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Category Archives: Futurism

Ultra-Realistic Remote Controlled Dolphin Looks Like the Real Thing – Futurism

Android Dolphins

San Francisco-based engineering company Edge Innovations has designed and built a robot dolphin that looks and acts almost exactly like the real thing, Reuters reports.

The company is hoping to one day replace sea life imprisoned in depressing Seaworld-style attractions with animatronic ones.

There are like 3,000 dolphins currently in captivity being used to generate several billions of dollars just for dolphin experiences, founder and CEO Walt Conti told Reuters. And so we want to use that appetite and offer kind of different ways to fall in love with the dolphin.

The animatronic dolphin is made from medical-grade silicone, stretches 8.5 feet and weighs about 550 pounds.

The company is drawing from decades of experience its previously built animatronics for Hollywood blockbustersincluding Free Willy and Deep Blue Sea.

Edge Innovations envisions the dolphin as part of a hands-on educational experience for children and parents.

Version 2.0 of the dolphin, the one featured in the more recent pilot video [embedded above], has enough AI to be able to do a shallow dive, remain appropriately buoyant, return to the surface, lift its blowhole to simulate taking a breath, and also to be able to realistically complete turns, Roger Holzberg, a former creative director at the Walt Disney who partnered with Edge to work on the dolphin, told Syfy Wire earlier this year.

The next version, Version 3.0 which is currently in development, will have enough battery power to swim for 10 hours without a recharge, he said.

READ MORE: The robot dolphin that could replace captive animals at theme parks one day [Reuters]

More on dolphins: US Military Loads Explosive-Sniffing Dolphins Into Cargo Plane

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The Atlantic Ocean Had Its Hottest Decade in Three Millennia – Futurism

Hot Pot

This past decade has been the Atlantic Oceans warmest in nearly three full millennia.

Oceanic temperatures tend to rise and fall in a cyclical pattern over decades and even centuries. But the recent spikes in temperature are well beyond the scope of that natural pattern, Earther reports. Its a dire sign for the state of the oceans, in part because rising temperatures are linked to increasingly-severe hurricanes.

Scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Quebec were able to track the Atlantics fluctuating temperature back about 2,900 years by studying sediment cores in the Canadian Arctic, which fluctuate along with temperature, according to research published in the journal PNAS.

The cores showed the regular rise and fall of Atlantic temperatures, but they also showed that in recent decades theres been an unprecedented increase in the speed at which the ocean is heating up.

The teams study didnt seek to identify the causes of the temperature changes, but given that the recent increases are well beyond normal fluctuations, all signs point to global climate change.

Rising temperatures in the Atlantic can mean even worse storm seasons and mass extinction and unfortunately, according to this study, the problem is continuing to get worse.

READ MORE: The Atlantic Ocean Hasnt Been This Hot in at Least 2,900 Years [Earther]

More on climate change: New Study Predicts The Ocean Ecosystem Will Collapse This Decade

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Scientists Want to Use Moths to Blanket the Earth in Tiny Sensors – Futurism

Special Delivery

Scientists have a plan to cover the Earth in tiny sensors that record parameters like temperature and humidity. And to help them with particularly hard-to-reach areas, theyre recruiting an army of bugs.

A team of University of Washington scientists built a tiny, lightweight sensor that can survive long drops, and now wants them to stick them onto moths that then distribute them all over the place, Digital Trends reports. Its like using drones or helicopters to airdrop supplies, but shrunk down to a thousandth the size.

The real challenge was building a sensor that could both survive a drop of 72 feet while being light enough to be carried by a moth. In the teams research, published last month in the journal MobiCom 20: Proceedings of the 26th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, they describe a sensor thats so small and light it safely flutters to the ground.

This is a strategy people use in disaster scenarios to deliver food and medical supplies, and is usually done with large planes or helicopters, study coauthor and Washington engineer Vikram Iyer told Digital Trends. That got us thinking, can we use this same idea with much smaller drones, or even live insects, to release sensors across a large area?

When a moth reaches a location where the scientists want to drop a sensor, they can remotely trigger it to detach, according to Digital Trends.

For now, the team is focused on weather-monitoring sensors, but they say that down the road, the same approach could be used to distribute all sorts of tech.

READ MORE: Scientists want to blanket the Earth in sensors. Their secret weapon? Moths [Digital Trends]

More on robo-bugs: Scientists Build Tiny Cameras for Beetles to Carry Around

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A Spacecraft Is Going to Hunt Life in Venus’ Clouds This Week – Futurism

Popping By

Late Wednesday night, a space probe named BepiColombo will sail past Venus and scan its atmosphere for signs of life.

