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Scientists Achieve Quantum Teleportation Breakthrough

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quantumtrekIf I could have any superpower, it would be the ability to teleport. Just think of it—the entire world at your fingertips. What’s the use of being invisible or flying if you can just instantaneously transport yourself somewhere? And to never have to buy another plane ticket or sit in a cramped cabin with a crying kid? Sign me up. Sadly, it’s not as easy as it seems on Star Trek, but recently, Dutch scientists at the Delft Institute of Technology have made a major breakthrough that gives people like me hope: they have achieved the quantum teleportation of data.

This is, admittedly, a far cry from teleporting matter, but the new findings could revolutionize the way we transmit data, both in terms of speed and security. Even Albert Einstein doubted that this was possible, and how often do we get to prove him wrong? Einstein was skeptical about the idea of quantum entanglement, which proposes that particles maintain a link even when separated. Once those particles are divided, Einstein believed, they shouldn’t behave as though they’re still entangled. He even called the idea “spooky action at a distance.”

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Brain-Controlled Aircraft Piloted In Germany

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flightAs brain-controlled prosthetics and exoskeletons are increasing in popularity, and are especially set to take off after a paralyzed Brazilian teen kicks off the World Cup, we may see a technological trend involving mind-controlling everything. We can even control Asimo with our brains, and that’s just the beginning. Scientists at Germany’s Institute for Flight System Dynamics at the Technical University of Munich and TU Berlin have figured out how to successfully control aircraft with their minds.

Funded by the EU program “Brainflight,” scientists have devised a “feasible” systems for pilots to fly hands-free, merely by thinking commands for the aircraft, and it works surprisingly well. The test pilots wore the usual EEG (electroencephalography) cap, which allowed them to control a flight simulator by will, including take-off and landing. Scientists believe that this could ultimately make flights safer, especially by reducing the workload and flight hours of pilots, and freeing them up to attend to other cockpit tasks.

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DARPA Developing Brain Implants To Treat PTSD

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dbsHey, look! It’s a DARPA program that isn’t designed to create the ultimate super-soldier! Actually, that’s debatable. Regardless, here’s a DARPA initiative that theoretically could benefit folks who aren’t embroiled in combat: developing brain implants for treating mental conditions such as PTSD.

The effort leverages recent research and success in deep brain stimulation, which has been shown to successfully treat Parkinson’s, among other conditions. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) involves implanting electrodes that deliver electrical impulses to affected areas of the brain. For Parkinson’s patients, a neurostimulator, which is similar to a pacemaker but is usually near the patient’s collarbone, regulates the impulses sent by the electrodes. DARPA’s approach would be similar in terms of the use of electrodes, but it also seeks to implant a chip, rather than a neurostimulator, to send and monitor the resulting signals and data to and from the brain and computers used by researchers.

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UFO Sightings Were Just A Google Balloon Gone Rogue

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balloonGoogle is trying to “bring the internet to everyone,” and per its Loon program, the revolutionary idea for doing so is to use solar-powered balloons that float in the stratosphere. They’re currently testing the balloons in New Zealand, but it seems that an early prototype of one of those balloons went rogue a while ago, and has since prompted UFO sightings across the U.S.

In October of 2012, folks in Pike County, Kentucky spotted a bright object zooming across the sky. Even an amateur astronomer was baffled by the sight.

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SpaceX Will Unveil The Dragon V2 Spacecraft Tonight

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unveilWhat are you doing tonight at 10:00 PM EST? For most of us science and tech geeks, that’s a rhetorical question. We’ll be gathered around our computers, watching SpaceX unveil the Dragon V2—the next generation of the Dragon Spacecraft. This iteration isn’t for shuttling cargo to the ISS, it’s for taking astronauts there, and beyond.

Dragon has been proving its worth for years, becoming the first commercial spacecraft to dock with the ISS and serving as regular cargo service to the station. But SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has always had grander plans. Since the U.S. currently relies on Russian Soyuz capsules to get astronauts into space—a method of transportation that won’t be available to us for much longer—now is the perfect time to reveal the spacecraft that may take its place and restore the U.S.’s ability to launch its own astronauts into space by 2017. The V2, which Musk will unveil himself tonight via the webcast, is also known as the “Space Taxi.”

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Coming Soon: Licenses For Driverless Cars And Google’s New Self-Driving Vehicles

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driverlessSometime in the future, we may see robots in line at the DMV. I bet they’d take pretty good license photos. But this fall in California, humans will have to obtain licenses for the driverless cars they will “co-pilot” in a move to solidify the legality of driverless cars taking to public roads.

California is the first state to announce such a policy, as well as the terms of the licenses they’ll be granting. Applications will be available in July for September approval or denial, and the terms are, understandably, fairly strict. The applications are limited to test drivers who are employed, certified, and authorized by the manufacturer. Each license will cost $150, and one license can cover up to 10 vehicles and 20 test pilots. Each driverless car is required to have insurance covering at least $5,000,000 for personal injury, death, or property damage. The test drivers, who themselves have to meet criteria, have to be a position to take control of the cars at all times.