If you want to know what the future looks like, sit down and have a talk with Roy Minson. He's the senior vice president and general manager of unmanned aircraft systems at Aerovironment, the manufacturer of nearly 85 percent of the Department of Defense's unmanned aircraft fleet--not the Reapers and Predators that so often make headlines, but small aerial systems that make up the vast majority of the DoD's 7,000 strong unmanned aircraft fleet. That is to say, business with the defense sector is good at Aerovironment. But today Minson is talking almost exclusively about non-military applications for the company's hardware--him, and just about everybody else at the nation's largest robotic systems show.
LAS VEGAS--Military personnel and defense contractors attending the year’s largest unmanned systems convention here awoke this morning to a bit of breaking robotics news unraveling thousands of miles away from their briefing rooms and exhibition booths. First lighting up Twitter and later acknowledged by the Army, the first flight of Northrop Grumman’s robotic Long-Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) took place this morning in New Jersey, marking the first flight of one of the DoD’s next generation military airships.
U.S Customs and Border Protection has a new hire on hand at its Nogales, Ariz., border crossing between the United States and Mexico. CBP has installed an avatar kiosk at the checkpoint to help quickly move persons enrolled in CBP’s Trusted Traveler program through the border crossing quickly, analyzing what they say--both their words and the way they say them--for suspicious signals.
The U.S. military has been looking for ways to smarten up its dumb projectiles for years--look no further than this GPS guided mortar round recently fielded by the army--hoping to increase lethality while reducing collateral damage. The Navy is no exception to this trend, and the seaborne branch is looking for precision beyond its current arsenal.
Syria’s regime announced for the first time this week that it has chemical weapons, and stands ready to use them if attacked. A new type of paint could potentially guard against it, protecting tanks and armored vehicles with a special chemical-absorbing topcoat.
There’s more to iris scans than meets the eye, and that could end up being their undoing. New academic research coming out at the Black Hat Security conference this week shows a way to recreate iris images from the digital codes underlying iris-scanning security protocols--images that are so good that they can trick commercial-grade iris-scanning security devices into thinking they’re the real thing.
The majority of engineers are men. The majority of U.S. Army soldiers are also men. So when a new piece of equipment is being designed--equipment that could change the outcome of a life or death situation--it's made with men in mind. Then, if women need it, they might just have to shoehorn themselves into the male variety, as is currently the case with body armor. But the Army recently announced it'll try to change that by testing new body armor built for women.