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Podcast Player Boosts Sound and Speed

July 22, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Do you love listening to podcasts? The new Overcast app, developed by Marco Arment, co-founder of Tumblr and creator of Instapaper, offers a simple, intuitive interface to listen to all your favorites.

Veterans Affairs Awards Contract to Help Veterans in Rural Areas Access Services

July 21, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The Department of Veterans Affairs hired a contractor to help veterans who live in rural areas learn to acccess and navigate technical programs that will give them better access to their medical records.

Refresh App Reveals Insights on Potential Contacts

July 8, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Have you ever walked into a business meeting and wished you could know a bit about each person attending to spark real conversation and bypass the typical small talk? The free Refresh app for iOS provides a quick overview of the people you're about to meet, aggregating information from across the Web.

DARPA Program Aims to Help Counselors Spot Signs of Stress, PTSD

July 1, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

DARPA is funding a new program to help combat depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and military suicides. It has tools to analyze facial expressions, body gestures and speech, both content and delivery, and inform experts on a user’s psychological state of mind or alert them to behavioral changes that could indicate problems.

White House Turns to Solar For Its Energy Needs

June 12, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The White House is going green. Well, more like slate gray. And only on the roof.

Defense Strives to Find Breakthrough Technological Advantages

July 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

Officials across the U.S. Defense Department are pushing to identify and develop the disruptive technologies that will offer orders-of-magnitude advantages on the battlefield. But while bringing such capabilities to fruition is difficult, even determining what qualifies as disruptive represents a challenge. As personnel wrestle with definitions, they are forging ahead with their creative ideas.

DARPA Modifies Military Equipment to be Used by Firefighters

June 11, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Tracking technology developed for the U.S. military might help in saving the lives of firefighters battling wildfires.

Guest Blog: Mobile Battlefield Trends and the State of In-Theater Communications

June 4, 2014
By Chris LaPoint

Ongoing changes in the tactical networks—the mobile battlefield—should provide the U.S. Cyber Command with an increased ability to discover and address vulnerabilities in these networks.

Scientists' Experiment Regrows Muscle in Wounded Legs

May 16, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine might have discovered a way to get bodies to regrow muscle following traumatic injuries.

Scientists Create Thermal-Imaging Lenses From Waste Sulfur

May 9, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

One man’s trash really can be another man’s treasure. Professors at the University of Arizona (UA) recently transformed sulfur waste from refining fossil fuels into moldable, infrared-capable plastic lenses—an incredibly inexpensive and lightweight component that can be used for night-vision goggles among other uses.

The discovery could have huge positive implications for the U.S. military, which has already expressed interest in the patent-pending polymer, Robert A. Norwood, professor of optical sciences at UA, says.

The polymer can be molded into any arbitrary shape needed, opening up a new range of options for military developers seeking alternatives to expensive and heavier night-vision goggles, Norwood says. Other military applications on a short list include thermal imaging, missile sites and spectroscopic threat detection, he adds.

These lenses could be used for any function or mission that involves heat detection and infrared light, from cameras to night-vision goggles or surveillance systems.

Norwood and his colleague Jeffrey Pyun, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UA who was first to start experimenting with sulfur-based polymers, placed the new polymer in a sort of window and snapped a photo of a man standing on the other side. “We could see the heat coming off the body,” Norwood says. “It was pretty exciting to see that.”

The professors discovered the sulfur-based lenses are transparent to mid-range infrared, between 3 to 8 microns. And the lenses have “high optical” or focusing power, which means they can be thin—and thus lightweight—to focus on nearby objects.

The UA scientists' next step involves drumming up industry and Defense Department talk and funding as they continue their research and work to improve the product. “We really would like to have now a focused program on further development of these materials,” Norwood says.

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