DARPA

DARPA Robotics Challenge seeks disaster response robots

DARPA Robotics Challenge seeks disaster response robots

Disasters happen, but humans have made great strides toward reducing their impact. Robots will prove to be one of the bigger assets we'll use to aid in future disaster situations, and work is underway now to make that a reality. DARPA has contributed a lot to the world of robotics, and to show off the tech that already exists is DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC); its finals are taking place today and tomorrow in California. Teams competing in the finals will scramble to create robots that, ultimately, have a relevance to disaster response needs.

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U.S. Air Force to develop new hypersonic jet

U.S. Air Force to develop new hypersonic jet

The U.S. Air Force is looking to create a new hypersonic aircraft, building upon the success of hypersonic scramjet X-51A's test flight in 2013. Hypersonic is more than just breaking the sound barrier. Hypersonic speeds are classified as Mach 5 through Mach 10, which is approximately five to ten times faster than the speed of sound. Hypersonic aircraft are so fast that a traditionally five-hour flight from Los Angeles to NYC would be cut down to, roughly, 30 minutes. These hypersonic flights are for unmanned aircraft and weapons, only. To reach these speeds, the acceleration is too much for humans to withstand.

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MIT’s latest robot cheetah can jump higher than you

MIT’s latest robot cheetah can jump higher than you

MIT's Biomimetics Robotics Lab has created a new version of its robotic cheetah. The Cheetah 2 is capable of even more animal-like actions than DARPA's faster and simpler predecessor. The Cheetah 2 can reliably identify and jump over objects up to 40 cm (about 15 inches) high. When it jumps, it mimics the movements of an actual cheetah, creating a double arc as its fore and high legs clear the hurdle.

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NASA has big plans for DARPA’s scary “Deep Web”

NASA has big plans for DARPA’s scary “Deep Web”

NASA is weighing in on the Memex "Deep Web" search project, hoping to harness DARPA's at-times ominous index to crunch vast quantities of space data. A team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to add a contextual layer to search, not only allowing the system to view webpages more like humans might, but even capable of drawing links between images and individual frames of videos. If it succeeds, it could be a much-needed blast of positive PR for a project that has become mired in controversy.

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Atlas robot gets pushed, doesn’t fall, doesn’t fight back

Atlas robot gets pushed, doesn’t fall, doesn’t fight back

Sometimes you'd think that it's "tests" like these that would have robots rebelling against their cruel human masters in the future. But for now, however, while they still don't have the intelligence to do so, we will keep on poking them. For Science! With DARPA's Robotics Challenge, the most grueling display of non-combative robot resilience, nearing its finals next month, teams like the Institute of Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) are pushing their Atlas robot to the limit, making sure they don't fall. Or don't push back.

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DARPA EXACTO Bullet live fire demo shows repeatable performance

DARPA EXACTO Bullet live fire demo shows repeatable performance

Last year we talked a bit about the new self-guided sniper bullet that DARPA was working on. That bullet is able to guide itself to a target making long distance shots much more accurate in the hands of an experienced shooter. DARPA is back with new details about this self-guided bullet.

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DARPA’s latest program will create evolving Skynet-like software

DARPA’s latest program will create evolving Skynet-like software

DARPA has some new plans up its sleeve, and they sound uncomfortably similar to SKYNET. Building Resource Adaptive Software Systems (BRASS) is the program, and it involves building software systems able to both survive for more than a century and adapt as needed to facilitate that — essentially, DARPA wants to create software able to recognize changes in a related ecosystem and “safely and dynamically incorporate optimized, tailored algorithms and implementations” in response.

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DARPA makes Google Glass-like eye display for soldiers

DARPA makes Google Glass-like eye display for soldiers

Over-eye displays like that offered by Google Glass can serve many purposes -- they facilitate navigation without having to take one's eyes off the roads, for example, and allow data to be presented without pulling out a smartphone in the middle of a project. The military is one entity that can find ample uses for eye-mounted displays, and it is no stranger to such technology. Cost is a perennial problem, however, and so its mad scientist devision DARPA has come up with a budget-friendly Glass-like solution.

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DARPA working on new GPS systems that needs no satellites

DARPA working on new GPS systems that needs no satellites

DARPA is always working on developing new technologies to help the military perform tasks that will protect the country and often that tech spills over into civilian life as well. One of the things that DARPA is working on right now is a reinvention of the GPS system that doesn't rely on satellites. This reinvention is part of DARPA's goal of ensuring American superiority in the air, maritime, ground, space, and cyber domains.

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DARPA “rethinking” how it develops new tech innovations

DARPA “rethinking” how it develops new tech innovations

DARPA has released its "Breakthrough Technologies for National Security" report, and in it the agency discusses its plans for the upcoming years. This time around, DARPA has laid out its plans to boost tech innovation to help it keep pace with the innovations being seen in other nations around the globe. The report claims the US is a technological leader in many areas, but that the wars it has been involved in over the last decade have required a lot of focus and during that time other nations have been moving quickly to close the gap.

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NVIDIA DRIVE PX self-driving car system demoed in tiny DARPA vehicle

NVIDIA DRIVE PX self-driving car system demoed in tiny DARPA vehicle

NVIDIA is showing a smart vehicle the size of a remote-controlled car called Project Dave this week at GTC 2015. This is a DARPA project which runs NVIDIA DRIVE PX - a smart system made to allow this vehicle to navigate on its own. Deep neural net in action. We first learned about NVIDIA DRIVE PX back at CES 2015 where it was just a mobile supercomputer. In Dave, 3.1 million connections are made, video is processed at 12 frames per second, and 38 million connections are made per second.

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DARPA’s “Dark Web” revealing Memex tool is also pretty scary

DARPA’s “Dark Web” revealing Memex tool is also pretty scary

In the realm of cybersecurity, balancing national security and personal privacy is undoubtedly a tough act to pull off. The Internet has long been held as the bastion of free speech, but it has also become a breeding ground and hiding place for miscreants. So it isn't surprising that law enforcers would want to penetrate all corners of the Web in order to catch the bad guys. That is exactly what DARPA's new search engine called Memex is trying to do, by diving even into the depths of the "Dark Web".

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