Ten years ago, I was in the early stages of the PhD programme in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University.The potential of these technologies was incredible, but up to that point, the focus had been overwhelmingly on applications in areas such as defence, space, manufacturing or pure research.Then, top autonomous driving research was funded almost exclusively by Darpa and other government agencies, and although large-scale autonomous cars have always been one of the dreams of robotics researchers, we would have all been shocked to see what is happening today: dozens of the biggest companies in the world led by a search-engine company , as well as highly funded startups, are collectively investing billions of dollars at the pursuit of the commercial autonomous car.Now there is a sense of inevitability to autonomous cars being a staple of our daily lives within a decade or sooner , with the only questions being the pace at which they will take over, and which of the companies chasing this prize will pull away from the pack.These developments in transportation are a great template for how robotics can disrupt even the most entrenched industries, and highlights a few themes that we will begin to see more frequently:• Incumbents will rarely be the ones that disrupt their own spaces.
May has been a big month for personal robotics.So keep tabs on your parents and grandparents: they could be cyborgs one day.The suit works a little like an image stabilizer in a camera.There are some actuators in the belt that detect shaky movements.The team even received $2.9 million in funding from DARPA, the US government's futuristic technology arm, to develop the suit so that soldiers on the field would suffer less from muscle cramps.The researchers hope eventually the suit will mimic natural skin to the point where you can pretty much slip it on before you put actual clothes on.In the video above, though, you'll see that the robotic suit is more in the middle of the road between being the clunky power-walking suits Hyundai made and actual clothes.In the past few years, engineers have been making strides toward building robotic walking suits that would give paralyzed patients the ability to move again.This obsession with restoring limb function has led to things like mind-controlled arms and printable hands, among many other life-changing advances in prosthetics.Soon enough, these people won't have to worry about looking like robots — it'll just be like putting on a second skin.Read the original article on Tech Insider.More from Tech Insider:Take a tour of London's new super-sleek train systemGoogle just released a new messaging app that lets you do much more than send messages GOOG There's a secret Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Airbnb in NYC you can rent for freeGoogle just announced its Amazon Echo competitorA war is brewing between brands and the social media 'influencers' they payNOW WATCH: A hair scientist debunks the biggest myth about shavingLoading video...
It s coming out in spring 2017, with a limited beta coming this fall.It s called the trucker jacket, Levi s vice president of innovation Paul Dillinger said.Google Maps, Google Play, Spotify, and Strava will be supported — and there will be APIs that will let developers build their own custom services for this technology.The division came to Google as part of the Motorola Mobility acquisition, and it was the only thing Google kept before selling the rest to Lenovo.Not surprisingly, it has done a lot of hardware projects — alongside Project Jacquard, last year the group debuted Project Soli, a radar device that picks up on gestures.There was also the Project Vault encrypted microSD card.But ATAP is also behind the Project Tango augmented reality technology that is close to being shipped in a consumer smartphone from Lenovo.Recently Regina Dugan, the leader of ATAP who used to work inside the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA , left Google for Facebook.In addition to the Jacquard and Soli updates, Google has been working on the Abacus authentication technology it talked about at I/O last year.Later this year there will be a Trust application programming interface API that Android developers will be able to incorporate into their applications, said Dan Kaufman — another DARPA alum who replaced Dugan as ATAP head.
The company said it will be releasing the developer edition in Q4 2016, and it s already working on a consumer version that s scheduled to be released next year.Ara has made so much progress this year, it s actually spun out into a new business unit run by Richard Woolridge the chief operating officer of ATAP , Google said.Enabled devices will have six generic slots that can be customized to your heart s desire.The idea of Ara is to ensure that your devices are future-proofed, meaning that the whole upgrade every two years mentality is no longer a thing.When you want to eject it, you can either specify the module you no longer want within the settings app or simply tell Google using your voice.Google is working on giving developers more access to tools that it calls the first truly modular computing platform.Created by former DARPA director Regina Dugan, who has since departed for Facebook, ATAP specializes in projects that could be developed within two years, which is a much shorter time from Google s other innovative program, X, which focuses on moonshots.In previous years, the company has shared details around some of the things it s been working on, including its wearable technology effort Project Jacquard, touch-sensitive textiles Project Soli, and Project Vault, which specializes in encrypting a microSD memory card.Other efforts in the group include augmented reality technology Project Tango, modular smartphone customization effort Project Ara, and a smart contact lens that helps you manage your glucose levels.Google also shared updates today relating to Project Jacquard and Project Soli.
