They help us stay connected, but could your smartphone also help weather forecasters predict a coming storm?
New research suggests that cell phones carried around in pockets and purses could be used by meteorologists to improve weather forecasts.
“We could potentially have 100 or 1,000 times more surface reports than we’re getting today,” said Cliff Mass, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Seismologists often describe the San Francisco Bay Area’s Hayward fault zone as a “tectonic time bomb.” Among the most dangerous faults in the country, it is expected to produce at least a 6.7 magnitude earthquake within the next 30 years.
The last major quake on the fault occurred in 1868 and devastated the region at a time when it was sparsely populated. Now, more than 2 million people live on or near the approximately 45-mile fault.
Given the potential doomsday scenario, you might be surprised to learn that earthquake scientists don’t quite know what to expect when the next Big One strikes.
Many people still struggle with the idea of “printing” things by adding one layer of material on top of another, but Michael Idelchik, who runs GE’s advanced technologies research, is already talking about “printing large portions of jet engines.” GE Aviation, for example, is using lasers to print fuel nozzles for next-generation jet engines. The nozzles are 25 percent lighter and as much as five times more durable than the existing model welded from 20 different parts.
“We already know that it can be done, we’ve been playing with it for a while,” Idelchik says. “Now we want to develop an ecosystem of designers, engineers, materials scientists, and other partners who can learn with us. We have a number of products that we are going to be launching and we want to challenge people to get into business with us. If the ecosystem grows, the entire industry will grow.”