Future Of Sex! A Push Button For Amazing And Instant Orgasm

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Think about a machine that can help women achieve "emphatic" orgasms at the push of a button.

Slightly smaller than a packet of cigarettes, the device uses electrodes attached to the patient's spine, with orgasms being triggered by a remote control.

The machine is not intended for a mass market looking to spice up their day at whim or expedite their sexual encounters however, but for women who normally struggle to achieve orgasm.

North Carolina surgeon Stuart Meloy told New Scientist how he conjured up the idea while performing a procedure on a female patient.

"I was placing the electrodes and suddenly the woman started exclaiming emphatically," he said. "I asked her what was up and she said, 'You're going to have to teach my husband to do that'." Clinical trials of the machine are due to commence later in the year, with Meloy adding that it could help couples with withering sex lives.

"If you've got a couple who've been together for a while and it's just not happening any more, maybe they'll get through it a bit easier with this," he said.

Instant orgasms come at the cost of rather invasive surgery however, with CBS Charlotte detailing the procedure thus: 'During the operation, a patient would remain conscious so that a surgeon could correctly pinpoint the right nerves to fit the electrodes in a patient's spinal cord. Then, a signal generator would be connected which would be most likely implanted under the skin of a patient's buttocks.' "It's as invasive as a pacemaker, so this is only for extreme cases," Meloy explained.

In other incredible medical science news this week, a team of researchers at the University of Illinois produced a 3D-printed "electronic glove" that could help keep your heart beating for ever.

Christopher Hooton

Spanish Island El Hierro Is 1st To Run On Green Power Only

The smallest and least known of Spain's Canary Islands, El Hierro, is making a splash by becoming the first island in the world fully energy selfsufficient through combined water and wind power.

A wind farm opening at the end of June will turn into electricity the gusts that rake the steep cliffs and green mountains of the volcanic island off the Atlantic coast of Africa. Its five turbines installed at the northeastern tip of El Hierro near the capital Valverde will have a total output of 11.5 megawatts - more than enough power to meet the demand of the island's roughly 10,000 residents.

Although other islands around the world are powered by solar or wind energy, experts say El Hierro is the first to secure a constant supply of electricity by combining wind and water power and with no connection to any outside electricity network. Surplus power from the wind turbines will be used to pump fresh water from a reservoir near the harbour to a larger one at volcanic crater located about 700 metres above sea level.

When there is little or no wind, the water will be channelled down to the lower reservoir through turbines to generate electricity in turn. "This system guarantees us a supply of electricity," said the director of the Gorona del Viento wind power plant, Juan Manuel Quintero who is supervising final tests before the plant starts functioning in a few weeks. The plant will account for 50% of the island's electricity demand when it is officially inaugurated at the end of June.

Watch The Psychology Of Your Future Self

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they're finished.

Dan Gilbert shares recent research on a phenomenon he calls the "end of history illusion," where we somehow imagine that the person we are right now is the person we'll be for the rest of time. Hint: that's not the case.

This talk was presented at an official TED conference

Android Wear: Another Tease Of Moto 360 And LG G Watch

All the eyes are on on Android Wear and the first smartwatches to showcase it — Motorola's Moto 360 and LG's G Watch — at Google I/O later this month. But before the developer conference kicks off, Google is today offering another brief look at the two devices. They're featured in a dev-focused blog post that goes over just how easy it is to build apps for both square and round smartwatches.

"Designing for Android Wear is pretty different from designing for the desktop, phones or tablets," said Roman Nurik, who worked with fellow Android Wear design "advocate" Timothy Jordan to mock up a walking tour app. "Working with constraints involving scarce resources like device size and user attention means it’s more important than ever to think deeply about your ideas and iterate on them early and often."

This is one of the first times we've seen a real live Moto 360 with the screen on, though admittedly there's not much to look at here. Google is no doubt saving the best  of Android Wear for I/O, which starts June 25th.

