NASA sending Google's Project Tango smartphone to space to improve flying robots

An experimental NASA robot could get a big upgrade thanks to Google. The two parties have been working together to integrate Google's Project Tango smartphone prototype — which can detect and map the world around it using a series of sensors — onto NASA's SPHERES — brightly colored, volleyball-sized robots designed to float around the International Space Station and assist astronauts....

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One day, this company could let you see your baby before it's conceived

A New York-based startup called Genepeeks is launching a new service this month that uses genetic information from sperm donors and their recipients to create thousands of possible digital embryos — and learn about what kind of children the pair can make. The product's designed to warn future parents about pairs that lead to high risks for genetic diseases, but a patent granted earlier this year suggests the technology can be used to select for certain cosmetic traits in offspring. The founders say that they currently have no plans to follow that line of business, but it does raise questions about designer babies. New research shows Americans are against the idea, and a backlash last year against a similar patent granted to 23andMe clearly demonstrates those concerns. Nevertheless, Genepeeks' technology offers some exciting possibilities for the future — read the full story over at The Guardian.

"Digital embryo" shows possible outcomes of a match

SpaceX's third supply mission takes off for the ISS

Update April 18th, 2014 3:30pm: The Falcon 9 has successfully launched, and the capsule is headed towards the ISS for a Sunday docking.

After weeks of delays, SpaceX is preparing to launch its third supply mission to the International Space...

Cyborg video glasses show emotion so you don't have to

Emotional labor is a kind of work we often don't recognize as work: the need to appear friendly, deferential, or attentive at a job. Fast food restaurant Pret a Manger is famous (or infamous) for holding its employees to exacting friendliness standards, and emotional labor's overall importance is becoming a more and more pressing question. It's frequently, for example, implicated when talking about the supposed American "crisis of masculinity" and the growth of the service sector: are some...

Americans love time travel and fear designer babies

American faith in technology is high, but our faith in weather control is low — and we're very worried about designer babies and Google Glass. The Pew Research Center, whose surveys we've frequently cited when talking about present-day cellphone...


Ancient shark discovery may rewrite our evolutionary history

Sharks are often seen as "living fossils," examples of evolutionary excellence that have not altered their design significantly since they came into existence. Evolutionary biologists have theorized specifically that the creatures' respiratory systems, fed by efficient gills, were present in the species since they first diverged on Earth more than 400 million years ago. But researchers have recently discovered a fossil record that appears to...

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