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Trends

  • Watch: SpaceX returns to space with Iridium-1 launch

    SpaceX has successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket, several months after one of its rockets exploded on the launchpad. The rocket was carrying ten communication satellites on Saturday, scheduled to be the first of up to 70 satellites for the Iridium company. In what's quickly becoming a regular part of Falcon 9 missions, the rocket's first stage successfully landed on the barge, called 'Just Read the Instructions'. In fact, the landing was almost perfect, the first stage coming down smoothly and on target. "Mission looks good. Started deploying the 10 Iridium satellites. Rocket is stable on the droneship," Musk tweeted on Saturday, shortly after...

  • Does Trump actually want the F35 programme or not?

    A few weeks ago, US president-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter to blast Lockheed-Martin's F35 fighter jet programme. The programme was slammed for cost overruns and failing to deliver in a few areas, causing Lockheed-Martin's stock to briefly drop. Now, Trump's pick for defense secretary, James Mattis, has said that the president-elect actually supports the programme. According to Defense News, Mattis said Trump just wants "more bang for his buck". "It's not my role to comment on the president-elect's statements except to say that it shows he's serious about getting the best bang for the dollar when it comes to defense dollars, and...

  • Scientists believe the Milky Way is a cosmic thief, home-wrecker

    Scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics have determined that half of the 11 furthest known stars in the Milky Way were ripped from another galaxy known as the Sagittarius Dwarf. "The star streams that have been mapped so far are like creeks compared to the giant river of stars we predict will be observed eventually," said the lead author, Marion Dierickx, a graduate student at Harvard University in a press release. According to the research, the Sagittarius Dwarf -- just one of the dozens of mini-galaxies that surrounds our Milky Way -- made its way around our galaxy at a point in...

  • Miss Obama’s final speech? Rewatch it in 360-degrees

    Like saying goodbye to a kid finally leaving for the big wide world, outgoing US President Obama gave his final speech to a nation on the brink of change on Tuesday evening in Chicago. But while it was a momentous occasion for both Obama and the American public, it was also fairly big for emerging technologies. Alongside traditional broadcasts, the speech was the first of a US president to be aired as a 360-degree video on Facebook, Periscope/Twitter and YouTube. Using three of Nokia's OZO camera rigs, virtual reality company VRScout alongside Radiant Images and vantage.tv recorded and beamed the feed...

  • Fitbit, out to kill smartwatch rivals, buys Vector

    Fresh from acquiring and effectively dismantling Pebble, Fitbit has bought another smartwatch company in the form of Vector. The Vector Watch stood out on the market thanks to its touted 30 day battery life, app support, notification mirroring and support for all three major mobile platforms (Android, iOS, Windows Phone). In a post on the Vector website, the smaller firm announced the deal. "Today, we are happy to announce that the Vector Watch team and our software platform are joining Fitbit, the leader in the connected health and fitness market!" Vector wrote. Fitbit continues its quest to snuff out competition in the smartwatch...

  • NASA announces two ambitious missions to asteroids

    NASA has just approved two missions to explore asteroids, with the aim of learning more about the early solar system. The two missions, dubbed Lucy and Psyche, are tentatively scheduled to launch in 2021 and 2023 respectively, the space agency announced on its website. "Lucy will visit a target-rich environment of Jupiter's mysterious Trojan asteroids, while Psyche will study a unique metal asteroid that's never been visited before," Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, was quoted as saying. Lucy is slated to launch in October 2021, arriving at a "main belt" asteroid in 2025. From 2027 until 2033, it...

  • Questions raised over Ukraine artillery hacking

    A cybersecurity expert has questioned claims that Russian intelligence hacked Ukrainian artillery units with malware to track their location. Security firm Crowdstrike issued a report last month, finding that malware had infected Ukrainian artillery units who used an application called POPR-D30. The artillery operators used the Android app to calculate firing corrections for the D30 howitzer. Crowdstrike's report found that an infected version of the app was floating around, adding that the infected version was sending the artillery units' location to Russian intelligence. The report added that Russia may have used the malware to get a fix on Ukrainian artillery emplacements and destroy...

  • SpaceX set for return to launch on Sunday?

