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DARPA

NASA has partnered with DARPA to develop technology that allows for the indexing of Deep Web content. The agency plans to turn the tool towards the wealth of data collected by its numerous spacecraft, as well as its huge archive of published scientific data, allowing researchers to better analyze findings while making it easier to confirm they're breaking new ground.

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DARPA has announced a new program designed to harness expertise from smaller sources of innovation, routinely overlooked by large agencies. Looking to small businesses and individuals, the agency hopes to undertake a series of cost-effective projects that will deliver new robotics capabilities to warfighters, helping to keep them ahead of the technological curve.

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On June 5 and 6, the 2015 DARPA Robotic Challenge (DRC) Finals will take place at Fairplex in Pomona, California. Open to the public, it will see 25 international teams compete for US$3.5 million in prizes as part of an effort to develop robots for disaster relief. Here's what to expect.

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If you browse the internet, it's easy to find an image of the International Space Station taken by an amateur astronomer that looks as if it was taken only a mile away. DARPA wants to go several magnitudes better with a telescopic system that can take detailed images of satellites in geosynchronous orbit. The research agency is seeking ideas on how to achieve this from an unorthodox mix of small businesses, academic and research institutions, and first-time government contractors.

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DARPA has conducted a new test of its self-steering bullets, with both experienced and novice shooters successfully hitting moving targets. The testing proves the effectiveness of the projectile, which was developed under the Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program, but the agency is still playing its cards close to its chest when it comes to how the technology actually works. Read More
Though the pain they cause is minor and fleeting, a lot of people still find something pretty unsettling about needles. When it comes to conducting a routine blood test, US-based company Tasso Inc. believes that these unpleasant pricks can be removed from the equation completely. Its ping pong ball-sized HemoLink blood sampler can be operated by the patient at home, and needs only to be placed against the skin of the arm or abdomen for two minutes to do its job. Read More
One unfortunate fact of modern life is that functional new software becomes non-functional old software with depressing regularity. For most people, this means predictable episodes of frustration, but for the US military, it's a more serious problem. DARPA's new Building Resource Adaptive Software Systems (BRASS) project aims to take a major shot at avoiding this obsolescence by developing software systems that can still operate properly a hundred years from now. Read More
Since the First World War, airplanes have acted as Close Air Support (CAS) for infantry, though it's been a rocky marriage marked by poor communications and difficult teamwork. DARPA's Persistent Close Air Support (PCAS) project aims to improve coordination between air and ground forces by means of a digital system that works up to seven times faster than regular paper maps and voice radio instructions, and with greater accuracy. Read More
Modern warfare is a constant arms race of measures and countermeasures, but with development cycles taking decades and costing billions of dollars, it's not uncommon for military technology to become obsolete by the time it's deployed. To address this dilemma, DARPA's System of Systems (SoS) Integration Technology and Experimentation (SoSITE) program aims at replacing monolithic weapon systems with a more flexible cross-platform approach. Read More
The great tradition of designing robots inspired by the many beautiful forms of locomotion seen in the animal kingdom likely predates robotics itself, arguably stretching all the way back to Michelangelo's time. Standing on the shoulders of such giants is ATRIAS, a series of human-sized bipedal robots that remind us of other two-legged creatures like the ostrich or emu. Read More
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