The weather channel may take to the air--much to the benefit of those of us who fly. Honeywell (Phoenix, AZ) and NASA are joining forces to create a worldwide aviation weather distribution and display network called AWIN, Aviation Weather Information System. There were radio transmissions in the past from ground control, says Dr. Charles Scanlon, senior research scientist for NASA, "but it is hard to put a radar picture into words." Combining digital communication technology with powerful yet small PCs, Scanlon hopes to drastically reduce aviation accidents within the next 10 years. "Weather is a factor in 30% of all accidents," he says. In-situ turbulence and forward-looking sensors will send information to Earth where turbulence maps will be generated and data linked back to the aircraft. All equipment must be flight-hardened, meaning no electromagnetic influences, must withstand so many G-loads of force, and will not catch fire. Initial implementation should be within five years. FAX: (757) 864-2034.
Researchers have been working on a number of alternative chemistries to lithium-ion for next-gen batteries, silicon-air among them. However, while the technology has been viewed as promising and cost-effective, to date researchers haven’t managed to develop a battery of this chemistry with a viable running time -- until now.
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