• Averting disaster on railroad crossings

    The damsel in distress, tied up and left on the railroad tracks, is one of the oldest and most clichéd cinema tropes. This clichéd crime has connections to real, contemporary accidents that happen far more than they should. There are 200,000 crossings in the United States, and efforts to minimize the number of these crossings by creating overpasses, or elevating roadways are cost-prohibitive. Researchers found a better solution to reduce the number of accidents at railroad crossings: The Ghost Train Generator.

  • Big Power should cooperate to slow proliferation of hypersonic missiles

    Experts propose that despite their differences, Russia, China, and the United States should act jointly to head off a little-recognized security threat — the proliferation of hypersonic missiles beyond the three nations. the spread of this new class of weapons would increase the chance of strategic (missile-based) wars and would jeopardize nations small and large—including the three nations that now have the technology

  • Filter removes fracking-related contaminants from water

    A new filter produced has proven able to remove more than 90 percent of hydrocarbons, bacteria and particulates from contaminated water produced by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations at shale oil and gas wells. The process turns a ceramic membrane with microscale pores into a superhydrophilic filter that “essentially eliminates” the common problem of fouling.

  • Designing an instrument to identify uranium, few atoms at a time

    Creating a new instrument capable of detecting trace amounts of uranium and other materials will be the focus of a new research partnership. The researchers will oversee the design and implementation of a highly sensitive mass spectrometer capable of detecting just a few uranium atoms at a time. The instrument will also allow nanoscale imaging of the isotopic content of solid samples, in three dimensions. Such a tool could set the stage for new capabilities in nuclear forensics, to support U.S. government counter-nuclear-terrorism efforts.

  • Radiation analysis software from Sandia Lab helps emergency responders

    When law enforcement officers and first responders arrive at an emergency involving radiation, they need a way to swiftly assess the situation to keep the public and environment safe. Having analysis tools that can quickly and reliably make sense of radiation data is of the essence. Sandia National Laboratories developed a tool called InterSpec, available for both mobile and traditional computing devices, can rapidly and accurately analyze gamma radiation data collected at the scene.

  • Detecting carriers of dirty bombs

    The threat of terrorism in Europe has been on the rise in recent years, with experts and politicians particularly worried that terrorists might make use of dirty bombs. Researchers have developed a new system that will be able to detect possible carriers of radioactive substances, even in large crowds of people. This solution is one of the defensive measures being developed as part of the REHSTRAIN project, which is focused on security for TGV and ICE high-speed trains in France and Germany.

  • Flood-damaged books, documents may be salvageable with electron beam technology

    Documents, books and similar items soaked and muddied in the potentially sewage-laden flood waters produced by Hurricane Harvey may be salvageable with the use of electronic beam technology. The technology is useful for killing mold, fungus, and bacteria that invade moist environments.

  • Using metal-digesting microbes to recycle electronics

    If you have never heard of neodymium and dysprosium, you are probably not alone. But chances are, you and nearly every other working-age adult in the United States has a small amount of these metals in your pocket. This is because these so-called “rare earth elements” are key components for cellular phones, among many other high-tech devices. The problem with rare earth elements, as their name suggests, is that they are not often found in economically exploitable ore deposits. They are also very difficult to recycle from, say, used cellphones.

  • Fire and forget: How do you stop a torpedo? With a better torpedo.

    Torpedoes are a lot smarter than they used to be. In the 1980s, the Soviets brought out a torpedo that shot to the head of the class. Instead of looking for a ship, it uses upward-looking sonar to detect a ship’s wake.Now, the U.S. Navy has a potential defense against this threat: an even smarter torpedo. The Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo Torpedo, or CAT, is part of a defense system that can find and destroy a wake-homing torpedo.

  • World’s tech leaders call on UN to ban killer robots

    An open letter by 116 tech leaders from 26 countries urges the United Nations against opening the Pandora’s box of lethal robot weapons. The open letter is the first time that AI and robotics companies have taken a joint stance on the issue. “Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,” the letter states. “Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend. These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”

  • Blood vessels prove you are who you say you are

    Biometric screening — using biological characteristics such as fingerprints, iris recognition or facial features — is a high priority for researchers who are working to develop future security solutions. Researchers have found a way to identify people through finger vein recognition. This authentication system shows promise as a more secure passport control method.

  • Identifying toxic threats, preparing for surprise

    Predicting chemical attacks is no small task, especially when there are so many toxic substances. There is no crystal ball to aid us in sorting through them all to identify and characterize the potential threats. Instead, intelligence and defense communities use a broad network of tools to forecast hazards to safeguard our warfighters and nation. A new project from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) seeks to improve the U.S. defensive capability by creating a crystal ball to more rapidly determine the toxicity of such chemical hazards and increase our ability to prepare for surprise.

  • Outdoor drone testing facility for safe, innovative flight testing

    An outdoor fly lab for testing autonomous aerial vehicles is coming to the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering this fall, adding to the university’s spate of advanced robotics facilities. M-Air will be a netted, four-story complex situated next to the site where the Ford Motor Company Robotics Building will open in late 2019. Construction of the $800,000 M-Air is expected to begin in August and be complete by the end of the year.

  • Spotting data theft – quickly!

    Computer experts have always struggled to find solutions for protecting businesses and authorities from network breaches. This is because there are too many vague indicators of potential attacks. With PA-SIEM, IT managers have a solution that effectively protects their systems while exposing data thieves and criminal hackers more quickly than conventional software.

  • New app detects cyberattacks quickly

    If you are awaiting exciting news from your friend, what is the better way to read your email? Has it comes in, or after a batch collects? Well, if you read it as it comes in, you will surely get the news faster. Researchers have developed a software app that can do the same for computer networks. Monitoring the activity within a network in real-time can allow cybersecurity analysts to detect cyberattacks quickly, before thieves steal data or crash your system.