Even though giant companies like Lockheed and General Dynamics produce the majority of U.S. military hardware, the Department of Defense still turns to small businesses for some of its more speculative, futuristic programs. Uniforms that detect the exact place and type of wound, computer targeting for air-to-air machine guns and non-lethal mini-drone missiles are just some of the new technologies the DoD hopes to farm out this year to more boutique firms.
The Small Business Innovation Research program released its latest slate of solicitations yesterday. These solicitations represent a peek into what the U.S. Armed Forces imagine for their future. And based on this latest bunch of requests, the military anticipates a future force of digitally integrated soldiers operating an ever-more-versatile array of robots.
When you control a budget that exceeds a trillion dollars, you don’t have to wait until after Thanksgiving to start writing your holiday present wish list. The Department of Defense (DoD) has just released an early version of its small business programs for 2012, with every branch clamoring for futuristic technology that ranges from transforming robots to nanotech medicine to sensors that can figure out political beliefs through language analysis.
Within the vast, undifferentiated torrent of data that courses through the Internet, there hides an intricate topology of information. Decision makers with millions of dollars on the line need a much more detailed map of that information texture than mass-market engines like Google can provide. For bespoke, targeted data curation, corporations and governments turn to a young company called Quid to find hidden connections in the maelstrom of data that can make fortunes or save lives.
While various cyber-attacks against US government and business targets are numerous and well-documented, America's own offensive capabilities in this area have remained mostly out of view. However, in his recent testimony before Congress, NSA chief Lt. General Keith Alexander reversed that history a bit, and confirmed that the US has, and is, engaged in offensive cyber-warfare. Alexander also explicated how cyber-combat factors into the general doctrine of legality of war.
From rabies to bird flu to HIV, diseases passing from animals to humans is a well-known phenomenon. But a virus jumping from plants to humans? Never. At least, that's what doctors thought until Didier Raoult of the University of the Mediterranean in Marseilles, France, discovered that the mild mottle virus found in peppers may be causing fever, aches, and itching in humans. If validated, this would mark the first time a plant virus has been found to cause problems in people.
In the French city of Toulouse, the newest craze in sustainable energy is about to hit the streets. Literally. Inspired by a nightclub in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the city of Toulouse has begun investigating the installation of energy-absorbing sidewalk panels that would harvest pedestrian power to fuel the street lights.
This year, the White House is asking you to send more than just your taxes to the government on April 15th. They also want you to send your ideas on which grand, unsolved scientific challenge of the 21st century you think the US should tackle first. They're thinking big here. Landing-on-Mars, cure-for-HIV, cold-fusion big. And Uncle Sam wants you to help them direct the research.
While three-dimensional printing has come a long way, engineers still struggle with fabricating objects smaller than a quarter. In those small structures, the upper layers crush and distort the weak lower ones. To solve this problem, researchers at the University of Illinois have come up with a novel solution: print out a flat sheet, and then fold it, origami style, into the desired shape.
Until recently, radio astronomers have concentrated almost exclusively on the high-energy radiation streaming in towards Earth from exotic stellar bodies like pulsars, quasars, and super-massive black holes. But now, a new European observatory called the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) has begun releasing data on the low-energy radiation that permeates the Universe.
Most robots covered on this site push the envelope of technology, by working in space or eerily replicating flesh-and-blood humans. But for Sam Todo, a student in the Togolese Republic in Africa, robotics is a way to put the outdated technology found in the garbage to new, innovative uses. In this video, Todo displays a humanoid robot he created almost entirely from discarded TV parts.