Science

Washington state deploys $30,000 drone to combat graffiti

Washington state is readying a $1 million anti-vandalism project, part of which involves testing a $30,000 drone that paints over graffiti. Signed into law on March 15 by Gov. Jay Inslee, the “Graffiti Abatement and Reduction Pilot Program” is scheduled to go into effect on June 6, and includes “field testing spray drone technology” along Interstate 5 between Tacoma and Seattle, as well as north Spokane. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the idea comes from a…

Science

Chicken fat supercapacitors could store green energy of the future

As vital as it is for society to transition to renewable energy, it’s not as easy as simply swapping out fossil fuels for solar panels. To ensure they’re as efficient as possible, power infrastructures need powerful batteries to reliably house their excess generated energy for later use. Storage equipment has increasingly utilized carbon materials due to their natural abundance and efficiency, but making graphene is expensive and pollution-heavy. But carbon can be harvested through other sources—if you have the stomach…

Science

A father and son designed the world’s fastest quadcopter drone

A father-and-son team recently set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest quadcopter drone, speeding past the previous title holder. After months of fiery trial-and-error, Luke and Mike Bell’s remote-controlled Peregrine 2 design buzzed through the air at a ridiculous 298 mph. While the team’s four-propellor drone achieved its top speed back on April 21, Luke Bell posted his project rundown and Guinness confirmation earlier this week on YouTube. According to Bell, there was a lot to overcome before…

Science

Neuralink admits patient’s brain implant is partially ‘retracted’

Neuralink quietly published an update earlier this week on the first patient to receive its experimental brain computer interface (BCI), but a troubling detail is buried within the progress report. According to Elon Musk’s company blog post on Wednesday, the implant is partially detached from its user’s brain. The Neuralink N1 is a roughly quarter-sized device containing a battery, communications arrays, and a processing chip placed atop a patient’s brain through a small hole in the skull using a “surgical…

Science

The World Video Game Hall of Fame announces its 2024 inductees

There are a lot of great video games, but only a select few are considered pivotal enough to earn a place within the World Video Game Hall of Fame. Established in 2015 and located within The Strong National Museum of Play, the Hall of Fame highlights titles that meet four major criteria—iconic status, longevity, international reach, and cultural influence. As of Thursday, five new inductees officially make up its 10th class, and will become part of the World Video Game…

Science

Ancestry and the National Archives are digitizing tens of millions of records

The National Archives is partnering with the genealogy company Ancestry to digitize and index tens of millions of US records related to the military, immigration history, and Indigenous communities over the next 5 years. Announced on Thursday, organizers intend to make an initial 65.5 million documents available online within two years, including World War II and Korean War era military files, as well as immigration and naturalization reports. Much of this information will initially remain on Ancestry’s various websites, although…

Science

AI ethicists warn of ‘digital hauntings’ from dead loved ones

The internet is filled with personal artifacts, much of which can linger online long after someone dies. But what if those relics are used to simulate dead loved ones? It’s already happening, and AI ethicists warn this reality is opening ourselves up to a new kind of “digital haunting” by “deadbots.” People have attempted to converse with deceased loved ones through religious rites, spiritual mediums, and even pseudoscientific technological approaches for millennia. But the ongoing interest in generative artificial intelligence…

Science

Blasting coffee grounds with ultrasonic waves creates a 60-second cold brew

As the weather continues to warm, many coffee drinkers currently are making their annual transition over to iced coffee. But for those with more sensitive stomachs, cold brew’s comparatively low acidity makes it their preferred year-round caffeine fix. This smoother, creamier, and sweeter brew comes from allowing grounds to steep in refrigerated water for upwards of 24 hours. Unlike hot brewing, the additional time and cooler temperatures draw out less acids while allowing the coffee’s remaining chemicals time to muddle.…

Science

Swarm of tiny snail robots stick together to form new structures

Researchers have built a swarm of miniature, snail-inspired robots, minus all the mucus. Instead, a retractable suction cup works in tandem with the remote-controlled machine’s tank-like treads to maneuver across both difficult terrain and over each other. Biomimicry is nothing new within the field of robotics. But while many aquatic and flying examples can navigate three-dimensional environments, that often isn’t the case for bots relegated to walking, crawling, or rolling along the ground. Determined to find a potential solution, roboticists…

Science

Welcome aboard the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell superyacht

Superyachts are notoriously dirty luxury toys, with a single billionaire’s boat emitting as much as 7,020 tons of CO2 per year. And while it’s unlikely uber-wealthy shoppers are going to forgo from their statement vessels anytime soon, at the very least there’s now a chance to make superyachts greener. That’s the idea behind the new Project 821, billed as the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell superyacht. Announced over the weekend by Danish shipyard cooperative Feadship, Project 821 arrives following five…

Science

SpaceX reveals new sleek spacesuits ahead of upcoming historic mission

SpaceX has revealed its new Extravehicular Activity (EVA) suits that could make their low-Earth orbital debut by summer’s end. The new uniform is described as an evolution of the spacesuits currently worn by astronauts aboard Dragon missions, which are designed solely for remaining within pressurized environments. In contrast, the EVA suits will allow astronauts to work both within and outside their capsule as needed thanks to a number of advancements in materials fabrication, joint design, enhanced redundancy safeguards, as well…

Science

Ancient mystery code was probably Sargon II’s name

King Sargon II was a big fan of seeing his name around town—at least, that’s what one expert believes after reviewing a series of repeating mystery images that have confounded researchers for well over a century. Ruler of the Neo-Assyrian empire from 721-704 BCE, Sargon II oversaw huge portions of ancient Mesopotamia, and is considered one of the era’s greatest military strategists. By the time of his death in 705 BCE, the king had either conquered or neutralized all his…