels from afar, the prototype harnesses a 32-megajoule jolt of electricity to launch a 23-pound shell that can destroy targets up to 110 miles away with kinetic energy alone. (One megajoule is the energy equivalent of a 1-ton vehicle moving at 100 mph...
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Meet the planes that find their own way home in this video

Thanks to a cool combination of on-board computing and geospatial satellite location systems, planes can now “see” their way down onto an airport runway, and calculate smoothest and most efficient landing pattern.

plane and mountains image

Using a technology called required navigation performance (RNP) flight navigation systems are now able to plot a route through a 3 dimensional space, avoiding geographical features like mountains, as well as residential or security no-fly-zones.

RNP was first used to navigate through the treacherous Gastineau Channel in Alaska, in 1996, and quickly spread to other mountainous areas where traditional radio signal landing systems were ineffective.

According to Doug Kelley, Program Director for Flight Efficiency Services at GE Aviation, RNP enables the aircraft to design fligh...

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People ride through the smog in Daqing, Heilongjiang province. image

People ride through the smog in Daqing, Heilongjiang province. Photo: Reuters

This post was originally published on Mashable.

Chinese officials have announced the government is turning to unmanned aerial drones to help fight pollution.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection said the latest effort to enforce China’s green laws is already underway. Equipped with infrared cameras, the drones can detect illegal pollution from factories at night, allowing for round-the-clock inspection.

“Images sent from these drones have a 0.04-meter resolution,” the ministry said in a statement. “In other words, we can recognize a matchbox from 1,000 metres above,”

So far, 11 drones have flown missions in the most heavily polluted provinces in the country, including Hebei and Shanxi, as well as the In...

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