Applying physics to put out a fire, as opposed to chemistry, is an idea DARPA has been eyeing for a while, and it might lead to military devices that can better snuff out fires in enclosed places. Now they have demonstrated a new device in action.
Soldiers scanning the battlefield for threats may soon get a new tool: a brain-scanning set of binoculars that can pick up on a soldier’s unconscious recognition of a potential threat and bring it to his conscious attention. It’s just one of many ways DARPA and other military research groups are looking to have soldiers mind-meld with their machines and materiel, and as the BBC reports, it demonstrates how remarkably close we are to deploying mind-control on the battlefield.
In late 2011, DARPA announced its intention to create an on-orbit capability to harvest dead satellites and recycle their parts into new orbiting communications outposts. In 2012, the research arm of the DoD is making good.
Not content to let scientists figure out how to engineer animals and plants depending on the situation, DARPA wants to generalize the process, creating a manufacturing framework for all living things. The “Living Foundries” program sets up an assembly line paradigm for life and its constituent parts, and the DOD’s crazy-science arm just handed out its first research grants.
An ambitious effort for an interstellar travel planning organization officially kicked off this week, after DARPA awarded $500,000 to form the 100-Year Starship initiative. Former astronaut Mae Jemison, whose proposal was selected earlier this year, will lead the new independent organization. The goal is to ensure that the capability for human interstellar travel exists within the next 100 years.
After roughly eight months of crunching the data, DARPA has released its official report on exactly what happened to its Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle 2 (HTV-2), the Mach 20 test vehicle it launched into the atmosphere last summer only to lose contact with it nine minutes later. The conclusion: HTV-2 was moving so blisteringly fast that it tore right out of its own skin.
If you fear the robot apocalypse, perhaps your day would be much improved if you just moved on. Boston Dynamics’ PETMAN robot, developed for DARPA, is getting more humanoid-like by the day it seems, and here we see it--legs, torso, arms, and all--negotiating staircases, running on a treadmill, and even hitting the floor for some pushups. All this strength training appears to be doing PETMAN some good.
DARPA is poised to launch a new Grand Challenge for a humanoid robot, according to robotics insiders — and the result could be a souped-up metal soldier running alongside BigDog, driving an ATV, unlocking doors and clearing a path to safety for its human counterparts. There’s no official agency announcement yet, but robotics companies heard all about it at a recent industry day.