- Another new and useful application of civilian drones – inspecting windmill blades. It’s a pity that it’s not technically legal in the US just yet.
- Biotech companies are really getting close to making DNA sequencing a cheap and fast process. Two separate companies are advertising machines that can sequence the human genome in under a day.
- A thinkpiece from IEEE Spectrum, on how we need to build a library of 3D shapes to help robots understand the world around them.
- Here’s an interesting extrapolation of current UAV designs: scaling up the six-rotor drone chopper (which is currently a little thing) to a fully-sized aircraft, with tilting engines a la the Osprey – but with six engines, much more reliable.
- NASA’s always looking at ways to explore space – the trick is getting a good idea and sufficient funding to pull it off. Space.com’s got an article here about possible “next steps” beyond low Earth orbit.
- Sponges are used to absorb blood and stop bleeding in wounds. Now, coat those sponges with layers of clotting agents, which have a shelf life of multiple months, and you have a life-saving tool.
- An Austrian energy company is installing small collections of fuel cells to be used as microgrids. I’d be interested to see the cost/benefit analysis of that – distributed power generation, especially using efficient fuel cells, and especially using biogas, could be a big game-changer if it becomes cost effective.
- And another fuel cell story, this time from CES: using sodium silicide salts and water in a very compact package to generate hydrogen and power via a fuel cell, you can get long-lasting portable power. This isn’t suited for high-power applications just yet, but oh, my, the possibilities that I’m seeing in this tech…
- Incentives are critical when you’re looking at systems involving humans. Change the incentives, and you can radically change the behavior of people in the system. So what happens when you reward people for doing well, but require that they pass all their rewards to the people that helped them? Suddenly, you have a strong incentive for people to help each other so that they can get rewards from their friends.
- Normally, I try not talk about tablets and phones – I’m not enough of a gadgethead to know the pros and cons of Android over iOS, or iPads over… whatever other tablets that are out there. But! When I see a tablet that’s specifically designed for gaming, that gets my attention (I’m a gamer, if you hadn’t guessed). Considering how much time people spend playing games on their mobile devices, this doesn’t really surprise me.
- As the man in the video says, CES is full of interesting toys, gadgets, and appliances, but what really matters is finding something to drive your pet nuts. Enter the Sphero, a ball that rolls where you direct it, controlled by your iOS device.
- Brace yourself, the ridiculosity in this one is really high: An Iranian has claimed that Iran grabbed that US drone with “advanced space technology” and “field forces” (he meant force fields or tractor beams). George Little, the Pentagon’s spokesman, said “We have no comment on this individual’s claims, but tell him the Secretary would like his lightsaber back.”