All Posts (49)

Moving 90% Faster to Flight Time

Thanks to new digital aerospace engineering processes - including computer modeling, simulations, and VR - the Air Force is developing and building aircraft faster than ever.  Its new fighter jet was designed, developed, and flying in only a year.  That’s 90% faster than previous jets!

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Back to School in a Museum

All across the nation, parents, teachers, and kids are gearing up for the beginning of a new school year.  This doesn’t mean that they are all going back to school though.  Some school districts are choosing to start the year completely virtual.  This puts working parents, or parents who have been overwhelmed by homeschooling, in a difficult position.  To help out, the community is stepping in.  Different museums and YMCAs are transforming themselves into virtual learning environments so that kids have a place to go where they can get help with virtual schoolwork, and their parents can get to the office.

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GoPros for Beetles

You’ve probably never asked yourself why anyone would want to put a camera on a beetle’s back.  In fact, you’ve likely never even thought about cameras on beetles’ backs.  Scientists at the University of Washington have though, and they’ve done more than think.  They’ve successfully created a wireless camera so miniature that it’s perfect for the insect kingdom.  Why? Well, according to the team, it’s an important step to take in miniaturizing robots.  While we have small cameras in our phones, those camera chips are connected to fairly large batteries and processors.  The beetle-cam isn’t.

Check out the link above to read more about the process and real-world applications.

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Checking in on the Galaxy

A lot of us are looking for a break from news about masks, gloves, and articles comparing the coronavirus and the flu.  We decided to get our break by zooming away from Earth - about 520 lightyears away to be precise.  That’s the location of a potential new planet.  Scientists using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) observed a “dense disc of dust and gas” with a twisting spiral structure.  It’s that twist that scientists believe indicates the beginning of a new planet.  Getting a front row seat to the formation of an entire planet seems pretty amazing, but it’s a seat we’ll have to share with our great-great-great-great-etc grandchildren: the process can take a few million years.

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Good News During the Global Pandemic

No matter what country you live in, whether you are in the cities or the suburbs, on a farm or in an apartment, the world is different now.  These are challenging times, and sometimes, all we need is a bit of positivity.  To that end, here are a few articles from the Good News Network to help you smile and maybe even make you amazed at how the best of people can shine during our hardest moments.

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Making Medicine in Your Cells

With messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics, mRNA molecules are used to instruct the body to produce its own immune response to fight different diseases.  This technology is making headlines right now as people wonder if it holds the answer to making a COVID-19 vaccine available more quickly. A few biotech companies are working on creating a mRNA vaccine, but medical professionals remind everyone that no vaccine will be available until next year at the earliest - mRNA or otherwise.

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How to Say Hello

How often do you engage in conversation with a new person?  Once a day? Once a month? Is it something you look forward to, or something that makes you cringe?  For many of us, it can be difficult to find ways to connect with strangers, whether at a cocktail party or at a networking event.  This article from Inc. suggests that that’s because our focus is always on ourselves and what we want to gain from a conversation.  So how would things change if we made it our focus to make the conversation meaningful for the other person instead?  Check out the article to see why it recommends starting every new conversation with, “What’s your story?”

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Robots with Wings

Drones are nothing new, but a drone with true, bird-like wings hasn’t been seen before.  Until now. The PigeonBot has a hard electronic body, but soft feathered wings that look, and move, like a real bird.  The resulting robot not only gives researchers new insight into bird flight, but also paves the way for more agile aircraft.  With birdlike wings, it might be possible for other airborne machines to make tighter turns in crowded spaces, or better navigate through turbulence.

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The Future Gets Closer

The 2000s are the era for sci-fi tech to break free from the big screen and wind itself into our reality.  Sure, we don’t have access to everything they can create on a green screen (teleportation is still disappointingly absent), but in so many ways we interact daily with technology that, only a few decades ago, would’ve been impossible.  The newest example of this: pixel technology called Parallel Reality.

