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Google's Unique Solution to Self-driving Cars

Google's Unique Solution to Self-driving Cars | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it

 Google's self-driving cars can tour you around the streets of Mountain View, California! The key to Google's success has been that these cars aren't forced to process an entire scene from scratch.


"Rather than having to figure out what the world looks like and what it means from scratch every time we turn on the software, we tell it what the world is expected to look like when it is empty," Chatham continued. "And then the job of the software is to figure out how the world is different from that expectation. This makes the problem a lot simpler."


While it might make the in-car problem simpler, but it vastly increases the amount of work required for the task. A whole virtual infrastructure needs to be built on top of the road network!


Google is perhaps the only company which could imagine digitizing all the surface streets of the United States as a key part of the solution of self-driving cars. Could any car company imagine that they have that kind of data collection and synthesis as part of their core competency?


Read the full article here:
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/05/all-the-world-a-track-the-trick-that-makes-googles-self-driving-cars-work/370871/

 

Read more about the car here: http://sco.lt/57EQKn

Infographic source: http://www.evoke.ie/google-self-driving-car/


Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Who would have thought that Google would endeavor to create an entire digital world?

 

This is as daunting as the dream to convert all roads into solar panels! http://sco.lt/6e11P7

 

Nonetheless, tech giants are slowly pushing the internet into daily household appliances and this would blur the borders between the real and digital world! http://sco.lt/90jxIH

 

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A Message From The Curator

A Message From The Curator | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it

World of Tomorrow is a collection of articles on the latest scientific discoveries, future technology and space exploration.

 

Images in the cover photo above are:
Solar Roadways http://sco.lt/6e11P7
Freddie Wong donning Glass http://sco.lt/7AZhQ1
Franklin Chang Díaz and Vasimr engine http://sco.lt/5LzScr

 

Please follow my topic and share my scoops if you found the curated articles interesting, and check out the popular tags listed in the post above. I also welcome suggested scoops related to this topic and give credit where credit is due.

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

I teach chemistry at UCSI University, Malaysia and most of my research is centered around phytochemistry.

My research interests can be viewed here:
http://scholar.google.com.my/citations?user=iVv3xbAAAAAJ&hl=en


I manage the Facebook and Google+ pages belonging to the Faculty of Applied Sciences, UCSI University. Curated scoops are shared here:
https://www.facebook.com/Applied.Sciences.UCSI

https://plus.google.com/117901649282247944098/posts

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Chinese scientists are working on a supersonic submarine

Chinese scientists are working on a supersonic submarine | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it

Researchers in China are reportedly developing a submarine that moves in its own air bubble, reducing drag and allowing it to travel faster than commercial airplanes.

 

Researchers at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China have told the South China Morning Post that they’re working on technology that could allow a submarine to travel the 9,816 km from “Shanghai to San Francisco in 100 minutes”. Currently, the fastest submarines are stuck at speeds of 74 km/h.

 

That impressive feat would require the submarine to travel at a rate faster than the speed of sound, or supersonic speeds, and, in theory, it is possible, by creating an air bubble that the vessel ‘flies’ through, technology known as supercavitation.

 

But, and this is a big but, it’s unlikely the Chinese will be able to move a submarine that fast anytime soon. As Jordan Golson explains for Wired, supercavitation is a proven technology that can definitely speed up submarines. But while, in theory, it’s possible, there are some big obstacles.

 

Who said travel by sea was outdated?

 

Read more about the technology and its hurdles here:

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20142808-26078.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Fans of the Xcom franchise would recognize the image above as a Barracuda, a submersible aircraft featured in Terror from the Deep.

 

Given the technological hurdles, high-speed trains travelling across the Atlantic may be realised sooner  http://sco.lt/8atbZx

 

More of China's recent technological developments have been scooped here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=China

 

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China plans to build a railway from Beijing to the US

China plans to build a railway from Beijing to the US | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
China’s new high-speed rail network will include a 13,000-km underwater tunnel across the Atlantic. 

 

Railway engineering doesn’t get more ambitious than this.  China’s newly unveiled plan to connect the world by high-speed rail includes lines to London, Germany, Turkey, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, but their “express to the US” is the most ambitious part of the project.


If current China’s plans succeed the US-China link will become the world’s longest underwater tunnel. Wang Meng-shu, from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told Jivanda that the train would travel at 354 km/h (220 mp/h) and the trip would take two days. 

 

Reuters reports that China is already is discussions with Russia. We just hope construction starts soon!

 

Read more here:

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20141305-25511.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

This would open up a lot of economic opportunities. More of China's mega-projects scooped here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=China

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Teenager from India invents device that can convert breath to speech

Teenager from India invents device that can convert breath to speech | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
A high school student from India has invented a device that can convert a person’s breath into speech.

 

Sixteen-year-old Arsh Shah Dilbagi has developed a new technology called ‘TALK’, which is a cheap and portable device to help people who are physically incapable of speaking express themselves. Right now, 1.4 percent of the world’s population has very limited or no speech, due to conditions such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), locked-in syndrome (LIS), Encephalopathy (SEM), Parkinson’s disease, and paralysis. So that's literally a group of people that could match the entire population of Germany, and all of them unable to speak.

 

Stephen Hawking has a device to help him communicate, but it's extremely expensive, costing several thousand dollars, and is also quite bulky. What Dilbagi has managed to do is invent a device that achieves the same thing, but can be purchased for just $80.

