Blog

Archive for the ‘military’ category: Page 106

Oct 13, 2015

Does The Potential of Automation Outweigh The Perils?

Posted by in categories: automation, disruptive technology, driverless cars, economics, military

These days, it’s not hard to find someone predicting that robots will take over the world and that automation could one day render human workers obsolete. The real debate is over whether or not the benefits do or do not outweigh the risks. Automation Expert and Author Dr. Daniel Berleant is one person who is more often on the side of automation.

There are many industries that are poised to be affected by the oncoming automation boom (in fact, it’s a challenge to think of one arena that will not in some minimal way be affected). “The government is actually putting quite a bit of money into robotic research for what they call ‘cooperative robotics,’” Berleant said. “Currently, you can’t work near a typical industrial robot without putting yourself in danger. As the research goes forward, the idea is (to develop) robots that become able to work with people rather than putting them in danger.”

While many view industrial robotic development as a menace to humanity, Berleant tends to focus on the areas where automation can be a benefit to society. “The civilized world is getting older and there are going to be more old people,” he said. “The thing I see happening in the next 10 or 20 years is robotic assistance to the elderly. They’re going to need help, and we can help them live vigorous lives and robotics can be a part of that.”

Berleant also believes that food production, particularly in agriculture, could benefit tremendously from automation. And that, he says, could have a positive effect on humanity on a global scale. “I think, as soon as we get robots that can take care of plants and produce food autonomously, that will really be a liberating moment for the human race,” Berleant said. “Ten years might be a little soon (for that to happen), maybe 20 years. There’s not much more than food that you need to survive and that might be a liberating moment for many poor countries.”

Continue reading “Does The Potential of Automation Outweigh The Perils?” »

Oct 9, 2015

DARPA wants to build vehicles that disappear after delivering supplies

Posted by in category: military

What if the vehicle delivering the goods to a remote village or group of soldiers could just vanish after it made the drop? Sounds crazy, right? Well, DARPA is hoping to do just that. The research unit it looking to develop solutions that can carry supplies to their intended destinations and then disappear. Named for the story of a man who’s wings of feathers and wax melted when he flew too close to the sun, DARPA’s new ICARUS program that’ll examine the possibilities is an extension of its VAPR project. Of course, we expect DARPA is aiming for a more positive outcome. VAPR, which stands for Vanishing Programmable Resources, has developed self-destructing electronic components since it began two years ago. Aside from the obvious military uses, DARPA says a vehicle that vanishes in to thin air could also offer an unmanned solution for taking critical supplies to hard to reach areas in the aftermath of events like a natural disaster. Once the load is delivered, personnel wouldn’t have to worry about getting the vehicle back out of the area.

[Image credit: SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP/Getty Images].

Read more

Oct 7, 2015

Walking robot uses drone to help traverse tricky terrain (VIDEO)

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI, space

Swiss-based scientists have developed a robot double act in which a hexacopter helps a dog-like, land-based robot find its way around obstacles. The technology could be deployed in space exploration or warfare.

“Flying and walking robots can use their complementary features in terms of viewpoint and payload capability to the best in a heterogeneous team,” says an intro to a video posted on YouTube by the team at ETH Zurich, Switzerland’s leading tech research institution.

Read more

Oct 7, 2015

Risk of robotic warfare edges closer as UN regulation stalls, experts warn

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

They’ll be back.


Experts have previously voiced their fears of malevolent Terminator -style artificial intelligence developing sufficient smarts to pose a risk to humans in the future, but the very real dangers of robotic warfare are already becoming a problem.

Despite the best efforts of a huge coalition of scientists and tech leaders calling for a ban on the development of autonomous weapons systems, the failure of the United Nations to effectively regulate the ‘killer robot’ industry is already enabling the makers of dangerous technology, according to a report in The Guardian.

Continue reading “Risk of robotic warfare edges closer as UN regulation stalls, experts warn” »

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.

Continue reading “This Company Is Building Drones With Lasers On Top” »

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.”

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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

Read more

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].

Read more