• Snake-like robots to help in search and rescue missions

    Robots can perform many missions, but they have difficulties operating on uneven, obstacle-strewn surfaces; Norwegian researchers develop a snake-like robot, equipped with sensors, cameras, and communication gear, to slither under, over, and around the rubble of collapsed buildings in search of trapped victims, chemical and biological agents, unexploded munitions, and more — and report back to the command center in real-time

  • Israel tests suicide bomber-resistant buses

    Since the mid-1990s, Palestinian terrorist organizations have killed and injured hundreds of Israelis by sending suicide bombers to explode themselves on crowded buses; in the last few years, Israeli security measures have prevented this particular form of terrorism, but just to be on the safe side, on of the country’s military contractors is testing fortified buses

  • Innovators hitch a ride on drive for national security

    Three U.K. companies share their experience in penetrating the U.S. homeland security market; their advice: Identify the right market, build relationships with industry leaders, talk about your programs, and prepare your family for the long hours at the office

  • At last: 140 year-old math problem solved by Imperial College researcher

    Conformal mapping is a key theoretical tool used by mathematicians, engineers, and scientists to translate information from a complicated shape to a simpler circular shape so that it is easier to analyze; trouble is, until now it only worked for shapes which did not contain any holes or irregularities; attempts to solve these problems have defeated mathematicians for 140 years; a researcher at Imperial College London solves the problem

  • Storing wind energy in batteries

    Integrating variable wind and solar power production with the needs of the power grid is a major problem of these two alternative sources of energy; a Minnesota company will test technology to to store wind energy and move it to the electricity grid when needed

  • Fence to nowhere

    DHS received the keys from Boeing — behind schedule, it should be noted — to Project 28, only to find out that it fell short of the promise the department made to Congress, and that Boeing made to the department; Boeing has now received a three-year extension; the Arizona Republic says the failure of Project 28 has deeper meaning for technology and policy

  • Worrying about wrong threat weakens U.S. bioterrorism preparedness

    Science writer says that the worry about man-made pathogens (or “designer” pathogens) is misplaced; preoccupation with artificial germs has led the government to de-emphasize “one-bug-one-drug” strategy in favor of “broad spectrum technology” aiming to boost the body’s innate, or general, immunity; experts question wisdom of strategy

  • On needles and haysacks: New way to deal with large datasets

    The ability to gather vast amounts of data and create huge datasets has created a problem: Data has outgrown data analysis; for more than eighty years one of the most common methods of statistical prediction has been maximum likelihood estimation (MLE); Brown University researchers offer a better way to deal with the enormous statistical uncertainty created by large datasets

  • Israeli clean-car project largest recipient of VC clean-tech funding in 2007

    Israeli electric car venture raises $200 million in first round financing — the largest single recipient of VC cleantech funding in 2007; total VC 2007 investment in cleantech: More than $3 billion

  • DHS defends handling of Project 28

    Project 28, built by Boeing along twenty-eight miles of the Arizona-Mexico border, was meant to showcase advanced border security technologies which DHS would use in the more ambitious $8 billion border surveillance system along the U.S.-Mexico border; DHS initially said that the project’s technology failed to deliver on its promise, and gave Boeing a three-year extension; DHS now defends its handling of the project

  • Northrop Grumman’s Guardian

    Northrop Grumman’s AAQ-24 Nemesis DIRCM antimissile system has been installed on 400 military aircraft representing 33 types of aircraft, both fixed and rotary wing; the company’s Guardian system, which is adapted from Nemesis, aims to protect commercial aviation against shoulder-fired missiles

  • Robots designed to search disaster areas for survivors

    Researchers to build robot that uses vision and tactile sensors to navigate homes, buildings, and the outdoors; robot will be equipped with a small camera and a vision algorithm that will allow it to see, recognize and avoid running into objects; goal is to send swarms of these robots to crawl over the rubble of disaster areas in search of survivors

  • MPRI to help CDC prepare for disasters

    Simulation and virtualization are becoming more popular as tools for preparedness; MPRI, a subsidiary of L-3 company, will use its simulation and training expertise to help CDC prepare for all-hazard disasters, including bioterrorism and pandemic outbreaks

  • Can robots commit war crimes?

    As the move continues toward autonomous killing machines — robots which spot, identify, and kill on their own, without human intervention — questions are raised about moral, ethical, and legal aspects of this trend

  • Asteroid-tracking proposal wins $25,000 prize

    Depending on the direction it takes as it nears Earth in 2029, the asteroid Apophis may hit Earth in 2036, with what scientists fear would be an impact similar to that which caused the extinction of dinosaurs sixty-two million years ago; scientific and engineering organizations compete for funding of proposals on how to deal with the threat