Reversing years of Bush administration policy, the White House announced that it has scrapped plans for an Eastern European component of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) shield. Instead of placing radar and interceptors in Poland and the Czech Republic, the Obama Administration will instead deploy anti-missile capable warships in southern Europe and/or Turkey.
In addition to reorienting from a Russian threat to an Iranian missile threat, the move also means a shift from speculative, advanced anti-missile technology to older, proven systems.
By Emily StonePosted 08.24.2009 at 4:15 pm 8 Comments
An enemy missile has no strategic value if its computer is down. A high-power-microwave emitter can disable a missile's electronics on the launchpad, leaving bystanders unharmed -- and now Texas Tech University engineers have a plan to scale down the truck-size tech.
A few years from now, bird-watchers may be in for a double take: that flapping creature in the distance? Nope, not a bird. Mutant dragon fly? Nope--it's Darpa's latest unmanned aerial robo-sentinel, inspired by the flight mechanics of birds.
In its attempts to quash weapons of mass destruction, the Pentagon has been trying novel ways to track down dangerous materiel. For years, DARPA has been trying to train insects and bugs to sniff out toxic substances, providing more sensitive detection, as well as access that conventional sensors might not have.
The flexible, durable, wearable screen could soon be standard issue
By Arnie CooperPosted 06.16.2009 at 12:09 pm 28 Comments
A special-ops soldier carries a slew of gadgets into battle. There's the GPS unit to pinpoint his squad's location, and a laptop for pulling up blueprints of terrorist compounds or infrared readings of buildings scoped out by robotic surveillance drones. With a radio and its five-pound battery, it's too much gear. But in a couple years, troops could lighten their load with a rugged, flexible, wrist-mounted display that's in development by the U.S. Army and HP Labs.
Israeli roboticist Amir Shapiro looks to the animal kingdom to design robots that can go where humans can't
By John PavlusPosted 06.11.2009 at 7:10 am 7 Comments
The Israel Defense Forces are preparing to deploy a camouflage-wearing, camera-toting robot snake. The spybot, which slithers through cracks and caves using principles of motion derived from those of actual snakes, is just one of roboticist Amir Shapiro's clever designs based on animal physiology. We visited Dr. Shapiro's lab at Ben Gurion University of the Negev to get a closer look.
The foot-controlled "Luke" prosthetic arm may not win any lightsaber fights, but it could soon lend a helping hand to wounded warriors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. A three-year study by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is slated to provide engineering feedback before widespread distribution to veterans, according to an announcement last week.
iRobot's multipurpose PackBot has helped lead the way among war-bots, disabling improvised explosives and carrying out recon missions for snipers. But soon paperback-sized robots such as the Ember prototype could join their larger cousins on the battlefield.
Normally, when a ship sets sail, one of the goals is to avoid sinking. However, USNS Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg cast off yesterday with the express purpose of ending up at the bottom of the briny deep. Purchased by Key West for $8.6 million, the former U.S. Navy ship was then sunk by demolition experts to provide a platform for a new coral reef.