New Technology Could Mean the End of Drunk Driving
Jun12

New Technology Could Mean the End of Drunk Driving

The US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has unveiled its prototype of a new way to prevent drunk driving deaths. DADSS, which is formally known as the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, is an infrared sensor system built into the steering column of late model vehicles. It possesses the ability to immobilize a host vehicle when it senses a blood alcohol level exceeding .08 mg. The sensor detects the presence of alcohol through the breath and skin. No additional action needs to be taken by the driver; the sensor reads their BAC as soon as they step into the car. The results are equivalent to using a car breathalyzer, or field sobriety test. The difference with DADSS is that no human initiative is necessary to activate the vehicle immobilization safety protocols. High speed infrared technology is programmed to sense air particulate percentages instantly. “Education, awareness and enforcement have succeeded in dramatically reducing drunk driving fatalities, but the advanced technology of DADSS brings enormous potential to save even more lives.” —Anthony Foxx, US Transportation Secretary According to recent statistics, there are almost 10,000 drunk driving fatalities each year. The key to reducing, or eliminating this statistic, is the presence of a technologically advanced driver safety device that supersedes impaired judgments. Most people understand that existing devices for checking BAC before driving are accurate, but only have an impact if a driver chooses to test him or herself before driving. However, self-reliance of BAC monitoring is impractical in the real world. This is why the new DADSS infrared sensor is a breakthrough in stopping drunk driving incidents. DADSS is still in the prototype stages, but a big push by a partnership between the US government and the auto industry are working hard to finalize its design. Society can no longer rely on impaired drivers to monitor themselves before choosing to drive drunk. Infrared and high speed blood alcohol sensor technology is a powerful way to make the roads safer for...

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Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution!
Apr27

Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution!

Imagine a future where, as you awaken in the morning, your house is waking up with you.  Using your individual custom settings, the shower begins running, the coffee starts brewing itself in the kitchen, and your car has started itself in the garage, warming up to take you to work. Your phone sends you a push notification that it has determined its battery will wear out soon and that a new one has been ordered and will arrive on Thursday. Welcome to life after the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The phrase “industrial revolution” probably reminds you of sitting in history class learning something about a steam engine and James Watt’s vapor-powered technology making it possible to shift to mass production. However, there have been two others since: one in the late 1800s based around electrification and division of labor (assembly lines), and another in the late 1900s based on the rise of information technology (computers and the Internet). Three years ago, the Germans were predicting a fourth revolution, one that promises dramatic transformations in the workplace, making an entire universe of objects revolve around you; one in which everyday objects are connected to the Internet and are able to communicate with one another. This is the production side of the Internet of Things (IoT). Everything around us, from our cars to our toasters, will be connected to the Internet. Smart devices will be able to talk directly to the machines that manufactured them, making it possible for your dishwasher to notify the factory that it is about to wear out. Factories can then adjust production levels to compensate, so that a replacement unit is ready and waiting for you when you need it. Even automated factory processes themselves are getting the IoT treatment, to the point of incorporating remote alarm notification systems designed to inform operators of breakdowns or failures. As a result of all of this smart technology, backorders and wait times will soon be a thing of the past and factories will largely care for themselves, leading to greater efficiency. Smart factories are set  to irrevocably change the face of manufacturing, avoiding breaks in production and reducing energy waste so often seen in the industrial sector. There are, of course, potential pitfalls. As these smart machines replace human labor, there will be fewer jobs available. It won’t matter much how efficiently products are made if no one has the money to buy them. Also, a universal computer language will need to be developed; otherwise there may be times when devices can’t speak across proprietary company boundaries. Security is another obvious concern. Malware already exists that is designed specifically...

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CERN’s Large Hadron Collider Returning to Service
Apr02

CERN’s Large Hadron Collider Returning to Service

On February 14, 2013, CERNs’ large hadron collider (LHC) executed a maintenance shutdown following ground-breaking experiments that ultimately observed the elusive Higgs Boson particle the year before.  It’s now two years later and the facility is being brought back online; it is currently undergoing “warm-up” testing prior to returning to full service. Unlike the shutdown performed in response to a wiring fault in 2008, this maintenance period was planned well in advance. The LHC has a virtually countless number of individual parts, including 1232 superconducting, helium-cooled magnets. Statistically, every nut, bolt, and widget has a predictable lifetime and must be replaced prior to the possibility of failure. When the LHC is brought up to full capacity later this month, upgrades performed during the shutdown should empower researchers to break new ground in the study of particle physics. The improved magnets that keep high-speed protons on track, and the vacuum chamber through which they move, are estimated to support 13 TeraElectronVolt (TeV) collisions at start up, improved from the 8 TeV collisions that produced observable evidence of the Higgs boson. Engineers are predicting they will be able to increase performance even further – up to 14 TeV. These higher energy collisions are needed to test some fundamental hypotheses, such as supersymmetry — a prediction that every particle exists with a second partner particle. Evidence of supersymmetry is scarce, but the improved LHC may provide an opportunity to more closely observe particle decay after very high energy collisions, perhaps leading to insights about its existence. The higher energy collisions are also predicted to produce more exotic and elusive particles, which may indicate the composition of dark matter, a substance that does not emit any detectable light from the electromagnetic spectrum, but whose gravitational effects can be observed on a galactic scale. Unlike the Higgs boson experiments, these experiments are exploratory; firm predictions like the existence of a specific particle don’t apply. What CERN may find could be wholly unexpected, and it is that potential for a new discovery that keeps them pushing the limits of the...

