There's a high incidence of mental illness reported among soldiers compared with the general population -- in fact, one in nine medical discharges is due to mental illness, according to US Army statistics. This is not surprising. If you ask people to see and do horrific things, it will likely impact them in pretty significant ways.
DARPA is seeking to understand more about how the brain works in hopes of developing effective therapies for troops and veterans. It has announced a new $70 million project called the Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (Subnets).
Subnets is inspired by Deep Brain Stimulation, or DBS, a surgical treatment that involves implanting a brain pacemaker in the patient's skull to interfere with brain activity and help with symptoms of diseases like epilepsy and Parkinson's. DARPA's device will be similar, but rather than targeting one specific symptom, it will be able to monitor and analyze data in real time and issue a specific intervention according to brain activity. … Read more
You don't want to go flying into the future in yesterday's helicopters.
That's the gist of several projects under way at the Pentagon, which is looking ahead several decades toward future fleets of helicopters -- or more broadly, rotorcraft -- and working now to lay the plans for getting there.
It all starts with design. Most immediately, the Army has just awarded technology investment agreements with four aviation companies as an early step in the Defense Department's Future Vertical Lift initiative, which is meant to sketch out the route toward next-generation vertical-lift aircraft for all the … Read more
Boston Dynamics seems like a company full of friendly, intelligent folks. One wonders why these good people seem dedicated to creating terrifying robots.
Their latest mechanized hellspawn is WildCat, a military quadruped machine that can chase you at speeds up to 16 mph.
OK, it isn't chasing people yet. But it seems designed to scare the wits out of us poor meatsacks. … Read more
Led by a handful of federal agencies -- like the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the National Science Foundation -- most people working on the initiative are on a forced furlough, leaving the project to gather dust in the interim.
Deploying robots in dangerous or combat situations can save the lives of human soldiers. The bots can be used for reconnaissance, scouting, search and rescue, detection, even defusing bombs, with the idea being that losing a robot is a far more acceptable outcome than losing a human soldier.
But some soldiers, researcher Julie Carpenter has discovered, develop strong emotional bonds with their mechanized helpers, to the point of experiencing frustration, anger, and grief when the robots are destroyed on the battlefield -- and even holding funerals. … Read more
The Pentagon is looking for a few good space planes.
They need to be fast, they need to be cheap, and they need to be reusable -- on a one-day pit stop, no less. That's the word from DARPA, the Defense Department's no-idea-is-too-far-out shop, which has just launched the Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program.
The goal of the XS-1 program is to give the U.S. military a flying machine that can soar to suborbital altitudes, at which point an expendable upper stage (or stages) would separate in order to deploy a small satellite into low-earth orbit. So don'… Read more
The government and the people haven't entirely been as one of late.
There's been a touch of friction, a frisson of discomfort in the relationship.
So it's uplifting when fears of schism are alleviated by one of the people's foremost representatives.
Yes, Tom Cruise offered a doe-eyed tweet about DARPA's forward progress.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is where so many scientific breakthroughs are enacted first.
So Cruise, himself a representative of Scientological progress, released a tweet Thursday that offered: "@DARPA getting closer to real-life #EdgeOfTomorrow exoskeleton...amazing! http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/… Read more
The end of Moore's Law may ultimately be as much about economics as physics, says a DARPA director.
"My thesis here is that it's time to start planning for the end of Moore's Law, and that it's worth pondering how it will end, not just when," Robert Colwell, director of the Microsystems Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, told CNET.
Our vehicles are becoming more like consumer electronics -- more like mobile computers on wheels -- and a pair of "digital carjackers" demonstrated what happens when all of the tech beneath the sheet metal falls into mischievous hands.
More and more components of modern vehicles have begun to fall under the control of computers. And we're not just talking about infotainment and dashboard apps. Think about it: a modern vehicle's engine, brakes, electronic power steering, active safety systems, and sometimes even the throttle are ultimately controlled by little electronic brains somewhere behind the dashboard.
In the … Read more