Parallel Reality makes it possible for pixels to put out different colors of light in many different directions at the same time, so that a hundred people can look at one screen and each see something different.  Delta plans to use this technology to give people access to personalized travel content using airport travel screens. To see what else the technology could be used for, and what it could inspire, we’ll all just have to stay tuned.

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Tech Gifts for Everyone

Whether you’ve been counting down to Christmas since June or held off until the end of Thanksgiving, it’s safe to say that we can all agree that we are officially in the holiday season.  For many of us, that means it’s time to start racking our brains to find meaningful and fun gifts to share with the loved ones in our lives. Personally, we’re a fan of useful gifts that will do more than sit in a desk drawer until someone’s looking for a white elephant present.  If you feel the same way, check out these 28 cool tech gifts - they’re a great mix of cooky, fun, and versatile.

 

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Let’s Hear it For Puzzles

Did you know puzzles have been around since at least 1700 BCE?  Archaeologists have found puzzle jugs in Cyprus dating back to that long-ago era.  Most of us have probably never played with a puzzle jug, but even the ubiquitous jigsaw puzzle has been here since 1767.  Crossword puzzles got a later start in 1913, and the Rubik’s Cube debuted in 1974. Whether you solve puzzles with pen and paper, with friends, or with your keen mental strength, puzzles have a lot to offer our brain.  Check out these 7 benefits including the growth of new brain connections, and the ability to better formulate and test theories.

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We know the world is ever-changing and, honestly, we like it that way.  We like the innovation and creativity that comes from human dreams and observations of the world around us.  We are definitely fans of such leaps forward as indoor plumbing and air conditioning. But, what about changing something that seems like a foundational building block for our world?  Something we refer to as “not just a good idea, but a law”? Yes, we’re talking about gravity. Dutch theoretical physicist Erik Verlinde has a hypothesis that completely rethinks what gravity could be.  It doesn’t get rid of it or ignore its existence, but it explains it in different terms than Newton and Einstein.  His theory, still being studied and fleshed out, is that gravity is an “entropic force that comes into existence as a result of information associated with the positions of material bodies...what drives gravity is the quantum entanglement of tiny bits of spacetime information.”  If you find that hard to understand, that’s okay. Verlinde says new ideas in theoretical physics takes time. 

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Self-Flying Spacecraft

On June 24, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launched, carrying new NASA technology to space.  One of the technologies, the Deep Space Atomic Clock, will hopefully improve deep space navigation and, one day, enable spacecraft to fly itself.  The Clock is similar to atomic clocks found in GPS satellites, but more stable, and will be a critical part of future spacecraft navigation systems - if it works.  The Clock just started a one-year technology demonstration, and it will take weeks for the Clock to fully power on, and months before any performance analysis can begin.

 

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Photogrammetry

The ocean hides many treasures in various forms: exotic marine specimens, colorful and bizarre flora and fauna, and innumerous wreck sites.  When wrecked ships, planes, and cars can’t be safely brought to the surface, how do scientists study them? With the help of photogrammetry.  With a combination of laser scans, thousands of photos, and software that pieces everything together to make 3D models, researchers have the ability to study wrecks from the comfort of an office.  Photogrammetry helped solve the mystery of a couple who went missing in 1928 because it allowed a diver to capture images of a 1927 Chevrolet; it made it possible to display a PBM Mariner virtually in a museum - there’s only one of these planes left intact in the world; and, it’s even been used to bring real-world objects and places realistically into video games.

