UN Will Take on ‘Killer Robots’ in 2017

December 24, 2016

Good news, fellow humans: The United Nations has decided to take on killer robots. At the international Convention on Conventional Weapons in Geneva, 123 participating nations voted to initiate official discussions on the danger of lethal autonomous weapons systems. That’s the emerging designation for so-called “killer robots” — weapons controlled by artificial intelligence that can target and strike without human intervention. The agreement is the latest development in a growing movement…


Could an Earthquake ‘Invisibility Cloak’ Shield Buildings from Damage?

December 16, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO – Earthquake cloaks, or huge arrays of precisely drilled holes and trenches in the ground, could — at least in theory — protect important structures like nuclear power plants from powerful seismic waves, researchers say. The array of holes, drilled at specific angles and depths, would extend sometimes hundreds of feet and scatter earthquake waves like pinballs, according to the scientists. The idea is still highly speculative, requires…


How Lasers and a Goggle-Wearing Parrot Could Aid Flying Robot Designs

December 7, 2016

A barely visible fog hangs in the air in a California laboratory, illuminated by a laser. And through it flies a parrot, outfitted with a pair of tiny, red-tinted goggles to protect its eyes. As the bird flaps its way through the water particles, its wings generate disruptive waves, tracing patterns that help scientists understand how animals fly. In a new study, a team of scientists measured and analyzed the…


3D Printed Laughs

December 5, 2016

Are you a chortler? What about guffaws, giggles or hyena laughs? If you have the best laugh, whatever the joyful sound, it could end up getting turned into a 3D-printed sculpture sent into space. Israeli artist and computer programmer Eyal Gever is leading this collaborative project called #Laugh. Six years ago the 3-D manufacturing company Made In Space offered Gever the opportunity to become the first artist to create a piece in…


Avalanche: Online crime network hit in global operation

December 2, 2016

One of the world’s biggest networks of hijacked computers has been dismantled after a four-year investigation, the EU law enforcement agency Europol says. The Avalanche network was used to target online bank customers with phishing and spam emails, it adds. More than a million emails were sent per week with malicious files or links. When users opened them, their infected computers became part of the network. Five people have been…


US Military Develops ‘Multi-Object Kill Vehicle’ to Blast Enemy Nukes

December 1, 2016

Defensive weapons that can intercept and destroy enemy missiles before they can harm the United States or its allies have been a key part of military strategy for decades, but the rules of the game are changing. More countries have or are developing long-range missile technology, including systems that can carry multiple warheads, known as Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) and/or decoys. “Both China and Russia possess the MIRV…


Sweat Detectors? Tiny Sensors Use Perspiration to Track Health

November 29, 2016

Imagine if taking a snapshot of your health were as easy as slapping a sticker on your skin. A new study finds that a tiny adhesive sensor can read what’s going on in your body based on your sweat, and relay information about your well-being wirelessly to a smartphone. This type of wearable sensor could work as an alternative to blood tests to assess people’s health one day, according to…


VR Comes to Google Earth and It Looks Awesome

November 19, 2016

Google Earth has always been cool. Through the interactive mapping platform we’ve been able to travel all over the world with just a click of a button. But now with the VR revolution it’s just hit atmospheric heights of cool. Up until now Google Earth has been pretty straightforward. You start off with a view of the globe and by clicking on different points of the earth and zooming in…


MacBook Pro review: Touch Bar and sheer power make it hard to resist

November 17, 2016

    Apple’s latest laptops are Pro models, the company’s more powerful and more expensive notebooks. Since the day Apple launched the laptops in Cupertino (27 October), I’ve been trying out the various models: first, the entry-level 13-inch version with conventional function keys and more recently the two other siblings in the family, a 13-inch and a 15-inch laptop, both with the radical new Touch Bar instead of function keys….