With an eye to future interplanetary travel, NASA's Vascular Tissue Challenge is offering a reward to teams that create survivable vascularized tissue, including a look at how their research might be aided by microgravity. The latter point derives from the theory that microgravity could advance such research by eliminating the compressing factor of gravity on Earth.
In a sweltering summer, just when you need an ice hotel, you'll be able to find a room at Sweden's original Icehotel, which has opened a new wing that will remain frozen year-round. The sun will help keep things frosty, thanks to solar panels generating 75 kilowatt-hours of electricity during the warm months, aided by the many extra hours of sunlight at the hotel's northerly latitude.
A 200-pound robot with a head sporting 360-degree near-infrared cameras, LIDAR and sonar is designed as a security guard that can respond speedily to intruders. The 5-foot-tall RAMSEE robot from Gamma 2 Robotics also carries strobe lights and a siren and may later incorporate facial recognition technology to distinguish between authorized personnel and intruders.
Viable nuclear fusion reactors for producing energy are still a long way off, but another nuclear technology may hold far more promise in the present, writes Brian Wang. Molten-salt reactors could be cost-competitive and extend existing fuel resources while offering greater safety with passive cooling and no radiation damage constraint on fuel burn-up.
A palm-size robot that can jump about 3 feet high demonstrates the potential for future robots that can hop around terrain too hostile for human beings. The one-legged Saltatorial Locomotion of Terrain Obstacles robot, developed by a team at the University of California at Berkeley, achieves its leaps with an onboard motor and battery that preload a mechanical spring.
Direct brain stimulation replaces the visual interface for video games with technology that may help the visually impaired find their way in the real world. Players at the University of Washington demonstrated the gaming capability of transcranial magnetic stimulation, in which a magnetic coil at the back of a player's head gently and safely stimulated parts of the brain to guide the player through a game maze.
A Northrop Grumman drone designed to take off and land vertically is making progress, having passed two design reviews on its way to a full demonstration in 2018. The Tern program UAV will be able to fly efficiently to carry out its missions.
Eva Hakansson's hobby blends her passion for engineering, her green sympathies and thirst for speed in the form of a streamlined motorcycle that has carried her to the women's land speed record of 248.7 mph. Hakansson is modest, however, describing her 40-horsepower KillaJoule motorcycle as "just a giant cordless drill with wheels."
A chip for telescopes that does for excess light what chips in noise-canceling headphones do for unwanted sound will make it possible to directly view distant planets previously obscured by the intense light of the stars they orbit. Developed by scientists at Australian National University, the chip is essentially an interferometer, adding equal but opposite light waves that neutralize the light from a nearby star to reveal the weaker light from the target planet.
Whether in orbit or on one of the famous vomit-comet planes, achieving simulated zero gravity has been a costly proposition. A team at the Georgia Institute of Technology has a proposed cost-effective solution in the form of a quadcopter with variable-pitch propellers that could provide five seconds of zero G.
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