Boston Dynamics’ New Jumping Robot is Terrifying

KS TechnologyBoston Dynamics is at it again! Who is Boston Dynamics? Glad you asked. Boston Dynamics builds crazy advanced robots with amazing abilities. They are mobile, agile, fast, and completely mind-blowing. We’ve seen them march through rough snowy terrain, race like cheetahs, beg like dogs, and now – roll and leap over tables.

I’d like to introduce you to Handle, the new research robot that has wheels and legs. It is truly an evolutionary marvel. See for yourself:

Boston Dynamics: “Handle is a research robot that stands 6.5 ft tall, travels at 9 mph and jumps 4 feet vertically. It uses electric power to operate both electric and hydraulic actuators, with a range of about 15 miles on one battery charge.

Handle uses many of the same dynamics, balance and mobile manipulation principles found in the quadruped and biped robots we build, but with only about 10 actuated joints, it is significantly less complex. Wheels are efficient on flat surfaces while legs can go almost anywhere: by combining wheels and legs Handle can have the best of both worlds.”

These robots could be used to patrol warehouses or provide security. The options are endless (and potentially scary). Boston Dynamics is trusted by organizations worldwide, including DARPA, the US Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Even companies like Sony Corporation look to Boston Dynamics for advice and guidance when building the most sophisticated robots on the planet. DROP THE ROBOT MIC!


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Boston Dynamics’ New Jumping Robot is Terrifying

Doctors Pull Live Cockroach From a Woman’s ‘Crawling’ Skull

KS Strange Science

A 42-year-old woman named Selvi was fast asleep when she felt something wriggle up her nostril. She went to brush it away from her nose, but it was too late. The intruder was already inside. This story is literally my nightmare. 😵

cockroaches

The weird feeling around her nose and eyes that night was extremely painful. According to Selvi, “I could not explain the feeling but I was sure it was some insect. There was a tingling, crawling sensation. Whenever it moved, it gave me a burning sensation in my eyes. I spent the entire night in discomfort, sitting up and waiting for dawn to go to Stanley hospital after getting the reference of a doctor from my employer.”

Doctors couldn’t believe what they found. After a nasal endoscopy, they discovered a live full-grown cockroach sitting at the base of her skull, between her eyes, near her brain. They had never seen anything like it before.

It took the ‘rescue team’ roughly 45 minutes to remove the squirming insect from Selvi’s skull using suction and clamps. The craziest part? They got it on video:

Doctors were relieved the cockroach was alive. According to The New Indian Express, if the cockroach had died, it could have caused a massive brain infection.


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Doctors Pull Live Cockroach From a Woman’s ‘Crawling’ Skull

10 Mind Blowing Images of This Week’s Supermoon

space-newsIn case you missed it, this week’s supermoon was epic! On November 13 and 14, sky gazers were treated to the biggest and brightest supermoon in almost 70 years. A supermoon refers to a full moon that falls on a night when the moon is closest in its orbit around the Earth, making it appear almost 30% bigger.

We aren’t going to see another one this spectacular until 2034. Lucky for us, eager space lovers around the globe stopped to take pictures. Enjoy! 🌔


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VIDEO: Enormous Sunfish Dwarfs Nearby Divers

KS_LOGOs2_UnderwaterRare footage of a gigantic sunfish shot in September of 2013 has gone viral – again. I can see why! This crazy video shows a huge sunfish slowly emerging from the deep, surrounded by divers that look tiny in comparison. 🐟

Sunfish, or Mola, are the heaviest of all the bony fish, with large specimens reaching 14 feet (4.2 meters) vertically and 10 feet (3.1 meters) horizontally and weighing nearly 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms). But don’t worry, they are harmless to humans despite their impressive size. They’d rather snack on jellyfish.

This amazing video was captured on film by photographer Miguel Pereira off the coast of Portugal. He was left in awe by his experience. “When diving with a GoPro I saw the giant sunfish almost at surface level and practically static. The sunfish seemed not to be bothered by our presence at all and followed us for 15 minutes,” Pereira explained.

sunfishpic

The original Facebook post already has more than 4.5 million views. I have to admit, it is pretty hard to look away from. Share this crazy video with your friends!


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VIDEO: Enormous Sunfish Dwarfs Nearby Divers

12 Crazy Pangolin Facts: Meet the World’s Most Hunted Animal

KS Strange ScienceI had never heard of a pangolin before last week. What did I learn? These incredible creatures are the most hunted animal on the planet. They are also totally bizarre.

I’ve seen them described as medieval anteaters, modern-dinosaurs, walking pinecones, artichokes with legs, nature’s backhoe and armored Pokemon. Let’s go ahead and talk about why pangolins are so awesome (and weird).

pangolincute

Pangolins are the most trafficked animal on the planet, which is why they need our protection. There are eight species of pangolin spread over two continents, Africa and Asia. All eight species range from Vulnerable to Critically endangered.

