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Posts Tagged ‘Innovation’

What’s Next for NASA? 10 Wild, Newly Funded Projects

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 14, 2012

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program

NASA / JPL-Caltech


What’s next for NASA now that Curiosity has touched down on Mars? For a sneak peek into what the space agency has in store, take a look at the 28 proposals for the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program, which gives out awards of $100,000 and $500,000 for concepts that have the potential to “transform future aerospace missions.” Here are 10 of the most fantastic projects that NASA hopes will be inspiring people long after Curiosity has finished exploring Mars.

NIAC 2012 Phase I & Phase II Awards Announcement

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program is proud to announce its 2012 awards. NIAC has selected eighteen new NIAC Phase I awards, and ten new Phase II awards based on earlier Phase I studies. These proposals have been selected based on the potential of their concepts to transform future aerospace missions, enable new capabilities, or significantly alter and improve current approaches.

Each Phase I study will receive approximately $100,000 for one year, and each Phase II study will receive approximately $500,000 for two years. These studies will advance numerous innovative aerospace concepts, and help NASA achieve future goals.

NASA Press Release

2012 Phase I Fellows Read the rest of this entry »

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Hacking Your Memory: Could Total Recall Really Happen?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 6, 2012

Columbia Pictures


Do we really need a remake of Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 sci-fi thriller Total Recall? No, but Hollywood is giving us one anyway, this time with Colin Farrell in the place of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the memory-challenged Douglas Quaid.

At the center of both movies is a company called Rekall that can implant fake memories and erase real ones with the help of a bulky, futuristic-looking machine. The original movie doesn’t explain how this happens, but that hasn’t stopped fans from speculating — something that carries extra weight when the fan is a professor specializing in both neuroscience and engineering.

“Here’s my crazy, mad scientist idea,” says Dr. Charles Higgins, a neuromorphic engineer at the University of Arizona. “If you’re going to program memories all over the brain without doing anything invasive like opening up the skull and sticking all kinds of probes in, maybe what they injected was nanorobots — lots of them, maybe millions or billions of them.

“Those go to preprogrammed locations all over the brain and the big machine we see in the movie is there to interact with the nanorobots, to tell them how to change synapses all over the brain in order to correspond with whatever the fake memory is going to be.”

(MORE: Five Miniature Robots Designed to Travel Inside Humans)

We already know that people can be influenced to remember things that never happened, as in the famous “Lost in the Mall” experiment conducted by psychologist Elizabeth Loftus in which people were told four anecdotes that were supposedly from their childhood. Read the rest of this entry »

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Project Glass: Google’s Augmented Reality Glasses Take Hands-Free Computing to the Extreme

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 5, 2012


You already move from your desktop to your laptop to your tablet to your smartphone — but what about those few moments when you’re walking around on the street? You’re wasting valuable time listening to birds chirp and being alone with your thoughts when you could be sharing photos on Google+.

Fear not, tech addicts: Google has confirmed that it is working on something it calls “Project Glass,” which is focused around augmented-reality glasses.

(MORE: Nokia Lumia 900 Review: A Solid Slab of Windows Phone)

The biggest surprise is that Google actually made them look pretty wearable instead of some futuristic monstrosity that Geordi La Forge might wear in Star Trek: The Next Generation. They’re your standard wraparound glasses with a metal frame, equipped with a clear display that serves as a camera and microphone. Read the rest of this entry »

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The end of American atom smashing

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 2, 2012

Photo from United States Department of Energy

Photo from United States Department of Energy

After a quarter of a century, scientists operating underneath the surface of the Earth today will pull the plug on Tevatron, bringing the massive atom smasher to a screeching halt.

And just like that, another nail is hammered into the coffin for the American scientific community.

Many scientists have touted Tevatron as the most successful atom smasher in the history of physics. Since 1985 it has been operating outside of Chicago, Illinois and its technology has allowed experts to pinpoint some of the building blocks of the universe.

Abroad, however, the Large Hadron Collider, a similar structure underneath the ground at the French/Swiss border, has usurped the Tevatron as the most powerful machine of its type. Its accomplishments since its construction in 2009 have been remarkable, and American investments domestically cannot compete with the research being carried out by the LHC.

In other words, the Tevatron is no match for what lies across the pond and underneath the Earth.

“The machine has discovered what it could discover within its reach,” Gregorio Bernardi tells The Washington Post. Bernardi is a physicist at Fermilab, the Energy Department facilities that has overseen the Tevatron for years.

At 2pm this afternoon, Bernardi will pull the plug on Tevatron. “That will be it,” he tells The Post. “Then we’ll have a big party.”

Other scientists don’t necessarily see a reason to rejoice, however. Read the rest of this entry »

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Space hotel promises 60-million-dollar views

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 29, 2011

Forget the Maldives, the Seychelles or anywhere else – if you are looking for a really exclusive holiday, you should be

looking beyond our planet. A Russian company is building a new hotel in space which is scheduled to open in five years’ time.

And as RT found out, with an astronomical $60-million price tag, a good view is guaranteed. The first-ever hotel floating in space could be the ultimate escape, and according to its creators this is no space fantasy.

“We’ll launch the commercial space station in 2016 and receive our first guests in 2017,” Sergey Kostenko, a CEO at Orbital Technologies, told RT.

Designed to host seven guests at most, it is likely to become the most exclusive boutique hotel in the world. Orbital Technologies assure that it will be far more comfortable than the current International Space Station used by cosmonauts and astronauts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Innovation Shifted To China During The Downturn: U.N. Report

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 16, 2010

“China decided years back that it no longer wants to be the sweatshop of the world. The country’s recent investments in innovation at a time when loans and venture capital were sparse reflect its ambitions to become an innovation-oriented nation by 2020.” We need to wait 10 more years to check this hypothesis.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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