 

The way TALK works is that it’s able to translate the user’s breath into electric signals using a special device called a MEMS Microphone. This technology is composed of a pressure-sensitive diaphragm etched directly into a silicon chip, and an amplifying device to increase the sound of the user’s breath.

 

By expelling two types of breaths into the device, with different intensities and timing, the user is able to spell out words in Morse code. "A microprocessor then interprets the breathes into dots and dashes, converting them into words. The words are then sent to a second microprocessor that synthesises them into voice,” says Whitney Mallett at Motherboard. "The morse code can either be translated into English, or specific commands and phrases. The device features nine different voices varying in age and gender."


Read more here:

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20141509-26176.html


Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Another interesting innovation from Google Science Fair! Previously, 15 year-old Angelo Casimiro invented energy-generating shoes http://sco.lt/6BuQPh

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Windowless Airplane Will Give Passengers High-Res Panoramic Views

Windowless Airplane Will Give Passengers High-Res Panoramic Views | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it

You don’t need a window for these views. Paris-based design company Technicon Design recently won an award for their IXION Windowless Jet Concept. The idea is to provide a 360-degree view using cameras mounted on the plane’s exterior to capture the scenery and then project that on high-res screen on the interior cabin walls and ceiling.

 

And actually any scene could be displayed on the interior. Let’s say the view is mostly clouds or ocean. How about displaying a rainforest? A flight through the Grand Canyon? A trip to the Moon?

 

Solar panels on the exterior would help power the displays.

 

Removing windows has its advantages, too. It reduces the materials and cost needed as well as reducing the weight of the plane. Not having windows allows for a greater flexibility of the interior design of the aircraft, too.

 

Read more here:

http://mashable.com/2014/08/15/windowless-airplane/

 

Watch the video featuring the windowless jet concept here:

http://vimeo.com/78458486

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

An interesting piece of innovation. Supersonic air travel may also be making a come back http://sco.lt/6gDdeD

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World-first experiment achieves direct brain-to-brain communication in human subjects

World-first experiment achieves direct brain-to-brain communication in human subjects | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it

For the first time, an international team of neuroscientists has transmitted a message from the brain of one person in India to the brains of three people in France.

 

The team, which includes researchers from Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Starlab Barcelona in Spain, and Axilum Robotics in France, has announced today the successful transmission of a brain-to-brain message over a distance of 8,000 kilometres. 

 

"We wanted to find out if one could communicate directly between two people by reading out the brain activity from one person and injecting brain activity into the second person, and do so across great physical distances by leveraging existing communication pathways,” said one of the team, Harvard’s Alvaro Pascual-Leone in a press release. "One such pathway is, of course, the Internet, so our question became, "Could we develop an experiment that would bypass the talking or typing part of internet and establish direct brain-to-brain communication between subjects located far away from each other in India and France?"

 

The team achieved this world-first feat by fitting out one of their participants - known as the emitter - with a device called an electrode-based brain-computer (BCI). This device, which sits over the participant’s head, can interpret the electrical currents in the participant’s brain and translate them into a binary code called Bacon's cipher. This type of code is similar to what computers use, but more compact. 

 

The team published its research in the journal PLOS One. 

http://www.plosone.org/article/authors/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0105225

 

Read more here:

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20140409-26123.html

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140903105646.htm

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Similar technologies have also be developed in the field of bionics. The technologies below enabled subjects to control a mechanical arm using their brains and controlling their arm via a microchip implanted in their brain:

 

1) Bionic arm http://sco.lt/6rxrHd

2) Bionic neurobridge http://sco.lt/6eA0tF

 

More scoops on the human brain can be read here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/biotech-and-beyond/?tag=Brain

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How do driverless cars work?

Prototypes from Nissan, Volvo, Audi and Google use a variety of sensors mounted on the cars to produce a detailed picture of their surroundings. One of the main sensors they use is a type of laser that sends out rapid pulses of non-visible light and measures the time they take to bounce off objects and return. Because light moves at a constant speed, the car’s distance from that object can be calculated and used to build a 3D image of its environment. 

 

The data from this laser is also combined with video and radar sensor information picked up by the car, and is processed by a self-learning, onboard computer that decides when to steer, break, and accelerate. 

 

Read more here:

http://sciencealert.com.au/features/20142208-26054-2.html

 

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Google has plans to digitize all the surface streets of the United States as a key part of the solution of their self-driving cars. Read more about it here: http://sco.lt/5XGlH7

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How does a faster-than-light warp drive work?

How does a faster-than-light warp drive work? | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
"Perhaps a Star Trek experience within our lifetime is not such a remote possibility." These are the words of Dr. Harold "Sonny" White, the Advanced Propulsion Theme Lead for the NASA Engineering Directorate. Dr. White and his colleagues don't just believe a real life warp drive is theoretically possible; they've already started the work to create one.

 

The answer lies precisely in those laws of physics. Dr. White and other physicists have found loopholes in some mathematical equations—loopholes that indicate that warping the space-time fabric is indeed possible.

 

Working at NASA Eagleworks—a skunkworks operation deep at NASA's Johnson Space Center—Dr. White's team is trying to find proof of those loopholes. They have "initiated an interferometer test bed that will try to generate and detect a microscopic instance of a little warp bubble" using an instrument called the White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer.

 

By creating one of these warp bubbles, the spaceship's engine will compress the space ahead and expand the space behind, moving it to another place without actually moving, and carrying none of the adverse effects of other travel methods. According to Dr. White, "by harnessing the physics of cosmic inflation, future spaceships crafted to satisfy the laws of these mathematical equations may actually be able to get somewhere unthinkably fast—and without adverse effects."

