Star Trek-style force-field armour being developed by military scientists

The new type of armour will use pulses of electrical energy to repel rockets, shrapnel and other ammunition that might damage a vehicle.

Researchers at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), which is the research and development arm of the Ministry of Defence, claim it is possible to incorporate material known as supercapacitors into armour of a vehicle to turn it into a kind of giant battery.

When a threat from incoming fire is detected by the vehicle, the energy stored in the supercapacitor can be rapidly dumped onto the metal plating on the outside of the vehicle, producing a strong electromagnetic field.

Scientists behind the project claim this would produce a momentary “force field” capable of repelling the incoming rounds and projectiles.

via Star Trek-style force-field armour being developed by military scientists – Telegraph.

The Recent Future / March 26, 2010 / SciFi, Star Trek Did It!, Tech / 0 Comments

Mark Roth Has Key to Suspended Animation, Closer To Immortality

As anyone who reads science fiction will tell you, suspended animation is where your body is put into a state of preservation, not really living, but not dead either. It’s like a chemically induced version of hibernation, and it could help you stay alive on the way to a hospital after getting seriously hurt. Mark Roth was part of a larger DARPA initiative to extend soldier survivability after injury on the battlefield. From that research, Roth discovered that hydrogen sulfide (H2S), in small quantities, would put mammals in what was essentially a state of suspended animation. Hydrogen sulfide is toxic (it was used in chemical warfare in WWI) but in the right doses it can actively bond to oxygen receptors in your body. Replacing the need for oxygen allows mammals to lower their metabolic rates to absurdly low levels, but once the H2S is removed animals recover without any nasty side effects. Roth has found then what seems to be the perfect formula for keeping people alive after trauma. His newly formed company, Ikaria, is currently in phase II clinical trials for a liquid hydrogen sulfide product. In just a few years, suspended animation may be a common tool in hospitals and trauma centers all over the world. It almost sounds too incredible to believe. Watch Roth give an enthusiastic and really enjoyable talk at TED 2010 in the video below that explains his work and its amazing potential.

via Mark Roth Has Key to Suspended Animation, Closer To Immortality | Singularity Hub.

The Recent Future / March 24, 2010 / Health, SciFi / 0 Comments

This Is the Future of the Fight Against Cancer

Look close. You may be staring at the end of cancer. Those tiny black dots are nanobots delivering a lethal blow to a cancerous cell, effectively killing it. The first trial on humans have been a success, with no side-effects:

It sneaks in, evades the immune system, delivers the siRNA, and the disassembled components exit out.

Those are the words of Mark Davis, head of the research team that created the nanobot anti-cancer army at the California Institute of Technology. According to a study to be published in Nature, Davis’ team has discovered a clean, safe way to deliver RNAi sequences to cancerous cells. RNAi (Ribonucleic acid interference) is a technique that attacks specific genes in malign cells, disabling functions inside and killing them.

via This Is the Future of the Fight Against Cancer – Nanobots – Gizmodo.

The Recent Future / March 24, 2010 / Health, SciFi / 0 Comments

Learn to Fly a Jetpack. Yes, a Jetpack!

I figured when I wrote about flying cars last year that it would only be a matter of time before I got to write about…jetpacks! OK, I had no idea I was going to be writing about jetpacks because I had long believed they were but a figment of a weak, collective, futuristic imagination. Indeed, while flying cars were inevitable, jetpacks…well, you’d have to be a compete idiot. Unless you’re the Martin Aircraft Company of New Zealand. Which has created a working jetpack.

And is now inviting anyone over 18 with a valid driver’s license to join its “test squadron.” (Catch: You will need to go to New Zealand. And that age-limit seems solid, even though, as the video below attests, the 15-year-old son of Martin Aircraft’s founders has been allowed behind the controls.) Mind you, this isn’t the jetpack of sci-fi yesteryear. It’s not even jet powered. Instead, it features rotor blades driven by a V4 engine, so it’s actually more of a heli-pack. And it’s kinda…large, if your visions of jetpacks are formed by the type of units seen in movies from the Star Wars series.

via Learn to Fly a Jetpack. Yes, a Jetpack! | The Big Money.

The Recent Future / March 9, 2010 / SciFi, Tech / 0 Comments

Exclusive: Colorado Doctors Skirt FDA Jurisdiction to Provide Stem Cell Therapies

The FDA has yet to approve stem cell therapies for general use in medicine, but that hasn’t stopped doctors in Colorado from providing them anyway. Chris Centeno and John Schultz have boldly formed Regenerative Sciences Inc. in Broomfield, Colorado. RSI provides its patients with the Regenexx procedure, an adult stem cell transplant that uses your own cells (autologous) to treat joint injuries and bone damage. There’s no surgery needed. A needle extracts bone marrow, RSI isolates the stem cells and cultures them in your own blood, and then these cells are injected into the area where they are needed. They’ve treated 348+ patients with 800+ injections and show no signs of slowing down. According to RSI’s own surveys, 89% of their knee patients showed marked improvement, as did 75% of their hip patients! Within months some patients can walk or run in ways they haven’t been able to in years. We’ve seen these kinds of results from stem cell treatments before, but only in horses and dogs. That’s because human stem cell therapies like this one aren’t approved by the FDA. How can Centeno and Schultz flaunt the lack of federal approval? They claim that Regenexx is solely used as a part of their medical practice, only within the state of Colorado, and as such is no more regulated by the FDA than it would be by the FAA or the Department of Motor Vehicles. I had a chance to talk with Dr. Centeno over the phone and learn more about Regenexx and RSI. For hundreds of patients, he and his team are providing a remarkable hope. They’ve brought lab-cultured medical stem cell therapies to the US. Finally.

via Exclusive: Colorado Doctors Skirt FDA Jurisdiction to Provide Stem Cell Therapies | Singularity Hub.

The Recent Future / March 9, 2010 / Health / 0 Comments

‘Auspicious Buddhist flower’ blooms in China after 3000 yrs

A Chinese nun has found an Udumbara flower, which Buddhist legend holds blossoms every 3,000 years, growing under her washing machine.

The flower was found in the home of a Chinese nun in Lushan Mountain in Jiangxi province.

The Udumbara – apparently Sanskrit for an auspicious flower from heaven’ – measures just 1 mm in diameter and is said to find mentions in Buddhist mythology on account of its supposed rarity.

The newspaper said Miao Wei, 50, discovered the white flower under her washing machine.

Auspicious Buddhist flower’ blooms in China after 3000 yrs.

The Recent Future / March 8, 2010 / Nature / 0 Comments