New Ultra-Strong Fiber Could Make the Space Elevator a Reality

A new fiber, developed by a research team in Beijing, China could be strong enough to make a space elevator possible.

A theory for how a space elevator would work; courtesy of South China Morning Post

According to South China Morning Post, the team from Tsinghua University built a fiber from carbon nanotube that they say is “stronger than anything seen before.” They say 1 cm3 of the fiber wouldn’t break under the weight of 160 elephants (more than 800 t). In addition to being strong, a piece of cable that size would only weigh 1.6 g.

Ideas for a space elevator have been floating around for more than a century but the idea has never made it past physical and mathematical models because no material has been found that is strong enough to build the unit.

One of the main theories for a space elevator would involve sending a large satellite into orbit that would lower a cable to the ground and be anchored. Another cable would go in the opposite direction to serve as a counterweight. The lift would then, theoretically, be suspended between the two cables, pulled taut by gravity and centrifugal force.

The new fiber is the first that may be strong enough to make the space elevator a reality, but for now, it’s too soon to tell.

Escalators as Security Scanners

You’re riding up to the concourse anyway — why not let the escalator take some of the trouble out of flying?

For anyone who’s ever been annoyed or bewildered by the security-check process at airports — a demographic that includes virtually everyone who flies — inventors Charles Bombardier and Ashish Thulkar have a solution that will guide travelers through the process quickly, easily and without a second thought. They call it the Aerochk, a security scanning system mounted on an escalator that checks person, passport and carry-on simultaneously.

Passport, person and luggage enter the scanners simultaneously, keeping all three tagged together in the system.

The system, featured in online magazine Yanko Design, allows travelers to ride up to the gate concourse next to their luggage and passports, which ride on separate conveyors. All reach the top at the same time, squared away and ready to board. Now, if these guys would only turn their attention to the Department of Motor Vehicles and supermarket checkouts …

When travelers reach the top, it’s simply a matter or picking up their passports, grabbing their bags and heading to the gate.

Escalators Under Control, But Can the Robocop use them?

Easily getting the escalators to move in just one direction was just one of many high-tech aids on display at an event at Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport last month, CNA reported. Using more than 5,000 sensors, more than 700 closed-circuit TVs and more than 200 mobile devices, the Mozart security platform from Certis makes it all possible. Data from 12 different systems is integrated and analyzed and enables officers to make quick decisions in situations like crowd control and other security situations.

“I think the escalators (are) an interesting point, because nobody expected the crowd watching the (light) show to be so (big). . . . That kind of analytics help us make sure that you got no choice but to make both escalators go up during those timings,” Certis Senior Vice President and head of Certis Aviation Security Benny Lim said of them. He added that, once the crowds have thinned, the escalators are switched back to travel in alternate directions.

But, this feature is far from all the security suite offers. The “PETER” robot, dubbed a “Robocop,” is also on the prowl for parking violators: