Tag Archives: sensors

Dark Fiber: Using Sensors Beneath Our Feet to Tell Us About Earthquakes, Water, and Other Geophysical Phenomena

Berkeley Lab researchers successfully use distributed acoustic sensing for seismic monitoring

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have shown for the first time that dark fiber – the vast network of unused fiber-optic cables installed throughout the country and the world – can be used as sensors for detecting earthquakes, the presence of groundwater, changes in permafrost conditions, and a variety of other subsurface activity. (more…)

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New research suggests insect wings might serve gyroscopic function

Gyroscopes measure rotation in everyday technologies, from unmanned aerial vehicles to cell phone screen stabilizers.

Though many animals can move with more precision and accuracy than our best-engineered aircraft and technologies, gyroscopes are rarely found in nature. Scientists know of just one group of insects, the group including flies, that has something that behaves like a gyroscope — sensors called halteres, clublike structures that evolved from wings. (more…)

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Flying Test Bed: New Aerial Platform Supports Development of Lightweight Sensors for UAVs

A research team at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is developing an airborne testing capability for sensors, communications devices and other airborne payloads. This aerial test bed, called the GTRI Airborne Unmanned Sensor System (GAUSS), is based on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) made by Griffon Aerospace and modified by GTRI.

“Developing new sensor technologies that can be effectively employed from the air is a priority today given the rapidly increasing use of unmanned aircraft,” said Michael Brinkmann, a GTRI principal research engineer who is leading the work. “Given suitable technology, small UAVs can perform complex, low-altitude missions effectively and at lower cost. The GAUSS system gives GTRI and its customers the ability to develop and test new airborne payloads in a rapid, cost effective way.” (more…)

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Ferroelectric Switching Discovered For First Time in Soft Biological Tissue

The heart’s inner workings are mysterious, perhaps even more so with a new finding. Engineers at the University of Washington have discovered an electrical property in arteries not seen before in mammalian tissues.

The researchers found that the wall of the aorta, the largest blood vessel carrying blood from the heart, exhibits ferroelectricity, a response to an electric field known to exist in inorganic and synthetic materials. The findings are being published in an upcoming issue of the journal Physical Review Letters. (more…)

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Moral Dilemma: Would You Kill One Person to Save Five?

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Imagine a runaway boxcar heading toward five people who can’t escape its path. Now imagine you had the power to reroute the boxcar onto different tracks with only one person along that route.

Would you do it?

That’s the moral dilemma posed by a team of Michigan State University researchers in a first-of-its-kind study published in the research journal Emotion. Research participants were put in a three dimensional setting and given the power to kill one person (in this case, a realistic digital character) to save five. (more…)

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Most Powerful Millimeter-Scale Energy Harvester Generates Electricity from Vibrations

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Electrical engineers at the University of Michigan have built a device that can harness energy from vibrations and convert it to electricity with five to 10 times greater efficiency and power than other devices in its class. And it’s smaller than a penny.

“In a tiny amount of space, we’ve been able to make a device that generates more power for a given input than anything else out there on the market,” said Khalil Najafi, one of the system’s developers and chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering. (more…)

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