Some of the Latest Inventions & Science Discoveries in 2010

darpa vulture latest news

Vulture – Unmanned Aircraft

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of United States is working to develop an unmanned aircraft that is able to stay in air for a period of 5 years at a time. It is one of the most recent inventions of the world.

Officials of DARPA has revealed that this aircraft will be known as VULTURE due to its Persistent Pseudo-Satellite Capability . It means that this aircraft will be able to fly over a single area, communicating or performing analysis for years at a time.



Major Obstacles in Project:

Even this project looks appealing to many of you, but there are some serious problems or obstacles in achieving this project.



1) First challenge in front of designers is to figure out some Way to Supply Power to this aircraft during long missions.

2) Another problem is that this aircraft will carry a 1000 pound (450 kg) payload in winds at an altitude of 60,000 to 90,000 feet.

3) Designers have also to sort out the problems regarding Deterioration of Materials during their long-time exposure to stratospheric flight.
In addition to this there may be many challenges during designing of this aircraft.

Daniel Newman: The Man Behind VULTURE

Daniel Newman is the Project Manger of this ambitious project of NASA. In his words: “We want to completely change the paradigm of how we think of aircraft. Aviation has a perfect record – we’ve never left one up there. We will attempt to break that record”. It looks that its time to get out of the traditional “launch – recover – maintain – launch cycle of aircrafts.”

Concept Behind Vulture:

Basically Aircrafts operates just like satellites, but the major difference is that these are not regulated by orbital mechanics. You can understand Vulture as a Pseudo-Satellite, which operates in the stratosphere and not in the low Earth orbit. This would provide a 65 dB upgrading in communications capability and will increase onboard sensor resolution.

When Will it Become a Reality?

Right now, Nasa has not mentioned any time table about when the aircraft will be ready. But for now NASA has worked on the probable design of Vulture.

virgin shark

Virgin Birth by Shark

Scientist have found a case of a birth by a Shark without having sex with male. This is the second ever case of  Virgin Birth in a Shark. This has proved that female sharks have a capability by which they can reproduced without mating.

Team Of Scientist

The team of scientist that carried out this research consists of Dr. Demian Chapman , shark scientist with the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University, Beth Firchau, Curator of Fishes for the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, and Dr. Mahmood Shivji, Director of the Guy Harvey Research Institute and Professor at Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

They have proven that offspring of a female blacktip shark named Tidbit contained no genetic material in its DNA from a father. Tidbit is in Virginia Aquarium in Norfolk Canyon Aquarium for eight years since shortly after her birth in the wild.

First Reporting of Virgin Birth

Chapman and Shivji were a part of team that reported a virgin birth in a female shark in May 2007. That shark at Omaha, Nebraska zoo had not been in contact with male shark for atleast 3 years. This news captured global media and scientific attention, when it was published in journal Biology Letters.

Parthenogenesis

Parthenogenesis is the technique used for DNA fingerprinting in human paternity testing. The same technique was used to prove both cases of Virgin Birth in sharks.

Scientific Point of View

According to Chapman, “Sharks’ ability to reproduce alone should not be viewed as an adequate replacement for normal sexual reproduction”. The Blacktip and Hammerhead sharks that reproduced without mating both only produced one pup, rather than an entire litter. Shark litters normally contains few to more than a hundred shark pups, depending upon the species.
This case can’t stop us worrying from decreasing of shark population due to overfishing.

According to Chapman, “It is very unlikely that a small number of female survivors could build their numbers up very quickly by undergoing virgin birth.”
How It Was Discovered?

Tidbit was an Atlantic blacktip shark who had just reached sexual maturity according to the biologists of Virginia Aquarium. Curators and biologists never observed her reproductive behavior or any signs of breeding in her. Unfortunately, Tidbit died due to some reasons and they did Autopsy (a necropsy for animal) on her as a usual procedure. During Autopsy they found that she was pregnant.

According to Firchau, “There were no male blacktips in the tank for the past eight years!”

Virgin Birth: Parthenogenesis

The phenomenon of “virgin birth” occurs when a baby is conceived without male sperm having first fertilized the female’s eggs. This phenomenon has been proven in some bony fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds. The Parthenogenesis seen in these sharks is known as Automictic Parthenogenesis. In this type, the newly forming pup acquires one set of chromosomes when the mother’s chromosomes split during egg development. But instead of uniting with similarly split chromosomes from sperm, as occurs in sexual reproduction, the mother’s set is paired with a copy of itself. However this may results in offspring of reduced genetic diversity who may be at a disadvantage for surviving in the wild.

audi latest news carsAudio Travolution Improves Cars Efficiency

Audi has a new Travolution system that allows its cars to exchange information with traffic lights.  Through that interaction, Audi cars are able to use fuel more efficiently and emit less CO2.  The Travolution project was started in 2006 and technology changes since then have allowed the system to make greater improvements.

