Month: June, 2017

SpaceX Has Launched And Landed Two Falcon 9 Rockets In One Weekend

Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX successfully launched two payloads into orbit over the weekend, and then landed the first-stage booster from each rocket onto one of the company’s drone ships.

Last Friday, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the first telecommunications satellite for the country of Bulgaria from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The first stage booster for that rocket which had already been launched, landed, and refurbished once before was successfully maneuvered down for a safe landing on a barge called “Of Course I Still Love You”.




Last Sunday, SpaceX launched another Falcon 9 carrying 10 satellites for Iridium Communications from Vandenberg Air Force Base, located northwest of Los Angeles.

The first stage booster from that rocket was landed on the ship “Just Read the Instructions,” which was floating in the Pacific.

These events marked the fastest turnaround for SpaceX launches from two different sites, according to Spaceflight Now. SpaceX’s continued success with landing and re-using boosters could save the company and its customers millions of dollars.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: New Scientist

Google’s Neural Network Is A Multi-Tasking Pro Can Tackle Eight Tasks At One Time

Neural networks have been trained to complete a number of different tasks including generating pickup lines, adding animation to video games, and guiding robots to grab objects.

But for the most part, these systems are limited to doing one task really well. Trying to train a neural network to do an additional task usually makes it much worse at its first.

However, Google just created a system that tackled eight tasks at one time and managed to do all of them pretty well.

The company’s multi-tasking machine learning system called MultiModal was able to learn how to detect objects in images, provide captions, recognize speech, translate between four pairs of languages as well as parse grammar and syntax. And it did all of that simultaneously.





The system was modeled after the human brain. Different components of a situation like visual and sound input are processed in different areas of the brain, but all of that information comes together so a person can comprehend it in its entirety and respond in whatever way is necessary.

Similarly, MultiModal has small sub-networks for audio, images and text that are connected to a central network.

multitasking

The network’s performance wasn’t perfect and isn’t yet on par with those of networks that manage just one of these tasks alone. But there were some interesting outcomes.

The separate tasks didn’t hinder the performance of each other and in some cases they actually improved it.

In a blog post the company said, “It is not only possible to achieve good performance while training jointly on multiple tasks, but on tasks with limited quantities of data, the performance actually improves. To our surprise, this happens even if the tasks come from different domains that would appear to have little in common, e.g., an image recognition task can improve performance on a language task.”

MultiModal is still being developed and Google has open-sourced it as part of its Tensor2Tensor library.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: New Scientist

An Artificial Iris Could Let Cameras React To Light Like Our Eyes do

While the pupil may be the opening in the eye that lets light through to the retina, the iris is the tissue that opens and closes to determine the size of the pupil.

Although mechanical irises are already a standard feature in cameras, scientists from Finland and Poland have recently created an autonomous artificial iris that’s much more similar to those found in the eye. It may even eventually be able to replace damaged or defective ones.

he contact lens-like device was created by researchers from Finland’s Tampere University of Technology, along with Poland’s University of Warsaw and Wrocław Medical University.




It’s made from a polymer (a liquid crystal elastomer) that expands when exposed to light, then shrinks back when the light is lessened. This causes an opening in the middle to get smaller or larger, depending on the light levels.

In this way, it works very much like a natural iris. Unlike automatic irises in cameras, it requires no power source or external light detection system.

iris

 

With an “eye” towards one being able to use it as an optical implant, the scientists are now adapting it to work in an aqueous environment. They’re also working at increasing its sensitivity, so that its opening and closing are triggered by smaller changes in the amount of incoming light.

The research is being led by Tampere’s Prof. Arri Priimägi, and was recently described in a paper published in the journal Advanced Materials.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: New Scientist

This Mad Inventor Creates A Morning Breakfast Machine

sunday breakfast machine

This is the ‘Sunday Morning Breakfast Machine’ and it is, quite simply, the future of hangovers.

With just one push of a button it will toast your bread, make you the perfect cup of breakfast tea and then serve you a perfectly boiled egg.




Creative Peter Browne, 69, spent about 1,000 hours building the innovative contraption with pal Mervyn Huggett.  Retired airline pilot and silversmith Peter says he’s been coming up with inventions his entire life, but this is his pride and joy.

He said: “It took a total of 1,000 hours. It was hard work for three months but it was worth it.”

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: Popular Science

The Origami Of Paper Microscope

See the invisible with a powerful yet affordable microscope that fits in your pocket. Curiosity, discovery, and science for everyone!

