May 27, 2015

A 12-legged pod you can ride

posted by Christy Wilding

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Scott Parenteau wanted a cool vehicle he could ride around in. He also liked the geodesic domes of Buckminster Fuller and the many-legged Strandbeests created by Theo Jansen. So he combined the two designs to create his "walking pod," a steel shell that trundles along on 12 legs, and can be entered via an elevator.

via Popsci

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May 27, 2015

A book made of synthetic skin allows novice tattoo artists to hone skills

posted by Christy Wilding

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Tattoo Art Magazine has come up with an ingenious idea to help aspiring tattoo artists practice their skills without fear of damaging people’s skins. 

‘The SkinBook’ contains pages that resemble artificial skin so that artists have an appropriate material on which to practice. 

via Design Taxi

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May 27, 2015

This inflatable plane could explore the clouds of Venus

posted by Larra Morris

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Northrop Grumman has a new idea for exploring Venus. Announced earlier this month, the Venus Atmospheric Maneuverability Platform (or VAMP) would let NASA skim Venus's upper atmosphere with an inflatable aircraft, deployed from space.

Since the craft is self-inflated, it would be light enough to stay aloft with little to no energy, but still be maneuverable enough to navigate Venus's significant atmospheric winds and durable enough to withstand the sulfuric acid in the atmosphere. The VAMP is designed for NASA's New Frontiers program, which looks for innovative approaches to space exploration. If NASA likes the craft enough to fund it, the VAMP could be exploring the clouds of Venus in just ten years.
via The Verge

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May 27, 2015

Octopus senses light with its skin, no eyes required

posted by Larra Morris

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We already knew cephalopods are amazing creatures—how many of us can go from colored to invisible in a blink? Hell, octopuses can even operate cameras. Still, sensing light with one’s skin is a pretty impressive trick, even for the rock stars of the invertebrate world.

And yet, as we’re now discovering, the octopus can do just that. In effect, these animals seem to have evolved a body-wide eye.

That’s the extraordinary conclusion of a study published this week in the Journal of Experimental Biologywhich shows that the California two-spot octopus (Octopus bimaculoides) senses light with its skin directly, no input from the central nervous system needed.
via Gizmodo

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Image: UCSB

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May 27, 2015

Breakthrough bionic leg prosthesis controlled by subconscious thoughts

posted by Larra Morris

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Biomedical engineering company Össur has announced the successful development of a thought controlled bionic prosthetic leg. The new technology uses implanted sensors sending wireless signals to the artificial limb's built-in computer, enabling subconscious, real-time control and faster, more natural responses and movements.
via Gizmag

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May 26, 2015

Bitcoin mining on a 55 year old IBM 1401 mainframe: 80 seconds per hash

posted by Christy Wilding

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Could an IBM mainframe from the 1960s mine Bitcoin? The idea seemed crazy, so I decided to find out. I implemented the Bitcoin hash algorithm in assembly code for the IBM 1401 and tested it on a working vintage mainframe. It turns out that this computer could mine, but so slowly it would take more than the lifetime of the universe to successfully mine a block. While modern hardware can compute billions of hashes per second, the 1401 takes 80 seconds to compute a single hash. This illustrates the improvement of computer performance in the past decades, most famously described by Moore’s Law.

via Dangerous Prototypes

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May 26, 2015

The Air Force can use an electromagnetic pulse to kill enemy computers

posted by Christy Wilding

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One of the US Air Force’s most high-tech weapons is a tool that can’t hurt people — but it kills electronic devices.

The CHAMP (Counter-Electronics High-Powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project) is a computer-frying device that emits a strong blast of targeted microwave energy that can take down enemy data centers and infrastructure without blowing anyone up.

via Gizmodo

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