Here Is How New York Is Planning Against Storms And Rising Sea Levels

The federal government plans to spend billions of dollars protecting New York City and the surrounding areas from rising sea levels and storms like Hurricane Sandy, and some of the most innovative projects that it'll be funding were just announced yesterday. Among them are plans to construct parks and paths wrapping around lower Manhattan that include elevated areas and flood barriers that can flip into position when necessary. Another project aims to slow the waves and stabilize the city's beaches by placing breakwaters around Staten Island. The breakwaters wouldn't simply be barriers for the waves though: they'll be designed as habitats for marine life, providing protection for finfish, shellfish, and lobsters. Other plans have been chosen to protect nearby Jersey City, Hoboken, and Weehawken using pumps to remove water.

These aren't the plans that are meant to provide thorough protection against a storm, however. Instead, these are the result of a competition sponsored by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, called Rebuild By Design, and is meant to find new models for combating the effects of storms that may be useful elsewhere in the US.

"These [breakwater] oyster beds that you heard about, FEMA is watching this project very closely, thinking about not just whether it can be repeated throughout the region, but in Florida and many other places that are susceptible," Housing and Urban Development secretary Shaun Donovan said yesterday. Donovan said that the projects might also receive funding from insurance providers, which could see lower costs because of their protections. "So the models that we're talking about here were specifically designed to be replicable," he said, "to bring not just more government funding, but to bring private sector funding as well."

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the projects will begin to take shape over the next few years. "I think you're going to see over four or five years a hugely different physical reality in this city," he said. Entrants in the design competition have, of course, created mockups of what their projects will look like around the city. Several of those visuals can be found below.

By Jacob Kastrenakes
We found it on The Verge

Self Driven Trucks Could Be On Nevada Roads By Next Year

Two 18-wheeler trucks in Nevada have successfully demonstrated that automated systems could make vehicles safer and more fuel efficient. Popular Science reports that a computer-assisted truck was able to maintain a precise distance of 33 feet from its human-operated counterpart. The truck used technology similar to adaptive cruise control, enabling its driver to steer without worrying about acceleration or braking. Both vehicles were tethered by a real-time video link that allowed for better visibility and greater awareness of road conditions.

The two trucks were outfitted by Peloton Tech, a startup that claims its system could help the trucking industry "save more than $6 billion of diesel fuel annually." It has been verified that the lead trucks use 4.5 percent less fuel while rear trucks can save 10 percent. Peloton Tech held a live demonstration in Nevada last month where Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki said, "We just hope not only to be a part of the research and development but the manufacturing and the job creation that we believe will come with it in years to come." According to News 4, it takes about a week to have trucks retrofitted with a GPS system, antennas, and a radar detector. The company reportedly hopes to accelerate the process, and have their technology on the road by the end of next year.

While the company's work does not involve self-driving trucks, it is nonetheless indicative of the growth of autonomous vehicles. Nevada was the first US state to approve regulations concerning the usage of self-driving cars, but other places in the country have since sanctioned similar legislation. Companies like Google and Volvo are working to deploy vehicles capable of varying degrees of autonomy. In 2012, the European Commission-funded Project SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) successfully completed a 125-mile road test involving three computer-controlled cars. Then in 2013, a Japanese corporation showcased the efficiency of their four-truck convoy which only utilized one human driver.

By Cassandra Khaw
We found it on The Verge

A Flying Bike Set To Take Off In Year 2017

A US company is planning to launch a high-tech flying bike in 2017 which is designed to carry two people up to a height of 10ft and reach speeds of up to 72 kmph.

The California-based company has announced that it will be launching its Aero-X hoverbike in 2017 at an estimated price of $85,000. The company is already accepting refundable deposits of $5,000 on its website.

The company, Aerofex, has been attempting to resolve various control and stability challenges by testing its hoverbike for some time now.

With carbon fibre rotors replacing wheels, the Aero-X will be able to take-off and land vertically without the need for a runway or forward speed, the company said. The bike is also reported to be as easy to ride as a motorcycle, as pilots will be able to use the handlebar grips, situated at knee level, to control the bike.

Drivers will only need about a weekend of training to be able to fly the bike easily, the company claims. According to company officials, with a pre-fuel weight of about 356kg, the hoverbike can carry loads of up to 140kg over any any type of surface.