The Foldscope, a portable and versatile microscope made mostly out of paper (water-proof), magnifies the wonders of the microscopic world, without the bulk and expense of a conventional research microscope.

Foldscope is designed to bring microscopy out of science laboratories and into the hands of people around the world.




Foldscope is a real microscope, with magnification and resolution sufficient for imaging live individual cells, cellular organelles, embryos, swimming bacteria and much more.

Because the Foldscope is so affordable and can be used anywhere, it brings science to your daily life, whether that means looking at what’s growing in your flower pot or watching bacteria from your mouth or analyzing the bee stinger that got your thumb.

Our goal is to encourage and enable the curious explorer in each of us and make science happen anywhere, anytime.

 

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: Popular Science

This Mechanical Instructor Can Guide And Teach Anyone How To Dance

waltz robot

Researchers have developed a waltzing robot that can teach people how to dance. This robot can take the lead, allowing the robot to teach dance sequences.

While the system has been developed for dancing, it could also have other applications including physical rehabilitation and sports training.

The system adjusts its difficulty mode based on the user’s number of previous practices and performance history.




The bot, which stands 1.8 meters tall (5 feet 9 inches), was designed by researchers at Tohoku University in Japan.

According to the authors of the study, the bot its designed for contact with adults with heights ranging from 1.5 meters (4 feet 9 inches) to 1.9 meters (6 feet two inches) meters tall.

It has a force sensor and two laser rangefinders to track movements, which are compared against motion-capture data originally recorded from professional dancers.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: New Scientist

This App Will Let You Call An Uber Just by Clicking Your Heels

ruby heels

Every little girl who watched The Wizard of Oz thought one thing: I want those ruby slippers. They were so beautiful, sparkly, colorful, and bright, like Christmas molded into a low heel and round toe.

And the idea that you could get home with three ladylike clicks of the heel warmed our lazy little hearts. Certainly a lot more glamorous than hailing down a cab like a wild banshee or digging through the depths of your bag for your phone to request an Uber.



Well, thanks to technology, it seems that perhaps some dreams really do come true. A creative agency called iStrategyLabs just unveiled the aptly named Dorothy, a device that will give you powers much like our favorite stranded Kansan.

All you have to do is slip “the ruby” a small Bluetooth-enabled micro-controller into your shoe, click your heels three times, and wait for your Uber to arrive.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: New Scientist

An Army Of These Robotic Turtles Might Help Rid The World Of Landmines

robot turtle

Detecting landmines is no easy task, but thankfully, a team of researchers at the Arizona State University is developing a fleet of robotic turtles to locate (and detonate) them in the desert.

These robot turtles could safely tag landmines without risking human lives.

Every year, an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people are killed or maimed by landmines, according to UNICEF. Militaries around the globe currently use an array of both low and high-tech approaches to remove them from metal detectors and trained bomb-sniffing dogs.




Unlike bomb-sniffing dogs, these robotic turtles have the ability to work independently in the field. Seeing as the current prototypes are intended for use all over the globe, researchers are programming them with algorithms that allow them to react and adjust to different environment.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: New Scientist

Robots Can Now Flawlessly Iron Clothes

TEO robot

Ironing clothes is not fun. But someone has to do it. Why not get a robot to get it done?

TEO is a robot with a camera and sensors that can do just that. Once you put a clothing item on its ironing board, TEO uses its camera to create a 3D representation of the garment and calculate the wrinkles local descriptor.




The robot takes into account all wrinkles and works the iron to smooth out each crease. TEO measures 1.8 meters tall, weighing at 80 kilograms.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: New Scientist

A Cardboard Bicycle Is Now A Reality

Israeli cycling enthusiast Izhar Gafni is the one behind this cardboard bicycle, where it is not only highly affordable at just $10, it is also eco-friendly and lightweight.

The pieces of cardboard have been painstakingly bent and folded into what initially resembles that of a shipping package on wheels.

Once done, all of it is dunked into a bit of resin, before a layer of pearly paint is added, and you end up with beautiful looking bicycle, albeit at a relatively cheap price.

Since it is made out of cardboard, the coat of resin has a special role to play. It makes the entire cardboard bits and pieces waterproof.

So that riders are able to glide through puddles or a rain storm without having your ride all apart or unable to take your weight due to the sogginess.

There is also an attachable electric motor accessory just in case you need to have that extra boost in speed.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: Popular Science