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DARPA

— Environment

Hybrid self-charging power cell by-passes batteries

By - December 6, 2012 3 Pictures
Systems that convert kinetic energy into electric energy have made great strides in recent times, from mobile phone charging bicycle dynamos to tiles that turn footsteps into electrical energy. Recently researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have come up with what they believe is a more efficient approach – a self-charging power cell that directly converts mechanical energy to chemical energy and stores the power for release as an electrical current. Read More
— Robotics

MIT developing a robotic "Swiss Army knife" that changes shape to suit the job

By - December 3, 2012 5 Pictures
An MIT team is developing a robot that has the potential to become possibly the most versatile machine ever. Referred to by the team as the "robotic equivalent of a Swiss Army knife,” the milli-motein robot is made up of a chain of tiny modules each containing a new type of motor that can be used to form the chain into various shapes. This shape-changing capability could lead to the creation of robots that dynamically change their form to suit the task at hand. Read More
— Robotics

iRobot's new hand can take a beating from a baseball bat

By - November 19, 2012 1 Picture
Not even a baseball bat can damage the fingers of a new robotic hand developed by iRobot for the DARPA Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) program. The four-year program, which began in 2010, seeks to build and program a robot capable of handling all kinds of things on the battlefield with minimal human input. Most robot hands have rigid components which tend to be quite fragile, but this hand has rubbery fingers, which are better able to absorb impacts. Read More
— Automotive

Autonomous Audi almost matches veteran race car drivers' lap times

By - November 11, 2012 9 Pictures
Stanford's autonomous Audi TTS research vehicle is gaining on the performance of its human-piloted counterparts. In contrast to its slightly pedestrian romp up Pikes Peak back in 2010, the self-driving car known as Shelley has recently hit speeds of 120 mph and posted lap times only just behind those of expert race car drivers at Thunderhill Raceway in California. Read More
— Robotics

DARPA's Robotics Challenge gives birth to new humanoid robots

By - October 25, 2012 9 Pictures
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has published concept artwork depicting the robots that will compete in its ambitious DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC). The DRC will require robots to drive a car, travel through rubble, open doors, climb ladders, manipulate tools, and more. However, due to the current limitations in artificial intelligence, the robots will be teleoperated by a team of people behind the scenes. The idea is to advance robotics technology so that humans won't have to put their lives at risk in future disaster scenarios. Read More
— Aircraft

Global Hawk UAVs fly in close formation as part of aerial refueling program

By - October 8, 2012 3 Pictures
Two Global Hawk unmanned aircraft have flown in close formation at distances as close as 30 feet (9 m) for the first time. The series of flights took place between January 11 and May 30 this year and marked a major milestone on the way to demonstrating the first autonomous aerial refueling between two unmanned, high-altitude aircraft as part of DARPA’s Autonomous High-Altitude Refueling (AHR) program. Read More
— Military

DARPA opens registrations for for first FANG challenge

By - October 2, 2012 1 Picture
Earlier this year, DARPA revealed it was embracing the crowdsourcing model to develop a new amphibious infantry vehicle known as the FANG (Fast, Adaptable, Next-Generation Ground Vehicle). Now designers and engineers with expertise in drivetrain and mobility systems who wouldn’t mind an extra US$1 million lining their pockets can express their interest with DARPA now opening registrations for the first of three planned challenges that will kick off in January 2013. Read More
— Military

DARPA's CT2WS technology uses "mind reading" to identify threats

By - September 20, 2012 2 Pictures
A new Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project crosses the line between man and machine, with a threat detection system that uses “mind reading.” No, the Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System (CT2WS) doesn’t pick up the thoughts of approaching baddies. Instead, it uses a combination of a digital imaging system, computer algorithms and an electroencephalogram (EEG) to help observers scan areas for threats with much greater accuracy by making them aware of things that they’ve seen, but aren’t consciously aware of. Read More
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