NASA, GM Take Giant Leap in Robotic Technology

Robonaut is evolving. NASA and General Motors are working together to accelerate development of the next generation of robots and related technologies for use in the automotive and aerospace industries. Engineers and scientists from NASA and GM worked together through a Space Act Agreement at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to build a new humanoid robot capable of working side by side with people. Using leading edge control, sensor and vision technologies, future robots could assist astronauts during hazardous space missions and help GM build safer cars and plants.

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15-year-old girl gets bionic hand, is able to hold things for the first time

We’ve been hearing the word “bionic” in the news a lot lately, but it has primarily been referring to the Droid Bionic smartphone that’s soon to be released. However, today’s bionic news is centered on a 15-year-old girl who lost all her fingers to septicaemia as a toddler and has never been able to pick things up herself. Thanks to a bionic hand made by Touch Bionics in Scotland, Chloe Holmes can now do the simplest things she was previously unable to do.

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Best of the Ice Caves, Mt. Erebus, Antarctica

Descending into and exploring the ice caves on Mount Erebus has to have been the most surreal experience of my entire trip to Antarctica this past field season. Now that I’m back from the ice, I’ve had time to sift through all of my photos and those of my colleagues, and I’ve picked out the very best of the ice cave photos from Erebus Expedition 2010-2011.

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MABEL the robot runs like a human but stomps like a cylon

Researchers at the University of Michigan have successfully crafted a chilling portrayal of what the future surely holds: a running, obstacle-scaling robot. This robot, which is called MABEL (not an acronym), is capable of running at speeds of up to 3.06 meters per second, or 6.8 mph. This might not sound very fast — humans jog at around 6 mph, and run at up to 25 mph — but just watch the video embedded below, and then try to tell me that you’re not impressed.

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The Metric System is UnAmerican!

I saw this on Gizmodo today… There are only three countries in the world that don’t use the metric system: Liberia, Myanmar and yes the United States of America – So even when our government gives in as I expect at some point they will I will still use standard US or SI units proudly. In fact in school whether it was an engineering problem or just a simple math question, anytime units were used I would always convert any non SI unit to SI – it would drive the professors crazy at times because they’d have to convert it to metric to match their answer key but they couldn’t mark it wrong!

Here’s more on the LHC Problems

“The mystery surrounding the electrical fault last week at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN has taken a new twist today. Last week, a piece of baguette was found to be lying on an electrical connection in one of the eight above-ground cryoplants – used to cool the LHC to 1.9 K – that caused two of the eight sectors around the LHC’s 27 km ring to heat up to 10 K.
But in the latest issue of the CERN Bulletin, James Gillies, head of communication at CERN, claims that a bird carrying a baguette did not stall the world’s most powerful particle-physics experiment from starting up on schedule.”

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