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Weapon Wednesday – Air Force’s New Huey

Boeing will provide its MH-139 helicopter and related support to the US Air Force to replace...
Boeing will provide its MH-139 helicopter and related support to the US Air Force to replace the fleet of UH-1N “Huey” helicopters(Credit: Boeing)

The US Air Force has selected the Boeing MH-139 helicopter to replace its venerable fleet of UH-1N “Huey” multirole choppers that are used to protect America’s land-based nuclear ICBMs in the US Midwest. The contract, worth US$2.4 billion, is for 84 aircraft along with support services and training systems. read more

Ford’s Level 4 Autonomous Truck

The design inspiration for the F-Vision truck, Ford’s designers say, comes from comic book characters
The design inspiration for the F-Vision truck, Ford’s designers say, comes from comic book characters(Credit: Ford Trucks)

Ford has unveiled a new concept heavy-duty truck at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018 show in Hannover, Germany. The F-Vision concept is a large commercial truck that combines future propulsion and clean energy with autonomous driving. The F-Vision was designed and prototyped by Ford’s Turkish design center. read more

Battle Against Dementia – Clearing Zombie Brain Cells

Zombie cells, aka senescent cells, have been found to accumulate in the brain ahead of the...
Zombie cells, aka senescent cells, have been found to accumulate in the brain ahead of the toxic protein build-ups that are generally implicated in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia(Credit: Mayo Clinic)

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic have identified a new target in the battle against dementia and age-related cognitive decline – zombie cells. More formally known as senescent cells, these are cells that have stopped dividing but don’t die, and tend to accumulate with age. The new research reveals that many pathological signs of neurodegenerative disease can be eliminated by removing these cells from the brain. read more

OPod Tube House

The OPod Tube House comprises a total floorspace of 100 sq ft (9.29 sq m)
The OPod Tube House comprises a total floorspace of 100 sq ft (9.29 sq m)(Credit: James Law Cybertecture)

Here’s one of the more unusual housing ideas we’ve come across in a while. The OPod Tube House, by James Law Cybertecture, is a micro house made from concrete water piping that measures just 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in diameter. Its snug interior features an apartment-style layout suitable for one or two people. read more

Urwerk’s New Watch Design

The Urwerk UR111C showing its linear display
The Urwerk UR111C showing its linear display(Credit: Urwerk)

Urwerk can always be counted on to surprise, and its latest UR111C wristwatch is absolutely true to form. Designed by co-founders Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei, the self-winding UR111C does pretty well everything it can to subvert the traditional wristwatch form, including an analog/digital readout that sits to the side of the case rather than on the face. read more

Weapon Wednesday – Are Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems a Good Idea?

Salon Eurosatory 2018

GETTY IMAGESCHRISTOPHE MORIN/IP3

As the power of artificial intelligence grows, the likelihood of a future war filled with killer robots grows as well. Proponents suggest that lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWs) might cause less “collateral damage,” while critics warn that giving machines the power of life and death would be a terrible mistake.

Last month’s UN meeting on ‘killer robots’ in Geneva ended with victory for the machines, as a small number of countries blocked progress towards an international ban. Some opponents of such a ban, like Russia and Israel, were to be expected since both nations already have advanced military AI programs. But surprisingly, the U.S. also agreed with them. read more

BMW Driverless Motorcycle

The self-driving BMW makes its way around the track
The self-driving BMW makes its way around the track(Credit: BMW Motorrad)

Yamaha’s Motobot is not alone, it seems. Behind closed doors, BMW has also been working on autonomous motorcycle technology for the last couple of years. And yesterday, BMW Motorrad released footage of a self-driving R1200GS negotiating its own way around a test track. read more

World’s Largest Radio Telescope – in China

A bird's eye view of FAST
A bird’s eye view of FAST(Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences)

China is one step closer to leading the search for alien radio signals. On Sunday the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) announced that the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) has begun operations. FAST takes over the title of world’s largest radio telescope from the 305-meter Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. read more