US, Spanish and Greek scientists win Prince Sultan water award

Updated 15 October 2014

US, Spanish and Greek scientists win Prince Sultan water award

Four research teams from the United States and individuals from Spain and Greece were announced as winners of the 6th Award of the Prince Sultan International Prize for Water.
The winners were announced during a meeting of the Prize Council in Riyadh on October 12, with PSIPW Council chairman Prince Khaled Bin Sultan presiding.
For Creativity, the prize worth SR1 million was split between the team of Dr. Eric F Wood and Dr. Justin Sheffield of Princeton University and the GPS Reflections Group led by Dr. Kristine M. Larson of University of Colorado, Boulder, which included Professor Eric Small (University of Colorado), Dr. Valery Zavorotny (NOAA) and Dr. John Braun of (UCAR).
The first team was awarded for inventing a sophisticated system for high-accuracy drought predictions at both regional and continental levels, while the other team was recognized for developing a new low-cost technique to measure soil moisture, snow depth, and water content.
Four individual researchers won prizes of SR500,000 each for their groundbreaking research regarding groundwater and its salinity in semi-arid areas, as well as detoxification process and methods of operating water resources systems.
The Surface Water Prize went to Dr. Larry Mays (Arizona State University) for his comprehensive work in surface water hydrology and water resources engineering.
Dr. Jesús Carrera Ramirez (Institute for Environmental Assessment and Water Research in Barcelona, Spain, won the Groundwater Prize “for his decisive contributions to the development of mathematical hydrogeology and transport modeling in groundwater systems.”
Bagging the Alternative Water Resources Prize was Dr. Polycarpos Falaras (National Center for Scientific Research, Athens, Greece), coordinator of the European Union’s CLEANWATER Project, for an “innovative and efficient water detoxification technology exploiting solar energy and nano-engineered titania photocatalysts in combination with nanofiltration membranes for the destruction of extremely hazardous toxins and pollutants in natural waters and water supplies.”
The Water Management & Protection Prize went to Dr. William W-G. Yeh (University of California, Los Angeles), “for developing of optimization models to plan, manage and operate large-scale water resources systems throughout the world.”
Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz will sponsor the award ceremony for the Prince Sultan International Prize for Water in the first week of December 2015. The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the launch of the Sixth International Conference on Water Resources and Arid Environments, organized by the award authority, King Saud University and the Ministry of Water and Electricity.
Some 186 candidates from 47 countries competed for the award, including distinguished scientists and representatives of highly ranked international universities and scientific institutions worldwide.

Online: http://www.psipw.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=353:pr...


Russia to send ‘Fedor’ its first humanoid robot into space

Updated 22 August 2019

Russia to send ‘Fedor’ its first humanoid robot into space

MOSCOW: Russia was set to launch on Thursday an unmanned rocket carrying a life-size humanoid robot that will spend 10 days learning to assist astronauts on the International Space Station.
Named Fedor, for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research with identification number Skybot F850, the robot is the first ever sent up by Russia.
Fedor was to blast off in a Soyuz rocket at 6:38 am Moscow time (0338 GMT) from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, dock with the space station on Saturday and stay till September 7.
The Soyuz spacecraft is normally manned on such trips, but on Thursday no humans will be traveling in order to test a new emergency rescue system.
Instead of cosmonauts, Fedor will sit in a specially adapted pilot’s seat.
The silvery anthropomorphic robot stands one meter 80 centimeters tall (5 foot 11 inches) and weighs 160 kilograms (353 lbs).
Fedor has Instagram and Twitter accounts that describe it as learning new skills such as opening a bottle of water. In the station, it will trial those manual skills in very low gravity.
“That’s connecting and disconnecting electric cables, using standard items from a screwdriver and a spanner to a fire extinguisher,” the Russian space agency’s director for prospective programs and science, Alexander Bloshenko, said in televised comments.
Fedor copies human movements, a key skill that allows it to remotely help astronauts or even people on Earth carry out tasks while they are strapped into an exoskeleton.
Such robots will eventually carry out dangerous operations such as space walks, Bloshenko told RIA Novosti state news agency.
On the website of one of the state backers of the project, the Foundation of Advanced Research Projects, Fedor is described as potentially useful on Earth for working in high radiation environments, de-mining and tricky rescue missions.
On board, the robot will perform tasks supervised by Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, who joined the ISS last month, and will wear an exoskeleton in a series of experiments scheduled for later this month.

Robonaut 2, Kirobo
Space agency chief Dmitry Rogozin showed pictures of the robot to President Vladimir Putin this month, saying it will be “an assistant to the crew.”
“In the future we plan that this machine will also help us conquer deep space,” he added.
Fedor is not the first robot to go into space.
In 2011, NASA sent up Robonaut 2, a humanoid robot developed with General Motors and a similar aim of working in high-risk environments.
It was flown back to Earth in 2018 after experiencing technical problems.
In 2013, Japan sent up a small robot called Kirobo along with the ISS’s first Japanese space commander. Developed with Toyota, it was able to hold conversations — albeit only in Japanese.