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DARPA

Robotics

Robots square off at the 2015 DRC Finals

A sporting event where a contestant opens a door, promptly falls on their face, and then stands up again sounds like less than riveting, but on Friday some 10,000 people at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, cheered and screamed encouragement as exactly that happened. Of course, the fact that the contender was a robot called Tartan Rescue and the competition was the first day of the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Final 2015 had something to do with it. Aimed at creating robots that may one day help responders during major disasters, the two-day Challenge is host to 23 international teams competing for US$3.5 million in prizes.Read More

Robotics

ATRIAS robot now blindly takes platforms in its stride

As we count down to this weekend's DARPA Robotics Challenge, the competition is already heating up. Coming hot on the heels of MIT's leaping and bounding robotic cheetah is Oregon State University's ATRIAS bipedal robot. The team behind this ostrich-like machine has showcased its latest talent, the ability to blindly walk over the top of obstacles in its path.Read More

Space

DARPA wants ideas for imaging distant satellites from Earth

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.Read More

Military

DARPA tests its self-steering bullets against moving targets

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

Medical

New sampling device promises to make blood tests needle-free

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

Military

DARPA wants to make software obsolescence obsolete

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

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