Items tagged with Darpa

DARPA has a penchant for putting outlandish ideas forward, but that's sort of the point. Without far-fetched ideas, how is one's military and technological prowess to evolve? For those just catching up, DARPA is the United States miltiary's advanced tech arm, and a new filing makes clear that at least a few mad scientists within its walls are thinking about floating aircraft carriers of a different kind. Presently, floating aircraft carriers float on water, but if DARPA has its way, they'll float on air. Flying aircraft carriers seem like an idea that would take shape within a major motion picture,... Read more...
Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway, lead a DEKA Research and Development team that built an amazing prosthetic arm that they affectionately call “Luke” (after the handless hero of Star Wars), and that arm has now been approved for sale in the U.S. by the FDA. What makes the Luke DEKA Arm System so compelling is that it uses electrodes attached to a user’s muscles--be they shoulder, arm, leg, or whatever muscles a given patient can use--to control a five-fingered robotic hand that has movement in all five digits as well as the wrist. Source: DARPA According to Bloomberg, it... Read more...
When Google unexpectedly sold off Motorola to Lenovo after investing heavily in the Moto X and Moto G smartphones and owning the Motorola brand for less than two years, the fate of the Project Ara modular smartphone seemed doomed, but it appears that the project is very much alive and well. According to Time’s TechLand, Google did not sell off a key department: the Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, which is responsible for Project Ara. So just how “alive” is Project Ara? The group announced that it’s holding a developers' conference on April 15-16 with a focus... Read more...
DARPA, a wing of the U.S. Department of Defense, has developed quite a few technological innovations for the military that wind up trickling down to us civilians, and now the agency is open sourcing some of its projects with an eye toward fostering even better R&D. The DARPA Open Catalog is a “curated list of DARPA-sponsored software and peer-reviewed publications”, meaning that the agency isn’t just offering up anything and everything its working on, but in any case the first project posted on the site is the XDATA program. The XDATA program pertains to big data, so any fruitful... Read more...
Qualcomm is developing NPUs, or “neural processing units”, which would present a different and powerful way for machines to handle information by more closely mimicking the way that the human brain works. Essentially, Qualcomm and its partners are trying to artificially create neurons, and NPUs are designed for parallel processing and high efficiency. The company has apparently been successful enough in that endeavor that it’s ready to start designing and manufacturing these NPUs commercially. In fact, IT News says that Qualcomm has developed prototypes in conjunction with a powerful... Read more...
DARPA is known for doing some pretty outlandish things, partly in the world of technology and partly in the world of military. And often, those sectors cross paths. DARPA's Adaptable Sensor System (ADAPT) program has launched this week, aiming to transform how unattended sensors are developed for the military by using an original design manufacturer (ODM) process similar to that of the commercial smartphone industry. The goal is to develop low-cost, rapidly updatable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors in less than a year, a marked improvement to the current three-to-eight... Read more...
GPS is a powerful navigational tool that’s changed the way we travel, but it’s not without its shortcomings. The simple chip-to-satellite communication can be disrupted far too easily, for example, such as when a user goes through a tunnel or if there’s simple interference nearby. Being that GPS was originally developed for the military, those limitations are not just inconvenient, but life- or mission-threatening. DARPA researchers at the University of Michigan have been developing a “timing & inertial measurement unit” (TIMU) that will augment GPS when needed... Read more...
A real cheetah can run as fast as 70-75 mph in short bursts, so DARPA's Cheetah robot still has a ways to go in that regard. But as far as robotics go, DARPA's mechanical Cheetah is the fastest legged robot in the history of mankind, hitting a top speed of 28.3 mph on camera (see embedded video below). To put that into perspective, Cheetah is capable of exceeding the speed limit in residential areas. It's also faster than Usain Bolt, who set the world speed record for a human in 2009 when he hit a peak speed of 27.78 mph during a 20-meter split. So, what's the point? "Modeling the robot after a... Read more...
Last month, we discussed the split between IBM and the NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications) over the highly ambitious 'Blue Waters' project. Blue Waters was the name of a planned supercomputer that would've been entirely water-cooled and included as many as 524,288 CPU cores. The disintegration of the deal came as some surprise, given the amount of work that'd already been done on the project. New details have come to light on why the University of Illinois and IBM ultimately parted ways over the project. One of the major issues appear to have been the clock speeds of the CPUs.... Read more...
Four years ago almost to the day, the National Science Board handed the National science Foundation a mandate to build the most powerful petaflop-class supercomputer in the world. The NSF announced in turn that the system would be based on IBM's Power7 processor technology. One of the features that won IBM the contract was the fact that the cluster doesn't require message passing and could theoretically be programmed as a single system. As of today, Blue Waters is officially canceled. The news comes less than a month after IBM announced it would begin commercial shipments of the individual nodes... Read more...
NVIDIA isn't just a graphics company. Many only think of the company's GPU line, which is certainly their most forward segment in the industry. But they're also a software company, and they also make all sorts of other hardware (like the 3D Vision kit for example). They also operate in the high performance computing space.  Recently, the Tesla Personal Supercomputer made its debut, and clearly the company has a mind to create even more robust supercomputer systems. DARPA, the U.S. Defense Department's research and development arm, just granted NVIDIA with a huge gift, and a huge responsibility.... Read more...
Someone at NIST is a Star Trek fan, and TOS, to boot, as they have no compunction against using references to the "Universal Translator" in this video about their TRANSTAC project, done jointly with Darpa. The project, involving three different systems. At least one of them, as seen in the video below, is none other than an HTC Nexus One (indeed, not an iPhone for once). Check out the progress on the English - Pashto / Pashto - English translator below.... Read more...
An SUV named "Boss" won the $2 million challenge in the DARPA robot race on Saturday.The Tartan Racing Team, based at Carnegie Mellon University, walked away with a $2 million prize on Sunday for coming in first in this year's Pentagon-sponsored robot race, held at a former Air Force base.The team's robotic vehicle, "Boss," turned in the top performance as it navigated itself through the 60-mile (100-kilometer) Urban Challenge course at the former George Air Force Base in Victorville this weekend.The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency took over the deserted base for the past week... Read more...