Ossian Tulin

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Paralyzed Rats Walk Again, Now Farther Than Ever

Scientists found that fluctuating the electrical signal to the rodents' paralyzed legs can make them step higher and walk for longer.<p>Like a severed telephone line (from back in the days when phones had wires), a spinal cord injury can cut off communication between the brain and the rest of the body …

This squishy tentacle robot may haunt your dreams, but it could also help you in a disaster

Advertisement<p>0 Comments<p>Credit: Jason Dorfman, CSAIL<p>Robots are metallic and hard, right? Wrong. A new robot built at MIT’s Computer Science and …

Can We Jump-Start A New Space Age?

Jon Morse, former astrophysics division director at NASA, can remember the exact moment he knew things had to change.<p>It was the late spring of 2011. After one particularly long planning meeting, Morse headed to the elevators with some high-ranking budget officials. As they waited for the next car, …

In Bankrupt Detroit, Nature Reclaims Debris Mounds on Vacant Land

Some trash heaps soar to two stories and sprout 30-foot (9-meter) trees.<p>DETROIT—On a bright, breezy morning this summer, Orin Gelderloos, a biologist, climbs a steep hillside through a thicket of trees, flowers, and tall grass. He notes the precipitous ravines and admires the elevated view in the …

Urban Agriculture

Chisel-Toothed Beasts Push Back Origin of Mammals

Jurassic skeletons show that early mammals didn't just hide in the undergrowth.<p>Squirrel-size mammals scampered through the trees above dinosaurs' heads, newfound Chinese fossils show, revising our image of the first furry beasts. Three newly described species suggest that mammals evolved earlier, …

Dinosaurs

Want Your Crops To Survive Extreme Heat and Drought? Add Fungus

The future of agriculture may be plant-fungus symbiosis, writes Issie Lapowsky for WIRED<p>The global population continues to grow, and climate change is already tangibly reducing food harvests. Can agriculture adapt to be both more productive and more resilient?<p>One answer to that question may be "add …

Watch This Squishy Robot Get Run Over By A Car

It flops like a fish, its brain is all bits, and its descendants might rescue kids.<p>The archetypical robot is a man of metal, a harsh mechanical construct contrasted sharply with the soft fleshiness of the humans that built it. A team of engineers, led by Michael T. Tolley of the Harvard …

A Miraculous “Accident of Physics”: Carl Zimmer Explains How Feathers Evolved, Animated

Charles Darwin devoted nearly three chapters of his famed treatise <i>Descent of Man</i> to feathers — one of the most miraculous products of evolution. In his book <b>Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle</b> (<i>public library</i>), conservation biologist <b>Thor Hanson</b> marvels that “nothing competes with feathers …

Human workers will take orders from robots, and they will like it

If science fiction has taught us anything, it’s that once humans start taking commands from robot overseers, we’re in trouble.<p>That’s why researchers at MIT’s artificial intelligence lab expected people to be uncomfortable deferring to a robot to assign them tasks. What they found instead, in an …

Robotics

One Paragraph Cuts Through The Hype Of Robots Taking Your Job

The official schedule for the Jackson Hole economic conference is up, and there have been several papers posted.<p>One very interesting paper comes from MIT professor David Autor, who discusses the potential impact of robots and computers on future employment trends.<p>There's a lot of talk about how …

Machine Learning

This is What Curiosity Looks Like After Two Years On Mars

It’s a little battered and dirty, but still going strong.<p>While the Mars rovers’ drivers sit in relative comfort here on Earth, the rovers themselves do get beat up a bit. In honor of Curiosity’s second anniversary on Mars, <i>The Verge</i> put together a cool story showing the before and after pics of the …

Why movie dinosaurs are nothing like the real thing

Movie dinosaurs are almost as old as cinema itself. But our big screen version of these prehistoric beasts may be very wide of the mark, argues Quentin Cooper.<p>The documentary Dinosaur 13 may be the most accurate film about dinosaurs ever made. It’s also among the most moving, telling how fossil …

Paleontology

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Elon Musk's SpaceX reportedly raising $200 million in funding at $10 billion valuation

The rocket business is booming<p>The company that Elon Musk hopes will some day carry him to Mars has been making big strides in recent months, winning contracts to provide the rockets that ferry public and private satellites and other equipment into space. As NASA looks to limit it new launches and …

SpaceX

Giant crowdfunded darts will search for life on Mars

Is there life on Mars? Curiosity didn't find any, but that's hardly a conclusive answer. In fact, a handful of NASA scientists claim that the US space agency is looking for life in all the wrong places. The Mars rover explored the red planet's dry, irradiated surface: If the planet still hosts …

