Photokina 2014 highlights

DARPA

The DARPA competition aims to replace traditional development processes with crowdsourcing

The U.S. Defense Department think tank DARPA is offering up to US$30 million in prize money as part of a competition to introduce crowdsourcing to heavy weapons development and manufacturing. By adopting the”democratized” strategy of crowdsourcing for the development of the Fast, Adaptable Next-Generation armored vehicle (FANG), DARPA hopes to speed up the design and manufacturing of such weapons while reducing costs and introducing greater design flexibility.  Read More

The HX will travel at Mach-20, or over 15,000 mph (24,000 km/h)

DARPA has repeatedly indicated an interest in developing hypersonic aircraft and weapons systems which are capable of Mach-20 speeds and thus able to reach any region of the planet within an hour. To this end, the agency has announced its new Integrated Hypersonics (IH) program, which draws upon previous research and aims to create a hypersonic X-plane (HX) ready for testing by 2016.  Read More

The SoftWear system uses an overhead 'pick and place' robot system to move garments betwee...

U.S. military uniforms may not be the most fashionable of clothes, but there are a lot of them. Every year, the Pentagon spends US$4 billion on uniforms and over 50,000 people are employed in their production. In an effort to cut costs and increase efficiency, DARPA has awarded a US$1.25 million contract SoftWear Automation, Inc. to develop “complete production facilities that produce garments with zero direct labor is the ultimate goal" - in other words, a robot factory that can make uniforms from beginning to end without human operators.  Read More

The Blast Gauge is a self contained device that captures the abrupt changes in pressure an...

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is extending the testing of its Blast Gauge that measures the abrupt pressure and acceleration changes a soldier is exposed to in the event of a exposure to a blast. These external forces can result in traumatic brain injury (TBI), an often invisible injury that can cause a host of physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral effects. DARPA’s Blast Gauge is designed to provide medics with quantitative data to better identify those at risk of TBI so as to provide better treatment.  Read More

100YSS will attempt to develop the capabilities needed for human interstellar flight in th...

Voyager 1, which is now in the outermost layer of the heliosphere that forms the boundary between the Solar System and interstellar space, is set to be the first man-made object to leave the Solar System. It has taken the car-sized probe over 35 years to reach its current point, but at its current speed of about 3.6 AU (334,640,905 miles) per year it would take over 75,000 years to reach our nearest star, Proxima Centauri. Despite the mind-boggling distances involved, DARPA has just awarded funding to form an organization whose aim is to make human interstellar travel a reality within the next century.  Read More

Innovega's dual-focus contact lenses allow the wearer to focus near and far at the same ti...

The iOptik display system, consisting of modified contact lenses and glasses, promises to revolutionize head-mounted display-based augmented reality by allowing the wearer to focus on two planes at the same time. Innovega, the company behind the project, developed their ultra-small form-factor head-up display (HUD) setup in frames of DARPA’s Soldier Centric Imaging via Computational Cameras (SCENICC) program, and has now signed a contract with the agency to deliver a prototype.  Read More

DARPA has launched its Robotics Challenge, in which teams will compete to develop a robot ...

Attention, BEAR, MABEL, and SAFFiR: You may be able to win your makers two million bucks! That’s the amount that DARPA is offering to the victorious team in its recently-announced Robotics Challenge. The winning robot will be the one that best meets a series of challenges, designed to test its ability to provide assistance in disaster scenarios.  Read More

The Sand Flea robot can leap to heights of 30 ft (9 m) thanks to a CO2-powered piston visi...

When we first spied Sandia National Laboratories' Precision Urban Hopper Robot back in 2009 it employed combustion-driven pistons to propel it into the air and allow it to clear obstacles. In the same year Sandia handed development of the jumping robot over to Boston Dynamics, the company behind robots including PETMAN, BigDog and CHEETAH. Now known as Sand Flea, Boston Dynamics has released new video of the robot showcasing an updated jumping mechanism.  Read More

SeeMe would provide eyes in the sky quickly to troops on the ground (Image: DARPA)

DARPA, the United States' defense technology research agency that's created such notable projects as the Internet you're using right this moment, is now looking for help in creating a swarm of "disposable" eyes in the sky. It is seeking technical assistance from a wide range of fields - from auto racing to optics - to create the means to provide on-demand satellite imagery for troops on the front lines.  Read More

DARPA's quadruped CHEETAH robot has broken the land speed record for legged robots by reac...

It's been a very little over a year since Boston Dynamics was awarded a contract to develop a high-speed robotic quadruped by DARPA, but already the defense tech research agency's investment is bearing fruit, having announced that its CHEETAH galloping quadruped robot has broken the land speed record for robots with legs.  Read More

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