Technology Tuesday: June 2
This week: Spacecraft that fly on light alone, wireless power for your home, adaptable robots, a cashless society, and flying saucers.
Spacecraft That Fly On Wings Of Graphene
GRAPHENE to the stars. The material with amazing properties has just had another added to the list. It seems these sheets of carbon one atom thick can turn light into action, maybe forming the basis of a fuel-free spacecraft.
Wireless Power For All Your Devices
Our homes are a tangled mess of wires and chargers. But that might be about to change. Work is under way to use the Wi-Fi signals that surround us to power our gadgets.
In Seattle, six households have taken part in an experiment in which modified electrical devices were put in their homes along with a Wi-Fi router. Over 24 hours, the devices were powered solely by the router’s signal, which also continued to provide wireless internet access to the home.
Robots Adapting To Injury
A new breed of robots have proven that losing a limb or two really is “just a flesh wound.”
Roboticists Antoine Cully and Jean-Baptiste Moret have built an algorithm that allows robots to detect damage — like losing a leg — and alter their walking motion in order to remain operational. Like an animal that injured its paw, these robots teach themselves to walk with a limp when the going gets tough.
Denmark Considering Going Cashless
The Danish government has proposed that most stores could dump their cash registers from January 2016. Essential services, such as hospitals, pharmacies and post offices, would still have to accept cash under the plan, which is some way from becoming law. Denmark, with its Scandinavian neighbors Norway and Sweden, is leading the global trend towards electronic money. Business groups point to benefits such as reduced handling and transport costs, increased security and a drop in attempts to steal cash.
NASA Testing Flying Saucer
NASA will conduct an ambitious test flight of its revolutionary ‘flying saucer‘ technology Tuesday as scientists lay the foundations for future Mars missions.
The high altitude test at the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, will use a huge balloon to carry the 15-foot wide, 7,000-pound test flying saucer to high altitude. The balloon, roughly the size of three football fields, will lift the flying saucer to 120,000 feet, at which point the vehicle will be released. A booster rocket will then transport the saucer at Mach 4, four times the speed of sound, to a height of 180,000 feet.
Know any interesting stories we missed?Let us know in the comments!
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