Their bodies are covered in heavy scales, which is one of the reasons they are traded illegally. According to CNN, “pangolins are trafficked by the thousands for their scales, which are boiled off their bodies for use in traditional medicine; for their meat, which is a high-end delicacy in China; and for their blood, which is seen as a healing tonic.

Last Wednesday, 182 nations of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) unanimously agreed to a total ban on international trade on all species of pangolin – a decision that received much praise around the world.

12 CRAZY PANGOLIN FACTS!

pangolin

1) Pangolins walk awkwardly on their hind legs, using their tail for balance.

2) When pangolins are frightened they curl up into a tiny, strong roly poly ball.

3) Even big cats in the wild have no idea what to do with them…

pangolinlions

4) Pangolins don’t have any teeth. Instead, they use their sticky tongue to eat insects.

5) A pangolins tongue can be longer than its body.

6) Speaking of insects, pangolins can consume more than 70 million ants a year.

7) Baby pangolins are carried on their mother’s tail or back.

pangolinbaby

8) 20% of a pangolin’s weight is comprised of scales.

9) More than 10,000 pangolins are trafficked illegally each year.

10) Pangolins ears and nose have special valves that close when ants attack.

11) The pangolin’s large scales are made of keratin, like our nails.

12) Nobody knows how many pangolins are left or how long they live.

Sources: The Telegraph, World Wildlife Fund, World Pangolin Day & Nat Geo Wild.


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12 Crazy Pangolin Facts: Meet the World’s Most Hunted Animal

MIT’s Otter-Inspired Wetsuits May Change the Surfing Game

KS_LOGOs2_UnderwaterBeavers and sea otters are known for having this amazing fur that traps air when they dive underwater, helping to keep their little blubber-less bodies warm. This is what inspired MIT engineers to create a fur-like rubbery pelt. They wanted to figure out how these mammals star warm and even dry while diving in and out of icy waters.

mitwetsuit

The Plan: Make precise, fur-like surfaces of various dimensions, dunk the surfaces in liquid at different speeds, and use video imaging to measure the air that is trapped in the fur during each each dive.

“We are particularly interested in wetsuits for surfing, where the athlete moves frequently between air and water environments,” says Anette (Peko) Hosoi, a professor of mechanical engineering and associate head of the department at MIT. “We can control the length, spacing, and arrangement of hairs, which allows us to design textures to match certain dive speeds and maximize the wetsuit’s dry region.” 

The team at MIT made several molds by laser-cutting thousands of tiny holes in small acrylic blocks. Each mold was altered, varying in size and the spacing of individual hairs. The molds were then filled with a soft casting rubber.

Researchers mounted each hairy piece of rubber and submerged them in silicone oil. They chose oil so they could better observe any air pockets forming.

Results: The team learned that the spacing of individual hairs, and the speed at which they were plunged, played a large role in determining how much air a surface could trap. Surfaces with denser fur, plunged at higher speeds, generally retained more air within the hairs.

So, what does this mean? If you’ve ever worn a wetsuit you know they can be heavy and hard to move around in. Let’s pretend a wetsuit is made out of this fabricated hairy material, using air for insulation instead of soggy rubber. The bio-inspired wetsuit would be lightweight and behave better in water.

Can you imagine? Light, warm, furry wetsuits? I’m in! 🏄

The results were published in the journal Physical Review Fluids. You can view the study here -along with some pretty epic charts, diagrams, and photos. 


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MIT’s Otter-Inspired Wetsuits May Change the Surfing Game

Crazy Cronzy Pen Puts Over 16 Million Colors in Your Pocket

KS Technology

The amazing new crowdfunded Cronzy pen might be the only pen you’ll ever need. The high-tech art tool lets you draw with all of the colors of the world – over 16 million shades! All you have to do is scan an item and the pen turns the chosen color into ink. Or, you can make a selection from the Cronzy app.

Cronzy Pen Illustration

How does it work? Let’s take a look at the schematics. It contains actual ink cartridges that mix colors based on the scanned input.

Cronzy Pen Schematics

‘With the help of apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, you will be able to: Select the desired color and its shade; Save frequently used and favourite scanned colors on your device; Share interesting colors in social networks.’ – Cronzy

Cronzy has almost reached its goal of $200,000 on Indiegogo, with a little over a week left to raise the funds. Want to own a Cronzy pen? They currently come in two colors – black & silver – and cost around $200.


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Crazy Cronzy Pen Puts Over 16 Million Colors in Your Pocket

Palm-Sized Soft Octopus Robot Farts Its Way into Your Heart

KS TechnologyPeople creating robots that resemble nature is nothing new, but engineers at Harvard University have made something spectacular – a completely soft bodied Octobot with zero batteries or wires that uses gas (and farts) to move. 🐙

robopus

Scientists made this adorable tiny bot by pouring silicone gels of varying stiffness into an octopus mold. A 3D printer finishes the legs. At its heart is a tiny circuit board like controller which ultimately controls its movements.

