• SideArm prototype catches full-size drones flying at full speed

    Few scenes capture the U.S. Navy’s prowess as effectively as the rapid-fire takeoff and recovery of combat jets from the deck of an aircraft carrier. The ability to carry air power anywhere in the world, and both launch those aircraft to flight speed and bring them to a stop over extremely short distances, has been essential to carriers’ decades-long dominance of naval warfare. To help provide similar capabilities—minus the 90,000-ton carriers—to U.S. military units around the world, DARPA’s SideArm research effort seeks to create a self-contained, portable apparatus able to horizontally launch and retrieve unmanned aerial systems (UASs) of up to 900 pounds. The self-contained, portable apparatus can be used to launch and retrieve unmanned aircraft from trucks, ships, and fixed bases.

  • Sandia adds augmented reality to training toolbox

    When you hear the term “serious gaming” you might envision professional eSports competitors gearing up for a League of Legends World Championship in front of tens of thousands of live fans and tens of millions of streaming fans. At Sandia National Laboratories, serious gaming means something else entirely. Experts on physical security at Sandia apply the technology and methods of the game industry to real-world national security problems.

  • Federally developed technologies go to work

    A tool to assess and address cyber and physical security issues and an inexpensive way to create a microscope out of a cell phone are being used by businesses and individuals, thanks to teams who worked to move them out of the laboratory and into the marketplace.

  • Low-cost imaging system detects natural gas leaks in real time

    Researchers have developed an infrared imaging system that could one day offer low-cost, real-time detection of methane gas leaks in pipelines and at oil and gas facilities. Leaks of methane, the primary component of natural gas, can be costly and dangerous while also contributing to climate change as a greenhouse gas. Infrared device enables reliable monitoring under a range of environmental conditions.

  • Dual-use sciene, technological innovation

    Scientific research can change our lives for the better, but it also presents risks – either through deliberate misuse or accident. Think about studying deadly pathogens; that’s how we can learn how to successfully ward them off, but it can be a safety issue too, as when CDC workers were exposed to anthrax in 2014 after an incomplete laboratory procedure left spores of the bacterium alive. Making decisions about the security implications of science and technology can be complicated. That’s why scientists and policymakers need clarity on the dual-use distinction to help consider our options.

  • Fish scales inspire protective wear

    For several years, researchers have been trying to replicate the kind of protection combined with flexibility offered by certain kinds of animal scales. Their goal is to create protective gloves that are both resistant to piercing and still flexible enough. After five years of work, they believe they have done it. The solution came when they started looking more closely at the scales of an alligator gar.

  • Do Americans want to buy ‘smart’ guns?

    “Smart gun” refers to firearms that include some sort of safety device designed to make sure that the gun can be fired only by an authorized user. These safety devices include fingerprint recognition, wearable “tags” that a gun can recognize and other similar features. Smart guns are not yet widely available on the market. But would Americans actually buy smart guns? We need more studies with larger, nationally representative samples and more detailed questions about smart guns. However, my study sheds light on how subgroups of Americans feel about the issue. Not all gun owners or nonowners feel the same way about smart guns. Support is not evenly divided by political party. American attitudes toward smart guns are complex and do not necessarily follow the patterns we might expect.

  • Mobile handheld devices to share battlefield information at multiple classification levels

    Troops in remote regions around the world often struggle to operate with limited networks for data sharing and communication—an encumbrance that is amplified when U.S. troops need to share classified or otherwise secure data with each other and coalition partners. DARPA’s Secure Handhelds on Assured Resilient networks at the tactical Edge (SHARE) program aims to create a system where information at multiple levels of security classification could be processed on a single handheld device

  • Personal technology aids in criminal proceedings, but poses privacy, rights risks

    Personal technology such as fitness trackers and smartphones that record users’ daily activities are likely to be used increasingly in criminal investigations, raising questions about individuals’ rights that the legal system is not yet fully prepared to address. Information such as location, travel patterns, and even physiological details such as heart rate and activity levels could be retrieved from devices as a part of criminal investigations. Such technology offers new tools to law enforcement, but raises unique issues regarding important constitutional rights such as self-incrimination, according to the report.

  • Hair strength inspires new materials for body armor

    In a new study, researchers investigate why hair is incredibly strong and resistant to breaking. The findings could lead to the development of new materials for body armor and help cosmetic manufacturers create better hair care products.

  • U.K. to develop laser directed energy weapons

    The U.K. Ministry of Defense (MOD) has awarded £30 million contract to produce Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) Capability Demonstrator to U.K. Dragonfire consortium, led by MBDA. The project will assess innovative LDEW technologies and approaches, culminating in a demonstration of the system in 2019. The contract will assess how the system can pick up and track targets at various ranges and in varied weather conditions over land and water, to allow precision use.

  • Bird-inspired drone navigation

    When they need to change direction, increase their speed, or counter headwinds, birds alter the configuration of their wings. To steer, for example, they spread one wing and slightly retract the other. By adjusting their wingspan in this way, they create a calculated imbalance that causes them to turn. Up to now, only birds could do this so effectively. Researchers have equipped a drone with feathers to increase its precision during flight. The bio-inspired device can spread or close its wings while flying, making it easier to maneuver and more resistant in high winds.

  • Firefighters to have bushfire predictions at the fingertips

    Researchers at the University of Western Australia are developing a new touchscreen device that can be mounted in a fire truck to help firefighters predict where and when a bushfire will spread. The researchers are modifying bushfire simulation software Australis into a high-end tablet to provide accurate predictions of fire behavior more rapidly than current methods.

  • Remote-control skillful rescue robot demonstrated

    Researchers have developed a prototype construction robot for disaster relief situations. This prototype has drastically improved operability and mobility compared to conventional construction machines.

  • Identifying, fast-tracking development of first responders technology

    First responders face challenging conditions while often carrying heavy and outdated equipment. Wearable technology is on the rise, estimated at a $10 billion dollar commercial market, and advances are happening in the health and fitness area every day. The first responder community stands to benefit from integrating some of this otherwise heavy and outdated equipment into wearable technology, improving both upon efficiencies and responsiveness as well as continuing to prioritize their own safety on the frontlines of often dangerous situations.