Rediscovered USS Indianapolis Embodies Pacific Victory

By Jeremy Hsu | August 21, 2017 5:51 pm
USS Indianapolis (CA 35) is shown off the Mare Island Navy Yard, in Northern California, July 10, 1945, after her final overhaul and repair of combat damage. The photo was taken before the ship delivered atomic bomb components to Tinian and just 20 days before she was sunk by a Japanese submarine. Credit: U.S. Navy

USS Indianapolis (CA 35) is shown off the Mare Island Navy Yard, in Northern California, July 10, 1945, after her final overhaul and repair of combat damage. The photo was taken before the ship delivered atomic bomb components to Tinian and just 20 days before she was sunk by a Japanese submarine. Credit: U.S. Navy

The sinking of the USS Indianapolis by an Japanese submarine in the closing days of World War II marked one of the U.S. Navy’s greatest maritime tragedies. But the recent rediscovery of the lost warship’s wreck on the bottom of the Pacific also represents a chance to remember how its wartime career paralleled the U.S. road to victory in the Pacific theater of war—a victory built upon industrial might and the ability to wage a long war. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts

Israeli Military Veterans Built a Sniper Drone

By Jeremy Hsu | August 18, 2017 1:24 pm
The TIKAD drone can carry marksman rifles, assault rifles and even grenade launchers. Credit: Duke Robotics

The TIKAD drone can carry marksman rifles, assault rifles and even grenade launchers. Credit: Duke Robotics

In 2015, Israeli Special Forces likely made history by using a sniper rifle mounted on a commercial drone to take out a target. The robotic solution that achieved such pinpoint accuracy came from Duke Robotics, a startup founded by veterans of the Israel Defense Forces. That startup has since developed a multi-rotor sniper drone capable of accurately firing a wide array of weapons such as military assault rifles and grenade launchers. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts

The Ice Tank Shaping Future Coast Guard Icebreakers

By Jeremy Hsu | August 7, 2017 7:16 pm
A demonstration of the icebreaking testing taking place at the National Research Council of Canada in St. Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador. Credit: CNW Group/National Research Council Canada

A demonstration of the icebreaking testing taking place at the National Research Council of Canada in St. Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador. Credit: CNW Group/National Research Council Canada

Imagine your childhood bathtub playtime magnified into large model ships plowing through an ice-filled tank with a length that rivals the Statue of Liberty’s height. That 300-foot ice tank in the Canadian city of St. John’s is currently helping the U.S. Coast Guard conduct tests of different ship designs as the United States plans to end a 40-year lull in building new heavy icebreakers. Read More

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XPRIZE Enlists Science Fiction Advisors to Dream Bigger

By Jeremy Hsu | July 29, 2017 8:31 pm
A view of the website featuring some members of the XPRIZE Foundation's Science Fiction Advisory Council. Credit: XPRIZE

A view of the website featuring some members of the XPRIZE Foundation’s Science Fiction Advisory Council. Credit: XPRIZE

The world of 20 years ago would probably seem unrecognizable to many who have grown with Internet and mobile services enabling an always-connected, everything-on-demand lifestyle. Now imagine hitting fast forward and teleporting 20 years into the future to consider how science and technology may have shaped society in the world of 2037. That’s the premise for an XPRIZE competition backed by some of the finest storytellers turned science fiction advisors. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts

Toyota Wants Cars to Predict Heart Attacks

By Jeremy Hsu | July 23, 2017 11:11 am
Toyota's Collaborative Safety Research Center is working with the University of Michigan on developing heart monitoring methods that could someday help predict heart attacks in drivers. Credit: University of Michigan

Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center is working with the University of Michigan on developing heart monitoring methods that could someday help predict heart attacks in drivers. Credit: University of Michigan

A heart attack or diabetic blackout can have especially deadly consequences for drivers when they cause car crashes. Toyota researchers hope to change that grim equation by studying how wearable devices could help smart cars possibly save lives by predicting medical emergencies ahead of time.

The day when smart cars—either manually driven or self-driven—will watch out for the health of their drivers remains some ways off into the future. But Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center think it’s worth investing in the technology and scientific research needed to make that future happen today through a $35-million, five-year effort that will last until 2021. Toyota researchers have already begun working with universities on seeing if wearables such as smartwatches could someday prove as accurate as clinical-grade medical equipment in monitoring signs of impending heart attacks or blackouts due to low blood sugar. Read More

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How Disney Tech Can Immerse Park Guests in ‘Star Wars’

By Jeremy Hsu | July 18, 2017 1:55 pm
Disney's planned attractions for a Star Wars theme park include requiring visitors to help pilot the Millennium Falcon through danger and fight off TIE Fighters. Credit: Disney

Disney’s planned attractions for a Star Wars theme park include requiring visitors to help pilot the Millennium Falcon through danger and fight off TIE Fighters. Credit: Disney

Disney tech is getting ready to grant the wish of any Star Wars fan who ever wished to stand inside the cavernous space of a Star Destroyer hanger or help fly the Millennium Falcon during a space battle. The entertainment giant has promised a “revolutionary new vacation experience” at its theme parks that will supposedly include getting visitors dressed up in proper Star Wars attire and even allowing families to stay at a 100-percent immersive Star Wars hotel where everyone is in character all the time.

