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+ - Solar Impulse 2 Breaks Three Records en Route to Hawaii->

Zothecula writes: Solar Impulse 2 has started smashing records even before the longest leg of its round-the-world flight is complete. At around three quarters of the way to its next touch down in Hawaii, the single-pilot aircraft has broken the world records for longest distance and duration for solar aviation, with the record for longest ever solo flight of any kind thrown in for good measure.
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+ - Brick-Laying Robot Can Build a Full-Sized House in Two Days->

Zothecula writes: As robots get smarter, cheaper and more versatile, they're taking on a growing number of challenges – and bricklaying can now be added to the list. Engineers in Perth, Australia, have created a fully working house-building machine that can create the brick framework of a property in just two days, working about 20 times faster than a human bricklayer.
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+ - Study Suggests That HUD Tech May Actually Reduce Driving Safety->

Zothecula writes: Cruising at speed down the highway with a heads-up display (HUD) constantly feeding data into your line of sight can make anyone feel like a jet pilot on the road; totally in control of your vehicle and primed to avert any potential danger that comes your way. However, recent studies by the University of Toronto show that the HUD multi-tasking method of vehicle piloting may well not provide the extra margin of safety that we think it does. In fact, according to the researchers, it could be downright dangerous.
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+ - Robo-mate Exoskeleton Aims to Lighten the Load for Industry->

Zothecula writes: The development of powered exoskeletons has so far been largely restricted to the laboratory, the military, and areas such as rehabilitation therapy. This kind of technology also has obvious potential in industry, where constant heavy lifting is still very much a part of many working lives. Recently in Stuttgart, the Robo-Mate project unveiled an exoskeleton designed specifically for industrial use that can make 10 kilos feel like 1.
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+ - Scientists Look at Communicating With Hypersonic Vehicles Using Plasma Resonance->

Zothecula writes: Returning spacecraft hit the atmosphere at over five times the speed of sound, generating a sheath of superheated ionized plasma that blocks radio communications during the critical minutes of reentry. It's a problem that's vexed space agencies for decades, but researchers at China's Harbin Institute of Technology are developing a new method of piercing the plasma and maintaining communications.
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+ - Sensor to Detect Earth's Magnetic Field Discovered in an Animal for First Time->

Zothecula writes: It has been a long-held belief in scientific circles that many creatures navigate across land, through water, and through the skies using the Earth’s magnetic field for guidance. Now scientists and engineers working at The University of Texas at Austin (UT) have finally discovered the organic mechanism responsible for this in an animal. Looking just like a microscopic TV antenna, the structure has been found in the brain of a tiny earthworm that uses it to work out which way to burrow through the soil. This breakthrough may help scientists discover how other species with internal compasses use the magnetic field of our planet to pilot their course.
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+ - Inkless Printing Manipulates Light at the Nanoscale to Produce Colors->

Zothecula writes: Using nanometer-size metamaterials, researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology have developed a technique to print images that uses the manipulation of light, rather than the application of ink, to produce colors. This "no-ink" printing method has been demonstrated by producing a Missouri S&T athletic logo just 50 micrometers wide.
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+ - Graphene Used to Create World's Thinnest Light Bulb->

Zothecula writes: Over 130 years ago, Thomas Edison used carbon as the conducting filament in the very first commercial light bulb. Now a team of scientists and engineers have used that very same element, in its perfectly crystalline form of graphene, to create what they claim is the world's thinnest light bulb. Even though just one atom thick and covering an area almost too small to see unaided, the new device is so bright that the light it produces can easily be seen with the naked eye.
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+ - 3D-Printed Materials That Change Texture on Demand->

Zothecula writes: When it comes to creating surfaces, it's a simple task to either make ones that are smooth or ones that are bumpy. But now researchers at MIT have created one that can be both. The 3D-printed surface they have created can be either smooth, bumpy, ridged, or channeled and can dynamically change texture through the application of pressure.
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+ - First ISS to Earth "Handshake" Demonstrates Space-to-Ground Remote Control -> 1 1

Zothecula writes: NASA astronaut Terry Virts, aboard the International Space Station (ISS), and ESA telerobotics specialist André Schiele, in the Netherlands, made space history this week with the first telerobotic "handshake" between space and Earth. Using special force feedback joysticks that acquire force data and create the sensation of pressure, Virts and Schiele brought the agencies closer to allowing astronauts in remote locations to naturally and safely control robotic devices and perform potentially dangerous or otherwise impossible tasks.
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+ - Scientists Come a Step Closer to "Regrowing" Limbs->

Zothecula writes: Currently, recipients of arm or leg transplants need to take immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of their lives, in order to keep the donated parts from being rejected. If we could grow our own replacement limbs, however, that wouldn't be necessary. And while we do already possess the progenitor cells needed to grow such parts, what's been lacking is a method of assembling them into the form of the desired limb. Now, however, scientists have created a shortcut of sorts – they've stripped the cells from one rat's forelimb and replaced them with live cells from another rat, creating a functioning limb that the second rat's immune system won't reject.
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+ - Squishy Battery Created Using Wood->

Zothecula writes: Wood pulp-derived nanocellulose is turning out to be pretty useful stuff. Previously, we'd heard how it could be used in things like high-strength lightweight composites, oil-absorbing sponges and biodegradable computer chips. Now, researchers from Sweden and the US have used the material to build soft-bodied batteries that are more shock- and stress-resistant than their traditional hard counterparts.
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+ - Trees Trained to Grow Into Furniture->

Zothecula writes: Much of our furniture is made from timber. The wood to make that furniture has to be harvested from a felled tree which is then milled, sawed, planed, sanded, put back together with glue and screws, and finished. Wouldn't it be easier to avoid most of these steps and simply coax a tree to grow into a piece of furniture? Gavin Munro wondered this too, and about a decade ago set about achieving this goal. He now creates furniture by cajoling trees to grow into one-piece items that are not only inherently practical, they are also eminently beautiful.
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+ - MIT Physicists Build World's First Fermion Microscope->

Zothecula writes: Researchers working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) claim to have created a method to better observe fermions – the sub-atomic building blocks of matter – by constructing a microscope capable of viewing them in groups of a thousand at a time. A laser technique is used to herd the fermions into a viewing area and then freeze them in place so all of the captured particles can be imaged simultaneously.
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The rule on staying alive as a forecaster is to give 'em a number or give 'em a date, but never give 'em both at once. -- Jane Bryant Quinn

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