Science & Technology

Reports focusing on the latest science and technology news and trends along California's Central Coast.

Flickr user: Emilian Robert Vicol

A local professor and his team are waiting for companies to license their recently-patented product. It's an anti-browning formula that extends the shelf-life of sliced fruits and vegetables. 

San Luis Obispo Police Department

The San Luis Obispo Police Department will begin testing the use of body cameras over the next year. The department says it will start the pilot program with ten cameras, given to officers in varying positions. 

Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

UPDATE: Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 6:11 p.m.

Engineers at Cal Poly are celebrating a win in Utah this week as their LightSail project was named "Mission of the Year" Thursday  afternoon at the Small Satellite Conference at Utah State University.

Original story:

Cal Poly’s satellite programs are now the talk of the space industry with some of the most cutting-edge technology destined for launch pads, and already circling the planet. 

Finding a parking space in downtown Santa Barbara just got easier. 

Flickr member Image Editor

The Large Hadron Collider at CERN, located beneath the border of France and Switzerland, was restarted this spring with a goal of making scientific history—once again.

The facility achieved that goal a few years ago when researchers found evidence that the Higgs boson, or “god particle", exists.

United Launch Alliance video still

Lompoc City Council members are expected to vote Tuesday, May 19, on a proposed multi-million dollar space center near Vandenberg Air Force Base. Vandenberg sits adjacent to the City of Lompoc. If approved and completed, the facility could dramatically alter Lompoc's future.

The city council is set to vote on whether to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with the California Space Consortium. The consortium hopes to build a space center there that would include a museum, hotel, restaurant and a viewing area for rocket launches.

Flickr member Dave Nakayama

The international awards are piling up for the UC Santa Barbara professor who helped create energy-saving LED lighting.

UCSB's Shuji Nakamura was named this year's Global Energy Prize Laureate, announced Thursday in Moscow. Nakamura is being recognized for his lighting invention that's helping to save billions of dollars in energy costs worldwide.

LEDs had been around for decades, but not the white light versions that are currently replacing incandescent and fluorescent bulbs.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA's new Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite, launched from Vandenberg on January 31, 2015, has already sent back its first global maps.

The satellite focuses on soil moisture—liquid or solid—and will likely help develop more accurate long-term forecasts. The images could also help California track the state's ongoing drought conditions.

The SMAP mission is designed to help scientists understand the links between the Earth's water, energy and carbon cycles.

Flickr member Liz Foreman

Statistics show the most Americans are extremely lazy when it comes to creating secure, unique passwords. According to SplashData's annual list for 2014, these are the five most popular passwords found on the Internet:

  1. 12345
  2. password
  3. 12345678
  4. qwerty
  5. abc123

Easy-to-break passwords like these—and many other variations—are a weak link in your overall web security.

Transit Unlimited Wiki

A smartphone app that makes it easier for thousands of Central Coast residents to use public transportation will officially be around for four more years.

The "Bus Tracker" app gives users real time information of bus locations throughout San Luis Obispo. Its creators and the city announced this week that they have entered into a formal, four-year agreement.

John Osumi is the CEO of Bishop Peak Technologies and said their agreement will allow them to deliver the mobile app and it's expanded administrative applications.

Adrian Jaeggi, PhD

Anthropologists at UC Santa Barbara say they've found evidence that the old expression, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder," is actually true.

The scientists studied the hormonal reactions hunters in the Bolivian Amazon encountered when leaving home for a day of hunting, during conditions while hunting, and then returning to their families.

The research showed elevated levels of oxytocin—known as the "love hormone"—when the Tsimane men were reunited with their loved ones.

The oxytocin levels also increased the longer the men were away.


A former Cal Poly professor is among the lead team members as NASA prepares to enter a historic orbit Friday morning of a dwarf planet. 

The Dawn spacecraft launched in 2007 is studying the largest object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Scientists believe Ceres was on its way to becoming a full-sized planet... but had its development interrupted by Jupiter's gravity.

The Mars 100 YouTube video

A Cal Poly graduate is among the 100 finalists of more than 200,000 applicants that were in the running to be one of the first humans to colonize the planet Mars.

They're part of the Mars One mission that's being organized by a private, non-profit out of the Netherlands.

Kay Radzik Warren, 54, graduated from Cal Poly's Architecture Department back in the mid-1990s. She says she hopes the mission succeeds and that she's part of it when it does. 

City of Lompoc hopes new plans for California Space Center can move forward

Feb 6, 2015
California Space Center Consortium

The City of Lompoc is excited about an updated plan to build a local space center that city leaders hope will draw tourists globally. 

The multi-million dollar California Space Center facility is proposed for 82 acres of city-owned land near the Allan Hancock College Lompoc campus.

Economic development director Teresa Gallavan says this $300 million proposal could provide more than 3000 jobs.

Jay Thompson, Cal Poly

The launch of a soil moisture monitoring satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base was in a 24-hour delay cycle on Thursday afternoon because of a problem with upper level winds Thursday morning.

The SMAP satellite (Soil Moisture Active Passive) is now scheduled to launch Friday morning at 6:20.

Three other nano-satellites—or CubeSats—are also onboard the Delta II rocket sitting on the Vandenberg launchpad, and they're what scientists and students from Cal Poly will be watching.