Agents in the war on terror attempt to identify unknown persons each and every day, but technology developed to battle criminality around the globe could soon be identifying persons of questionable identity going back centuries. Facial recognition software designed for various security and law enforcement applications is being adapted by art historians at the University of California to identify unknown faces in portraits.
Salon's interesting takeaway from last week's big reveal of the Federal Aviation Administration's list of certified drone operators cleared to fly unmanned aerial systems in U.S. airspace: the biggest drone users in the U.S. aren't law enforcement agencies, but universities.
Like one of those James Bond villains that just won’t die, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s missile hunting laser weapon is once again battling its way back from the boneyard thanks to the “emerging” missile threat on the Korean peninsula. The House Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces panel is asking for roughly $75 million in next year’s Pentagon budget to keep the Airborne Laser program intact just in case North Korea turns out to have an intercontinental ballistic missile that works.
Metamaterials hold the elusive promise of the true invisibility cloak, one that bends light right around objects to make them invisible to viewers. But most metamaterials with any kind of potential can only be fabricated in very small sizes, and even the ones that work well--and there are a few--generally don't work in the visible spectrum.
The workaday residents of London are again being asked to participate in the defense of the city. Bow Quarter in East London is a white collar, somewhat pedestrian neighborhood populated by young families and professional types, but this summer residents very well might see their sleepy enclave militarized.
It’s perfectly understandable why commercial shipping vessels are prohibited from carrying arms in international waters. But when it comes to dealing with the threat of piracy, battles that pit water hoses against small arms and RPGs are decidedly one sided. So Japanese companies MTI and Yokoi have teamed to create what they call the “Anti-Piracy Curtain,” a system that makes it difficult--and quite intimidating--for anyone to board a ship without the consent of a crew.
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.
It gives the term skeleton key a whole new meaning: a prototype system from AT&T Labs that beams a unique vibration through a user’s bones to be picked up by a receiver in a door handle, automatically unlocking the door at the touch of the handle. Using piezoelectric transducers, the system could someday be embedded in smartphones or wristwatches to create doors that automatically unlock when the right person touches them and stay firmly dead-bolted when anyone else tries to gain entry.
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.
The Pentagon wants cyberweapons, and it wants them fast. Deftly recognizing that cyberweapons are nothing like the materiel of physical warfare, the DoD is devising a means to fast-track and field certain cyberweapons, some of which will take only days to go from development to deployment.