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Anti Landmine Drone That Can Save Lives Is Here

Landmines are a scourge of modern warfare. Even years after a military engagement, mines can continue to maim and kill civilians. New technology has been developed that can help to resolve this problem. Mine Warfare Rapid Assessment Capability (MIW RAC) is a bold new invention that can detect buried and submerged land mines.

This device will be critical to saving soldiers’ lives as well as innocent civilians. MIW RAC is a quadrotor unmanned aircraft system in short a UAS, that detects harmful mines.

This technology will help Sailors and Marines who are approaching a beachfront to rapidly clear, or at least determine the location of, mines.

Brass Approves Mine Warfare Rapid Assessment Capability

The device was presented to the brass and the press at an event held at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, in Southern California. Dr. Cory Stephanson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Broadband Discovery Systems (BDS), and Dr. Rosemarie Oelrich, a scientist at Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock’s Combatant Craft Division, developed the MIW RAC.

The device is made to help explosive ordnance disposal teams locate mines and dangerous metal obstacles quickly. MIW RAC can be used within very shallow water zones and coastal surf zones.

DVIDS mentioned that MIW RAC is going to provide a real-time aerial capacity to existing underwater mine-detection capabilities.

Matt Matteson, the Command Master Chief of Office of Naval Research, said: “this technology will help Sailors and Marines who are approaching a beachfront to rapidly clear, or at least determine the location of, mines or other hazards that are in their way”. He also added that “it could potentially save a lot of lives.”

Anti Landmine Drone in air above a land mine.

The Office of Naval Research’s TechSolutions program sponsored the development of MIW RAC.

The idea of MIW RAC was launched in 2015 after the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) asked TechSolutions to make a portable system that can identify potential dangers in surf zones.

In order to create the components of MIW RAC, NECC worked together with Combat Direction Systems Activity Dam Neck, NSWC Carderock, and two other companies – Physical Sciences Incorporated, and BDS.

Equipped with a proprietary magnetometer sensor suite, MIW RAC now has the capability to detect information over a wide range and use complex algorithms to distinguish different types of objects. It is a feature that has widespread applications and one that can benefit military personnel and also the civilians.

Land Mines Have Been an Ongoing Concern That Drones May Solve

Smithsonian.com has reported that there are still a lot of active land mines from World War II. Non-government organizations who are against land mines still continue to fight for awareness and support. They support the development of MIW RAC.

Land mines are a danger to civilians especially to children who are naturally curious to wander about pick things up from the ground. Abandoned mines are a persistent danger to people in former combat zones.

Following are a few of the many non-governmental organizations against the production of land mines:

  • Human Rights Watch
  • Medico International
  • Handicap International
  • Physicians for Human Rights
  • Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation
  • Mines Advisory Group

These organizations have joined the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. It is a coalition of NGO’s seeking to eliminate the use of land mines. The coalition wants to see a world that is free of cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines.

The development of MIW RAC provides hope and security to a lot of people and may make the dream of the NGOs to eliminate mines, into a reality. Stephanson and Oelrich are two individuals who turned their ideas into a useful tool that can help all of mankind. New technologies can help people and improve the world.

 

 

Smallest Chip Technology From IBM Preserves Moore’s Law

IBM and its Research Alliance partners may have given new life to Moore’s Law.

This new process helps organizations imagine new possibilities in computing.

A new computer chip-making process developed by IBM and its partners, Samsung and GlobalFoundaries, enables the manufacture of 5-nanometer silicon chips. These chips deliver 40% more processing power when compared to the leading-edge 10-nanometer chips currently available.

The bold idea behind the smaller chip is to stack silicon layers horizontally instead of vertically.

Thought leader Ray Wang, Principal Analyst, Founder, and Chairman of Constellation Research, Inc., notes, “This new process helps organizations imagine new possibilities in computing, especially applications that use very little power and are extremely mobile, such as AR/VR inside biomedical devices, omnipresent cognitive applications, and even more precision in IoT.”

