• Accurately predicting harmful space weather’s “killer” electrons

    A new space weather model reliably predicts space storms of high-energy particles that are harmful to many satellites and spacecraft orbiting in the Earth’s outer radiation belt. The model can accurately give a one-day warning prior to a space storm of ultra-high-speed electrons, often referred to as “killer” electrons because of the damage they can do to spacecraft such as navigation, communications, and weather monitoring satellites.

  • Flying cars: automating the skies means playing with our lives

    Recent research suggests that flying cars could eventually be a sustainable way to free up roads. The first models are set to hit our skies in 2019 as personal playthings, while industry sees them as taxis and commuter vehicles of the future. But as Harry Potter’s encounter with the Whomping Whillow reminds us, flying cars can be dangerous. Before futuristic visions of three-dimensional sprawling city traffic can approach reality, there are some serious safety issues that need addressing.

  • New device creates electricity from snowfall

    Researchers and colleagues have designed a new device that creates electricity from falling snow. The first of its kind, this device is inexpensive, small, thin and flexible like a sheet of plastic.

  • Biologically inspired network protection software

    Electrical engineers look to the human immune system for clues on how to best protect digital networks. It’s a concept that’s beginning to be explored more and more by researchers in a variety of fields: What does the human body do well and how can we adapt those mechanisms to improve technology or engineering systems?

  • Why the Great Plains has such epic weather

    From 78 degrees on Tuesday to snow on Wednesday? Swings like this aren’t unusual in the central United States, where weather can quickly shift from one extreme to another. What generates such “big weather” on the Great Plains?

  • Preparing San Francisco for future storms

    The San Francisco Bay Area has been pummeled this winter by storms packed with moisture from atmospheric rivers. San Francisco is partnering with the Berkeley Lab to assess how climate change may influence the intensity of atmospheric rivers and associated precipitation, and how those changes may impact San Francisco and its infrastructure.

  • Flying colors: Assessing the role of flying cars in sustainable mobility

    A new study of the environmental sustainability impacts of flying cars, formally known as electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, or VTOLs, finds that they wouldn’t be suitable for a short commute. However, VTOLs—which combine the convenience of vertical takeoff and landing like a helicopter with the efficient aerodynamic flight of an airplane—could play a niche role in sustainable mobility for longer trips.

  • Stern warning: Climate expert emphasizes the fierce urgency of now

    Prominent economist and policymaker Lord Nicholas Stern delivered a strong warning about the dangers of climate change in a talk at MIT on Tuesday, calling the near future “defining” and urging a rapid overhaul of the economy to reach net zero carbon emissions. “The next 20 years will be absolutely defining,” Stern told the audience, saying they “will shape what kind of future people your age will have.”

  • China catching up to the U.S. in innovation

    If China is only a copier, not an innovator, then the competitive threat it poses to advanced economies would be limited. But there is no reason to believe China won’t follow the path of “Asian tigers” that rapidly evolved from copiers to innovators, which poses a serious threat.

  • Detecting, analyzing suspicious activity in surveillance footage

    Traditional surveillance cameras do not always detect suspicious activities or objects in a timely manner. Researchers developed a hybrid lightweight tracking algorithm known as Kerman (Kernelized Kalman filter).

  • Do armed guards prevent school shootings?

    The presence of guns in schools is a fact of life for millions of American children. Forty-three percent of public schools had an armed law enforcement officer during the 2015-2016 school year. Does increasing armed school security could reduce deaths from active shootings or deter the attacks in the first place? Experts say the data is not encouraging. Guns have stopped some mass shootings — but not usually in schools.

  • Huge supply of rare-earth elements from mining waste

    Researchers have examined a method to extract rare-earth elements from mining waste that could provide the world with a reliable supply of the valuable materials.

  • Firearm deaths surges in school-age children

    Firearm-related deaths in school-age children are increasing at alarming rates in the United States where homicide rates are about 6- to 9-fold higher than those in comparably developed countries. This epidemic poses increasingly major clinical, public health and policy challenges.

  • Making scalable on-chip security pervasive

    For the past decade, cybersecurity threats have moved from high in the software stack to progressively lower levels of the computational hierarchy, working their way towards the underlying hardware. The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) has driven the creation of a rapidly growing number of accessible devices and a multitude of complex chip designs needed to enable them. A new DARP program focuses on addressing the economic and technical challenges associated with incorporating scalable defense mechanisms into chip designs.

  • Making scalable on-chip security pervasive

    For the past decade, cybersecurity threats have moved from high in the software stack to progressively lower levels of the computational hierarchy, working their way towards the underlying hardware. The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) has driven the creation of a rapidly growing number of accessible devices and a multitude of complex chip designs needed to enable them. A new DARP program focuses on addressing the economic and technical challenges associated with incorporating scalable defense mechanisms into chip designs.