Army Capt. Brian Dowling was leading his Special Forces team through a steep mountain pass in eastern Afghanistan when insurgents ambushed his patrol, leaving two of his soldiers pinned down with life-threatening wounds. After a furious firefight, the two men were rescued, but that episode in 2006 would change Dowling's life. Now employed by a small defense company, he is part of a crash effort by U.S. Special Operations Command to produce a radically new protective suit for elite soldiers to wear into battle — one with bionic limbs, head-to-toe armor, a built-in power supply and live data feeds projected on a see-through display inside the helmet. They call it — what else? — the "Iron Man suit." "We're taking the Iron Man concept and bringing it closer to reality," said Dowling, referring to the Marvel Comics character Tony Stark, an industrialist and master engineer who builds a rocket-powered exoskeleton, turning himself into a superhero. The Special Operations Command began soliciting ideas for the suit this year from industry, academia and government labs, and has held two conferences where potential bidders, including Dowling's company, Revision Military, demonstrated their products. Military officials say they are trying to produce a working prototype within the next 12 months. But no contracts have been signed, and the Pentagon has not ventured to make a cost estimate...
Tag Archives | Inventions
There’s no one around to hear us but that rock sitting over there. Wired UK reports:
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At the annual AUSA Army meeting in Washington, DC, Lockheed Martin showcased developments in their surveillance technology called SPAN (Self-Powered Ad-hoc Network), a “covert, perpetually self-powered wireless sensor network” that can provide “unobtrusive, continuous surveillance” in units so small they can fit in a rock.
SPAN is a mesh network of self-organizing sensors that, when triggered, can cue a camera or an unmanned aerial vehicle to further study an area, or summon an engineer when a pipeline or bridge structure is in danger or fractured.
Lockheed touts the “field-and-forget” technology as providing maximum coverage at minimal costs, claiming that the sensors can remain in the field for years at a time without maintenance, powered by solar technology. The defense contractor is hoping to sell its spy rocks for surveillance, border protection, pipeline monitoring and bridge security, among other things.
I’m guessing there are some prankster cops who are going to have a lot of fun using these. Missouri’s St. Joe Channel reports:
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The Buchanan County Sheriff’s Department has a new piece of equipment that’s aimed at keeping inmates in special situations from getting into disciplinary problems.
Stun-Cuffs are strapped to the ankle or the wrist. Deputies in Buchanan County can use a remote control to send a shock straight into an offender’s extremities, at a range of 100 yards.
Stun-Cuffs can send 80,000 volts straight into an arm or a leg; and all inmates who require them will be told just how powerful they are before they’re strapped on.
Capt. Hovey says there’s still a few bugs and kinks to work out before the technology can be fully implemented. He hopes to get that going as soon as possible. A taser that’s strapped on? He says that is all the more reason for inmates to mind their manners.
Light sabers are now a reality, ScienceDaily reports:
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A group at the Harvard-MIT Center for Ultracold Atoms have managed to coax light photons into binding together to form molecules — a state of matter that, until recently, had been purely theoretical.
The discovery runs contrary to accepted wisdom about the nature of light. Photons have long been described as massless particles which don’t interact with each other. “Photonic molecules,” however, behave more like something in science fiction — the light saber.
“What we have done is create a special type of medium in which photons interact with each other so strongly that they begin to act as though they have mass, and they bind together to form molecules,” Lukin said.
The system could be useful in classical computing, considering the power-dissipation challenges chip-makers now face. It might one day even be used to create complex three-dimensional structures wholly out of light.
Time to start the internet over with? New Scientist reports on the burgeoning world of meshnets:
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The internet is neither neutral nor private, in case you were in any doubt. So some people are building their own net from scratch.
Across the US, from Maryland to Seattle, work is underway to construct user-owned wireless networks that will permit secure communication without surveillance or any centralised organisation. They are known as meshnets and ultimately, if their designers get their way, they will span the country.
Each node in the mesh, consisting of a radio transceiver and a computer, relays messages from other parts of the network. If the data can’t be passed by one route, the meshnet finds an alternative way through to its destination.
While these projects are just getting off the ground, a mesh network in Catalonia, Spain, is going from strength to strength. Guifi was started in the early 2000s by Ramon Roca, an Oracle employee who wanted broadband at his rural home.
Is this the type of iceberg for diagnosing people using brainwave-analyzing hats? Via Science World Report:
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For those who may have been wrongfully diagnosed with the disorder, a new device called the Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid (NEBA) System that measures electrical impulses given off by neurons in the brain, could more accurately diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to its creators.
More specifically, this medical tool tests for the ratio between theta and beta waves, as studies have found that children with ADHD tend to have more betas than those without the disorder. With approval of the device, children suspected of having ADHD would wear a cap for 15 to 20 minutes that could help determine a proper diagnosis.
Device manufacturer NEBA Health submitted a clinical study that evaluated 275 children, ages 6 to 17. The cost of the NEBA system and proposed charge for the test have also not be confirmed at this time.
In a project titled Scent-ography: a post-visual past time, designer Amy Radcliffe has created the MADELEINE, a device which records an odor’s molecular information. Rendered a formula, the unique smell can be subsequently recreated in a laboratory setting:
Our sense of smell is believed to have a direct link to our emotional memory. It is the sense that we react to most instinctually and also the furthest away from being stored or replicated digitally.
The Madeleine is, to all intents and purposes, an analogue odour camera. Based on current perfumery technology, Headspace Capture, The Madeleine works in much the same way as a 35mm camera. Just as the camera records the light information of a visual in order to create a replica The Madeleine records the molecular information of a smell.
Because kids have no right to hide their thoughts from adults, the Chicago Tribune reports:
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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has poured more than $4 billion into efforts to transform public education in the U.S., is pushing to develop an “engagement pedometer.” Biometric devices wrapped around the wrists of students would identify which classroom moments excite and interest them — and which fall flat.
The foundation has given $1.4 million in grants to several university researchers to begin testing the devices in middle-school classrooms this fall.
The biometric bracelets, produced by Affectiva Inc, send a small current across the skin and then measure subtle changes in electrical charges as the sympathetic nervous system responds to stimuli. The wireless devices have been used in pilot tests to gauge consumers’ emotional response to advertising.
Gates officials hope the devices, known as Q Sensors, can become a common classroom tool, enabling teachers to see, in real time, which kids are tuned in and which are zoned out.
Scared that you are falling behind the times? Via Zapato Productions intradimensional:
The front panel button switches the display to show paradigm confidence levels in real time — caution when it lingers near zero. Reset is inside if you need manual override — during reset you can preload values with the real time button.
No instructions were included, but none were needed. Oscillating dots on the display show it’s sensing the dominant paradigm. If there’s no shift within a day, the number will be advanced by one. Any detected shift will reset the number to zero.
Files for a printable gun which is immune to metal detectors were downloaded briskly for two days, before the gun’s inventors and Kim Dotcom’s Mega site removed them at the government’s behest. A few days ago Forbes reported:
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[100,000] is the number of downloads of the 3D-printable CAD files for the so-called “Liberator” gun that the high-tech gunsmithing group Defense Distributed has seen in just the last two days.
The State Department has now demanded Defense Distributed take down its printable gun files due to possible export control violations.
The controversial gun-printing group [was] hosting those files on Kim Dotcom’s Mega storage site. It’s also been uploaded to the filesharing site the Pirate Bay, where it’s quickly become one of the most popular files in the site’s 3D-printing category.
It’s worth noting that only a fraction of those who download the printable gun file will ever try to actually create one.