The bike will run for 75 minutes on a full fuel tank. The concept dates to the 1960s, but stability issues stopped it from becoming a reality. Aerofex addressed these with a system that allows the bike to respond to the rider's leaning movements and natural balance.

Here Is A Plan For The First House On The moon

A Swedish artist is raising funds to send the first house to the moon in 2015, which will self-assemble within minutes of touchdown on the lunar surface.

The miniature house developed by artist and entrepreneur Mikael Genberg will look similar to a typical Swedish cottage, painted in red and white. The house is big enough to accommodate a grown human being and measures 3m by 2m with a roof height of 2.5m. A specially developed cloth will be stretched over a carbon structure. The house will build itself after getting filled with gas. This will take minutes after being launched on the moon.

Genberg has worked on the project since 2003 with the aim of putting a red house with white corners on the surface of the moon, according to TheMoonHouse website. The art project lost momentum in 2010 when the financial crisis struck, but is now up to 75% complete after some of Sweden's leading space engineers invested years of their time and effort to realize the venture.

The US space technology company Astrobotic, whose partners include Nasa, have committed to the challenge of taking the house to the moon. The launch and lunar landing is scheduled for October 2015.

"The Moonhouse will enable people to make history and a mark on the international scene since The Moonhouse will be the first payload funded by private individuals to land on the moon," said John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic.

Over $15m is required to realize The Moonhouse and $3,901 have already been acquired through crowd-funding. The donor's name will be printed on the inside of the house. " The house presents a technical challenge since this is the first house to be 'built' on the moon," Emil Vinterhav, head of The Moonhouse technical team said.

Forget Plastic Payment Cards, Just Swipe Your Hand To Pay

A Swedish startup has created a device that allows you to swipe your hand instead of using credit cards for payments. The biometric system scans the veins in hands to identify a person and approves payments in seconds.

Like fingerprints, no two humans have the same pattern of veins in their hands. So far, the company Quixter has set up 15 machines dotted around the campus of Lund University from which the founder, Fredrik Leifland, is a graduate in engineering. "There really is no way of committing fraud with this system. When you go to pay in the supermarket you enter the last four digits of your phone number and then you hold your hand above the sensor. The transaction takes less than 5 seconds," Leifland said.

To start using the payment system, people need to first register their social security number and phone number. A new user then has their palm scanned three times and receives an activation link via the Quixter website. After filling out some additional information that links their biometric profile to payment methods, they're good to go.

First Realistic Virtual Universe Has Been Created

Monday, June 2, 2014

Move over Matrix, astronomers have created the first realistic virtual simulation of the universe, tracking 13 billion years of cosmic evolution.

The computer simulation enables researchers to understand how galaxies, black holes and other cosmic phenomena evolved. Known as Illustris, it follows the complex development of normal and dark matter over 13 billion years, matching features observed in the real universe. Illustris tracks the development of the universe from 12 million years after the Big Bang up to the present, and identified more than 41,000 galaxies in a simulated space 350 million light years on each side.

Over the past two decades, researchers have been attempting to build accurate computer simulations of the development of the universe using computer programmes.

Teleportation Becomes Reality But You Need To Wait A Bit

The future has a way of becoming the past. Men on the moon? Check. Picture phones? Thank you, Skype. But teleportation? Not so much. The idea of breaking yourself down to your constituent molecules, beaming yourself across space and reassembling somewhere else sounds cool, but there are problems. For one, there’s The Fly. For another, it’s monstrously difficult.

What the Dutch physicists did involved something called quantum entanglement, which Einstein once described as “spooky action at a distance,” a term that pretty much describes what it is. Entangled particles are sort of the dysfunctional couples of quantum physics. You know that long-distance relationship you had in college that didn’t really work out and every time you and your significant other got on the phone or exchanged an e-mail you wound up getting into a fight and feeling a whole lot lousier than you did five minutes before? That’s action at a distance.

The same is true of entangled particles, except if quantum theory is right, the interaction can take place across infinite distances and instantaneously. That means that the spin rate and direction of one particle—which is how the behavior of these things are measured–will determine the spin rate and direction of its entangled partner on the other side of the universe, effectively simultaneously.

