• DronesBetter drone detection through machine learning, cameras

    Visual detection of drones has never been considered as effective as its thermal, radio or acoustic counterparts. The trouble is always discriminating between different moving objects in view. Typically, a bird or even a plastic bag caught in the wind might be mistaken for a drone, which is why most discrimination methods have primarily focused on heat and acoustic signatures in the past (though acoustic signatures also tend to become less useful in urban areas with higher levels of background noise). Combined with machine learning, however, a camera can tell a different story.

  • 911He got mugged, then revamped 911 for the next generation

    By Brian Blum

    Israeli company Carbyne has re-engineered the infrastructure for 911 services from the ground up, to take advantage of all the innovations that have come along in the 20 to 30 years since most emergency systems were built. Those innovations include the ability to see the location of a caller on a map, to chat by text if a voice call is not possible, to use VoIP (Voice over IP) services like WhatsApp and Skype, and to stream video so the 911 operator can see what’s happening in real time.

  • Religious conflictAI systems: Understanding and controlling religious conflict

    Artificial intelligence can help us to better understand the causes of religious violence and to potentially control it, according to a new research. The study is one of the first to be published that uses psychologically realistic AI – as opposed to machine learning.

  • Mitigating climate risksTechnologies to remove CO2 from air and sequester it key to climate change mitigation

    To achieve goals for climate and economic growth, “negative emissions technologies” (NETs) that remove and sequester carbon dioxide from the air will need to play a significant role in mitigating climate change, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences.

  • CybersecurityUnhackable computer relying on firmware security rather than software patches

    By turning computer circuits into unsolvable puzzles, researchers aim to create an unhackable computer. The MORPHEUS project’s cybersecurity approach is dramatically different from today’s, which relies on software—specifically software patches to vulnerabilities that have already been identified. It’s been called the “patch and pray” model, and it’s not ideal. “Instead of relying on software Band-Aids to hardware-based security issues, we are aiming to remove those hardware vulnerabilities in ways that will disarm a large proportion of today’s software attacks,” says Linton Salmon, manager of DARPA’s System Security Integrated Through Hardware and Firmware program.

  • Search & rescueFleets of drones could aid searches for lost hikers

    By Rob Matheson

    Finding lost hikers in forests can be a difficult and lengthy process, as helicopters and drones can’t get a glimpse through the thick tree canopy. Recently, it’s been proposed that autonomous drones, which can bob and weave through trees, could aid these searches. But the GPS signals used to guide the aircraft can be unreliable or nonexistent in forest environments. New system allows drones to cooperatively explore terrain under thick forest canopies where GPS signals are unreliable.

  • BiowarfareInsects as potential weapons in biological warfare

    Owing to present-day armed conflicts, the general public is well aware of the terrifying effects of chemical weapons. Meanwhile, the effects of biological weapons have largely disappeared from public awareness. A project funded by a research agency of the U.S. Department of Defense is now giving rise to concerns about being possibly misused for the purpose of biological warfare.

  • CybersecurityUnhackable communication: Single particles of light could bring the “quantum internet”

    Hacker attacks on everything from social media accounts to government files could be largely prevented by the advent of quantum communication, which would use particles of light called “photons” to secure information rather than a crackable code. The problem is that quantum communication is currently limited by how much information single photons can help send securely, called a “secret bit rate.” Researchers created a new technique that would increase the secret bit rate 100-fold, to over 35 million photons per second.

  • SurveillanceThe problem with using ‘super recognizers’ to spot criminals in a crowd

    By Emma Portch

    People often say that they never forget a face, but for some people, this claim might actually be true. So-called super recognizers are said to possess exceptional face recognition abilities, often remembering the faces of those they have only briefly encountered or haven’t seen for many years. Their unique skills have even caught the attention of policing and security organizations, who have begun using super recognizers to match photographs of suspects or missing persons to blurry CCTV footage. But recent research shows that the methods used to identify super recognizers are limited, and that the people recruited for this work might not always be as super as initially thought.

  • Climate threatsGeoengineering, other technologies won’t solve climate woes

    The countries of the world still need to cut their carbon dioxide emissions to reach the Paris Agreement’s climate targets. Relying on tree planting and alternative technological solutions such as geoengineering will not make enough of a difference.

  • CybersecurityExposing security vulnerabilities in terahertz data links

    Scientists have assumed that future terahertz data links would have an inherent immunity to eavesdropping, but new research shows that’s not necessarily the case. The study shows that terahertz data links, which may play a role in ultra-high-speed wireless data networks of the future, aren’t as immune to eavesdropping as many researchers have assumed. The research shows that it is possible for a clever eavesdropper to intercept a signal from a terahertz transmitter without the intrusion being detected at the receiver.

  • CybersecurityOpen-source hardware could defend against the next generation of hacking

    By Joshua M. Pearce

    Imagine you had a secret document you had to store away from prying eyes. And you have a choice: You could buy a safe made by a company that kept the workings of its locks secret. Or you could buy a safe whose manufacturer openly published the designs, letting everyone – including thieves – see how they’re made. Which would you choose? It might seem unexpected, but as an engineering professor, I’d pick the second option.

  • EarthquakesMaking Oregon safer in quakes and fires

    Research by University of Oregon seismologist is shaping a new set of policy agendas designed to help Oregon prepare for a Cascadia earthquake and other natural disasters. His work on the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system and its companion multihazard monitoring efforts informed Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s just-released document, “Resiliency 2025: Improving Our Readiness for the Cascadia Earthquake and Tsunami.”

  • ImmigrationHiring highly educated immigrants leads to more innovation and better products

    By Gaurav Khanna and Munseob Lee

    Much of the current debate over immigration is about what kind of impact immigrants have on jobs and wages for workers born in the United States. Seldom does anyone talk about how immigration leads to a wider variety of better products for the American consumer. We recently conducted a study to shine more light on the matter.

  • Mitigating climate threatsU.S. carbon-capture network could double global CO2 headed underground

    With the right public infrastructure investment, the United States could as much as double the amount of carbon dioxide emissions currently captured and stored worldwide within the next six years, according to researchers.