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Disasters

Military

Lockheed Martin WindTracer system to improve airdrop accuracy

For a besieged soldier or a disaster victim, a plane dropping supplies is the most welcome sight in the world – unless the drop ends up drifting off out of reach. To help make sure that airdrops end up where they belong, the US Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to adapt its WindTracer wind measurement system for a Precision Air Drop system to help aircrews land supplies faster and on target.Read More

Good Thinking

Gizmag checks out Survival Capsules' tsunami survival pods

The 2011 Tohoku earthquake and the tsunami that followed count as one of the worst disasters of the 21st century. When it struck off the southern coast of Japan with a force of magnitude 9, it was the most powerful ever to hit Japan, and the tsunami with a maximum height of 40.5 m (133 ft) resulted in 15,885 deaths, 6,148 injured, and 2,623 people missing. In anticipation of a similar disaster, Survival Capsules LCC of Mukilteo, Washington has developed a steel and aircraft-grade aluminum sphere designed to protect against both fire and flood. Gizmag paid a visit to the company to learn more about it.Read More

Architecture

MAT-TER designs typhoon-resistant school for the Philippines

In recent years, Gizmag has reported on several architectural projects which aim to aid those living in areas prone to natural disaster, including the Bamboo Lakou community and Blooming Bamboo home. Californian studio MAT-TER is the latest firm to throw its hat in the ring, with a modular, passively-cooled, and typhoon-resistant school that's due to be constructed in the Philippines later this year. Read More

Space

B612 Foundation highlights the risk of city-destroying asteroids

The California-based B612 Foundation has released a video displaying the distribution of 26 multi-kiloton asteroid impacts known to have struck the Earth since the year 2000. Many of the impacts – detected by a network of satellites operated by the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization – exploded with a force greater than that of the city-leveling bomb dropped on Hiroshima, which had an explosive yield of 15 kilotons.Read More

Wearables

Emergency crews could start getting messages from their jackets

It's important for firefighters or members of disaster response crews to stay in touch with one another during operations, which is of course why they carry two-way radios. Researchers from Norway's SINTEF group, however, are developing a system that could help even more. It allows users to receive and read text messages hands-free, via their jackets. Read More

Robotics

Google’s Schaft robot takes top spot at DARPA Robotics Challenge

Leave it to DARPA to turn disaster relief into a competitive sport for robots, and for Google to walk away with the prize. On Saturday, 16 robotics teams from around the world competed in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials for 2013, as part of DARPA’s project for developing robots capable of autonomously navigating disaster areas and doing useful work using tools and materials at hand. The two-day event was streamed live on December 20 and 21 from Florida’s Homestead Miami Speedway. Google’s Schaft humanoid robot scored 27 points and won first place as it navigated an obstacle course which was made to simulate a disaster area, while carrying out a series of tasks. Read More

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