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     Volume 4 Issue 57 | August 5 , 2005 |

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Smoothing Bumpy Rides
Most airline passengers and even flight crews don't like turbulence, so NASA researchers have developed an automatic turbulence reporting system. The researchers at NASA's Langley Research Centre and AeroTech Research (USA) Inc. have developed the Turbulence Auto-PIREP, or pilot reporting, System. TAPS is being tested on more than 80 Delta Airlines passenger jets. The device warns pilots of turbulence so they can manoeuvre to avoid it or ensure passengers and flight attendants are seated and strapped in. TAPS automatically broadcasts turbulence encounter reports from aircraft and allows other planes and people on the ground to use this information, said NASA's Turbulence Prediction and Warning Systems project manager Jim Watson. TAPS provides real-time turbulence information that has never been available. Paul Robinson, president of AeroTech Research, added, The beauty of TAPS is, it's only software and uses equipment already on the aircraft, making it inexpensive and easy to install. The National Aeronautics and Safety Administration says atmospheric turbulence is the leading cause of injuries to passengers and flight crews in non-fatal airline accidents.

Robots are now Surgical Nurse
A robot known as Penelope Surgical Instrument Server has served as surgical nurse at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. I was pleasantly surprised by how efficient and reliable she was, says Dr. Spencer Amory, director of surgery at the hospital. The robot handed over surgical instruments on the command of the surgeon and then returned the instruments to their original place during a routine procedure to remove a benign tumour from a woman's forearm. While robots have been used in surgical procedures before, this procedure was the first time a robot took commands and independently performed actions based on a surgeon's instruction. The robots were not designed to replace nurses, they are designed to allow nurses to spend more time tending to patients' needs.

Students build model surveillance blimp
Three Johns Hopkins undergraduates have built a model airship to aid in designing a military craft to conduct surveillance at the edge of space. The similar, but much larger, unmanned airship is being developed by engineers at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory. It will provide visual and communications support from an altitude of about 100,000 feet. To help test and refine guidance, navigation and control systems for such a craft, APL engineers asked students in the university's engineering design project class to devise a smaller version of the airship. During the two-semester course, the student team built a model airship that can fly following computer commands to move itself to a predetermined location. The craft can also be steered manually through a wireless remote controller. The full-size system is envisioned as a relatively inexpensive, disposable airship that would hover high over a military location for up to a month, sending pictures of activity on the ground and relaying communications. The smaller model, costing about $12,500, will help APL determine whether existing low-cost technology might work in the full-size version.

Source: Webindia123 and Google

Compiled by: Imran H. Khan


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