In 2003, the Helios solar electric airplane broke up in mid-air and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. The incident highlighted a problem: Operators of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) had no way of knowing when the wings were experiencing unsustainable strain. Scientists at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center and 4DSP, a company specializing in signal and image processing systems, co-developed a lightweight, robust Fiber Optic Sensing System (FOSS) that greatly speeds the operational monitoring and sensing.
One of the key limitations of wireless Internet service installations, even those designed for long-range use, is that range is limited to less than 50 km. Seeking a better solution, developers at the Institute for Information Industry and K-Best Technology Inc. in Taiwan have launched BestLINK, a regional area WLAN solution that operates as a superset of standard Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11), yet combines the advantages of both Wi-Fi and WiMax communications protocols.
A lightweight and field-portable device invented at Univ. of California, Los Angeles that conducts kidney tests and transmits data through a smartphone attachment may significantly reduce the need for frequent office visits by people with diabetes and others with chronic kidney ailments.
In a study involving volunteers who agreed to provide information about their feelings and locations, Princeton Univ. researchers found that cell phones can efficiently capture information that is otherwise difficult to record, given today’s on-the-go lifestyle. Using an application built on the Android operating system, they had participant record feelings “in the moment”.
Using a modern twist on a technology developed in the 1920s, researchers at Princeton Univ. have embedded ultrathin radios directly on plastic sheets, which can be applied to walls and other structures. The innovation could serve as the basis for new devices ranging from an invisible communications system inside buildings to sophisticated structural monitors for bridges and roads.
When U.S pilots encounter enemy air defenses, onboard electronic warfare (EW) systems protect them by interfering with incoming radar signals: a technique known as electronic attack (EA) or jamming. Conversely, electronic protection technology prevents hostile forces from using EA methods to disable U.S. radar equipment assets. A research team is now developing a new generation of advanced radio frequency jammer technology.
We might be one step closer to an Internet-of-things reality. Univ. of Washington engineers have created a new wireless communication system that allows devices to interact with each other without relying on batteries or wires for power. The new communication technique, which the researchers call “ambient backscatter,” takes advantage of the television and cellular transmissions that already surround us around the clock.
Officials demanded Monday that an advertising firm stop using a network of high-tech trash cans to track people walking through London's financial district. The Renew ad firm has been using technology embedded in the hulking receptacles to measure the Wi-Fi signals emitted by smartphones, and suggested that it would apply the concept of "cookies"—tracking files that follow Internet users across the Web—to the physical world.
For 65 years, most information-theoretic analyses of cryptographic systems have made a mathematical assumption that turns out to be wrong. A team of researchers has shown that, as a consequence, the wireless card readers used in many keyless-entry systems may not be as secure as previously thought.
A dog may be man's best friend, but dolphins can imitate human actions, and even how they solve problems. According to a recent study at the Dolphin Research Center in Florida, when a dolphin has one of its senses blocked, it can use other senses to mimic a human's movements.
Hold a magnifying glass over the driveway on a sunny day and it will focus sunlight into a single beam. Hold a prism in front of the window and the light will spread out into a perfect rainbow. Lenses like these have been used for thousands of years. Until now, all lenses have shared one big limitation: It’s impossible to focus light into a beam that’s smaller than half of the light’s wavelength.
The next generation of smartphones could be capable of storing 250 hours of high-definition video and carrying a charge for a week, thanks to an advanced data storage technology from a Univ. of Michigan startup that could upend the memory market. Crossbar Inc., which licensed the technology from U-M in 2010, recently announced it has developed a working resistive random access memory prototype in a commercial fabrication facility.
Designing products for the developing world can be a hit-or-miss endeavor: While there may be a dire need for products addressing problems, such as access to clean water, sanitation and electricity, designing a product that consumers will actually buy is a complicated process. More often than not, such products go unused due to poor quality, unreliability or differences in cultural expectations.
Researchers at JILA have, for the first time, used an atomic clock as a quantum simulator, mimicking the behavior of a different, more complex quantum system. Atomic clocks now join a growing list of physical systems that can be used for modeling and perhaps eventually explaining the quantum mechanical behavior of exotic materials such as high-temperature superconductors, which conduct electricity without resistance.
One of the many counter-intuitive and bizarre insights of quantum mechanics is that even in a vacuum all is not completely still. Low levels of noise (quantum fluctuations) are always present. Always, that is, unless you can pull off a quantum trick. And that's just what a Caltech team has done.
Inspired by prickly cacti, Chinese scientists have developed a new technique for removing oil from water, which could have applications in oil spill cleanup work. An article published in Nature Communications describes the study by Jiang Lei and his co-workers at the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, whose creation of copper spike arrays have proved to be highly efficient in absorbing oil during experiments.
Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark, together with colleagues in the U.S. and Australia, have developed a method to control a quantum bit for electronic quantum communication in a series of quantum dots, which behave like artificial atoms in the solid state.
Cable clutter is an eyesore and a tripping hazard in one. Researchers have developed a new kind of antenna hidden in tables that can wirelessly supply electronic devices with power. The power extends throughout the tabletop without the need for a large, impractical coil. The “tables” can transmit data, too.
What happens to a resonant wireless power transfer system in the presence of complex electromagnetic environments, such as metal plates? A team of researchers has explored the influences at play in this type of situation, and they describe how efficient wireless power transfer can be achieved in the presence of metal plates.
Fluxes and turbulence caused by the interaction between the air and sea can significantly alter the path of electromagnetic waves in radar and communications systems. In effort to boost the U.S. navy’s communications performance at sea, researchers deployed Office of Naval Research unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in an effort to determine the ocean and atmospheric weather variations that can change the angle that radar and radio waves bend.
The ionosphere, one of the regions of the upper atmosphere, plays an important role in global communications. Now, researchers have discovered that the radio waves reflecting back to Earth from the ionosphere offer valuable news on climate change as well.
The George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), based at Purdue Univ., includes 14 laboratories for earthquake engineering and tsunami research, tied together to provide information technology for the network. A new study has found that online tools, access to experimental data and other services provided through this "cyberinfrastructure" are helping to accelerate progress in earthquake science.
Just as remotely-operated vehicles help humans explore the depths of the ocean from above, NASA has begun studying how a similar approach may one day help astronauts explore other worlds. On June 17 and July 26, NASA tested the Surface Telerobotics exploration concept, in which an astronaut in an orbiting spacecraft remotely operates a robot on a planetary surface.
The Powerwall Theater (PWT) at Los Alamos National Laboratory is an innovative facility that enables researchers to view the complex models and simulations they have created using some of the world’s fastest supercomputers. Recently, PWT was upgraded with 40 double-stacked Christie Mirage 3-D LED projectors that will provide seamless, integrated 3-D visualization.
Android smartphone users will soon have a chance to participate in important scientific research every time they charge their phones. Using a new app created by researchers at the Univ. of California, Berkeley, users will be able to donate a phone’s idle computing power to crunch numbers for projects that could lead to breakthroughs ranging from novel medical therapies to the discovery of new stars.