The United Nations is running an Asia-Pacific technology transfer program that puts necessary capabilities in the hands of developing countries while improving international relations in the region. Efforts assist large and small states to harness the potential of technology to create a better future for their citizens.
The U.S. Army is preparing—for the first time—to develop and field micro robotic systems under programs of record, indicating confidence that the technology has matured and years of research are paying off. The small systems will provide individual soldiers and squads with critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data in jungles, buildings and caves that larger systems can’t reach.
Alion Science and Technology Corp., Burr Ridge, Illinois, has been awarded a $10,027,721 cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order (0067) on the AMMTIAC indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity cost-plus-fixed-fee sole-source (FA4600-06-D-0003) for nanotechnology development and technology transfer. AMMTIAC will provide technical, engineering, and expertise in nanotechnology applications in materials, manufacturing and testing of interest to the military.
Scientists and engineers from MITRE Corporation and Harvard University published a paper this week revealing the development of what they call the most dense nanoelectronic system ever built. The ultra-small, ultra-low-power processor could be used for tiny robotics, unmanned vehicles and a broad range of commercial applications, including medical sensors.
A prototype nanotechnology-based sensor offers the possibility for ubiquitous, networked, real-time chemical agent detection and tracking. By using easily produced super-small components, the devices potentially can be installed in a variety of devices, such as smartphones, robots or commercial appliances.
Physical movement stored as memory in a microchip could lead to advances in touch screens, robot control devices and medical implants. Researchers are arraying nanowires on a microchip to form a write-read memory cell as part of ongoing work that could convert motions, such as a hand in a glove or pressing a display, into memory. Moving or putting pressure on the nanowires creates an electrical current that can be read and recorded as memory.
Nanotechnology is the new cyber, according to several major leaders in the field. Just as cyber is entrenched across global society now, nano is poised to be the major capabilities enabler of the next decades. Expert members from the National Nanotechnology Initiative representing government and science disciplines say nano has great significance for the military and the general public.
A new printing technology could move the production of nano-sized electronic components from multibillion-dollar facilities into the hands of users, including military users in the field. The device, which is about the size of a desktop printer, will allow rapid prototyping of nanomaterials, contribute to stem cell and other medical research, offer a range of commercial uses and save potentially billions of dollars. Furthermore, because the product builds upon already widely available technology, it could be fielded within two years, researchers say.
Engineers at UC Berkeley have created a system of sensors on flexible plastic that reacts to pressure by lighting up. The new "e-skin" recognizes the amount of pressure and responds with a brighter or dimmer light accordingly.
The technology can be used to give robots a more precise sense of touch and also might be used to create interactive wallpapers or automobile dashboards.
U.S. Army researchers have developed micro materials that fold when hit with a low-intensity laser. The advance may eliminate the need for relatively bulky power systems—such as battery packs—on tiny robotic systems. It also could enable robotic microthrusters, unattended ground sensors, or even—theoretically—programmable, easily changeable camouflage patterns.
Academic, research and industry teams join forces to improve uniform materials.
Researchers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and Johns Hopkins University have discovered methods to control folding pathways and enable sequential folding on a millimeter scale using a low-intensity laser beam. Lasers at a low intensity worked as a trigger for tagging applications. Developers are fabricating sheets of millimeter-size structures that serve as battery-free wireless actuators that fold when exposed to a laser operating at eye-safe infrared wavelengths.
Materials researchers at the Sandia National Laboratories have developed a new class of nanoporous materials that could lead to more effective and less costly radiation detectors for homeland security inspectors. The new material works with plastic scintillators to make them glow brightly in the presence of charged particles or high-energy photons. Sandia officials say though more work is needed, they are currently seeking commercial partners to license the technology.
Nanotechnologies aim to streamline military gear and miniaturize equipment used by U.S. forces, under efforts by the U.S. Army Research Office Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies.
The University of Notre Dame and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) are each being awarded cost reimbursement contracts for the NV Logic program, which will enable a completely new computing paradigm based on nano-magnetic devices that will achieve 100 times better computing performance relative to that attainable with current technology. Notre Dame is receiving a nearly $10 million contract, UCLA more than $8 million. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is the contracting activity.
A longtime leader in computer and electronics research, IBM is committed to furthering nanotechnology research. The goal of the company's work is to develop new atomic and molecular-scale structures and devices to enhance information technologies. The IBM home page offers links highlighting a number of projects such as bionanotechnology, materials characterization and tools, nanoelectronics, nanomaterials and self-assembly, nanomechanics, and quantum coherent systems.
The NNI was launched in 2001 to coordinate the U.S. federal government's nanotechnology research and development. Its mission is to provide a guiding vision for the long term opportunities and benefits of nanotechnology and to serve as a center for communication, cooperation and collaboration between all the participating government agencies. The NNI's home page provides information about federal advisory groups such as the National Science and Technology Council and its Nanoscale Science Engineering and Technology subcommittee.
Nanostructures have a range of applications in electronics and materials research, but before they can be mass-produced, the processes to grow them consistently and accurately must be understood. A part of the Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Materials Science, this research group focuses its work on the physical and chemical processes in nanomaterials growth, the unique properties of nanosystems, new measurement techniques and new applications for nanoscale objects.