Antenna design turns entire vehicles into broadcasting equipment

High-frequency antennas transmit radio waves across vast distances and even over mountain ranges using very little energy, making them ideal for military communications. These devices, however, have one big problem: They need to be huge to operate efficiently.

Instead of adding more bulk, University of Wisconsin–Madison engineers are working to increase the effective size of antennas by turning the military vehicles that carry them into transmitters — using the structures that support the antennas themselves to help broadcast signals.

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Is that really just a fly? Swarms of cyborg insect drones are the future of military surveillance

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

The kinds of drones making the headlines daily are the heavily armed CIA and U.S. Army vehicles which routinely strike targets in Pakistan - killing terrorists and innocents alike.

But the real high-tech story of surveillance drones is going on at a much smaller level, as tiny remote controlled vehicles based on insects are already likely being deployed.

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Air Force Treating Wounds With Lasers and Nanotech

•By Katie Drummond •May 5, 2010


Platypus wins contract to develop sensor

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel

Posted: Jan. 5, 2010

A $2.2 million contract with a U.S. Army research center could bring a Madison company one step closer to its goal of making a portable sensor that detects deadly gases and other toxins.

Platypus Technologies LLC said it has been awarded a one-year contract with Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center in Maryland, the second it has received from the center.

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Boeing Laser Systems Destroy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Tests

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Nov. 18, 2009 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] in May demonstrated the ability of mobile laser weapon systems to perform a unique mission: track and destroy small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

During the U.S. Air Force-sponsored tests at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, Calif., the Mobile Active Targeting Resource for Integrated eXperiments (MATRIX), which was developed by Boeing under contract to the Air Force Research Laboratory, used a single, high-brightness laser beam to shoot down five UAVs at various ranges. Laser Avenger, a Boeing-funded initiative, also shot down a UAV. Representatives of the Air Force and Army observed the tests.

"The Air Force and Boeing achieved a directed-energy breakthrough with these tests," said Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Missile Defense Systems' Directed Energy Systems unit. "MATRIX's performance is especially noteworthy because it demonstrated unprecedented, ultra-precise and lethal acquisition, pointing and tracking at long ranges using relatively low laser power."

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New AFOSR Magnetron May Help Defeat Enemy Electronics

9/16/2009 - ARLINGTON, Va. -- Researchers funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) at the University of Michigan invented a new type of magnetron that may be used to defeat enemy electronics. A magnetron is a type of vacuum tube used as the frequency source in microwave ovens, radar systems and other high-power microwave circuits.

According to Dr. Ron Gilgenbach, an AFOSR-sponsored researcher at the University of Michigan, a new class of magnetrons was invented that holds the potential for more compact Department of Defense microwave sources with faster start-up, as well as higher peak and average power.

"This invention should make it possible to develop more compact magnetrons that operate at higher power and higher frequencies," said Gilgenbach. "Higher power magnetrons could be utilized to jam and defeat enemy electronics."

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Sonic laser or "Saser"

PA163/09

It was an idea born out of curiosity in the physics lab, but now a new type of ‘laser’ for generating ultra-high frequency sound waves instead of light has taken a major step towards becoming a unique and highly useful 21st century technology.

Scientists at The University of Nottingham, in collaboration with colleagues in the Ukraine, have produced a new type of acoustic laser device called a Saser. It’s a sonic equivalent to the laser and produces an intense beam of uniform sound waves on a nano scale. The new device could have significant and useful applications in the worlds of computing, imaging, and even anti-terrorist security screening.

Where a ‘laser’,(Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation), uses packets of electromagnetic vibrations called ‘photons’, the ‘Saser’ uses sound waves composed of sonic vibrations called ‘phonons’. In a laser, the photon beam is produced by stimulating electrons with an external power source so they release energy when they collide with other photons in a highly reflective optical cavity. This produces a coherent and controllable shining beam of laser light in which all the photons have the same frequency and rate of oscillation. From supermarket scanners to DVD players, surgery, manufacturing and the defence industry, the application of laser technology is widespread.

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Sulphur in just one hair could blow a terrorist's alibi

<p>Sulphur in just one hair could blow a terrorist's alibi</p>

A group of researchers from the LGC Chemical Metrology Laboratory in the United Kingdom and the University of Oviedo, Spain, have come up with a method to detect how the proportions of isotopes in a chemical element (atoms with an equal number of protons and electrons but different numbers of neutrons) vary throughout the length of a single hair. The mid-term objective is to be able to use these methods to track the geographical movements of people, including international crime suspects and victims.

In order to carry out this study, which is published this month in the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, the scientists focused on the most abundant sulphur isotopes in hair keratin – sulphur-32 (32S), which accounts for about 95%, and sulphur-34 (34S), which makes up around 4%. This proportion can change slightly in response to people's diets and if they travel from one country to another, and the technique is able to detect these small variations.

"The new method is based on combining a laser ablation system and multicollector inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (abbreviated to LA-MC-ICP-MS)", Rebeca Santamaría-Fernández of LGC, lead author of the study, tells SINC. To summarise, the laser makes contact with the selected fraction of the hair, generating an aerosol, which later ionises within plasma, with the spectrometer providing the exact proportions of the sulphur isotopes.

