Boeing recently built key parts of a truck-mounted laser weapon for the U.S. Army that will shoot down short-range projectiles and UAVs and it's set to test it later this year, according to a company release.
Underscoring the need to stay competitive through high-tech manufacturing, President Barack Obama today announced $70 million in funding for next-generation robots that can work alongside humans everywhere from factories and hospitals to the battlefield.
"One of my jobs as commander in chief is to keep an eye on robots," Obama told a crowd at Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center. "I am pleased to report that the robots you manufacture here seem peaceful."
His remarks were part of a $500 million Advanced Manufacturing Partnership effort to unite government, industry, and academia, and foster breakthrough … Read more
President Barack Obama has developed guidelines for how the U.S. should respond to--and initiate--cyberattacks, the Associated Press is reporting.
Citing anonymous defense officials, the news service claims the guidelines include a wide range of cyberwar efforts to be employed by the U.S. during both peacetime and when conflicts are underway, including installing viruses on international computers and taking down a country's electrical grid.
According to the Associated Press, the guidelines also allow for defense officials to transmit code through another country's network to ensure the connection can be made. Though it wouldn't necessarily carry a … Read more
We've seen different flying robots in recent months, but none is as easy to kick around as this orb under development by Japan's Ministry of Defense.
It's remarkable not only for its spherical frame, which allows it to bump into walls and perform rolling landings without damaging itself (as seen in the TV Tokyo vid below), but also for the fact that it cost only $1,000 to create.
Developed by the ministry's Technical Research and Development Institute, the machine is also unusual in that military robots are almost culturally taboo in Japan. The sphere, however, is designed to carry a camera, not weapons.
It's also one of the only flying spherical robots in the world, according to the ministry. Apart from that Death Star torture droid.
With a top speed of about 40 mph, the remote-controlled machine flies on a single propeller and eight wings. It can navigate through windows, inside buildings, and even in narrow spaces. … Read more
The U.S. is creating a virtual version of the Internet--this one designed as a testbed to help the nation hone its defenses against cyberattacks, according to Reuters and other sources.
Known as the National Cyber Range, the virtual testbed would be set up by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the same agency that kicked off the Internet itself more than 40 years ago. The new simulated mini-Internet would give Washington the opportunity to carry out virtual cyberwarfare games as a way of testing different scenarios and technologies in response to cyberattacks.
It's a killer toy, but nothing you'd give little Billy for Christmas. Libyan rebels are taking do-it-yourself weapons to a new level with an armed unmanned vehicle based on a Power Wheels Jeep.
Call it a weapon of clever construction.
An engineer in the rebels' ranks equipped the toy ride with a video camera and remote control unit and slapped a machine gun on top. An Al Jazeera story about Libyan rebels scrapping together improvised weapons out of everything from rocket shells to car and bike parts turned up this example of ultralow-budget military R&D. The robo gun shows up 55 seconds into the video below.
[The robo rebel] is a vivid illustration of the potential implications of a rapidly descending barrier to entry for this kind of technology. Anyone can (on principle, at least) build a robot, and given the need or the motivation, anyone can put a gun on one, too.
Judging from the video, it looks like the rebels still have kinks to work out. Having a guy standing by to feed the ammo belt defeats the purpose of remote weapons. And you can't call Fisher-Price totmobiles rugged or agile. … Read more
Defense contractor Lockheed Martin confirmed last night that the network problems it has been contending with during the last several days are the result of a "significant and tenacious attack" carried out against its network.
The company says that because its information security team detected the attack right away and took aggressive action to ward it off, its systems remain secure.
Reuters is reporting that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department have offered to help Lockheed determine the extent of the attack. It's not known as yet if any data was taken … Read more
Hackers have broken into the computer systems of Lockheed Martin and other major U.S. weapons manufacturers, potentially gaining access to information about future weapons programs as well as military technology currently in use, according to a Reuters report.
In an early report, the news agency cited a defense official and "two sources familiar with the issue." It has since said that it's unclear what--if any--data had been stolen.
A Lockheed representative told The Wall Street Journal, which cited its own unnamed source, that the company wouldn't comment on any specific incident but that "we … Read more
Remember that little robot that scoots along the corridors of the Death Star? These Georgia Tech machines remind me of that little guy. But they're designed to help people on Earth by mapping out building interiors.
The rolling droids are being developed by Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, and the California Institute of Technology/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Equipped with two cameras and laser scanners, they can autonomously explore hallways in an unfamiliar building, detecting doors and windows, and create a map for users such as soldiers or firefighters.
The project is part of the Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (MAST) program and is being sponsored by the Army Research Laboratory. The program is aimed at developing palm-size machines that can hover in place, enter buildings, and perform other insect-like stunts while gathering data and relaying it to human controllers.
The Georgia Tech robots in the vid below roll on treads and measure about a foot square, but researchers plan to shrink them. "Fully autonomous and collaborative, these tiny robots could swarm by the scores into hazardous situations," Georgia Tech said in a release.
Creepy? Definitely. The only thing worse than swarming robots are baby robots. But I digress. … Read more
The United States Navy will soon launch a Web-based wargame aimed at helping fight at-sea piracy.
The game, called Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet (MMOWGLI, for short), will launch on May 16. However, it's not your typical MMO, like World of Warcraft. According to the Navy, more than 1,000 players will be charged with solving "real-world problems facing the Navy."
"MMOWGLI is an online game designed to find and collectively grow breakthrough ideas to some of the Navy's most complex problems--those 21st century threats that demand new forms of collaboration and truly … Read more