HAMNET Report 11 August 2019

If you’re ever in a disaster and see a weird-looking aircraft flying overhead, don’t fret — it could be there to help you.

For two years, Chinese aircraft manufacturer OXAI Aircraft Co. has been developing MOZI 2, a fully solar-powered unmanned aircraft it hopes will one day help out in disaster relief situations.

On Saturday, the drone took its maiden flight at an airport in Deqing County — and it appears the test went off without a hitch.

OXAI Aircraft told Xinhua that MOZI 2 has a wingspan of 15 meters and is powered solely by solar cells. It can reach an altitude of 8,000 meters, with a maximum cruise time of 12 hours at night following eight hours of charging in sunlight.

In addition to contributing to disaster relief scenarios, the solar-powered drone could be useful for reconnaissance missions and communication efforts, OXAI Aircraft told Xinhua — and now that it knows the craft can fly, it can start working toward those applications.

Thanks to the website The Byte for this report.

We’ve all tried to kill a cockroach only to watch it scurry away at a super-fast pace.

One of nature’s creepiest insects, as it turns out, has inspired researchers to create a very tiny robot that could in theory burrow through natural disaster sites and relay information to rescue workers. The New York Post says that a team at the University of California, Berkeley have designed a robot that’s made out of a material known as polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and is the size of a postage stamp.

Scientists involved in the project explained that it could have many applications.

“For example, if an earthquake happens, it’s very hard for the big machines, or the big dogs, to find life underneath debris, so that’s why we need a small-sized robot that is agile and robust,” said Yichuan Wu, first author of the paper, who completed the work as a graduate student in mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley, in a press statement.

It’s also almost as hardy as a real cockroach, as the researchers repeatedly applied pressure to it by stepping on it.

“Most of the robots at this particular small scale are very fragile. If you step on them, you pretty much destroy the robot,” Liwei Lin, senior author of a paper on the research, told New Atlas. “We found that if we put weight on our robot, it still functions, more or less.”

Although the robot doesn’t look like much, it can actually do a lot, according to researchers: It can move along the ground at a speed of 20 body lengths per second, which is comparable to that of a cockroach and apparently the fastest pace among insect-sized robots. It can also zoom through tubes, scurry up small slopes and carry tiny cargo loads, like a peanut.

ARRL member Eric Knight, KB1EHE, played a role in the development of an RF-based Alzheimer’s disease treatment that now shows great promise. A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease following a months-long FDA clinical trial of the treatment protocol concluded that memory decline in most patients “appeared to have been reversed to cognitive levels equivalent to 12 months earlier” after 2 months of treatment. The clinical trial concluded last December 31 and focused on the initial efficacy of what NeuroEM Therapeutics, Inc. — the company developing the device — calls “transcranial electromagnetic treatment” (TEMT), using a non-invasive head-worn device called the MemorEM™.

“Results from the trial demonstrate that TEMT was safe in all eight participating patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, and enhanced cognitive performance in seven of them, as measured by standard cognition scales,” said a news release from NeuroEM Therapeutics. Seven of the eight clinical trial patients agreed to take part in a 4-month extension study, based on the findings and the positive feedback from all participants.

“This pioneering study suggests that TEMT may be an entirely new therapeutic intervention against Alzheimer’s disease,” said NeuroEM CEO Dr. Gary Arendash. “Our bioengineering technology may be succeeding where drug therapy against this devastating disease has thus far failed. TEMT appears to be affecting the Alzheimer’s disease process through several actions directly inside neurons (brain cells), which is where we believe the disease process needs to be stopped and hopefully reversed.” Arendash has explained that TEMT in the 900 MHz range breaks down the small protein aggregates (amyloid oligomers) in brain cells that are thought to initiate Alzheimer’s development.

Knight, of Unionville, Connecticut, is the president of Remarkable Technologies. He has no medical background, but several years ago, he learned of experiments that Arendash had carried out on mice specially bred to have Alzheimer’s disease, in which the mice were exposed to low levels of RF for therapeutic purposes. The effects were dramatic, sometimes even reversing the disease’s effects. Borrowing some concepts from earlier experiments with small rockets and avionics, Knight set about developing — and later patenting — a wearable device that could deliver requisite low levels of RF to a human head. NeuroEM was also developing a device, which it patented as well, and NeuroEM has filed multiple patents since then, Knight explained to ARRL. NeuroEM has an exclusive license to Knight’s patent, and his contribution is now part of the overall mix of applied technology.

“As an inventor and entrepreneur, all you can hope for is to have a positive impact on society, and this is about as important as it gets,” Knight told ARRL News, whom we thank for this insert.

Finally, please be aware of Tropical Cyclone LEKIMA-19, which is currently 650km North-East of Taiwan, and bearing down on the Chinese mainland, with windspeeds of up to 190kph. 40000 homes in Taiwan are without power (as of Friday), and citizens in coastal areas are preparing to evacuate their homes. A RED typhoon warning has been issued for the coast of Taiwan and far Eastern tip of Chinese Mainland, while heavy rain, strong winds and storm surges are expected along the coast and Ryukyu Archipelago.

Please be mindful of emergency communications on HF frequencies over this weekend.

This is Dave Reece  ZS1DFR  reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.