Tag Archives: digitalTrends.com

Astronauts take us inside the space station’s new inflatable room for the first time

After a few problems getting it inflated, astronauts aboard the International Space Station on Monday had their first opportunity to enter the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM). Installed on the space station’s Tranquility node, the inflatable pod could one day provide extra living and work space for astronauts on missions into deep space. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams opened the hatch to the ISS’s brand new room early Monday. But banish from your mind any thoughts of home comforts and appealing decor – the BEAM habitation system is a test module to see how its design and technology functions in space. Williams entered the module with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka to collect an air sample and start downloading data from sensors on the dynamics of BEAM’s expansion, NASA said. Broadcast live on NASA TV, the American astronaut told Mission Control in Houston that the living pod looked “pristine,” adding that it felt cold inside.

Canon could use Diffractive Optics tech to shrink a 1,000mm lens to half its size

It’s not uncommon to see patented products never make it off paper. But if Canon’s latest lens patent is anything to go by, Canon could soon have one of the most impressive super-telephoto lenses on the market. According to patent publication No. 2016-102852, Canon has developed the optical formula to create a massive EF 1000mm f/5.6 DO lens. Originally filed back in November 2014, the patent (translated) was only published last week and gives us a look inside what would be Canon’s longest telephoto lens since its EF 1,200mm f/5.6 L USM lens that was designed specifically for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and the longest lens in the world with full autofocus capability. A blown up diagram of Canon’s thumbnail-sized optical design for the EF 1,000mm f/5.6 DO The key to Canon’s latest patent is the little “DO” inside the naming scheme. “DO” is Canon’s acronym for

California scientitsts are experimenting with growing human organs inside pigs

While you yourself might be lucky enough to have all your limbs and organs, humanity as a whole is running out of body parts. The World Health Organization calls the shortage of transplantable organs “virtually a universal problem” due to legal and sociocultural factors in countries around the globe. Developed countries may meet demand better than the rest, but even so, patients here are still underserved. United States scientists are now attempting unconventional means to meet this growing demand – with researchers from the University of California, Davis injecting human stem cells into the embryos of pigs, reports BBC. The results are human-pig chimeras, which remain in live sows for 28 days before the scientists terminate the pregnancy and remove the embryonic tissue for study. Humans and pigs have similar physiologies, which allows scientists to use swine in biomedical research and apply their findings to humans. Related: In the future, drone taxis may deliver manufactured organs to

For soldiers and old folks, the Superflex exosuit may help carry the load

Emerging technologies are increasingly designed to help the elderly. Trials with care robots and artificial intelligence programs have shown positive results in tasks like helping elderly patients remember to take medication, and now, a wearable robotic device called Superflex may soon help geriatrics be more mobile, reports MIT Technology Review. Developed by SRI Ventures, Superflex is a soft exoskeleton that fits snuggly over the wearer’s body and carries much of the load from the legs, arms, and torso. The device can help the elderly walk, maintain good posture, and grab objects with care, but it isn’t strictly designed for senior citizens. Physically disabled people can find renewed strength by wearing an exoskeleton, as can soldiers who often have to carry tremendous loads. Related: Hyundai’s heavy-lifting exoskeleton is more ‘Aliens’ than ‘Iron Man’ Though elderly citizens often use walkers to help them get around, they aren’t always good for morale. SRI Ventures president Manish Kothari

Second-gen bionic leaf creates fuel from sunlight, makes Mother Nature seem inefficient

In Harvard University’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, the goal isn’t just to isolate problems but to find solutions to our planet’s most pressing issues. One of those issues is how to generate efficient, renewable energy — and researchers may have just found a solution in a device dubbed “bionic leaf 2.0” because it functions even more efficiently than the fastest-growing natural plants. They’ve published a paper detailing their work in the journal Science this week. “Our focus is actually on solutions – discovering and creating new process and new materials to change the energy landscape” Daniel Nocera, Professor of Energy at Havard University, said in a video interview with the Harvard Gazette, “One of the projects is literally [discovering] what’s in between. I have sunlight, I have water, CO2 and fuel, but what’s in between? In nature it’s a leaf. What we’ve invented is an artificial leaf.” Related: Chile is giving

Predator ‘Big Wing’ drone lives up to its name on recent test flight

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) isn’t exactly a household name, but it should be. The aerospace and defense contractor is the manufacturing muscle behind the high-profile Predator drone, which is used by military units around the world. After successfully deploying the MQ-1 Predator and its updated MQ-9 Reaper (Predator B), the company is working on the Certifiable Predator B, a version that is designed from the ground up to be compatible with European flight regulations. A variant, dubbed the Predator B Big Wing, recently completed a challenging 37-hour long-endurance test flight that brings the experimental drone even closer to European certification. As it name implies, the Predator B Big Wing has a wingspan that is 13 feet longer than the existing Predator B. This increased wingspan increases the fuel capacity of the drone, allowing it to fly for 42 hours, up from the 27 hours for the Predator B. In a recent

Brain-controlled fighter jets more than just a pipe dream

Fighter pilots already have a close connection to the planes they are flying. Now that connection may get even deeper due to the work of a group of Australian researchers and doctors. For the past four years, a team of neurologists and engineers from the University of Melbourne, along with surgeons at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, have been developing an advanced brain/machine interface that is long lasting and easy to implant. Eventually, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which funded the project, hopes to bring this mind-control technology to the cockpit, allowing pilots to fly by the thoughts in their minds as well as by the seat of their pants. The centerpiece of the Australian mind control system is a small biocompatible electrode called a stenode. The stenode is flexible enough to pass through the blood vessels and is operable once it reaches its destination. The electrode can measure electrical

Trailer or tiny home? The Tiny Drop is the best of both for off-the-grid living

To some, the American Dream might consist of living in a multimillion dollar mansion in a gated Beverly Hills community — however far-fetched tha idea might seem. To others, perhaps those more grounded in reality, a mere 150 square feet of a mobile, sustainable living space is all that’s required to achieve ultimate nirvana. Enter Tend Building’s Tiny Drop off-grid home. Essentially a modified camping trailer, the Tiny Drop is a minimalist’s dream and an abode that would have any outdoor lover salivating at the opportunity of owning one. Under the hood, the Tiny Drop consists of a continuous thermal blanket and innovative home sealing technology that delivers high-quality insulation — as any avid camper would tell you, this is an incredibly beneficial feature. Additionally, the home features a ventilated rain screen and sun barrier that further enhance its ability to save energy and remain durable. Aesthetically, the designers adorned Tiny Drop’s exterior

Weekly Rewind: WWDC rumors, Tesla’s new doors, and ‘swarm’ intelligence

In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. So much news goes on that it’s almost impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of the top 10 tech stories from this week. Everything from Apple’s WWDC rumors to a guide on strange hotels around the world, it’s all here. It’s official: Prince died of an opioid overdose The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Ramsey, Minnesota, has completed the autopsy of recently deceased music icon, Prince, and the full results of the procedure reveal that the singer did indeed die of an opioid overdose, according to the Associated Press.The autopsy reportedly began at 10 a.m. ET on April 22 and lasted about four hours, with toxicology reports eventually confirming opioid overdose with the drug fentanyl. The drug is reportedly as much as 50 times as powerful as heroin. Read the

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding skateboards, vacuum 3D modelers, and more

At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion crowdfunding campaigns on the web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there — alongside some real gems. In this column, we cut through all the worthless wearables and Oculus Rift ripoffs to round up the week’s most unusual, ambitious, and exciting projects. But don’t grab your wallet just yet. Keep in mind that any crowdfunded project can fail — even the most well-intentioned. Do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams. FormBox — Desktop vacuum former Please enable Javascript to watch this video 3D printers have come a long way in the past few years, but despite the huge improvements they’ve seen recently, most still suffer from the same big drawback — they’re excruciatingly slow. If you’re making anything bigger than the size of

