• Fashionable detector-on-a-ring detects chemical, biological threats

    Wearable sensors are revolutionizing the tech-world, capable of tracking processes in the body, such as heart rates. They’re even becoming fashionable, with many of them sporting sleek, stylish designs. But wearable sensors also can have applications in detecting threats that are external to the body.

  • Timber bridges viable option for low-traffic local roads

    Glulam timber bridges are viable and cost-effective options for replacing bridges on low-traffic county and township roads. Glulam, short for glued laminated, means the structural members are made of layers of wood strips bonded with glue. A timber bridge would provide alternatives to conventional precast double-tee bridges, giving counties and townships more options when designing a new bridge or replacing an old one.

  • “Cardiac password” project uses the wave of the heart motion for authentication

    One of the unique features for the upcoming iPhone X is facial recognition security, where users can simply unlock their phones by holding it up to their face and allowing the phone’s security measures to identify the correct user. However, it seems just as soon as new means of authentication are developed and put into use, hackers find a way around them, from hacking passwords to faking fingerprints to fool biometric security systems. But there may be one authentication method that cannot be hacked: Cardiac password.

  • Brain-controlled drones are here

    Single unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs) directed by joysticks, radio controllers, and mobile phones are already accomplishing a variety of useful tasks, such as aerial photography and security patrols. But using multiple drones requires multiple human operators, and this presents a coordination problem. Now a single operator using emerging human-brain interfaces can control a swarm of drones, making possible new classes of applications.

  • 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.