Atlas – The Butler Robot

Atlas – The Butler Robot

I was doing some digging for a draft I a working about robots and happened on this TechCrunch article. As the article states he is likely too expensive to actually end up in my living room but the video sure demonstrates how versitile this humanoid robot is.

Watch Atlas Clean House

Meet The Real Robocop – The Knightscope K5

The Knightscope K5 – A Real World Robocop

Autonomous Data Machines – “Predict and Prevent Crime”

While Detroit may erect a statue of the Robocop from the movies, other locations are soon deploying Knightscope K5 robots. While the machine looks like a cross between R2D2 and a conehead, the 300-pound robot is designed to be a huge asset to law enforcement. In my opinion, it certainly looks large enough to be a deterrent. Just knowing that it is following and monitoring you would make one think twice.  It is intended to be a supplemental tool to law enforcement and not a replacement to human officers.

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2016.01.10 – Lumpy’s Links

Lumpy’s Links for 2016.01.10

Here they are:

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Another Year End Wrap Up Blog Post- Science and Tech

Another Year End Wrap Up Blog Post- Science and Tech

Seems that many blogs are doing wrap ups. There also a good number of end of the year science and technology stories. So I figured “what the heck?”.

As 2015 ends and 2016 begins, I have a good number of stories in my “Saved for Later” folder in my Feedly account. I thought I would start out 2016 by cleaning it up a bit and sharing them.  These items are about science and tech.

Black Holes

Black Hole in the universe
Black Hole in the universe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the name implies, nothing in our universe can escape the super-high gravity, not even light. This also means that gaining any information about what happens beyond the “event horizon”, the point where the gravitational escape velocity exceeds the speed of light, is impossible. Or is it? An article at Sciencemag.org discusses just how physicst are attemting to tackle the problem. While in the category of not-warm-fuzzy-nice physics, the concept is simple, quantum math must balance out. The issue is how to figure out what happens after the event horizon based on what happens before. Black holes “evaporate” and well, like I said not all warm and fuzzy:

Physicists think they have a way out. In 1974, British theorist Stephen Hawking argued that black holes can radiate particles and energy. Thanks to quantum uncertainty, empty space roils with pairs of particles flitting in and out of existence. Hawking realized that if a pair of particles from the vacuum popped into existence straddling the black hole’s boundary then one particle could fly into space, while the other would fall into the black hole. Carrying away energy from the black hole, the exiting Hawking radiation should cause a black hole to slowly evaporate. Some theorists suspect information reemerges from the black hole encoded in the radiation—although how remains unclear as the radiation is supposedly random.

And it even gets less friendly after that, attempting use quantum teleportation to dechiper it further. While it is not easy to follow, it certainly is the closest thing we have to real life Star Trek. It is fascinating. While it is something you should read carefully, the story of quantum partners Alice and Bob offers a good explanation. It is worth the read and mental wrestle.

Why String Theory is not Science

I was lucky enough to have Jearl Walker as my physics in college. He is currently the only active author on the best-selling college textbook on physics. I recall saying something to the effect of “all string theory has done is ruin a lot of careers”…

This article at Forbes does a good job at explaining why string theory falls short.

Remember Yutu?

I am a bit of a space buff. I do remember Yutu. It is the Chinese rover which, after 2 years, is still roving the Moon. While it hasn’t roved much due to system problems, it holds the record for the longest operational lunar rover. This rover still can explore the area nearby and has discovered a new type of Moon rock.

Processing Light

Relation between the refractive index and the ...
Relation between the refractive index and the density of silicate and borosilicate glasses. “Calculation of the Refractive Index of Glasses”. Statistical Calculation and Development of Glass Properties . . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Almost all of us want faster computers. While quantum computers are one way to go. Another is to use something faster than electrons. How about photons? In our universe, nothing travels faster than light. Therefore, it is the fastest possible way to transport date.

Earlier this year, in one of my Lumpy’s Links posts, I mentioned a a CMOS chip that can process light.

In theory, the speed of light is constant. In practice, light seems to slow down as it passes through materials, water is one such substance. How much it seems to slow is determined by the material’s refractive index. In short, the wavelength of the light is “squished” by the material. The fact that light does not actually slow down is not relevant to this topic. What matters is that the speed of the data transfer would slow.