 

He says that, if everything is confirmed in these practical experiments, we would be able to create an engine that will get us to Alpha Centauri "in two weeks as measured by clocks here on Earth." The time will be the same in the spaceship and on Earth, he claims, and there will not be "tidal forces inside the bubble, no undue issues, and the proper acceleration is zero. When you turn the field on, everybody doesn't go slamming against the bulkhead, which would be a very short and sad trip."

 

Read more here: http://gizmodo.com/5942634/nasa-starts-development-of-real-life-star-trek-warp-drive

 

Image credit: http://www.andersoninstitute.com/alcubierre-warp-drive.html

 

Technical reports of how a warp bubble can be detected and the physics behind it can be read here:

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20140000851

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20110023492

 

 


Via Charles Young
Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Previously, photos and videos showcasing possible designs of NASA's superluminal spacecraft was scooped here: http://sco.lt/7aoHBJ; and http://sco.lt/6rZ3sv

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Charles Young's curator insight, August 13, 10:52 PM

It was only a matter of time!

Rescooped by Eric Chan Wei Chiang from Brain Tricks: Belief, Bias, and Blindspots
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Was our 3D universe created from a black hole of a 4D universe?

Was our 3D universe created from a black hole of a 4D universe? | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
Our universe may have emerged from a black hole in a higher-dimensional universe, propose a trio of Perimeter Institute researchers.

 

The big bang poses a big question: if it was indeed the cataclysm that blasted our universe into existence 13.7 billion years ago, what sparked it?

 

Three Perimeter Institute researchers have a new idea about what might have come before the big bang. It's a bit perplexing, but it is grounded in sound mathematics, testable, and enticing enough to earn the cover story in Scientific American, called "The Black Hole at the Beginning of Time." What we perceive as the big bang, they argue, could be the three-dimensional "mirage" of a collapsing star in a universe profoundly different than our own.

 

"Cosmology's greatest challenge is understanding the big bang itself," write Perimeter Institute Associate Faculty member Niayesh Afshordi, Affiliate Faculty member and University of Waterloo professor Robert Mann, and PhD student Razieh Pourhasan. Conventional understanding holds that the big bang began with a singularity – an unfathomably hot and dense phenomenon of spacetime where the standard laws of physics break down. Singularities are bizarre, and our understanding of them is limited. "For all physicists know, dragons could have come flying out of the singularity," Afshordi says in an interview with Nature.

 

In our three-dimensional universe, black holes have two-dimensional event horizons – that is, they are surrounded by a two-dimensional boundary that marks the "point of no return." In the case of a four-dimensional universe, a black hole would have a three-dimensional event horizon. In their proposed scenario, our universe was never inside the singularity; rather, it came into being outside an event horizon, protected from the singularity. It originated as – and remains – just one feature in the imploded wreck of a four-dimensional star.

 

The researchers emphasize that this idea, though it may sound "absurd," is grounded firmly in the best modern mathematics describing space and time. Specifically, they've used the tools of holography to "turn the big bang into a cosmic mirage." Along the way, their model appears to address long-standing cosmological puzzles and – crucially – produce testable predictions. Of course, our intuition tends to recoil at the idea that everything and everyone we know emerged from the event horizon of a single four-dimensional black hole. We have no concept of what a four-dimensional universe might look like. We don't know how a four-dimensional "parent" universe itself came to be.

 

But our fallible human intuitions, the researchers argue, evolved in a three-dimensional world that may only reveal shadows of reality. They draw a parallel to Plato's allegory of the cave, in which prisoners spend their lives seeing only the flickering shadows cast by a fire on a cavern wall.

 

"Their shackles have prevented them from perceiving the true world, a realm with one additional dimension," they write. "Plato's prisoners didn't understand the powers behind the sun, just as we don't understand the four-dimensional bulk universe. But at least they knew where to look for answers."

 

Read more here:

http://phys.org/news/2014-08-black-hole-birth-universe.html

 

The associated research article can be read here:

http://arxiv.org/abs/1309.1487


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald, Jocelyn Stoller
Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

This is a fairly long scoop that would appeal to theologist from various faiths. It provides a scientific explanation for the "original mover" of Abrahamic faiths. The higher realms of existence would appeal to followers of Hinduism and Buddhism.

 

Other scoops related to cosmology can be read here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=Cosmology

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Vloasis's curator insight, August 12, 2:00 AM

Maybe an alien experiment from another dimension went horribly awry and created our universe. Like, they were trying to find a new way to bomb the shit out of each other, and instead created a new existence. Or perhaps it was all too successful and rent open their world to create ours.

Rescooped by Eric Chan Wei Chiang from Amazing Science
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Nanostructured metal-oxide catalyst efficiently converts CO2 to methanol

Nanostructured metal-oxide catalyst efficiently converts CO2 to methanol | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it

Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered a new catalytic system for converting carbon dioxide (CO2) to methanol — a key commodity used to create a wide range of industrial chemicals and fuels. With significantly higher activity than other catalysts now in use, the new system could make it easier to get normally unreactive CO2 to participate in these reactions.

 

“Developing an effective catalyst for synthesizing methanol from CO2 could greatly expand the use of this abundant gas as an economical feedstock,” said Brookhaven chemist Jose Rodriguez, who led the research. “It’s even possible to imagine a future in which such catalysts help capture CO2 emitted from methanol-powered combustion engines and fuel cells, and recycling it to synthesize new fuel,” he said.

