The World Light Laser can Pave the Way for Radiation Under X-Rays

A scientist at work in the Extreme Light Laboratory at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.The world’s brightest laser — which is so powerful that it can produce light pulses that are 1 billion times brighter than the surface of the sun — can “transform” visible light into X-rays, making the shape and color of objects appear different, new research shows.

These X-rays could be much less harmful than current computed tomography (CT) machines and provide much-higher-resolution images, the researchers said.

In the new study, published online June 26 in the journal Nature Photonics, a team from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln led by physicist Donald Umstadter described an experiment they had conducted using their superpowerful Diocles laser, named after an ancient Greek mathematician. [The 18 Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physics]

When directed onto a beam of electrons, the photons of the laser beam started scattering in a completely different way than when illuminated by weaker light, the researchers found.

“Normally, as you turn up the light brightness with the room light dimmer switch, everything in the room looks the same as

Magic Robot, This Robot is Inspired by Vine Can Grow According to Desired Requests

Robots that mimic ivy vines can grow thousands of times their original lengths at speeds faster than the average person can run, a new study finds.

The new soft, flexible robots could one day be used in tight situations, such as to slither through rubble or snake inside the human body, the scientists said.

Previously, scientists have designed robots that copy the way animals and other organisms move, ranging from jointed legs and flapping wings to slithering bodies and undulating tails. [The 6 Strangest Robots Ever Created]

Besides locomotion — the ability to move from one place to another — cells and organisms can navigate their environments through growth. For example, neurons branch outward to incorporate themselves into limbs, and roots grow downward into the soil to absorb water and nutrients.

Study lead author Elliot Hawkes, a roboticist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was inspired to develop a robot that growsafter “watching an English ivy plant, over the course of months, grow around the corner of my bookshelf seeking the sunlight and thinking that in a certain, very slow way, it was going

LEGO Best Robot for Kids

Toys that teach kids to code are as hot in 2017 as Cabbage Patch Kids were in 1983, and for good reason. For today’s generation of children, learning how to program is even more important than studying a second language. Though there are many robot kits on the market that are designed for this purpose, Lego Boost is the best tech-learning tool we’ve seen for kids. Priced at a very reasonable $159, Boost provides the pieces to build five different robots, along with an entertaining app that turns learning into a game that even preliterate children can master.

Boost comes with a whopping 847 different Lego bricks, along with one motor (which also serves as a dial control on some projects), one light/IR sensor and the Move Hub, a large white and gray brick with two built-in motors that serves as the central processing unit for the robot. The Hub connects to your tablet via Bluetooth, to receive your programming code, and to the other two

NYC to DC in 30 minutes? Elon Musk Verbal Claim OK for Hyperloop

Elon Musk recently announced on Twitter that he had received “verbal government approval” for his Boring Company to build a superfast Hyperloop transit system that would take people from New York to Washington, D.C., in just under 30 minutes.

The extremely rapid transit he’s envisioning will stop in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Musk said in a Twitter post, adding that each of these stops would be at the city center, with about a dozen entry and exit elevators for each city.

In further comments on Twitter, Musk said he would start these projects in parallel with an underground-tunnel-building project in Los Angeles, eventually moving on to a Los Angeles-to-San Francisco Hyperloop route, as well as one in Texas. [In Photos: Building the Superfast ‘Hyperloop One’ Transit System of the Future]

“The Boring Company has had a number of promising conversations with local, state and federal government officials. With a few exceptions, feedback has been very positive and we have received verbal support from key government decision-makers for tunneling plans, including a Hyperloop route from New York to Washington DC. We look forward to future conversations with the cities and states along this

New 3D Computer Chip Using Nanotech that Can Improve Process Power on operating system

A new type of 3D computer chip that combines two cutting-edge nanotechnologies could dramatically increase the speed and energy efficiency of processors, a new study said.

Today’s chips separate memory (which stores data) and logic circuits (which process data), and data is shuttled back and forth between these two components to carry out operations. But due to the limited number of connections between memory and logic circuits, this is becoming a major bottleneck, particularly because computers are expected to deal with ever-increasing amounts of data.

Previously, this limitation was masked by the effects of Moore’s law, which says that the number of transistors that can fit on a chip doubles every two years, with an accompanying increase in performance. But as chip makers hit fundamental physical limits on how small transistors can get, this trend has slowed. [10 Technologies That Will Transform Your Life]

The new prototype chip, designed by engineers from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, tackles both problems simultaneously by layering memory and logic circuits on top of each other, rather than side by side.

Not only does this make efficient use of space, but it also dramatically increases

Advanced Vision Algorithms can Help Robots Learn to See in 3D

Robots are reliable in industrial settings, where recognizable objects appear at predictable times in familiar circumstances. But life at home is messy. Put a robot in a house, where it must navigate unfamiliar territory cluttered with foreign objects, and it’s useless.

