Tag Archives | DARPA

DARPA Creates Interactive 3-D Holographic Map Table

A 2D Representation of UPSD's 3D Image. Source: DARPA

A 2D Representation of UPSD's 3D Image. Source: DARPA

Popular Science reports via DARPA:

Long gone are the days of pushing plastic armies around hand-drawn maps. Today’s military planners deserve technology of the future, and that means nothing less than 3-D holograms will do. Luckily, we have DARPA, ever-ready to step in with a solution. The Urban Photonic Sandtable Display (UPSD) allows up to 20 participants to simultaneously view and manipulate the 360-degree, 3-D image on the table, without having to wear 3-D glasses.

The display can be expanded to as large as six feet, and has a visual depth of up to 12 inches. UPSD is also interactive – battle planners can freeze, rotate and zoom in on the images. They can also print out two-dimensional representations of the 3-D data (seen above) that troops can carry with them on their missions.

Zebra Imaging won the contract to create the technology for UPSD, and DARPA is using LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) systems for the data.

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Defense Department Wants To Be A Better Storyteller

800px-DARPA_LogoAaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

The folks at DARPA, the Defense Department Advanced Research Project, put a call out for those interested to attend a workshop held at the end of February to understand what role “theories of narrative play in security domains.”

In other words, the Pentagon wants to learn more about storytelling, because a better understanding of “the role stories play in a security context is a matter of great import and some urgency.” To summarize, the Stories, Neuroscience and Experimental Technologies (STORyNET) workshop was held on the 28th with three goals:

To survey narrative theories – understanding the nature of a story and what makes one up.

To better understand the role of narrative in security contexts – asking what role stories play in political radicalization and how they influence participants in politics.

To survey the state of the art in narrative analysis and decomposition tools – “How can we take stories and make them quantitatively analyzable in a rigorous, transparent and repeatable fashion?

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Robotic Cheetah And Other Advanced ‘Terror Bots’ In Development

BigDog robot. Photo: Boston Dynamics

BigDog robot. Photo: Boston Dynamics

Discovery News reports on more nightmare-fuel for believers in the robopocalypse:

A headless metal warrior stomps towards you, shooting. Fortunately, you’ve been training for a marathon and easily jet off to safety down an alleyway. But wait -– now a metal cheeta-bot is after you, racing faster than your puny legs can go. As the space between you and the galloping beast closes, you round a corner, see a door and dive through. It slams behind you. As you freeze, holding your breath, the robotic cat passes by outside with a wake of metallic echoes.

Relieved, you exhale into the dark. A fatal mistake -– outside, another robot has detected your breath and alerted the enemy to your location …

Waking up from this nightmare is a way to save yourself, for now, but in fact all three ‘terror’ bots it featured are based on actual prototypes being developed in California and Boston (though not with directly malicious intentions).

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DARPA Continues to Refine the Art of Surveillance

DARPA is developing another successor to Total Information Awareness.  Dubbed ADAMS (Anomaly Detection at Multiple Scales), the project aims to sift through billions of military emails to recognize an immanent threat — homocide, suicide, or intelligence leaks.  Wired’s Danger Room and CNN cover the project from different angles:

Darpa(Wired) The military is scrambling to identify disgruntled or radicalized troops who pose a threat to themselves or their buddies. So the futurists at Darpa are asking for algorithms to find and pre-empt anyone planning the next Fort Hood massacre, WikiLeaks document dump or suicide-in-uniform.

This counterintelligence-heavy effort isn’t Darpa’s typical push to create flying Humvees or brainwave-powered prosthetic limbs. But the Pentagon’s far-out R&D team has made other moves recently to hunt down threats from within.

The idea behind the Anomaly Detection at Multiple Scales, or Adams, effort is to sift through “massive data sets” to find the warning signs of looming homicide, suicide or other destructive behavior.

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Pentagon Spends $19 Billion To Discover That The Best Bomb-Detector Is A Dog

Photo: Piotr Grzywocz (CC)

Photo: Piotr Grzywocz (CC)

Having been unable to eat in the presence of some canines throughout my life (folks, you really should have trained your dogs, you know who you are…) this one comes as no surprise. Spencer Ackerman writes on the always interesting WIRED’s Danger Room:

Drones, metal detectors, chemical sniffers, and super spycams — forget ‘em. The leader of the Pentagon’s multibillion military task force to stop improvised bombs says there’s nothing in the U.S. arsenal for bomb detection more powerful than a dog’s nose.

Despite a slew of bomb-finding gagdets, the American military only locates about 50 percent of the improvised explosives planted in Afghanistan and Iraq. But that number jumps to 80 percent when U.S. and Afghan patrols take dogs along for a sniff-heavy walk. “Dogs are the best detectors,” Lieutenant General Michael Oates, the commander of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, told a conference yesterday, National Defense reports.