 

The team was particularly interested in exploring a catalyst composed of copper and ceria (cerium-oxide) nanoparticles, sometimes also mixed with titania. The scientists’ previous studies with such metal-oxide nanoparticle catalysts have demonstrated their exceptional reactivity in a variety of reactions. 

 

Chemical fingerprinting was combined with computational modeling to reveal the most probable progression of intermediates as the reaction from CO2 to methanol proceeded. These studies revealed that the metal component of the catalysts alone could not carry out all the chemical steps necessary for the production of methanol. The most effective binding and activation of CO2 occurred at the interfaces between metal and oxide nanoparticles in the cerium-oxide/copper catalytic system.

 

“The key active sites for the chemical transformations involved atoms from the metal [copper] and oxide [ceria or ceria/titania] phases,” said Jesus Graciani, a chemist from the University of Seville and first author on the paper. The resulting catalyst converts CO2 to methanol more than a thousand times faster than plain copper particles, and almost 90 times faster than a common copper/zinc-oxide catalyst currently in industrial use.

 

Read more here:

http://www.kurzweilai.net/nanostructured-metal-oxide-catalyst-efficiently-converts-co2-to-methanol

 

Research article published in Science here:

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6196/546.short


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

The transformation of CO2 into alcohols or other hydrocarbon compounds is challenging because catalysing the formation of carbon-carbon bonds is very difficult. To illustrate, Victor Grignard won the Nobel Prize in 1912 for developing reagents which forms carbon-carbon bonds.


Nonetheless, this technology has vast implications in space exploration and sustainable energy:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=Space+Exploration

http://www.scoop.it/t/aquascaping-and-nature/?tag=Sustainable+Energy

 

On carbon fixation, an artificial leaf devised using real chloroplast is described here: http://sco.lt/7MI8mX

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Rescooped by Eric Chan Wei Chiang from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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Bionic plants for the Nanotechnology Age

Bionic plants for the Nanotechnology Age | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
Plants have many valuable functions: They provide food and fuel, release the oxygen that we breathe, and add beauty to our surroundings. Now, researchers wants to make plants even more useful by augmenting them with nanomaterials that could enhance their energy production and give them completely new functions, such as monitoring environmental pollutants.

 

In a new Nature Materials paper, the researchers report boosting plants' ability to capture light energy by 30 percent by embedding carbon nanotubes in the chloroplast, the plant organelle where photosynthesis takes place. Using another type of carbon nanotube, they also modified plants to detect the gas nitric oxide.

 

The idea for nanobionic plants grew out of a project in Strano's lab to build self-repairing solar cells modeled on plant cells. As a next step, the researchers wanted to try enhancing the photosynthetic function of chloroplasts isolated from plants, for possible use in solar cells.

 

Strano and the paper's lead author, postdoc and plant biologist Juan Pablo Giraldo, envision turning plants into self-powered, photonic devices such as detectors for explosives or chemical weapons. "Right now, almost no one is working in this emerging field," Giraldo says. "It's an opportunity for people from plant biology and the chemical engineering nanotechnology community to work together in an area that has a large potential."

 

Read more here: 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140316153328.htm

 

Read the research article published in Nature Materials here:

http://www.nature.com/nmat/journal/v13/n4/full/nmat3890.html


Via Mary Williams
Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

More recently,  RCA graduate Julian Melchiorri became a minor celebrity for designing the world first man-made biological leaf which actually looks like a leaf http://sco.lt/7MI8mX


A bionic man may not be too far off with the advent of the following technologies:

1) Bionic arm http://sco.lt/6rxrHd

2) Bionic neurobridge http://sco.lt/6eA0tF

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Active SETI: Ambassador for Earth

Active SETI: Ambassador for Earth | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it

Artificial phenomena, such as civilizations, will radiate energy as surely as natural ones do — and may even do so with the intention of communicating. We on Earth send a mish-mash of unnatural-looking radio waves out into the cosmos, not to mention a handful of neutrino beams. But what if we were to add to that mish-mash some deliberate signals?

 

At a recent meeting of the International Academy of Astronautics SETI study group in Valencia, Spain, the mood was enthusiastic. It is easy to see the appeal of active SETI. Traditional SETI involves looking at vast amounts of radio data and finding nothing. Active SETI allows you to compose messages, pick target stars, develop new encodings, and so on. It can be used as an outreach tool — the European television channel Arte is currently encouraging people to send it messages specifically to be beamed to the stars as part of the celebrations surrounding the launch of Corot, a French satellite designed to detect planets around distant stars.


At the same time, though, the risk posed by active SETI is real. It is not obvious that all extraterrestrial civilizations will be benign — or that contact with even a benign one would not have serious repercussions for people here on Earth. There is already an agreement within the SETI community that, should a signal from beyond be picked up, various bodies will discuss what response, if any, should be sent. Yet the Valencia meeting voted against trying to set up any processes for deliberating over the style or content of any spontaneous outgoing messages. In effect, anyone with a big enough dish can appoint themselves ambassador for Earth.

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

First contact with an extraterestial civilization shares many similarities with first contact between Native Americans and European explorers. Whether or not first contact resulted in hostilities or cooperation, the lives of the natives were changed irreversibly.

 

Nonetheless, a group of scientists and entrepreneurs has created the world’s first continuous message beacon which allows people to pay to appoint themselves ambassador for Earth. http://sco.lt/8KEFiT

 

A less risky method for finding extrateresstrial intelligence would be to search for their pollution http://sco.lt/9IfyD3;

or in the case of super advanced civilizations, their Dyson Speheres http://sco.lt/6d1Sa1

 

Read other scoops on space exploration here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=Space+Exploration

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3D Printing to make insects more palatable

3D Printing to make insects more palatable | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it

Dietitians are now using 3D printing to make insects more palatable and acceptable as a mainstream delicacy.

