Technology Blog

DARPA Doubles Down on Blackjack

October 11, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
DARPA’s Blackjack program wilDARPA’s Blackjack program will leverage commercial low Earth orbit solutions, says Paul “Rusty” Thomas, Blackjack program manager. Concept graphic courtesy of DARPAl leverage commercial low Earth orbit solutions, says Paul “Rusty” Thomas, Blackjack program manager. Credit: Concept graphic courtesy of DARPA

Through its LEO satellite demonstration project, the agency aims to create a more resilient, and less expensive, agnostic spacecraft architecture.

Study Finds Robots Could Someday Recognize Human Emotions

October 7, 2019
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Credit: Lemberg Vector studio

A new study shows that robots could be taught to recognize human emotions from the way people move.

Heartfelt Security Application Emerges

October 7, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Sandia National Laboratories is pursuing a heartbeat-based technology for a security application. Credit: Shutterstock/LuckyStep

Key government research arm signs an agreement with small business to develop security system based on the human heartbeat.

Army Approves Advanced Manufacturing Policy

October 4, 2019
Posted by George I. Seffers
A new policy approved by the secretary of the Army requires the use of advanced manufacturing techniques, which included 3D printing, for new and existing systems. Credit: Pixabay/mebner1

Advanced manufacturing includes robotics, artificial intelligence, composite materials and additive manufacturing, often referred to as 3D printing.

Structure Increases Content Value

September 30, 2019
By Maryann Lawlor
 Putting content in predetermined structures facilitates sharing, tracking and reusing., Information formatting standardization facilitates sharing data on a number of platforms.,  Authors within a structured content environment can produce material that can used in a number of ways.

Going from business as usual to a structured content environment poses some trials, but making the transition is worth the work.

Students in Sandia Program Evaluate Autonomy and AI for Hypersonic Applications

September 27, 2019
Students from the Autonomy New Mexico program at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque developed drone platforms in order to test hypersonic system applications. Credit: Vince Gasparich

Team of interns developed drone platforms as a testbed for hypersonic systems.

Civil Libertarians Wrong to Fear Biometrics

September 26, 2019
By Shaun Waterman
Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley said biometrics will fundamentally change the way we must think about privacy during his closing keynote at the Federal Identity Forum and Expo. Photo: Shaun Waterman/Signal

Civil libertarians are wrong to fear facial recognition and other biometric identity technologies. But, they will fundamentally change the way we must think about privacy and could have very negative consequences for democracy if not regulated correctly.

Misperceptions About Facial Recognition Taint Public Conversation

September 26, 2019
By Shaun Waterman
Panelists (l-r) Duane Blackburn, S&T policy analyst for The MITRE Corporation; Ralph Rodriguez, Facebook research scientist; Logan O'Shaughnessy, attorney, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board; Arun Ross, professor, Michigan State University; and moderator Stephanie Schuckers, director of the Center for Identification Technology Research at Clarkson University, discuss misperceptions about facial recognition at FedID 2019. Photo: Shaun Waterman/Signal

Experts: Bad science and click-driven media stokes public fears on facial recognition technology.

Shape-Shifting Robots Built from Smaller Robots

September 25, 2019
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Close-up of a "smarticle"—smart active particle—showing the two 3D-printed arms, light sensor and motor. Credit: Rob Felt, Georgia Tech, Five identical "smarticles” interact with one another in an enclosure. By nudging each other, the group—dubbed a "supersmarticle"—can move in random ways. The research could lead to robotic systems capable of changing their shapes, modalities and functions. Credit: Rob Felt, Georgia Tech, Light hits a smarticle causing it to stop moving, while the other smarticles continue to flap their arms. The resulting interactions produce movement toward the stopped smarticle, providing control that doesn't depend on computer algorithms. Credit: Rob Felt, Georgia Tech

Researchers have taken a new approach to developing robots—using smaller robots known as “smarticles” to unlock the principles of a potentially new locomotion technique.

NIST: Facial Recognition Technology Improving by Leaps and Bounds

September 24, 2019
By Shaun Waterman
Credit: Shutterstock/Andrey_Popov

Facial recognition technology has become “spectacularly” more effective at matching an individual with their photo in a gallery of millions of pictures.

Identification Verification Capabilities Shrink

September 19, 2019
By Maryann Lawlor
The wearable authentication tokens will enable soldiers at every echelon to prove their identity when operating systems, devices and applications on the Army tactical network. Credit: Spc. Dustin D. Biven, USA, 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, The Task ID and Access Management (TIDAM) program’s tokens are lightweight, flexible and rugged. They can be inserted in a pocket, attached to a sleeve or integrated into a wristband. Credit: Douglas Scott, Soldiers wearing TIDAM tokens could log in by getting near to a system, which would then prompt them to enter a PIN or a biometric as a second form of ID. They would be automatically logged out when they walk out of the system's range. Credit: Combat Camera, courtesy of CCDC C5ISR Center public affairs

U.S. Army's Combat Capability Development Command directorate fields a wearable ID token.

