News

Robot’s Speed-of-Light Communication Could Protect You From Danger

Cornell University researchers are developing a system to enable teams of robots to share information as they move around, and if necessary, interpret what they see. This would allow the robots to conduct surveillance as a single entity with many eyes. Beyond surveillance, the new technology could enable teams of robots to relieve humans of dangerous jobs such as disposing of landmines, cleaning up after a nuclear meltdown or surveying the damage after a flood or hurricane. The project, called “Convolutional-Features Analysis and Control for Mobile Visual Scene Perception,” is supported by a four-year, $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

Posted in: News, Defense, Machine Vision, Visualization Software, Optics, Robotics
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Heads-up Display Improves Soldiers’ Situational Awareness

A novel technology called "Tactical Augmented Reality," or TAR, is now helping soldiers precisely locate their positions, as well as the locations of friends and foes. It even enables them to see in the dark, all with a heads-up display device that looks like night-vision goggles (NVG). In essence, TAR replaces NVG, GPS, plus it does much more.

Posted in: News, Defense, Optical Components, Optics
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Concept Enables Solar UAV “Autonomous Soaring”

Naval Research Laboratory engineers want to improve the ability of unmanned platforms to support a 24/7 information, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) mission. A new concept being tested consists of a photovoltaic array integrated into the center wing panel of the PV-SBXC aircraft as a drop-in replacement to the original wing. A power management and distribution system converts the power from the solar arrays into DC voltage that the electric motor can use for propulsion, or to recharge a smart battery.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense
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NASA Tests Prepare Space Launch System for Liftoff

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) may experience ground wind gusts of up to 70 mph as it sits on the launch pad before and during liftoff for future missions. Understanding how environmental factors affect the rocket will help NASA’s guidance, navigation, and control team to identify the safety distance between the rocket and the launch tower.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Defense
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Lightweight Artificial Hair Sensors Could Enable “Fly by Feel”

The Air Force Research Laboratory was inspired by the hairs on bats and crickets in creation of artificial hair sensors that could assess the external environment and change maneuvers during flight. The need to understand ambient air data and its effects on aircraft performance, navigation, and more has become more critical as aircraft are now lighter and operate in diverse environments.

Posted in: News, Defense, Sensors
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Creating the Future: A Better Way to Map Terrain

Mark Skoog, an aerospace engineer at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center, led the development of new software that stores terrain data in a more efficient and accurate way. The achievement, Skoog says, opens the prospect of anyone – yes, anyone – being able to fly.

Posted in: News, News, Aerospace, Imaging, Sensors
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AMRDEC Technologies to Improve Air and Missile Defense

Engineers at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) are working on a trio of technologies to explore improving existing air and missile defense designs at lower costs and in less development time. Each of the technologies was developed out of a demand from the warfighter. Investment in current missile weapons is high so the Army prefers to improve what is in use instead of fielding new items. Also, soldiers have more trust in machinery they have used and experienced.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Defense, Software, Test & Measurement
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Drop of Mock Nuclear Weapon Is First of New Flight Tests

From a distance, the drop of a mock nuclear weapon — containing only non-nuclear components — was a mere puff of dust rising from a dry lake bed at Nevada’s Tonopah Test Range. However, it marked the start of a new series of test flights vital to the nation’s B61-12 weapon refurbishment program. Initial data showed the test was a success, said officials at Sandia National Laboratories, which runs Tonopah. For months, teams will be analyzing a wealth of data they collected from this first of a qualification test series planned over the next three years.

Posted in: News, Defense, Test & Measurement
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Mobile High-Energy Laser Shoots Down Drones

A Stryker combat vehicle equipped with a 5kW laser and an array of sensors spent several minutes scanning the horizon for a wayward "enemy" drone. On a television screen in a nearby tent off Thompson Hill - a range used during the recent 10-day Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment (MFIX) - observers watched the black and white output of those sensors on two flat-screen televisions. A crosshair was centered on the screen. When what appeared to be a drone entered the frame, the crosshairs locked on to it and followed it.

Posted in: News, Defense, Lasers & Laser Systems
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New System Assists X-Planes with Super-Fast Data Transmission

A network and communication architecture that can more efficiently move data from research aircraft, while using half the bandwidth of traditional methods, could eventually also enable data collection of precise measurements needed for testing the next generation of X-planes. Researchers at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center integrated the new systems into a NASA King Air for three flights following extensive ground testing.

Posted in: News, Data Acquisition, Defense
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