 

Did you know that insects make up 80% of all the world’s living species? And that there are around 10 quintillion individual insects alive today (think a billion and then add 11 more zeros)? Why am I telling you this? Because experts predict that with a couple of decades, as the population of the world increases, we will have to look to alternative food sources to provide us with nutrition, and one solution is insects.


Insects Au Gratin is a project headed up by Susana Soares at the London South Banks University (LSBU) and Dr Ken Spears, which looks at encouraging more people to eat insects by changing the way they are presented, and therefore how we view them. The insects are made into food products by first drying them and then grinding the bodies into a fine ‘flour’ like powder. This flour can then be combined with other substances and 3D printed to make a host of other products, such as chocolate, cream cheese, icing sugar butters and various spices.


“As the population grows, insects will be a solution to some food problems.” Soares said.

 

Dr Spears believes that by eating insects, people will not only get a valuable source of proteins, minerals and vitamins, but the demand on the environment will be decreased and a sustainable food resource could also be realized. Of course, there are many countries such as Africa, Asia and South America that already eat insects (entomophagy) but for most westerners the thought is certainly not appealing. The Insects au Gratin project hopes to make entomophagy more commonplace and acceptable, and eventually put insects into manufactured food and perhaps even onto our daily plates.


Read more here:

http://www.inside3dp.com/bon-appetit-edible-bugs-little-help-3d-printing/

http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/about-us/news/lsbu-academics-3d-print-edible-insects

http://metro.co.uk/2014/02/05/anyone-for-cricket-bug-snacks-made-with-3d-printer-4290993/%20%20


Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Even if snacks made from insects look and taste really good, a massive public awareness campaign would be required to minimize the yuck factor. Nonetheless, insects are already used to produce some food additives such as E120 Carmine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmine

 

Read more scoops on 3D Printing here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=3D+Printer

 

Scoops on more conventional functional foods here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/food-health-and-nutrition/?tag=Functional+Foods

 

 

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Scientists find quicker, more sustainable way to produce hydrogen fuel

Scientists find quicker, more sustainable way to produce hydrogen fuel | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
A new method will allow researchers to make larger-than-ever quantities of hydrogen from water, and can be powered by renewable energy sources.

 

Chemists from the University of Glasgow in Scotland have just taken a huge step towards producing clean hydrogen fuel in a sustainable way. Unlike fossil fuels, hydrogen gas can be burned to generate electricity without producing toxic emissions. It’s produced easily from water through a process known as electrolysis, which uses electricity to break the bonds between hydrogen and oxygen, to release them as gas.

 

The most advanced method of hydrogen production at the moment is known as proton exchange membrane electrolysers (PEMEs). As a University of Glasgow press release explains: “PEMEs require precious metal catalysts to be held in high-pressure containers and subjected to high densities of electric current, which can be difficult to reliably achieve from fluctuating renewable sources.”

 

This new method, on the other hand, allows larger-than-ever quantities of hydrogen gas to be produced at atmospheric pressure and using lower power loads, such as those generated by renewable power sources. Even more impressive, it also stores the hydrogen in a carbon-free liquid, which solves some of the safety issues which have so far limited the use of hydrogen fuel.

 

It does this by using a “liquid sponge” to lock up the protons and the electrons that have the potential to create hydrogen. The “sponge” is a metal oxide that starts off yellow and then turns blue as it's loaded up with this potential to create hydrogen

 

This new method is 30 times faster than current techniques, and also requires a far lower energy load, so that it can be powered by renewable energy sources such as solar or wind. The process is reported in this week’s edition of Science.

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6202/1326.abstract

 

Read more about the technology here:

http://sciencealert.com.au/news/20141209-26169.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

The concept of hydrogen fuel cells has been around for years. However, technical difficulties restrict their use. This study address some of these difficulties to hydrogen fuel more economically viable. 

 

More scoops on new and sustainable energy sources can be read here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=Energy+Generation

http://www.scoop.it/t/aquascaping-and-nature/?tag=Sustainable+Energy

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Jetpack that helps you run faster

What if every soldier could run a four-minute mile? That's the goal behind 4MM, or 4 Minute Mile, a student project to create a wearable jetpack that enhances speed and agility. 

 

Developed by researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) as part of a project called 4MM, this new jetpack is designed to help its wearer run a mile (1.6 km) in four minutes. The project is being run in conjunction with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and aims to develop new technology that helps soldiers on the ground move faster and carry more weight. A faculty mentor, Jason Kerestes is the mastermind behind 4MM. He built a prototype of the jetpack and is now testing and refining his design to be as effective as possible.

 

Thomas Sugar of ASU’s Human Machine Integration Lab had been working on new robot technology that could assist amputees when DARPA asked if he could also develop robots that could help able-bodied people, allowing them to run faster and carry more weight while they were at it.

 

Read more here: http://sciencealert.com.au/news/20141409-26173.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Having a jetpack strapped to your back is staple fodder in science fiction. It is really interesting to see this invention work.

 

More interesting technological developments scooped here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=Future+Technology

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China plans world's largest supercollider

China plans world's largest supercollider | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.

 

The underground particle-smashing ring aims to be at least twice the size of the globe's current leading collider - the Large Hadron Collider (CERN) outside Geneva. With a circumference of 80 kilometres, the Chinese accelerator complex would encircle the entire island of Manhattan.

