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RoboRoo: Leap-Ahead Technology

April 14, 2014
George I. Seffers

The BionicKangaroo mimics the unique way a kangaroo moves. Like its natural model, it can recover the energy when jumping, store it and efficiently use it for the next jump. The kangaroobot intelligently combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology to produce a highly dynamic system.

Boston Dynamics Releases WildCat Robot Video

October 4, 2013
By George I. Seffers

Boston Dynamics has used its YouTube to unveil its latest creation, WildCat, which is capable of walking, running and bounding.

Holy Robotic Batwings!

April 12, 2013
George I. Seffers

Researchers at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, have developed a robotic batwing that could one day lead to more dynamic, dexterous and sophisticated wings for aircraft. The National Science Foundation, which supports the research, announced the breakthrough in its online publication Science Nation, along with a video. Unlike the wings of birds or insects, batwings are more like the human hand with many joints and skin, allowing bats to change the shape of their wings in-flight, researchers say. 

U.S. Navy Announces 2014 Laser Deployment Plans

April 8, 2013
George I. Seffers

Citing a series of technological breakthroughs, Navy leaders announced plans April 8 to deploy for the first time a solid-state laser aboard a ship in fiscal year 2014. The Office of Naval Research released a video of the Laser Weapon System (LaWS), a technology demonstrator built by the Naval Sea Systems Command. LaWS uses commercial fiber solid state lasers and can be directed onto targets from the radar track obtained from a MK 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapon system or other targeting source. Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, chief of naval research, described directed energy initiatives, especially the solid-state laser as “among our highest priority science and technology programs,” adding that the solid-state laser program is "central to our commitment to quickly deliver advanced capabilities to forward-deployed forces.” 

Beefing Up the Apache Helicopter

January 29, 2013
George I. Seffers

The latest version of the Apache Block III attack helicopter, the AH-64E, was approved for full rate production in October 2012. Improvements to the aircraft include an Improved Drive System, increased engine capabilities, technologically advanced composite main rotor blades and sensor enhancements. For more information—and some pretty cool video of the AH-64E in action—see the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command YouTube Channel video.

Printing 3D Bridges

August 23, 2012
By George Seffers

A group of architects at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia have created a solar-powered, eco-friendly, robotic, 3D printer capable of building bridges and other structures from soil and a liquid binder. Known as the Stone Spray Project, the endeavor pushes the boundaries of digitial manufacturing and on-site fabrication machines.

Mobile Biothreat Detection for First Responders

May 7, 2012
By George Seffers

BioFlow, a handheld biological threat detection system under development at The Mitre Corporation's Bio-Nano Laboratory could one day help emergency response teams identify biological threats on site, saving time, money and possibly lives. Mitre engineers have demonstrated the concept for several government sponsors, including the Defense and Homeland Security departments. BioFlow combines existing technology and sampling techniques to identify a variety of threats, including bacterial agents that cause anthrax, viruses and clinical markers such as thyroid stimulating hormone. Furthermore, it could identify targets in a range of samples, including water, soil, blood or urine. The BioFlow process relies on anti-body-coated magnetic microspheres to extract and identify specific targets, such as bacteria, hormones or viruses.

Advanced Multi-band Communications Antenna

November 30, 2011
By George Seffers

Recent flight tests conducted by a combined team from the Electronic Systems Center, the Space and Missile Systems Center, MIT Lincoln Laboratory and MITRE Corp. have shown that the low-profile Advanced Multi-band Communications Antenna, installed on a wide-body aircraft, can effectively support high speed Ka-band and extremely high frequency (EHF) communications. The tests demonstrated that the antenna system meets needed performance characteristics, such as small size and weight, easy installation, consistent coverage in all directions and the ability to mount to the aircraft skin. The system will provide secure, long-range military satellite communications connectivity for future Air Force airborne platforms-providing voice, video and chat capabilities. The antenna could represent a major breakthrough in supporting multi-megabit-per-second-class airborne communications using the Wideband Global Satellite Communications and Advanced EHF satellites, according to Air Force officials. The antenna, mounted on an MIT test bed aircraft, was able to successfully establish communications with a Military Strategic Tactical Realy (MILSTAR) satellite. The flight tests were performed with the antenna system securing connections with MILSTAR at various look-angles, with the array outperforming the anticipated results.



Target Tracking Smartphones

November 30, 2011
By George Seffers

Engineers from the University of Missouri College of Engineering, with funding from the U.S. Army/Leonard Wood Institute, are in the early stages of enhancing popular smartphones to be able to find and track military targets. The goal is to provide the exact location of a remote target, through either sound or sight using the technology available on commercial phones. The software application could be useful in cases where tracking lasers would be visible to the enemy. Soldiers could one day use the application to photograph a target and relay the Global Positioning System location without relying on the Internet.

The researchers also developed a sound-based localization method for dark or urban environments. A group of soldiers could record a sound and share it, and software would allow the soldiers to determine the location of the sound source. The technology could also be used for non-military applications. Emergency responders, for example, can identify a location or direct traffic, and tourists could identify unfamiliar objects or buildings.

Plugging Social Media Leaks

September 14, 2011
By George Seffers

The possibility of classified or sensitive information being leaked to social media websites is an increasing concern for government and military officials, but two products-Vantage and Unified Security Gateway (USG)-may help plug the leaks. Vantage supports a variety of platforms, including Microsoft Lync Server, Office Communications Server, IBM Sametime, Cisco Unified Presence, Jabber, and public instant messaging platforms, including Skype and Web conferencing tools. Vantage ensures a scalable, secure, managed solution is available for any of the leading platforms, according to officials at Actiance Incorporated, Belmont, California, the maker of both products. USG is a secure Web gateway to combine feature and content controls of social networks with the monitoring, management and security of Web 2.0 applications. It provides granular control of websites and applications as well as content posted to blogs, wikis, Webmail and social networking sites. USG reduces outbound data leakage and enforces compliance with regulatory and legal discovery, and corporate policy requirements by moderating, monitoring and logging content posted to popular social networks.

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