20 Stories

Marines Scrap 'Robot Mule'

The big one was too noisy and the small one was too weak

(Newser) - It obeys voice commands and can carry 400 pounds of equipment over rugged terrain for 24 hours—but it sounds like a lawn mower, and US Marines worried that it could get them killed. The Marine Corps has shelved the Legged Squad Support System "robotic mule" developed by Google'... More »

Insane New Bullet Corrects Own Course in Mid-Air

Pentagon shows off 'EXACTO' technology in video

(Newser) - An incredible superbullet dreamed up in 2008 is now a reality. The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency reveals it has created a self-steering bullet that can change its own course in mid-air to hit a moving target. In a DARPA video , a sniper fires at a target that... More »

Government Trying to Fix Our Memories

Pentagon invests $40M in research into implants

(Newser) - It sounds like something out of a sci-fi flick: Direct brain recording, a shorthand for probing the brain to listen to its chatter. But the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is dedicating $40 million to this high-tech field to help the estimated 270,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war... More »

Military Working on Brain Chip to Fight Mental Illness

DARPA: 'We think that we have to go well beyond what is currently available'

(Newser) - The US military's research division is turning its considerable might against one of the military's most persistent foes: mental illness . The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency today announced a $26 million effort to develop a brain implant that could treat things like PTSD, anxiety, and depression. "At... More »

Google Robot Wins Pentagon Competition

Completes Fukushima-inspired obstacle course

(Newser) - One of Google's recent robotics acquisitions cruised to victory in a Pentagon obstacle course meant to simulate a robot rescue. The Schaft robot, by a Japanese firm Google recently bought, was the top scorer in the eight-task event, held Friday and Saturday, the BBC reports. Coming in second was... More »

Military 'Cheetah' Breaks Robot Sprinting Record

DARPA prototype can go 18mph

(Newser) - Someday, the US may fight wars with an army of creepy robotic cheetahs. That's right, a Pentagon-funded robo-cheetah has been successfully tested, setting a new land-speed record for a machine with legs, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency has announced. The cheetah hit a speed of 18mph, which makes... More »

Soon, Drones Could Kill Without Human Guidance

Tests already under way for robot killers of the future

(Newser) - Could robots be the soldiers of the future? The Pentagon is currently working on drones that can identify—and will eventually be able to eliminate—targets without any human controlling them. The Washington Post details a demonstration last fall in which a pair of model-sized planes, working in tandem, located... More »

US Military Loses Contact With Hypersonic Test Glider

Second HTV-2 flight appears to end much like the first

(Newser) - An unmanned hypersonic glider developed for US defense research into super-fast global strike capability was launched atop a rocket early today, but contact was lost after the experimental craft began flying on its own, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said. There was no immediate information on how much of... More »

US Dreams of Interstellar Spaceship in 100 Years

DARPA offering $500,000 to space innovators

(Newser) - Is it possible that Star Trek and a sci-fi story written by Jules Verne more than 100 years ago will inspire the next generation of space technologies? DARPA, the research and development division of the US military, sure hopes so. In fact, the agency has promised to award $500,000... More »

Defense Dept Trying to Learn Secrets of Flying Snakes

Agency funding research into reptile's aerodynamics

(Newser) - A type of snake in Asia can remain airborne far longer than any snake should, and the Defense Department wants it to give up its secrets. The feds are funding Virginia Tech studies to figure out the aerodynamics of the tree-dwelling reptile (genus Chrysopelea), reports the Washington Post . The biologist... More »

Pentagon Workers Accused of Downloading Child Porn

Some Defense Department employees had top-secret security clearances

(Newser) - Several dozen Pentagon officials and contractors with high-level security clearances have allegedly been caught buying or downloading child pornography. Federal investigators identified alleged perverts everywhere from the NSA to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and some of them even used their work computers to download the material, the Boston ... More »

Pentagon Project Aims to Create Telepathic Troops

DARPA boffins tasked with turning brain waves into silent words

(Newser) - The Pentagon has launched a project officials hope will help soldiers of the future read each other's minds on the battlefield, Wired reports. DARPA—dubbed the military's "mad scientist" division—has been given $4 million to develop technology that can detect and analyze brain waves that precede specific speech.... More »

Tiny New Fibers Draw Power From Wind, Flowing Blood

(Newser) - Scientists have developed electricity-generating fibers that can be embedded in clothing and other materials and draw power from the smallest of movements, LiveScience reports. The zinc oxide nanowires are as small as 1/5,000th the width of a human hair and produce energy when they vibrate, even from blood flowing... More »

Pentagon Aims for Target-Seeking Bullet

'Can't miss' sniper round being developed

(Newser) - The Pentagon wants to develop a bullet that can change course in midflight to seek its target, Wired reports. The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency yesterday committed $22 million to producing the superbullet—"an actively controlled .50 caliber projectile that uses information for real time directional flight control"—... More »

What We Can Learn From Being Dog-Tired

Sled dogs' metabolism may yield clues on fighting human fatigue

(Newser) - Alaskan sled dogs racing for days on end don’t get tired out the way a human runner would, the New York Times reports, and researchers eager to imitate this fatigue resistance in people—particularly soldiers—say it’s because they’re somehow able to change their metabolism. “Suddenly... More »

Pentagon Inventing Group Hits 50, Looks to Next Strides

Freewheeling DARPA helped create the Internet

(Newser) - A small Defense Department agency credited with inventing the Internet and rockets that sent men to the moon is turning 50, the Washington Post reports, and is fine-tuning its next innovations. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's work spans biology, satellites and aircraft; it has no permanent labs and its... More »

Building a Computer That Learns What You Want

PC 'assistant' could prioritize, even decide

(Newser) - Wouldn't it be nice if your computer could figure out what you wanted it to do? That dream just might be approaching reality, thanks to a project called CALO that aims to teach computers to understand users' intentions, according to the MIT Technology Review. "If CALO succeeds, it'll be... More »

Carnegie Mellon Wins $2M in Robot Car Race

Only three of 11 cars finished the 60 miles in 6 hours allotted

(Newser) - A robot car built by Carnegie Mellon University and General Motors beat out ten others to win a race for self-driving vehicles, race officials announced today. The cars had 6 hours to complete a 60-mile course—including missions like parking and merging into traffic—in pursuit of a $2 million... More »

Robots, Start Your Engines

University and research lab teams to compete on mock city course

(Newser) - Some of the most high-tech vehicles in the world will compete for big money by zipping around a race course tomorrow, all without one low-tech component—a human driver. Eleven robotic vehicles will race in a simulated city environment at a former Air Force base in California, Forbes reports. The... More »

SEALs to Get Swimming Gizmo

New device will help fighters swim up to 150% faster and arrive less tired

(Newser) - Navy SEALs will be swimming to their targets up to 150% faster when they get a new Pentagon gizmo called a PowerSwim. It looks like a mini-glider that attaches to a diver's legs, Popular Mechanics reports. SEALs reportedly take about 2 hours to master it; they have to learn a... More »

20 Stories
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