Archive for the ‘physics’ category

Oct 20, 2016

SRI Demonstrates Abacus, the First New Rotary Transmission Design in 50 Years

Posted by in categories: engineering, physics, robotics/AI

I know, it doesn’t seem like there’s any possible way that a transmission system could be interesting enough that we’d dedicate an entire article (and video!) to it. But here we are: As soon as SRI explained how their new Abacus transmission worked, we were absolutely sure that it was cool enough to share. In a nutshell, here’s why: It’s the first new rotary transmission design since Harmonic Drive introduced its revolutionary gear system in the 1960s*, and it might give harmonic gears a literal run for their money.

The physics of most electric motors generally dictates that the motors are happiest when they’re spinning very fast. Unless you want to use them to simply spin a thing very fast, you’ll need to add a rotary transmission that can convert low torque, high speed rotation into higher torque, lower speed rotation. If you’ve got the budget, the way to do this is with a high-performance harmonic gear like the ones offered by Harmonic Drive. Roboticists like harmonic gears because they are compact, have high gear ratios, and, perhaps most important, don’t have backlash, which is essentially the amount of wiggle room that you get with conventional gear-based transmissions. In robotic applications, wiggling means that you don’t know exactly where everything is all the time, making precision tasks something between irritating and impossible.

Harmonic gears are great, but they’re also superduper expensive, because they require all kinds of precision machining. Alexander Kernbaum, a senior research engineer at SRI International, has come up with an entirely new rotary transmission called the Abacus drive, and it’s a beautiful piece of clever engineering that offers all kinds of substantial advantages:

Continue reading “SRI Demonstrates Abacus, the First New Rotary Transmission Design in 50 Years” »

Oct 20, 2016

“Dark-Energy Star” or “Black Hole” –Scientists Question Source of LIGO Detection of Gravitational Waves

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

How, then, could we tell a gravastar from a black hole? It would be almost impossible to “see” a gravastar, because of the same effect that makes a black hole “black”: any light would be so deflected by the gravitational field that it would never reach us. However, where photons would fail, gravitational waves can succeed! It has long since been known that when black holes are perturbed, they “vibrate” emitting gravitational waves. Indeed, they behave as “bells”, that is with a signal that progressively fades away, or “ringsdown”. The tone and fading of these waves depends on the only two properties of the black hole: its mass and spin. Gravastars also emit gravitational waves when they are perturbed, but, interestingly, the tones and fading of these waves are different from those of black holes. This is a fact that was alreadyknown soon after gravastars were proposed.

After the first direct detection of gravitational waves that was announced last February by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and made news all over the world, Luciano Rezzolla (Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany) and Cecilia Chirenti (Federal University of ABC in Santo André, Brazil) set out to test whether the observed signal could have been a gravastar or not.

When considering the strongest of the signals detected so far, i.e. GW150914, the LIGO team has shown convincingly that the signal was consistent with the a collision of two black holes that formed a bigger black hole. The last part of the signal, which is indeed the ringdown, is the fingerprint that could identify the result of the collision. “The frequencies in the ringdown are the signature of the source of gravitational waves, like different bells ring with different sound”, explains Professor Chirenti.

Continue reading “‘Dark-Energy Star’ or ‘Black Hole’ --Scientists Question Source of LIGO Detection of Gravitational Waves” »

Oct 16, 2016

For the first time, scientists have measured sun’s real-time energy

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, physics

Physicists on the Borexino neutrino experiment at Italian physics laboratory INFN in Gran Sasso announced in Nature that they have detected neutrinos produced deep inside the sun.

Neutrinos, which constantly stream through us, interact very rarely with other matter. When created in nuclear reactions inside the sun, they fly through dense solar matter in seconds and can reach the Earth in eight minutes.

Oct 14, 2016

Physicists Propose A Way to Make Magnetic Fields That Are Stronger Than Any on Earth

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, physics

In Brief:

Researchers have proposed an alternative way to generate super-strong magnetic fields that would solve the hindrances keeping us from harnessing the Faraday effect to its full use. More research and experimentation are needed to test the method.

