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Sep 21, 2015

The best way to colonize Mars is crazier than Elon Musk’s idea of dropping nukes on the planet

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space

Right now, Mars is a frozen, lifeless, and entirely inhospitable place.

Yet the Red Planet holds great promise, and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently discussed its future with comedian and television host Stephen Colbert.

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Sep 21, 2015

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Wants to Change How (and Where) Humans Live

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, robotics/AI, space travel

Making spaceships and electric supercars isn’t enough for Elon Musk. Meghan Daum meets the entrepreneur who wants to save the world.

The name sounds like a men’s cologne. Or a type of ox. It sounds possibly made up. But then, so much about Elon Musk seems the creation of a fiction writer—and not necessarily one committed to realism. At 44, Musk is both superstar entrepreneur and mad scientist. Sixteen years after cofounding a company called X.com that would, following a merger, go on to become PayPal, he’s launched the electric carmaker Tesla Motors and the aerospace manufacturer SpaceX, which are among the most closely watched—some would say obsessed-over—companies in the world. He has been compared to the Christian Grey character in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, though not as often as he’s been called “the real Tony Stark,” referring to the playboy tech entrepreneur whose alter ego, Iron Man, rescues the universe from various manifestations of evil.

The Iron Man comparison is, strangely, as apt as it is hyperbolic, since Musk has the boyish air of a nascent superhero and says his ultimate aim is to save humanity from what he sees as its eventual and unavoidable demise—from any number of causes, carbon consumption high among them. (As it happens, he met with Robert Downey, Jr., to discuss the Tony Stark role, and his factory doubled as the villain’s hideaway in Iron Man 2.) To this end he’s building his own rockets, envisioning a future in which we colonize Mars, funding research aimed at keeping artificial intelligence beneficial to humanity, and making lithium-ion electric batteries that might, one day, put the internal-combustion engine out to pasture.

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Sep 21, 2015

Scientists May Have Finally Discovered a Cure for Blindness

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Following the FDA’s recent approval, human trials are expected to begin by the end of the year.

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Sep 21, 2015

The Marines Are Sending This Robotic Dog Into Simulated Combat

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

The battlefield can be one of the most useful places for robots. And now, the US Marines are testing out Spot, a robo dog built by Boston Dynamics to see how helpful the ‘bot could be in combat.

Remember Big Dog, also from Google-owned robotics company Boston Dynamics? Well, Spot is a tinier, more agile iteration: At 160 pounds, it’s hydraulically actuated with a sensor on its noggin that aids in navigation. It’s controlled by a laptop-connected game controller, which a hidden operator can use up to 1,600 feet away. The four-legged all-terrain robo pup was revealed in February. Robots in combat aren’t new, but Spot signals a quieter, leaner alternative that hints at the strides made in this arena.

The Marines Are Sending This Robotic Dog Into Simulated Combat

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Sep 21, 2015

Crystallizing the DNA nanotechnology dream: Scientists have designed the first large DNA crystals

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, computing, engineering, materials, nanotechnology

DNA has garnered attention for its potential as a programmable material platform that could spawn entire new and revolutionary nanodevices in computer science, microscopy, biology, and more. Researchers have been working to master the ability to coax DNA molecules to self assemble into the precise shapes and sizes needed in order to fully realize these nanotechnology dreams.

For the last 20 years, scientists have tried to design large DNA crystals with precisely prescribed depth and complex features – a design quest just fulfilled by a team at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. The team built 32 DNA crystals with precisely-defined depth and an assortment of sophisticated three-dimensional (3D) features, an advance reported in Nature Chemistry.

The team used their “DNA-brick self-assembly” method, which was first unveiled in a 2012 Science publication when they created more than 100 3D complex nanostructures about the size of viruses. The newly-achieved periodic crystal structures are more than 1000 times larger than those discrete DNA brick structures, sizing up closer to a speck of dust, which is actually quite large in the world of DNA nanotechnology.

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Sep 21, 2015

This is the future of Photoshop and it feels like magic

Posted by in category: futurism

Adobe has made a video with its vision for the future of its tablet-based graphic applications. Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere… it is really amazing, almost unbelievable—borderline magical, really. Check it out.

If they achieve a fraction of what is show here, I would be happy. I have no doubt that all the features will happen eventually, but I want them all right now.

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Sep 21, 2015

Elliptic Labs powers up ultrasound for touchless gesturing

Posted by in categories: energy, entertainment, mobile phones

Touchless gestures powered by ultrasound has become a mark of distinction for Elliptic Labs. The company has new “Multi Layer Interaction” technology designed to bring users intuitive device interactions.

Without touching the , the person’s hand moves towards the smartphone, the screen lights up and information is displayed. As the person continues moving the hand closer, different information is revealed. With users constantly, frequently, eagerly reaching for their devices throughout the day, Elliptic Labs aims to make a difference in its easy and fast way to get information, from playing games to navigating maps, to using social media, to watching videos. A promotional video says the user can interact above, in front, underneath, double-tapping anywhere around the device, easily turning the device on and off as well. There is an SDK kit for applications. How it works: Ultrasound signals sent through the air from speakers integrated in smartphones and tablets bounce against the hand and are recorded by microphones integrated in the devices. As such, the recognizes and uses them to move objects on the screen, similar to how bats use echolocation to navigate.

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Sep 21, 2015

ELON MUSK: In 5 Years You’ll Be Able To Get In Your Car, Go To Sleep, And Wake Up At Your Destination

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, neuroscience, transportation

Autopilot is a good start.

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Sep 21, 2015

Gigantic Energy-Generating Waterfall Skyscraper Could Power the 2016 Rio Olympics

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

The Solar City Tower, designed by RAFAA, includes a bank of solar panels as well as pumped water storage to create energy during both the day and night for use in the Olympic Village.

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Sep 21, 2015

Algolux tackles optics challenges in smartphones

Posted by in categories: electronics, mobile phones

Algolux is a company aiming to tackle blurring problems through computational optics. Algolux said its efforts are presently focused on smartphones and tablets. One can appreciate how this company sees their technology attracting interest in this way. The technology allows for lens designs to be less complex, smaller, lighter and cheaper which would be especially interesting in smartphone imaging where space is at a premium, said Connect, a website on mobile photography technology. The company tells site visitors that “Our computational optics enable better pictures, thinner cameras and cheaper optics.” The technology allows manufacturers’ devices to capture clearer pictures with their existing equipment, including in low-light conditions. Also, the quantity and quality of optical elements needed are diminished; manufacturers can obtain desirable results at a lower cost.

Traditional optics have hit a wall, according to the company. Their size can no longer be reduced significantly for cameras inside thin devices such as smartphones and tablets.”Lenses in smart devices are small and plastic (for the most part), and do not have the quality of a full-sized optical system, especially for low-light and night-time pictures. As sensors and pixels get smaller, the probability of blur and other aberrations in pictures increases.”

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