research and development

March 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Many tasks that are simple for humans to learn are much more complicated for robots. Illustration from Shutterstock images

Amidst a great deal of hype, hope and even apprehension regarding artificial intelligence (AI), experts at the U.S. Defense Department’s premier research and development organization intend to help smart machines reach their full potential.

February 26, 2019
By George I. Seffers
DARPA looks to the future of artificial intelligence with its Artificial Intelligence Colloquium to be held next week. Credit: kalhh/Pixabay

Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way in recent years, but the technology still has hurdles to overcome if machines are to become true partners and collaborators with humans. To help push the systems to that next level, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is hosting a two-day conference aimed at spurring the next wave of AI advances.

February 13, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Rear Adm. Boris Becker, SPAWAR commander, reports that over the past year the Navy has created an agile software development environment for the research, development, test and evaluation community. ​Photo by Michael Carpenter

The U.S. Navy has made significant progress in developing an environment for software development operations, commonly referred to as DevOps, to benefit its research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) community, said Rear Adm.Boris Becker, USN, commander of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR).

February 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
An AH-64D Apache attack helicopter flies in front of a wall of fire during the South Carolina National Guard Air and Ground Expo at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, in 2017. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jorge Intriago

Officials leading the Defense Innovation Unit, the Defense Department’s one-of-a-kind rapid prototyping organization, intend to increase the unit’s influence, largely by focusing on technologies with the broadest applicability.

February 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
The USS Detroit (LCS 7) conducts acceptance trials, the last significant milestone before delivery to the Navy, in 2016. The Information Warfare Research Project was inspired in part by the National Shipbuilding Research Program initiated in 1971.

Months after initiating a project to research and rapidly field information warfare-related technologies, the U.S. Navy has expanded the effort servicewide and expects to field the first system by the end of fiscal year 2019.

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Systems Center Atlantic announced last summer the formation of an industry consortium for the Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP). The intent is to leverage the flexible contracting platform known as other transaction authority (OTA) to rapidly develop and deploy technologies.

January 15, 2019
Posted by George I. Seffers
A Navy electronics technician conducts maintenance on a radar aboard aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). The Navy has announced the first contract award under the Information Warfare Research Project. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco/Released

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic has awarded the first prototype project agreement valued at $1.3 million for a Low Altitude Range Communication System (LARCS) for the Marine Corps under the Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP) for $1.3 million.

The other transaction authority contract, order N65236-19-9-1001, was awarded January 8 to ATI on behalf of Booz Allen Hamilton in collaboration with Intuitive Research Technology Corporation (IRTC). A significant portion of the work will be performed by IRTC, a nontraditional defense contractor, and is scheduled to be completed in 10 months.

December 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Atoms are the building blocks for molecules. Scientists theorize that someday robots made of atoms may build a wide range of products at the molecular level.  Anusom Nakdee/Shutterstock

In the decades to come, the U.S. military may manufacture combat parts and supplies on the battlefield using robots made of molecules all working together as part of a molecular factory. The nanoscale factories could revolutionize military logistics by eliminating the need to transport or store parts and supplies for every possible contingency. The same technology may prove useful for tying together strands of molecules for superstrong, lightweight armor.

November 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
The HoneyBot, a robotic system acting as a honeypot to lure hackers, could be used to protect critical infrastructure facilities. Credit: Rob Felt

In the coming months, researchers from Georgia Tech will reveal the results of testing on a robot called the HoneyBot, designed to help detect, monitor, misdirect or even identify illegal network intruders. The device is built to attract cyber criminals targeting factories or other critical infrastructure facilities, and the underlying technology can be adapted to other types of systems, including the electric grid.

The HoneyBot represents a convergence of robotics with the cyber realm. The diminutive robot on four wheels essentially acts as a honeypot, or a decoy to lure criminal hackers and keep them busy long enough for cybersecurity experts to learn more about them, which ultimately could unmask the hackers.

August 7, 2018
Posted by George I. Seffers
A new fabrication process enables the creation of soft robots at the millimeter scale with features on the micrometer scale as shown here with the example of a soft robotic spider with moving body parts and colored eyes and abdomens. Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University

Researchers have developed an integrated fabrication process that for the very first time enables the design of soft robots on the millimeter scale with micrometer-scale features. To demonstrate the capabilities of their new technology, they created a robotic soft spider from a single elastic material with body-shaping, motion and color features.

The research team members are from Harvard University's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Boston University. The study is published in Advanced Materials.

May 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
An electronic warfare specialist trains on the Versatile Radio Observation and Direction system at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Credit: Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, USA, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division

After years of lagging behind competitors in the battle for electromagnetic spectrum dominance, the U.S. Army may be catching up with reinforcement from technology researchers. But it may be the application of technology rather than the systems themselves that truly gives the Army an edge.

Service leaders say they lost focus on electronic warfare and information warfare capabilities while preoccupied with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where cutting-edge technologies were not a necessity. Now, they contend, the next war likely will be against a foe capable of formidable offense and defense in the electromagnetic domain.

