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Entries in tsunami (4)

Friday
Jan132012

Japan Plans Futuristic, Robotic Farm on Tsunami Site

According to the Nikkei business daily, Japan is planning a futuristic farm on the lands that were devastated by the tsunami. Robots, such as unmanned tractors, will work in the fields and the carbon dioxide the robots generate will be captured and pumped back to the crops to enhance their growth.

The estimated $52 million experimental project covering 24,000 hectares will begin on-site research later this year.

Industry leaders, such as Fujitsu, Hitachi, Sharp and NEC , are expected to partner in the project.

Friday
Apr012011

Japan Accepts Robots From U.S. Company to Aid in Relief Efforts

QinetiQ North America, a robotic technology provider, announced that the government of Japan has accepted its offer to provide unmanned vehicle equipment and associated training to aid in Japan’s natural disaster recovery efforts. QinetiQ North America’s technology and services will allow Japan’s response teams to accomplish critical and complex recovery tasks at a safer distance from hazardous debris and other dangerous conditions.

Some of the bots will be controlled using Xbox 360 pads. They will be put to work at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant to assist in relief efforts.

The other equipment being staged in Japan for rapid, on-call deployment includes QinetiQ North America’s Robotic Appliqué Kits, which turn Bobcat loaders into unmanned vehicles in just 15 minutes. The kits permit remote operation of all 70 Bobcat vehicle attachments, such as shovels, buckets, grapples, tree cutters and tools to break through walls and doors. 

The unmanned Bobcat loaders include seven cameras, night vision, thermal imagers, microphones, two-way radio systems and radiation sensors, and can be operated from more than a mile away to safely remove rubble and debris, dig up buried objects and carry smaller equipment.

QinetiQ North America is also staging TALON and Dragon Runner robots in Japan in the event they are needed. TALON robots have previously withstood rigorous deployment and twice daily decontamination at Ground Zero. The TALON robots are equipped with chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive detection kits that can identify more than 7,500 environmental hazards, including toxic industrial chemicals, volatile gases, radiation and explosive risks, as well as temperature and air quality indicators. The TALON robots provide night vision and sound and sensing capabilities from up to 1,000 meters away.

QinetiQ North America’s lightweight Dragon Runner robots, designed for use in small spaces, will be available for investigating rubble piles, trenches, culverts and tunnels. Thermal cameras and sound sensors on the Dragon Runners can provide data from up to 800 meters away, permitting the robot’s “eyes and ears” to serve in spaces too small or dangerous for human access.

In addition to the unmanned equipment, a team of QinetiQ North America technical experts will provide training and support to Japan’s disaster response personnel.

Monday
Mar142011

In Japan, Smartphones Change the Face of Disaster

Last year's devastating earthquake in Haiti left more than 300,000 people dead and an estimated 1 million homeless. The damage and deathtoll were intensified by the country's lack of infrastructure. And the utter chaos that followed the quake was due, in part, to citizens' inability to reach each out, find loved ones or contact authorities. 

In sharp contrast, Japan's response to last week's unimaginable earthquake and tsunami is highly advanced, and reliant on technology. Of course, Japan is on the leading-edge of technology, and its citizens rely heavily on their mobile phones to stay connected. 

Following the earthquake last week, landlines went down and people turned to their smartphones -- not only to reach out to each other and the world, but also to gain information from social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. CNET has reported that overwhelmed cellular companies were forced to deny upward of 80 percent of calls in the first few days of the disaster. Not surprisingly, text messaging was also hampered. 

The ways in which mobile phones and social media have changed our world are fascinating. These technologies not only help people mired in a crisis; they also help the humanitarian cause. 

To make a $10 donation that will help the people of Japan recover from this horrific tragedy, text one (or several) of the following organizations:

  • ADRA Relief: text SUPPORT to 85944
  • American Red Cross Relief: text REDCROSS to 90999
  • Convoy of Hope: text TSUNAMI or SUNAMI to 50555
  • GlobalGiving: text JAPAN to 50555
  • International Medical Corps: text MED to 80888
  • Save the Children Federation, Inc.: text JAPAN or TSUNAMI to 20222
  • World Relief Corp. of National Association of Evangelicals: text WAVE to 50555
  • World Vision Inc.: Text 4JAPAN or 4TSUNAMI to 20222
Friday
Jun182010

NASA Demonstrates Tsunami Prediction System


A NASA-led research team has successfully demonstrated a prototype tsunami prediction system that quickly and accurately assesses large earthquakes and estimates the size of resulting tsunamis.

After the 8.8-magnitude Chilean earthquake on Feb. 27, a team led by Y. Tony Song of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., used real-time data from the Global Differential GPS network to successfully predict the size of the resulting tsunami. The network, managed by JPL, combines global and regional real-time data from hundreds of GPS sites and estimates their positions every second. It can detect ground motions as small as a few centimeters.

"This successful test demonstrates that coastal GPS systems can effectively be used to predict the size of tsunamis," Song said. "This could allow responsible agencies to issue better warnings that can save lives and reduce false alarms that can unnecessarily disturb the lives of coastal residents."

The team concluded that the Chilean earthquake would generate a moderate, or local, tsunami unlikely to cause significant destruction in the Pacific. The GPS-based prediction was confirmed using sea surface height measurements from the joint NASA/French Space Agency Jason-1 and Jason-2 altimetry satellites.