Travolution works because the street lights in Ingolstadt, Germany, where testing takes place, have a different control system than just about everywhere else.  The street lights in Ingolstatdt are controlled by a system developed through a team composed of business, industry and college researchers.  The technology is “a new, adaptive computing algorithm.”

The latest vehicles adapted with the Travolution system and used in recent tests, have new technology which allows the cars to use wireless LAN and UMTS links to communicate with the traffic lights.  Information from traffic lights is received by the specially modified cars and turned into a graphic display for the driver.

The display will show a driver the proper speed needed to be able to travel through the next light before it turns green keeping traffic flowing smoothly.  The speed can be “selected at the adaptive cruise control (ACC) – but the driver can also delegate this task to the car’s control system.”

The display also shows how long you have to sit at a red light before it turns green again. If you are approaching a light that is just about to change from green to yellow or red, you’ll be notified by either aloud beep or by interruption to your car’s power – no more pushing the yellow light. It also should cut down on the number of cars running red lights.

What exactly are the proven benefits of this system?

Well, in 2006 when the technology was still very new, the savings in fuel was 17 percent. Over a years time this could translate into US fuel savings of 184,920.44 gallons. Today, a driver would save .005 gallons for “every traffic-light stop and subsequent acceleration phase that can be avoided.” That doesn’t look like much until you start counting the number of lights on your travel route everyday.
In Germany, if every car was equipped with Travolution technology, emissions would be reduced by two million tons of CO2 per year or a reduction of 15 percent for city travel. In order to move this technology into everyday reality, all traffic lights will need to be placed on the same type of control system as those in Ingolstadt. Every car would have to have a Travolution system. The later might not be too far off since more and more cars are gaining autonomous drive systems.
Audi’s system has a couple of other neat features. You can pay for your gas and parking through the cars system. The system communicates with the pump or parking garage and once the information is confirmed, the amount is automatically debited from owners bank account or credit card via WiFi.
This last feature might prove very annoying for parents with teenagers or people with mooching friends. When the tank runs low, all they have to do is pull up to a gas station and you get charged for the gas. It may soon be time to hide the keys.
The display also shows how long you have to sit at a red light before it turns green again. If you are approaching a light that is just about to change from green to yellow or red, you’ll be notified by either aloud beep or by interruption to your car’s power – no more pushing the yellow light. It also should cut down on the number of cars running red lights.
What exactly are the proven benefits of this system? Well, in 2006 when the technology was still very new, the savings in fuel was 17 percent. Over a years time this could translate into US fuel savings of 184,920.44 gallons. Today, a driver would save .005 gallons for “every traffic-light stop and subsequent acceleration phase that can be avoided.” That doesn’t look like much until you start counting the number of lights on your travel route everyday.

In Germany, if every car was equipped with Travolution technology, emissions would be reduced by two million tons of CO2 per year or a reduction of 15 percent for city travel.  In order to move this technology into everyday reality, all traffic lights will need to be placed on the same type of control system as those in Ingolstadt.  Every car would have to have a Travolution  system.  The later might not be too far off since more and more cars are gaining autonomous drive systems.

Audi’s system has a couple of other neat features.  You can pay for your gas and parking through the cars system.  The system communicates with the pump or parking garage and once the information is confirmed, the amount is automatically debited from owners bank account or credit card via WiFi.
This last feature might prove very annoying for parents with teenagers or people with mooching friends.  When the tank runs low, all they have to do is pull up to a gas station and you get charged for the gas.  It may soon be time to hide the keys.

Understanding How Folic Acid Might Help Heal Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries

Babies born to women who do not consume enough folic acid (sometimes referred to as folate or vitamin B9) are at high risk of developing neural tube defects (i.e., defects in the development of the spinal cord or brain). This is the reason underlying the recommendation that women who are pregnant take a folic acid supplement.

A team of researchers, led by Bermans Iskandar, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has now generated data in rodents suggesting that folic acid might also help promote healing in injured brain and spinal cord.