Seeing Infrared with Sandia’s Nanoantennas

September 16, 2019
Posted by: George I. Seffers
Sandia National Laboratories researchers are ready to commercialize a nanoantenna-enabled detector on an assembled focal plane array for a thermal infrared camera. The gold nanoantennas are too small to be visible on top of the detector array.    Photo courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia is pursuing leads to establish a Collaborative Research and Development Agreement to start transferring the technology to industry.


Army Researchers Work To Combat Deepfake Videos

September 11, 2019
Computer scientists at the U.S. Army¹s Combat Capabilities Development Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground are working on biometric software systems to combat so-called "deepfake" or bogus media. Credit: Shutterstock/meyer_solutions

Computer scientists are employing biometric systems to battle bogus media and protect warfighters.

Robots Go Underground

August 23, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Timothy Chung, program manager, Tactical Technology Office, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), briefs SIGNAL Magazine and other reporters on August 20 during DARPA's Subterranean Challenge at a coal mine research facility in Pittsburgh.,  Researchers from the Jet Propulsion Lab, California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and South Korea's KAIST Center, representing the CoStar Team, await to deploy additional ground robots into the coal mine tunnel on August 20 during DARPA's Subterranean Challenge.,  Team Pluto, with roboticists from the University of Pennsylvania, Exyn Technologies and Ghost Robotics, relied in part on Ghost's quadruped robot platform (pictured), as well as Exyn's advanced autonomous aerial robot.

Test of robotic systems in subterranean coal mine spells trouble for aerial systems.

Multidomain Operations Challenge Traditional Strategies

August 16, 2019
By Maryann Lawlor
During the radio rodeo, the C5ISR Center places industry radios into an operationally relevant field environment to assess their ability to operate on the move in a contested, multidomain environment. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo Courtesy of PEO C3T), Warrant Officer Alan Mendoza, USA, an all-source intelligence technician assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, reviews significant activity during exercise Allied Spirit X in Hohenfels, Germany. The exercise included participants from 15 nations, enabling U.S. military participants to evaluate communications interoperability. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Thomas Mort, USA),  The C5ISR Center’s Radio Rodeo is an opportunity for U.S. Army personnel to communication openly about their requirements and for companies to demonstrate their mature solutions. (Photo Credit: C5ISR Center)

The modernization, proliferation and commoditization of electronics make contending with peer and near-peer adversaries more difficult, lethal and deadly.

Encrypted Data Prevails in Innovation Showcase

July 29, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Judges and competitors gathering after the latest AFCEA innovation shark tank are (l-r) Robert Osborne, CTO of IMPRES Technology Solutions; judge Glenn Hernandez, national director of U.S. Cyber Challenge; judge Col. Laurie Moe Buckshot, USA (Ret.), president and CEO of Corvus Consulting; Nicholas Edwards, founder and CEO of winning company TunnelVue; Robert Stewart Jr., president and CEO of Federal Government Experts; and judge Bob Gourley, co-founder and CTO of OODA LLC.

The latest Innovation Showcase winner is a company that simplifies encryption methods to secure entire networks of data.

ARL Researches the Human Brain

July 17, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Scientists at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) monitor a soldier’s brainwaves as he operates systems in a simulated tank. The work seeks to understand thought patterns and physical states during combat pursuant to teaming the soldier with artificial intelligence.

The Army Research Laboratory is studying how the human brain functions under varying conditions so it can pair soldiers’ moods and perceptions with actions by AI.

Ant-Sized Robots Powered by Tiny Vibrations

July 17, 2019
Posted by Julianne Simpson
A micro-bristle-bot is shown next to a U.S. penny for size comparison. Credit: Allison Carter, Georgia Tech, Georgia Tech graduate student Zhijian (Chris) Hao is shown with a microscope image of a micro-bristle-bot on a U.S. penny. Credit: Allison Carter, Georgia Tech, Close-up photo shows a micro-bristle-bot, which is about 2 millimeters in length–about the size of the world’s smallest ant. Credit: Allison Carter, Georgia Tech

Researchers at Georgia Tech have created a new type of tiny 3D-printed robot that moves by harnessing the vibration from piezoelectric actuators, ultrasound sources or even tiny speakers.

Artificial Intelligence 101

June 26, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Ron Schmelzer and Kathleen Walch (r), who both are managing partners and principal analysts at Cognilytica and spoke at the recent AI World Government conference, advise that not every information technology problem can be solved by using artificial intelligence systems.

Experts make sense of the burgeoning industry and offer words of wisdom to AI users.

NSF and Federal Agencies Announce Update to National AI Plan

June 24, 2019
Posted by Gopika Ramesh
The Stampede supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas in Austin is funded by the NSF and specializes in high performance research and development and data analysis. Credit: Texas Advanced Computing Center

2019 update to the National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan refreshes 2016 version.