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Damage Tolerant Controls Allow Safe Landings

New damage-tolerant aircraft controls will allow the safer landings of damaged aircraft. Military aircraft today face many threats, including surface-to-air missiles and weapons fired from hostile aircraft. To improve the survivability of damaged aircraft, the Damage Tolerant Controls program - administered by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency - is developing software to compensate for damaged aircraft control surfaces and engines, allowing pilots to land their aircraft safely. The technology also applies to material failures that can impact flight performance in an unpredictable manner. DARPA officials say it can also benefit commercial and other aircraft.

Tags: Technology , Scott Carr

Wednesday - 10/13/2010, 04:20pm EDT

New Genomic Database Impacts Health Research

A new digital database will help scientists understand how differences in DNA contribute to human health and disease. The National Institutes of Health has launched the Database of Genomic Structural Variation. The database will help track large-scale variations in DNA discovered in healthy individuals as well as those affected with disorders such as autism and cancer. In recent years, scientists have discovered that very large stretches of the human genome can be different in seemingly normal individuals. It had long been known that large-scale genomic changes existed, but it was thought that they were rare and usually led to disorders such as Down syndrome. It is now understood that such variations are relatively common. Understanding how they relate to individual characteristics and impact health is an important and active area of research.

Tags: Technology , Scott Carr

Wednesday - 10/13/2010, 04:19pm EDT

Reusable Materials Help Post Office Meet Green Goals

The U.S. Postal Service is now the only mailing and shipping company worldwide that provides packaging supplies that are "Cradle to Cradle Certified." This means that all 175 materials used by its 58 suppliers to make stamps and stamped products have been assessed, and meet requirements for, their impact on human and environmental health, recyclability and compostability.

The Postal Service says in 2009 it provided one billion eco-friendly mailing and shipping supplies to customers.

Technology used to create biodegradable or recyclable materials have allowed the agency's sustainability initiatives to cut greenhouse gas production and to save money and resources. Specific achievements include a 10.8 trillion dollar reduction in British Thermal Units in energy use at their facilities since 2005, and $400 million dollars worth of savings in energy costs since 2007.

Tags: Technology , USPS , Scott Carr

Wednesday - 10/06/2010, 01:00pm EDT

New Biosensors Allow Advanced Testing

Scientists have long imagined what could be done if they could engineer a cilia-like biosensor.

Now, scientists at the University of Southern Mississippi have for the first time, imitated Mother Nature by developing a skinny-molecule-based material that resembles the tiny, hair-like structures organisms use to smell, hear, and see. They've developed a new thin copolymer film with whisker-like formations that mimic the natural material.

It responds to thermal, chemical, and electromagnetic stimulation, and allows researchers to control it which, they say, opens unlimited possibilities, including testing for the presence of toxins, oxygen or the lack of oxygen in an environment. Future uses could include testing glucose levels, drug testing, or for air or water safety.

Tags: Technology , Scott Carr

Wednesday - 10/06/2010, 12:58pm EDT

New Satellite System Will Replace Radar

Move over radar... it won't be long before that decades-old technology is replaced by satellites to track all aircraft in U.S. airspace.

The Federal Aviation Administration has given the green light for a full-scale, nationwide deployment of a new satellite-based surveillance system called Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast, or ADS-B. The technology has been successfully rolled out at four key testing sites.

The FAA says the system tracks aircraft with greater accuracy, integrity and reliability than radar-based systems. Controller screens update more frequently and show more detailed information, including the type of aircraft, its call sign, heading, altitude and speed.

Every part of the country now covered by radar will eventually have ADS-B coverage. Nationwide coverage is expected to be complete by 2013.

Tags: Technology , FAA , Scott Carr

Tuesday - 10/05/2010, 07:16pm EDT
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