Specifically, the team was able to uncover a molecular pathway by which folate can promote nerve cell regeneration following injury in rodents.

In an accompanying commentary, Matthias Endres and Golo Kronenberg, at Charité — Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany, discuss how these data, together with the safety and simplicity of folate supplementation, provide a rationale for testing whether folate supplementation is beneficial for patients with spinal cord and brain trauma.

discoveries 2010 inventions

Gene Leads to Longer Shelf Life for Tomatoes, Possibly Other Fruits

A Purdue University researcher has found a sort of fountain of youth for tomatoes that extends their shelf life by about a week.

Avtar Handa, a professor of  horticulture, found that adding a yeast gene increases production of a compound that slows aging and delays microbial decay in tomatoes. Handa said the results, published in the early online version of The Plant Journal, likely would transfer to most fruits.

“We can inhibit the aging of plants and extend the shelf life of fruits by an additional week for tomatoes,” Handa said. “This is basic fundamental knowledge that can be applied to other fruits.”

The organic compound spermidine is a polyamine and is found in all living cells. Polyamines’ functions aren’t yet fully understood. Handa and Autar Mattoo, a research plant physiologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and collaborator in the research, had shown earlier that polyamines such as spermidine and spermine enhance nutritional and processing quality of tomato fruits.

“At least a few hundred genes are influenced by polyamines, maybe more,” Mattoo said. “We see that spermidine is important in reducing aging. It will be interesting to discover what other roles it can have.”

Savithri Nambeesan, who was a graduate student in Handa’s laboratory, introduced the yeast spermidine synthase gene, which led to increased production of spermidine in the tomatoes. Fully ripe tomatoes from those plants lasted about eight days longer before showing signs of shriveling compared with non-transgenic plants. Decay and rot symptoms associated with fungi were delayed by about three days.

“It increased the quality of the fruit,” Handa said. “If a tomato goes to market, people won’t buy it if it has started to shrivel. If we can stop that wrinkling, we can extend the market time of the fruit.”

Mattoo said the finding could have implications for areas that don’t often get fresh fruit.

“Shelf life is a major problem for any produce in the world, especially in countries such as in Southeast Asia and Africa that cannot afford controlled-environment storage,” Mattoo said.

Handa said tomato growers and possibly other fruit growers could use the finding soon if they wanted through either transgenic plants or natural breeding methods.

“We can add this gene to the tomatoes or look at natural variation and select the cultivars that already have a high level of this gene’s expression,” Handa said.

Handa and Mattoo will continue to study polyamines to discover how they control biological functions in fruits.

inventions 2010 newsPotential Genetic Factor in Eating Disorders Identified

For the first time, scientists have discovered a possible biological culprit in the development of eating disorders during puberty: a type of estrogen called estradiol.

The groundbreaking pilot study led by Michigan State University found that influence of one’s genes on eating disorder symptoms was much greater in pubertal girls with higher levels of estradiol than pubertal girls with lower levels of estradiol. The study appears in the journal Psychological Medicine.

Lead investigator Kelly Klump, MSU associate professor of psychology, said previous research had established that eating disorders are influenced by both genetic and environmental factors once a girl hits puberty.

The underlying effects of the genes, however, were unknown.

“The reason we see an increase in genetic influences during puberty is that the genes for disordered eating are essentially getting switched on during that time,” said Klump. “This research was trying to figure out why. What’s turning on the genes during puberty? And what we found is that increases in estradiol apparently are activating genetic risk for eating disorders.”

Estradiol is the predominant form of estrogen in females and is responsible for the growth of reproductive organs and also influences other organs including bones.

Klump noted that researchers don’t yet know which genes are being switched on by estradiol. Further, she said a larger study is needed to confirm the results of the MSU-led research.

But knowing that estradiol likely plays a role in the development of eating disorders could ultimately open the window to new treatments, said Klump, past president of the Academy of Eating Disorders.

In addition, she said, prevention efforts could be geared toward those girls who not only are in high-risk environmental contexts (such as weight-focused sports), but also those with genetic risks such as a family history of eating disorders.

The study examined the estradiol levels of nearly 200 sets of female twins, ages 10-15, from the MSU Twin Registry, which includes more than 5,000 pairs of twins in Michigan. Klump runs the registry with S. Alexandra Burt, assistant professor of psychology.

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14 thoughts on “Some of the Latest Inventions & Science Discoveries in 2010

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  5. what invention is the best ? i’m looking for a invention that i can present to class and make it as my project. please ?????

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