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WIN-911 Alarm Notification Software Adds Layer of Protection to SCADA Systems
Mar25

WIN-911 Alarm Notification Software Adds Layer of Protection to SCADA Systems

In the past, monitoring the safety systems of any facility was a challenge. Personnel in charge had to be highly trained to know exactly what every light and sound meant. In many cases, they also had to be present at the control panel at all times to respond to an emergency in a timely manner. But, what if an alarm system could simply call the right people for help, telling them exactly what was wrong? WIN-911 Software does precisely that, improving performance of safety and maintenance personnel in facilities around the globe in the process. The software utilizes parameters already set in place by existing system control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. The program essentially acts as an efficient middleman, quickly translating messages from the warning system into messages that are easily accessed and understood. Founded in Houston in 1974 in response to growing demand in the field of process control automation, WIN-911 is the recognized industry leader in alarm notification software. Used in more than 10,000 facilities spread across 65 countries around the globe, company representatives say that adding their software to any monitoring system can reduce personnel costs, raw material waste, energy costs, and machine maintenance costs. From manufacturing and automated production to preservation efforts that protect local ecosystems, WIN-911 can be integrated into virtually any number of preventative systems. For nearly all alarm systems, the task of informing a response team of the exact nature and location of a problem takes quite a bit of precious time. What sets WIN-911 apart is its intelligent decision matrix that is able to prioritize and relay accurate information about every alarm. Graded responses are provided based on the issue, and early warnings provide an opportunity to solve an issue before it becomes an expensive – or dangerous – problem. The biggest advantage WIN-911 software has is it’s ability to interface with mobile devices and contact available personnel wherever they may be. The pager and lexicon system, which sends workers an alert on a pager that they must then translate using a lexicon, has now been made obsolete by the Mobile-911 system. WIN-911 will send prioritized voice messages to assigned personnel describing the nature and location of any generated alarm, eliminating guess work and improving response times. WIN-911 is revolutionizing alarm notification alerts in every industry imaginable. Patrolmen, caregivers and maintenance workers no longer need to spend countless hours staring at a computer screen waiting for the next potential emergency. They can receive alerts from anywhere and respond immediately. The roster of those using the company’s alarm notification software includes Charter Communications, Cliffs Natural Resources, Bank of America, and Archer...

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Australia Using Tides To Generate Power
Mar16

Australia Using Tides To Generate Power

As the world population grows, and climate change progresses, non-renewable resources are put under increasing strain. As a result, there has been an increasing focus on creating power generation systems that are fully renewable, pollution free, and effective. Of course, the usual suspects such as solar and wind energy have their place in the overall scheme of things. That being said, there is a new player in the renewable energy arena, and its name is wave power. It only stands to reason that such systems would eventually be engineered into existence. The earth is over 70 percent water, with oceans and weather systems that circulate this liquid all over the globe. The planet also has an outsized moon, which generates tides of significant size and power. Thus, the power of the tides and waves is one of the most reliable and long lasting sources of energy available to mankind. The wave experts at Carnegie Wave Energy certainly agree with this assessment, as is illustrated by their newest wave energy offering known as CETO 5. This project is named after an ancient Greek sea goddess, and offers the latest in wave energy translation technology. The project is built around a fairly easy to understand system that involves huge buoys, pumps, pressurized water, electric turbines, and desalination modules. It works like this: Modular buoys are completely submerged and tethered to high pressure water pumps which are mounted on the ocean floor. As the buoys are moved by waves and tides, they pull on the tethers. These tethers then drive the pumps, which move high pressure water through special tubes to an onshore power generation center. Here, the high pressure fluid powers electrical turbines, which produce copious amounts of current. At the same time, some of the water is moved to desalination tanks, and thus this system ingeniously produces not just emissions-free electricity, but clean and potable water at the same time. This new system has been providing some power to Australia’s largest naval base for some weeks now. If it lives up to its considerable promise, this modern wonder may just end up in a bay near...

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Reforestation: Industrial-style
Oct27

Reforestation: Industrial-style

With nearly 48 acres of woodlands worldwide being cleared every minute, the ability of nature to replenish itself has been overwhelmed. This realization spurred an engineer at the Bangalore, India facilities of Toyota Motor Corporation to apply the lessons of his own work towards developing a method to overcome this problem. Shubhendu Sharma has put together a strategy for quick re-forestation that’s adaptable to any conditions that’s based on the just-in-time manufacturing philosophy pioneered by Toyota. The first spark that launched this project was the landscaping work performed at the Bangalore site by Japanese forester Akira Miyawaki. When Mr. Sharma witnessed the speed and success of the transformation, it occurred to him that this technique could have potential elsewhere. The original approach is centered on reclaiming land damaged by various industrial processes. To accomplish this, a thick carpet of indigenous flora is installed to rapidly re-establish the lost wildlife community. Shubhendu Sharma took this idea and combined it with the manufacturing concept of standardization and structured it in a more generalized, abstract form that’s usable in all environments. Once he developed the basic rules of this technique, Mr. Sharma tested it at his own residence by gathering the suitable native tree species to create a woodlot that provided a heavy, cool canopy that drew in additional bird species. With this first experiment proving to be a clear success, Mr. Sharma set about turning the whole thing into a business in 2011. Naming it Afforestt, he targets both private enterprise and governments as customers for re-establishing wild environments. The various projects Afforestt has tackled have supplied learning experiences that Mr. Sharma hopes to share with other private and non-profit wildlife restoration organizations. This cooperation would include a freely-available online catalog of regional indigenous plants that have the greatest success with rapid regrowth. He’s also looking at developing a global network of soil probes that can be remotely accessed for real-time project...

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