Segway MiniPRO is now taking orders

OK, so if you are one of the many who were intrigued by the original Segway but lost interest when you saw the price, listen up. The Segway MiniPRO, a lighter, shorter, and slower but also way less expensive version of the go-the-way-you-lean personal transporter, is now setting up distribution in North America, according to Electrek. Segway the company was purchased in 2015 by Chinese company Ninebot. North American distribution of the MiniPRO is exclusively through Amazon. Note that the Segway MiniPRO is not the same machine as the Xiaomi Mini that started selling in November 2015 in China. The North American version is similar, however (though not identical) to the Ninebot MiniPRO now sold in France. There’s a comparison chart on the Ninebot-France website the shows the differences between the two. The specs of the French version appear the same, except for the name, as the edition for which Amazon is

Reveal fitness tracker helps anticipate behavioral meltdowns in autistic kids

Fitness trackers are great, but their applications could go far beyond simply tracking how many steps you take. For example, they could be used to seriously help people who need it — like children with autism. That’s the idea behind a new health tracker from a company called Awake Labs, which has just launched an Indiegogo campaign for the Reveal — a fitness tracker that’s aimed squarely at helping kids on the autism spectrum. Related: Samsung makes fitness a little more social in latest S Health update So how does the Reveal help these kids? Reveal essentially measures the wearer’s body’s response to anxiety, helping understand the behavior patterns that take place before a “behavior meltdown.” It means that the tracker will be able to detect when the wearer is going to have a behavior breakdown before it even occurs, allowing a caretaker or the wearer themselves to ease the situation before it gets out of control. This prevents

Designed by MIT entrepreneurs, Invincible is the ultimate city-proof bike

Fed up with trying to keep their bikes from being stripped or stolen by Boston-area thieves, Massachusetts Institute of Technology entrepreneurs designed a city-proof bike. Fortified’s Invincible has a rust-proof aluminum frame and chain, puncture-resistant tires, and theft-protection features. Fortified Bicycle chairman Slave Menn was an entrepreneurial student in MIT’s Sloan Business School MBA program looking for a worthy problem around which to build a business. Menn was inspired by a friend who was hit by a car that didn’t see him because his bike light had been stolen. This was a problem he and his friends faced in the city every day: how to keep a bicycle from getting trashed or stolen in the city. The result was Fortified Bicycle. Fortified started by selling theft-resistant accessories, and is now launching two models of the Invincible city bike. Related: The Carbon SUV e-bike is basically a powered mountain bike on steroids A single-speed Invincible

Cook and cool food directly on the SmartSlab kitchen table

Are you in the market for a new kitchen or dining room table? How about a ceramic-topped, modern table that will not only keep your friends talking for days, it will also cool your wine and let you prepare hot dishes on its surface. Swedish design firm Kram/Weisshaar has produced SmartSlab, a swipe-controlled table with a thin ceramic top that cooks, heats, and cools food, and seats six diners. With its carbon-fiber, automotive-inspired legs, the table is simultaneously a circuit board, a structure, and a surface. Even cooler? You control the SmartSlab by swiping. Advances in ceramic tile inspired the company’s owners Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram when they visited Ceramica in Modena, Italy, an area famous for tile production. They saw ceramic slabs 9 feet long and only 1 centimeter thick.  “We thought, why don’t we look into integrating circuitry into the tiles? Almost treating them like a big circuit board,

FBI and government scientists allegedly testing tattoo recognition tech on inmates

The FBI and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the Department of Commerce, are developing tattoo detection technology and testing it on prisoners, according to an investigation by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Government scientists are working with the FBI to create algorithms that can identify tattoos on a person’s skin and attribute it to a certain ideology, religion, or even gang. More than 15,000 images were gathered and used in the experiments. The tattoos can be used to profile inmates. However, the EFF claims that this was done without the prisoners’ consent and breaches the rules of ethical research and the Common Rule for using human subjects. NIST researchers are “treating inmates as a bottomless pool of free data,” said the digital rights organization, which has accused the researchers of failing to take the necessary ethical steps that are in place to prevent the exploitation of prisoners. According