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Middle East, Electronic Nose, Jetpack

Dated: 12 Sep 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: International, Technology
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Middle East: In a televised national address outlining his strategy to combat ISIS, President Barack Obama said he had authorized U.S. airstrikes for the first time in Syria, as well as more attacks in Iraq in a broad escalation of a campaign against the militant group.  For many Arabic governments being asked to join the cause, a request to commit forces is considered likely to be met with deep reservations.  For Saudi Arabia, in particular, the stakes are high in the campaign against Islamic State, which has vowed carry its fight to the kingdom’s monarchy. But as one of the leading Sunni Muslim states, Saudi Arabia is hesitant to commit its troops to a war against fellow Sunni Muslims, however extreme they might be, for fear it would generate a domestic backlash.

Electronic Nose: Researchers have developed a prototype electronic “nose” to detect chemical warfare gases such as Sarin, Soman, and Tabun. The nose is composed of 15 sensors, a data acquisition system, and a computer connected to the system. Through the sensors, the nose “smells” gases in the atmosphere and further processes the data to warn of the presence of a gas. The system can be portable for use in areas where a chemical attack is suspected, or fixed for continuous monitoring of environments such as airports.

Jetpack: What if every soldier could run a four-minute mile? That’s the goal behind 4MM, or 4 Minute Mile, a student project to create a wearable jetpack that enhances speed and agility. Working with the DARPA and a faculty mentor at ASU, Jason Kerestes is the mastermind behind 4MM. He built a prototype of the jetpack and is now testing and refining his design to be as effective as possible.  This is different than the Martin Jetpack, produced by the UAE which can travel at a cruising speed of 100kph and reach heights of 1,500 meters.  The video can be seen here.

Middle East, Power Generation, China in Sudan

Dated: 10 Sep 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: International, Technology
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Middle East: United Nations and Western officials are attempting to push a tentative truce through negotiations now under way between the Assad regime and rebels backed by Western officials.   This uneasy peace is being forged in order to eliminate the threat posed by the Islamic State. The idea is to persuade both sides—as well as their regional backers, Iran for the regime; Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey for the rebels—that no one can win the war.  This comes as President Obama will address the nation this evening regarding his plans and strategy for the region.  The speech can be viewed here at 9:00 p.m. EST.

Power Generation: University of Washington researchers have created a power harvester that uses natural fluctuations in temperature and pressure as its power source. The device harvests energy in any location where these temperature changes naturally occur, powering sensors that can check for water leaks or structural deficiencies in hard-to-reach places and alerting users by sending out a wireless signal.

China in Sudan: China is deploying seven hundred soldiers to a United Nations peacekeeping force in South Sudan to help guard the country’s oil fields and protect Chinese energy interests in the areas.  The deployment marks the first time Beijing has contributed a battalion to a U.N. peacekeeping force.  In related news, Beijing has voiced interest in assisting the US-led coalition in combating ISIS, with Chinese officials recently saying that some nationals have traveled to Iraq and Syria to fight alongside the radicals.