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.
A group of researchers at the Seoul National University have discovered a way to take material from cigarette butts and turn it into a carbon-based material thats ideal for storing energy and creating a powerful supercapacitor.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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