Prepare a 200- to 300-word history about the National Critical Technology (NCT)
technical application your team has selected to solve a local or national problem.
Information and communication is the National Critical Technology most often associated
with our ability to thrive as a country. We have seen this throughout history as
the communications media changed from word of mouth to print to where we are today
with electronic media of various types providing a platform for the rapid exchange
of information around the block and around the world. As more and more people get
involved with developing technology to better communicate, we have run into problems
associated with different companies developing different technology that is not
able to readily communicate with other forms of technology.
- Customary vs Metric units of measurement
When comparing the United States to other countries we find that our way of doing
things is sometimes very different. A prime example of this would be Metric System vs. Customary
. In the U.S. we use Customary Units, so when we want to use something
from Europe, it causes a great inconvenience. For example, if you own a BMW in the
United States all your bolts and parts will be in metric, while your tools will
be in Customary. It would be very expensive to invest in tools for both systems.
- Cell phone network/infrastructure
As we all know in the U.S. it doesn't really matter which cell phone carrier you
use, whether it be Verizon, Sprint/Nextel, AT&T, or T-Mobile you can still get a
hold of whoever you need to. However if you happen to take a trip outside of the
United States if you even get service, the
you will have after making a call will be monumental. According to
"the tangle of incompatible standards for [cellular] phones in the world is similar
to the jumble of the conflicting television standards around the world- only worse."
- Electricity standards
When sitting in your home on your laptop, or cell phone or any other electronic
device for that matter, you are probably not thinking about local power
standards. When you take a trip to the United Kingdom however, there are several
things may you need. In the UK, standards are very different than they are here.
, you may need a plug adapter, a phone jack converter, or
a voltage converter.
soliciting proposals to increase the interoperability of its 16 agencies with the
Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Grant Program.
A total of $12,357,500 is available for competitive grants
state, local, or tribal governments' principal EOCs. State Administrative Agencies
(SAAs) must apply on behalf of eligible applicants. Applications are due to DHS/FEMA
from the SSAs on Feb. 27, 2009.
Cite three detailed examples of research done in the past 3 to 5 years which focused
on the NCT technical application your team selected. Include:
the funding agency,
the principal investigator's name, and
the institution where the research is or was being conducted.
Before we present our three grants, we would like to highlight a patent application
made by Betty Eng, Kofi Cobbinah, and Janna Kimel on January 1st, 2009 to the United
States Patent and Trademark Office which we feel is a cornerstone to our project's
#20090005016 Apparatus and Method to Maintain a Continuous Connection of a Cellular
Device and a Sensor Network.
Their invention provides a continuous, passive connection between a medical sensor
and a wireless network. Their intended purpose is to supply medical assistance and
remote monitoring for senior citizens in their homes.
In our project, we need to "track and monitor people" even when they are not actively
engaged in the communication process. Typically there are packets of data that are
sent back and forth which would be lost if the active communication was inadvertently
or purposefully terminated. An action or data query would then be needed to re-establish
the connection; this must be initiated by the user. Our system is different because
even if the first responder is incapacitated or unable to signal, our suit would
still continuously send and recieve information to the base station.
Now for our three grants: our first grant illustrates the need for telecommunications
to constantly step up to the needs of people in remote locations. The second grant
shows how nanostructures can be inexpensively manufactured and also used to address
power production for portable, personal electronic devices. Our third grant provides
evidence of the United States Army's interest in the research and development of
- In 2007, TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) was awarded $100,000 from Qualcomm for winning their BREW (Binary Runtime Environment
for Wireless) challenge to create a public service application in one of
the five areas: health care, education, public safety, governance and the environment.
Dr. Arun Pande submitted the application for this grant and is heading the
research. The application is designed to educate and advise farmers through
mobile devices and capitalize on the growth of mobile phone usage in rural
areas. The BREW application works on a 3G network. TCS is continuing to build their
innovation solutions for this application.
- In 2007, The Division of Mathematical Science at NSF awarded a three-year grant
Experimental Design for Achieving Consistent and High Yield in the Controlled Synthesis
of Nanostructures at Georgia Tech, in the amount of $546,278. This grant
was awarded to C. F. Jeff Wu to find a way to make nanostructures cheaply, quickly
and consistently. They have developed a technique that originates from a combination
of statistical theory and fundamental laws of physics, using
zinc oxide nanowires.
The zinc oxide nanowires can generated an electric current. These wires, when woven
into shirts and jackets, allow the wearer's body movement to power portable electronic
devices. These fibers can also be woven into structures such as curtains
and tents that capture energy from wind motion, sound vibration, and other
- Also in 2007, a significant
Multi-University Research Initiative (MURI) $7.5 million-grant funded by the
Army Research Office was awarded to Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI) in collaboration
with the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University, and Drexel University.
Their goal is to use ionic liquids to develop electromechanical devices and high
performance membranes that could help power fuel cells and smart clothes. The Ionic
Liquids are large organic salts that offer charge and liquidity at room temperature
and won't evaporate at high temperatures. The principal investigator, Dr. Tim Long
of VPI and Dr. Karen Winey of the University of Pennsylvania are co-directors of
the Inions Liquids in Electro-Active Devices (ILEAD) located at the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute at
Virginia Tech. In addition to the universities involved, there are currently six industrial collaborators:
DuPont, IBM Almaden, Kraton Polymers, NextGen Aeronautics, BASF, and Discover Technologies.
Based on the research your team has done, explain how the NCT application chosen
has advanced scientific knowledge.
Telecommunication has come a long way since Alexander Graham Bell made the first
telephone call and Marconi sent the first telegraph (wireless) message. Instant
messaging and Internet browsing are no longer restricted to having access to a computer
connected by an ethernet wire to the Internet. Walk down a crowded street and note
how many people you see doing something on a cell phone. It almost goes without
saying that the cell phone has found its place in our everyday life.
For most people, the inability to contact any person at any time would result in
a significant loss of productively. Most people do not even ponder whether there
are incapatibilty issues, they just assume that their telecommunications devices
are interoperable. Cellular providers usually allow communication between same network
callers for free, but, in certain contracts, they allow
free calls to anyone from any network listed on their calling plan
video-conferencing with 3G-phones is becoming an everyday occurrence for many people,
allowing them to work from home and other previously inaccessible locations.
Image courtesy of
Interoperability is arguably one of the most critical aspects in disaster situations.
If a group in need can not communicate, or to those providing help, human and material
resources will be difficult to allocate. Perhaps the best civilian-level example
of current interoperability is dialing 911. In February, 1967, President Lyndon Johnson's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration
suggested that police officers have a single number for emergency
situations. In 1968, AT&T
announced that "911" would be the universal emergency
number. Instead of needing to call the correct number of the fire department, police
department, or ambulance, you can now call one number and the proper authorities
will be notified. This service greatly expedites the rescue process making it more
efficient. When natural or manmade disasters occur over a larger scale, interoperability
becomes not just important, but crucial.
Interoperability just means that there is a system in which measurements and functions
can be reciprocated. Apple introduced an application to easily install 32-bit releases
of WindowsXP on to their Mac, called
. Apple's operating system Leopard, in conjunction with Boot Camp,
allows Mac users the ability to run Windows applications on their laptops in a separate partition
this allowing Mac users the best of both worlds.
Interoperability in shipping has also adjusted to today's global market. The wide
diversity of railroad track gauges, barge waterway routes, and transoceanic cargo
ships, has lead to the rise of large metal containers that have specific dimensions.
dimensions are compatible
to trucks and trains. This makes for faster transitions
from type to type of transportation. Thus another perfect example of interoperability
between countries by sea to land.