• Fire and forget: How do you stop a torpedo? With a better torpedo.

    Torpedoes are a lot smarter than they used to be. In the 1980s, the Soviets brought out a torpedo that shot to the head of the class. Instead of looking for a ship, it uses upward-looking sonar to detect a ship’s wake.Now, the U.S. Navy has a potential defense against this threat: an even smarter torpedo. The Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo Torpedo, or CAT, is part of a defense system that can find and destroy a wake-homing torpedo.

  • World’s tech leaders call on UN to ban killer robots

    An open letter by 116 tech leaders from 26 countries urges the United Nations against opening the Pandora’s box of lethal robot weapons. The open letter is the first time that AI and robotics companies have taken a joint stance on the issue. “Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,” the letter states. “Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend. These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”

  • Blood vessels prove you are who you say you are

    Biometric screening — using biological characteristics such as fingerprints, iris recognition or facial features — is a high priority for researchers who are working to develop future security solutions. Researchers have found a way to identify people through finger vein recognition. This authentication system shows promise as a more secure passport control method.

  • Identifying toxic threats, preparing for surprise

    Predicting chemical attacks is no small task, especially when there are so many toxic substances. There is no crystal ball to aid us in sorting through them all to identify and characterize the potential threats. Instead, intelligence and defense communities use a broad network of tools to forecast hazards to safeguard our warfighters and nation. A new project from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) seeks to improve the U.S. defensive capability by creating a crystal ball to more rapidly determine the toxicity of such chemical hazards and increase our ability to prepare for surprise.

  • Outdoor drone testing facility for safe, innovative flight testing

    An outdoor fly lab for testing autonomous aerial vehicles is coming to the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering this fall, adding to the university’s spate of advanced robotics facilities. M-Air will be a netted, four-story complex situated next to the site where the Ford Motor Company Robotics Building will open in late 2019. Construction of the $800,000 M-Air is expected to begin in August and be complete by the end of the year.

  • Spotting data theft – quickly!

    Computer experts have always struggled to find solutions for protecting businesses and authorities from network breaches. This is because there are too many vague indicators of potential attacks. With PA-SIEM, IT managers have a solution that effectively protects their systems while exposing data thieves and criminal hackers more quickly than conventional software.

  • New app detects cyberattacks quickly

    If you are awaiting exciting news from your friend, what is the better way to read your email? Has it comes in, or after a batch collects? Well, if you read it as it comes in, you will surely get the news faster. Researchers have developed a software app that can do the same for computer networks. Monitoring the activity within a network in real-time can allow cybersecurity analysts to detect cyberattacks quickly, before thieves steal data or crash your system.

  • Invisibility cloak a step closer

    Researchers have made structures that could help conceal objects from daylight – taking the next step towards making the visible, invisible. Recent progress draws on advances in so-called metamaterials, which are microscopic structures that bend light in unnatural directions. Metamaterials have already managed to reroute microwaves, infrared radiation. and, given the right circumstances, visible colors, so that they go around metal obstacles and living creatures.

  • Hacking functional fabrics to aid emergency response

    Hazardous environments such as disaster sites and conflict zones present many challenges for emergency response. But the new field of functional fabrics — materials modified to incorporate various sensors, connect to the internet, or serve multiple purposes, among other things — holds promise for novel solutions. Over the weekend, MIT became a hotbed for developing those solutions.

  • Breakthrough in countering deadly VX

    First developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1950s, VX is one of the most toxic chemical weapon threats facing soldiers on the battlefield – and civilians as well, as the use by VX by Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad shows. DoD currently uses the Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion (RSDL) for broad-spectrum agent elimination on unbroken skin, but a capability gap exists for treating chemical agent exposure to large affected areas or open wounds.

  • New optical device detects drugs, bomb-making chemicals

    Scientists searching for traces of drugs, bomb-making components, and other chemicals often shine light on the materials they’re analyzing. This approach is known as spectroscopy, and it involves studying how light interacts with trace amounts of matter. One of the more effective types of spectroscopy is infrared absorption spectroscopy, which scientists use to sleuth out performance-enhancing drugs in blood samples and tiny particles of explosives in the air.

  • Identifying, analyzing drone-collected evidentiary data

    DHS awards nearly $1 million to a Colorado company to develop ways to increase law enforcement capabilities to identify, collect, and analyze evidentiary data from consumer and professional drones. The award is part of S&T’s Cyber Forensics, a project which focuses on development of new capabilities to help law enforcement with the forensic investigations of digital evidence from various devices such as mobile phones and automobile infotainment systems.

  • New class of chemical vapor sensors

    An interdisciplinary team of scientists demonstrated that monolayer 2D Transition Metal Dichalcogenides (TMDs) — atomically thin semiconductors — undergo a change from semiconductor-to-metallic phase when exposed to airborne chemical vapors. The team validated optical and electronic evidence of the phase transition and how the behavior can be used to create an entirely new class of chemical vapor sensors. This new class of instruments are potentially more sensitive than current state-of-the-art models, and selective to specific nerve agents and explosive compounds which are of great concern on today’s battlefields.

  • Navy’s railgun ready for operational demos

    The U.S. Navy announced that its electromagnetic railgun is out of the laboratory and ready for field demonstrations. The revolutionary railgun relies on a massive electrical pulse, rather than gunpowder or other chemical propellants, to launch projectiles at distances over 100 nautical miles—and at speeds that exceed Mach 6, or six times the speed of sound. That velocity allows projectiles to rely on kinetic energy for maximum effect, and reduces the amount of high explosives needed on ships.

  • Better technologies help first responders respond more quickly, safely, and effectively

    When disaster strikes, first responders rush in to provide assistance. In addition to their courage and training, they depend on a panoply of technologies to do their jobs. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has partnered with emergency management and public safety professionals to define, develop, test and deploy these technologies to improve response and recovery. The Lab also applies its scientific capabilities to assess emergencies as they unfold.