Technology Tuesday: April 2nd

Welcome to Technology Tuesday! Every week The Job Shop Blog will bring you our 5 top science and technology news stories from around the web.

This week: A 3-point shooting robot, 3D printed habitats for Mars, “metallic wood” which could revolutionize material sciences, VR headsets with brain interfaces, and Australia’s plans to mine water on the moon.

TOYOTA HAS BUILT A BASKETBALL ROBOT THAT CAN NAIL 3 POINTERS

Toyota is on a mission to automate the NBA — it’s built a six-foot-ten robot called Cue 3 that can nail three-pointers all day long.

In a demo for The Associated Press, Cue 3 successfully threw five shots from the three-point line out of eight attempts — which would be really good for a professional human player, and shows that robots are starting to handle more complex physical maneuvers than ever before.

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3D PRINTED HABITATS FOR MARS WON AN AWARD FROM NASA

NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge that kicked off in 2015 has challenged teams around the U.S. to render, prove the structural integrity, and construct a model of a habitat that could one day shelter humans on the surface of the Moon or even Mars.

And yesterday, NASA crowned the top three winners of the Challenge’s latest round, challenging the participating teams to “complete a virtual construction level.” The top three teams, which split a prize of $100,000, hail from New York, Arkansas, and New Haven — and their designs are bold visions of off-world habitation.

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METALLIC WOOD IS AS TOUGH AS TITANIUM BUT LIGHT ENOUGH TO FLOAT ON WATER

Researchers have created a “metallic wood” that’s as strong as titanium, but light enough to float in water.

Right now, they can only produce a small amount of the metallic wood at a time — but if they can find a way to scale-up the manufacturing process, the material could lead to everything from highly durable smartphones to super-light cars.

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EXPERT SAYS: VR HEADSETS SHOULD HAVE BRAIN INTERFACES

Virtual reality headsets are already pretty good at fooling our eyes and ears into thinking we’re in another world. And soon, we might be able to navigate that world with our thoughts alone.

Speaking at this year’s Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, Mike Abinder, in-house psychologist and researcher for game developer and distributor Valve, gave a talk on the exciting possibilities of adding brain-computer interfaces to VR headsets.

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AUSTRALIA’S NEW SPACE AGENCY PLANS TO MINE WATER ON THE MOON

If water, which thinly blankets the moon’s surface, could be harvested in space instead of having to be shuttled up from Earth, the moon could essentially become a jumping-off point — a sort of cosmic fueling station — for missions to Mars and beyond.

“Getting things from the surface of the Earth into orbit or into deep space costs a lot of money,” Australian space engineer Andrew Dempster told Bloomberg. “If you can produce water in space for less than it costs to get there, then you’re ahead.”

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