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Posts tagged ‘DARPA’

Marines Ditches Googles Robo Dogs

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The LS3 robot dogs created by Google-owned Boston Dynamics were created so they could be very useful dogs of war.However, these robo-dogs have one small problem: Like quite a few real dogs, they make too much noise and hence, “A loud robot that’s going to give away their position.”

The Robo Dogs were ditched before they had a chance to become regular members of battle squads.The whole project cost around $42 million and was a collaboration between Boston Dynamics and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Boston Dynamics did make a smaller, quieter robo-animal, nicknamed Spot. The problem, however, is that Spot couldn’t carry much — around 40 lbs, or one-tenth of what the bigger versions could tote. Spot lacked the autonomous capabilities of the larger robo-animals, relying entirely on a human controller.


Whats Happening


Future Technology Trends - Driverless Cars

 Google’s driverless cars have already logged over 300,000 accident-free autonomous miles. Three states (CA, NV, FL) presently permit testing of autonomous vehicles.

Future Technology Trends of Bionic Eyes

The world’s first self-contained bionic eye, the Alpha IMS, connects directly to the brain via electrodes. Though the image quality is nowhere near 20/20, future iterations should be able to restore sight for some types of blindness. Within a few years, we’ll be able to add bionic contact lenses to this list.

Exoskeletons for Restored Mobility

Exoskeletons for Restored Mobility Future Technology Trends

Ekso Bionics, MindWalker and ReWalk  developed wearable exoskeletons designed to help people with lower-limb disabilities walk. Ekso and ReWalk models achieve this with body controls, while MindWalker uses a non-invasive Brain / Neural Computer Interface.  

3D Printing in the Home

3D Printing in the Home Future Technology Trends

Injection-mold 3D printers out for several years, but recent developments are simultaneously decreasing costs and adding the types of printable materials (including metal). Together  with open-source design3D printers allow for the creation of musical instruments, camera lenses, clothes, and a plethora of other cool stuff.

3D Bio-Printing

Future Technology Trends of 3D Bio Printing

 Bio-printing is said to potentially save millions of lives. (Every day, 18 people die while waiting for organ transplants). Earlier this year, CA-based company Organovo revealed they had printed “mini-livers,” with transplantable human livers (hopefully) a few years off. 

Mind-Controlled Prosthetics

Future Technology Trends of Mind Controlled Prosthetics

Newer prosthetics can interface with nerves on the muscular level, but DARPA’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics program has made significant progress toward controlling these devices with a neural interface. These devices will also provide direct biosensory feedback, restoring a small degree of feeling for amputees. 

Programmable Matter

Future Technology Trends Programmable Matter

Think of programmable matter as data in a physical space, with the ability to manipulate itself based on a set of instructions. At the basic level, this could mean a material is able to change its conductivity, density, or shape. On a higher level, this allows for self-configuring modular robots

Quantum Computers

Quantum Computers Future Technology Trends

Quantum computers use qubits (rather than binary bits) to perform data processing operations. It allows calculations thousands of times faster than modern super computers. The technology is in its infancy, stage, but earlier this year, Google and NASA purchased a D-Wave Two, the world’s first commercially available quantum computer. 





The DARPA Robotic Challenge is focused on developing robots that can operate in rough terrain and austere conditions, using aids (vehicles and hand tools) commonly available in populated areas. Specifically, DRC wants to prove that the following capabilities can be accomplished.

DARPA’s Robot Challenge-The goal of the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) is to create groundbreaking research and development so that future robotics can perform the most hazardous activities in future disaster response operations, in place with their human counterparts, in order to reduce casualties, avoid further destruction, and save lives.

Researchers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), in collaboration with General Motors and Oceaneering, have designed a state-of-the-art, highly dexterous, humanoid robot: Robonaut 2 (R2). R2 is made up of multiple component technologies and systems — vision systems, image recognition systems, sensor integrations, tendon hands, control algorithms, and much more. R2’s nearly 50 patented and patent-pending technologies have the potential to be game-changers in multiple industries, including logistics and distribution, medical and industrial robotics.

