Watch this next-gen combat suit take a brutal beating

Remember that crazy Australian startup that wants to resurrect gladiator fights by equipping martial artists with high-tech body armor? We first came across the group — which goes by the name Unified Weapons Master — nearly two years ago, and back then their suits were just barely past the prototype stage. This week, however, the company has taken a big step toward making its dream a reality, and has begun battle testing a new-and-improved version of the original suit.

The new suit — dubbed the Lorica Mk II — might not look very different than its predecessor, but under the hood, UWM has given it a wide range of technological upgrades. Tucked beneath the armor’s sandwich of impact- and penetration-resistant materials, the MK II boasts better sensors, more breathability, and less bulk — allowing fighters to move more freely, but still be protected from weapon blows.

“The knowledge we have gained over the past two years through extensive mobility, comfort, and impact trials has enabled us to achieve significant technological milestones and take a huge step towards making the armour combat ready,” UWM Managing Director Rick Walker said in a statement. “The Mk II is lighter, has better articulation, more advanced sensor technology and a reduced profile. The 30-percent weight reduction from the Mk I prototype suits means the fighters can move more explosively and the Mark II suits are also cooler, allowing the fighters to compete for longer without taking a break.”

On top of that, UWM has also been working with defense contractors and software engineers to improve the suit’s scoring system. During a fight, the Mk II grabs impact data at a rate of 10,000 samples per second (10kHz), processes it with an on-board microprocessor, and transmits the data wirelessly to a ringside scoring computer, where the force and location of each blow is displayed in real time.

To put the new suit to the test, UWM brought together six weapons martial artists from all over the globe and had them duke it out in an underground “Vital Target Combat” test event in Wellington, New Zealand last week. But this is just the beginning. UWM still has a long road ahead of it before it can kick off the first no-holds-barred weapons fights, so the company is already planning a second series of underground test fight events for later this year. “Results from both events will be used to make further improvements to the armour in order for it to be ready for large-scale live events,” company representatives explain.

Keep you fingers crossed and we might start seeing televised gladiator fights in 2017.

Emerging Tech

Bees can do arithmetic, setting the scientific community abuzz

A new study has found something remarkable: Bees can do basic arithmetic. Researchers showed that bees could use colors as representations for numbers and then use those colors for addition and subtraction.
Gaming

From fatalities to new characters, here's what we know about Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 releases April 23 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Here is everything we know about NetherRealm's latest fighting game, including its characters.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially popular League of Legends.
Gaming

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Emerging Tech

DeepSqueak is a machine learning A.I. that reveals what rats are chatting about

Want to know what rats are squeaking about? You'd better check out DeepSqueak, the new deep learning artificial intelligence developed by researchers at the University of Washington.
Health & Fitness

Immune cell discovery takes us one step closer to a universal flu vaccine

A group of international researchers have made a discovery which could take us one step closer to the universal, one-shot flu vaccine that people around the world have been dreaming of.
Photography

NASA celebrates Earth’s incredible natural beauty with free photo book

NASA has published a fabulous new book featuring stunning imagery captured by its satellites over the years. A hardback version is available for $53, though it can also be downloaded to ebook readers for free, and enjoyed online.
Deals

This new all-in-one flashlight is a power bank, lighter, and screwdriver

The Pyyros modular flashlight can perform numerous field tasks, from hammering to starting fires. If you back it on Kickstarter now, you can score some savings on this innovative flashlight and multi-tool, but act fast: This early-bird…
Movies & TV

Hilarious new Kickstarter aims to fix Scorcese’s last scene in The Departed

A fan of The Departed and apparent hater of rat-as-symbolism imagery has launched a Kickstarter campaign to digitally erase the rodent from the end of Martin Scorsese’s 2006 movie.
Emerging Tech

Baristas beware, Bbox cafe uses robots to brew your morning coffee

Want your morning coffee and pastry prepared by robot? Bbox, a new coffee shop in downtown Berkeley, California, lets customers place their order by app and then uses automation to take care of the rest.
Emerging Tech

This ridiculous new flamethrower makes Elon Musk’s look like a cigarette lighter

The XL18 Flamethrower is a flame-shooting beast on steroids, capable of firing off bursts of flame more than 110 feet in length. The best part? You can order it over the internet today.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX just nailed its most challenging Falcon 9 rocket landing to date

If you've been following the SpaceX launch calendar, you know this week marks the first launch from Cape Canaveral in two months. We have the details on where you can watch the launch live.
Emerging Tech

Touchdown! Japan successfully lands its Hayabusa2 spacecraft on asteroid Ryugu

Japan's space agency has just completed the latest stage of its extraordinarily complex mission, successfully landing its Hayabusa2 spacecraft on an asteroid millions of miles from Earth.