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Hardware

Submission + - Liquid metal capsules used to make self-healing el (extremetech.com)

MrSeb writes: "A crack team of engineers at the University of Illinois has developed an electronic circuit that autonomously self-heals when its metal wires are broken. This self-healing system restores conductivity within “mere microseconds,” which is apparently fast enough that operation can continue without interruption. The self-healing mechanism is delightfully simple: The engineers place a bunch of 10-micron (0.01mm) microcapsules along the length of a circuit. The microcapsules are full of liquid metal, a gallium-indium alloy, and if the circuit underneath cracks, so do the microcapsules (90% of the time, anyway — the tech isn’t perfect yet!). The liquid metal oozes into the circuit board, restoring up to 99% conductivity, and everything continues as normal. This even works with multi-layer printed circuit boards (PCBs), such the motherboard in your computer, too. There’s no word on whether this same technology could one day be used by Terminators to self-heal shotgun blasts to the face, but it certainly sounds quite similar. The immediate use-cases are in extreme environments (aerospace), and batteries (which can't be taken apart to fix), but long term we might one day buy motherboards with these self-healing microcapsules built in."
The Military

Submission + - Troops in Afghanistan Supplied by Robot Helicopter

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Pakistan is still blockading NATO war supplies passing through the port of Karachi in response to last month’s killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers by an alliance air strike. But inside Afghanistan, supply lines are about to get a lot safer for NATO’s logisticians as an unmanned helicopter just delivered a sling-load of beans, bullets, and band-aids to Marines at an undisclosed base in Afghanistan marking the first time a drone has been used to resupply a unit at war. The 2.5-ton, GPS-guided K-MAX can heft 3.5 tons of cargo about 250 miles up and over the rugged and mountainous terrain of Afghanistan across which NATO troops are scattered and can fly around the clock. "Most of the [K-MAX] missions will be conducted at night and at higher altitudes,” says Marine Capt. Caleb Joiner, a K-MAX operator. “This will allow us to keep out of small-arms range.” K-MAX will soon be joined in Afghanistan by Lockheed’s robo jeep that can carry a half a ton of supplies for up to 125 miles after being delivered to the field in a CH-47 or CH-53 helo."
Classic Games (Games)

Pac-Man's Ghost Behavior Algorithms 194

An anonymous reader writes "This article has a very interesting description of the algorithms behind the ghosts in Pac-Man. I had no idea about most of this information, but that's probably because it's difficult to study the ghosts when I die every 30 seconds. Quoting: 'The ghosts are always in one of three possible modes: Chase, Scatter, or Frightened. The "normal" mode with the ghosts pursuing Pac-Man is Chase, and this is the one that they spend most of their time in. While in Chase mode, all of the ghosts use Pac-Man's position as a factor in selecting their target tile, though it is more significant to some ghosts than others. In Scatter mode, each ghost has a fixed target tile, each of which is located just outside a different corner of the maze. This causes the four ghosts to disperse to the corners whenever they are in this mode. Frightened mode is unique because the ghosts do not have a specific target tile while in this mode. Instead, they pseudorandomly decide which turns to make at every intersection.'"
Security

TSA Pats Down 3-Year-Old 1135

3-year-old Mandy Simon started crying when her teddy bear had to go through the X-ray machine at airport security in Chattanooga, Tenn. She was so upset that she refused to go calmly through the metal detector, setting it off twice. Agents then informed her parents that she "must be hand-searched." The subsequent TSA employee pat down of the screaming child was captured by her father, who happens to be a reporter, on his cell phone. The video have left some questioning why better procedures for children aren't in place. I, for one, feel much safer knowing the TSA is protecting us from impressionable minds warped by too much Dora the Explorer.

Comment Other end of the spectrum (Score 1, Insightful) 298

I seem to remember the Atari 2600 games that were mostly junk because of the complete lack of control over the quality of content. If you've ever played the ET and fell into a hole about a thousand times, you know what I mean. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.T._the_Extra-Terrestrial_(video_game) Extremely strict oversight might not be great, but neither is total anarchy.

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