NASA wants to put your name on a spacecraft headed to an asteroid
Forget those dime-a-dozen “name a star” gifts — wouldn’t you rather put your name on a spacecraft that advances human understanding? NASA certainly thinks you do. It’s teaming up with the Planetary Society to etch your name on chips inside its OSIRIS-REx probe, which will head toward the asteroid Bennu in 2016. While it’s doubtful that any aliens will read your microscopic claim to fame, it’ll certainly get the grand tour. The spacecraft will spend 500 days around the asteroid before heading back, and both the decommissioned vehicle as well as the returning sample capsule will have your ID. You can register your name today for free; just be prepared to wait years for the payoff.
Google’s new wearable project is a smart contact lens with medical uses
Google loves wearables and this time it’s getting even closer to your body with a developmental smart contact lens. Through miniaturized electronics, it can apparently measure the levels of glucose in your tears, offering diabetics an easier way to monitor their condition without the needles and the blood — something we’ve reported on a several before. A tiny (really tiny) wireless chip and glucose sensor are wedged between two layers of “biocompatible” contact lens material, and Google is saying that it’s already working on embedding tiny LED lights for notifications, too. There’s been no shortage of developmental contact lens tech over the last few years, but the clout of Google means this could well be the most realistic mainstream offering, in addition to its very practical use cases. Google is currently angling for partners with more expertise in the medical market to help make it happen and is “in discussions with the FDA” to ensure the tech ticks all the right healthcare boxes before it progresses further.
Recode’s got a deep dive on the make-up of the smart contact: we’ve added their science textbook-grade diagram right after the break.