"The advantage of this method compared with others is the high resolution resulting from use of the laser", points out Santamaría-Fernández. This advance has enabled the scientists to confirm that the sulphur variations in hair can be linked to peoples' geographical movements.

The traveller experiment

The researchers collected hair samples of more than 4cm in length donated by three volunteers. Two were permanent residents in the United Kingdom, while the third – dubbed "the traveller" – had spent the past six months in Croatia, Austria, the United Kingdom and Australia.

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Resilient Technologies developing tougher tire for Army

Wausau - Getting a flat tire is never convenient. In a war zone, it can be deadly.

While Humvees have been loaded with extra armor to protect troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the tires remain vulnerable to attacks by improvised explosive devices. But an ingenious honeycomb design by a Wisconsin engineering company may be the key to a new airless tire that could keep military vehicles running faster and longer after an attack.

Resilient Technologies is in the middle of a four-year, $18 million contract with the Army to develop a tire that will continue running even after it has been shredded by roadside bombs or gunfire. Though Humvee tires are now outfitted with run-flat inserts, the Army wants to upgrade to an airless tire that's better at carrying heavier loads and can quickly move soldiers out of harm's way.

When engineers at Resilient Technologies began working on tire designs, they settled on one of the most resilient natural structures – the six-sided cells bees construct to hold their honey.

"Patterns in nature have gotten there for a reason. We looked to structures in nature that are sound, and that's how we came up with the honeycomb," said Ed Hall, vice president of business affairs.

Aside from strength, the design allows shrapnel and high-caliber bullets to pass through the tire. During testing, the tire has continued to run well - losing only a small percentage of performance - with much of the webbing removed.

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International Study Finds Ways to Maximize Effective Responses After Terrorism Incidents

A new international study led by faculty at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, has identified ways to maximize the effectiveness of responses to terrorist attacks that use explosive devices on civilian populations. The study, “Blast Related Injuries from Terrorism: an International Perspective,” will be published in the April 1, 2007 issue of Prehospital Emergency Care (volume 11 issue 2).

A multi-disciplinary panel of blast-related injury experts from eight countries that have recently experienced terrorist attacks examined and discussed their emergency medical response to blast events and identified common issues that could be used by others to enhance preparedness. The represented countries included: Colombia, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, United Kingdom, United States, Spain, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. The study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the National Association of Emergency Medical Service Physicians.

According to lead author, E. Brooke Lerner, Ph.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Medical College, “Learning from nations that have experienced conventional weapon attacks on their civilian population is critical to improving preparedness worldwide. Our study found that there were a number of commonalities among these terrorist events, even though they occurred in different countries under vastly different circumstances. These commonalities can be used by all nations in their preparedness efforts.”

The disaster paradigm—Detection; Incident Command; Scene Security & Safety; Assess Hazards; Support; Triage & Treatment; Evacuation; and Recovery—which can be applied to all types of mass casualty events, was selected as a framework to study responses in these different countries. In each area similarities were found. For example, it was determined that detecting an attack has occurred, such as the Madrid bombings in 2004, was not difficult but frequently the initial reports to the 9-1-1 system were misleading in terms of the scope and location of the event. This could lead to insufficient resources responding to the scene or to providers not taking the appropriate precautions against a secondary device. In discussing incident command and triage, it was found that regions that had a pre-defined command structure and triage guidelines that their providers practiced regularly were able to successfully and quickly respond to events. For example, in London they practice “Triage Tuesdays,” where every Tuesday responders triage every patient as if they were involved in a mass casualty event.

An important part of Scene Security is ensuring that people are who they say they are and are not a threat to the responders or bystanders. A hospital that received the bulk of patients from a bombed housing complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, found this was very difficult, since members of the staff were showing up at the hospital without their identification badges leaving security guards to make difficult decisions about who to let in.

Support requires additional trained human resources for all incidents, but they are needed in a controlled manner. Many speakers stated that it took time to recall staff and that they needed to consider how to maintain medical systems for hours and days after the initial incident, not just to meet the initial demand. For example, as the trauma hospital in Darwin, Australia, prepared to receive patients from the Bali, Indonesia, night club explosion, they used the media to ask people not come to the emergency department unless they had a true emergency. However, this request did not significantly decrease the number of patients that came to the emergency department for care.

In considering evacuation, it was important to consider that many terrorist bombings occur in remote tourist communities in developing countries such as Turkey and Indonesia. This complicates the response since hospitals in tourist communities do not typically have the resources to attend to many severely injured casualties. Therefore, patients need to be stabilized and moved to larger hospitals that are some distance away. Another complication is that incidents in resort towns typically involve foreign nationals. This creates a situation where governmental agencies need to be involved in the response and arrangements need to be made to move patients back to their home countries. This may require specialty transport services depending on the nature of the injuries and the care required during transport.

An important component of recovery is informing the general public of the extent of the event, where they can receive assistance if needed, whether there are continued risks and how to mitigate them. Further, community awareness and notifying authorities if something seemed out of the norm was found to be important, particularly by the Israelis who feel that their population is always alert and reports anything that seems suspicious.

“This project provides an initial framework for learning lessons for preparing for terrorist events. However, the next steps are to identify best practices in response to a blast-incident and to develop a research agenda that will guide research priorities,” Dr. Lerner says.

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