News

AI-Driven Application Stops Poachers

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Army Research Office, researchers are using artificial intelligence (AI) and game theory to solve poaching and illegal logging.

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Device Allows Paralyzed Man to Perform Complex Movements

Six years ago, he was paralyzed in a diving accident. Today, he participates in clinical sessions during which he can grasp and swipe a credit card or play a guitar video game with his own fingers and hand. These complex functional movements are driven by his own thoughts and a prototype medical system.

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NASA Tests Revolutionary E-Sail Propulsion Technology

Testing has started at NASA on a concept called the Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS), a propellant-less propulsion system that would harness solar wind to travel into interstellar space. “The sun releases protons and electrons into the solar wind at very high speeds -- 400 to 750 kilometers per second,” said Bruce Wiegmann an engineer in Marshall’s Advanced Concepts Office and the principal investigator for the HERTS E-Sail. “The E-Sail would use these protons to propel the spacecraft.”

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Slim Wing Can Reduce Aircraft Fuel Use and Emissions by 50%

NASA and Boeing are designing a longer, thinner, and lighter wing that requires a brace, or truss, to provide it with extra support. The lower-drag wing will reduce both fuel burn and carbon emissions by at least 50% over current-technology transport aircraft, and by 4 to 8% compared to equivalent advanced-technology conventional configurations with unbraced wings.

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Material Sniffs Out Fuel Leaks and Fuel-Based Explosives

Alkane fuel is a key ingredient in combustible material such as airplane fuel. Yet it’s difficult to detect and there are no portable scanners available that can sniff out the odorless and colorless vapor. University of Utah engineers developed fiber material for a handheld scanner that can detect small traces of alkane fuel vapor, a valuable advancement that could be an early-warning signal for leaks in an airliner, or for locating a terrorist’s explosive.

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New Material Eliminates the Need for Aircraft Deicers

Scientists have developed a liquid-like substance that can make aircraft wings and other surfaces so slippery that ice cannot adhere. The slick substance is secreted from a film on the wing’s surface as temperatures drop below freezing and retreats back into the film as temperatures rise. The liquid-secreting materials are called self-lubricating organogels, or SLUGs.

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Wild Mushrooms Support New Battery Anodes

Researchers at Purdue University have created electrodes from a species of wild fungus called Tyromyces fissilis.  Carbon fibers derived from the sustainable source have been shown to outperform conventional graphite electrodes for lithium-ion batteries.

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