How does it work? Easy: First quantum stuff happens, then more quantum stuff follows and there are lots of equations that explain it all but they’d definitely give you a headache and they’d make you feel lazy for taking a gut major like political science as an undergrad—or at least that’s how they make me feel—so spare yourself that.

The point is, the Delft researchers proved the principle by isolating target entangled electrons inside two supercooled diamonds placed 10 meters—or 33 ft.—apart, creating what one of the physicists described as “miniprisons” for them. They then maniupulated their spin rate and determined that the behavior of one indeed continued to determine the spin of the other, and vice versa, even at that distance. Something similar had been achieved before, in 2009, by University of Maryland researchers, but the experiment worked only one out of every 100 million attempts. This one succeeded 100% of the time. Next, the Dutch plan to expand their work—literally—trying to see if the quantum entanglement holds at a distance of 1 kilometer, or .62 mi.

This matters for reasons that go beyond just allowing you to say things like spooky action at a distance, though that is admittedly pretty cool. Spin rate, to a quantum particle, counts as information, and information is what computers traffic in. But unlike traditional bits of information, which can have only one of two values—1 or 0—quantum bits, or qubits, can have an infinite number. Computers built of quantum particles entangled at a distance could be to contemporary computers what contemporary computers are to scratch marks on a flat stone.

Forget Street Light, in Netherlands Roads Glows in dark

A first glow-in-the-dark 'smart highway' spanning 500 metres has been developed to replace street lights in the Netherlands. It is the first time "glowing lines" technology has been piloted on the road and can be seen on the N329 in Oss, approximately 100km south east of Amsterdam.

Designer and innovator Daan Roosegaarde teamed up with Dutch civil engineering firm Heijmans to developed the technology. The glow-in-the-dark markings are made of paint that contains "photo-luminising" powder which charges up in the daytime and slowly releases a green glow at night, 'BBC News' reported.

Once the paint has absorbed daylight it can glow for up to eight hours in the dark, doing away with the need for street lights. The innovative technology will be officially launched later this month and if successful could trigger a mass switch-off of lighting across the country's road network, potentially saving the nation millions of Euros.

Heijmans said that the glow in the dark technology is "a sustainable alternative to places where no conventional lighting is present".

Roosegaarde's past projects have included a dance floor with built-in disco lights powered by dancers' foot movements, and a dress that becomes see-through when the wearer is aroused. In the UK, engineers have developed water-resistant, spray-on coating that makes roads glow in the dark by absorbing UV light during the day and releasing it at night. The coating can adapt to the lighting conditions in its surroundings to glow accordingly.

Artificial Intelligence Is Now Telling Doctors How to Treat You

Long Island dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla knows how to treat acne, burns, and rashes. But when a patient came in with a potentially disfiguring case of bullous pemphigoid–a rare skin condition that causes large, watery blisters–she was stumped. The medication doctors usually prescribe for the autoimmune disorder wasn’t available. So she logged in to Modernizing Medicine, a web-based repository of medical information and insights.

Within seconds, she had the name of another drug that had worked in comparable cases. “It gives you access to data, and data is king,” Mariwalla says of Modernizing Medicine. “It’s been very helpful, especially in clinically challenging situations.”

The system, one of a growing number of similar tools around the country, lets Mariwalla tap the collective knowledge gathered from roughly 3,700 providers and more than 14 million patient visits, as well as data on treatments other doctors have provided to patients with similar profiles. Using the same kind of artificial intelligence that underpins some of the web’s largest sites, it instantly mines this data and spits out recommendations. It’s a bit like recommending purchases based on its massive trove of data about what people have bought in the past.

Tech titans like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple already have made huge investments in artificial intelligence to deliver tailored search results and build virtual personal assistants. Now, that approach is starting to trickle down into health care, thanks in part to the push under the health reform law to leverage new technologies to improve outcomes and reduce costs–and to the availability of cheaper and more powerful computers. In an effort to better treat their patients, doctors are now exploring the use of everything from IBM’s Watson supercomputer, the machine that won at Jeopardy, to iPhone-like pop-up notifications that appear in your online medical records.

