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Submission + - DARPA's ICARUS Program to Develop Self-Destructing Air Delivery Vehicles (

Zothecula writes: Two years ago, DARPA started developing self-destructing electronics as a way to prevent advanced military gear falling into the wrong hands. Now the agency is expanding on the idea with its Inbound, Controlled, Air-Releasable, Unrecoverable Systems (ICARUS) program, which is tasked with developing small, unmanned, single-use, unpowered air vehicles that can can be dropped from an aircraft to deliver supplies to isolated locations in the event of disasters, then evaporate into thin air once their job is done.

Submission + - Universal Space Docking System Gets an Upgrade (

Zothecula writes: Not being able to charge your phone because you have the wrong USB cable is one thing, but imagine showing up at a space station with the wrong docking system. To prevent that from happening in the future, NASA has unveiled its new universal docking ports for the International Space Station (ISS) and other spacecraft. Built by a consortium of international partners, a pair of the International Docking Adapters (IDA) are undergoing tests before delivery to the station. With the designation of IDA-2, they are an upgrade of two previous adaptors that were lost when the CRS-7 mission exploded shortly after liftoff.

Submission + - Facebook to Position Internet Beaming Satellite Over Africa Next Year (

Zothecula writes: Facebook is set to take its worldwide internet project to new heights, all the way to geostationary orbit, to be specific. The social media giant has announced a new partnership with French firm Eutelsat, with plans to launch a satellite into space next year in hope of bringing millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa online.

Submission + - US Army Tests Remote Controlled Weapon Towers (

Zothecula writes: One of the more unpleasant aspects of army life has always been guard duty. It's also very labor intensive. In the US Army, it takes four to six soldiers standing for up to 12 hours to man a single perimeter weapons system. To free up personnel for more important duties, the Army is testing the Tower Hawk System, which uses tower-mounted, remote-controlled weapons for base perimeter security.

Submission + - Breakthrough Rectenna Converts Light Into DC Current (

Zothecula writes: Rectifying antennas – "rectennas" – are used as parasitic power capture devices that absorb radio frequency (RF) energy and convert it into usable electrical power. Constructing such devices to absorb and rectify at optical wavelengths has proved impractical in the past, but the advent of carbon nanotubes and advances in microscopic manufacturing technology have allowed engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology to create rectennas that capture and convert light to direct electrical current. The researchers believe that their creation may eventually help double the efficiency of solar energy harvesting.

Submission + - Tesla Model X Launched With Falcon Wing Doors, Bioweapon Defense Mode (

Zothecula writes: After almost two years of delays and setbacks, the Tesla Model X has finally been revealed in full production trim. With a claimed range of 414 km (257 mi), the Model X won’t go quite as far on a charge as the Model S, but it has three rows of seating, a new take on the scissor door and a hospital grade air filtering system dubbed "Bioweapon Defense Mode."

Submission + - TALONS Effectively Gives Ships of All Sizes Skyscraper-Tall Masts (

Zothecula writes: Warships are only as effective as far as they can see, so DARPA's Towed Airborne Lift Of Naval Systems (TALONS) research effort is aiming to extend their horizons by giving them a crow's nest 1,500 ft (457 m) tall by way of a towed parafoil. A TALONS prototype recently completed sea trials off the US East Coast as part of a project to provide ships of every size with better long-distance communications and situational awareness.

Submission + - All-Optical On-Chip Memory Paves Way for Faster, More Efficient Computers (

Zothecula writes: A new non-volatile optical memory has been created by researchers working at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the universities of Münster, Oxford, and Exeter. Utilizing innovative phase-change materials to store information, the new device promises to significantly improve processing speeds by effectively eliminating the existing bottleneck of having to convert optical signals into electrical signals for storage and then back again for transmission.

Submission + - Paralyzed Man Uses Own Brainwaves to Walk Again – No Exoskeleton Required (

Zothecula writes: A man suffering complete paralysis in both legs has regained the ability to walk again using electrical signals generated by his own brain. Unlike similar efforts that have seen paralyzed subjects walk again by using their own brainwaves to manually control robotic limbs, the researchers say this is the first time a person with complete paralysis in both legs due to spinal cord injury was able to walk again under their own power and demonstrates the potential for noninvasive therapies to restore control over paralyzed limbs.

Submission + - Scientists Break Distance Record for Quantum Teleportation (

Zothecula writes: A new record distance has been set for the quantum teleportation of information over optical fibers. Researchers working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) claim to have transmitted the quantum information carried in light particles over 100 km (62 miles), four times farther than previously achieved.

Submission + - BAE Systems' BattleView 360 Lets Tank Crews "See Through" Their Tanks (

Zothecula writes: BAE Systems is looking to solve one of the most restrictive elements with tank warfare through its BattleView 360 digital mapping system. The versatile technology will allow the crew of an armored vehicle to see through the metal confines of their war machine, allowing for unprecedented levels of combat awareness for the crews of combat vehicles.

Submission + - 3D-Printed Guide Aids in Complex Nerve Regeneration (

Zothecula writes: Complex nerve injuries are a challenging problem for the medical fraternity, as their reattachment and regrowth is a fraught and delicate process that is very rarely successful. Overcoming these difficulties, however, would mean that a cure for debilitating conditions like paraplegia, quadriplegia and other forms of paralysis may one day be found. In this vein, US researchers have created the first-ever 3D-printed guide specifically designed to assist in the regrowth of the sensory and motor functions of complex nerves.

Submission + - Lockheed Martin Unveils Potential U-2 Successor (

Zothecula writes: The U-2 spy plane was first constructed at Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works in 1955 and went on to become one of the most important intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft of the Cold War. It is one of the few aircraft of its vintage still in active service with the US Air Force, but Lockheed has now unveiled details of its possible successor. Designated the TR-X, the concept aircraft is an improved, stealthier version of the 60-year-old design and could enter service in 10 years.

Submission + - World's First All-Electric Propulsion Satellite Goes on Line (

Zothecula writes: Boeing has announced that the first satellite with all-electric propulsion is now fully operational. Launched last March, the ABS-3A 702SP (small platform) satellite was formally handed over to its owner, Bermuda-based telecommunications company ABS, on August 31. It will provide communications services to the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Submission + - DARPA Demonstrates Robotic Landing Gear For Helicopters (

Zothecula writes: Helicopters are versatile machines capable of all manner of maneuvers in the air, but when it comes to takeoffs and landings they are very fussy creatures, preferring flat, level pads, which are scarce in combat and rescue missions. DARPA recently demonstrated a new robotic landing gear system in an unmanned flight near Atlanta, Georgia, that's designed to overcome these limitations by enabling landings on broken or uneven terrain with a high degree of safety.

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan