Technological innovation

  • Government examines, then dismisses, threat of gravitational waves

    A U.S. company solicited funds from the Defense Intelligence Agency to examine the threat to the United States from gravitational waves; the agency concludes that notions that these waves might pose a security threat “belong to the realm of pseudo-science, not science” (physicists say you did not need a 40-page report to reach this conclusion)

  • Blood-detecting clothing to help first responders, soldiers

    Wolverines researchers developed a yarn that can detect blood; clothing made from the yarn would be useful in high-risk professions, as unconscious firefighters, ambushed soldiers, or police officers in an accident may not be able to send a distress signal to a central command post

  • New surveillance system identifies suspicious, lost people

    New surveillance software will attempt to recognize whether a person on the street is acting suspiciously or appears to be lost; intelligent video cameras will be connected to large video screens and geo-referencing software to help law enforcement and security agencies

  • National nuclear lab helps develop more soothing hand lotion

    Hand- and face lotions are typically uncomfortably chilly when coming fresh from the jar; Sandia National Lab, using microencapsulation technology used in nuclear weapons, helps a New Mexico cosmetics entrepreneur develop a hand cream which warms itself up as it is gently rubbed on

  • DARPA seeks damage tolerant technology for killer robots

    The U.S. military — and other militaries — are interested in robots that can autonomously operate weapon systems and make decisions about when to fire; such systems, however, are as vulnerable as human beings to enemy fire; “damage tolerant technology” will make them less vulnerable

  • New system locates origin of incoming fire

    A Massachusetts company develops a system which helps soldiers pinpoint the location of sniper fire; system has been successfully used in Iraq and Afghanistan

  • No end in sight for Moore's Law

    Moore’s Law lives! Worries that reduction in transistor size to below ~20 nm would create heating and quantum effects so severe that such transistors will not be of practical use (read: an end to Moore’s Law) are misplaced; researchers show the Moore’s Law will obtain for a while yet

  • Day of smart grid nears

    Major blackouts may be a thing of the past: the world’s first high-voltage Li-ion system can connect to the grid, without a transformer, and immediately turn on if there is a disruption in power

  • High-powered laser for refueling aircraft

    Moving military units from theater to theater is a challenge for the military’s lift capabilities; an integral part of such capabilities is the ability to refuel aircraft in mid-flight, which is dangerous; researchers offer a way to use laser to recharge the plane’s batteries; for now the system is limited to surveillance UAVs, but the developers envision it being used for larger planes

  • Day of smart fabrics nears

    Researchers report progress toward a simple, low-cost method to make smart fabrics — electronic textiles capable of detecting diseases, monitoring heart rates, and other vital signs

  • New chemical contamination wipe developed

    New, nonwoven dry wipe material proves itself in cleaning up chemical warfare agents and toxic chemicals

  • Old fingerprints help solve heretofore unresolved crimes

    A forensic scientist at Northamptonshire Police and the University of Leicester has helped detectives move a step closer to solving a murder case; the key: lifting fingerprints off bullets

  • Boeing's new UAV idea

    Boeing has applied for a patent for a UAV that can stay aloft for 10 days or more at 60,000 feet, and for as long as 30 days at lower altitudes, all while carrying payloads of up to 450 kilograms

  • Making older buildings safer during earthquakes

    Buildings being built now in earthquake-prone regions are designed better to withstand tremors; trouble is, for a long while yet, most of the buildings in which people live and work were built before new earthquake-related design concepts and new materials were available; UC San Diego researchers look for ways to make these buildings safer

  • Day of 4G technology -- mobile WiMax -- nears

    Clearwire and Sprint Nextel completes transaction to combine their next-generation wireless Internet businesses; companies announce $3.2 billion investment to launch 4G mobile Internet company