Artificial intelligence is still in the very early stages of development–in so many ways, it can’t match our own intelligence–and computers certainly can’t replace doctors at the bedside. But today’s machines are capable of crunching vast amounts of data and identifying patterns that humans can’t. Artificial intelligence–essentially the complex algorithms that analyze this data–can be a tool to take full advantage of electronic medical records, transforming them from mere e-filing cabinets into full-fledged doctors’ aides that can deliver clinically relevant, high-quality data in real time. “Electronic health records [are] like large quarries where there’s lots of gold, and we’re just beginning to mine them,” said Dr. Eric Horvitz, who is the managing director of Microsoft Research and specializes in applying artificial intelligence in health care settings.

Increasingly, physician practices and hospitals around the country are using supercomputers and homegrown systems to identify patients who might be at risk for kidney failure, cardiac disease, or postoperative infections, and to prevent hospital re-admissions, another key focus of health reform. And they’re starting to combine patients’ individual health data–including genetic information–with the wealth of material available in public databases, textbooks, and journals to help come up with more personalized treatments.

For now, the recommendations from Modernizing Medicine are largely based on what is most popular among fellow professionals–say, how often doctors on the platform prescribe a given drug or order a particular lab test. But this month, the system will display data on patient outcomes that the company has collected from its subscribers over the past year. Doctors will also be able to double-check the information against the latest clinical research by querying Watson, IBM’s artificially intelligent supercomputer. “What happens in the real world should be informed by what’s happening in the medical journals,” said Daniel Cane, CEO of Florida-based Modernizing Medicine. “That information needs to get to the provider at the point of care.”

‘Quick and Seamless’

Using homegrown systems, doctors at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville and St. Jude’s Medical Center in Memphis are getting pop-up notifications within individual patients’ electronic medical records. The alerts tell them, for instance, when a drug might not work for a patient with certain genetic traits. It shows up in bright yellow at the top of a doctor’s computer screen–hard to miss. “With a single click, the doctor can prescribe another medication. It’s a very quick and seamless process,” says Vanderbilt’s Dr. Joshua Denny, one of the researchers who developed the system there.

Denny and others used e-medical records on 16,000 patients to help computers predict which patients were likely to need certain medications in the future. Take the anti-blood clot medication Plavix. Some people can’t break it down. The Vanderbilt system warns doctors to give patients likely to need the medication a genetic test to see whether they can. If not, it gives physicians suggestions on alternative drugs.

Doctors heed the computer’s advice about two-thirds of the time, figuring in, for example, the risks associated with the alternative medication. “The algorithm is pretty good,” says Denny, referring to its ability to predict who’s going to need a certain drug. “It was smarter than my intuition.”

So far, computers have gotten really good at parsing so-called structured data—information that can easily fit in buckets, or categories. In health care, this data is often stored as billing codes or lab test values. But this data doesn’t capture patients’ full-range of symptoms or even their treatments. Images, radiology reports, and the notes doctors write about each patient can be more useful. That’s unstructured data, and computers are less savvy at handling it because it requires making inferences and a certain understanding of context and intent.

That’s the stuff humans are really good at doing–and it’s what scientists are trying to teach machines to do better. “Computers are notoriously bad at understanding English,” said Peter Szolovits, the director of MIT’s Clinical Decision Making Group. “It’s a slow haul, but I’m still optimistic.”

The Challenge Ahead

Computers are getting better at reading unstructured information. Suppose a patient says he doesn’t smoke. His doctor checks ‘no’ in a box–structured data, easily captured by a machine. But then the doctor notes that the patient’s teeth are discolored or that there are nicotine stains on his fingers–a clue that the patient in fact does smoke. Soon a computer may be able to highlight such discrepancies, bringing to the fore information that otherwise might have been overlooked.

In recent years, universities, tech companies, and venture capital firms have invested millions into making computers better at analyzing images and words. Companies are popping up to capitalize on findings in studies suggesting that artificial intelligence can be used to improve care. “Artificial intelligence–ultimately that’s where the biggest quality improvements will be made,” says Euan Thomson, a partner at venture capital firm Khosla Ventures.

But many challenges remain, experts say. Among them is the tremendous expense and difficulty of gaining access to high-quality data and of developing smart models and training them to pick up patterns. Most electronic medical record-keeping systems aren’t compatible with each other. The data is often stored in servers at individual clinics or hospitals, making it difficult to build a comprehensive reservoir of medical information.