Its remarkable timing, as NBC News reports: BepiColombos maneuver has been planned for years, but just last month scientists found signs of phosphinein Venus atmosphere, a tantalizing potential sign of life in the hostile planets clouds. The space probe may not come close enough to Venus to pick up on such a faint phosphine signal, but either way, its flyby will provide the best direct evidence scientists have to work with as they scramble to make sense of last months discovery.

Fortuitously, BepiColombo will return to Venus next August. When that happens, NBC reports, it will come within 400 miles of the surface, where it will be able to get better readings of whatevers going on in the atmosphere.

We will use the lessons learned from this flyby to optimize our observing strategy for the next flyby, Jrn Helbert, a researcher at the German Aerospace Centers Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin who works on BepiColombo, told NBC. The closer we get, the better the signal.

Because this weeks flyby will bring the spacecraft a formidable 6,700 miles from the surface, BepiColombo will likely be too far away to detect the trace amounts of phosphine that were picked up last month. But it will fare better at looking for sulfur dioxide, NBC reports, which would indicate that there are active volcanos on the surface.

Its fortunate timing, but BepiColombos real destination is Mercury, so scientists are now trying to make do with the brief stop at Venus as best they can.

READ MORE: A well-timed Venus flyby looks for signs of life [NBC News]

More on Venus: Scientists Speculate About How Life on Venus Could Have Begun

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SpaceX Is Building a Military Rocket to Ship Weapons Anywhere in the World – Futurism

Fresh Delivery

SpaceX and the Pentagon just signed a contract to jointly develop a new rocket that can launch into space and deliver up to 80 tons of cargo and weaponry anywhere in the world in just one hour.

Tests on the rocket are expected to begin as early as next year, Business Insider reports. Its expected to shuttle weapons around the world 15 times faster than existing aircraft, like the US C-17 Globemaster.

Think about moving the equivalent of a C-17 payload anywhere on the globe in less than an hour, General Stephen Lyons, head of US Transportation Command said at a Wednesday conference.

The new contract is further evidence that SpaceX is leaning hard into military partnerships. Earlier this week, the private space company won a contract with the militarys Space Development Agency to manufacture four missile-tracking satellites.

Prior to that, the Army approached SpaceX about turning its constellation of Starlink broadband satellites into a new military navigation network, and Space Force officials let slip earlier this year that they were already working closely with SpaceX after awarding the company a contract in August, BI reports.

The new weapon delivery system resembles a militarized version of something that SpaceX CEO proposed back in 2017, when he talked about passenger space travel.

Back then, Musk proposed launching passengers into space and then quickly landing them back down closer to their destination. The new plan is highly similar, just with weapons rather than people.

READ MORE: The US military and Elon Musk are planning a 7,500 mph rocket that can deliver weapons anywhere in the world in an hour [Business Insider]

More on SpaceX: The US Military Wants Access to SpaceXs Satellite Constellation

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Hackers Use Billboards to Trick Self-Driving Cars Into Slamming on the Brakes – Futurism

Braking Hearts

Israeli security researchers have figured out how to trick self-driving cars into slamming on the brakes by flickering an image of a stop sign on a digitally-controlled billboard a hack, they told Wired, that could cause traffic jams or even accidents.

The attacker just shines an image of something on the road or injects a few frames into a digital billboard, and the car will apply the brakes or possibly swerve, and thats dangerous, Ben Gurion University researcher Yisroel Mirsky told the magazine. The driver wont even notice at all. So somebodys car will just react, and they wont understand why.

As Gurion alluded to above, the teams research initially focused on shining images onto the road to trigger autonomous cars systems into doing something they shouldnt.

But then they realized that it would be more convenient to access connected digital billboards,Wired reports and they found, in the course of their research, that they only needed to flash an image of a stop sign for a fraction.

The team managed to con a Tesla running the companys most recent version of Autopilot, according to Wired. Most worryingly, perhaps, is that the hack would require little hardware and leave behind no evidence.

Previous methods leave forensic evidence and require complicated preparation, Ben Gurion researcher Ben Nassi told the magazine. Phantom attacks can be done purely remotely, and they do not require any special expertise.

READ MORE: Split-Second Phantom Images Can Fool Teslas Autopilot [Wired]

More on Tesla: Elon Musk: In Future Teslas, Structural Battery Will Be Part of the Cars Frame

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