Help Nasa Predict Landslides

Each year, landslides cause billions of dollars in damage and thousands of deaths.

To date, there is no global picture of exactly when and where landslides occur.

The Cooperative Open Online Landslide Repository (COOLR) is an open platform where you can share landslide reports. Want to contribute? Use NASA’s citizen science application, Landslide Reporter .


What’s New on Techbriefs.com

Northwestern University professor Ange-Therese Akono is adding nanoparticles to cement to make it stronger, more environmentally friendly, and smarter. What makes a cement smart?

Read our Q&A with Prof. Akono to learn how the multifunctional material has applications in the monitoring of buildings, batteries, and RF interference.

Learn about this innovative idea and others on our blog. Each week, we speak with today’s top inventors and engineers. Send your comments and suggestions to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Next Month in Tech Briefs

The September issue will feature an Executive Roundtable on cloud software. Learn from leading software companies about how their customers forego the chore of downloading software on a desktop. Instead, users are designing and simulating directly from the cloud.


Facemask Can Detect COVID-19

Engineers at MIT and Harvard University have designed a facemask that can diagnose the wearer with COVID-19 within about 90 minutes. The masks are embedded with tiny disposable sensors that can be fitted into other facemasks and could also be adapted to detect other viruses.

(Image: Felice Frankel and MIT News Office)

The sensors are based on freeze-dried cellular machinery. The mask includes a small reservoir of water that is released at the push of a button when the wearer is ready to perform the test. This hydrates the freeze-dried components of the SARS-CoV-2 sensor, which analyzes accumulated breath droplets on the inside of the mask and produces a result within 90 minutes. Results are only displayed on the inside of the mask for user privacy.

The sensors could be incorporated into not only facemasks but also clothing such as labcoats, potentially offering a new way to monitor healthcare workers’ exposure to a variety of pathogens or other threats.

Learn More at MIT.edu .


NASA Satellite Data Tracks Ocean Microplastics from Space

An assortment of microplastic fragments, filaments, and fibers from the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre. (Courtesy of Nicole Trenholm/Ocean Research Project)

An estimated eight million tons of plastic trash enters oceans each year. Most of it is battered by the Sun and waves into microplastics that can be carried hundreds or thousands of miles, making it difficult to track and remove them.

The University of Michigan is using NASA satellite data to track the movement of microplastics in the ocean. The method provides a day-by-day timeline of where they enter the water, how they move, and where they collect. The approach relies on the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) and can give a global view or zoom in on small areas for a high-resolution picture of microplastic releases from a single location.

Learn More at UMich.edu .


Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the August, 2021 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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