Moreover, the systems often aren’t hooked up to the internet and therefore can’t be widely distributed or accessed like other information in the cloud. So, unlike the vast amount of data on Google and Facebook, the information can’t be mined from anywhere by those interested in analyzing it. From the perspective of privacy advocates, this makes some good sense: A researcher’s treasure trove is a hacker’s playground. “It’s not the greatest time to talk about” health records on the web, given security scandals such as the Edward Snowden leaks and the Heartbleed bug, says Dr. Russ Altman, the director of Stanford University’s biomedical informatics training program.

Drawing the Line

Also standing in the way are concerns about how far computers should encroach on doctors’ turf. As artificial intelligence systems get smarter, experts say, the line between making recommendations and making decisions could become more murky. That could cause regulators to view the systems as a medical devices, subject to the review of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Wary of the time and expense required for FDA approval, companies engineering the systems–at least for now–are careful not to describe them as diagnostic tools but rather as information banks. “The FDA would be down on them like a ton of bricks because then they would be claiming to practice medicine,” says MIT’s Szolovits.

At the moment, he said, the technology isn’t good enough to tell doctors with 100 percent certainty what the best course of treatment for a patient may be. Others agree. “It’s going to be a long road,” says Michael Matheny, a biostatistician at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine.

Back at her clinic in Long Island, Dr. Mariwalla is thankful for the information that the artificial intelligence system can provide. For the patient with that blistering skin condition, she took the machine’s suggestion for an alternative medication. The patient has recovered, Mariwalla says, but she’s careful to add that she made the call herself—based in part on her conversation with her patient. “That’s where medical judgment comes in,” she says. “You can’t [just] rely on a system to tell you what to do.”

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communication organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

A Chinese Company 3D Printed 10 Houses in a Day

There's a lot you can do with a 3D printer. Now add "building a house in a day" to the list. Now make that 10 houses.

The WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co. has printed 10 homes in 24 hours out of recycled materials.

This isn't the first attempt at 3D printing large structures in a short amount of time. Researchers in California are making a printer that can build a house in 24 hours.

In Amsterdam earlier this month, construction of a 3D-printed house began. The house is made out of plastic bricks that fit together like Lego. It's also being printed onsite.

The Chinese houses, on the other hand, weren't built onsite. They were printed in pieces and then put together in Shanghai's Qingpu district.

The pieces are made using recycled construction materials and industrial waste to form a concrete aggregate, Gizmodo reports. The 3D printer used to build the houses is 500 feet long, 33 feet wide and 20 feet high. Each home costs around $4,800.

"We purchased parts for the printer overseas, and assembled the machine in a factory in Suzhou," the company's CEO, Ma Yihe, told 3ders. "Such a new type of 3D-printed structure is environment-friendly and cost-effective."

Two Legged KAIST Robot Can Hunt You Down At 28mph

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A DARPA-funded Boston Dynamics' Cheetah robot currently holds the land-speed record for fastest running machine, capable of reaching a top speed of approximately 29 miles per hour.

But, a team at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed a robot of their own that may be able to best Boston Dynamics' efforts. It is inspired by velociraptor and this Raptor robot is capable of reaching a top speed of roughly 28mph, though researchers told IEEE Spectrum it can reach an even higher mark at the expense of stability.

Of course, neither machine are quite field ready yet since they require beams to stay put  — running free is more the purview of DARPA's BigDog and WildCat. But the competition is clearly heating up for faster (and scarier) robots.

Can We Brighten The Moon To Save Electricity?

Sweden-based cosmetics company has proposed a bizarre new method to eliminate the need for streetlights - brighten the surface of the Moon. The idea is to use materials already on the Moon to lighten its surface. The goal is to reflect slightly more sunlight onto Earth, making the night sky brighter, according to the company's thinktank, Foreo Institute.

A brighter night sky would mean less need for streetlights, which could potentially translate into less electricity usage and thus fewer globe warming carbon emissions, it said. "We want to raise public awareness about the project and generate consciousness about the global energy crisis," said Paul Peros, CEO of Foreo. The proposal has a hint of a "marketing scheme" to it, but precisely why the cosmetics company came up with this idea remains unclear, LiveScience reported.