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The SARBOT Team is formed by more than 17 reseachers from  three Universities (UPM, UAH and UC3M) and one Public Research Centre (CAR-CSIC)  in Spain.


Spanish National Research Council (CSIC); Universidad Politécnica de Madrid;
Universidad de Alcalá de Henares; Universidad Carlos III de Madrid


Arganda del Rey, Madrid, Spain

The DARPA Spectrum Challenge—a competitive demonstration of robust wireless technologies— announced the selection of 15 of 18 semifinalists for $150,000 in prize money. DARPA plans to fill three remaining wildcard slots in August 2013 before the September 2013 semifinals at DARPA’s offices in Arlington, Va.  

These radio transmitters hang from the ceiling of the Open Access Research Testbed for Next-Generation Wireless Networks (ORBIT), part of the Wireless Information Network Laboratory (WINLAB) at Rutgers University at New Brunswick. Competitors in the DARPA Spectrum Challenge will test their radio software protocols in this room to help develop more robust radio communication


President Obama and The BRAIN Initiative

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President Obama announced on Tuesday a brain-mapping initiative that could help scientists unlock the secrets to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, strokes and even human cognition, but will require the assistance of significant computing power.

The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, announced Tuesday morning in a presidential speech at the White House after a fleeting mention in President Obama’s February State of the Union Address, will require heavy use of cutting-edge and yet-to-be-invented data processing and imaging technologies for success. Obama said,  studying and mapping the human brain, , will not only help scientists improve their understanding of human thought, learning, and memory, but could also help cure disease. 

The new research initiative will include the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Science Foundation, outside academics, and private companies and foundations such as the Allen Institute and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. The White House hopes to spend more than $100 million the first year of the project, with more money coming from private-sector partners.

In addition, those agencies and organizations will be pushing the envelope on data collection and analysis technologies. “Significant breakthroughs will require a new generation of tools to enable researchers to record signals from brain cells in much greater numbers and at even faster speeds,” the White House said in a press release. “This cannot currently be achieved, but great promise for developing such technologies lies at the intersections of nanoscience, imaging, engineering, informatics and other rapidly emerging fields.”

Among the specific projects being funded under BRAIN will be DARPA’s Detection and Computational Analysis of Psychological Signals effort, which will require analyses of very large data sets. DARPA also will “develop a new set of tools to capture and process dynamic neural and synaptic activities,” according to the White House press release.

 BRAIN will require new computer technologies  to perform the necessary research, and the results of the research could also be used to develop new information technologies. 

Motorola Working On Digital Tattoos and Pills



Heard of Our Man Flint? Well Read This

Motorola is working on  wearable, tattoo-embedded, and even swallowable gadgets in the pipeline. Motorola’s Advanced Technology and Projects Group chief Regina Dugan – former DARPA chief showed up at D11 sporting an electronic tattoo that could be worn on the skin for a week at a time, and used to cut through the numerous authentication processes we go through every day. The company is looking at improving on the password by using electronic tattoos, swallowable pills and other forms of authentication. 


The digital pill contains a “switch” and an “inside-out potato battery”which creates electricity from the chemical processes in the body when swallowed. The result is the switch toggling on and off, and creating an 18-bit ECG-like signal.

The entire body becomes an authentication token


Cambridge, MA, based mc10 calls the tattoo “epidermal electronics” Instead of  relying on the user carrying a device, or remembering to strap one on each morning, the technology is temporarily bonded to their skin.

That bond has another advantage, since the responses of the wearer’s skin can also be used to collect health data. The tattoo is made up of various sensors and gages, such as for tracking strain in multiple directions (how the user is flexing), EEG and EMG (electrical impulses in the skeletal structure or nerves), ECG (heart activity), and temperature, as well as light and other factors. In total, it’s a mini-lab for your arm, the side of your head, or anywhere else on the body.



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