More tech Stories
In Brief

JumpStartFund, a crowdfunding site that has taken it upon itself to make Elon Musk’s ultrafast hyperloop transit system a reality, has formed a now-operating company around the project called Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc. JumpStartFund released a timeline of planned milestones the company has set, including demoing hyperloop technology in early 2015. JumpStartFund announced last month that former SpaceX director of operations Marco Villa and former American Society of Civil Engineers president Patricia Galloway would lead the company.

Upcoming Events

In Brief

An October IDTechEx report states that by 2015, the market for 3D printing material like plastics and metals could be worth $244 to $615 million. The spread comes from a big question: whether or not the industry will become competitive. Right now, companies can get away with charging upward of $40 or $50 for 2.2 pound spools of plastic.

The report also states that metal powders, which currently make up about 1.4 percent of the market, will see the most growth.

In Brief

NASA has exactly 20 days when conditions will be right to launch the MAVEN spacecraft, which will spend 10 months journeying to Mars. Those 20 days begin November 18. So when the government shutdown went into effect a month ahead of the planned launch, MAVEN officials couldn’t help but sweat a little. 

Those officials announced today in a televised press briefing that the mission will go ahead as planned, with no delay as a result of the shutdown. MAVEN will explore Mars’ atmosphere to determine how it has changed over time, which could expand knowledge of the history of life and water on the planet.

In Brief

While advanced 3D printers can print in metal and ceramic, personal 3D printers are mostly limited to plastic varieties known as PLA and ABS. Design and fabrication firm ProtoPlant wants to help them take a small step forward by offering plastics with additives like carbon fiber that are stronger and able to withstand higher temperatures. It is one of the first instances of a company commercializing unusual materials that are compatible with personal printers. In the next few years, we will see the emergence of lots of materials beyond PLA and ABS, with an emphasis on strength and flexibility.

loading external resource
In Brief

National makerspace TechShop will begin constructing a Washington, D.C., location this fall, with plans to open it in the first quarter of 2014. It will be the seventh TechShop location. For a monthly fee, members will have access to the space’s standard classes and $1 million worth of equipment. The new location is funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

On The Web

The FDA is reportedly very close to approving a brain implant that prevents epileptic seizures. It’s the first device that autonomously determines when to apply bursts of electrical signals to suppress oncoming abnormal brain activity. Studies found it reduces seizure frequency by a median of 53 percent after two years.

In Brief

The European Space Agency is entering into the design phase for a fleet of solar electric telecommunication satellites after signing a $16 million one-year contract with satellite operator SES and manufacturer OHB AG. Solar electric propulsion is an established, more efficient alternative to chemical or nuclear fission-powered propulsion that can move a satellite to a specific location above Earth and then hold it there. The satellites will require up to 90 percent less chemical propellant by weight, making them lighter and less expensive to carry into space. NASA is considering using solar electric propulsion to send a spacecraft to Mars.

On The Web

The Cupertino city council unanimously approved Apple’s planned 2.8-million-square-foot spaceship-like headquarters Tuesday evening. “Right here at this same podium two years ago, Steve shared his excitement about this campus and about creating a home where Apple grew up,” Apple real estate and facilities head Dan Whisenhunt said, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “Cupertino is synonymous with Apple; it’s on every (Apple) box and we’re immensely proud of that.”

On The Web

A battery-sized pacemaker recently approved for sale in Europe is wireless, which means it can sit within the heart without any further kind of connection. Current pacemakers must sit outside the heart and be connected by wires, which can wear out and cause a pacemaker to fail. The new pacemaker can also be inserted with a non-invasive procedure.

On The Web

Europe and Russia launch the greatest share of the two dozen or so commercial rockets that go into space each year. California-based SpaceX hopes to bring dominance back to the U.S., which hasn’t launched the most commercial rockets since the 1980s. But SpaceX isn’t worried about competing with Europe and Russia; it’s worried about China, which has a fast-growing space program.

15678913page 7 of 13