Sci/Tech briefs

Chips used to locate kidnapping victims

As kidnapping rates in Mexico continue to soar, wealthy Mexicans are implanting chips into themselves so that satellites can locate them in case of kidnapping.

The chips are designed by Mexican security firm Xega. Crystal-coated chips are injected via a syringe into the clients’ bodies.

Signals are then sent to a satellite through a transmitter and the exact location of a person can be detected.

Although the chips cost $4000 and also require an annual fee of $2200, even middle-class Mexicans are now buying them.

The reason for this demand can be attributed to the high kidnapping rate in Mexico, which increased by almost 40 percent between 2004 and 2007.

Source: ABC News

NASA destroys harmful rocket

An unmanned rocket, carrying two research satellites, was destroyed by NASA soon after takeoff Friday.

The rocket was destroyed as it had failed to stay on course and hence could have been harmful to the public.

The rocket, made by Alliant Techsystems Inc., was destroyed using a remote control, 27 seconds after launching.

Officials are still unsure why the rocket veered off course.

NASA had spent $17 million in the mission involving the two hypersonic research satellites and the rocket. The rocket had been developed to test newly developed technologies and learn about launch vehicles.


Intel develops futuristic robots

At the Intel Developer’s Forum in San Francisco, Intel Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner said that Intel was now working on making big changes in the fields of robotics and human-computer interaction.

Specifically, Rattner mentioned the work Intel was doing on wireless power and on developing shape-shifting robots that could take any form, including a human form.

Intel is working on how to use millions of miniature robots, called catoms, to create a larger robot which can change shapes. Catom technology was initially developed by Carnegie Mellon professor Seth Goldstein.

According to Rattner, considering the exponential rate at which technology is growing, machines could soon surpass humans in their ability to reason.


Nuclear plant faces earthquake risk

Scientists claim that a nuclear power plant, lying very close to New York City, is likely to be shaken by an earthquake as it is situated on top of a newly discovered intersection of two active seismic zones.

Seismologists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, claim that the Indian Point nuclear reactor is within a mile of the seismic line going from Stamford, Conn., to Peekskill, N.Y., and the Ramapo seismic line.

However, personnel at the power plant stated that this was not a risk, as the power plant was built to withstand an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale.

Source: Reuters