research and development

November 6, 2014
George I. Seffers
Biobots detect and track sounds for search and rescue.

I know what you’re thinking—cockroach karaoke! But that’s just not right.

North Carolina State University researchers have developed technology that allows cyborg cockroaches, or biobots, to pick up sounds with small microphones and seek out the source of the sound. The technology is designed to help emergency personnel find and rescue survivors in the aftermath of a disaster.

August 4, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

U.S. Defense Department officials are turning to science and engineering to reduce drastically the time it takes to develop military platforms—from ships to aircraft and ground vehicles.

July 17, 2014
By George I. Seffers

U.S. representatives from both parties have introduced the Department of Energy (DOE) Laboratory Modernization and Technology Transfer Act of 2014, a companion bill to the Senate’s America INNOVATES Act (S. 1973). The bills would bring the U.S. national lab system into the 21st century and promote the easy transfer of federal research into the hands of the private sector, improving the public-private partnerships considered essential to bringing innovative ideas to the marketplace.

July 9, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

Kent Schneider, AFCEA’s president and chief executive officer, has called the 2013 U.S. Defense Department’s budget woes “the perfect storm.” Budget cuts, travel restrictions and sequestration converged to create an atmosphere of uncertainty and indecision. For the services, this meant a bit of scrambling to determine how reduced funding could have the least impact on national security. For the defense industry, it became a time of reaction and cutbacks, or at least flat budgets.

May 9, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Navy has evaluated color-coded chemical detection technology known as colorimetric explosive detection kits, the service recently announced. Colorimetric detection technology is based upon a series of chemical reactions that produce a visual response, most often in the form of a color change dependent upon the molecular structure of the compounds being tested. 

May 5, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

Sandia National Laboratories' Predicting Performance Margins (PPM) project is working on improving the understanding of material science. The long-term, multidisciplinary program aims at identifying how material variability affects performance margins for an engineering component or machine part. The goal is to determine a science-based foundation for materials design and analysis to help predict how they will perform in specific applications. The research could lead to safer and more reliable spacecraft, bridges, power grids, cars, nuclear power plants and other complex engineered systems.

May 2, 2014
George I. Seffers

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) will open spaces on its campus for local researchers from academia, industry and other government agencies to foster in-person interactions for deeper insight into the service’s technological challenges.

April 17, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The U.S. Defense Department will award $167 million in research funding to academic institutions as part of the department’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI). During the next five years, 24 awards will be issued through the program to support multidisciplinary basic research, which will be conducted by teams of investigators that intersect more than one traditional science and engineering discipline. More than 60 academic institutions are expected to participate in the 24 research efforts.

April 15, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration has issued a request for proposals to further develop “extreme scale” supercomputer technology under the FastForward program. Contracts will total about $100 million and the funding period will be from July 2014 to November 2016. Proposals are due May 9.

April 8, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Navy has successfully demonstrated the Autonomous Aerial Cargo and Utility System (AACUS), which allows current, full-size helicopters to be remotely controlled by a tablet device. Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, USN, chief of naval research, recently revealed that two young Marines at Quantico, Virginia, were able to land a full-size helicopter autonomously on an unprepared landing site with just one touch on a mini-tablet.

April 8, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The Obama administration has announced a series of efforts to promote successful entrepreneurship in the United States and around the world. The steps include the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, a group of successful American businesspeople who have committed to sharing their time, energy, ideas and experience to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs. The administration also intends to attract the best and the brightest by publishing proposed rules intended to make the United States more attractive to foreign entrepreneurs.

March 3, 2014

Infoscitex Corp., Waltham, Mass. (FA8650-14-D-6500) and Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp., Systems Engineering Solutions, Boulder, Colo. (FA8650-14-D-6501), have each been awarded a $60,100,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for research and development.

February 27, 2014
By Cyndy Hogan

The Port of Honolulu will host a demonstration of a portable hydrogen fuel cell unit in 2015 with the goal of developing a commercial-ready technology to provide sustainable power to ports worldwide. Hydrogen researchers at Sandia National Laboratories working with several partners will produce a self-contained unit that can fit in a 20-foot shipping container and consist of four 30-kilowatt fuel cells, a hydrogen storage system and power conversion equipment that can be transported anywhere power is needed.

February 11, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

Business as usual will weaken rather than strengthen the U.S. military in this time of budget cuts. The force must rely on technology development to ensure that it does not maintain current force sizes at the expense of enablers.

These points were outlined by Christine Fox, acting deputy secretary of defense, at the opening keynote address at West 2014, co-sponsored by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute and being held February 11-13 in San Diego. Fox allowed that the military must become smaller over the next five years, and it must maintain capabilities that will enable it to meet any of a number of challenges.

February 6, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has released a catalog of some of its fundamental and applied research in computer science. The catalog includes software, publications, data and detailed results of experiments.

January 14, 2014
By Cyndy Hogan

Researchers have taken the concept of radar and sonar imaging a step further to track people, even through walls. Wi-Vi, which Dina Katabi and her graduate student Fadel Adib are developing at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, transmits a low-power Wi-Fi signal and uses its reflections to track human movement. Katabi is a professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The system uses two transmit antennas and a single receiver.

January 7, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) selected eight teams eligible to receive up to $1 million to continue their work following the conclusion of the agency’s Robotics Challenge trials. These top teams will now prepare for the finals, which will occur at some point in the next 12-18 months. The robots performed a series of eight simple tasks, such as walking a short distance or cutting a hole in a wall, at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, Florida. DARPA designed the tasks to simulate what a future robot might have to do to safely enter and effectively work inside a disaster zone.

December 3, 2013

Eight emerging cybersecurity technologies developed by the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories will be featured at the Transition-to-Practice Technology Demonstration Day for Investors, Integrators and IT Companies East event on December 18 in Washington, D.C. The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate will unveil new capabilities for intrusion detection, removable media protection, software assurance and malware forensics.

November 22, 2013
By Maryann Lawlor

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is expanding its Young Faculty Award (YFA) program research topics to 18 and is now allowing FYA researchers to work with subcontractors. The 2014 FYA solicitation includes technical topic areas in the physical sciences, engineering, materials, mathematics, biology, computing, informatics and manufacturing disciplines. The research must be of interest to DARPA’s Defense Sciences and Microsystems Technology offices. Eligible applicants must be employed in U.S. institutions of higher learning and withing five years of appointment to a tenure-track position.

September 30, 2013

Industry and government personnel believe that event cancellations and travel restrictions are having a negative impact on innovation and collaboration. According to one survey, the massive decrease in conferences that facilitate intelligence gathering and networking will adversely affect government contractors’ abilities to provide the most up-to-date information, solutions and best practices that government agencies require.

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