The U.S. Navy has autonomous watercraft aspirations, and it needs a way for future unmanned and manned subs to navigate accurately.Here to help is DARPA, which has selected BAE Systems to create an underwater positioning system for deep ocean navigation POSYDON .The program will produce a navigation system that eliminates the need to surface for updated GPS data.This underwater system ultimately aims to keep U.S. Navy underwater vehicles save by, A eliminating the need to resurface periodically for GPS, and B sidestep any local GPS signal jamming that could be underway from enemy devices.The program s eventual system will work using acoustic signals given by underwater instruments of some sort, as shown in the image above.Said BAE Systems Director of Sensor Processing and Exploitation Joshua Niedzwiecki:BAE Systems has more than 40 years of experience developing underwater active and passive acoustic systems.We ll use this same technology to revolutionize undersea navigation for the POSYDON program, by selecting and demonstrating acoustic underwater GPS sources and corresponding small-form factor receivers.
On the ground, humanity relies pretty much entirely on GPS satellites to get real-time directions from point A to point B.The Positioning System for Deep Ocean Navigation, which has been nicknamed Posydon, could be the key to more accurate underwater navigation.GPS signals rely on high frequency radio waves to transmit their location data, but those waves can t penetrate more than a few inches beneath the surface of the ocean.Submarines making long journeys are forced to surface while at sea in order to sync up with GPS satellites, which isn t a viable option for subs executing stealth missions.In the absence of GPS, submarine personnel are forced to process complex calculations based on speed, distance, and direction, alongside environmental factors like ocean currents.Reliable acoustic transmissions will depend on a detailed understanding of the way sound waves move through water, as factors from currents to sea temperature change the underwater landscape.
Hey, who wouldn't trust a robot with a baby?This victorious automaton, DRC-HUBO, took first place in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA Robotics Challenge June 6, 2015 in Pomona, California.Photo: 2015 Getty Images
The National Security Agency is perhaps the most secretive of the 17 intelligence agencies that make up the sophisticated US spy network.Created in secret in 1952, the NSA was once jokingly referred to as "No Such Agency" or "Never Say Anything."But now, especially after a flood of top secret documents were leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden, NSA is a household name.The agency, previously shy about official statements and transparency, now has websites dedicated to its own message surrounding the leaks.And the official in charge of its elite hacker unit — which it denied even existed before Snowden — gave a public talk in February.Tech Insider was recently in Washington to cover a DARPA event at the Pentagon, so we decided to make a slight detour out to the National Cryptologic Museum, a public facility that's just a stone's throw away from NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Md.Here's what's inside.View As: One PageSlides
Inside the War Fighting Lab, the Marine Corps is developing remote-controlled land-based robots and aerial drones that operate in teams; the United States Army is building robotic medics that can tend to soldiers and rescue them from the battlefield; and DARPA s Gremlin drones are being designed to take off from and return to a mothership after completing reconnaissance missions.Not to be outdone by the military s other branches, the Navy s Office of Naval Research ONR has developed swarming drones and a related drone launcher.According the ONR, LOCUST and the swarming drones are intended to autonomously overwhelm an adversary in either offensive or defensive operations, while keeping soldiers at a safe distance.The launchers small size allows for the firing of UAVs from ships, vehicles, or aircraft, depending on the mission.And, like the Marine Corps machines, LOCUST and the UAVs will ultimately be monitored by a human who can override their controls if needed.This level of autonomous swarming flight has never been done before, ONR program manager Lee Mastroiann said in a press release last year.
Image: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionEarlier this month, a frightening report warned of an antibiotic-resistant superbug which might kill as many as 10 million people worldwide by 2050.According to a study published today by the American Society for Microbiology, a 49-year-old Pennsylvania woman had a strain of E. coli that did not respond to the antibiotic colistin, which is a powerful drug-of-last-resort for treating particularly stubborn infections.The CDC is investigating the source of the superbug.There are alternatives to antibiotics, like strains of predatory bacteria that are currently being tested by DARPA, or, surprisingly, more powerful superbugs.But it s widely agreed among experts that the antibiotic apocalypse is impending.It basically shows us that the end of the road isn t very far away for antibiotics — that we may be in a situation where we have patients in our intensive-care units, or patients getting urinary tract infections for which we do not have antibiotics, CDC Director Tom Frieden told the Washington Post.