 

A preliminary conceptual design for this leading-edge particle physics laboratory is now being drafted by China's elite sphere of physicists, joined by a circle of Western counterparts. Called the Circular Electron Positron Collider (CEPC), China hopes it will shine as a symbol of the country's rise as a global superpower in terms of pure scientific research.

 

"This machine is by and for the world," explains Professor Gao Jie, one of the leaders of the project at the Institute of High Energy Physics in Beijing. Beijing plans to speedily expand cooperation between China's foremost physicists and their European and American counterparts with the new collider. 

 

The new collider research outpost, situated on the Avenue of Eternal Peace in the centre of Beijing, is aiding in the conceptual design that plans to be submitted to China's top leadership in December, according to Professor Arkani-Hamed, a scholar at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study, the one-time home of Albert Einstein.

 

Read more here: 

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/09/china-unveils-world-largest-supercollider-science-physi-2014919131524321817.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

The rise of China in some ways mirrors the rise of other global superpowers during the middle 20th century such as America, Russia and Japan. Other technological advancements of China are scooped here: http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=China

 

Nonetheless, CERN's supercollider is a technological marvel in its own right http://sco.lt/6N5B8j

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New wearable robotic exoskeleton gives you superhuman powers

In this video, Conor Walsh, head of Harvard’s Biodesign Lab, and members of his team explain how the biologically inspired Soft Exosuit targets enhancing the mobility of healthy individuals and restoring the mobility of those with physical disabilities. Made from soft materials and worn from the waist down, the device has been designed to gradually assist the wearer in the movements they’re making, supplementing their natural power by up to 20 percent. 


“You actually don’t really notice that it’s helping you. But as soon as you turn the system off, it makes you instantly feel that your legs are heavy, which shows that your legs have adapted,” says Walsh.


Not only could this suit be used to enhance the movements of soldiers and firefighters, making them faster, more agile, and better able to transport heavy equipment, but it could also be worn by stroke victims to make the slow and painful recovery process easier, and the elderly, to protect them from life-threatening falls and injuries. But don’t worry about your grandma looking like a cyborg - the exoskeleton has been designed to be so lightweight and flexible, it can be worn under clothing. 

 

The suit works by mimicking the action of the leg muscles and tendons when a person walks, with an actuator system giving small, carefully timed assistance at the ankle and hip joints without restricting the wearer’s movement. The breakthrough is in the 'structured functional textiles' that transmit those applied forces all over the body during natural movement. Wearable, flexible sensors integrate into the fabric to gauge the body’s movement and provide support at the right moment.

 

Read more here: http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20141209-26166.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Bionics is a rapidly expanding field. Much of the technology is designed to restore or enhance the functionality of the human body.

 

Other similar technologies have been scooped here:

 http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=Bionic

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Portable wind turbine for charging mobile devices

Portable wind turbine for charging mobile devices | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
Portable wind turbines are now a thing.

 

Scientists have 3D-printed a wind turbine that’s small and light enough to fit into a backpack. Called AirEnergy3D, the turbine can plug directly into a laptop or phone to charge it with renewable energy, or can feed electricity back into a household power system, as Adele Peters reports for Fast Company. 


The turbine is designed to be portable so that it can be carried around by users, or moved around a house depending on where the windiest spot is. Its creators at Poland-based company Omni3D are now raising funds on Kickstarter for the device.

 

The vertical-shape of the turbine is designed to capture as much energy as possible from the relatively low wind speeds that come through city roofs and backyards, Peters explains. The blade shape is still being refined, but the turbine can already power a lightbulb, and with the Kickstarter funding the team is working towards a design that will be able to produce 300 watts, which is enough to charge computers and other electronic devices.

 

Impressively, the company is going to make all the plans for the 3D-printed turbine open source, so that others can customise the blades or continue to improve their design. "We want to make it as easy to develop upon the original project," Kamil Dziadkiewicz, an engineer from Omni3D, told Fast Company. "Thanks to 3D printing, everybody as a community can experiment and prototype better solutions for the machine."

 

Support their Kickstarter campaign:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/43717383/airenergy-3d-a-3d-printed-opensource-mobile-wind-t

 

Read more here:

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20140809-26144.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

15 year-old Angelo Casimiro invented energy-generating shoes http://sco.lt/6BuQPh

 

A team from Queen Mary University of London developed a new smartphone prototype that can be charged simply by being exposed to ambient sounds such as traffic noise, voices, or loud music http://sco.lt/7HVy6r

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The First Transparent Solar Panel

The First Transparent Solar Panel | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
This new type of transparent solar cell can be used to cover windows, buildings or smartphone screens to produce solar energy.

 

Named a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and developed by researchers in Michigan State University in the US, this material can be used to cover anything that has a flat, clear surface. Transparent solar cell technology has been attempted before, but the energy the cells produced was poor and the materials they were made out of were highly coloured.

 

The new transparent solar cells are made from tiny organic molecules that absorb invisible wavelengths of sunlight such as ultraviolet and near infrared light. This invisble light is then guided to the edge of the solar panel, where thin strips of photovoltaic solar cells pick it up and convert it into energy. "Because the materials do not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum, they look exceptionally transparent to the human eye," says researcher, Richard Lunt.

 

"It opens a lot of area to deploy solar energy in a non-intrusive way,” said Lunt. "It can be used on tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader. Ultimately we want to make solar harvesting surfaces that you do not even know are there."

