Tech of the Day: Boston Dynamics Gets a Kick Out of Their New Robotic Dog ‘Spot’

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Google-owned Boston Dynamics has been terrifying us for years with their advancements in robotic hell hounds, but their latest video features something slightly less frightening and kinda cute.

Spot is a four-legged, 160-pound robot that is designed for both indoor and outdoor use, and it has a sensor on its head to help it navigate.

Watch it march around the grounds and through their offices, occasionally getting kicked by the staff.

While we know it’s just a robot and it doesn’t have real emotions, it still makes you fell kinda bad watching it react to the abuse.

“No robots were harmed in the making of this video,” they write at the end.

What’s more worrisome, however, is that larger model accompanying Spot up the hill later on in the clip. You do not want to mess with that thing.

Robots are already managing hotels in Japan and eating women in South Korea. And Singapore is hard at work creating a nightmarish eel drone.

It’s really only a matter of time before all of these advancements blow up in our face and we are slaves or dogfood to these creatures.

Animal of the Day: Rare Sierra Nevada Red Fox Found in Yosemite National Park

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For the first time in nearly 100 years, a Sierra Nevada red fox was spotted in Yosemite National Park.

The fox is one of the most endangered animals in North America with an estimated 50 left in existence.

The above image of the rare creature was captured by a motion-sensitive camera in the northern part of the park, and it was seen on two separate occasions.

“Confirmation of the Sierra Nevada red fox in Yosemite National Park’s vast alpine wilderness provides an opportunity to join research partners in helping to protect this imperiled animal,” stated Sarah Stock, Wildlife Biologist in Yosemite National Park. “We’re excited to work across our boundary to join efforts with other researchers that will ultimately give these foxes the best chances for recovery.”

The park service is now attempting to collect hair samples from it, to see if it is related to another group of foxes last spotted in an area called Sonora Pass.

Science of the Day: Watch Water Bounce Off a Superhydrophobic Surface

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Researchers at the University of Rochester have created a new type of water-resistant metal where drops literally bounce off the surface.

They achieved this by using a special laser-patterning technique that adds tiny structures to the material.

Most other surfaces that are water-repellant aren’t as powerful and rely on chemical coatings which can wear away over time, but this is permanent.

Rochester’s Chunlei Guo says this superhydrophobic material has a lot of real-world applications, especially in developing countries.

“In these regions, collecting rain water is vital and using super-hydrophobic materials could increase the efficiency without the need to use large funnels with high-pitched angles to prevent water from sticking to the surface,” he says. “A second application could be creating latrines that are cleaner and healthier to use.”

If you think this sounds like something a sewage-water drinking Bill Gates might be interested in, you’d be right, as the project was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Years ago, this same team created the exact opposite effect, with a material that attracts water so strongly that the liquid will actually crawl up the surface.

Innovation of the Day: Bill Gates Drinks Water Extracted From Raw Sewage

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Back in November, Bill Gates visited a plant that turns poop into water, and he took a nice big gulp.

The machine is called an Omniprocessor, and it uses a steam engine to convert raw sewage into electricity, clean drinking water and ash. On top of that, it produces enough excess energy to power itself.

He wrote about the experience on his blog:

"I watched the piles of feces go up the conveyer belt and drop into a large bin. They made their way through the machine, getting boiled and treated. A few minutes later I took a long taste of the end result: a glass of delicious drinking water."

The visit was part of The Gates Foundation's efforts to improve sanitation in poor countries. A few years ago, he asked people to try to reinvent the toilet as a possible solution to the problem.

The Omniprocessor was built by the Seattle-based Janicki Bioenergy, which will be conducting a pilot test of the machine in Dakar, Senegal in late 2015.

So how did the water taste?

"The water tasted as good as any I've had out of a bottle," Gates writes. "And having studied the engineering behind it, I would happily drink it every day. It's that safe."

Tech of the Day: This Robot Can Play Beer Pong Better Than You

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Sorry bro, your days of dominating everyone at beer pong are numbered.

Empire Robotics has created a robotic arm with a specialized ball on the end of it that hardens and softens to pick up objects.

So, for example, it can pick up ping pong balls and toss them into Solo cups.

Watch it flawlessly make 6 cups in a row in the video above, and – if you dare – challenge it in person at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

"The robot is not perfect, so it's possible for a human to win, but it's pretty good, so you'd have to be pretty good at beer pong," said the company's project manager John Dean.