Now researchers have developed a new computer vision algorithm that gives a robot the ability to recognize three-dimensional objects and, at a glance, intuit items that are partially obscured or tipped over, without needing to view them from multiple angles.

“It sees the front half of a pot sitting on a counter and guesses there’s a handle in the rear and that might be a good place to pick it up from,” said Ben Burchfiel, a Ph.D. candidate in the field of computer vision and robotics at Duke University.

In experiments where the robot viewed 908 items from a single vantage point, it guessed the object correctly about 75 percent of the time. State-of-the-art computer vision algorithms previously achieved an accuracy of about 50 percent.

Burchfiel and George Konidaris, an assistant professor of computer science at Brown University, presented their research last week at the Robotics: Science and Systems Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Computerized Fabrication Can Change Clothing Into Fitness Tracker

Counting your steps used to be an activity restricted to OCD sufferers, but with the advent of smart phones and fitness trackers, it’s easy to keep track of precisely how many strides you take in a week, or a day, or an hour.

New technology out of Harvard promises to make this kind of tracking even more accurate and ubiquitous. A team of researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have developed a stretchy fabric-based sensor that can detect and transmit data on a wide range of human movement. The highly sensitive capacitor technology could be incorporated into the next generation of smart apparel, in which your clothing doubles as a digital device.

Put another way: Your shirt could be your next computer.

Working with colleagues at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the research team set out to find a replacement for the hard and inflexible materials used in most wearable computing systems today — think fitness bands, clip-on pedometers, etc. By incorporating computing elements into the fabric itself, the researchers hope to kick start a whole new class of light, flexible, and truly wearable computing systems.

The Harvard technology

Will the High Textured Tail Help Phelps Beat the Great White Shark?

Michael Phelps is going to race a great white shark, and marine biologists are betting on the shark. The ultimate reason boils down to physics.

To get a leg (or tail) up during Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” episode, Phelps will wear a custom-made mechanical fin on his feet that mimic’s a great white’s tail.

This so-called monofin, made by Lunocet, displaces water more efficiently than human feet do, and it should add several miles per hour to Phelps’ speed, according to the company. [See Photos of Great White Sharks Breaching the Water’s Surface]

When the great white shark swims, it uses its crescent moon-shaped tail, which is buttressed by a caudal keel, to push it forward, fast, according to experts on the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” episode.

Brooke Flammang, assistant professor of biological sciences at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, told Live Science via email that any aquatic animal that has a tail will move it back and forth to generate thrust — fish vertically and whales horizontally. As the tail gets to the end of the stroke, it changes direction. That change in direction generates a vortex, pushing

Company Offers Free Microchipping for Workers

Free spin classes, extra vacation days, nap rooms, egg-freezing … cyborg implants?

While tech companies compete to provide the most luxurious perks to lure employees, one company is heading into sci-fi territory by offering its employees “free microchipping” – totally optional, company representatives said. The company, Three Square Market (32M), will provide the microchipping service, which normally costs $300, on Aug. 1,according to a statement.

The cyborg implant will allow employees the opportunity to log in to computers, open doors and use the copy machine without having to rely on analog alternatives like fingers and brains to accomplish those tasks.

The company expects about 50 employees to be chipped, according to the statement. While the program is voluntary, the company was apparently inspired by a European company, BioHax International, and sees microchipping its employees as a way to lead by example — the company anticipates such chips will fuel micropayments in the future and help its mobile-checkout technology grow, according to the statement.

“We foresee the use of RFID technology to drive everything from making purchases in our office break room market, opening doors, use of copy machines, logging into our office computers, unlocking

This New Phone Using Small Strength, No Battery Required

Imagine being out and about, only to realize that your phone’s battery life is running dangerously low and there’s nowhere nearby to charge it. Now imagine how liberating it could feel to not have to worry about that. A new cellphone prototype could one day provide such relief because it doesn’t need a battery at all, according to a new study.

The phone, a voice call-only device, is by no means the sexiest cell on the block — the calls crackle and the phone only works within a stone’s throw of a computer that serves as a sort of cell tower. But how does the device work without a battery?

The cellphone requires such little power — only a few microwatts rather than the 100 microwatts a smartphone uses for voice calls —  that the power it does need can be collected from the environment, according to the researchers. A tiny photodiode, smaller than an adult’s pinky nail, collects ambient light while a radio frequency harvester makes it possible to use energy sent out wirelessly from a homemade cell tower, called a base station. [Top 10 Disruptive Technologies]

To make even such a simple-sounding phone

Butterflies with Optical Wings can Help Create Holograms of Light and Real

Holograms have long captured the public’s imagination. Whether it’s Star Wars fans dreaming of holographic messages and chess games, concertgoers standing in awe before a resurrected Tupac Shakur, or theholographic future envisioned in the upcoming Blade Runner 2049, the hologram concept seems to offer something for everyone.