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A Machine That Teaches Itself

DARPA and Google seemed to be joined at the hip these days… From the New York Times:

Give a computer a task that can be crisply defined — win at chess, predict the weather — and the machine bests humans nearly every time. Yet when problems are nuanced or ambiguous, or require combining varied sources of information, computers are no match for human intelligence.

Browse the NELL Knowledge Base

Browse the NELL Knowledge Base

Few challenges in computing loom larger than unraveling semantics, understanding the meaning of language. One reason is that the meaning of words and phrases hinges not only on their context, but also on background knowledge that humans learn over years, day after day.

Since the start of the year, a team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, supported by grants from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Google, and tapping into a research supercomputing cluster provided by Yahoo, has been fine-tuning a computer system that is trying to master semantics by learning more like a human.

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DARPA Develops Helmet of Obedience

Slide from William J. Tyler’s Helmet of Obedience project

Slide from William J. Tyler’s Helmet of Obedience project

From the Techno Fascism Blog:

It looks like our ever-diligent friends at DARPA have been busy creating a contingency plan for the OathKeeper movement. Thanks to a newly-developed pain modulator and behavior modification helmet, any US troops who decide they will obey the Constitution rather than the commands of the global puppet masters will now be getting some remote-controlled motivational persuasion.

Reminiscent of the “Collar of Obedience” from Star Trek, this new helmet according to it’s creator William J Tyler at Arizona State University, will be able to non-invasively produce all the same effects that are now possible only through deep surgical implants. Employing a form of targeted ultrasound technology, the “Helmet of Obedience” will be able to manipulate pain and motivational centers in the brain at a finer scale than even current magnetic stimulation.

It’s no mystery what agencies would be interested in this sort of technology and Tyler makes it painfully clear who his handlers are.

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DARPA Is Actually Working on A Flying Humvee

Flying HumveeI guess we can’t be surprised the military would get a flying car before the rest of us. Spencer Ackerman writes in WIRED’s Danger Room:

In the spring, the futurists at Darpa rethought troop transport. Instead of adding armor or changing the shape to deflect bomb blasts, the agency reasoned, why not let it leap into the sky at the first sign of danger or inconvenience? That’s exactly what Darpa’s “Transformer” project is supposed to be: a mashup of a helicopter, plane and armored truck. And it just came a step closer to reality.

AAI Corporation, a Maryland-based aerospace and defense company, won a $3.05 million contract with Darpa to see if it the technology behind the Transformer can, well, get off the ground, Aviation Week reports. Based on so-called “compound helicopter” technology that the company is developing with Carter Aviation Technologies, the gist is that AAI’s design for the Transformer envisions it to carry four soldiers on the road as a car, but the rotor blades on top allow it to take off vertically into the air.

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DARPA Seeking Small Business Partners To Develop Robots

800px-DARPA_LogoHard to believe that DARPA is feeling the pinch as Obama’s never-ending wars push our national debt to unimaginable levels, but apparently they need help. Report from Fast Company:

Back in July the government identified robots as one of the R&D priorities for the 2012 budget (about a decade behind the rest of us). Now there’s a research funding round to aid small business robotic’s efforts, to build robot gear DARPA can’t manage.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy was behind July’s thinking that “Robotics is an important technology because of its potential to advance national needs such as homeland security, defense, medicine, healthcare, space exploration,” and a whole list of other purposes. The OSTP thinks it’s also a tech at “a tipping point in terms of its usefulness and versatility,” thanks to innovations in programming, hardware, and computer vision.

Now the White House has announced that five federal agencies have banded together to create a fund to spur “small business research.” Companies can apply for cash to aid work on “robot-assisted rehabilitation, robotics for drug discovery, and robots that can disarm explosive devices.” This last one is particularly revealing, given how much the U.S.

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Scientists Develop ‘Fake’ Genetically-Engineered Blood for Use on the Battlefield

BattlefieldNiall Firth in the Daily Mail writes:

American scientists have developed ‘artificial’ blood that could soon be used to treat wounded soldiers in battle.

The genetically-engineered blood is created by taking cells from umbilical cords and using a machine to mimic the way bone marrow works to produce mass quantities of usable units of red blood cells.

Known as ‘blood pharming’ the programme was launched in 2008 by the Pentagon’s experimental arm, Darpa, to create blood to treat soldiers in far-flung battlefields.

The firm Arteriocyte, which received $1.95 million for the project, has now sent off its first shipment of O-negative blood to the food and drugs watchdog in the US, the FDA.

Read more: Daily Mail

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