Graph showing how processing power chips are getting smaller. IBM's smallest chip technology.
IMB’s Chip is the smallest yet at only 5mm, thanks to horizontally layered silicon.

Moore’s Law New Lease on Life

In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore proposed what has come to be known as ‘Moore’s Law.’

Moore’s law predicts that the numbers of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits will double every two years. The result is exponential growth in computing power.

In 2005, Moore admitted this rate of exponential growth couldn’t go on forever. Eventually, the physical limitations in manufacturing the chips would slow down the rate of increase in computing power. Around 2012, Moore’s admission appeared to come true. The rate of advancement began to slow.

This slowdown couldn’t have come at a worse time. Virtual reality, augmented reality, blockchains, IoT, Big Data, self-driving cars—the list is growing—are making huge demands for processing power.

The bold impact of the new design—the IBM chip process has managed to extend Moore’s Law and propel IoT adoption.

 

Growing Algae for Oil, The Newest Renewable Energy Source

Algae may be the bold answer to our energy woes. Researchers are growing algae for oil. Recent breakthroughs have allowed them to double the oil content of algae. If the research continues to progress, we may in time be able to grow oil in algae!

…algae can be incredibly productive as a renewable energy source.

ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics Incorporated modified an algae strain to increase the natural production of oil within the algae.

The modification allows for widespread commercialization of algae-based biofuel. The oil content of the algae rose from 20% to more than 40%. Researchers established an approach called ‘proof-of-concept’, which ended in a great result. This was a proof-of-concept test, to demonstrate that the idea was viable. The group can now build out the process and continue to increase the oil producing capability of their strain of algae.

Nannochloropsis gaditana, the algae species modified, doubled its lipid fraction of cellular carbon compared to the parent – while maintaining its growth. ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics developed advanced cell engineering technologies in order to modify the algae to produce oil.

The Renewable Energy Source of the Century

Vijay Swarup, the Vice President for Research and Development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, said “this key milestone in our advanced biofuels program confirms our belief that algae can be incredibly productive as a renewable energy source with a corresponding positive contribution to our environment.”

Genome Web reported that Synthetic Genomics extended its joint research agreement with ExxonMobil on January 20, 2017. They will continue moving forward in their work on developing algae biofuels.

Graphic representation of growing algae for oil

The Growing Partnership of ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics

In 2009, ExxonMobil, the biggest publicly traded international gas and oil company in the world, began its partnership with Synthetic Genomics Incorporated, a private company that focuses on the area of synthetic biology. $600 million was invested in the collaborative enterprise.

The collaboration’s goals were:

  • Creation of a Source of Renewable Oil
  • Research the Genetics of Algae
  • Growth Characteristics of Genetically Altered Algae
  • Oil Production from a Renewable Resource

Over the years, the companies promised to work on enhancing algae strains with improved oil production and photosynthetic efficiency through selection and genetic engineering. They wanted to get biofuel from photosynthetic algae that is going to be compatible with diesel and gasoline fuels.

With continuous evolution of research, both firms created a new agreement in 2013 to develop algae biofuels. The new agreement focused on utilizing technology and synthetic genomic science to make algal strains.

According to J. Craig Venter, the Founder and CEO of Synthetic Genomics Incorporated, “the new agreement gives us an opportunity to really focus on improving algal strains using our core synthetic biology technologies to develop biofuels.”

The Advantages of Algae

Algae has many beneficial characteristics, in addition to its potential as an oil source.

  • Algae Grow Fast
  • Algae May Produce High Biofuel Yields
  • Algae Consume CO2
  • Algae Grown in Tanks Does Not Compete with Agriculture for Land
  • Microalgal Biomass Can Be Used for Fuel, Feed, and
  • Microalgae Can Be Grown in the Sea
  • Algae Purifies Wastewaters
  • Algae Biomass in Addition Can Be Used as an Energy Source
  • Algae Can Be Used to Produce Many Useful Products
  • The Algae Industry is a Job Creation Engine

The research conducted by ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics Incorporated is a step toward the sustainable energy grail. The process of extracting more oil from modified algae is a breakthrough.