If NASA ever gets a clear directive for interplanetary exploration, a new Hundred-Year Starship could be their version of the Mayflower. And like the first pilgrims, Martian explorers might set sail with the knowledge they would never return home.
If it's not the most efficient piece of clothing ever designed, it very well might be the smartest. The 'DARPA hoodie,' a strangely-designed patchwork garment accented with the occasional red zipper, is made of 12 interlocking pieces of rip-resistant nylon that sew perfectly together into a hoodie with zero waste. Cooler still, it was born of an algorithm developed for DARPA's Programmable Matter program, which seeks to make T-1000-like shape-shifting smart materials.
Lasers can be powerful weapons — they can take down an aircraft at long ranges and in unstable conditions, for instance. But they are hampered by power and size limits, so they’re not widely used by the military (yet).
Lockheed Martin has a solution: a fiber laser that basically works like a backward prism.
A sniper crouches near an open window and zooms in on his target, who sits a half-mile away. He peers through a scope and holds his breath, preparing to squeeze the trigger. But it’s windy outside, and he can't afford a miss. What to do?
Taking a page from advertising strategy, DARPA is hoping to get 'em while they're young. The military's mad-science wing wants various organizations to put manufacturing equipment in 1,000 high schools around the world, part of a new program called "MENTOR" — Manufacturing Experimentation and Outreach. The partnership will include new prize-based challenges to inspire a new generation of defense manufacturers.
The XOS Exoskeleton, which was first shown off about two and a half years ago, was the first full-body suit that really evoked the sci-fi and comic fan's dream of donning a suit that grants superhuman strength. Late last week, Raytheon-Sarcos demonstrated the newest XOS suit--the sequel, you might say.
DARPA, the DoD’s blue-sky research arm, was hatched in the late 1950s as a precursor to NASA with the express directives of establishing rocket tech dominance over the Soviets and beating them into space. Things are a bit different these days – we now have NASA and we no longer have the USSR – but apparently someone out east took a shining to the DARPA model. Russia announced today that it will be fielding its own DARPA-like agency to develop innovative military technology from the ground up.
With some help from DARPA, researchers at Southern Methodist University may soon establish a lightning-fast two-way fiber optic connection between the brain and prosthetic limbs. Working with $5.6 million in DARPA funding, the Neurophotonics Research Center has a singular goal: build a biocompatible fiber optic sensor scaled down to carry individual nerve signals to and from the brain.
Boeing’s spyplane development wing won an $89 million contract this week to build the SolarEagle unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, designed to fly continuously for five years at 65,000 feet.
As the winner of Darpa’s Vulture II program, the plane really only has to fly for one to three months by 2014, however.