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Ultra-Light Micro Air Vehicles 143

Roland Piquepaille writes "Dutch engineers have built the third generation of the DelFly autonomous air vehicle. The DelFly Micro made its first public flight earlier today in Delft. This micro air vehicle weighs only 3 grams and has a wingspan of 10 centimeters. This very small remote-controlled aircraft carries a 0.4 gram camera. The DelFly Micro, which looks like a dragonfly, can fly for 3 minutes at a maximum speed of 5 meters/second. It could be used for observation flights in difficult-to-reach or dangerous areas."

Shaking a 275-ton Building 110

Roland Piquepaille writes "If you want to predict how a tall building can resist to an earthquake, some researchers have better tools than others. Engineers from the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) have built a full-size 275-ton building and really shaken it to obtain earthshaking images. The building was equipped with some 600 sensors and filmed as the shake table simulated the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles, California. It gave so much data to the engineers to analyze that they needed a supercomputer to help them. Now they hope their study will yield to better structure performance for future buildings in case of earthquakes."

Seeing Color in the Night 166

Roland Piquepaille writes "In 'Things that show color in the night,' the Boston Globe reports that a company named Tenebraex is helping color blind people to travel. But it's also developing goggles to help soldiers and physicians to see all colors at night, and not only the green color of current night vision systems. These goggles, which should become available this summer, will be sold for about $6,000 to the Army. But as states one of the founders of the company, with monochrome night vision, 'blood is the same color as water.' So these expensive night vision devices might be more targeted to Army physicians than to regular soldiers."

A Single-Photon Server 75

Roland Piquepaille writes "A team of German physicists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics has built a single-photon server with just one atom. They've trapped ultra cold atoms of rubidium in a vacuum chamber and applied laser pulses from one side. The generated photons were of 'high quality,' meaning their energy was very similar from one test to another, and that their properties could be controlled. The researchers think this new way to generate single photons will help the field of quantum information processing. "

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