Science

These hyper-efficient solar panels could actually live on your roof soon

The clean energy boffins in their labs are always upping the theoretical limit on how much power you can get out of sunshine, but us plebes actually installing solar cells are stuck with years-old tec

Watch the historic first private mission to the Moon launch Thursday night

For the first time later this week, a privately developed moon lander will launch aboard a privately built rocket, organized by a private launch coordinator. It’s an historic moment in space and

Deploy the space harpoon

Watch out, starwhales.

The Opportunity Mars rover’s greatest shots and discoveries

Opportunity’s mission is complete, and the rover that was supposed to last 90 days closes the book on 15 years of exploration. It’s sad, but it’s also a great time to look back on th

Opportunity Mars rover goes to its last rest after extraordinary 14-year mission

Opportunity, one of two rovers sent to Mars in 2004, is officially offline for good, NASA and JPL officials announced today at a special press conference. "I declare the Opportunity mission as complet

Xnor’s saltine-sized, solar-powered AI hardware redefines the edge

"If AI is so easy, why isn't there any in this room?" asks Ali Farhadi, founder and CEO of Xnor, gesturing around the conference room overlooking Lake Union in Seattle. And it's true — despite a han

DARPA wants smart bandages for wounded warriors

Nowhere is prompt and effective medical treatment more important than on the battlefield, where injuries are severe and conditions dangerous. DARPA thinks that outcomes can be improved by the use of i

Dandelion Energy, the Alphabet X spin out, raises another $16M led by GV and Comcast

As tech companies continue their race to control the smart home, a promising energy startup has raised a round of funding from traditionally tech and strategic investors for a geothermal solution to h

MIT’s insulin pill could replace injections for people with diabetes

Insulin pills have long been a kind of Holy Grail for people living with diabetes. A research team at MIT believes it may have taken an important step toward that dream with a new blueberry-sized caps

Play Iconary, a simple drawing game that hides a deceptively deep AI

It may not seem like it takes a lot of smarts to play a game like Pictionary, but in fact it involves a lot of subtle and abstract visual and linguistic skills. This AI built to play a game like it is

This light-powered 3D printer materializes objects all at once

3D printing has changed the way people approach hardware design, but most printers share a basic limitation: they essentially build objects layer by layer, generally from the bottom up. This new syste

Let’s save the bees with machine learning

Machine learning and all its related forms of "AI" are being used to work on just about every problem under the sun, but even so, stemming the alarming decline of the bee population still seems out of

A popular genealogy website just helped solve a serial killer cold case in Oregon

On Thursday, detectives in Portland, Ore. announced that a long-cold local murder case finally came to a resolution, 40 years after the fact. In 1979, 20-year-old Anna Marie Hlavka was found dead in t

Don’t worry, this rocket-launching Chinese robo-boat is strictly for science

It seems inevitable that the high seas will eventually play host to a sort of proxy war as automated vessels clash over territory for the algae farms we'll soon need to feed the growing population. Bu

WashU announces donation from Square co-founder to grow engineering school

Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) announced today that its engineering school received its largest single donation in history. The donation was offered by Square co-founder and WashU alumni J

IBM builds a more diverse million-face data set to help reduce bias in AI

Encoding biases into machine learning models, and in general into the constructs we refer to as AI, is nearly inescapable — but we can sure do better than we have in past years. IBM is hoping that a

Screen time inhibits toddler development, study finds

In news that will surprise few but still alarm many, a study has found that kids 2-5 years old who engage in more screen time received worse scores in developmental screening tests. The apparent expla

Ultima Thule shows its lumps in latest images from New Horizons flyby

The rendezvous between the New Horizons probe and the distant object known as Ultima Thule was an historic moment, but after the mind-blowing imagery the craft sent back from Pluto, you could be forgi

StarCraft II-playing AI AlphaStar takes out pros undefeated

Losing to the computer in StarCraft has been a tradition of mine since the first game came out in 1998. Of course, the built-in “AI” is trivial for serious players to beat, and for years r

Autonomous subs spend a year cruising under Antarctic ice

The freezing waters underneath Antarctic ice shelves and the underside of the ice itself are of great interest to scientists... but who wants to go down there? Leave it to the robots. They won't compl
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