• The Big Promises and Potentially Bigger Consequences of Neurotechnology

    By Elise Thomas

    Neurotechnology is an umbrella term for a range of technologies which interact directly with the brain or nervous system. This can include systems which passively scan, map or interpret brain activity, or systems which actively influence the state of the brain or nervous system. There are growing excitement and growing concern about the potential applications of neurotechnology for everything from defense to health care to entertainment.

  • Are New and Emerging Technologies Game-Changers for Smaller Powers?

    We are now entering into what is usually referred to as the fourth industrial revolution, which is characterized by the fusion of technologies and platforms in the form of a “system of systems.” Michael Claesson and Zebulon Carlander write that “In previous industrial revolutions, innovation was integrated into military capabilities, such as weapons systems, logistics, and organization. The fourth industrial revolution will be no different.” The add that “New and emerging technologies might therefore offer a new arena for small and medium states in which they can exploit possibilities to offset the capabilities of bigger and better-resourced adversaries.”

  • Autonomous Air and Ground Vehicles Swarms Take Flight in Final Field Experiment

    DARPA’s OFFSET program envisions future small-unit infantry forces employing large-scale teams of unmanned air and/or ground robots to accomplish diverse missions in complex urban environments. OFFSET specifically focused on advancements in collaborative swarm autonomy and human-swarm teaming capabilities.

  • Meet the Maggot: How This Flesh-Loving, Butt-Breathing Marvel Helps Us Solve Murders

    By Michelle Harvey

    Not all superheroes wear capes – some live in rubbish bins, garbage dumps and on dead bodies. Maggots, the humble little legless larvae, are actually nature’s antibacterial soldiers. Their ability to survive and thrive in decomposing matter is making them our new secret weapon in forensic entomology – the science of using insects to solve crimes.

  • What Are the Geopolitical Risks of Manipulating the Climate?

    By Doug Irving

    It would only take one country—watching its crops shrivel or its water run dry—deciding to take a chance to set in motion a global geoengineering climate experiment, and technologies which could, for example, block the sun’s rays or siphon huge amounts of carbon from the air are not that far out of reach. The effects could get out of hand quickly. Yet the international community has not established the kinds of guardrails you might expect for potentially world-changing technologies. As a result, no single governing body is overseeing geoengineering efforts on a global scale.

  • The Use of Earthquake Science for Assessing Risks to Gas Pipelines

    New study highlights the need to continue efforts to systematically quantify nationwide earthquake risk to gas pipelines in the United States, which manages the largest gas pipeline network in the world.

  • Simulation Models of Potential Asteroid Collisions

    An asteroid impact can be enough to ruin anyone’s day, but several small factors can make the difference between an out-of-this-world story and total annihilation.

  • “In Defense of Water” Program Aims to Improve Water Security

    A new DOD-funded project — “In Defense of Water” – aims to help provide clean drinking water and protect the environment. The project will improve water security and efficiency at military and civilian installations to improve readiness and reduce operational impacts due to water shortages and employ innovative water management technologies.

  • Computer Attacks with Laser Light

    Computer systems that are physically isolated from the outside world (air-gapped) can still be attacked. This is demonstrated by IT security experts in the LaserShark project. The researchers demonstrate hidden communication into air-gapped computer systems: Data transmitted to light-emitting diodes of regular office devices.

  • UN Fails to Agree on “Killer Robot” Ban While Nations Pour Billions into Autonomous Weapons Research

    By James Dawes

    Autonomous weapon systems – commonly known as killer robots – may have killed human beings for the first time ever last year, according to a recent UN Security Council report on the Libyan civil war. History could well identify this as the starting point of the next major arms race, one that has the potential to be humanity’s final one.

  • Identifying Fake Voice Recordings

    Artificial intelligence can imitate people’s voices. Scammers are already taking advantage of this on the phone. A team of researchers is working on a solution.

  • Selective Separation Could Help Alleviate Shortage of Critical Metals

    By Becky Ham

    A new way of processing rare-earth and other key metals to separate them from other materials could reduce environmental impact and cost.

  • Why China’s Advancements in Quantum Technology Worry Others

    By Ralph Jennings

    Quantum refers to a type of computing that lets high-powered machines make calculations that are too complex for ordinary devices. China’s advances in quantum computing will give a new advantage to its armed forces, already the world’s third strongest, analysts say.

  • Gunfire or Plastic Bag Popping? Trained Computer Can Tell the Difference

    There have been 296 mass shootings in the United States this year, and 2021 is on pace to be America’s deadliest year of gun violence in the last two decades. Discerning between a dangerous audio event like a gun firing and a non-life-threatening event, such as a plastic bag bursting, can mean the difference between life and death. Engineering researchers develop gunshot detection algorithm and classification model to discern similar sounds.

  • Consortium to Combat Targeted Crowd Attacks

    Ten universities formed a consortium to combat terrorist and criminal attacks on soft targets such as schools, hospitals, shopping malls and sports stadiums. “The challenges of keeping people safe in soft targets and crowded spaces gets more complicated every day,” said one expert.