    SpaceX has been hard at work following the explosion of one of its rockets on the launchpad late last year. Now, the company has revealed the final cause of the explosion, as well as plans to launch on Sunday. The final cause relates to "composite overwrapped pressure vessels" (COPVs) inside the second stage oxygen tank, falling in line with the preliminary findings. These vessels are used to store helium, the private space company noted. "Specifically, the investigation team concluded the failure was likely due to the accumulation of oxygen between the COPV liner and overwrap in a void or a buckle...

  • Now Ukraine’s artillery is affected by malware

    We've already seen malware being used to disrupt power stations and other infrastructure. But a new form of malware has been affecting Ukraine's artillery pieces. According to security firm CrowdStrike, hackers crafted the X-Agent malware into an Android app used by Ukrainian artillery operators. The legitimate version of the app allows operators of the D-30 howitzer to quickly process targeting data, reducing processing time from minutes to "under 15 seconds". And it's seen quite a lot of downloads, with roughly 9000 users, it's been claimed. The malware should be a big concern for militaries around the world The security firm found that X-Agent was able to...

  • Paper-based battery to power small electronics?

    Researchers at Binghamton University have created a working bacteria-powered battery which can be used to power small or disposable electronic devices. What makes this creation even more impressive is that it was made on a single sheet of paper. The bio-battery's design could reduce fabrication time as well as bring down the cost of production. Assistant professor Seokheun Choi, part of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, commented on the invention in a press release. "Papertronics have recently emerged as a simple and low-cost way to power disposable point-of-care diagnostic sensors," said...

  • Russia tests ‘anti-satellite’ missile

    Russia has conducted a successful test of an anti-satellite missile, it has been reported. According to the Washington Free Beacon, it was the third successful test of the PL-19 Nudol missile out of five tests in total. The missile was launched from a base in central Russia on 16 December and was monitored by the USA, the publication added. According to CNN, US intelligence didn't track any debris, suggesting that a target wasn't destroyed during the test. Russia purportedly says that the missile is intended for defence against ballistic missiles. An anti-satellite missile could wreak havoc on a military's capabilities, targeting communications and spy satellites as well...

  • ALYSIA: an AI that writes melodies for your lyrics

    Have you ever written your own lyrics but struggled to find the perfect melody to accompany it? Well, the great gods of technology and music might have heard your plea. Margareta Ackerman, an assistant professor at Florida State University, together with David Loker from the technology advisory firm Orbitwerks, has developed an artificial intelligence that uses machine learning to write a melody for your lyrics. "I was studying singing while I was doing my PhD in computer science," Ackerman was quoted as saying by NewScientist. "Over time, I started to think of computers as creative partners instead of tools, which could...

  • Alternative electrolytes could stop exploding smartphones

    Researchers have identified dozens of electrolytes that could be alternative solutions to volatile liquids used in smartphones. Researchers at Stanford University used machine learning and AI involvement to find suitable electrolytes. Their findings were published in the Energy & Environmental Science journal. These new electrolytes could replace liquids used in batteries which power smartphones, laptops as well as other electronic devices. Lead author of the paper Austin Sendek, a doctoral candidate in applied physics, commented on the findings in a press release. "Electrolytes shuttle lithium ions back and forth between the battery's positive and negative electrodes," he explained. "Liquid electrolytes are cheap and...

  • Tinder hits Apple TV: get gran to find matches for you

    Tinder is a rather private experience for many people, but the hookup/dating app is now available on Apple TV, if you can believe that. What's the logic behind this move, though? "We decided that the goal of our Apple TV integration should be two-fold: 1) to serve our end users by providing a new use case -- the 'party' swipe, a fun activity with friends and 2) to create a lightweight, modern app that would serve as an experiment field for new architecture proposals," the developer wrote on their blog. Apple TV users will need to use their remote's touchpad to swipe, but...

  • Robotic hands are getting more touchy-feely

    A group of scientists at Cornell University have created a way for soft robotic hands to feel their surroundings internally, much like we do. The group was led by the assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and principal investigator of Organic Robotics Lab, Robert Shepherd. Their paper detailed how stretchable optical waveguides can act as sensors in a soft robotic hand. The paper, titled Optoelectronically Innervated Soft Prosthetic Hand via Stretchable Optical Waveguides, was featured in an edition of Science Robotics. Lead author of the paper Huichan Zhao commented on his findings in a blog post. "Most robots today have sensors on the outside of the...