News

Sound Wave Detector

Using optical fibers, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have found a way to create a sensor that detects the direction from which a sound is coming under water. The new sensor could allow the U.S. Navy to develop compact arrays to detect quiet underwater targets, while also providing unambiguous directional information. The sensor uses a mechanism inspired by how fish hear under water, and can be modified to measure the water deformation, known as shear, associated with a sound wave -- a quantity typically difficult to measure because it requires very sensitive instruments. This new sensor shows promise that it can be successfully modified to detect this acoustic shear, which will enhance the directional information. For more information, click here.

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Clean Water Technology

University of Delaware researchers have developed an inexpensive, nonchlorine- based technology that can remove harmful microorganisms, including viruses, from drinking water. The patented technology incorporates highly reactive iron in the filtering process to deliver a chemical "knock-out punch" to a host of notorious pathogens, from E. coli to rotavirus. The new technology could dramatically improve the safety of drinking water around the globe, particularly in developing countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over a billion people lack access to safe water supplies. For more information, click here.

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TECH NEEDS OF THE WEEK

Small, universal mobile receivers are needed that are capable of receiving mobile satellite television signals. These receivers should be similar to those installed and used by satellite radio. The receivers will convert the signal from a satellite to a mounted or OEM satellite, thus delivering cable television to mobile customers. To respond to this Tech Need click here. Bluetooth communications software modules are needed that are capable of running on popular Linux distributions with applications on mobile devices. Modules for "slave" and "master" devices are required. Software that can be customized to communicate with pre-determined Bluetooth devices using all features of the Serial Port Profile is required. To respond to this Tech Need click here. The Technology Needs of the Week are anonymous requests for technology, distributed through the yet2.com marketplace, that you and your organization may be able to fulfill. Responding to a Tech Need is the first step to gaining an introduction with a prospective "buyer" for your technology solution.

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Engine For Satellites

Georgia Tech researchers have developed a new protoype engine that uses up to 40% less fuel by running on solar power while in space and by fine-tuning exhaust velocity. The key to the engine improvements is the ability to optimize the use of available power. A traditional chemical rocket engine (attached to a satellite ready for launch) runs at maximum exhaust velocity until it reaches orbit, i.e., first gear. The new engine allows ground-control units to adjust the engine's operating gear based on the immediate propulsive need of the satellite. The engine operates in first gear to maximize acceleration during orbit transfers and then shifts to fifth gear once in the desired orbit. This allows the engine to burn at full capacity only during key moments and conserve fuel. Click here for the full story.

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NANO 50â„¢ AWARDS -DEADLINE EXTENSION

Nanotech Briefs(R) magazine is now accepting nominations for its third annual Nano 50 awards competition. The Nano 50 recognizes the top 50 technologies, innovators, and products with the greatest potential to advance the commercialization of nanotechnology. There is no cost to submit a nomination. All nominations must be submitted by APRIL 2, 2007. Entries will be judged by an independent, expert panel, and awards will be presented at a special Nano 50 awards dinner, to be held in November 2007 at NASA Tech Briefs National Nano Engineering Conference in Boston. For complete rules and to submit a nomination, visit the official Web site.

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Natural-Gas Autos

Researchers have created carbon briquettes with complex nanopores capable of storing natural gas at a density of 180 times their own volume and at one- seventh the pressure of conventional natural gas tanks. The briquettes are the first technology to meet the 180 to 1 storage to volume target set by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2000. Supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Partnership for Innovation program, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) and Midwest Research Institute (MRI) in Kansas City developed the technology. "We are very excited about this breakthrough because it may lead to a flatand compact tank that would fit under the floor of a passenger car, similar to current gasoline tanks," said Peter Pfeifer of MU. "Such a technology would make natural gas a widely attractive alternative fuel for everyone." For more information, click here.

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Disposable Sensor

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a disposable sensor for detecting hazardous uranium ions, with sensitivity that rivals the performance of much more sophisticated laboratory instruments.According to the researchers, the sensor provides a fast, on-site test for assessing uranium contamination in the environment, and the effectiveness of remediation strategies. While most DNA is double stranded, the catalytic DNA the research group used has a single strand region that can wrap around like a protein. In that single strand, the researchers fashion a specific binding site -- a kind of pocket that can only accommodate the metal ion of choice. For more information, click here.

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