Boeing and subsidiary Liquid Robotics team up to explore deeper possibilities for autonomous systems
BY Dan Raley – Created by Boeing subsidiary Liquid Robotics, this maritime innovation known as the Wave Glider was originally intended to record the songs of migrating whales. When integrated with Boeing’s advanced sensors for defense applications, the Wave Glider can locate undersea vehicles at substantial distances, hunt for mines, monitor land radar, and gather and relay data to other systems, all while operating on solar and wave power for months at a time.
“It’s a hidden treasure,” said Jim Bray, Boeing autonomous systems technology integrator in St. Louis. “There’s a lot going on under the sea.”
Covered with fiberglass panels and small antennas topside and tethered to a wing-like propulsion system beneath it called a sub, the Wave Glider communicates by low-Earth-orbit satellite through a command-and-control unit and surface radio modem, similarly to someone sending a text message by smartphone.
“It’s revolutionary stuff,” said Scott Willcox, Liquid Robotics technology lead. “It’s like reinventing the sail — fundamentally, it’s a new way to get around the ocean. What you can do with it is almost limitless.”
In Ventura, Calif., in July, seven months after Boeing acquired Liquid Robotics, the companies teamed to test new Wave Glider capabilities in the ocean that would be presented to a customer for the first time. The testing demonstrated how transponders placed on the ocean floor by the Wave Glider conceivably could provide an oceanic GPS. An unmanned undersea vehicle in need of updating its location could use these underwater acoustics to determine where it is and never have to surface. more>
Posted in Communication industry, EARTH WATCH, Nature, Net, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Boeing, Business improvement, Net evolution, Ocean, Sensors, Technology
Imaging Technique Unlocks the Secrets of 17th Century Artists
By John Toon – The secrets of 17th century artists can now be revealed, thanks to 21st century signal processing. Using modern high-speed scanners and the advanced signal processing techniques, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are peering through layers of pigment to see how painters prepared their canvasses, applied undercoats, and built up layer upon layer of paint to produce their masterpieces.
The images they produce using the terahertz scanners and the processing technique – which was mainly developed for petroleum exploration – provide an unprecedented look at how artists did their work three centuries ago. The level of detail produced by this terahertz reflectometry technique could help art conservators spot previous restorations of paintings, highlight potential damage – and assist in authenticating the old works.
Beyond old art, the nondestructive technique also has potential applications for detecting skin cancer, ensuring proper adhesion of turbine blade coatings and measuring the thickness of automotive paints.
Without the signal processing, researchers might only be able to identify layers 100 to 150 microns thick. But using the advanced processing, they can distinguish layers just 20 microns thick. Paintings done before the 18th century have been challenging to study because their paint layers tend to be thin, Citrin said. Individual pigments cannot be resolved by the technique, though the researchers hope to be able to obtain that information in the future. more>
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Posted in EARTH WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Education, Energy & emissions, Healthcare, History, Science, Technology
Tagged Earth, Georgia Tech, Health, Physics, Space, Technology
By Akshat Rathi – The optimism surrounding renewable energy masks some harsh realities. Despite decades of progress, about 80% of the world’s energy still comes from fossil fuels—the same as in the 1970s. Since then, we’ve kept adding renewable capacity, but it hasn’t outpaced the growth of the world’s population and its demand for energy.
Today, about 30% of total world energy (and 40% of the world’s electricity) is supplied by coal, which emits more carbon dioxide per unit of energy produced than nearly any other fuel source.
The hugely valuable oil and gas industries, accounting for 33% and 24% of total world energy use, respectively, are also entrenched. “Based on what we know now, we would need major technological breakthroughs or weak world growth, including for large emerging and developing economies, for oil demand to peak in the next 20 years,” says Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti of the International Monetary Fund. Despite the growth in electric vehicles, most oil companies agree that peak oil is “not in sight.”
If you’re still not convinced, consider this: there are a handful of industries essential to the modern way of life that generate large amounts of carbon dioxide as a side product of the chemistry of their manufacturing process. These carbon-intensive industries—including cement, steel, and ethanol—produce about 20% of all global emissions.
If we want to keep using these products and reach zero emissions, the only option is to have these industries deploy carbon capture. more>
Posted in Business, EARTH WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Energy & emissions, History, Leadership, Media, Net, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Carbon capture and storage, Climate change, Earth, Financial crisis, Super regions, Technology
Future War, Author: Robert H. Latiff.
By Robert H. Latiff – Battles of the future will not necessarily be fought on battlefields as we know them, but in cities, in ungoverned areas, in cyberspace, and in the realm of the electromagnetic spectrum. Even outer space will be a contested environment.
On the future battlefield, soldiers will look, and be, different. Technology will be employed, first externally, to give the soldier greater protection, greater situational awareness, and greater stamina. Some military pilots are already being given legally approved stimulants to increase their alertness during lengthy air missions. Function-enhancing drugs will become more common. Soldiers’ bodies will be modified for greater efficiency. They are likely to be artificially enhanced with exoskeletons to improve strength, drugs to improve cognition or alter memory, and surgery to implant microelectronic neurological aids.
Battles will not be well defined temporally. They will be spread out in space and time, and the adversary will rarely be readily recognizable. Battles may be subtle and take place over long periods, or they may be instantaneous and devastating.
We will fight over a larger, more diffuse, battlefield, in small units of highly specialized soldiers. In some cases, the soldiers may never have to leave their base to unleash destruction on an enemy. more>
Posted in Book review, Broadband, Communication industry, EARTH WATCH, Economy, Education, Leadership, Media, Net, Technology
Tagged Battlefield, Broadband, Congress Watch, Government, Internet, Leadership, Technology