Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, January 2003

January 14, 2003

TRANSPORTATION -- Cellular traffic trackers . . .

Those much-maligned cellular phones in automobiles could actually help drivers get to their destinations faster with a concept being tested and evaluated by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The idea is to use signals being transmitted by the phones, aggregate them and predict traffic conditions using that information. U.S. Cellular will provide raw cellular phone usage data to the National Transportation Research Center, where researchers will use the information to estimate average speed and congestion along various portions of arterial roads and highways. Eventually, traffic reports could be posted on a Web site, broadcast on the radio or transmitted to roadside electronic signs. Partners in the project initiated by the Knoxville Transportation Planning Organization are NTRC Inc., AirSage of Atlanta, InterCode Technologies of Knoxville and Pellissippi State Technical Community College. [Contact: Ron Walli, 865-576-0226;]

ENVIRONMENT -- Analyzing diesel emissions . . .

What's in diesel exhaust, and how does it impact diesel performance? William Partridge and other engineers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in cooperation with Cummins Diesel and BWXT-Y12 have developed a monitor to analyze the exhaust of an operating diesel. Called the SpaciMS, the monitor measures total oxides of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon fragments in undiluted exhaust by transporting an exhaust sample through silica capillaries to a miniature mass spectrometer. Better engine development and reducing emissions are some of the projects of ORNL's National Transportation Research Center. [Contact: Marty Goolsby, 865-574-4166;]

INSTRUMENTATION - Scans without slumber . . .

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are developing a CAT scanning machine that eventually could allow small children or patients with special medical conditions to be scanned without having to be restrained, be anesthesized or remain virtually still. The machine initially will be used for "restraint-free" scanning of mice, meaning that the mouse will not have to be put to sleep and will be free to move in a limited way. Future directions could include expanding this concept to CT machines used for humans. [Contact: Fred Strohl, 865-574-4165;]

DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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