April 25, 2018
Posted by George I. Seffers
Technology developed under DARPA’s Vertical Lift and Takeoff Experimental Plane program has gained approval to transition to the commercial sector. Photo credit: Aurora Flight Sciences

The Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA) has agreed to allow Aurora Flight Sciences to transition its X-Plane program technology to commercial applications, including expanding its research into commercial electronic vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) systems, the company has announced.

April 3, 2018
Posted by George I. Seffers
U.S. Army CERDEC is extending the registration deadline for its technical interchange with industry at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Credit: U.S. Army CERDEC

The U.S. Army's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, is extending the registration deadline for its technical interchange with industry to 5 p.m. EST, April 13.

The meeting, which is an opportunity for industry to learn about CERDEC's core mission and research and development activities, is scheduled for May 2-4 at the Myer Auditorium at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

Those interested should register immediately at https://www.cerdec.army.mil/industryday/.

April 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
NASA’s development of new communications satellites began in 1960 based on the theory that placing them in a geosynchronous orbit would keep the satellites in the same area of the sky relative to the rotating Earth. Just 17 months later, NASA launched Syncom I, but the satellite stopped sending signals a few seconds before it reached its final orbit and was soon replaced by Syncom II.  NASA

Researchers working on behalf of the U.S. intelligence community are kicking off a program designed to develop a revolutionary capability for monitoring objects in geostationary orbit, including functioning satellites and hundreds of thousands of bits of space debris. The program will attempt to provide low-cost approaches for passive ground-based interferometric imaging of space objects, a technique using two or more telescopes or lenses.

March 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
The Air Force Distributed Common Ground Station is receiving a new open architecture that will allow more rapid adoption of new capabilities and is destined to obtain deep learning technology to enhance data analysis and multidomain command and control.

The U.S. Air Force is deploying a new open architecture for its primary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system. At the same time, Air Force researchers are developing deep learning capabilities that will allow the decades-old system to sort through reams of data more easily, enabling faster decision making on the battlefield and enhancing multidomain command and control.

April 17, 2017
 

The Department of Defense (DoD) will issue 23 awards totaling $163 million to academic institutions to perform multidisciplinary basic research. The awards are for a five-year period, subject to satisfactory research progress and the availability of funds.

March 27, 2017
By George I. Seffers
DARPA’s Vanishing Programmable Resources program is developing electronics that disappear.

Troy Olsson, a program manager in the Microsystems Technology Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, says providing technologies to support warfighters is the most satisfying part of his job.

Olsson's connection to warfighters comes in part from his relationship with his grandfather, a former Navy man who taught him right from wrong, valued hard work and never forgot how to navigate by the stars.

November 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers
U.S. forces in the Pacific need robotic systems capable of operating in tunnels and underground facilities. U.S. Army researchers in the region have coordinated an effort to modify existing systems to counter subterranean weapons of mass destruction.

A U.S. Army research and development organization in Tokyo is forming partnerships across the Asia-Pacific region—including in India, Malaysia and Vietnam—to help support warfighter needs and strengthen ties to neighboring nations.

One partnership involves multiple U.S. organizations that collaborated to modify and field a robotic system capable of working in tunnels or underground facilities to counter weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Researchers have fielded an interim solution, and a program of record is possible.

October 17, 2016
 
The National Science Foundation has announced 11 awards to enhance public access to radio frequency spectrum.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced 11 awards, totaling $12 million, to support activities aimed at enhancing the public's access to the radio frequency spectrum, the part of the electromagnetic spectrum used to facilitate telecommunications and modern information systems essential for public safety, transportation and national defense.

These three-year awards continue NSF's ongoing investment in radio spectrum research, which over the past five years has supported more than 140 awards through an investment of over $60 million.

October 4, 2016
 
The National Science Foundation's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics reports that in 2013 five states dominated the country's business research and development.

Five states accounted for just over half of the $255 billion of research and development (R&D) companies paid for and performed in the United States in 2013, according to a new report from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.

Business R&D is geographically concentrated in the United States to a greater degree than either gross domestic product (GDP) or population. The five states with the highest levels of business R&D performance—California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas and Washington—accounted for $133 billion, or 52 percent, of the total.

July 29, 2016
 

Dynamic Animation Systems Inc.,* Fairfax, Virginia (W911NF-16-D-0019); Cole Engineering Services Inc.,* Orlando, Florida (W911NF-16-D-0020); Dignitas Technologies LLC,* Orlando, Florida (W911NF-16-D-0021); Intelligent Decision Systems Inc.,* Centreville, Virginia (W911NF-16-D-0022); VCOM3D, Orlando, Florida (W911NF-16-D-0023); Cole Engineering Services Inc.,* Orlando, Florida (W911NF-15-D-0024); STS International Inc.,* Berkeley Springs, West Virginia (W911NF-16-D-0025); Intelligent Decision Systems Inc.,* Centreville, Virginia (W911NF-16-D-0026); Engineering & Computer Simulation, Orlando, Florida (W911NF-16-D-0027); Cole Engineering Services Inc.,* Orlando, Florida (W911NF-16-D-0028); Digintas Technologies LLC,* Orlando, Florida (W

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