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Weapon Wednesday – Is China’s Laser Rifle for Real?

Laser guns allegedly from the Chengdu Hengan Police Equipment Manufacturing Company
Laser guns allegedly from the Chengdu Hengan Police Equipment Manufacturing Company(Credit: South China Morning Post)

China says that it has developed a laser rifle that can “carbonize” human flesh at a range of 800 m (2,625 ft), yet weighs only 3 kg (6.6 lb). In a report in the South China Morning Post, Chinese researchers say that the ZKZM-500 laser assault rifle is a fully portable “non-lethal” weapon that can burn hair, skin and signs, and even penetrate and set fire to fuel tanks. read more

AI is Key to Self-Driving Car

UK startup Wayve believes trial-and-error machine learning, much like the way humans learn, is the key...
UK startup Wayve believes trial-and-error machine learning, much like the way humans learn, is the key to autonomous cars(Credit: Wayve)

A pair of artificial intelligence Ph.Ds from Cambridge University are going all-in on machine learning as the foundation of autonomous cars. Their company, Wayve, has just released video of a kitted-out Renault Twizy teaching itself to follow a lane from scratch, over the course of about 20 minutes.

Wayve’s Amar Shah and Alex Kendall believe there’s been too much hand-engineering going on as people try to solve the self-driving car problem. read more

No More Finger-Pricking for Diabetics?

Thanks to a radar-based system that's currently in development, doing THIS may someday no longer be...
Thanks to a radar-based system that’s currently in development, doing THIS may someday no longer be necessary(Credit: dml5050/Depositphotos)

Although finger-prick blood glucose tests are a daily necessity for millions of diabetics, a less-painful alternative may be on the horizon. Led by Prof. George Shaker, a team from Canada’s University of Waterloo is looking at using radar and artificial intelligence (AI) to do the job. read more

A Rideable Scooter that will also Follow You

The CanguRo personal assistant/smart scooter can follow its user around or provide a motor-driven ride
The CanguRo personal assistant/smart scooter can follow its user around or provide a motor-driven ride(Credit: Yusuke Nishibe)

Folks looking for a last mile transport solution have choice-a-plenty nowadays, but the CanguRo offers more than just a comfy ride. The RidRoid robot – a mash up of ride and android – has some useful smarts cooked in, being able to follow its user around between rides, or make its way to a meeting point on its own. read more

Nanoparticles Heat Up and Kill Cancer

A transmission electron microscope image of the zinc ferrite nanoparticles that can be triggered by a...
A transmission electron microscope image of the zinc ferrite nanoparticles that can be triggered by a magnetic field to heat up and kill cancer(Credit: Xiang Yu)

Cancer is one of humanity’s biggest killers, but scientists are coming up with some creative ways to fight back. Researchers at the University at Buffalo have developed new kinds of nanoparticles that can infiltrate, heat up and kill cancer cells more effectively and efficiently than similar methods. read more

Weapon Wednesday – DARPA All Terrain Vehicle

The GXV-T program aims to move away from heavy armored vehicles in a quest for battlefield...
The GXV-T program aims to move away from heavy armored vehicles in a quest for battlefield superiority, using some unique ideas(Credit: DARPA)

Back in 2014, DARPA announced the launch of its Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) program, an initiative designed to break through a single paradigm that has been weighing the military down in ground combat. That paradigm is the ever-escalating vendetta between tanks and anti-tank guns. read more

The THOR Monocopter

The THOR prototype can transition from hover to fixed-wing cruise mode by rotating its wings into...
The THOR prototype can transition from hover to fixed-wing cruise mode by rotating its wings into alignment

Conventional multicopter drones are excellent at hovering and VTOL, but they can’t cover long distances as efficiently as fixed-wing aircraft. A team of students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design is trying to get the best of both worlds with the Transformable HOvering Rotorcraft (THOR). read more

Porsche Superyacht

Dynamic's GTT 115: developed in conjunction with Studio F.A. Porsche to push the concept of grand...
Dynamic’s GTT 115: developed in conjunction with Studio F.A. Porsche to push the concept of grand touring into the marine world(Credit: Dynamiq)

Porsche has lent its name and some of its design team to Tuscan superyacht builder Dynamiq to create the GTT 115. Inspired by Porsche’s grand touring cars, this 14.4 million-dollar, 35-meter beauty is designed for high-speed, trans-Atlantic shenanigans in total luxury, with up to 10 guests and a crew of six. read more

New Drug for RET-Driven Cancers

A new cancer drug, known as BLU-667, has shown promise in human clinical trials
A new cancer drug, known as BLU-667, has shown promise in human clinical trials(Credit: vitanovski/Depositphotos)

A new cancer drug known as cancer drug has moved through phase I human trials, and the results are promising. Taken orally, the drug targets what are known as RET-driven cancers, including types of thyroid and lung cancers, which are normally hard to treat. read more

Weapon Wednesday – The New V-247 Vigilant Tiltrotor Drone

The V-247 can be armed with a variety of munitions

The V-247 can be armed with a variety of munitions(Credit: Bell Helicopter)

At the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Bell helicopter has unveiled its new V-247 Vigilant tiltrotor drone for the US Marine Corps. Like the company’s V-22 Osprey, the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) can lift off and hover like a helicopter, yet has the range and speed of a fixed-wing aircraft. According to Bell, the Vigilant can carry out combat reconnaissance missions from land bases without runways or from small ships with flight decks. read more