Military

DARPA is launching an autonomous, submarine-hunting robot ship in April

DARPA is launching an autonomous, submarine-hunting robot ship in April

As the division of the US military most responsible high-tech developments, DARPA has announced that April will the launch of a futuristic ship that is designed to detect and fight submarines at sea. But the thing is, the ship doesn't even have a crew; it's completely autonomous. That means it's basically a robotic, submarine-hunting drone yacht. Unfortunately, because it's the military, they have to give it an acronym for its long, ridiculous name, instead of just calling it an "autonomous submarine hunter."

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DARPA FLA project drone zooms indoors at 45MPH

DARPA FLA project drone zooms indoors at 45MPH

DARPA’s Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program has resulted in a small drone that can zip through indoor corridors at just under 45MPH, doing so autonomously and without crashing. A specially crafted small drone was used, and it was equipped with a high-definition camera and a bunch of sensors onboard, enabling it to ‘see’ and avoid obstacles. The flight testing happened at the Otis Air National Guard Base in Cape Cod.

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DARPA: ‘stentrode’ implant travels to brain via blood vessels

DARPA: ‘stentrode’ implant travels to brain via blood vessels

Under DARPA’s Reliable Neural-Interface Technology program, a team from the University of Melbourne has created a new device called a ‘stentrode’ that, when implanted near one’s brain, is able to read signals from neurons. The work was done as part of a DARPA project, and it is said to be safer than implants requiring brain surgery. The device is about the size of a paperclip, according to the researchers, and it is implanted through a blood vessel.

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New camo design is (almost) invisible to night vision

New camo design is (almost) invisible to night vision

In a statement today, the Bundeswehr Scientific Institute in Germany unveiled a new camouflage design it has been working on for a handful of years. With this new design, soldiers in the nation's armed forces (Bundeswehr) will be far less visible to night vision devices than when wearing the current "Flecktarnmuster" pattern introduced in the early 90s. This new design, Multitarnmuster, is said to have two big advantages.

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Iran buzzed a US aircraft carrier to test its spy drone

Iran buzzed a US aircraft carrier to test its spy drone

Iran claims to have flown a reconnaissance drone over a US aircraft carrier, part of a war-games op the American Navy has blasted as "unprofessional". The incident is believed to have taken place in early January, with the drone part of a combined effort to surveil not only the USS Harry S. Truman but a French aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, which were both in international waters in the Persian Gulf at the time.

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DARPA program seeks brain-to-computer translator implant

DARPA program seeks brain-to-computer translator implant

DARPA has revealed details on a new program that is looking to create neural interface implants for transferring data between the digital world and the human brain. According to the research entity, this implant, should it be successfully developed, will serve as a translator for the data between the two, taking data from the brain and translating it into something for computers, and taking data from computers and translating it for the brain.

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Army’s first UAS ‘Hunter’ retired this month

Army’s first UAS ‘Hunter’ retired this month

The U.S. Army retired its first Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) this month, doing so with a formal ceremony to mark the end of “Hunter” and its long years of service. The drone took its last flight on December 16 at the Robert Gray Army Airfield, and was called a “valuable” tool for commanders and troops alike. Describing his role, Hunter’s operator Staff Sgt Zachary Norris said, “We’re like the ‘Eyes in the Sky’ for the ground troops.”

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DARPA’s BigDog robot put to pasture for being too noisy

DARPA’s BigDog robot put to pasture for being too noisy

It is probably a sad day for the robotics community. LS3, more popularly known as "BigDog" or even "AlphaDog", is practically being shelved. The quadruped robot, built by Boston Dynamics (before it was bought by Google) for DARPA, will no longer be the US military's dreamed pack mule in the field. Despite having all the flexibility, agility, strength, and even autonomy they'd want in a robot, BigDog apparently failed in one very critical criteria: it was just too noisy, making it dangerous to have around you in a hush hush operation.

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GM and Army team for Chevy Colorado fuel cell off-roader

GM and Army team for Chevy Colorado fuel cell off-roader

General Motors (GM) has announced that it has teamed up with the US Army to put a Chevrolet Colorado 4x4 truck that is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell into testing. The truck will be used for “extreme off-road” action according to GM. The truck will be in testing for 12 months with the Army.

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Uber and Lyft team up, give free rides to homeless veterans

Uber and Lyft team up, give free rides to homeless veterans

Uber and Lyft are both on board with a White House effort that aims to get homeless veterans off the street. Under the Joining Forces initiative, both ridesharing services will offer free rides to homeless veterans who need a lift to a job interview or something else job-related. The announcement comes on the cusp of Veterans Day, and addresses one of the bigger needs homeless veterans face when attempting to reintegrate into every day life — getting from point A to point B in a timely and affordable manner.

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Army details project for reading intelligence analysts’ minds

Army details project for reading intelligence analysts’ minds

The Army has detailed a research project in which a computer has successfully read a soldier’s mind, doing so by decoding brain signals. The technology is being developed to address a growing issue in the intelligence community — the glut of imagery gathered and the relative lack of people to go through it all in search of rare gems. Using computers able to “read” neural signals, intelligence officials could look at imagery at a much faster rate, with the computer reading the neural signals to pick out when something of interest has been seen.

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Lockheed Martin has been testing a jet-mounted laser turret

Lockheed Martin has been testing a jet-mounted laser turret

Late last week, Lockheed Martin announced that it has verified the performance of its laser weapon during almost 60 flight tests over the course of this year and last. The company used an unspecified business jet as its inexpensive testing platform, it said, using it to shoot laser beams from a turret while measuring its performance across all directions. In case you missed it, Lockheed's laser is no joke.

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