The new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge “lands” scheduled to open at both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort in 2019 appear to go well beyond Disney’s famed dedication to having costumed staff stay in character. They seem designed around creating “living adventures”—set within the conflict between the First Order and the Resistance as depicted in the newest Star Wars films—in which visitors could earn extra galactic credits for doing well on a mission or end up being pursued by local bounty hunters if they barely pull it off. Crucially, Disney has already demonstrated or patented a wide array of technologies that could help create the Star Wars illusion for guests.

“Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with characters, stories, and adventures that unfold all around you,” Chapek said in a Disney blog post. “It is 100 percent immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day, and it will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits.” Read More

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Report Tells Pentagon to Beware Nuclear Drone Bombers

By Jeremy Hsu | June 30, 2017 11:16 pm
A 509th Bomb Wing B-2 Spirit conducts a fly-by during the Scott Air Force Base 2017 Air Show and Open House June 11, which celebrates the base’s 100th anniversary. The Air Force plans to replace the B-2 Spirit bomber with the similar-looking B-21 Raider bomber starting in the mid 2020s. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tristin English

A 509th Bomb Wing B-2 Spirit conducts a fly-by during the Scott Air Force Base 2017 Air Show and Open House June 11, which celebrates the base’s 100th anniversary. The Air Force plans to replace the B-2 Spirit bomber with the similar-looking B-21 Raider bomber starting in the mid 2020s. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tristin English

The U.S. Air Force’s future B-21 Raider bomber may have the option to remove the human pilots from the cockpit and effectively become a large drone bomber. In one of the more unlikely scenarios, B-21 Raiders could theoretically end up carrying nuclear bombs or missiles without a human pilot onboard. That seems like an extremely remote possibility given the U.S. Air Force’s current views, but other countries may not hesitate as much to turn uninhabited aircraft into nuclear drone bombers, according to a new report. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts

China Profits as US Hesitates on Selling Armed Drones

By Jeremy Hsu | June 30, 2017 5:20 pm
An MQ-9 Reaper performs during an air show demonstration May 29, 2016, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Dennis J. Henry Jr.

An MQ-9 Reaper performs during an air show demonstration May 29, 2016, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Dennis J. Henry Jr.

More than 15 years after a U.S. Predator drone launched its first Hellfire missile, the United States remains reluctant to sell armed drones to even its closest allies. That hesitation in selling armed drones has left the door open for countries such as Israel and China to dominate military drone sales across the world. Now the U.S. government runs the risk of losing influence in a world of drone proliferation unless it reconsiders its policy on sales of military drones, according to a new report. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts

Largest US Employer Adopts Virtual Reality Training

By Jeremy Hsu | June 14, 2017 10:16 pm
A Walmart employee experiences virtual reality training. Credit: STRIVR

A Walmart employee experiences virtual reality training. Credit: STRIVR

Virtual reality technology that has helped train NFL quarterbacks could also soon provide virtual training experiences for hundreds of thousands of Walmart associates. By the end of 2017, Walmart plans to roll out virtual reality training to the 140,000 associates who complete the retail giant’s training academy program each year. The move by the largest private employer of American workers may represent the biggest step yet for virtual reality training.

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Lost Bomber of World War II Rediscovered

By Jeremy Hsu | May 31, 2017 11:11 pm
The underwater wreckage of a B-25 Mitchell bomber from World War II near Papua New Guinea. Credit: Project Recover

The underwater wreckage of a B-25 Mitchell bomber from World War II near Papua New Guinea. Credit: Project Recover

About 75 years ago, the North American B-25 Mitchell bomber became famous as the twin-engined plane that helped the United States launch the first retaliatory attack on the Imperial Japanese homeland during World War II. The medium bombers mainly deployed in the Pacific theater of war, where they often served as low-flying gunships that attacked both land and sea targets with bombs and machine gun strafing. But not all of the bombers and their six-man crews returned home from those missions, as evidenced by the recently announced discovery of a lost bomber after it had gone missing for the better part of a century. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: technology, top posts
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Lovesick Cyborg

Lovesick Cyborg examines how technology shapes our human experience of the world on both an emotional and physical level. I’ll focus on stories such as why audiences loved or hated Hollywood’s digital resurrection of fallen actors, how soldiers interact with battlefield robots and the capability of music fans to idolize virtual pop stars. Other stories might include the experience of using an advanced prosthetic limb, whether or not people trust driverless cars with their lives, and how virtual reality headsets or 3-D film technology can make some people physically ill.
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