News

New Technique Could Improve Detection of Concealed Nuclear Materials

A low-energy nuclear reaction imaging technique designed to detect the presence of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium in cargo containers arriving at U.S. ports was demonstrated. The method relies on a combination of neutrons and high-energy photons to detect shielded radioactive materials inside the containers.

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NASA Prepares Flight Tests of Unmanned Aircraft

NASA and its partners are validating and advancing technologies that will assist the FAA as they develop the regulations to allow integration of unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System. Test objectives will require 15 flights and more than 270 encounters. These encounters will consist of flying several piloted aircraft, referred to as intruders, into different positions near or around NASA’s Predator B remotely piloted aircraft, Ikhana.

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Sensors Teach Dogs New Tricks

A team from North Carolina State University has developed and customized a suite of technologies that allows a computer to train a dog autonomously. Sensors in the custom harness monitor a dog’s posture, and the computer effectively responds based on the animal’s body language.

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Light-Powered 3D Printer Creates Terahertz Lens

Researchers from Northwestern University used a light-powered 3D printer to create a terahertz lens. The imaging component is made from a novel metamaterial that exhibits properties not readily available in nature.

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Could tear-off screens catch on?

This week's Question: While LG and Samsung have worked to develop screens that roll and bend, a new patent from Google describes a screen that can be torn like a piece of paper. Images in the filing show an advertisement with coupons that can be pulled off and used in-store, as well as a drawing of a robot that has been ripped in half. Additionally, the detached portions are shown being reattached. Disposable displays will likely not emerge as a viable technology until manufacturing costs drop significantly. Engineers, however, have also been working on ways to make digital pixels appear on regular paper. What do you think? Could tear-off screens catch on? 

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Imaging Breakthrough Reveals Mars' Surface

Using an image stacking and matching technique, researchers from University College London revealed unprecedented detail of the Martian surface. The Beagle-2 lander, ancient lakebeds, and NASA’s MER-A rover tracks were shown at a resolution up to five times greater than previously achieved.

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Could a solar-powered airplane be commercially viable?

This week's Question: Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered airplane, completed a risky, 62-hour flight across a wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean. According to pilot and Swiss engineer Andre Borschberg, the plane now has the ability, in theory, to fly for an unlimited period, with only the human factor limiting how long the plane could potentially stay on the air. What do you think? Could a solar-powered airplane be commercially viable?  

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