 

Read more here:

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20142108-26048.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

America has emerged as the third-largest market for solar energy http://sco.lt/6Hc5lx

 

This technology is as exciting as Solar Roadways, an attempt to convert roads into solar panels http://sco.lt/6e11P7

 

A team from Queen Mary University of London developed a new smartphone prototype that can be charged simply by being exposed to ambient sounds such as traffic noise, voices, or loud music http://sco.lt/7HVy6r


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New smartphone prototype can be charged by sound

New smartphone prototype can be charged by sound | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
A new smartphone prototype can be charged simply by being exposed to ambient sounds such as traffic noise, voices, or loud music.

 

The technology is based on a concept proposed by Korean scientists four years ago called the piezoelectric effect, which describes how nanowires made from zinc oxide produce an electrical current when they’re subjected to some kind of mechanical stress, such as being squashed, stretched or bent. The Korean researchers discovered that these tiny nanowires were so sensitive, they’d bend in response to the pressure of sound waves.


With this in mind, the UK team from Queen Mary University of London started off by spraying a coating of liquid zinc oxide onto a plastic sheet, says Ben Coxworth at Gizmag, which they placed into a mixture of chemicals and heated to 90ºC (194ºF). This made the liquid zinc oxide grow into tiny nanorods that spread all over the sheet.


"In order to harvest the voltage generated, the nanorod sheet was sandwiched between two electrical contact sheets,” Coxworth adds. "Whereas these contacts would typically be made from gold, the researchers developed a cost-cutting technique that allowed them to use ordinary aluminium foil instead."

 

Read more here: http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20141308-26009.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Sustainable energy for the digital age!

 

Recently, 15 year-old Angelo Casimiro invented energy-generating shoes http://sco.lt/6BuQPh; and nanotech batteries which charge in 30 seconds have also been developed http://sco.lt/5mVotV

 

Read more scoops on sustainable energy and energy generation:

http://www.scoop.it/t/aquascaping-and-nature/?tag=Sustainable+Energy

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=Energy+Generation

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Australian scientists create a tractor beam to contain oil spills

Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have created a tractor beam on water, providing a radical new technique that could confine oil spills, manipulate floating objects or explain rips at the beach.


The team, led by Dr Horst Punzmann, discovered they can control water flow patterns with simple wave generators, enabling them to move floating objects at will. The team also experimented with different shaped plungers to generate different swirling flow patterns. The surprisingly simple technique gives scientists a way of controlling things adrift on water in a way they have never had before, resembling sci-fi tractor beams that draw in objects.


Using a ping-pong ball in a wave tank, the group worked out the size and frequency of the waves required to move the ball in whichever direction they want. Advanced particle tracking tools revealed that the waves do not push the ball along.


Watch the video and read more here:
http://sciencealert.com.au/news/20141108-26002.html

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Oil spill are notoriously difficult to contain and cause a lot of ecological damage. Hopefully, this new invention would safeguard marine wildlife which are already threatened by microplastics in the ocean http://sco.lt/70s3kn

 

Could this also be used to clean up plastic waste floating in our oceans?

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Driverless cars to hit UK roads next year

Driverless cars to hit UK roads next year | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it

Driverless cars are an exciting glimpse of the future, with great potential to improve road safety. It seems the UK has caught on to this, announcing a £10 million (US$17 million) scheme to test driverless cars on public roads from January 2015.

 

The UK Government is calling on all major cities to join together with businesses and research organizations to put forward a proposal for the country to become a test location for autonomous cars. Trials are expected to last between 18 and 36 months, and the £10 million funding pot will serve as a competition prize for up to three UK cities, with London being confirmed as a hopeful bid.

 

Currently, self-driving cars are only allowed on private roads in the UK, but the new scheme will allow for the testing of fully autonomous vehicles on public roads, as well as cars with self-driving features.

"Driverless cars have huge potential to transform the UK’s transport network – they could improve safety, reduce congestion and lower emissions, particularly CO2," said the UK’s Transport Minister, Claire Perry.

 

Driverless cars have been coming for some time, with manufacturers including Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Ford and Volvo all working on the technology. Jaguar also recently previewed its self-learning smart car which can mimic a driver's behavior.

 

Much of the limelight has centered on Google thus far; its driverless car has completed 804,000 km (500,000 miles) of road tests. The technology giant has set 2017 as the date its cars will hit the roads.

"Britain is brilliantly placed to lead the world in driverless technology. It combines our strengths in cars, satellites, big data and urban design; with huge potential benefits for future jobs and for the consumer," said Science Minister Greg Clark.

 

Read more here:

http://www.gizmag.com/driverless-cars-uk-roads/33273/


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Google isn't the only one working on a driverless car. However, they would be the most ambitious and perhaps the only company which could imagine digitizing all the surface streets of the United States as a key part of the solution of self-driving cars. Read more about it here: http://sco.lt/5XGlH7

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Marco Bertolini's curator insight, August 7, 2:09 PM

Des voitures sans chauffeur au Royaume Uni dès l'an prochain !


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NASA's next Mars rover will study oxygen production for manned missions

NASA's next Mars rover will study oxygen production for manned missions | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it

For 17 years, NASA rovers have laid down tire tracks on Mars. But details the space agency divulged this week about its next Martian exploration vehicle underscored NASA's ultimate goal. Footprints are to follow someday.

 

The last three rovers -- Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity -- confirmed the Red Planet's ability to support life and searched for signs of past life. The Mars rover of the next decade will hone in on ways to sustain future life there, human life.