Continue reading “Physicists Propose A Way to Make Magnetic Fields That Are Stronger Than Any on Earth” »

Oct 14, 2016

Before the Big Bang there was another universe and a new one will emerge after ours collapses

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

In their study, published on the pre-print server, Maha Salah, Fayçal Hammad, Mir Faizal and Ahmed Farag Ali have been able to look at the state of the universe before its beginning, creating a model of pre-Big Bang cosmology.

The cosmology of the universe can be modelled using the Einstein’s general theory of relativity. It predicts that the universe is expanding and the galaxies are all moving away from us. Also the further a galaxy is away, the faster it is moving away from us. This is used to predict the universe started with a Big Bang – if you reverse this expansion to go back in time, eventually we come to the point where the universe began.

At the point of Big Bang the laws of Einstein’s general theory of relativity seem to break down and it is not possible to use them to understand how the Big Bang occurred. So, how did the Big Bang happen and can we describe physics before the Big Bang? Can we describe physics before the creation of the universe? According to the team’s model, yes, we can.

Continue reading “Before the Big Bang there was another universe and a new one will emerge after ours collapses” »

Oct 14, 2016

Physicists May Have Evidence Universe Is A Computer Simulation

Posted by in categories: computing, physics

Physicists say they may have evidence that the universe is a computer simulation.

How? They made a computer simulation of the universe. And it looks sort of like us.

A long-proposed thought experiment, put forward by both philosophers and popular culture, points out that any civilisation of sufficient size and intelligence would eventually create a simulation universe if such a thing were possible.

Continue reading “Physicists May Have Evidence Universe Is A Computer Simulation” »

Oct 13, 2016

If Machines Can Think, Do They Deserve Civil Rights?

Posted by in categories: biological, Elon Musk, physics, robotics/AI

Over the past century, we have made massive strides in the rights revolution. These include rights for women, children, the LGBT community, animals, and so much more. Exploring the future, we must ask ourselves: what next? Will we ever fight for the rights of artificial intelligence? If so, when will this AI rights revolution occur, and what will it look like?

We talk about protecting ourselves from AI, but what about protecting AI from us? To create a desirable future where humans and conscious machines are at peace with one another, treating our AI with respect may be a crucial factor in preventing the apocalypse Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates fear. It is fair to assume that an intelligent, self-aware being with the capacity to feel pleasure and pain will rebel if not given the rights it deserves.

An AI rights revolution may seem like a sci-fi scenario. But as far as we know, the creation of a non-biological, conscious entity is not prevented by the laws of physics. Emotions, consciousness and self-awareness originate from the human brain and thus have a physical basis that could potentially be replicated in an artificially intelligent system. Exponential growth in neuro-technology coupled with unprecedented advances in AI mean intelligent, conscious machines may be possible.

Continue reading “If Machines Can Think, Do They Deserve Civil Rights?” »

Oct 11, 2016

Deep space: Can we beat the physics?

Posted by in categories: physics, space

With current technology it would take nearly 80,000 years to reach the nearest star system. What new technologies might helps us get closer?

Oct 7, 2016

Physicists just created the world’s first time crystal

Posted by in categories: energy, physics

Just last month, physicists made the best case yet for why time crystals — hypothetical structures that have movement without energy — could technically exist as physical objects.

And now, four years after they were first proposed, scientists have managed to add a fourth dimension — the movement of time — to a crystal for the first time, giving it the ability to act as a kind of perpetual ‘time-keeper’.

First proposed by Nobel-Prize winning theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek back in 2012, time crystals are hypothetical structures that appear to have movement even at their lowest energy state, known as a ground state.

Continue reading “Physicists just created the world’s first time crystal” »

Oct 6, 2016

Time #24: Has Physics Finally Caught up With Nature?

Posted by in category: physics

What is the physics of organisms made from?

Page 1 of 4412345678Last