Archive for the ‘military’ category

Sep 28, 2015

This Company Is Building Drones With Lasers On Top

Posted by in categories: drones, military

Say hello to the drones of the future. They’re gorgeous, sophisticated, and they’ve got high-energy lasers.

The body of the drone will look familiar to those who are familiar with current drones as those lasers will be riding shotgun–quite literally–on General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’s Avenger. The company, also responsible for the Reaper, is embarking on a privately-funded study to figure out how to incorporate 150-kilowatt solid-state laser onto the drone, according to an interview with Defenseone. Depending on the success of the study, the company is hoping to have the laser drones up and running by 2017.

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Sep 24, 2015

U.S. military has a heat ray

Posted by in category: military

The U.S. military is developing a real-life heat ray. CNN’s Thom Patterson explains this non-lethal “active denial system.”

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Sep 23, 2015

Engineering Humans for War

Posted by in categories: computing, cyborgs, electronics, engineering, military

For decades after its inception in 1958, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—DARPA, the central research and development organization of the Department of Defense—focused on developing vast weapons systems. Starting in 1990, and owing to individuals like Gorman, a new focus was put on soldiers, airmen, and sailors—on transforming humans for war. The progress of those efforts, to the extent it can be assessed through public information, hints at war’s future, and raises questions about whether military technology can be stopped, or should.

Gorman sketched out an early version of the thinking in a paper he wrote for DARPA after his retirement from the Army in 1985, in which he described an “integrated-powered exoskeleton” that could transform the weakling of the battlefield into a veritable super-soldier. The “SuperTroop” exoskeleton he proposed offered protection against chemical, biological, electromagnetic, and ballistic threats, including direct fire from a.50-caliber bullet. It “incorporated audio, visual, and haptic [touch] sensors,” Gorman explained, including thermal imaging for the eyes, sound suppression for the ears, and fiber optics from the head to the fingertips. Its interior would be climate-controlled, and each soldier would have his own physiological specifications embedded on a chip within his dog tags. “When a soldier donned his ST [SuperTroop] battledress,” Gorman wrote, “he would insert one dog-tag into a slot under the chest armor, thereby loading his personal program into the battle suit’s computer,” giving the 21st-century soldier an extraordinary ability to hear, see, move, shoot, and communicate.

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Sep 23, 2015

Marines test Google’s latest military robot

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

The latest version of a walking, quadruped battlefield robot from Boston Dynamics, the military robotics maker owned by Google X, was tested by U.S. Marines last week.

Spot weighs about 70kgs, is electrically operated and walks on four hydraulically-actuated legs. It’s controlled via wireless by an operator who can be up to 500 meters away.

It underwent trials and testing at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia as part of evaluations by the Marines on future military uses of robotic technology. In a series of missions, it was evaluated in different terrains including hills, woodlands and urban areas.

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Sep 21, 2015

The Marines Are Sending This Robotic Dog Into Simulated Combat

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

The battlefield can be one of the most useful places for robots. And now, the US Marines are testing out Spot, a robo dog built by Boston Dynamics to see how helpful the ‘bot could be in combat.

Remember Big Dog, also from Google-owned robotics company Boston Dynamics? Well, Spot is a tinier, more agile iteration: At 160 pounds, it’s hydraulically actuated with a sensor on its noggin that aids in navigation. It’s controlled by a laptop-connected game controller, which a hidden operator can use up to 1,600 feet away. The four-legged all-terrain robo pup was revealed in February. Robots in combat aren’t new, but Spot signals a quieter, leaner alternative that hints at the strides made in this arena.

The Marines Are Sending This Robotic Dog Into Simulated Combat

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Sep 21, 2015

Atom-Sized Construction Could Shrink Future Gadgets

Posted by in categories: drones, materials, military, particle physics, robotics/AI, transportation

The U.S. military doesn’t just build big, scary tanks and giant warplanes; it’s also interested in teeny, tiny stuff. The Pentagon’s latest research project aims to improve today’s technologies by shrinking them down to microscopic size.

The recently launched Atoms to Product (A2P) program aims to develop atom-size materials to build state-of-the-art military and consumer products. These tiny manufacturing methods would work at scales 100,000 times smaller than those currently being used to build new technologies, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.

The tiny, high-tech materials of the future could be used to build things like hummingbird-size drones and super-accurate (and super-small) atomic clocks — two projects already spearheaded by DARPA. [Humanoid Robots to Flying Cars: 10 Coolest DARPA Projects].

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Sep 21, 2015

Pentagon’s Project ‘Avatar’: Same as the Movie, but With Robots Instead of Aliens

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

Soldiers practically inhabiting the mechanical bodies of androids, who will take the humans’ place on the battlefield. Or sophisticated tech that spots a powerful laser ray, then stops it from obliterating its target.

If you’ve got Danger Room’s taste in movies, you’ve probably seen both ideas on the big screen. Now Darpa, the Pentagon’s far-out research arm, wants to bring ’em into the real world.

In the agency’s $2.8 billion budget for 2013, unveiled on Monday, they’ve allotted $7 million for a project titled “Avatar.” The project’s ultimate goal, not surprisingly, sounds a lot like the plot of the same-named (but much more expensive) flick.

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Sep 2, 2015

Britain’s battleship of the future

Posted by in categories: drones, futurism, military

Britain’s battleship of the future: torpedoes that travel at almost 350 mph, an electromagnetic rail gun, drones made on board and a holographic control room.

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Aug 29, 2015

Boeing’s new laser canon can destroy drones in mid-flight

Posted by in categories: drones, habitats, military, space

Drones are everywhere these days. They’re at your local park, they’re in the ocean, they’re hovering over the White House lawn, and they may even be hovering overhead armed with tear gas.

In a world that’s becoming increasingly drone friendly, there are some serious safety considerations that shouldn’t be ignored.

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Aug 29, 2015

Apple, Boeing, MIT, and more partner with Pentagon to improve flexible electronics

Posted by in categories: electronics, health, military

A consortium of top tech companies, laboratories, and universities is partnering with the Department of Defense to improve the manufacturing of flexible electronics, which could one day end up in aircraft, health monitors, military tools, or consumer electronics like wearables. The department is awarding the consortium, known as the FlexTech Alliance, $75 million over five years, with other sources, including universities, non-profits, and state and local governments, contributing an additional $96 million.

The consortium is composed of well over 100 organizations, with key partners including Apple, Boeing, GE, GM, Lockheed Martin, Motorola Mobility, and Qualcomm, among many others. Partnering universities include Cornell, Harvard, Stanford, NYU, and MIT, also among many others.

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