• Ensuring Safe Nuclear Waste Disposal

    Disposal concepts call for the waste to be isolated a third of a mile belowground for safe storage, enclosed within engineered barrier systems and surrounded by subsurface rock. But there’s still the chance radionuclides might leak out if these systems lose their protective properties as it heats up due to radioactive decay. International nuclear waste disposal research effort evaluates maximum allowable temperature for buffer material.

  • Addressing the Microchip Shortage

    The U.S. semiconductor chip shortage is likely to continue well into 2022, and experts predict that the U.S. will need to make major changes to the manufacturing and supply chain of these all-important chips in the coming year to stave off further effects. That includes making more of these chips here at home. 

  • Next Renewable Energy Source: An Artificial Leaf

    Solar energy is not a new concept and has been implemented on a grand scale world-wide. But researchers are looking at another possible renewable method of harnessing the power of the Sun: photosynthesis.

  • Reasserting U.S. Leadership in Microelectronics

    The global semiconductor shortage has grabbed headlines and caused a cascade of production bottlenecks that have driven up prices on all sorts of consumer goods, from refrigerators to SUVs. The chip shortage has thrown into sharp relief the critical role semiconductors play in many aspects of everyday life. But years before the pandemic-induced shortage took hold, the United States was already facing a growing chip crisis. MIT researchers lay out a strategy for how universities can help the U.S. regain its place as a semiconductor superpower.

  • Simulations Can Improve Avalanche Forecasting

    Currently, avalanche forecasts in Canada are made by experienced professionals who rely on data from local weather stations and on-the-ground observations from ski and backcountry ski operators, avalanche control workers for transportation and industry, and volunteers who manually test the snowpack. But simulated snow cover models developed by a team of researchers are able detect and track weak layers of snow and identify avalanche hazard in a completely different way.

  • Aiding Evaluation of Adversarial AI Defenses

    There are many inherent weaknesses that underlie existing machine learning (ML) models, opening the technology up to spoofing, corruption, and other forms of deception. Evaluation testbed, datasets, tools developed on GARD program were released to jump-start community and encourage creation of more robust defenses against attacks on ML models.

  • The Big Promises and Potentially Bigger Consequences of Neurotechnology

    Neurotechnology is an umbrella term for a range of technologies which interact directly with the brain or nervous system. This can include systems which passively scan, map or interpret brain activity, or systems which actively influence the state of the brain or nervous system. There are growing excitement and growing concern about the potential applications of neurotechnology for everything from defense to health care to entertainment.

  • Are New and Emerging Technologies Game-Changers for Smaller Powers?

    We are now entering into what is usually referred to as the fourth industrial revolution, which is characterized by the fusion of technologies and platforms in the form of a “system of systems.” Michael Claesson and Zebulon Carlander write that “In previous industrial revolutions, innovation was integrated into military capabilities, such as weapons systems, logistics, and organization. The fourth industrial revolution will be no different.” The add that “New and emerging technologies might therefore offer a new arena for small and medium states in which they can exploit possibilities to offset the capabilities of bigger and better-resourced adversaries.”

  • Autonomous Air and Ground Vehicles Swarms Take Flight in Final Field Experiment

    DARPA’s OFFSET program envisions future small-unit infantry forces employing large-scale teams of unmanned air and/or ground robots to accomplish diverse missions in complex urban environments. OFFSET specifically focused on advancements in collaborative swarm autonomy and human-swarm teaming capabilities.

  • Meet the Maggot: How This Flesh-Loving, Butt-Breathing Marvel Helps Us Solve Murders

    Not all superheroes wear capes – some live in rubbish bins, garbage dumps and on dead bodies. Maggots, the humble little legless larvae, are actually nature’s antibacterial soldiers. Their ability to survive and thrive in decomposing matter is making them our new secret weapon in forensic entomology – the science of using insects to solve crimes.

  • What Are the Geopolitical Risks of Manipulating the Climate?

    It would only take one country—watching its crops shrivel or its water run dry—deciding to take a chance to set in motion a global geoengineering climate experiment, and technologies which could, for example, block the sun’s rays or siphon huge amounts of carbon from the air are not that far out of reach. The effects could get out of hand quickly. Yet the international community has not established the kinds of guardrails you might expect for potentially world-changing technologies. As a result, no single governing body is overseeing geoengineering efforts on a global scale.

  • The Use of Earthquake Science for Assessing Risks to Gas Pipelines

    New study highlights the need to continue efforts to systematically quantify nationwide earthquake risk to gas pipelines in the United States, which manages the largest gas pipeline network in the world.

  • Simulation Models of Potential Asteroid Collisions

    An asteroid impact can be enough to ruin anyone’s day, but several small factors can make the difference between an out-of-this-world story and total annihilation.

  • “In Defense of Water” Program Aims to Improve Water Security

    A new DOD-funded project — “In Defense of Water” – aims to help provide clean drinking water and protect the environment. The project will improve water security and efficiency at military and civilian installations to improve readiness and reduce operational impacts due to water shortages and employ innovative water management technologies.

  • Computer Attacks with Laser Light

    Computer systems that are physically isolated from the outside world (air-gapped) can still be attacked. This is demonstrated by IT security experts in the LaserShark project. The researchers demonstrate hidden communication into air-gapped computer systems: Data transmitted to light-emitting diodes of regular office devices.