MUSTPAC-1 provides a simulated probe that looks, feels, and acts as if the diagnostician were performing a conventional real-time, hands-on examination.
Working quickly over the wounded soldier, a field medic uses a scanner to get a three-dimensional view of injuries. Within minutes, those images are sent thousands of miles away to an American hospital where a team of medical experts determine a diagnosis.
It may seem like science fiction, but this imaging and transmission system was actually developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. MUSTPAC-1, or Medical Ultrasound, Three-dimensional and Portable with Advanced Communications, allows a field medic or physician to perform three-dimensional scans of an ill or injured soldier. Scans can then be interpreted by experts anywhere in the world.
The portable ultrasound unit called MUSTPAC-1 is powered by batteries, weighs about 85 pounds, and fits in a backpack.
Developed for the military, the portable unit weighs about 85 pounds, fits in a backpack, and can be configured to run on batteries. MUSTPAC-1 will bring the benefits of sophisticated ultrasound imaging used in major hospitals to the front lines. Army officials hope this device may someday reduce the number of battlefield deaths. For the less severely injured, the technology promises to provide previously unavailable medical diagnosis and treatment with improved quality of care.
In addition to military applications, MUSTPAC-1 could be used by rural physicians in treating medical emergencies and providing assistance in hard-to-access places such as mountains, boats, and even outer space.
MUSTPAC-1 received a 1997 Discover Award, sponsored by Discover magazine. The award honors individuals whose creative genius improves the quality of everyday life and alerts us to what's next from the frontiers of human achievement and ingenuity.
Battelle has pledged $100,000 to the Nature Conservancy of Washington to help education bloom in the desert. The Nature Conservancy will use the donation, and its own funds, to support a new Environmental Science Education Program focused on the ecology of the arid lands of the Columbia Basin in Southeastern Washington.
Designed for elementary and secondary school teachers, the program will include teacher workshops, curriculum materials, a photo-illustrated book about the area, and workshops for Conservancy volunteers who make presentations in local schools. The new program is part of the Partnership for Arid Lands Stewardship or PALS, a joint venture among Battelle, the Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington State University Tri-Cities, the Audubon Society, and local school districts. PALS is being established to develop environmental science education programs.
It's "artificial intelligence" of another kind. At the Paris Island Marine Corps Recruiting District in Beaufort, South Carolina, personnel are using Pacific Northwest National Laboratory technology to counterattack energy consumption and equipment failure.
Pacific Northwest's DESOM Decision Support for Plant Operation and Maintenance technology is expected to save the boot camp up to 30 percent in energy consumption, maintenance, and the lifecycle extension of equipment.
Customized for each facility, DESOM employs advanced engineering methods from the nuclear power industry, blended in a matrix of artificial intelligence technology to improve the operations and maintenance of fossil power production facilities.
At Paris Island, researchers have already conducted a characterization of the camp's infrastructure and baseline testing of their facility. Once completed, researchers drafted a cost-benefit plan for improvements and began installing the DESOM technology in the power plant.
DESOM is ready for transfer to any Department of Energy, Department of Defense, or private sector utility process. Battelle, which operates Pacific Northwest for DOE, will begin a similar installation in a New York Public Housing Authority facility.
A technique for turning wheat stubble into high-grade strawboard products will one day be as commonplace as particleboard. A combination of wheat straw and plastic resins, strawboard can be used in furniture, flooring, homesany product requiring particleboard. Scientists are working with local agricultural groups and investors to develop facilities that will produce the product.
When police in Lacey, Wash., wanted to determine whether a body was buried in a residential area of their community, they didn't start digging. Instead, they called Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which furnished a ground penetrating radar device for the search.
Using the technology, police were able to quickly rule out the presence of a body and close that part of their investigation.
The Lacey case is just one example of how Pacific Northwest's Science and Technology Support to the Law Enforcement Program is helping law enforcement agencies in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska tackle tough investigations.
The program focuses on providing innovative science and technology solutions to unique law enforcement and forensics problems.
"We're not attempting to duplicate the efforts of crime labs. Our objective is to give law enforcement agencies access to capabilities and tools that cannot be provided by state and federal sources or the private sector," said Mark Segura, a Pacific Northwest research scientist who coordinates program activities.
Through the program, Pacific Northwest staff work with police on actual cases and develop potential solutions. Because Pacific Northwest does not charge for the service, not all cases can be accepted. "We have to consider the nature of each case, whether traditional forensics capabilities exist to solve it, and whether Pacific Northwest's technologies can be applied in a cost-effective manner," Segura said.
In addition to working with police and investigators, the program promotes technology transfer, applied technology, and collaborative training opportunities. In addition to Lacey, other cities have benefited from the program. In a Washington community, for example, vapor collection and analysis capabilities provided by Pacific Northwest helped authorities obtain a search warrant for a suspected methamphetamine lab and resulted in two convictions. And, in the Seattle area, the Green River serial murder investigation may benefit from data analysis technologies being evaluated by the program.
"Providing a resource at the "grassroots" levelcity, county, and state agenciesis really what we want to do," Segura said.