Watch A Robotic Copter Land On A Moving Platform

Like Voltron, robots will soon need to coordinate landings and docking with absolutely precision in difficult conditions. That’s what a group of researchers have solved by allowing a robot and a movable landing platform to communicate in order to coordinate a perfect landing.<p>As you can see, the …

Neanderthals Lived in Small, Isolated Populations, Gene Analysis Shows

Genetic differences highlight how the path of these ancient humans diverged from ours.<p>Modern humanity's ancient cousins, the Neanderthals, lived in small groups that were isolated from one another, suggests an investigation into their DNA. The analysis also finds that Neanderthals lacked some human …

Owe

Fantastic Fungi: The Startling Visual Diversity of Mushrooms Photographed by Steve Axford | Colossal

<p>To think any one of these lifeforms exists in our galaxy, let alone on our planet, simply boggles the mind. Photographer Steve Axford lives and …

Scientists Are Afraid To Talk About The Robot Apocalypse, And That's A Problem

I thought it'd be a cool story to interview academics and robotics professionals about the popular notion of a robot takeover, but four big names in the area declined to talk to me. A fifth person with robo street cred told me on background that people in the community fear that publicly talking …

Singularity

Japan Wants An All-Robot Event For The 2020 Olympics

According to Agence France-Presse, Abe expressed his interest in hosting an Olympic event specifically for robots as part of the international athletic competition in 2020.<p>"I would like to gather all of the world's robots and aim to hold an Olympics where they compete in technical skills," Abe …

Robotics

Robot furniture that builds itself

Imagine that the chair you're sitting on became a sofa on demand as the day moved from light to dark. Or if all your furnishings could move out of your way as you walk through a room. These thoughts could one day become reality through research being conducted at the Swiss Federal Institute of …

This Company Is Turning The Desert Green — And It Could Radically Change the Future Of Food

To meet the needs of a rapidly growing population, the oil-rich country must rely on imports for about 90% of its food. But there's a radical idea that's growing — against all odds — in the middle of Qatar's vast Arabian Desert.<p>It's called the Sahara Forest Project (SFP for short).<p>SFP was created …

Snorkeling

These Floating Vertical Farms Are Designed To Bring Local Food To The Densest Urban Areas

A system of floating towers could provide more room for agriculture in places where farms won’t fit.<p>As one of the densest countries in the world, with nearly 20,000 people per square mile, Singapore doesn’t really have room for farms. Almost all of the food there is imported from …

A Highly Unusual Way To Encourage Recycling: Vending Machines That Also Feed Stray Dogs

Here’s a new way to get people to recycle: helping out animals who need food.<p>Recently installed in Istanbul, these recycling machines not only take people’s bottles. They also dispense dog food and water at the bottom. They’re from a local company called Pugedon, which offsets the cost of the chow …

Sustainability

NASA’s Next Mars Rover Will Make Oxygen

Changing Planet<p>Illustration shows the suite of instruments that will be on NASA’s Mars 2020 rover. Courtesy: NASA<p><b>Living off the land looks like the key to survival on Mars, so NASA’s next red planet rover will help show the way by brewing up its own oxygen, the space agency announced Thursday. The</b> …

Space

Tiny flying robots are being built to pollinate crops instead of real bees

Honeybees, which pollinate nearly one-third of the food we eat, have been dying at unprecedented rates because of a mysterious phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder (CCD). The situation is so dire that in late June the White House gave a new task force just 180 days to devise a coping …

Robotic Exoskeleton Turns Korean Workers Into Ironman

This suit helps out with the heavy lifting<p>The South Korean company Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering is trying out something new: equipping workers with robotic exoskeletons. Workers are only testing prototypes for now, but future shipbuilders might strap on exoskeletons as easily as they …

1,024 Robots Self-Assemble Into Any Shape You Want

Hi, guys! There sure are a lot of you.<p>How does one charge 1,000 robots? It would be a pain to plug them all in individually. Luckily, there's an easier way with Kilobots. These little robots have round bodies about the diameter of a quarter, with a metal spring on top and three thin metal legs. To …

The best science and technology podcasts

The best science and technology podcasts, from astronomy for beginners to consumer advice, selected and updated by Pete Naughton<p><b>SCIENCE</b><p><b>Hubblecast</b><br>Galactic mergers, the Monkey Head Nebula and an operational time machine are just a few of the stranger-than-science-fiction topics touched upon in this …

Leo Laporte