Artificial limbs have advanced quite a bit since the days of the pirate peg leg, but not nearly enough for DARPA. The Pentagon agency has kicked off a new phase of its "Revolutionizing Prosthetics" program that sets the hefty goal of creating a fully-functional human limb directly controlled by the brain within five years, according to Wired's Danger Room.
Missile strikes by Predators, Reapers, or other aerial drones usually result in messy explosions on the ground. Now the never-ending but perhaps futile quest to attain zero collateral damage may take another step forward, with a small micro-drone missile that can kill individual targets from afar.
Biomimicry isn't new, nor are robotic hummingbirds, but the latest 'bot to come out of Chiba University in Japan makes even the DARPA-inspired Nano Air Vehicle -- which is very cool, needless to say -- look like last year's robotics.
Those of us who can plug directly into the grid likely don’t think much about where our power comes from, but for people living in remote regions of the world or militaries operating far from the nearest three-prong outlet, being able to pack power with you is a priority. With that in mind, California-based Bourne Energy has devised a hydroelectric generator that breaks down to backpack size, making green energy as portable as any standard rucksack.
Drones can do just about everything autonomously these days, but most systems still require human assistance to land, refuel and take off again. Now, an aerospace startup, Aerovel, hopes to change that with its hover-capable Flexrotor drone that will come with its own automated docking station. No human ground support needed, The Register reports.
To perfect the vertical and short takeoff and landing ability of the F-35 Lightning II, test pilots have been taking off and landing at progressively shorter distances and slower speeds, building up to the final, true vertical boost. And today, engine manufacturers Pratt and Whitney released video of the slowest, shortest takeoff and landing yet, in which the jet cruises to a stop at 130 knots.
Some take religious journeys to sacred places, others gather at the home fields of beloved sports teams. But my pilgrimage? One day it will be here, to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group outside of Tucson. Better known as the "Boneyard," it's the place where nearly 5,000 aerospace vehicles have gone to die. I'm going to spend the rest of the work day scoping out the new high-res Google map.
Parents across the Lone Star State are in an uproar after the Texas Tribune found that the Department of State Health Services covered up the donation of blood samples from 800 newborn babies to a forensic database created by the US military. Although the blood was taken as part of routine disease screening, the state gave the blood away without the consent of the parents, to help the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory create a mitochondrial DNA database.
This Python Goes Boom: courtesy of British Ministry of Defense
Clearing battlefield obstacles has pitted trapper against sapper since Roman times. But whereas the minefields and dragon teeth of previous conflicts merely slowed advancing armies, the IEDs favored by today's insurgents have become the number one killer in the Long War. Now, to ensure safe passage through trap laden Afghan paths, the British Army is fighting fire with even bigger fire in the form of their newly developed Python explosive whip.
In a dangerous legacy of the world's deadliest conflict, 150,000 World War Two-era sea mines litter the Baltic Sea. The danger these bombs pose to a proposed gas pipeline has prompted Russia to hire the British firm Bactec International to clear the sea of unexploded ordnance. And for Bactec, that means it's time to bring out the robots.
Futuristic airborne energy weapons have officially arrived, so mark your calendars. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency said that its airborne laser weapon successfully shot down a ballistic missile during a test late last night, according to Reuters.
DARPA wants to know what's happening in the skies overhead and seeks full situational awareness on the ground, so we suppose it's no surprise that now it wants full, real-time surveillance of what's happening beneath the surface.
The difficulty of supplying remote outposts across rugged terrain has contributed to many of the deadliest moments in the Afghan War, by preventing the delivery of weapons and ammo to engaged soldiers, forcing supplies to travel over dangerous roads, or turning helicopters into vulnerable targets. Last June, the Marines put out a call for a helicopter UAV to solve those problems. Now, with a successful demonstration at Utah's Dugway Proving Grounds, the Marines might have found their robocopter.
Attention recruits. Those of you landing in Afghanistan in coming months may not have to engage in the sandbag stacking and trench digging usually associated with lowly grunt-dom. An $800,000 investment in an armored wall system known as McCurdy’s Armor could have Marines rapidly erecting 6.5-foot-tall mortar-, RPG- and bullet proof fortresses in less than an hour, saving the days it can take to fortify an area by conventional means and making forward-operating units more nimble.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.