As the deadline for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act draws closer, the commuter and passenger trains used in large swaths of the United States remain inaccessible to passengers in wheelchairs. Meanwhile, the elevated platforms many regional rail systems have erected to address this problem have created another, forcing bulky freight shipments off the rails and onto some of the busiest roadways in the nation.
Enter an engineering professor from the University of Pennsylvania who has designed a new train car thats fully accessible to disabled passengers, compatible with freight trains and spacious enough to carry nearly 40 percent more passengers. The university has filed for patent protection.
"Current methods for boarding mobility-impaired passengers on commuter and intercity railroad trains are unsatisfactory from almost every perspective," said Edward K. Morlok, a professor of transportation and systems engineering. "The methods are demeaning to those passengers, create problems through delays and staffing requirements and can seriously interfere with freight shipping."
Steve Bradt | EurekAlert!
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
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