Author's Archive

Running at 150,000 RPM, this tiny motor could help satellites keep on course

femtosat-6 The future is small in space: picture Cubesats the size of toasters and Femtosats an inch across crowding the skies. A newly invented motor that’s both tiny and powerful goes hand in hand with that vision, providing compact spacecraft with the ability to adjust their position without using a drop of fuel. First, though, a little engineering lesson. Here comes the science! It’s… Read More

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Devin Coldewey

July 22nd

Gadgets

Shiny and chrome! Rendering sparkly surfaces in CG just got massively better

snail1 As the graphics in games and movies edge closer and closer to photorealism, even the subtlest tricks of the light must be simulated. For years an especially tough one has been recreating the sparkling, uneven surfaces of water, metals and other materials — but these glints can now be rendered 100 times faster than before thanks to a new technique from computer scientists at UC San Diego. Read More

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Devin Coldewey

July 21st

Gadgets

This amazing search engine automatically face-swaps you into your image results

feat_faceswap2 Ever wonder what you would look like with long, wavy hair? I think you’d look great. But how can you try on a few looks without spending a fortune at the salon, or hours in photoshop? I’m glad you asked. All you need is a selfie and Dreambit, the face-swapping search engine. Read More

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Devin Coldewey

July 21st

Gadgets

Musk’s Master Plan has solar for everyone, but investors aren’t buying the dream — yet

Musk Tesla SolarCity The Tesla “Master Plan Part Deux” published tonight by founder Elon Musk proposes quite a lot of major projects, but perhaps the most far-reaching of them all is the plan to put solar on every roof and a battery in every garage. And to do that, he not-so-subtly hints, Tesla and SolarCity will need to be more than friends. Read More

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Devin Coldewey

July 21st

Gadgets

40 years after the first landing on Mars, this NASA scientist looks to resurrect Viking 1’s analog data

viking_bio_mfilmreader.jpg It’s been four decades since the Viking 1 lander touched down on Martian soil, the first lasting human presence on the surface of the Red Planet. It beamed its unprecedented data back to NASA, where it was stored on the hot new format of the day: microfilm. Now one scientist wants to bring these analog records into the digital world — for posterity and for science. Read More

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Devin Coldewey

July 21st

Gadgets

Amazon patent proposes drone perches atop streetlights and other protruding infrastructure

chargestation Pop quiz, hot shot: You’re a delivery drone with a flight duration of 20 minutes with your current payload, but because of delays (use your imagination) you’re never going to make it in time. What do you do, hot shot? What do you do? You land on a streetlight that’s been converted into a drone charger! Thank goodness Amazon patented those. Read More

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Devin Coldewey

July 21st

Gadgets

Google unleashes DeepMind on energy-hungry datacenter, cutting cooling bill by 40 percent

hal9000 DeepMind may be a master at one of the most complex games on Earth, but can it handle the day-to-day energy concerns of a Google datacenter? Yes, as it turns out, and with a vengeance. Read More

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Devin Coldewey

July 20th

Gadgets

Lockheed Martin’s Hydra Fusion builds 3D maps in real time from drone footage

hydra fusion A drone is a great eye in the sky, but if you want richer data than what its cameras show — for example, detailed 3D maps — you might be looking at a few hours of processing time. That is, unless your HQ is rocking Lockheed Martin’s cool-sounding Hydra Fusion tools, which can build that 3D map in real time from just video. Read More

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Devin Coldewey

July 20th

Gadgets

One professor’s quest to 3D scan every fish in the sea

Thoracocorax-stellatus-Spotfin-hatchetfish If you were wondering what a mottled sculpin looks like, there are plenty of pictures available online. But while they may satisfy a curious tidepooler, the discerning icthyologist demands more. That’s why a professor at the University of Washington is getting full 3D scans of every fish in the sea — every species, anyway. Read More

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Devin Coldewey

July 20th

Gadgets

Army Special Operations Command reportedly ditching Android for iPhone in the field

peosold While the ordinary proving ground of the smartphone may be the mean streets of the city, devices are to be found on the field of battle, too — and if a report from DoDBuzz is to be believed, Android may soon be giving way to iOS for some special operations forces. Read More

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Devin Coldewey

July 19th

Gadgets

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