• New airport security drive spurs scanner patent surge

    The averted Christmas bombing was only the latest evidence that there is a need for better, and more sophisticated, airport security technologies; a look at the dossiers of the U.S. Patent Office shows that many companies and individuals have applied for patents for a variety of security technologies

  • The world’s “most useless machine” proves popular

    Some people need to get out more: A video of the what is aptly described as the world’s most useless machine – a robotic box that shuts itself off the minute you turn it on – proves popular on ouTube

  • Robotic cockroaches to help military, law enforcement

    Cockroaches can run fast, turn on a dime, move easily over rough terrain, and react to perturbations faster than a nerve impulse can travel; running cockroach robots could serve valuable roles in difficult jobs, such as military operations, law enforcement, or space exploration. Related technology might also be applied to improve the function of prosthetic limbs for amputees, or serve other needs

  • New visa to make it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to launch start-ups in U.S.

    A proposal will be debated in Congress to create a new class of visa eligibility; the start-up visa would be granted to foreign entrepreneurs if their business plan attracts either $250,000 from a venture capital operating company that is primarily U.S. based or $100,000 from an angel investor; they must also show that the business will create five to ten jobs or generate a profit and at least $1 million in revenue

  • Russian scientists plan to save Earth from asteroid

    The asteroid Apophis measures approximately 350 meters (1,150 feet) in diameter; if it were to hit Earth when it passes nearby on 13 April 2036, it would create a new desert the size of France; Russian scientists plan to do something about it

  • Israel's military avatar: Robots on the battlefield, II

    With self-detonating grenades, thinking bullets and robot warriors, humans on the frontline could soon be a thing of the past; Israel’s military industries develop robotic systems to aid soldiers in the field, but also to ward off threats from afar

  • A 79-year-old unlicensed blimp enthusiast runs afoul of FAA

    A 79-year old unlicensed pilot-inventor from Oklahoma built a blimp in his backyard; the last trial flight ended with the blimp coming down on an interstate motorway, causing traffic disruption; the FAA found that the blimp-happy septuagenarian does not have a flying license, medical certificate, or air-worthiness documents for his craft; undaunted, Marvin Polzein says: “”I know myself. I’ll get back on it again. I’ll make the corrections, and we’ll try it again”

  • Israel's military avatar: Robots on the battlefield, I

    With self-detonating grenades, thinking bullets and robot warriors, humans on the frontline could soon be a thing of the past When armies clash in the not-too-distant future, remotely operated robotic weapons will fight the enemy on land, in the air, and at sea, without a human soldier anywhere on the battlefield. The first robotic systems are already being used by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and other armies across the world, and only budgetary constraints seem to be keeping science fiction from becoming reality.

  • Laws of physics cast doubt on Santa's ability to carry out mission

    Santa has 31 hours to visit 378 million Christian children; at the rate of 3.5 children per household, and assuming at least one good child per home, this comes to 108 million homes; if each child receives no more than a medium sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh would be carrying more than 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself; Santa would thus need at least 360,000 Reindeer to pull the sleigh; since Santa must visit 108 homes in 31 hours, he will have to travel at 650 miles per second — 3,000 times the speed of sound; at that speed, the lead pair of Reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each and vaporize – indeed, the entire Reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second; Santa himself would be subjected to forces of 17,500 G’s; a 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, and be crushed

  • Santa's sleigh of the future

    GE engineers concluded that Santa’s huge carbon footprint should be reduced; the designed a new sleigh, which includes ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) used within the sleigh blades to enable efficient flight, GE’s Trip Optimizer on the dashboard to improved navigation, and icephobic coatings to prevent ice build up; the sleigh comes with a 500GB holographic disk for Santa to store his lists

  • Tadpole-shaped dirigible to help in communication, surveillance missions

    Florida company shows unmanned dirigible which will fly at 65,000 and 70,000
    feet; the “Stratellite” will use similar technology to the that used by the
    Graf Zeppelin in the 1930s; homeland security applications include vessel
    tracking and cargo container surveillance; littoral (shore-proximate)
    surveillance for ports, waterways, coastal trails, and urban environments;
    ancillary border surveillance activity, and more

  • DARPA scientists seeking lightning on tap

    DARPA is seeking proposals for how to create lightning on demand; agency says the purspose is to protect property and other assets from lightning damage, or “advances in… science relating to lightning”

  • NICTA gets AU$1.01 million for advanced video surveillance system at Port of Brisbane

    R&D body developing advanced system to help ports monitor activities in their locations; the Port of Brisbane is 110 km long and will host around 40 to 60 cameras; the movement of boats will be visible in the system along with the cargo they are carrying and tidal/wind information.

  • Handheld touch screen device may lead to mobile fingerprint ID

    The FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team wanted to replace the 20-pound rugged laptop plus fingerprint scanner their hostage rescue teams lug around with a smaller and lighter device; NIST researchers develop one

  • SRI to open new facility in Tampa, Florida

    California-based SRI will tomorrow open a new research facility in Tampa, Florida; the company says that the many organizations in the area doing marine research will help it in developing maritime security technologies – among them underwater sensors to improve security at U.S. ports, which the company describes as the “soft underbelly of the soft underbelly” of the United States; SRI is also active in luring other technology companies to the Tampa area for the purpose of creating a technology cluster there.