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.
research and development
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.
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.
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.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeking ideas and technical proposals for how to best develop a fully reusable unmanned aircraft that would provide access to space faster, easier and at a lower cost than current satellite launch vehicles. According to Jess Sponable, manager of the Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program, the agency aims to build on proven technologies to create a reliable, cost-effective space delivery system that can be used to launch payloads into space, return to Earth and repeat the process the next day. Technical goals include the ability to fly 10 times in 10 days achieving speeds of more than Mach 10.
The U.S. Navy is turning to crowdsourcing as a possible situational awareness aid during disasters and social unrest. Data from eyewitnesses or participants would be fused with information from other sources to provide timely understanding and appreciation of an environment or location to response teams.
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.
Utah State University Research Foundation, North Logan, Utah, was awarded a contract with a maximum value of $12 million for research and development services in support of the Precision Lightweight Weapon and Sensor Mount program. The Army Contracting Command, Fort Eustis, Va., is the contracting activity (W911W6-13-D-0005).
U.S. Army Research Laboratory officials have announced the winners of the 2013 Federal Virtual Challenge at the Defense Users’ GameTech Conference in Orlando, Florida.
The challenge featured two distinct focus areas for entries. The first required training critical thinking and adaptability skills in an immersive environment and measuring learners’ progress. The second focused on improving user interfaces in virtual environments, specifically for individual and group navigation.
The National Institutes of Health is funding the development of a medical instrument that will quickly detect biothreat agents, including anthrax, ricin and botulinum as well as infectious diseases. Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories are creating the first of its kind point-of-care device that could be used in emergency rooms during a bioterrorism incident. To design the device, which will be able to detect a broader range of toxins and bacterial agents than is currently possible, the $4 million project will include comprehensive testing with animal samples.
Sandia National Laboratories has signed an umbrella Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Caterpillar Incorporated that covers multiple projects over the next three years. Though Caterpillar is best known for large construction and mining equipment, the CRADA authorizes work in computer and computational science, information and data analysis, mathematics, engineering science and high-performance computing. Technical categories covered by the agreement include simulation design exploration, advanced analytics, multiphysics engineering modeling and simulation, and high-performance computing.
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL), Laurel, Md., is being awarded a five-year, sole source, cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, task order contract for research, development, engineering, and test and evaluation for programs throughout the Defense Department.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is investing $120 million over the next five years in an energy innovation hub. Called the Critical Materials Institute (CMI) and led by the Ames Laboratory, the hub will accommodate collaboration among scientists exploring advances in the development and commercialization of innovative clean energy technology. The CMI will bring together researchers from academia, the private sector and four DOE national laboratories to find solutions that can be applied to a material’s life cycle, including new ways to access sources of materials and innovative recycling and reuse ideas.
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. The metallic structures may respond even to high-powered LED lighting.
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) has awarded 34 contracts to 29 academic and research organizations for research and development of solutions to cyber security challenges. The contracts were awarded by the DHS S&T Cyber Security Division (CSD) under Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) 11-02 which solicited proposals in 14 technical topic areas aimed at improving security in federal networks and across the Internet while developing new and enhanced technologies for detecting, preventing and responding to cyber attacks on the nation’s critical information infrastructure.
Excet Incorporated, Springfield, Virginia, was awarded a $7,793,502 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the research and development services in support of technology that detect chemical and biological agents. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Advanced Technology International, Anderson, South Carolina, are each being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award contract for engineering services located worldwide. The maximum dollar value, including the base period and two option years, for all contracts combined is $45 million. The work to be performed provides for engineering services such as research, development, test and evaluation support, development of designs and concepts and prototypes, development of test plans, test data collection and analysis, project/program planning, project management, development and prototype of equipment/components with performance speci
Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, Maryland, is being awarded an up to $85 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, task order contract to provide for advanced research, development, and engineering support technology programs for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the contracting activity.