Led by a handful of federal agencies -- like the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the National Science Foundation -- most people working on the initiative are on a forced furlough, leaving the project to gather dust in the interim.
Deploying robots in dangerous or combat situations can save the lives of human soldiers. The bots can be used for reconnaissance, scouting, search and rescue, detection, even defusing bombs, with the idea being that losing a robot is a far more acceptable outcome than losing a human soldier.
But some soldiers, researcher Julie Carpenter has discovered, develop strong emotional bonds with their mechanized helpers, to the point of experiencing frustration, anger, and grief when the robots are destroyed on the battlefield -- and even holding funerals. … Read more
The Pentagon is looking for a few good space planes.
They need to be fast, they need to be cheap, and they need to be reusable -- on a one-day pit stop, no less. That's the word from DARPA, the Defense Department's no-idea-is-too-far-out shop, which has just launched the Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program.
The goal of the XS-1 program is to give the U.S. military a flying machine that can soar to suborbital altitudes, at which point an expendable upper stage (or stages) would separate in order to deploy a small satellite into low-earth orbit. So don'… Read more
The government and the people haven't entirely been as one of late.
There's been a touch of friction, a frisson of discomfort in the relationship.
So it's uplifting when fears of schism are alleviated by one of the people's foremost representatives.
Yes, Tom Cruise offered a doe-eyed tweet about DARPA's forward progress.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is where so many scientific breakthroughs are enacted first.
So Cruise, himself a representative of Scientological progress, released a tweet Thursday that offered: "@DARPA getting closer to real-life #EdgeOfTomorrow exoskeleton...amazing! http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/… Read more
The end of Moore's Law may ultimately be as much about economics as physics, says a DARPA director.
"My thesis here is that it's time to start planning for the end of Moore's Law, and that it's worth pondering how it will end, not just when," Robert Colwell, director of the Microsystems Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, told CNET.
Our vehicles are becoming more like consumer electronics -- more like mobile computers on wheels -- and a pair of "digital carjackers" demonstrated what happens when all of the tech beneath the sheet metal falls into mischievous hands.
More and more components of modern vehicles have begun to fall under the control of computers. And we're not just talking about infotainment and dashboard apps. Think about it: a modern vehicle's engine, brakes, electronic power steering, active safety systems, and sometimes even the throttle are ultimately controlled by little electronic brains somewhere behind the dashboard.
In the … Read more
Human-robot love and relationships are inevitable. After all, why put up with your flawed meatsack spouse when you could have a perfect artificial one? Thanks to scientists, your robo-lover's skin will now light up when touched.
Boffins at the University of California at Berkeley have developed a very thin electronic skin, or e-skin, that's basically a sensor network on flexible plastic that reacts to touch with light.
The more pressure is applied, the brighter the e-skin's organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) will shine. It makes me feel all warm and E.T.-like. … Read more
If you're short of nightmare fuel, say hello to Atlas.
On Thursday, DARPA unveiled this hulking, 6-foot robot developed by Boston Dynamics, creator of the infamous BigDog and other scary creatures. Surprisingly, the 330-pound terror is designed to help us meatsacks.
Atlas is a testbed humanoid for disaster response, but it looks like it knows its way around a phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range. Fortunately, it comes from Massachusetts, not the future. … Read more
Many superheroes come equipped with special seeing abilities, like X-ray vision or night vision. Superman even sports telescopic vision, the ability to see over long distances. Researchers are working on a contact lens that bestows telescopic vision, though it won't let you spy on faraway planets.
The lens experiment came about through DARPA-funded research into vision enhancement devices for soldiers. What the researchers developed could become a solution for people suffering from age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness for older adults. The goal is to improve vision with an unobtrusive device.… Read more
Much like Steve Jobs and Apple's original iPhone, cybersecurity specialist Dan Roelker and DARPA have a vision for executing cyberwarfare that "just works."
According to an in-depth feature over at Wired, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which originally helped to create the internet, is now looking at ways to manage the battlefield our networks have evolved into that is as intuitive as a game of Angry Birds.
Dubbed Plan X, the initiative to create a technology infrastructure to allow those with little or no hacking experience to engage in cyberwarfare has tapped some of the biggest names in tech, design, and gaming.
Some of the ideas for interfaces ranged from Google Glass-like wearables to a gesture-based system using a Kinect, but the Wired piece focuses on a prototype from Frog Design centered on a Samsung Touch Table.… Read more