Back when I was a young whippersnapper, aerogel was a new and exciting wondermaterial. Since then, the aerated silica gel has been surpassed in some ways by other materials with even lower densities, but a new flexible incarnation of aerogel is destined to make the jump from labs at NASA to the socks on our feet.
Evan Ackerman contributed to this post. Traditional platter-based hard drives and solid state flash drives might dominate the storage landscape today, but in the future, you'll be storing more data than you could possibly sift through within your very own DNA.
Up until now we've had no problem with scientists working to give us robots that can swim, run, jump and even scale walls. But when robots that can camouflage themselves to disappear into the scenery start popping up, it may be time to get a little nervous.
We write about 3D printing a lot. A lot. One area that has always showed promise — but never commitment — is using 3D printers to crank out edible replacements. Today, that commitment's there.
It's entirely possible that you've never heard of Siggraph. It's a fairly specialized conference held by the Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques. What that means is that it's all about cool ways of messing with computers and electronics, and the dedicated Emerging Technologies space is stuffed full of some of the weirdest computer interfaces that we've ever experienced.
The Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, is at places only five to eight feet above sea level, and the islands are gradually sinking. After considering many proposals, the country's government has begun a joint venture with a Dutch company to create artificial floating islands to house the nation — and attract tourism.
It's been a big week for NASA, but just because Curiosity is (incredibly) now safe on the surface of Mars doesn't mean that the agency gets to take a break. Instead, it's looking ahead. Far, far ahead, by funding 28 advanced technology concepts ranging from submarines for Europa to robots for the Moon.
In the future, police may analyze highly detailed, glowing fingerprints instead of dusting a crime scene. A research team in China has developed a process by which fingerprints both old and new are not only more detailed, but could allow authorities to pick up extra evidence, such as drug use.
3D printing seems to be everywhere these days, but usually it's just for making small machines or mechanical parts. Now a professor from the University of Southern California says that we need to think bigger, and has developed a system to print entire buildings in less than a single day.
Endurance, performance and time. These are the holy-grail for any Olympic athlete. To possess even the smallest advantage in these areas could mean Gold. And everyone wants Gold. So if you can't get the edge from performance enhancing drugs, what else can you do to push ahead of the competition? We've all heard about the advances in hardware that athletes can use to help them attain better performances — we're talking specialized swimwear, carbon fiber bike frames and boat shells and the like. We also know that athletes train with the most high tech items at their disposal, meaning suits with motion sensors and 3D cameras everywhere to help map the optimum performance. But to get that edge, some athletes are turning towards some pretty strange training techniques. Instead of tweaking their tools, they are tweaking themselves, courtesy of some odd new methods. So much so, in fact, that this stuff sounds a lot like science fiction, and is rapidly becoming a reality in order to go for the Gold.