New Invention Alerts Soldiers to the Origin of Gunfire
It's one of the scariest things you could experience in a war zone: a bullet strikes near you, you know not from where it came, and another one is probably on the way. Thanks to a new wireless system designed by Vanderbilt University researchers, the sound of the sniper's bullets might give away everything about them.
This fancy bit of battlefield innovation by Akos Ledeczi and his team picks up the high-frequency acoustic waves created by the blast of a high-powered sniper rifle. The system relies on four small, interconnected microphones mounted on a soldier's helmet, which pick up both the muzzle blast created by the gun's report and also the shock wave created by the bullet as it cuts through the air. They're so sensitive they can identify a sniper rifle's sound even when a AK-47 is firing at the same time.
Other systems have tracked rifle sounds before, but the Vanderbilt scientists' design, which DARPA commissioned them to make, took it to another level by going beyond just one mounted sensor. The helmet microphones talk to each other and triangulate the origin of incoming fire. They then communicate that information to a soldier's PDA, accurate to within a few meters over a 300-meter span.
Of course, field testing is one thing, and fighting it out on the streets of Baghdad is quite another. The researchers had to outfit the systems with radio chips to communicate with one another, because GPS can't necessarily track all the signals as they dart in and out of buildings.
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
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