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.
The Dutch are known for their love of bicycling, and they’ve also long been early adopters of green-energy and smart-city technologies. So it seems fitting that a town in which painter Vincent van Gogh once lived has given him a very Dutch-like tribute -- a bike path lit by a special smart paint in the style of the artist's “Starry Night” painting.
For decades, engineers have worked to combat erosion by developing high-strength alloys, composites, and surface coatings. However, in a new paper, a team at Jilin University in China turned to one of the most deadly animals in the world for inspiration -- the yellow fat-backed scorpion.
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