Wanna hear the fun part? The Octobot moves completely on its own, powered by gas. The controller at the bot’s center shunts liquid hydrogen peroxide through platinum reaction chambers in the legs, turning the fluid fuel into gas. The gas flows through the ‘tentacles’ and inflates the compartments inside the eight limbs.

The blueprint for this soft, autonomous robot was published in the journal Nature.

Figure 1: Fully soft, autonomous robot assembly - Nature
Figure 1: Fully soft, autonomous robot assembly – Nature

All that gas has to go somewhere! The team gave the robot small orifices so the gas has a place to escape. This makes sure the Octobot doesn’t burst leaving an ugly mess.

Now, I don’t want you thinking this little soft robot is running around the lab farting its way into the history books. According to the BBC, the circuit sets up an alternating movement, inflating four limbs at a time. So it is more of a twitching movement than a walking demonstration. But still very cool!

This exciting technology could pave the way toward more effective soft robots that could be used in search and rescue, exploration and to more safely interact with the fleshy world of humans.


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Palm-Sized Soft Octopus Robot Farts Its Way into Your Heart

NASA Makes Contact with Missing Spacecraft After Nearly 2 Years of Silence

space-newsNASA made contact with one of its missing spacecraft Sunday night, over 22 months after researchers lost communication. The long-lost spacecraft, known as STEREO-B, is one half of NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory mission.

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

The other half of the mission involves spacecraft STEREO-A. Both probes were launched in October 2006, tasked with studying the sun from different vantage points and reporting back to Earth. The mission was only scheduled to last two years, but the STEREOs have lasted longer than expected. STEREO-A has continued to operate on its mission to study the sun.

After a massive search, contact was reestablished on Aug. 21, 2016 – nearly two years after losing communication on Oct. 1, 2014. NASA’s Deep Space Network, or DSN, established a lock on the STEREO-B downlink carrier at 6:27 p.m.

Credits: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
Credits: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

What happened to STEREO-B? According to NASA, the two STEREOs slowly drifted away from Earth as they orbited the sun, one ahead and one behind our home planet. This gave scientists awesome views of the sun’s far side – allowing us for the first time to see the whole sun at once!

Unfortunately, the same slow drift that gave NASA incredible images also pulled each spacecraft to the other side of the sun from Earth. This lead to a three-month period where communication was impossible due to the sun’s interference.

The STEREO spacecraft were designed with a command loss timer, an automatic reset button that restarts the spacecraft after 72 hours without contact. The hard reset happened as expected, 72 hours and 20 minutes after operators stopped communications with the spacecraft. After the reset, STEREO-B was supposed to power itself back on, but it gave barely a glimmer and faded into darkness.

bear waving

Finding STEREO-B is just half the battle. Now researchers must conduct a slew of tests to decide if the craft is healthy and fully-functioning. They must assess the spacecraft’s subsystems and instruments to determine if it’s recoverable. Hope to hear from you soon, STEREO-B! 🛰


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NASA Makes Contact with Missing Spacecraft After Nearly 2 Years of Silence

Googly-Eyed Stubby Purple Squid Can’t Be Real Life

KS Strange ScienceIf you haven’t smiled yet today, you need to watch this video of researchers aboard Nautilus coming across an adorable googly-eyed cephalopod.
stubbypurple
I’m not sure what is better – the actual squid or the crew. Such excitement! It goes a little something like this:

“What IS that?!”

“He has weird eyes.”

“No, no, no. Don’t change the angle, please!”

“It looks like some little kid dropped their toy.”

“Maybe he has eye problems…”

“He looks fake, like Davy Jones.”

“He looks like he has googly-eyes! They look painted on.”

“He is awesome.”

“His eyes are freaking me out…”

“He is cool, Mr. Cuttlefish!”

“Is he a cuttlefish? Octopus? No, cuttlefish. He is a ‘cuddle’ fish.”

From the Nautilus website: ‘The stubby squid (Rossia pacifica) looks like a cross between an octopus and squid, but is more closely related to cuttlefish. The team spotted this Stubby Squid off the coast of California at a depth of 2,950 feet.

This species spends life on the seafloor, activating a sticky mucus jacket and burrowing into the sediment to camouflage, leaving their eyes poking out to spot prey like shrimp and small fish.

Rossia pacifica is found in the Northern Pacific from Japan to Southern California up to 300m, but in addition to the team’s sighting, researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have spotted them at depths of 1,300 m (4,260 ft).’

Nautilus is currently cruising up the California coastline investigating old ship wrecks. How cool is that? Follow them on Twitter for more updates during their mission!


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