Grobo: Growing Weed at Home

This cabinet wants to make growing ‘special plants’ at home easy

By on August 10, 2016 at 10:00 PM.

This cabinet wants to make growing ‘special plants’ at home easy

Gardening at home can be tricky. If you’re growing things indoors, there’s all sorts of pitfalls to consider: lighting, nutrients, space, the cops busting down your door. The last one is kinda hard to deal with, but a new product wants to try and take care of everything else for you.

Grobo is a large cabinet that’s meant to handle every aspect of growing virtually any kind of plant. The founders of the Canadian startup describe it as “Keurig for plants,” only this uses seeds instead of coffee pods. Also, the results take months not minutes.

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Nanbots Build Carbon-Fiber Hammock

These creepy wall-climbing robots can build entire structures from carbon fiber

By on August 3, 2016 at 8:00 PM.

These creepy wall-climbing robots can build entire structures from carbon fiber

I’ll just say it: a wall-climbing “spiderbot” that spins incredibly strong webs from carbon fiber strands is not the kind of thing I want to be fighting when the robots rise up. But death-by-robotic-web aside, these wall-climbing swarm construction robots mark a breakthrough in robotic construction and bots working together.

The proper name for the spiderbots is the “Mobile Robotic Fabrication System for Filament Structures,” and it’s designed by the Institute for Computational Design at the University of Stuttgart. As Dezeen explains, the system relies on multiple Roomba-esque robots, which climb up walls, passing around a spool of carbon fiber to weave an intricate structure.

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Tiny ‘stingray’ robot swims on light-activated rat cells

By on July 20, 2016 at 7:30 PM.

Tiny ‘stingray’ robot swims on light-activated rat cells

Harvard researchers have created a penny–sized stingray robot that can swim using genetically-modified rat heart cells activated by LED light.

It’s the latest in a new line of robotics that combines silicone with living cells. Prior to the stingray, the team, led by Kit Parker, professor of bioengineering and applied physics at Harvard University, built a robot jellyfish out of similar material back in 2012. When the robot’s heart cells were electrically stimulated, the jellyfish swam around… aimlessly. There was no way to steer it.

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Mars 2020: NASA

NASA’s new Mars rover doesn’t look finished

By on July 15, 2016 at 8:00 PM.

NASA’s new Mars rover doesn’t look finished

This is the final design for NASA’s newest Mars rover, which should be romping around the surface of our red neighbor. It’s packed full of technology, with bigger wheels to get around, and better cameras to look at things.

But in my highly uneducated, non-rocket-scientist opinion, it also looks like the engineers got 90% of the way there and said fuck it.

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Most Powerful Processor

A 1,000-core processor is such wonderful overkill

By on June 21, 2016 at 11:00 PM.

A 1,000-core processor is such wonderful overkill

I don’t need a 1,000-core processor. You don’t need a 1,000-core processor. The NSA doesn’t need a 1,000-core processor. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting one.

My pointless dream is one step closer to reality thanks to the work of researchers at UC Davis, who have created a chip called “KiloCore,” a processor with 1,000 independent cores capable of computing 1.78 trillion instructions per second. Damn.

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Metalens Could Make Smartphone Cameras

Ultra-thin flat lenses could make smartphone cameras better than DSLRs

By on June 6, 2016 at 2:45 PM.

Ultra-thin flat lenses could make smartphone cameras better than DSLRs

For all the sophisticated technology humans have invented to capture images, the lenses we use on cameras still rely on 19th-century technology. All that could be about to change with the invention of a “metalens,” a completely flat, absurdly thin kind of lens that outperforms the best optics available today.

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Cellphone Cancer Link

Your cellphone is not giving you cancer

By on May 27, 2016 at 12:06 PM.

Your cellphone is not giving you cancer

A government-funded study was released this morning which somewhat shows a link between cellphones and cancer. The results are catnip to the paleo-vegan anti-vaxxer crowd, who see the $25 million study as vindication for an irrational fear of technology.

But while the results are certainly interesting, they absolutely do not show that your cellphone is going to give you a brain tumor.

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Flexible Battery Solar Panel

Researchers have created flexible batteries that never need to be recharged

By on May 19, 2016 at 8:49 AM.

Researchers have created flexible batteries that never need to be recharged

One of my biggest gripes with today’s smartwatches is charging — specifically, that I have to plug in my wristputer every night, or it becomes a useless and expensive hunk of metal. But if this flexible solar-powered battery becomes a reality, we could finally have wearables that live up to the hype.

A team from the University of Illinois, Northwest University, South Korea and China developed the battery, which they say is capable of changing its shape to fit in various devices. The various components of the battery and solar cells are integrated into a silicone shell and connected by flexible copper-polymer joints. The result is a charging and storage solution that can stretch and bend by 30 percent without losing its ability to generate solar charge.

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Power Of The Human Brain

How powerful is the human brain compared to a computer?

By on February 27, 2016 at 11:30 AM.

How powerful is the human brain compared to a computer?

For as fast and powerful as computers have become, they still pose no match for the human brain. Sure, a computer specifically programmed to perform singular task such as, say, playing chess can give a human a run for his or her money, but when we measure a computer against the entirety of what a human mind is capable of, it’s not really all that close.

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Zero Gravity Water Experiments

Incredible zero gravity experiments with water caught on camera

By on December 23, 2015 at 10:27 AM.

Incredible zero gravity experiments with water caught on camera

Every day from December 1st to December 25th, The Royal Institution of Great Britain is opening a new box on its virtual advent calendar and sharing an original piece of content. One of the best so far came last week, when Christmas Lecturer Kevin Fong boarded a parabolic flight to see the effects that weightlessness would have on water.

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Colorblind Glasses

Incredible Video: Colorblind man sees new colors for the first time, is overwhelmed

By on July 18, 2015 at 12:30 PM.

Incredible Video: Colorblind man sees new colors for the first time, is overwhelmed

It’s easy for people who aren’t colorblind to take the colorful, rich, and vibrant world we live in for granted. Though it may be hard for some to comprehend, individuals who suffer from colorblindness often see a duller version of the world, with something as commonplace as green grass, for example, taking on a more brownish hue.

Earlier this year, we covered an incredible partnership between Valspar Paint and glasses manufacturer EnChroma. Together, the two companies manufactured a special type of glasses which help colorblind individuals see the full gamut of colors on the visible spectrum.

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Parkes Telescope

Mysterious radio signals that baffled astronomers for years weren’t from aliens, but from a microwave

By on May 5, 2015 at 3:16 PM.

Mysterious radio signals that baffled astronomers for years weren’t from aliens, but from a microwave

For years now, astronomers who operate the famed Parkes Observatory Radio Telescope in South Wales, Australia were baffled by the mysterious bouts of unfamiliar radio signals they encountered about once or twice a year.

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