Apr 03, 2014

Wanna build a rocket? NASA's about to give away a mountain of its code

posted by Laura Domela

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Forty years after Apollo 11 landed on the moon, NASA open sourced the software code that ran the guidance systems on the lunar module.

By that time, the code was little more than a novelty. But in recent years, the space agency has built all sorts of other software that is still on the cutting edge. And as it turns out, like the Apollo 11 code, much of this NASA software is available for public use, meaning anyone can download it and run it and adapt it for free. You can even use it in commercial products.

But don’t take our word for it. Next Thursday, NASA will release a master list of software projects it has cooked up over the years. This is more than just stuff than runs on a personal computer. Think robots and cryogenic systems and climate simulators. There’s even code for running rocket guidance systems.
via Wired

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Tags : NASA, open source, software,    0 comments  
Apr 03, 2014

The world's first open source laptop makes its debut

posted by Laura Domela

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Does the world want an open source laptop? We’re about to find out.

The hardware/software team of bunnie Huang and Xobs are offering their highly hackable, portable Novena computers to backers on the Crowd Supply crowfunding platform. bunnie’s post about the project on MAKE generated a lot of buzz. Here’s how they describe it.

via Make

Image: The Novena Laptop (Novena)

Tags : open source, computers,    0 comments  
Apr 02, 2014

Portable SMT lab for the hacker on the go

posted by Laura Domela

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We admit it, we’re suckers for workbenches and toolboxes. [Jon] must feel the same way, because he built this portable surface mount electronics lab. It’s a beast of a project, which might be why it’s project #666 on Hackaday.io. [Jon] spends a lot of time working off site, and keeps finding himself without proper surface mount soldering tools. Ever tried to stack an 0603 resistor with a 40 watt pistol grip iron? Take our word for it, the results are not pretty.
via Hackaday

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Image: Hack a Day

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Apr 02, 2014

Neurocomic: a graphic novel about how the brain works

posted by Laura Domela

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Scientists are only just beginning to understand how the brain works — from what transpires in it while we sleep to how to optimize its memoryto what love does to it to how music affects it — and the rest of us fall somewhere on the spectrum between fascinated and confused when it comes to the intricate inner workings of our master-controller.

From British indie press Nobrow — who also brought us Freud’s graphic biography, those lovely illustrated chronicles of the Space Raceand aviation, as well as Blexbolex’s magnificentNo Man’s Land — comes Neurocomic (public library), a graphic novel about how the brain works. This remarkable collaboration between Dr. Hana Roš (and dog knows I love few things more than a female neuroscientist) and neuroscience-PhD-turned-illustrator Dr. Matteo Farinella, with support from the Wellcome Trust, explains the inner workings of the brain in delightful and illuminating black-and-white illustrations, covering everything from perception and hallucinations to memory and emotional recall to consciousness and the difference between the mind and the brain.
via Brain Pickings

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Tags : books, comics, brain,    0 comments  
Apr 01, 2014

DARPA's new biotechnology lab will focus on cyborg tech

posted by Laura Domela

When you think of biotechnology, chances are you conjure up pharmaceutical companies or genetically-altered food. But when DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar recently took the floor before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on defense, mutant tomatoes weren't exactly on the docket. Instead, Director Prabhakar announced that biotechnology would soon surge into the military industrial complex, and that DARPA would be at the crest of that wave.
via DVICE

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Tags : robots, DARPA, future tech,    0 comments  
Apr 01, 2014

Flux capacitor car charger

posted by Laura Domela

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GREAT SCOTT!! Marty has travelled back in time and taken the Flux Capacitor with him. We're not exactly sure where, so Doc Brown has authorized us to make these smaller Flux Capacitors to you so we can crowd-search time for Marty. Each one is capable of returning to a specific point in time, so you can join the search. Just plug it into your car's cigarette lighter (or as you young ones call it a "power port") and turn it on. 88mph and . . . ok, don't go that fast. That would be bad, because theFlux Capacitor Car Charger won't really take you through time - but it will charge all your USB-powered goodies.

Each Flux Capacitor Car Charger has two USB ports, each capable of charging almost any USB powered device (it pumps out 2.1 Amps). But it also has that beautiful Flux Capacitor light sequence we all know and love. Even traffic jams (either terrestrial or aerial (if your car is powered by Mr. Fusion)) won't bother you because your device will be charging and theFlux Capacitor Car Charger's pulse will make you feel more important than anyone else. It's time to write your name in your underwear, Calvin, and get yourself a Flux Capacitor Car Charger in the present (so you can enjoy it in the future).

$39.99 at Think Geek 

Tags : gadgets, for fun,    0 comments  
Apr 01, 2014

Turn any inkjet printer into a circuit printer with this DIY kit

posted by Laura Domela

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Circuits–the wires that carry electricity from point A to point B in an electronic device–are becoming more and more low-tech. Scientists are wiring them into our clothes via silver nanowires or redefining the circuit altogether by trading wires for nontraditional conductive materials like slime mold.

But one of the biggest innovations has been making it easier than ever to fabricate our own circuits at home. AgIC Print is the newest project meant to bring circuit fabrication to the desktop, and it does it with a familiar tool: off-the-shelf inkjet printers. The kit is currently going for $299 in AgIC’s Kickstarter campaign, which closes today, and it can be used to modify any existing printer.
via Giga OM

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Image: GigaOM

Tags : DIY,    0 comments  
Apr 01, 2014

If you play one goat simulator in 2014, make it this one

posted by Laura Domela

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True to its name, Goat Simulator starts you innocently enough: in a goat pen, with nothing but a sticky tongue and a hard skull to your name. Across the street, some protesters are holding a rally. You ram a lamppost into the crowd and headbutt the survivors, glitching several feet backwards as you try to lick one of their signs: NO PENIS SHAPED FOOD. An empty pool filled with trampolines is just down the road. You bounce across them and into a construction site, where you find a jetpack. Momentarily crumpling after a three-story drop, you climb midway up a crane and jump off, careening into the parking lot of a gas station. You headbutt the tanks and are blown back as the station explodes and collapses into a pile of rubble.
via The Verge

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Image: Goat Simulator

Tags : video games,    0 comments  
Mar 31, 2014

Fossil detectives close the case on prehistoric spider footprints

posted by Larra Morris

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Deciphering the traces left by organisms – whether footprints, tracks, trails, burrows – is the realm of a discipline known as ichnology. Basically, ichnology is what you would get if you mixed Sherlock Holmes with felonious fossils. Ichnologists look at the shapes of tracks, their distribution, and other clues to learn more about the animals and the environment at the time the tracks were made.

We didn’t always know what spider footprints looked like. When paleontologist Raymond Alf (the museum’s namesake) retrieved the fossil in 1968, he did some experimenting to determine whether the eight-legged footprints were the work of a spider or a scorpion or something else. “He got some spiders and inked up their little legs on an inkpad and had them run across paper,” Farke says. “In his opinion, these things were fairly close matches for a spider.”
via Wired

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Image: Andrew Farke/The Alf Museum

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Mar 31, 2014

Which smart glasses will be right for you?

posted by Laura Domela

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Smart glasses are expected to gain a lot of momentum as “wearable computing” takes root in the consumer market. A lot of the details, like how to protect privacy in a world full of smart glasses, still have to be worked out.

Sales of the devices could grow from 87,000 in 2013 to more than 10 million a year by 2018, according Juniper Research.

As you can see from the shipping dates, many of these devices aren’t ready yet. It may pay to wait, as prices come down and more models become available. Samsung is rumored to be moving into the market, but details aren’t available now.
via Venture Beat

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Image credit: Google

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