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Robotics

Submission + - Scientists closing in on perfecting a robotic hand (computerworld.com.au)

Bergkamp10 writes: Artificial intelligence software is helping researchers at the University of Portsmouth in the UK and Jiao Tong University in Shanghai in a joint effort to create software that can learn and copy human hand movements, which will enable the robotic device to successfully mimic intricate, dexterous movements only capable today by the human hand. Honghai Liu, senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth's Institute of Industrial Research, said he used what he calls a cyberglove, which is covered in tiny sensors to capture data about how the human hand moves. The cyberglove was filmed in a motion-capture suite by eight high-resolution, digital charge-coupled device (CCD) cameras with infrared illumination and measurement accuracy up to a few millimeters. The device could provide help to the manufacturing industry, and could also could have significant implications for the elderly and those with disabilities. Liu says creating the perfect robotic hand is "the Holy Grail of science."
Space

Submission + - Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch Delayed Until Jan 02 (techluver.com)

Tech.Luver writes: "Space shuttle Atlantis' STS-122 mission to the International Space Station is targeted to launch no earlier than Jan 02, '08 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The liftoff date depends on the resolution of a problem in a fuel sensor system. Early Sunday, one of the four engine cutoff, or ECO, sensors inside the liquid hydrogen section of Atlantis' external fuel tank gave a false reading while the tank was being filled. NASA's current Launch Commit Criteria require that all four sensors function properly. ( http://techluver.com/2007/12/09/space-shuttle-atlantis-launch-delayed-until-january-2/ )"
The Military

Submission + - New oil-repelling material from MIT 1

Roland Piquepaille writes: "MIT researchers have developed flexible surface coatings that repel oils. According to the research team, this is the first material able to do it. They say that these findings could have applications in aviation, space travel and hazardous waste cleanup. Their oil-repelling, or 'oleophobic' material, is using specially prepared microfibers, which are a blend of a specially synthesized molecule called fluoroPOSS (short for 'fluorinated polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes') and a common polymer. The U.S. Air Force, which developed the fluoroPOSS molecules, wants to use this new material to protect components of airplanes and rockets from jet fuel. Read more for additional references a picture showing how these new surfaces from MIT repel organic liquids."

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