Category: Uncategorized


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Even though scientists have dreamed of human-powered flight since the days of Da Vinci, it’s really, really hard to pull off. Case in point: In 1980, the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition offered $250,000 to the first team to build a person-powered craft that can hover above 3 meters (or 9.8 feet) for longer than a minute. That prize went unclaimed for 33 years, until a team won it today.

The team of Canadians flying for AeroVelo launched their Atlas helicopter on June 13, and the flight – 64 seconds, up to 3.3 meters – was just certified by the Sikorsky Prize judges.

Despite the prize going unclaimed for so long, the competition came down to the wire. The Atlas team was going up against two other aircraft, and one of them, the Gamera II, met the time requirement and came pretty close to the height requirement last year.

But lest you think this is the end of the three-decade-plus story, the American Helicopter Society, which oversees the prize, has announced “another grand challenge” coming soon.

 Ref: Pop Science

One company has designed a system, called Sweat Machine, to wring sweat out of clothes and turn it into potable water.

The Sweat Machine heats and spins clothes to extract the liquid from them, then filters the extract with a membrane developed with the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Yum.

The filter is the most sophisticated part of the machine. It’s “a bit like Goretex,” one of the machine’s designers, engineer and Swedish TV host Andreas Hammar, told the U.K.’s The Independent. Water vapor passes through the material easily, but it traps bacteria, salts and fibres from the clothes.

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The demonstration is supposed to draw attention to the fact that 780 million people around the world don’t have access to clean drinking water. Contaminated water can be deadly, especially for children. UNICEF will be raising money for a more practical solution for those kids-water purification tablets.

Ref – PopScience

Google would dream something as impossible and radical as cloaking the world in balloons 60,000 feet above sea level so that the entire world can get on the Internet. It’s something straight out of meetings about the future, something rooted in conversations between smart people who only ask each other “But why not?”, something even Google itself admits is crazy by calling it Project Loon.

What is Project Loon exactly? Only a plan to get hundreds and thousands of high-pressure balloons to circle the Earth and given internet to billions of people on Earth. It’s part of Google’s famed Google X Lab which is bringing the world Google Glass and self-driving cars. Wired reports:

It is an audacious proposal, and today in Christchurch, Google is holding a press conference with New Zealand’s Prime Minister to formally unveil it. Google will also stage Project Loon’s biggest trial yet: 50 testers in Christchurch within the 12-mile range of the balloons will see if they can get connected from the sky.

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Ref: Gizmodo

Researchers in the Honduran rainforest have recently used lasers to find a lost city of gold, and now archaeologists in Cambodia have found a forgotten city that’s even older.

Welcome to Mahendraparvata, unknown for a Millenium. Image, an area

The corner of Cambodian jungle where Mahendraparvata has been lurking is dotted with the odd above-ground temple ruin, but the extent to which the city sprawled beneath the shrubs and dirt was unknown until researchers brought airborne laser scanning tech—known as Lidar—to bear. And suddenly, it was as if the city’s ruins just leapt into being.

Damian Evans, University of Sydney’s archaeological research centre in Cambodia, described the moment to The Age this way:

With this instrument – bang – all of a sudden we saw an immediate picture of an entire city that no one knew existed, which is just remarkable.

But Mahendraparvata is more than just any lost city, it’s the oldest in Cambodia,  And now that researchers are aware of both Mahendraparvata’s magnitude and its hidden features, they can really dig in. Figuratively and literally.

With laser technology becoming so useful, it does make me wonder, when will this technology help me find my keys?

Ref: Gizmodo

So it’s finally happening, one arm at a time..

Jan Scheuermann hasn’t been able to use her limbs since 1996 when she was struck with spinocerebellar degeneration, but thanks to new technology she’s now able to lift a chocolate bar. The brain-computer interface (BCI) allows seven points of rotation and mobility and brings hope to many suffering from various forms of paralysis.

According to the University of Pittsburg;

“This technology, which interprets brain signals to guide a robot arm, has enormous potential that we are continuing to explore. Our study has shown us that it is technically feasible to restore ability; the participants have told us that BCI gives them hope for the future.”

Scheuermann’s brain was implanted with two quarter-inch square electrode grids. They have 96 tiny contact points for brain areas that control right arm and hand movement.

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Ref: University of Pittsburg

Although it does beg the question, how long until similar technology is utilized for Military purposes. We could be seeing robot soldiers in the field controlled by infantry men miles away..