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.
research and development
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).