Autonomous Robots Take to the High Seas

A new robotic sailboat aims to set navigation records while collecting data on marine life. In the future, such boats could be used for search and rescue operations and tsunami detection.

What's the Latest Development?

Austrian scientists have built a sailboat capable of navigating the high seas without any human input. The boat will be launched this July with hopes that it will cover 150 nautical miles and work to collect data on Baltic Sea porpoises. Called Roboat, the sailboat will decide its own route, perform sailing maneuvers, respond to changing wind conditions on its own and generate its own power using solar panels. "Interest in robot sailboats has picked up since 2005, when two engineers established the Microtransat, which challenges teams to create sailboats that can cross the Atlantic Ocean on their own. So far no one has succeeded."

What's the Big Idea?

Besides using robotic sailboats to study the migration and mating patterns of porpoises, they are slated for a variety of uses in other scientific disciplines. Roboat's project manager, Roland Stelzer, said: "These solar energy-powered robotic sailing boats can also be used for tsunami early-warning systems, search operations, meteorological measurements and the recovery of oil spills." Robotic boats can also be used to ferry goods to people living on remote islands or spy on smuggling vessels without risking human life. Some of the technology may also be used to enhance crew safety on manned boats. 

Photo credit:

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Wealth inequality is literally killing us. The economy should work for everyone.

This economy has us in survival mode, stressing out our bodies and minds.

  • Economic hardship is linked to physical and psychological illness, resulting in added healthcare expenses people can't afford.
  • The gig economy – think Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, Handy – is marketed as a 'be your own boss' revolution, but it can be dehumanizing and dangerous; every worker is disposable.
  • The cooperative business model can help reverse wealth inequality.
Keep reading Show less

The most culturally chauvinist people in Europe? Greeks, new research suggests

Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.

Image: Pew Research Center
Strange Maps
  • Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
  • Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
  • British much more likely than French (and slightly more likely than Germans) to say their culture is "superior" to others.
Keep reading Show less

People who engage in fat-shaming tend to score high in this personality trait

A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.

Mind & Brain
  • The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
  • The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
  • People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Keep reading Show less