But despite the development of modern, laser-based hologram technology since the 1960s, the only holograms most of us encounter today are the blurry security images on our credit cards or the occasional dimly lit display in a science museum.

Now a team of engineers from the University of Utah claims to have developed a game-changing technology that can cheaply create photorealistic 3D holograms that are viewable with nothing more than a flashlight. In a paper published in Scientific Reports, the researchers explain how they used complex 3D nanostructures to produce holograms with the kind of rich colors and bright display that may one day make sophisticated holograms an everyday reality.

To understand how today’s hologram technology works, it’s helpful to compare it to regular photographs. A photographic camera uses lenses and a natural light source to record the light emitted from a scene on a photographic medium. The

The upcoming solar eclipse is an opportunity to prove Einstein’s right

For some skywatchers, the upcoming total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 is more than just a chance to catch a rare sight of the phenomenon in the United States. It’s also an opportunity to duplicate one of the most famous experiments of the 20th century, which astrophysicist Arthur Eddington performed in an attempt to prove that light could be bent by gravity, a central tenet of Albert Einstein’s theory of general theory.

Amateur astronomer Don Bruns is among those hoping to re-do the experiment. “I thought of it about two years ago. I thought, surely, other people have done it,” he told Live Science. “But no one had done it since 1973,” Bruns said, when a team from the University of Texas went to Mauritania for the solar eclipse on June 30 of that year.

The group ran into technical problems, though, and could not confirm Eddington’s results with much accuracy. Other attempts — such as one made for an eclipse on Feb. 25, 1952, in Khartoum by the National Geographic Society — fared somewhat better. [10 Solar Eclipses That Changed Science]

In 1915, Einstein published his theory of general relativity, which states that light

Swarms of Cicada Drones Can Help to Research the Storm

Researchers are developing a tiny, gliding drone that can be dropped from airplanes to gather data directly from hurricanes, and these teensy machines share a name with a noisy spring-emerging insect.

Close-in Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft MK5, or CICADA, is “essentially a flying circuit board,” an autonomous, GPS-controlled drone so inexpensive to make that it would be considered disposable after a single use, representatives of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)said in a statement.

Unlike its noisy insect namesake, CICADA is exceedingly quiet — with no motor, it is silent and virtually undetectable in the air, NRL officials said in 2015. CICADA’s latest prototype, with a flattened wing and body design, make it easy to stack the individual “micro” aircraft, so that large numbers of CICADAs could be deployed at the same time from an airborne vehicle. This would enable scientists to distribute sensors and collect data across large areas of the sky, according to the NRL. [8 Ways Animal Flight Inspires Drone Designs]

The craft’s design lends it a glide ratio of 3.5 to 1, which means that it flies forward 3.5 feet (1.1 meters) for every foot (0.3 m) of descent, the NRL

Self-Destructing Materials Can Make Vanishing Ink

Scientists have created a new material that simply self-destructs at a specific time. The process, which takes inspiration from the way life uses and reuses molecules, could pave the way for materials that don’t need to be recycled, but instead would simply disintegrate at an appointed time. The finding could lead to various products, including structures for drug delivery, transplant anchors and vanishing ink.

The secret behind these self-destructing molecules is that they would require a tiny input of energy to stay in their useful form — without it, they … poof.

“They are materials that don’t want to be that type of material. They’d rather be the original building blocks,” said study co-author Job Boekhoven, a chemist at the Technical University of Munich in Germany. “They’d rather fall apart and be nothing.” [Biomimicry: 7 Cool Technologies Inspired by Nature]

When humans are done with an object, they toss it in a landfill, where it will very, very slowly break down; or they burn it to ash; or they recycle its materials by extensively processing them and then returning them to the supply chain. All these methods waste a

How Can Futuristic Laser Weapons US Navy Use Old-School Phone Tech

The U.S. Navy’s recent demonstration of its new laser weapon, designed to blast enemy drones out of the sky, proves that these systems no longer solely exist in the world of science fiction. But how do these so-called directed-energy weapons work?

The idea for laser weapons has been around for at least a century; the writer H.G. Wells even imagined “heat rays” in his 1897 novel “War of the Worlds.” Lasers, though, are a demonstration of several technologies and even physics that didn’t exist or wasn’t known until the 1960s — and in some cases, later than that.

In part, the initial drive to build laser weapons wasn’t to make ray guns — it was to help people make phone calls. It wasn’t until fiber optics and cheap laser diodes became available that this technology could be used to build weapons, according to experts. [7 Technologies That Transformed Warfare]

“We could build powerful lasers in the past, but they weren’t small enough or powerful enough to be tactically deployed,” said Robert Afzal, a senior fellow in laser and sensor systems at Lockheed Martin, one of several companies that has been developing laser weapons for the

Does Biology Explain Gender Disparity in Tech?