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Faster Than Normal – A Positive Side to ADHD

In 2016, approximately 9.4% of children between the ages of 2-17 had ever been diagnosed with ADHD.  This amounts to 6.1 million children, with the majority of the children affected falling between 12-17 years old.  A Google search for “living with ADHD,” returns 89,500,000 results.  Articles range from “What Being Undiagnosed Feels Like,” to “Adult ADHD and Your Relationships.”  Many of the articles discuss the struggles and strains of living with ADHD, but that isn’t the only perspective out there.  There’s a very interesting ADHD podcast that focuses on the benefits of being gifted with ADD/HD.  Peter Shankman created Faster Than Normal, the podcast that features people from all over the world in multiple different professions; teachers, politicians, CEOs, and rock stars are all there.  They talk about unlocking the gifts of their diagnosis, and using their self-knowledge to grow personally and professionally, bettering their lives.  That’s a lesson anyone could benefit from.

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Radio Signals from Deep Space

A telescope in Canada picked up 13 fast radio bursts (FRBs) coming from a galaxy about 1.5 billion light years away. That’s an intense long-distance message. Such an event has happened before, but only once, and that time the FRBs were picked up by a different telescope. What does it all mean? It’s fun to think the bursts could originate from an alien spaceship or populated planet, but scientists tend to think along other lines. For example, the source could be a neutron star with a very strong magnetic field, or two neutron stars merging together. Whatever the reason, it’s pretty amazing that Earth telescopes can pick up something that’s travelled 1.5 billion light years.

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At Home on Mars

The InSight lander safely reached Mars on November 26, traveling at an insanely fast 12,300 mph (19,795 km/h).  Of course, it drastically slowed down before making contact, but we’re still very impressed.  InSight immediately sent a message back to Earth and started taking pictures of its new home, just like anyone would do after finally reaching an exotic destination.  Eventually, Insight will deploy a seismometer to measure “marsquakes,” and set up a HP3 heat probe to take Mars’ temperature.  All that will take time though, as Insight needs to settle in and complete the setup process.  Jim Green, NASA Chief Scientist, hopes InSight will be happily at work by March 2019.

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How to Make Working Remotely Work Well

Remote work is growing in popularity, and it isn’t hard to see why.  Hiring remotely allows businesses to save on real estate, and to engage talented people from around the world.  For employees, remote work removes a need to relocate and completely eliminates time spent commuting.  It’s also tempting to picture ourselves working in our pajamas, or maybe in a beachfront café, or taking time in the middle of the day to take the dog for a run.  All of this is possible with at least some remote jobs, but it’s important to remember the challenges that come with working and hiring remotely.  Do companies have a strategy in place for getting employees access to necessary technology?  How do people interact for work?  How do you make people feel like part of a team when they haven’t ever met face-to-face?  For some companies this is all new, but they’re working at getting it right.  For other companies, like Clevertech, remote work has been the name of the game for over a decade.  They know how to engage employees and clients, while building a strong community and culture.  View Clevertech careers here.

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Meta Data and Videos

Meta Data is an interesting topic.

Meta tags are used for web pages and are inserted between the head tags which are at the very top of a web page. This meta data helps search engines crawling your site to determine what they are seeing. The more relevant your meta data to your content and advertising, the better your site will rank. 

The concept of meta data can be associated with a lot of content on the internet. Most recently, it was discovered that tagging your videos with meta data correctly can help improve its individual ranking with search engines, much like web pages with meta tags. 

Effective software for tagging these videos is scarce, but the new startup - VRMeta - has put together a solution that allows its user's to effectively and accurately place meta data within a video. 

 

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3D-Printed Technology Saving Lives

3D-printing has changed dramatically since inventors first attempted to use it in 1980.  It’s now found in multiple industries including manufacturing, architecture, art, and medicine.  Recently, doctors at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta used the technique in a groundbreaking pediatric surgery.  Doctors at the hospital received emergency clearance from the FDA to use 3D-printed tracheal splints to open the airways of a 7-month-old battling congenital heart disease and Tracheobronchomalacia.  Three 3D-printed splints were placed around the baby’s trachea to open his airways.  Eventually, the splints will be absorbed into the body.

This is a fantastic example of human ingenuity, and the miracles that can occur with technology and dedicated professionals working together.

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