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Dec 29, 2016

DARPA’s ALIAS aircraft automation program spreads its wings

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

The age of widespread autonomous flight came another step closer as DARPA announced its Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) has completed Phase 2 of its development program. The drop-in, removable kit designed to convert conventional aircraft into advanced automated vehicles requiring fewer crew was installed in two different Cessna 208 Caravan fixed-wing aircraft, a Diamond DA-42 fixed-wing aircraft, and a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter.

According to DARPA, the ALIAS-equipped aircraft successfully completed flight demonstrations as well as responding to simulated flight emergencies while on the ground that included systems failures that could cause pilots to deviate from normal procedures. In both cases, the agency says that ALIAS worked without adversely affecting airworthiness.

ALIAS is intended as a way of automating various military aircraft without making bespoke modifications to each individual plane design. The idea is to develop a kit that can be installed in the cabin of an aircraft, where it can take control and fly missions from takeoff to landing as well as handling emergencies based on existing vehicle information, procedures, and flight mechanics.

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Dec 29, 2016

Byline: Is it Finally Time for Open Security?

Posted by in categories: business, internet, security

One of the distinct advantages of working in the IT industry for over 35 years is all of the direct and indirect experience that brings, as well as the hindsight that comes with that.

One of the more personally interesting experiences for me has been watching the growth and ultimate success of the Open Source Software (OSS) movement from a fringe effort (what business would ever run on OSS?) to what has now become a significant component behind the overall success of the Internet. I was initially reminded of the significance of the Open Source Software movement, and how long it’s actually been around when the technology press recognized the 25th anniversary of the Linux kernel. That, and the decision in January of 1998 by Netscape Communications Corp to release the complete source code for the Communicator web browser, are two of the top reasons for the Internet taking off. Well, the first specification for HTTP helped a little as well, I suppose.

There are, of course, many other examples of OSS software that power the Internet, from the numerous Apache Foundation projects, relational and other database management systems like Postgres, MySQL, MongoDB, and Cassandra. The list of markets and technologies for which there are OSS resources is essentially endless.

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Dec 29, 2016

Organ-on-chips platform has promise for quicker, cheaper pharmaceutical research

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing

Research from Linda Griffith’s laboratory group at MIT will be presented at SPIE Photonics West 2017.

The traditional path for most drugs is to start in a petri dish containing a single cell tissue culture, move to small animals such as rodents then on to primates, and finally on to clinical trials in humans. Along the path, every step could encounter results that deem the drug a failure and not suitable for the desired outcome.

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Dec 29, 2016

Biotech Breakthrough: Engineers Made a New Material That Can Be Programmed

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, materials

In Brief

  • Researchers have created a 3D bulk material from silk fibroin that can be programmed to activate specific tasks when exposed to conditions like temperature or infrared light.
  • The material could be used to create everything from hormone-emitting orthopedics to surgical pins that change color when they near their mechanical limits.

Engineers from Tufts University have just created a new, versatile material that could be optimized for a number of purposes, particularly within the medical field. The material was constructed out of special proteins called silk fibroins, and it can be programmed for specific biological, chemical, or mechanical tasks. The study was published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The team used water-based fabrication methods inspired by protein self-assembly to produce 3D bulk materials from silk fibroin. Fibroin, the structural protein that gives silk its durability, was chosen because it allowed for the easiest manipulation of the resulting substance’s form, as well as smoother modification of function. It’s also completely biodegradable.

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Dec 29, 2016

Harvard Biologist Retracts Groundbreaking Diabetes ‘Breakthrough’

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, innovation

A Harvard research team led by biologist Douglas Melton has retracted a promising research paper following multiple failed attempts to reproduce the original findings.

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Dec 29, 2016

Researchers fabricate high performance Cu(OH)2 supercapacitor electrodes

Posted by in category: energy

Researchers fabricate high performance Cu(OH)2 supercapacitor electrodes.

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Dec 29, 2016

Researchers Develop Preprogrammed Silk-Based Solid Materials with Pre-Designed Functions

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology

Luv this.

Tufts University engineers have created a new format of solids made from silk protein that can be preprogrammed with biological, chemical, or optical functions, such as mechanical components that change color with strain, deliver drugs, or respond to light, according to a paper published online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Using a water-based fabrication method based on protein self-assembly, the researchers generated three-dimensional bulk materials out of silk fibroin, the protein that gives silk its durability. Then they manipulated the bulk materials with water-soluble molecules to create multiple solid forms, from the nano- to the micro-scale, that have embedded, pre-designed functions.

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Dec 29, 2016

Graphene Enables Spin Filtering at Room Temperatures for First Time

Posted by in categories: innovation, materials

Breakthrough could be a boon for next-generation MRAM.

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Dec 29, 2016

MIT Researchers Measure the Quantum Universe –“From the Planck Scale to Life”

Posted by in category: quantum physics

“We know that very small things act quantum, but then big things like you and me don’t act very quantum,” says William Burton, with the MIT physics department. “So we can see how far apart we can stretch a quantum system and still have it act coherently when we bring it back together.”

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Dec 29, 2016

Quantum exhibit soon leaves Kitchener for nationwide tour

Posted by in categories: futurism, quantum physics

KITCHENER — Just a few days are left to see Themuseum’s quantum exhibit before it packs up to tour the country.

Quantum: The Exhibition is at the downtown Kitchener museum until Jan. 1.

“It’s a really cool exhibit,” said David Marskell, Themuseum’s chief executive officer.

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