Sci-Tech

  • U.S. needs better-trained math teachers to compete globally

    U.S. elementary and middle-school math teachers are not as prepared as those from other countries; this, combined with a weak U.S. math curriculum, produces similarly weak student achievement; while nearly all future middle-school teachers in the top-achieving countries took courses in linear algebra and basic calculus, only about half of U.S. future teachers took the fundamental courses

  • Indiana companies benefit from UAV trend

    Last year, for the first time, the U.S. Air Force trained more pilots to operate unmanned vehicles than it did pilots for traditional fighter planes; UAV carry out more and more intelligence and operational missions; Indiana companies benefit

  • The 2010 Security Treasure Hunt cybersecurity competition launched in California

    California on Tuesday launched the 2010 Security Treasure Hunt; the online competition is part of a national effort to identify young men and women with the potential to become world-class cybersecurity professionals

  • DARPA unveils details of Transformer TX flying car

    DARPA is inviting proposals for flying car and accompanying technologies; in addition to being a capable ground vehicle, the TX should be able to lift off and land “without forward motion” and thereafter climb at least one unit upward for every six moved forward at sea level, or a minimum of 1:10 at higher altitudes; it should cruise in forward flight mode at speeds “representative of a light single-engine aircraft” and be able to achieve altitudes of 10,000 feet

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  • Northrop Grumman unveils latest version of Wheelbarrow UGV

    Northrop Grumman’s Wheelbarrow unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) was first used by British Army bomb disposal teams during “The Troubles” in Ireland in the 1970s; since then it has gone through a number of design upgrades to extend its capabilities and meet changing military and first response needs; the company has just unveiled the latest version of this veteran robot

  • Fiber polymer replaces steel bars in major building projects

    UAE University researchers have developed an inexpensive alternative to demolishing damaged buildings and rebuilding them: using FRP (fiber reinforced polymer); FRP can be used in strengthening and repair instead of concrete or steel jacketing, which are labor intensive; moreover, concrete and steel jacketing systems are also often vulnerable to the same deterioration mechanism that caused the problem in the first place

  • NJIT physicist: Terahertz imaging is the ultimate defense against terrorism

    THz imaging systems have an inherent advantage over millimeter wave imaging systems owing to the intrinsically improved spatial resolution that one can achieve with the shorter wavelength THz systems (typically 300 micrometer wavelength) compared to longer wavelength millimeter wave systems; instruments using terahertz imaging are widely used in laboratories and have shown some limited use in commercial applications — but a THz imaging system for security screening of people has not yet reached the market; the NJIT THz device has great promise

  • Underwear sensors to monitor soldiers' health

    Biomedical health sensors may soon be embedded in soldiers’ underpants; researchers find that printing sensors directly on the elastic waist of underwear offered the necessary tight direct contact with the skin, allowing for continuous monitoring of soldiers’ vital signs

  • Troubled bridges: remote monitoring of bridges' health nears

    As with people, bridges start getting sick long before they develop obvious symptoms; researchers develop remote-sensing technologies for monitoring the health of bridges; with on-site inspections occurring only once every two years, remote monitoring a bridge’s condition is the best way to assure the health of bridges

  • Duke University team develops nuclear terrorism detection tool

    If terrorists detonate a nuclear bomb or a dirty bomb in a city, first responders rushing to the scene would have to sort out the thousands of victims exposed to the harmful effects of radiation to see who needs more immediate attention and who can wait; current tests for radiation poisoning take a number of days to complete, which is too slow; Duke University researchers develop a device which uses genomic technology to capture molecular snapshots of genes or patterns of genes that are “turned on” or “turned off” in the body’s response to radiation; this allows emergency crews to determine the severity of radiation poisoning in under 30 minutes

  • Market for first responders, law enforcement robotics to see robust growth

    Market for first responders and law enforcement robotics reached $203.1 million in 2009; it is anticipated to reach $3.7 billion by 2016; market growth will come as border patrols and law enforcement agencies use robots to achieve broader security in a less expensive manner

  • UC Berkeley researchers develop a robot that folds towels

    Researchers build a robot that can reliably fold towels it has never “seen”; the solution addresses a key issue in the development of robotics: many important problems in applying robotics and computer vision to real-life missions involve deformable objects, and the challenges posed by robotic towel-folding reflect important challenges inherent in robotic perception and manipulation for deformable objects

  • Protecting structures by tracking down rust

    Damage to concrete bridges caused by rust can have fatal consequences, at worst leading to a total collapse; now, researchers have developed an early-warning system for rust; sensor-transponders integrated in the concrete allow the extent of corrosion to be measured

  • Detecting structural defects with wind and water

    Bridges, aircraft, and wind turbines are in constant movement; natural forces and pedestrians all create vibrations; previously, time-consuming tests were needed to determine how building components would react to vibrations; now, researchers have developed a simpler method

  • DARPA director urges universities to create and “elite army of futuristic technogeeks”

    Between 2001 and 2008, DARPA’s funding to research schools was cut in half; less funding meant fewer graduate students: Combined with a 43 percent decrease in computing and science enrollment among undergrads, this means a shortage in technologists in the making; DARPA chief wants this trend reversed