Military

Three-fingered iRobot hand points to strong, nimble future machines

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 2, 2013   View Article

A robotic hand strong enough to lift a 50-pound weight yet so nimble it can pluck up keys from a table demonstrates real capabilities of a coming generation of robots that will be at work everywhere, from the battlefield to the construction site.

In a segment of a video compilation that was just released publicly, the three-fingered hand picks up a drill, and uses it to bore a hole through a narrow piece of lumber.

Arctic change reverberates around globe, experts say

Publication: NBC News   Date: March 26, 2013   View Article

Most of the sea ice that forms each fall and winter in the Arctic now melts each spring and summer, a recent change that is impacting global patterns of weather and trade as well as the U.S. military’s strategic planning, experts told reporters during a briefing Tuesday.

“There are tremendous two-way and multiple interactions between the Arctic and the rest of the world,” retired Rear Adm. David Titley said during the teleconference organized by Climate Nexus, a group trying to raise awareness about climate change.

Navy aims to turn seawater into jet fuel

Publication: NBC News   Date: October 1, 2012   View Article

The U.S. Navy may need to look no further than the water around its ships to produce jet fuel, according to a program underway at its research laboratory.

The technology would free the Navy from the logistical and economic challenges of refueling ships underway.

Robotic tuna fish to sniff out homeland threats

Publication: NBC News   Date: September 20, 2012   View Article

Would-be terrorists hoping to sneak weapons and other contraband through U.S. ports on and in the hulls of ships may be thwarted by a robotic tuna fish under development for the government.

The BIOSwimmer robofish is able to overcome so-called position-keeping problems experienced by traditional underwater robots that are powered by vertical and horizontal thrusters, according to the David Taylor, program manager for the robot at the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate.

Army wants rapid development of lighter, stronger armor

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: May 24, 2012   View Article

The U.S. military is plowing $90 million into a university-led research program to rapidly accelerate the development of lighter and stronger materials to better protect soldiers and vehicles.

The same tools that enable the development of this next generation protective gear could, of course, also be used to develop more lethal weapons – bullets designed to penetrate the toughest materials.

Robotic jellyfish may never run out of energy

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 21, 2012   View Article

A robot built to look and swim like an inconspicuous jellyfish may keep going and going and going thanks to an infinite source of fuel — its surroundings.

The power comes from heat-producing chemical reactions between oxygen and hydrogen with platinum coated on the surface of the bio-inspired robot, known as Robojelly.

Can drones fly as well as Luke Skywalker

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 19, 2012   View Article

Next-generation drones may fly like Luke Skywalker zipping through the Endor forest on a speeder bike, suggests new research which focuses on how birds such as northern goshawks determine their maximum speed limit.

These birds race after prey through the forest canopy without smacking into tree trunks.

They avoid this fate by observing a theoretical speed limit, according to scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach