Imagine a robot able to retrieve a pile of laundry from the back of a cluttered closet, deliver it to a washing machine, start the cycle, and then zip off to the kitchen to start preparing dinner. This may have been a domestic dream a half-century ago, when the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence first captured public imagination. However, it quickly became clear that even "simple" human actions are extremely difficult to replicate in robots. Now, MIT computer scientists are tackling the problem with a hierarchical, progressive algorithm that has the potential to greatly reduce the computational cost associated with performing complex actions.
After lying dormant for hundreds of millions of years, shale gas was tapped for the first time in a natural gas well in 1821. Since then, oil has taken the spotlight, but now shale gas is looked to as the energy resource of the present and future. The National Energy Technology Laboratory, which helped pioneer hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, tracks some of the technological developments in shale gas extraction.
Univ. of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics has become the second academic medical center in the country where neurosurgeons can perform deep-brain stimulation (DBS) in an intra-operative MRI (iMRI) suite.
In a development that could lead to better antibiotics, scientists from several institutions derived atomic-scale resolution structures of the cell's ribosome at key stages of its job. The structures reveal that the ribosome's ability to rotate an incredible amount without falling apart is due to the never-before-seen springiness of molecular widgets that hold it together.
An ORNL-Univ. of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine collaboration has for the first time successfully characterized the earliest structural formation of the disease type of the protein "huntingtin" that creates such havoc in Huntington's Disease.
Conventional nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is unsurpassed for chemical analysis. The catch is that conventional NMR depends on strong magnetic fields and big, expensive, superconducting magnets. Now Berkeley researchers have found a way to perform chemical analysis with NMR without using any magnets at all.
Printers, which can produce three-dimensional objects have been available for years. However, at the Vienna Univ. of Technology, a printing device has now been developed, which is much smaller, lighter, and cheaper than ordinary 3D-printers.
In the push toward ever-smaller and ever-faster data transmission technology, a team of Stanford electrical engineers has produced a nanoscale laser that is much faster and more energy efficient than anything available today.
Austin Whitney was instantly paralyzed in 2007 when a car accident severed his spinal cord. When he graduates this Saturday at UC Berkeley, he will rise out of his wheelchair to accept his diploma thanks to the help of fellow students who have designed a robotic exoskeleton for his wheelchair.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.