The closer a refractive index is to zero, the faster light seems to move through the material. Now we return to the not so warm and fuzzy physics. When a refractive index of zero is reached, light moves only across space and not time. In short, the light now appears to move infinitly fast. Scientists have created such a material.

A New Mesh for Cleaning Oil Spills

Despite the push for alternative energies, we are still heavily dependent on oil. Despite being careful, we still spill oil. Oil spills are extremely expensive to clean up. Engineers at Ohio State University have developed an oil repelant mesh can filter oil-poluted water for as low as one dollar per square foot.

Medical Tech Advances – Two New Bandages

Being a former medic, I understand the importance of bandages. The right bandage at the right time can be the difference between life and death.

Many of our current civilian life-saving techniques and devices were developed either on, via necessary improvisation, or for the battlefield. This is the case for my first bandage. It isn’t actually a bandage but it is certainly a lifesaver.

Gunshot and shrapnel wounds are, in most neighborhoods, uncommon in the civilian world. Unfortunately, they are common in combat zones. These types of wounds often cause massive blood loss and if not treated immediately are fatal. If the wound is in a location where a tourniquet can not be used, it must be “plugged”. Then dressings are applied over the wound, now packed with dressing. The dressings are applied over top each other as the blood saturates the dressing below. The reason the medic applies the dressings on top of each other is to monitor the amount of blood lost. This gives the surgeons information as to how much blood was lost.

A new type of syringe developed for battlefield first aid. This syringe has now been approved by the FDA for civilian use. The Xstat syringe injects sponges into the wound. Each injection absorbs the blood and plugs the wound within 20 seconds.

Another nifty development in bandages also surfaced in 2015. While special bandages infused with various medicines have been around for a while, this smart bandage for burns takes it to the next level. Check out the video below.

A Smart Bandage for Burns

While I dind’t completely clean out that folder, I put a good dent in the science tech items. Thanks for reading, feel free to comment and share. Finally I hope you all have an excellent 2016.

Disney’s Wall Climbing Robot

Disney Hits Us with More Magic – A Wall Climbing Robot

A wall climbing robot?  I am one of the people who is looking forward to more robots in our society. Disney has created something really awesome! Check out Disney’s wall climbing robot, dubbed VertiGo,  in the video after the break. Not only does this robot climb walls but it gets on the wall by itself!

As the Paul Beardsley, Disney research scientist, states in the article at Boing! Boing! he is not at liberty to go into all the details about Disney’s plans for the bot, but it takes little imagination to imagine how it could be used with lights and/or cameras on it.

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A 50 Caliber Mouse Trap

Serious Overkill – A 50 Caliber Mouse Trap

Gizmodo brought this crazy contraption to my attention. I tend to disagree with the Gizmodo headline stating that it is “probably overkill”.  It totally is overkill. Like bringing a shoulder launch missile to an archery tournament. Check out the image below.

50 Caliber Mouse Trap
50 Caliber Mouse Trap

While you may think this is some type of joke, it is not.  Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this device is that someone was serious enough about it to file a patent on the “animal trap”. (That is where I got the picture from.)

Personally, I have a hard enough time baiting a regular mouse trap. I end up tripping the things when I go to place them. I would be afraid of a fatal “oops” in this case.

A Real Hoverboard

A Real McFly Hoverboard

English: A Hoverboard (or hover board) is a fi...
English: A Hoverboard (or hover board) is a fictional hovering board used for personal transportation Français : Le Hoverboard est un skateboard volant du futur (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week, I tweeted about a Gizmodo post about how hover boards are ruining Christmas. The equation often boils down to:

(alcohol) + (festive spirit) + (hoverboard) == (hospital visit)

It seems that the hoverboards are the chic and en vogue way to “crash and burn”. If the exploding batteries don’t get you, your lack of balance may be all needed to lead you to your demise.

With that said, it might be well and good that the much more Marty McFly hoverboard in the video below is likely vaporware.

A Real Hoverboard?

The article I discovered this at states that due to many limitations, this particular device will likely end up as vaporware. However, it also mentions that Lexus has also created another impractical attempt. I still think it would be awesome if we could actually develope such a device. While it may be somewhat dangerous, it is the closest thing we would have to a flying carpet.