When asked, a company representative told the website that Foreo is an "innovation company" that engages with experts from diverse fields. However, scientists are sceptical about the idea. "Making the Moon brighter is not something I've ever heard of in geoengineering literature," said Ben Kravitz, a postdoctoral researcher in the atmospheric sciences and global change division of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Foreo's claims to have raised $52 million for research and testing and a timeline on the company's website says its first Moon mission is slated for 2020 with new rovers deploying every three years. According to Foreo, only about 0.1% of the Moon's surface would need to be transformed to reach 80% of the "desired brightening effect".

Peros said the company is looking into smoothing over a portion of the Moon's surface to increase reflectivity. "We are looking at the surfaces and composition of the soil and materials on the Moon and how to utilize them," he said. Even if such a mission were successful, it could have side effects. Light at night can disrupt sleep and has been linked to increases in several types of cancer. Foreo says the brightening effect would happen over 30 years, allowing humans time to adjust.

E-Fan: The First Electric Aircraft Takes Flight

The world's first airplane completely powered by electricity has successfully taken to the skies for its maiden flight, and could bring down air travel cost by more than a third, its developer Airbus said.

The small experimental aircraft called 'E-Fan' carried its first flight at an airport near Bordeaux in southwestern France, and could prove to be a key step towards greener, quieter and cheaper air travel. Manufactured by Toulouse-based Airbus, E-Fan measures little more than 19 feet from nose to tail and makes slightly more noise than a hairdryer.

Powered by 120 lithium-ion polymer batteries, the plane's first official flight last month lasted less than 10 minutes, though the plane has the capability to fly for around an hour before recharging. An hour-long commercial flight with the E-Fan, according to Airbus, could cost only $16, compared to $55 for a flight in a petrol-powered plane of the same size, '' reported.

The electric E-Fan training aircraft is a highly innovative technology experimental demonstrator based on an all-composite construction, Airbus said on its website. "The E-Fan project and Airbus Group's commitment to the field of electric and hybrid research show our vision of future technological developments," said said Airbus Group chief technical officer Jean Botti.

"It will not only lead to a further reduction in aircraft emissions and noise to support our environmental goals but will also lead to more economic and efficient aircraft technology in the long run," said Botti.

Airbus plans to manufacture two versions of the E-Fan. The two-seater E-Fan 2.0 will be a fully electric training aircraft, while E-Fan 4.0 will be used for both training and general flight purposes and will be powered by a hybrid system, the report said.

Airbus Group and its partners are aiming to perform research and development to construct a series version of the E-Fan and propose an industrial plan for a production facility close to Bordeaux Airport, Airbus said.

E-FAN Technical data

  • Wing span: 9.50 m
  • Length: 6.67 m
  • Max. take-off weight: 550 kg
  • Lift/drag ratio: 16
  • Total engine power: 60 kiloWatt
  • Battery system: 120 cells (Lithum Polymer)
  • Battery rated capacity: 40 Ah per cell 4 Volt per cell
  • Endurance: 45 min - 1 hour
  • Take-off speed: 110 km/h
  • Cruise speed: 160 km/h
  • Max. speed: 220 km/h

Here is a Phone Battery That Recharges in 30 Seconds

An Israeli startup has developed a new smartphone battery that can recharge in just under 30 seconds.

The advance could change the way we interact with portable electronics, and perhaps even help realise the dream of a fast-charging electric car.

The battery by StoreDot claims to bring charge times down to the order of a few seconds.

The company produces so-called nanodots, chemically synthesized bio-organic peptide molecules that, thanks to their small size, can improve the electrode capacitance and electrolyte performance.

The result is the batteries that can be fully charged in a matter of few seconds rather than charging for hours.

Robots Pave The Way For Human Landing On Mars

Saturday, May 24, 2014

With Nasa rovers Curiosity and Opportunity relaying loads of information about the Red Planet, Nasa is inching closer to a manned mission to Mars.

With each landing on Mars over the past three decades, the understanding of how to get safely to the surface has improved.

