Popular Science


Your first memory probably isn't yours, no matter how real it seems

Popular Science

Think back to your earliest memory. What age were you in it? In a recent survey, 40 percent of people say they remember events earlier than age two. But here's the problem: Most memory researchers argue that its essentially impossible to remember anything before those terrible twos. Understanding how and why our brains form memories in the first place might convince you that if you're in that 40 percent, perhaps your memory is a fictional one after all.


DJI drones are now $300 off

Popular Science

For 36 hours the company will be discounting new drones such as the foldable Mavic Pro and the Spark by up to $300. The Mavic Pro Fly More Combo will be on sale for $999 (typically $1299) while the mini Spark Fly More Combo will be $499 (typically $549). The Phantom 4 will come with an extra Intelligent Flight Battery and a wrap pack if its ordered during Prime Day. Once Prime Day wraps DJI will be extending the savings to many of their refurbished products.


Do you really need to properly eject a USB drive before yanking it out?

Popular Science

Say you're copying a file from your computer to a USB drive. Your machine may actually be using something called a write cache; instead of transfering the file from one device to the other directly, it's using that cache to make the process more efficient. The cache is just local memory storage that your computer is really good at writing to, quickly. "When you write to the drive, it will actually just write it into memory, and then come back to you and say, 'yeah I wrote it,'" says Andy Pavlo, an assistant professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. "But it's actually not made it to the drive yet."


Disney is turning to robots to pull off dangerous aerial feats

Popular Science

Disney already has humans performing stunts at places like Shanghai Disneyland. And of course, they already have animatronic figures, but those guys aren't exactly made to fly. Take the "Shaman" character in an "Avatar"-themed attraction in Florida, for example. "It's a very, very sophisticated, very, very expressive animatronic figure," says Tony Dohi, a principle R&D "imagineer" with Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development. "Yet it's definitely not something we'd want to throw 90 feet across an outdoor space."


Mouser Electronics

Popular Science

During his stay, Grant is surprised by the non-humanoid robot he meets at the check-in desk. Maybe he should have known--Henn Na Hotel loosely translates to "strange hotel" in Japanese. Naomi Tomita, the hotel's Chief Technology Officer, says that using non-humanoid robots can make the interactions less awkward. The hotel encourages guests to chat with the robots while they work. A robot checks Grant's coat, and a robotic trolley takes his luggage to his hotel room.


CES 2018: Checking in on new tech six months later

Popular Science

CES 2017 was a breakout year for Amazon's Alexa digital assistant. The helpful, disembodied entity showed up in everything from speakers to appliances. The 2018 show proved a similar opportunity for the Google Assistant. One of the big promises on the Google Assistant front was a wave of "smart displays" from companies like JBL and LG, but those products are only just getting ready to trickle out here in July. Smart screens have also busted out of their small frames a bit since CES 2018, too.


Meet China's growing fleet of automated delivery drones

Popular Science

The burgeoning private Chinese civilian effort in developing these technologies points to a future that will change not just sales and delivery inside China, but also abroad, as many of the key companies have a global presence. It also suggests that the PLA could rely more heavily on civilian sources for its future unmanned technologies. Peter Warren Singer is a strategist and senior fellow at the New America Foundation. He has been named by Defense News as one of the 100 most influential people in defense issues. He was also dubbed an official "Mad Scientist" for the U.S. Army's Training and Doctrine Command.


We love fireworks because they scare us

Popular Science

On the Fourth of July, skies will be ablaze with exploding art. Our souls will swell with splendor as we watch thousands of fireworks burst in the night, shooting up like hot comets then fanning out into brilliant umbrellas of twinkling light. There's no question that we humans love fireworks. Some of us have risked serious burns to the face and hands attempting to set them off and awe our friends. Last year, more than 250 million pounds of fireworks erupted, generating $1.2 billion in revenue, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.


Last week in tech: Google's AI gets chatty and Nerf has new laser tag blasters

Popular Science

Humans have a complicated relationship with artificial intelligence, and it's only getting more complex. Some worry that AI will replace us as the dominant species on the planet, while others envision the digital assistant as a panacea for the tedious tasks we humans hate doing. But, since we don't have those robot butlers just yet, here's a look back at the tech news you may have missed last week while you were toiling away, building a better world for our future robotic overlords. This week's episode includes a first-hand account of what it's like to talk to the Google Duplex AI bot that makes restaurant reservations--while doing a surprisingly convincing human impression (you can read more about that here). We also talk about the latest batch of waterproof gadgets to use by the pool, and fully admit how addicted we are to technology in light of the recent outages for Google Assistant and the group chat app, Slack.


This self-driving grocery delivery car will sacrifice itself to save pedestrians

Popular Science

In terms of size, the Nuro car is "pretty similar to a big guy on a motorbike," says Nuro co-founder Dave Ferguson, who previously worked with Google's self-driving car project, now called Waymo. The vehicle is about 6 feet high, 8 feet long, and 3.6 feet wide--about half a Toyota Corolla's width. It's electric-powered, with a battery system designed to last all day without a recharge, Ferguson says. It weighs around 1,500 pounds. The produce-schlepper will go just 25 miles per hour, but will increase its max speed in the future.