Lockheed Martin's new Shadow Hawk weapon is deceptively small considering the influence it will likely have on warfare from this point forward. The era of unmanned warfare is about to go to a whole new level. The Shadow Hawk is an 11-pound class, 2.75-inch (7 cm) diameter, 27-inch (68 cm) long drop-glide munition released a mile or more above the target by the equally diminutive unmanned RQ-7B. It may not seem like a major leap forward in weapons technology but it most certainly is, because the Shadow Hawk munition now arms an entire fleet of RQ-7s for the US Marines and Army that could previously only be used for reconnaissance, and it does so with a much smaller and cheaper weapon.
Next-generation airships are notorious
for always being just around the corner, almost but not-quite ready to take to the skies. According to a report in Wired
, however, Northrop Grumman’s military Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle
(LEMV) has been scheduled to make its maiden flight early next month.
In an attempt to combine the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities of a helicopter, with the speed, range and altitude capabilities of a fixed wing aircraft, tiltrotor aircraft, such as the AgustaWestland AW609
and the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey
rely on powered rotors mounted on rotating shafts or nacelles at the end of a fixed wing. But the tiltrotor design isn’t the only option for aircraft looking to get the best of both worlds. Like Aerovironment’s SkyTote
, the Flexrotor is designed to transition from vertical to horizontal flight without any pivoting of its rotor.
Imagine if you could turn your iPhone into an advanced night vision recording device, tuned to your every espionage whim. No, there's not an app for that ... but there is the USNV Night Vision iPhone Adapter. Before you get too excited about it, you should note that it doesn't directly turn an iPhone into a night vision scope – you'll still need an actual separate scope. What the NViA does is bridge the iPhone with the night vision scope to leverage iPhone features like video recording, geo-tagging and messaging ... because when you're in the middle of a midnight tail, sometimes you want to go back and scour the footage for more clues – or I assume that you might want to do that, if you were some type of vigilante running around the city with a pair of infrared goggles.
Take one piece of software that can stitch 2D photos into a 3D model, one camera-carrying UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), and mix well to impress and inspire. This was the recipe used by Autodesk's Director of Strategic Research, Gonzalo Martinez, when he set about modifying an Octo-Copter UAV for use with Autodesk's 123D Catch software to simplify the process of making 3D models of large real-world objects, while also having some fun.
Nuclear-powered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that would increase operational flight durations from days to months are a technological possibility today, according to a feasibility study undertaken last year by Sandia National Laboratories and Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation. A nuclear power supply would additionally double the availability of electrical power to onboard systems, including weaponry, the study found.
Japan’s Hitachi Kokusai Electric has developed a surveillance system that can automatically detect a face in either a provided photo or video footage, then search for that same face in other video provided by networked cameras. While such facial recognition systems have been seen before, this one is able to compare the target face against others at an astounding rate of 36 million faces per second.
Adafruit's "Internet of Things Camera" is a neat mashup of existing Arduino components into a versatile remote monitoring camera. The key here is in the word remote - a capability that's granted by the inclusion of a first-generation Eye-Fi card, which is an SD card with built in Wi-Fi, that can upload images to your computer or other device, or better yet to a variety of photo-sharing websites such as Flickr.
The HoverMast is a hovering surveillance machine that can be deployed from a small vehicle such as an armored SUV. The machine, developed by Sky Sapience and currently at the prototype stage, can be deployed to an altitude of up to 50 meters (164 feet) within 10-15 seconds.
iRobot, the company behind household helpers, such as the Roomba
, and military and police robots, such as the PackBot
, has released an updated version of its Warrior 700
robot. Like its predecessor, the newly launched 710 Warrior is designed for EOD (explosive ordnance disposal), reconnaissance and surveillance missions and can lift loads of up to 220 lbs (100 kg) and carry payloads of more than 150 pounds (68 kg) over rough terrain.