It’s that time of year again! No, I’m not talking about Jolly ‘Ol Saint Nick, mistletoe, or trees with stars on top. ‘Tis the season for giving, but also for spoiling ourselves with the latest gadgets, gizmos, toys, and entertainment. We’re never too old to experience the joy of opening presents!
With electronica now receding in our collective rearview mirrors, we can look forward along the road we are travelling into the future and think about what we saw at the event that will help us along the way. Trade shows can be a great way to discover where we are and where we are heading.
The U.S. military wants its next-generation RPVs to be more survivable in “contested airspace.” At a breakfast with reporters in DC, Lt. Gen. Philip Breedlove (the Air Force’s chief of operations, plans and requirements) noted the MQ-9 Reaper’s shortcomings, and stressed the need for tougher, more durable RPVs.
Considering the tumult in the last several years, from disruptive technologies to political discord to financial meltdown and market re-adjustments, it’s kind of hard to say that 2010 was notable. Yet there are many things that mark this year that will make it a memorable one.
At the recent Association of the U.S. Army conference in D.C., Lockheed Martin showcased its Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC), the defense giant’s answer to Raytheon’s XOS-2 exoskeleton (the “Real Iron Man Suit”). That’s right: it’s HULC vs. Iron Man.
A report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives calls Canada’s planned procurement of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter “fundamentally flawed.” According to the CCPA, “Canada does not need the F-35, either for North American/domestic roles or for expeditionary roles.”
I recently saw a very exciting-sounding news item on nuclear fusion research from The National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS) on their new Large Helical Device (LHD), a variation on the Tokamak that is also the largest superconductor in the world.
Coinciding with the release of Iron Man 2 on Blu-Ray/DVD, Raytheon unveiled a real-life wearable robotic suit. The second-generation exoskeleton (XOS 2) purportedly is lighter, faster and stronger than its predecessor, yet it uses 50 percent less power. Before one conjures Sci-Fi fantasies of space marines, it’s worth pointing out what the XOS 2 is not—it isn’t a futuristic robotic battle suit.
The 9th Circuit of Appeals has reaffirmed the right of software companies to circumvent the first-sale doctrine by “licensing” rather then “selling” its products. The significance of this ruling cannot be overstated—it could singlehandedly destroy the used software market.
Weaponized versions of the MQ-1C “Grey Eagle” Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) will begin deploying to Afghanistan in the fall. Formerly known as the Sky Warrior, Grey Eagle is the Army’s answer to the Predator. In recent tests at the National Training Center, the Grey Eagle’s on-board laser designator performed flawlessly.
My name is Lauren DeStefano and I am going to be a senior at William Paterson University. I have been interning for the past two months with ECN Magazine. Applying to internships was a tedious process. It’s hard to keep track of all the resumes and cover letters I sent to various companies.
The Consumer Electronics industry is already discussing glasses-free 3D televisions. But for Airmen monitoring drone feeds, they’re forced to stare at grainy, SD video. Yet according to a piece in the Air Force Times, the times they are a-changin’—the military may soon have HD cameras on drones.
Once Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites announced the maiden flight of SpaceShipTwo, it was only a matter of time before Virgin Galactic would start selling tickets to space in earnest. This is great news for the development of commercial space, representing the first private steps into a new frontier.
Lockheed Martin announced that it had received a $111.4 million contract modification from the U.S. Air Force for the 2010 Follow-On Agile Sustainment for the Raptor (FASTeR) sustainment contract. FASTeR entails support for the F-22 fleet, including training systems, customer support, integrated support planning, supply chain management, aircraft modifications and heavy maintenance...
Since I last wrote about Net Neutrality, things have gone from unsettling to downright precarious. On August 9, when many Americans were on vacation, Verizon and Google announced “A joint policy proposal for an open internet,” which was breathtaking in its brazenness and frightening in scope.
For years, radio broadcasters and artists have duked it out over performance rights. Enter the highly-contentious Performance Rights Act, which would expand copyright law to include all public performances of copyrighted sound recordings. And it’s gotten even wilder: an amendment would mandate that all mobile phones contain FM radio chips.
As reported by Defense Talk, Israel has agreed to purchase 20 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in a deal worth an estimated 2.75 billion dollars. At $96 million a piece, this would be the most expensive weapons deal ever signed by Israel. As the Swiss Army Knife of fighter jets, and the bulwark of the free world for the next 40 years (not to sound hyperbolic)...
When Michio Kaku speaks, people listen. The theoretical physicist boasts an impressive resume: B.S. from Harvard, Ph.D. from Berkeley, co-creator of string field theory, best-selling author, and radio host. And so it came to pass that on the third day of NI Week, Dr. Kaku regaled the masses with his earthly wisdom.
I recently came across an interesting news item in Wired about how the EU was adopting the Universal Charging Solution (UCS) cell-phone power interface. USB has been a kind of power lingua franca for smart phones, but that ubiquitous interface is burdened by a plethora of connector styles.
Wired has a piece discussing the Air Force Research Laboratory’s experiments with motion sense technology. Using a device similar to Nintendo’s “Power Glove”, the folks over at Wright Patterson AFB feel that “gesture recognition” can help fly planes. According to the labs, “Warfighter productivity is limited by the need to operate equipment via physical keys, switches, and buttons...
The feds have just dropped a bomb: The Library of Congress has added exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that make “jailbreaking” legal. Apart from fundamentally altering Apple’s business model, the ruling has re-opened the schism between supporters and opponents of digital rights management.
Is the designer responsible for the effects of the device created? Is the manufacturer? What about the salesperson or the marketing department creating the demand? Is the user ultimately responsible? Every tool and technology, no matter how mundane, has effects beyond the intended function.
Back in December, we reported on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, the world’s first commercial spaceship. Christened the VSS Enterprise, the vessel is a sub-orbital spacecraft capable of ferrying two pilots and six passengers into the thermosphere (an apogee of about 110 km). On July 15th, the Enterprise completed its first crewed flight.
For proof that unmanned systems represent the future of warfare, check out BAE Systems’ new Unmanned Combat Aircraft System (UCAS), Taranis. Resembling something out of The Terminator, Taranis (named after the Celtic God of Thunder) is a sight to behold.
Blizzard Entertainment has narrowly avoided a public relations nightmare: an unfavorable comparison with Communist China. The game publisher recently announced plans (then shelved them) to require real names (“Real ID”) on its forums. Meanwhile, China has vowed “to reduce anonymity” on the internet.