click here

Monday, October 21, 2013

iPhone App Tells You If a Satellite Is Watching

In case you're hungry for personal space situational awareness, or are just plain paranoid, a new iPhone app can tell you when and what imaging spacecraft might have you in sight.

Orbit Logic of Greenbelt, Md., has created SpyMeSat, an app that provides notifications when spy satellites and unclassified imaging satellites are zooming above your head and may be taking your picture. A dynamic map shows orbit tracks and the location of remote sensing satellites with upcoming passes over a user's specified location.

VIDEO: NASA Puts Satellites Through Wringer

Alex Herz, president of Orbit Logic, said that SpyMeSat is the firm's first app designed for everyday folks, and a product that extends the company's customer base beyond the aerospace, defense and government intelligence communities. [The Top 10 Space Apps]
"I actually got the idea for the app from talking to friends outside the aerospace industry who were always very interested in space and satellites and imaging from space. This app answers those questions in a fun and interactive way," Herz told
The SpyMeSat app makes use of multiple sources, including orbit data from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). The NORAD spacecraft data come via CelesTrak, a website designed to provide current orbital software, educational materials and links to software to support tracking satellites and understanding orbital mechanics.
That information is melded with available public information about commercial and international imaging satellites.
The iPhone app user can see a satellite’s trajectory around his or her location, as well as get an alert when a camera-snapping or radar-scanning satellite might be in range.
Moreover, the app user can learn more details about each imaging opportunity, and also peruse a page describing the satellite that's zooming by overhead. According to Orbit Logic, SpyMeSat users can organize the app in several ways, such as modifying the location of interest.

NEWS: New Spy Tech Keeps Satellites From Bumping

All of the imaging satellites in SpyMeSat are in low-Earth orbit at an altitude of about 500 miles (805 kilometers). Enabled SpyMeSat satellites include such zoom-lens notables as GeoEye, the French space agency’s SPOT-5, India's CartoSat-2A, DigitalGlobe's WorldView satellites and Canada's RADARSAT-2.
Of course, a SpyMeSat imaging-pass notification doesn't necessarily mean that a satellite is taking your picture. An identified satellite could have its camera in off mode or pointed elsewhere along its ground track.
SpyMeSat does not include all imaging spacecraft. No classified imaging satellites, from any nation, have their orbit information published, so these satellites do not show up in the app.

Source :

First Fully Bionic Man Walks, Talks and Breathes

He walks, he talks and he has a beating heart, but he's not human — he's the world's first fully bionic man.
Like Frankenstein's monster, cobbled together from a hodgepodge of body parts, the bionic man is an amalgam of the most advanced human prostheses — from robotic limbs to artificial organs to a blood-pumping circulatory system.
The creature "comes to life" in "The Incredible Bionic Man," premiering Sunday (Oct. 20) on the Smithsonian Channel at 9 p.m. EDT/8 p.m. CDT. (Watch Video of the Bionic Man)

VIDEO: Bionic Eye Cures Blindness

Roboticists Rich Walker and Matthew Godden of Shadow Robot Co. in England led the assembly of the bionic man from prosthetic body parts and artificial organs donated by laboratories around the world.
"Our job was to take the delivery of a large collection of body parts — organs, limbs, eyes, heads — and over a frantic six weeks, turn those parts into a bionic man," Walker told LiveScience during an interview. But it's not as simple as connecting everything like Tinkertoys. "You put a prosthetic part on a human who is missing that part," Walker said. "We had no human; we built a human for the prosthetic parts to occupy."
The robot, which cost almost $1 million to build, was modeled in some physical aspects after Bertolt Meyer, a social psychologist at the University of Zurich, in Switzerland, who wears one of the world's most advanced bionic hands. (See Photos of the Bionic Man)

NEWS: Man Controls Bionic Leg with Thoughts

The bionic man has the same prosthetic hand as Meyer — the i-LIMB made by Touch Bionics — with a wrist that can fully rotate and motors in each finger. The hand's grasping abilities are impressive, but the bionic man still drops drinks sometimes.
"He's not the world's best bartender," Walker said.
The robot sports a pair of robotic ankles and feet from BiOM in Bedford, Mass., designed and worn by bioengineer Hugh Herr of MIT's Media Lab, who lost his own legs after getting trapped in a blizzard as a teenager.
To support his prosthetic legs, the bionic man wears a robotic exoskeleton dubbed "Rex," made by REX Bionics in New Zealand. His awkward, jerky walk makes him more Frankensteinian than ever.
But it doesn't end there — the bionic man also has a nearly complete set of artificial organs, including an artificial heart, blood, lungs (and windpipe), pancreas, spleen, kidney and functional circulatory system.

Source :

Radiation-Proof Underwear Protects The Goods

Japan has no shortage of quirky underwear gimmicks, from fart-eating skivvies to panty-dispensing vending machines. But the Fukushima nuclear disaster is no joke, so let’s at least keep the snickering to a minimum.
Osaka-based materials company Yamamoto has developed anti-radiation underwear and swimwear that protects the body’s most sensitive parts from harmful gamma rays.
PHOTOS: Mouth-Watering Apps Continue to Mine Big-Data
Inspired by the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant — caused by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011 – the underwear weighs 7.5 pounds and consists of a top and bottom made from lead-based fabric. According Yamamoto, when it goes on the market, the underwear will cost about $825.
Made out of carbon-embedded rubber to block radiation, the wetsuit weighs 6.6 pounds and is expected to sell for $1,073, starting in November.
BLOG: Wear Your Death Date on Your Wrist
As you can imagine, the bodywear is not made for happy-go-lucky people seeking a leisurely stroll or swim by leaking nuclear plants. Both garments were developed for land and water workers in Fukushima who are still trying to contain the waste that continues to seep into the groundwater. The suits would effectively be worn as added protection, in conjunction with traditional radiation suits.
These undergarments may not turn any heads or show up any runways, but when it comes to keeping one’s nether regions radiation-free, I say “the bigger and uglier, the better.”
via CNET

Source :

Sunday, September 22, 2013

White House Goes Green with Solar Panels

The White House is going green. Solar panels are being installed on parts of the residence, a US official said Thursday -- making good on a pledge that dates back to 2010.
With President Barack Obama and his family vacationing in Martha's Vineyard for a week, workers equipped with cranes have been buzzing around the home in downtown Washington.

