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  • News

    New ‘Poké Ball’ robot catches deep-sea critters without harming them

    Like a submarine Poké Ball, a new robotic device gently captures and releases deep-sea creatures without a scratch. This critter catcher could be decked out with cameras and other sensors to give scientists an unprecedented view of life in one of Earth’s most mysterious environments. 

    The contraption, designed to be mounted on a remotely operated underwater vehicle, folds into a 12-sided...

    07/18/2018 - 14:00 Animals, Oceans, Technology
  • News in Brief

    Solving problems by computer just got a lot faster

    A new computer program works smarter, not harder, to solve problems faster than its predecessors.

    The algorithm is designed to find the best solution to a given problem among all possible options. Whereas other computer programs winnow down the possibilities one at a time, the new program — presented July 12 at the International Conference on Machine Learning in Stockholm — rules out...

    07/16/2018 - 07:00 Computing, Technology
  • News

    Scared of heights? This new VR therapy could help

    Future therapy patients may spend a lot more time exploring virtual environments than sitting on sofas.

    In a clinical trial of a new virtual reality treatment for fear of heights, participants reported being much less afraid after using the program for just two weeks. Unlike other VR therapies, which required that a real-life therapist guide patients through treatment, the new system...

    07/13/2018 - 10:33 Clinical Trials, Mental Health, Technology
  • 50 years ago, neutrinos ghosted scientists

    Tracking the neutrino

    The definite detection of nonterrestrial neutrinos, whether from the sun or from beyond the solar system, will yield a far deeper understanding of stellar interiors and, therefore, of how today’s universe came to be. — Science News, July 20, 1968.

    Update

    In May 1968, researchers reported that a particle detector in South Dakota spotted ghostly subatomic...

    07/12/2018 - 16:47 Particle Physics, Astronomy, Technology
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers ask about proton pressure, wearable tech and more

    Pressure gauge

    The pressure inside a proton is the highest of any known substance, Emily Conover reported in “The inside of a proton endures more pressure than anything else we’ve seen” (SN: 6/9/18, p. 10).

    “I don’t think it’s valid to think of pressure on a quantum level the same way we do classically,” Reddit user phazer6 wrote. Pressure relates to collections of particles, but “...

    07/11/2018 - 07:15 Particle Physics, Technology, Earth
  • News

    Designer diamonds could one day help build a quantum internet

    A new kind of artificial diamond is a cut above the rest for quantum memory.

    Unlike other synthetic diamonds, which could either store quantum information for a long time or transmit it clearly, the new diamond can do both. This designer crystal, described in the July 6 Science, could be a key building block in a quantum internet. Such a futuristic communications network would allow...

    07/06/2018 - 11:43 Materials, Quantum Physics, Technology
  • News

    NASA’s Parker probe is about to get up close and personal with the sun

    NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is about to embark on one daredevil stunt of a space mission.

    Slated to launch August 4, the probe will be the first spacecraft to swoop through the sun’s outer atmosphere, or corona, a roiling inferno of plasma heated to several million degrees Celsius.

    Parker will whip around the sun two dozen times over the next seven years, skirting within about 6...

    07/05/2018 - 07:09 Astronomy, Technology
  • 50 years ago, a Japanese scientist dreamed up a rocket-propelled train

    Next in speedy trains

    Future trains, in [Hisanojo] Ozawa’s opinion, will all be powered by rockets and run over rollers instead of rails…. His next model will be equipped with three rocket engines and will aim for a speed of 1,180 kilometers an hour, or 0.996 Mach. — Science News, July 6, 1968.

    Update

    A rocket-boosted model train from Ozawa, who designed aircraft for the...

    06/28/2018 - 07:00 Technology, Physics
  • Science Ticker

    Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft arrives at the asteroid Ryugu

    After more than three years’ lonely travel through the solar system, the Japanese spacefaring robot Hayabusa2 has reached its home-away-from-home for the next 18 months: the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu.

    The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency on June 27 confirmed Hayabusa2's arrival at the kilometer-wide boulder, which circles the sun between Earth and Mars. The spacecraft is now...

    06/27/2018 - 14:58 Astronomy, Planetary Science, Technology
  • News

    With this new system, robots can ‘read’ your mind

    Getting robots to do what we want would be a lot easier if they could read our minds.

    That sci-fi dream might not be so far off. With a new robot control system, a human can stop a bot from making a mistake and get the machine back on track using brain waves and simple hand gestures. People who oversee robots in factories, homes or hospitals could use this setup, to be presented at the...

    06/20/2018 - 00:00 Robotics, Technology