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Second Z plutonium 'shot' safely tests materials for NNSA

May 11, 2011 7:27 am | News | Comments

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced that researchers from Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories have completed their second experiment in the past six months at Sandia's Z machine to explore the properties of plutonium materials under extreme pressures and temperatures.

Tiltable head could improve navigation of undulating robots

May 10, 2011 5:12 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology recently built a robot that can penetrate and "swim" through granular material. In a new study, they show that varying the shape or adjusting the inclination of the robot’s head affects the robot’s movement in complex environments.

Robot engages novice computer scientists

May 6, 2011 4:44 am | News | Comments

Learning how to program a computer to display the words "Hello World" once may have excited students, but that hoary chestnut of a lesson doesn’t cut it in a world of videogames, smartphones, and Twitter. One option to take its place and engage a new generation of students in computer programming is a Carnegie Mellon Univ.-developed robot called Finch.

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Speeding swarms of sensor robots

May 3, 2011 4:11 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A new MIT-developed algorithm ensures that robotic environmental sensors will be able to focus on areas of interest without giving other areas short shrift.

NASA technology looks inside Japan's nuclear reactor

April 29, 2011 10:14 am | News | Comments

Design techniques honed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., for Mars rovers were used to create the rover currently examining the inside of Japan's nuclear reactors, in areas not yet deemed safe for human crews.

New submersible capable of return to deepest ocean depths

April 27, 2011 7:03 am | News | Comments

Triton Submarines this week announced the impending release of their Triton 36,000 full ocean depth submersible. Featuring passenger cockpit approximately six feet in diameter and made entirely of borosilicate glass developed using a new process from Rayotek Scientific, the sub will offer the possibility of a return to the deepest part of the ocean in more than 50 years.

Physicists nab new record for heaviest antimatter

April 25, 2011 4:28 am | News | Comments

Members of the international STAR collaboration at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider have detected the antimatter partner of the helium nucleus: antihelium-4. This new particle, also known as the anti-alpha, is the heaviest antinucleus ever detected.

Slim SIA-series robots from Motoman

April 11, 2011 7:08 am | Product Releases | Comments

Motoman Robotics recently introduced their SIA-series robots, which feature an actuator-based 7-axis design with wrist performance characteristics that enable freedom of movement. The SIA-series is suited for assembly, injection molding, machine tending, and other industrial applications.

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Company planning biggest rocket since man on moon

April 6, 2011 5:18 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Although the Falcon Heavy has been in SpaceX’s plans for some time, Tuesday marks the first time founder Elon Musk has announced his company’s intentions to launch the first Heavy in 2013. The rocket would put 117,000 pounds of cargo into the same orbit as the International Space Station, more than twice as much as the Space Shuttle.

Richard Branson plans deep-ocean submarine dives

April 6, 2011 4:52 am | by Noaki Schwartz, Associated Press | News | Comments

Over the next two years, billionaire adventurer Richard Branson will plumb the deepest depths of the world’s five oceans with a new 18-foot-long Virgin Oceanic submarine that was unveiled Tuesday in Newport Beach, Calif. He has partnered with Scripps Institution of Oceanography and several other research laboratories to add scientific clout to his plans.

Pumping up the polarization of protons for RHIC

April 6, 2011 4:50 am | News | Comments

The competition may have been slim, but the feat was great. With custom-built power supplies built from old inventory and 1960s quadrupole magnets pulled from storage, Brookhaven Lab's Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS) can now provide researchers with five to eight percent more protons that are polarized—breaking its own world record set in 2009 for the highest polarization, energy, and intensity beams at BNL’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC).

Digging through the discontinuity

March 30, 2011 9:23 am | by Paul Livingstone | Blogs | Comments

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, some of the last hurdles in human exploration of the globe were overthrown, notably the scaling of Mt. Everest and the plumbing of the depths of the Marianas Trench. They paved the way for planting a flag on the Moon. But one notable project went underfunded and eventually forgotten.

Japan quake stirs unease about global supply chain

March 30, 2011 7:02 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

A shortage of auto parts and other components after Japan's earthquake has stirred unease about two pillars of manufacturing: the country's role as a crucial link in the global supply chain and "just in time" production. The realization that these practices have made companies brittle in the face of natural disasters has some questioning current practices.

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An observation first: Rare particles produced at the Large Hadron Collider

March 29, 2011 5:15 am | News | Comments

Shortly after experiments on the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN laboratory began yielding scientific data last fall, a group of scientists led by a Syracuse Univ. physicist became the first to observe the decays of a rare particle that was present right after the Big Bang. By studying this particle, scientists hope to solve the mystery of why the universe evolved with more matter than antimatter.

“Good-bye, blind spot” – man and machine always in view

March 21, 2011 8:19 am | News | Comments

Researchers in Germany are introducing a new prototype for intelligent safety monitoring in industrial workplaces that illuminates the entire production hall. The process involves building a 3-D model of the factory and using to eliminate any blind spots where accidents or collisions could occur.

Modeling accelerators at near lightspeed

March 18, 2011 5:12 am | News | Comments

"Tabletop" laser-plasma accelerators like BELLA promise high energies in short spaces. Modeling the acceleration of electrons by a laser beam moving through a plasma in 3D, however, has until now been an impractical challenge even for supercomputers. Borrowin a page from Albert Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity, Berkeley Lab researchers have perfected a way to accelerate calculations up to a million times faster.

NASA's humanoid robot unveiled on space station

March 17, 2011 5:38 am | News | Comments

Astronauts at the International Space Station unpacked Robonaut on Tuesday, more than two weeks after arriving at the space station. Prying open its “coffin”, the crew was surprised to find the robot was missing. They soon found the ‘bot in front of a work station, already attempting to gain system control, HAL 9000-style.

Large Hadron Collider: The world's first time machine?

March 16, 2011 3:51 am | News | Comments

If the latest theory of Tom Weiler and Chui Man Ho is right, the Large Hadron Collider could be the first machine capable of causing matter to travel backwards in time.

Study: How do people respond to being touched by a robot?

March 9, 2011 5:53 am | News | Comments

For people, being touched can initiate many different reactions from comfort to discomfort, from intimacy to aggression. But how might people react if they were touched by a robot? In an initial study, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology found people generally had a positive response toward being touched by a robotic nurse, but that their perception of the robot’s intent made a significant difference.

Imaging system helps improve sandwich bun quality

March 9, 2011 3:39 am | News | Comments

The Georgia Tech Research Institute may possess the secret to baking perfect buns. Its researchers have developed a production-line system that automatically inspects the quality of sandwich buns exiting the oven and adjusts oven temperatures if it detects unacceptable buns.

Improving robot navigation systems

March 2, 2011 3:59 am | News | Comments

Researchers from the European Centre for Soft Computing and the UPM’s Facultad de Informática have developed an antonym-based technique for building maps for mobile robots. This technique can be applied to improve current robot navigation systems.

NIST and Willow Garage launch first robot 'perception challenge'

February 28, 2011 4:38 am | News | Comments

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is teaming up with Willow Garage, a Silicon Valley robotics research and design firm, to launch an international “perception challenge” to drive improvements in sensing and perception technologies for next-generation robots.

Scientists build world’s first anti-laser

February 18, 2011 3:36 am | News | Comments

More than 50 years after the invention of the laser, scientists at Yale Univ. have built the world's first anti-laser, in which incoming beams of light interfere with one another in such a way as to perfectly cancel each other out. The discovery could pave the way for a number of novel technologies with applications in everything from optical computing to radiology.

New probe of proton spin structure

February 15, 2011 4:41 am | News | Comments

Scientists hoping to unravel the mystery of proton spin at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a 2.4-mile-circumference particle accelerator at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, have a new tool at their disposal—the first to directly explore how quarks of different types, or “flavors,” contribute to the overall spin of the proton.

Virtual laboratory predicts train vibrations

February 9, 2011 6:54 am | News | Comments

A new analytical model developed by scientists in Spain creates a virtual train lab. Spain, which has constructed a number of new high-speed rail lines, wants more data on how vibrations caused by trains impact people living or working near them.

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