Back in early 2014, DARPA issued grants for the development of stealthy military motorcycles, with the idea being that silent motorcycles will be an efficient and fast way to get soldiers across difficult or long stretches of ground.Now, more than two years later, the first two prototypes created for that project have been unveiled with dark dirt bike-like designs.The two prototypes were recently showcased at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, with one being LSA Autonomy s Nightmare and the other being Logos Silent Hawk.Both models have gone on to phase two under DARPA s program, and though they look like ordinary dirt bikes with a matte black paint job, they re far more capable.Most notably, both bikes are designed to run on a whole range of fuels and power sources so that military members in remote locations can use what s available, even if it s not ideal.Either one can be used as a generator in a pinch, though, for powering other devices.
But what if a particular mission calls for something a bit smaller and just a tad more mobile?DON T MISS: iPhone 6s and Galaxy S7 faced off in a drop test and it was brutalA few years ago, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA sponsored a competition where companies were challenged to come up with a compelling stealth motorcycle design.The underlying goal?Earlier this week, at the National Defense Industrial Association s Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, two prototype stealth bikes were on full display.One bike — The Silent Hawk — was developed by Logos while the other bike –dubbed Nightmare — was developed by LSA Autonomy.Conventional transport vehicles can move people and cargo fast, but they have trouble negotiating extreme terrain.
Dr Tom Oxley, a neurologist at University of Melbourne UoM and Royal Melbourne Hospital, and Dr Nick Opie, a biomedical engineer at the UoM's Vascular Bionics Laboratory, have been working together with surgeons and engineers across 16 departments in UoM to develop a brain-machine interface in the last four years that could make telepathy truly possible.Why advertise with usThe researchers have developed a tiny biocompatible implant called a stentrode, which comes with an array of electrodes that sits in a blood vessel next to the brain in order to record electrical activity from the motor cortex, which is the part of the brain that controls movements."If you consider how we use smartphones, it's incredible that we communicate silently to each other without talking.This would make it much less stressful for the pilot, as flying planes is complex and requires the pilot to be able to evaluate and monitor several things at once.Darpa is also hoping that the stentrodes can be used to rehabilitate soldiers that have been paralysed in the field, so the electrical signals picked up by the implant can communicate with bionic exoskeletons and enable the patients to think a movement and make it happen in reality.His mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton suits that enable paraplegic people to stand up and walk were successfully demonstrated at the opening ceremony of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
An artist's concept of DARPA's Experimental Spaceplane XS-1 , a proposed robotic space vehicle that could fly 10 times in 10 days and lower the cost of putting satellites in orbit.In early 2017, DARPA is expected to select one group to move forward with the construction of an XS-1 prototype for flight testing.In an era of declining budgets and adversaries evolving capabilities, quick, affordable and routine access to space is increasingly critical for both national and economic security," DARPA officials wrote in a statement on the agency's website."Current satellite launch systems, however, require scheduling years in advance for an extremely limited inventory of available slots."DARPA created its Experimental Spaceplane XS-1 program to help overcome these challenges and create a new paradigm for more routine, responsive and affordable space operations, reducing the time to get capabilities to space," officials said in the statement.DARPA announced in April that it had received funding from the Obama Administration to move into Phase 2.
An Army soldier wears conceptual "future soldier" armor at the Detroit Auto Show in 2012.If the Special Operations Command's TALOS project is successful, soldiers may wear armored exoskeletons for urban combat in the near future.Navy Commander Anthony Baker of USSOCOM's Joint Acquisition Task Force unveiled the initial list of requirements for TALOS, which is intended to enhance the "comprehensive ballistic protection, situational awareness, and surgical precision and lethality" of Special Operations troops, particularly in urban combat.Initial prototypes demonstrating some of the technologies for TALOS were developed by MIT under the USSOCOM/DARPA program in 2014, and USSOCOM is now on course to produce a full advanced prototype of TALOS by August of 2018.General Atomics is also working on methods of powering TALOS, including a hybrid power supply that can switch to battery for short periods for stealth purposes.The suit will have an "open architecture," allowing add-on capabilities to be quickly integrated into the system.
"In order to remain the ... best Air Force on the planet, we have to be constantly innovating, and particularly when it comes to high-technology solutions, we've got to speed it up," Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said in April during her second visit to Silicon Valley in four months.AdvertisementThe Department of Defense runs a similar program geared toward Silicon Valley startups, and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter beefed it up last month."There's just a general movement that you can feel," said Meagan Metzger, founder of Washington, D.C.-based accelerator Dcode42, which focuses on helping startups win government business.The federal government has long had its hand in emerging Silicon Valley technologies -- it was the DOD's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA that helped bring us a little thing known as the internet and that is credited with jump-starting the self-driving car movement in the early 2000s.Kuang Chen, CEO and co-founder of Oakland company Captricity, said he's been trying for years to help the Department of Veterans Affairs clear its notorious backlog of veteran disability claims.Contact her at 408-920-5009 and follow her at Twitter.com/marisakendall.
