News

Positioning Systems Improve Airport Logistics

Tow tractors, pushback tractors, tankers, luggage carts, air cargo, and catering vehicles crowd airport aprons. Poor weather conditions impede work on the apron even more. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF in Magdeburg are part of the EU project e-Airport, which is developing a positioning system that will increase safety on the apron. It will also make it possible to utilize airport capacities more efficiently because the system allows logistical operations to run in a significantly more structured way than before

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Tiny Carbon-Capturing Motors Could Clean up Carbon Dioxide Pollution

Machines that are much smaller than the width of a human hair could one day help clean up carbon dioxide pollution in the oceans. Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have designed enzyme-functionalized micromotors that rapidly zoom around in water, remove carbon dioxide, and convert it into a usable solid form.

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Single-Molecule Nanosubmarines Powered by Light

Rice University scientists have created light-driven, single-molecule submersibles that contain just 244 atoms. The motors of the "nanosubmarines" run at more than a million RPM, and the sub's top speed amounts to less than 1 inch per second.

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Researchers Develop Shock-Based Desalination Process

A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has come up with an innovative approach that, unlike most traditional desalination systems, does not separate ions or water molecules with filters, which can become clogged, or boiling, which consumes great amounts of energy.

Posted in: News, Recycling Technologies

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Will jetpacks ever become a viable means of transport?

This week's Question: Dubai's civil defence force has agreed to a deal with Martin Aircraft, the New Zealand-based creator of a single-person jetpacks. Dubai has announced an initial order for up to 20 Martin jetpacks, plus simulators and a training package, for delivery next year. Lt Col Ali Hassan Almutawa, director of the Dubai Civil Defence Operations Department, told the BBC that the packs would be used for first-responder roles, including reconnaissance and rescue. Some critics, however, say it will be a long time before jetpacks are quiet enough, and fuel-efficient enough, to make them practical for general use. What do you think? Will jetpacks ever become a viable means of transport?

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New Tool Guides Infrastructure Recovery After Disasters

A new computerized tool guides stakeholders in preparing for, and recovering from, natural and man-made disasters such as the cyclones in India that knocked out swaths of the Indian Railways Network. The method, developed by Northeastern University researchers, guides stake­holders in the recovery of large-​​scale infrastructure systems. Other possible applications include water-​​distribution systems, power grids, communication networks, and natural ecological systems.

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NASA Instruments Used in German Alternative Fuels Research

Working in collaboration with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), NASA's aeronautical innovators supplied several key instruments for the DLR's Emissions and Climate Impacts of Alternative Aviation Fuels (ECLIF) experiments. NASA instruments are placed about 100 feet behind a parked DLR Airbus 320. These instruments then measure the exhaust from the jet as it burns eight different types of standard and alternative fuels that contain varying amounts of aromatic compounds and sulfur impurities.

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