A Google employee recently published an anti-diversity manifesto on an internal discussion board that has gone viral and stirred furious debate both inside and outside the company.

In the essay, James Damore claimed that differences in the number of women and men in tech companies such as Google can be largely explained by biological differences, rather than sexism. As a result, some diversity efforts aimed at increasing the representation of women and other minorities are discriminatory against men, he argued. (After the memo went public, Google fired Damore for perpetuating gender stereotypes, Reuters reported.)

But what does science have to say about the biological differences between men and women, and how do they affect the gender gap in tech?

“It would be foolish to say there are no biological differences between men and women,” said Margaret McCarthy, a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland who studies gender differences in the brain. “Sex is the most potent of all biological variables.” [Men vs. Women: Our Key Physical Differences Explained]

However, pinning the lack of women in tech to biological differences is on much shakier ground, when socialization or sexism are much likelier explanations, several experts

How Do You Make The Same Robot?

Which robot do you find easier to like — “Iron Man” Tony Stark’s efficient helper J.A.R.V.I.S., or the error-prone Dummy, which fumbled with kitchen equipment and sprayed an exasperated Stark with fire-extinguishing foam?

You might think a robot would be more likely to win people over if it were good at its job. But according to a recent study, people find imperfect robots more likable.

In previous studies, researchers noticed that human subjects reacted differently to robots that made unplanned errors in their tasks. For their new investigation, the study authors programmed a small, humanoid robot to deliberately make mistakes so the scientists could learn more about how that fallibility affected the way people responded to the bots. They also wanted to see how these social cues might provide opportunities for robots to learn from their experiences[Super-Intelligent Machines: 7 Robotic Futures]

The researchers found that people liked the error-prone robot more than the error-free one, and that they responded to the robot’s mistakes with social signals that robots could possibly be trained to recognize, in order to modify future behavior.

For the study, 45 human subjects — 25 men and 20 women — were

How To Deal With Nuclear Attack?

North Korea has successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead that could be fitted onto an intercontinental ballistic missile, and has now threatened to attack Guam, a U.S. territory, according to several news reports.

In response, President Donald Trump used some apocalyptic rhetoric of his own.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, according to news reports. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” [7 Strange Facts About North Korea]

The saber rattling has raised concerns about the possibility of a nuclear attack on U.S. soil and heightened fears of doomsday. But is a global nuclear winter just around the corner?

While the effects of a detonation on American soil would certainly be scary and could set off a larger global catastrophe, one nuclear attack in itself isn’t a certain death sentence, as many people assume, said Michael May, a professor emeritus at the Engineering-Economic Systems and Operations Research Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.

In addition, survival rates depend on whether the weapons are deployed by

Last Day to Order Eclipse Glass from Amazon

We’re just days away from the Great American Eclipse, a total solar eclipse viewable along a swath of the United States and one we won’t witness again until 2024. But as excited as we are about the upcoming eclipse, one should never look at a partial solar eclipse without proper eye protection.

For skywatchers buying their eclipse glasses via Amazon, today is the last day you can order glasses via ground shipping with delivery in time for the Aug. 21 event. (Prime members can of course still get deliveries in as little as two days, though we recommend ordering sooner rather than later to ensure they arrive on time.)

Amazon still has a wide selection of eclipse glasses available, but remember to buy glasses that have been approved by the American Astronomical Society (AAS). These glasses (see list below) effectively block harmful radiation from the sun, which in turn protects your eyes from any potential damage. (If you’re up for a project, you can also make your own solar eclipse viewer as a backup.)

The AAS has published a list of reputable vendors they recommend. Alternatively, you can also browse through our buying guide of eclipse glasses and gear with price

Very Difficult Neutrino Detected in Interactions that Never Seen

Forty-three years ago, theoretical physicist Daniel Freedman predicted that neutrinos, the little-understood and elusive particles that travel through all types of matter, can, under certain circumstances, interact in a way that would make them much easier to detect. Now, for the first time, an international research team has proved the phenomenon, called coherent scattering, experimentally with the world’s smallest neutrino detector.

The results could pave the way for major advances in neutrino researchand novel technologies for monitoring nuclear reactors, the scientists said.

“It has been kind of a holy grail in neutrino physics,” Juan Collar, a professor of experimental physics at the University of Chicago told Live Science. [The 18 Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physics]

Collar is one of 80 researchers from 19 institutions and four nations involved in the new study, which was published online Aug. 3 in thejournal Science. “For 40 years, we have tried to measure this process. I have myself tried with other technologies at least twice before, and a lot of other people have tried, and we have been failing,” Collar said.

Typically, neutrino detectors weigh thousands of tons, but Collar and his colleagues built a novel detector that