Sikorsky, which is now owned by major aerospace defence firm Lockheed Martin, achieved this feat by utilising technology developed for Darpa's Aircrew Labour In-Cockpit Automation System Alias programme.Each aircraft has so many complex controls that a large, specially-trained crew is required, and emergencies can still be overwhelming.To this end, Darpa launched the Alias programme in 2014 to make pilots' lives simpler by allowing military aircraft to take over and execute specific tasks or even a complete mission by itself.Sikorsky started its autonomous aircraft research programme Matrix in 2013 and it has been developing software to enable the Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft Sara – essentially a modified S-76 commercial helicopter – to deploy increasingly greater levels of autonomy and essentially become the helicopter equivalent of a drone.How the autonomous helicopter worksThanks to an $8m £5.6m award from the Alias programme, Sara was able to take off from Stratford, Connecticut and fly 30 miles 48km to Robertson Airport in Plainville, Connecticut – with the entire flight executed and monitored by one single pilot in the aircraft's cockpit using a tablet.The pilot first takes off and repositions the way the helicopter is facing using the Sara app to touch and drag.
In 2015, seven students from Imperial College of London turned to IBM for help with a class project.Their assignment?The team decided to build an environmental probe that'd measure temperature, light, and movement — then beam that data back to a lab, which would recreate emergency conditions in real-time.The students made a device powered by a Raspberry Pi  a programmable computer that fits in the palm of your hand , then deployed it into the most extreme environment they could get access to: the edge of space.John McNamara, who helps people invent things for a living at IBM's Innovation Center in Hursley, England, mentored the students to help them build the space probe in less than a month.McNamara told Tech Insider the project could be a way for first responders to train for disasters before having to enter dangerous situations themselves.Now floats majestically in my office @IBMmessaging @IBMBluemix pic.twitter.com/W63xim0asj — John McNamara @j0nnymac June 30, 2015This space probe was the very first prototype, but it could turn into a real tool that could help first responders during natural disasters one day.For now, McNamara said he's working on developing the probe into a drone equipped with artificial intelligence that could measure temperature, air quality, and social media feeds above a disaster area.But the new drone would be smart — really smart — since it'd use IBM Watson to survey disaster areas and identify people who need help.Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.More from Tech Insider:There s an HDTV antenna that s literally made from dead cable boxesWatch this crazy time-lapse of Dutch builders putting a tunnel under a highway in 48 hours20 amazing things you can do with Pebble's new $70 deviceA new app called Recharge lets you rent hotel rooms by the minute for extremely short staysRussia just took down its 'largest ever' hacker ring that allegedly stole $25 millionNOW WATCH: This is ESCHER — the disaster relief robot by Virginia Tech competing in the DARPA Robotics ChallengeLoading video...
For the past four years, a team of neurologists and engineers from the University of Melbourne, along with surgeons at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, have been developing an advanced brain/machine interface that is long lasting and easy to implant.Eventually, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA , which funded the project, hopes to bring this mind-control technology to the cockpit, allowing pilots to fly by the thoughts in their minds as well as by the seat of their pants.The electrode can measure electrical activity from the motor cortex, the part of the brain responsible for controlling movements.Looking beyond ruminants, Lead researcher Dr. Tom Oxley envisions a future where this brain control interface could be used to interact with smartphones, robots, and more in the next 30 years.The military appear interested in the potential for jet fighters to control their planes with direct thought control, rather than using their arms.DARPA also plans to use the stenode to rehabilitate injured soldiers by allowing them to control a bionic exoskeleton.
The Internet of Things IoT exposes a variety of security challenges that have been prevalent on the Internet since its inception, but exemplified now that hackers can attack entire governmental or commercial systems worth billions of dollars.To prevent these large scale attacks from happening, CIA and DARPA alumni Tim Junio is attempting to build a platform that monitors entire IoT systems—everything from CCTV cameras to servers to cash registers—and alerts the organization if part of their system is unsecure.See Also: Founding a new AT for Internet of ThingsQadium, which has been building its servers of connected devices for three years, has now raised $20 million in Series A led by New Enterprise Associates Scott Sandell.It plans to use the money to build out its server side even further, adding every IoT device available to its platform.Expander doesn t come cheap; Qadium offers it to organizations for $1 million a year.Instead of entrusting it all to in-house staff that may not be qualified to defend against every single type of hack, Qadium offers a complete platform that prevents hacks before they re even