The Curiosity's rover main goal is to characterise the habitability of Mars' surface in general, but that also includes some information that could be relevant for human missions.

Nasa's Mars InSight lander, which is slated to blast off in 2016, and the agency's Mars 2020 rover will both examine winds high in the Martian atmosphere, according to the agency.

"We have nearly all the information we need to really design the system we can put (humans) in," Victoria Friedensen, Nasa's robotic precursor mission lead, was quoted as saying on

Bigger probes require new technologies, such as the rocket-powered "sky crane" that lowered the 1-tonne Curiosity rover onto the Red Planet on cables in August 2012.

A human landing on the surface, however, would require a much heavier spacecraft.

A safety margin in landing heavier missions on the Red Planet is one of the chief concerns that Nasa has right now, she added. 

Nasa is developing a crew capsule called Orion and the Space Launch System mega-rocket to get the job done.

The pair, which is slated to fly together for the first time in 2021, will be able to get astronauts to a variety of deep-space destinations, agency officials said.

Sending robotic probes to Mars is a relatively cheap and low-risk way to show the way for humans, Friedensen pointed out.

Now, We Actually Can Convert Light Into Matter

Now for the first time with this revolutionary technique its possible to turn light into matter, a feat thought impossible when the idea was first theorized 80 years ago. Three physicists at the Imperial College London's Blackett Physics Laboratory worked out a relatively simple way to physically prove a theory first devised by scientists Breit and Wheeler in 1934.

Breit and Wheeler suggested that it should be possible to turn light into matter by smashing together only two particles of light (photons), to create an electron and a positron - the simplest method of turning light into matter ever predicted. The calculation was found to be theoretically sound but Breit and Wheeler said that they never expected anybody to physically demonstrate their prediction. It has never been observed in the laboratory and past experiments to test it have required the addition of massive high-energy particles.

The new research, published in Nature Photonics, shows how Breit and Wheeler's theory could be proven in practise. This 'photon-photon collider', which would convert light directly into matter using technology that is already available, would be a new type of high-energy experiment.

This physics experiment would recreate a process that was important in the first 100 seconds of the universe and that is also seen in gamma ray bursts. The scientists had been investigating unrelated problems when they realized what they were working on could be applied to the Breit-Wheeler theory. Demonstrating the Breit-Wheeler theory would provide the final jigsaw piece of a puzzle which describes the simplest ways in which light and matter interact.

"Despite all physicists accepting the theory to be true, when Breit and Wheeler first proposed the theory, they said that they never expected it be shown in the laboratory. Today, nearly 80 years later, we prove them wrong," said Steve Rose from the department of physics at Imperial College.

A Self Cooling Helmet To Keep The Soldiers Cool

Friday, May 23, 2014

US army is developing a next generation protective helmet with a built-in air-conditioning system to help soldiers beat the heat in the battle field.

The new technology brings this relief to a soldier through a powered air purifying respirator, which consists of a hose connected to the face mask from a blower unit and battery pack hanging off the hip or back.

In 2013, scientists at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Centre, a part of the US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, began designing concepts for the next generation of chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear respirators. They developed a fan embedded within the mask's filtration system that uses less power, is lighter and is far less bulky than conventional respirators.

In addition to reduced weight and power requirements, this system offers major improvements to the level of comfort and effectiveness of the mask. The mini-blower works by pulling air through a filtration system on the side of the mask and sweeping it across the nose cup to allow for even flow across the face.

When the user exhales, the air valve closes and diverts all of the clean filtered air into the mask's eye cavity to over-pressurize the face piece, preventing any potential for outside contaminates to enter the mask should there be a break in the seal.

In test studies, a modified, commercial version of the M50 joint service general purpose mask has proven to be more comfortable to a soldier, and maintains the same or greater effectiveness when crawling, running, or during rifle exercises and combat manoeuvres.

These technology demonstrations produced real-time data on mask protection factors, thermal sensation and comfort to the soldier. 

The researchers anticipate a mask that is able to sense when the fan needs to come on and when it should shut off based on physiological monitoring, and the ability of the user to control the scalability (operational mode) of the system.
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