Solar Dish Pulls In Power of 2,000 Suns

"The White House has begun installing American-made solar panels on the First Family's residence as a part of an energy retrofit that will improve the overall energy efficiency of the building," the official said.
The work will include the installation of new thermostats and variable-speed fans, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"The project will help demonstrate that historic buildings can incorporate solar energy and energy efficiency upgrades," the official said.
The work makes good on a promise made by the Obama administration nearly three years ago.
In October 2010, then Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that solar panels would be installed at the White House, in a bid to encourage Americans to adopt the green power generation technology.

Whiz Kid Inventors Invade the White House

Former president Jimmy Carter, a Democrat like Obama, had solar panels installed during his presidency in the late 1970s, during the oil crisis. But his successor Ronald Reagan had them removed.
Since taking office in 2009, Obama has made green energy a priority for his administration, but his efforts have been thwarted by Congress.
He has since used his executive powers to bring in tougher vehicle fuel efficiency standards. In June, he unveiled a new proposal to combat climate change.

Source :

Tasty Tech Eye Candy Of The Week (Sept 22)

Of the exciting tech stories to cross our desk this week, innovations that help people get from point A to B stand out. Take for example, a young man who made an elevator from a bicycle, or a group of researchers who designed an RFID ring that gives the wearer access to a subway, or virtual simulation of Elon Musk's Hyperloop that shows it could work or a wind-powered ship that has a hull that works as an airfoil. Read on.
Norwegian designers at Lade AS have designed a unique ship that they say would achieve fuel savings of 60 percent and reduce emissions by 80 percent. Their Vindskip (or Windship) has a specially designed hull that works like a symmetrical airfoil harnessing wind somewhat like the wing of a plane to generate "lift." The ship would also use a liquefied natural gas-powered electrical generator for additional power. 

Source :

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Skin Tattoo Takes Body Temperature

When it comes to grafting electronics onto skin, John Rogers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign churns out epidermic tech at a seemingly fevered pitch. Perhaps his latest creation will make sure he doesn’t overheat.
Along with a team of researchers from the U.S., China, and Singapore, Rogers has designed an extremely pliable patch that, when applied to the skin, can accurately measure skin temperature and can provide “clinically relevant information about cardiovascular health, cognitive state, malignancy and many other important aspects of human physiology.”
What Tattoos Really Say About You
The small, ultra-thin mesh electronics adhere to the skin with a special glue and are no bigger or more intrusive than a temporary tattoo. The device can also monitor heat flow, plus the constriction and dilation of blood vessels.
“Such devices can also be implemented in ways that reveal the time-dynamic influence of blood flow and perfusion on these properties,” researches explained.
As well, the patches can be used in reverse by delivering therapeutic heat to the skin, simply by increasing the patch’s voltage.
BLOG: First Electronic Tattoo Printed Onto Skin
However, the patch isn’t ready for the market just yet, as it still requires an external power source. But the team is exploring two potential energy sources as solutions: solar power, for external patches, and bioelectric power for patches applied internally.
via PhysOrg
Credit: University of Illinois and Beckman Institute
Source :

Lens Changes Focus Like a Human Eye

Human eyes are an ideal lens. They can easily shift focus between several objects in a given scene, even if those objects are located at different distances. Attempting a similar ability with a camera may require the photographer to change lenses.
Oops! Word’s Thinnest Glass Made By Accident
Ohio State University engineers took a crack at giving a camera lens some of the versatility of a human. They made a fluid-filled lens that can change its shape and focus, as well as alter the direction it focuses in. The work was described in the Technical Digest of the 25th IEEE International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems. The technology could improve the capabilities of digital phone cameras and make cameras overall more reliable by eliminating the need for certain moving parts.
The Ohio State University lens is made from a flexible polymer. The design is like an insect’s compound eye, with a single large lens made up of several small dome-shaped pockets, each filled with fluid. Tiny channels supply the fluid to each of the pockets.
By pumping fluid in and out of the pockets, the engineers were able to alter the lens’ shape and focus. The point where the image is focused can also be moved off-center. In a lens made of glass or plastic the only way to change where the image is centered is to point the lens in a different direction.
This method of focusing is a lot like what human eyes do. In humans, the muscles in the eye squeeze the lens or stretch it a bit to change the focal point of the image. When you look at something far off, for instance, the lens in your eye becomes slightly flatter.
Another advantage of the design is a wide angle of view. This is where the designers took a cue from insects’ compound eyes. The reason flies can see behind them is that their eyes are made of thousands of tiny facets, each pointed in a different direction. The down side (for the fly) is that each of those tiny facets can’t focus very well. The artificial lens solves that problem by adjusting the fluid-filled lenses.
10 Materials That Emulate Nature
Yi Zhao, associate professor of biomedical engineering and ophthalmology at Ohio State and one of the co-authors of the research, said in a press release that one focus for further development will be making the technology more practical for electronics. Fluid-filled lenses probably aren’t going to work in a smart phone. Lenses made of piezoelectric material, which changes shape in response to current, would function much better.
Credit: Jo McCulty, courtesy of Ohio State University

Source :