DARPA Takes Fresh Look at Vertical Take-Off Plane

DARPA is planning to invest $150 million to develop a new vertical take-off and landing aircraft called the VTOL X-Plane. The project is the latest attempt to solve a long-standing engineering challenge: how to design an aircraft that can take-off, land and hover like a helicopter, but that can fly at top speed once in the air. Continue reading

DARPA Working Toward Wireless Future

The future is wireless. As we move toward total Wi-Fi coverage, the need for all those cables that burrow beneath the ground or hang just in range of falling trees will begin to diminish. Total coverage also means large areas need to be covered, so you never have to play the Wi-Fi version of, “Can you hear me now?”

DARPA is working on developing a long range Wi-Fi system that is capable of transferring data at up to 100 Gbps. The idea is to extend the range for communications with soldiers in the field, without slowing down the military’s wireless Common Data Link. Long range wireless would also assist the troops when they’re deployed to areas with limited, or no, infrastructure. Continue reading

UCLA Develops Energy Efficient Computer Memory

As they improve, modern electronics have a way of shrinking. Unfortunately, their power requirements don’t decrease at the same rate. A lot of ongoing research is aimed at reducing the amount of energy required to run electronic devices. With that aim in mind, researchers at UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have been developing a new type of memory that requires less energy than current technology.

According to the research team, the recently developed magnetoelectric random access memory (MeRAM) is up to 1,000 times more energy efficient than other types of memory, while retaining the high density, read speeds and other characteristics of current generation memory. Continue reading

Robotic Battle Dog Now Obeys Voice Commands

I may never get tired of reading and writing about Boston Dynamics’ animal-inspired military robots. Back in March, John Newman updated us on the company’s robo-cheetah. Now we’ve learned that the company’s fantastically awesome, battle-ready AlphaDog (otherwise known as the Legged Squad Support System, or LS3) has gotten even better. Continue reading

DARPA First Responder Robotics Challenge

The Navy isn’t the only defense agency interested in letting robots handle fire and rescue operations. DARPA has unveiled the details of its next grand robotics challenge: to create robotic first responders that can work in disaster and rescue operations in environments that are not safe for humans. Continue reading


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