Other Tech 

Miniature fuel cell to keep drones aloft for over an hour and phones charged for a week

Drones are being utilized in everything from parcel delivery to search and rescue, but their limited flight times are restricting their ability to travel great distances or stay for extended periods of time in the field. Simply adding more batteries, however, affects flight characteristics and reduces the load the drone can carry. To help solve this problem, researchers at the Pohang University of Science and Technology (Postech) have created a miniature fuel cell they claim not only provides enough energy to keep a drone in the sky for over an hour, but may…

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Tapping into cloud-based IT resources can make robots smarter and more capable

What happens when you mix cloud computing with robotics? You get more powerful and smarter robots capable of communicating and collaborating with each other, and learning from each others’ mistakes so that they can accomplish a variety of tasks more effectively. The emerging area of cloud robotics links robots to the cloud, including the enormous storage capabilities these hosted IT services offer. This connection to the cloud and/or corporate data centers can give robots more powerful computational, data storage and communications abilities than they have when operating on a standalone…

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Drone Delivery Startup Takes Aim at Amazon

A drone delivery startup that carried out the first government-approved test in the United States has recently shown how drones could deliver disaster relief supplies from ship to shore. The startup’s greater ambitions include nothing less than challenging Amazon and Google in the race to get drone delivery services off the ground. The delivery drones belonging to Flirtey, a startup based in Nevada, can carry up to five and a half pounds on round-trip journeys of up to 10 miles. Such figures are significant considering that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has said 86 percent of Amazon…

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Drone flight powered by lightweight hydrogen-producing pellets

At first glance, hydrogen fuel cells sound like a great power source for fixed-wing drones making long flights – they have much longer run times than batteries, and they emit no emissions other than water vapor. Unfortunately, the hydrogen typically has to be stored in large heavy pressurized tanks. Last month, however, a Raptor E1 electric drone made a successful test flight running on a unique new system that’s actually lighter than the lithium-ion battery it replaced. The flight was carried out on Jan. 19th at Scotland’s Oban Airport, by a team…

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Climate Change

Climate Change The global warming problem is something people are worried about all the time. There are two articles about climate change, Krauthammer’s article “Myth of ‘Settled’ Science” and McKibben’s article “A Moral Atmosphere”. Both authors expressed their views in the articles. Are there any similar ideas in these articles? Comparing the “Myth of ‘Settled’ Science” and “A Moral Atmosphere” in three ways: tones, opinions and endings. The tone of  “The Myth of ‘Settled’ Science” and the tone of “A Moral Atmosphere ” are different because Krauthammer’s article has an…

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Gest glove has gesture control on hand

There have been numerous attempts over the years to break the decades-long stranglehold the keyboard and mouse have had on the human-to-computer interface by providing some semblance of Minority Report-like gesture control. Apotact Labs recently joined the fray with a four-finger glove-like design called Gest that allows you to control your computer and your mobile devices with your hands. Gest is described as a digital toolkit that consists of two components: a gesture controller that slips onto your hand, and an SDK that allows anyone to build new applications for the…

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Blink controlled camera provides recipe for awkward moments

As we move to document every single waking minute of our lives, there’s a real risk of missing the perfect shot of that dog/latte/kid/sunset in the time it takes to reach our phones. Blincam is designed to remove that awkward fumbling from mobile photography, instead allowing users to capture photos by winking or blinking. Based in Tokyo, the company behind Blincam say it’s designed to help capture images when you otherwise might have missed them because your hands were full, or didn’t have your smartphone camera at the ready. Having…

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Harmless “T-Ray” Vision Sees Through Boxes, Walls and Skin

Call it the “X-ray vision” app: In several years, smartphones could come equipped with a microchip that lets users peer through boxes, walls and other objects. Rather than dangerous X-rays, however, the chip beams out waves in the harmless terahertz frequency, a little-used portion of the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and far-infrared. Terahertz generators historically have been bulky, expensive affairs. But now Caltech researchers have succeeded in crafting terahertz-emitting silicon chips that are smaller than a dime using a standard, inexpensive electronics manufacturing technique. The researchers harnessed an array of…

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Google Play’s new delta algorithm reduces size of Android app updates

Google today announced Google Play store improvements focused on the size of updates. A new delta algorithm, bsdiff, has been rolled out to further reduce patches for apps and games. Mobile users are sensitive to the amount of data they use, especially when Wi-Fi is not available. Google is thus trying to reduce the data required for Google Play app installs and updates, as well as make data cost clearer to users. Google says that for approximately 98 percent of app updates from the Play Store, only deltas to APK files (the…

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Hardening up: New alloy four times as tough as titanium

A chance discovery in a physics lab at Rice University has turned up an ultra-hard material that could usurp the titanium commonly used in today’s knee and hip replacements. Scientists have found that by melting gold into the titanium mix they can produce a non-toxic metal that is four times harder than titanium itself, raising the prospect of more durable, longer lasting medical implants. Emilia Morosan, a professor of physics at Rice University, was carrying out experiments on a magnetic material made from nonmagnetic elements, more specifically, a titanium-gold mix with a…

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