 

"The 2020 rover will help answer questions about the Martian environment that astronauts will face and test technologies they need before landing on, exploring and returning from the Red Planet," said NASA's William Gerstenmaier who works on human missions. 

 

This will include experiments that convert carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere into oxygen for human respiration and making rocket fuel. Other additions include super cameras that will send back 3D panoramic images and spectrometers that will analyze the chemical makeup of minerals with an apparent eye to farming.

 

"An ability to live off the Martian land would transform future exploration of the planet," NASA said in a statement. The 2020 rover will also create a job for a future mission to complete, once the technology emerges to return to Earth from Mars. It will collect soil samples to be sent back for lab analysis at NASA.

 

Read more here:

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/08/01/tech/innovation/mars-2020-rover/


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Oxygen production and minerals for farming would pave the way for manned missions and perhaps even a small colony.  The next step would be Mars sample return mission: 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_sample_return_mission

 

Read more scoops on Mars here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=Mars

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Lone Signal: Interstellar social media

Lone Signal: Interstellar social media | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
A group of scientists and entrepreneurs has created the world’s first continuous message beacon to communicate with extraterrestrial civilizations. And for a fee, people can use it to transmit their own messages into space. But not everyone thinks this project is a good idea.

 

The idea of messaging ETs has been around for a while now, and typically goes by the name METI (Messaging to Extraterrestrial Intelligence) or Active SETI. The basic idea is that, instead of just listening passively for an alien radio signal, we should deliberately try to send messages into space in hopes of attracting the attention of alien civilizations.

 

To that end, Dr. Jacob Haqq-Misra and a group of entrepreneurs recently took over the Jamesburg Earth Station radio dish in Carmel, California. They’ll use the facility to send a continuous hailing message into outer space. It’ll all get started later this month. Initially, Lone Signal will target the Gliese 526 star system, which has been identified as a potentially habitable solar system.

 

“Our scientific goals are to discover sentient beings outside of our solar system,” said Lone Signal co-founder Pierre Fabre at a recent event. “But an important part of this project is to get people to look beyond themselves and their differences by thinking about what they would say to a different civilization. Lone Signal will allow people to do that.”

 

Customers can transmit messages to the stars for a price as low as $0.99. However, this project is not without risk. Read more about the associated risks here:

http://io9.com/new-project-to-message-aliens-is-both-useless-and-poten-512863567

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

A previous scoop from the journal, Nature, highlighted the risks of appointing yourself "Ambassador of Earth" here: http://sco.lt/635DHt

 

An article featuring Gliese 832c an Earth-like planet found only 16 light-years away was scooped here: http://sco.lt/5zwkRl

 

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Can we find aliens by looking for their pollution?

Can we find aliens by looking for their pollution? | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
Maybe some extra-terrestrials pollute their planets too.

 

Humanity is on the threshold of being able to detect signs of alien life on other worlds. By studying exoplanet atmospheres, we can look for gases like oxygen and methane that only coexist if replenished by life. But those gases come from simple life forms like microbes. What about advanced civilizations? Would they leave any detectable signs?

 

They might, if they spew industrial pollution into the atmosphere. New research by theorists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) suggests that we could spot the fingerprints of certain pollutants under ideal conditions. This would offer a new approach in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

 

Henry Lin is a Harvard student and lead author of the study. Lin said:

"We consider industrial pollution as a sign of intelligent life, but perhaps civilizations more advanced than us, with their own SETI programs, will consider pollution as a sign of unintelligent life since it’s not smart to contaminate your own air."

 

Read more here:

http://earthsky.org/space/can-we-find-aliens-by-looking-for-their-pollution

http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/2014-21

 

Read research article here:

http://arxiv.org/abs/1406.3025


Via Ellen Diane
Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

This is probably a much safer method for finding intelligent life compared to active SETI i.e. actively signalling extraterrestrials and hoping that they respond. Some fear that active SETI may attract extraterrestrial colonization akin to when Native Americans made first contact with Europeans.

 

A scoop from the journal, Nature provides a good discussion on the risks associated with active SETI http://sco.lt/635DHt

 

Read more scoops on space exploration here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=Space+Exploration

 

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Gliese 832c: Potentially habitable, Earth-like planet found only 16 light-years away

Gliese 832c: Potentially habitable, Earth-like planet found only 16 light-years away | World of Tomorrow | Scoop.it
This planet is in the top three most most habitable exoplanets.

 

The planet, GJ 832c, has a nearly-circular orbit of 16 Earth days and is a super-planet almost five times the mass of Earth. A cold jupiter-like planet was spotted orbiting the same star in 2009, with a 9.4-year orbit time, making this planetary system a simplified version of our solar system.

 

Of all the exoplanets discovered, it is the third most likely to harbour life, with an Earth Similarity Index (ESI) of 0.81 (Earth has an ESI of 1.00). The most likely candidate is Gliese 667C c (23 light years away) and the second is Kepler-62 (1,200 light years away). 

Dr Robert Wittenmyer and his collegues at the University of New South Wales, School of Physics collaborated with an interational team of scientists to make the discovery. They have announced their findings online ahead of publication in Astrophysics Journal.

 

Read more here: http://arxiv.org/abs/1406.5587

 

Read the research article here: http://arxiv.org/abs/1406.5587

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Given all the problems we have on Earth, finding a new home amongst the stars is becoming increasingly attractive. 

 

Read more scoops on space exploration:

http://www.scoop.it/t/world-of-tomorrow/?tag=Space+Exploration

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