• Accelerating sea level rise requires collaborative response: Experts

    Recent estimates suggest that global mean sea level rise could exceed two meters by 2100. The projections pose a challenge for scientists and policymakers alike, requiring far-reaching decisions about coastal policies to be made based on rapidly evolving projections with large, persistent uncertainties. Policymakers and scientists must thus act quickly and collaboratively to help coastal areas better prepare for rising sea levels globally, say climate change experts.

  • Bird-inspired drone navigation

    When they need to change direction, increase their speed, or counter headwinds, birds alter the configuration of their wings. To steer, for example, they spread one wing and slightly retract the other. By adjusting their wingspan in this way, they create a calculated imbalance that causes them to turn. Up to now, only birds could do this so effectively. Researchers have equipped a drone with feathers to increase its precision during flight. The bio-inspired device can spread or close its wings while flying, making it easier to maneuver and more resistant in high winds.

  • Firefighters to have bushfire predictions at the fingertips

    Researchers at the University of Western Australia are developing a new touchscreen device that can be mounted in a fire truck to help firefighters predict where and when a bushfire will spread. The researchers are modifying bushfire simulation software Australis into a high-end tablet to provide accurate predictions of fire behavior more rapidly than current methods.

  • Safer, long-life nuclear reactors: Metal design may raise radiation resistance by 100 times

    The big problem faced by metals bombarded with radiation at high temperatures—such as the metals that make up nuclear fuel cladding—is that they have a tendency to swell up significantly. They can even double in size. In findings that could change the way industries like nuclear energy and aerospace look for materials that can stand up to radiation exposure, researchers have discovered that metal alloys with three or more elements in equal concentrations can be remarkably resistant to radiation-induced swelling.

  • Climate engineering uncertainties limit its use in slowing climate change

    Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques. A new suggests that the uncertainties associated with climate engineering are too great for it to provide an alternative to the rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Remote-control skillful rescue robot demonstrated

    Researchers have developed a prototype construction robot for disaster relief situations. This prototype has drastically improved operability and mobility compared to conventional construction machines.

  • Identifying, fast-tracking development of first responders technology

    First responders face challenging conditions while often carrying heavy and outdated equipment. Wearable technology is on the rise, estimated at a $10 billion dollar commercial market, and advances are happening in the health and fitness area every day. The first responder community stands to benefit from integrating some of this otherwise heavy and outdated equipment into wearable technology, improving both upon efficiencies and responsiveness as well as continuing to prioritize their own safety on the frontlines of often dangerous situations.

  • Accelerating sea level rise threatens communities, infrastructure in NY, NJ, Conn.

    Parts of the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut metropolitan area are at risk of being permanently flooded by sea level rise. A new study details the severe threats posed to the region’s bay areas, coastal urban centers, beach communities, and airports and seaports by as little as one foot of sea level rise, a possibility as soon as the 2030s. Sea level rise already has begun to affect communities and critical infrastructure in the region, and presents tough decisions for vulnerable areas.

  • U.K. winter 2015-16 floods: One of the century’s most extreme and severe flood episodes

    A new scientific review of the winter floods of 2015-2016 confirms that the event was one of the most extreme and severe hydrological events of the last century. The new hydrological appraisal brings together both river flow and meteorological data in an analysis of the events that led to extensive river flooding in northern England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and parts of Wales over a three-month period.

  • Climate change likely caused deadly 2016 avalanche in Tibet

    On 17 July, more than 70 million tons of ice broke off from the Aru glacier in the mountains of western Tibet and tumbled into a valley below, taking the lives of nine nomadic yak herders living there. With the deadly avalanche, it appears climate change may now be affecting a once stable region of the Tibetan Plateau, researchers have concluded, as two glaciers collapse within two months in once-stable region.

  • Swarming robots to help small urban ground units

    Urban canyons — with their high vertical structures, tight spaces, and limited lines of sight — constrain military communications, mobility, and tactics in the best of times. These challenges become even more daunting when U.S. forces are in areas they do not control — where they can’t rely on supply chains, infrastructure, and previous knowledge of local conditions and potential threats. to help overcome these challenges and increase the effectiveness of small-unit combat forces operating in urban environments, DARPA has launched its new OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) program. OFFSET seeks to develop and demonstrate 100+ operationally relevant swarm tactics that could be used by groups of unmanned air and/or ground systems numbering more than 100 robots.

  • Purdue launches Institute for Global Security and Defense Innovation

    Purdue University president Mitch Daniels announced last Thursday that the university is opening a new Institute for Global Security and Defense Innovation in Discovery Park. In the 2016 fiscal year, the university was awarded more than $50 million for advanced defense-related research projects. The new institute will centralize defense and security research efforts across campus, and, it is hoped, will make Purdue the pre-eminent university in national defense and security. “We can no longer rely on decades of military superiority via so-called technology ‘off-sets,’” said Tomás Díaz de la Rubia, chief scientist and executive director of Purdue’s Discovery Park. “In the future we must out-invent, out-discover, and out-innovate our adversaries every day.”

  • Common grass to help boost food security

    Common Panic grasses could hold the secret to increasing the yields of cereal crops and help feed the world with increasing temperature extremes and a population of nearly ten billion people by 2050. The grasses have the potential to improve crop yields for staple foods such as wheat and rice by transplanting enzymes from Panic grasses.

  • A license to print: how real is the risk posed by 3D printed guns?

    3D printed guns are back in the news after Queensland Police reported last week that they had discovered a 3D printer in a raid on what appeared to be a “large-scale” weapons production facility as a part of Operation Oscar Quantum. But the fact is that 3D printing technology is not yet at the stage where it can readily produce weapons. Although it can be used to help rogue gunsmiths work their shady trade. And we should remember that it’s not only 3D printing that enables people to build illicit firearms. With the right tools, a skilled gunsmith can make a weapon in their back shed. However, 3D printing can make that process easier and more accessible to less skilled individuals.

  • Warming-driven loss of soil carbon might equal U.S. emissions

    For decades scientists have speculated that rising global temperatures might alter the ability of soils to store carbon, potentially releasing huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and triggering runaway climate change. Yet thousands of studies worldwide have produced mixed signals on whether this storage capacity will actually decrease — or even increase — as the planet warms. It turns out scientists might have been looking in the wrong places. A new study finds that warming will drive the loss of at least 55 trillion kilograms of carbon from the soil by mid-century, or about 17 percent more than the projected emissions due to human-related activities during that period. That would be roughly the equivalent of adding to the planet another industrialized country the size of the United States.