The 50,000 ships sailing the sea at any one time have joined an ever-expanding list of objects that can be hacked. Cybersecurity experts recently displayed how easy it was to break into a ship’s navigational equipment. This comes only a few years after researchers showed that they could fool the GPS of a superyacht into altering course. Once upon a time objects such as cars, toasters and tugboats only did what they were originally designed to do. Today the problem is that they all also talk to the internet.
Spring construction season is underway, and many tons of concrete will be used in the coming months. Unfortunately, concrete is a brittle material: Placed under stress, it cannot bend very far before it fractures. Some pavements that are being poured now will crack within a few years and require expensive repairs. New concrete will be mixed, and the cycle will start again
Wind and solar energy are growing rapidly in the U.S. As these energy sources become a bigger part of the electricity mix, their growth raises new questions: How do solar and wind influence energy prices? And since power plants last for decades, what should policymakers and investors think about to ensure that investments in power infrastructure pay off in the future?
Researchers have demonstrated how infrared laser pulses can shift electrons between two different states, the classic 1 and 0, in a thin sheet of semiconductor. The technique could help to solve a major issue with quantum computing.
Hydrogen fuel cells were supposed to be the next big thing. Their promise peaked during the gas crisis of the 1970s as a clean energy source to power cars and electric plants, hydrogen fuel never truly took off.
Offshore oil rigs can be extremely dangerous places to work. Over the last few decades, several offshore explosions have led to environmental disasters and the death of workers. Regulations have so far failed to stop fatal accidents from occurring. But with developments in technology, particularly the rise of automation, we’re hoping that future accidents can be reduced.
If wearing a virtual reality or augmented reality headset is ever to become commonplace, hardware manufacturers will need to figure out how to make the devices small and lightweight while ensuring their images are sharp and clear. Unfortunately, this task faces a key limitation in optics: Conventional lenses are curved glass objects that focus different wavelengths of light in different locations, which would show viewers blurry images. As a result, pretty much anything with a lens – from tiny smartphone cameras to large-scale projectors – uses multiple lenses, which add weight, thickness and complexity, increasing cost.
Energy giant AGL this week unveiled plans to produce hydrogen power at its Loy Yang A coal station. But how do we transform coal, which is often thought of as simply made of carbon, into hydrogen – a completely different element?
If you’ve ever watched a modern blockbuster film, then you’ve almost certainly seen the magic of green screen compositing – or chroma keying – in action. The technique enables film and TV producers to record actors in front of a plain green backdrop, then replace the backdrop with special effects.
A new report casts doubt that Dyson will meet its goal of producing an electric vehicle with a solid-state battery by 2020. However, the report does note that the company is no longer focusing on just one EV, but three.
Scientists from the Netherlands have successfully created a 2-qubit silicon quantum processor. Silicon is widely used in current computer hardware, and the team hopes their success will eventually make it easier to control and produce quantum chips.
Dr. Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist, futurist, and popular science communicator. He’s also the author of “Physics of the Impossible,” has hosted radio programs and television specials on the BBC, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and the Science Channel, and most notably, is a co-founder of string field theory (a branch of string theory).
Today's desktop 3D printers are fairly limited in terms of capabilities. However, we could be just a couple of decades away from a world in which every home has a 3D printer, capable of producing almost anything we can imagine.
A new facility designed to scan space for exoplanets has just successfully completed its first observation run. The French-led Exoplanets in Transits and their Atmospheres (ExTrA) project is housed at the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) La Silla Observatory in Chile, and it is funded by the European Research Council and the Agence National de la Recherche in France.
Some of the best things in science are elegant and simple. A new propulsion system being developed in Spain is both those things, and could help solve a growing problem with Earth’s satellites: the proliferation of space junk.
For humanity to have any hope of long-term colonization on Mars, we’ll have to develop power systems capable of meeting our off-world energy needs. As such, NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have been hard at work on Kilopower, a compact nuclear energy reactor that could operate on the Red Planet and beyond.
Mining asteroids might seem like the stuff of science fiction, but there are companies and a few governments already working hard to make it real. This should not be surprising: compared with the breathtaking bridges that engineers build on Earth, asteroid-mining is a simple, small-scale operation requiring only modest technological advances. If anything is lacking, it is the imagination to see how plausible it has become. I am afraid only that it might not arrive soon enough to address the urgent resource challenges that the world is facing right now.
New smart window technology, developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the US, is showing great potential. Apart from keeping heat out of buildings, this smart window could also work as a solar panel and convert sunlight into energy.