Sprinkler Rainbow Conspiracy

'Merica needs to wake up!

Imagine this horrible robot cheetah chasing you!

(Source: slavicinferno)


I hate batteries. I thought once I outgrew remote control cars I wouldn’t have to worry about them much anymore, but nope, everything has to wireless these days, which means piles of batteries all over the house and a charger constantly on the go. Anything that improves stupid, crappy batteries even a little bit is greatnews in my eyes.

So yeah, I’m excited to report that scientists have made a big breakthrough in battery technology. Up until now a single cell battery couldn’t produce more than 4 volts. Just couldn’t do it — until now that is. Scientists at the U.S. Army Research Lab have devised a way to get 5 volts out of a single cell battery.

That may not sound like a big deal, but it’s basically the biggest advance in battery technology since batteries were invented. It’ll mean longer lasting, smaller, lighter batteries. Hopefully it’ll eventually mean the end of the ol’ AA battery because I barely stand to look at the damn things anymore.


Pentagon releases results of 13,000-mph test flight over Pacific

The results are in from last summer’s attempt to test new technology that would provide the Pentagon with a lightning-fast vehicle, capable of delivering a military strike anywhere in the world in less than an hour.

In August the Pentagon’s research arm, known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, carried out a test flight of an experimental aircraft capable of traveling at 20 times the speed of sound.

The arrowhead-shaped unmanned aircraft, dubbed Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Santa Barbara, into the upper reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere aboard an eight-story Minotaur IV rocket made by Orbital Sciences Corp.

After reaching an undisclosed altitude, the aircraft jettisoned from its protective cover atop the rocket, then nose-dived back toward Earth, leveled out and glided above the Pacific at 20 times the speed of sound, or Mach 20.

The plan was for the Falcon to speed westward for about 30 minutes before plunging into the ocean near Kwajalein Atoll, about 4,000 miles from Vandenberg.

But it was ended about nine minutes into flight for unknown reasons. The launch had received worldwide attention and much fanfare, but officials didn’t provide much information on why the launch failed.

On Friday, DARPA said in a statement that the searing high speeds caused portions of the Falcon’s skin to peel from the aerostructure. The resulting gaps created strong shock waves around the vehicle as it traveled nearly 13,000 mph, causing it to roll abruptly.

The Falcon, which is built by Lockheed Martin Corp., is made of durable carbon composite material, which was expected to keep the aircraft’s crucial internal electronics and avionics — only a few inches away from the surface — safe from the fiery hypersonic flight. Surface temperatures on the Falcon were expected to reach more than 3,500 degrees, hot enough to melt steel.

“The initial shock wave disturbances experienced during second flight, from which the vehicle was able to recover and continue controlled flight, exceeded by more than 100 times what the vehicle was designed to withstand,” DARPA Acting Director Kaigham J. Gabriel said in a statement. “That’s a major validation that we’re advancing our understanding of aerodynamic control for hypersonic flight.”

The flight successfully demonstrated stable aerodynamically controlled flight at speeds up to Mach 20 for nearly three minutes.

Sustaining hypersonic flight has been an extremely difficult task for aeronautical engineers over the years. While supersonic means that an object is traveling faster than the speed of sound, or Mach 1, “hypersonic” refers to an aircraft going five times that speed or more.

The Falcon hit Mach 20. At that speed, an aircraft could zoom from Los Angeles to New York in less than 12 minutes — 22 times faster than a commercial airliner. Take a look at what that looks like from the ground in the video below.

The August launch was the second flight of the Falcon technology. The first flight, which took place in April 2010, also ended prematurely with only nine minutes of flight time.

There aren’t any more flights scheduled for the Falcon program, which began in 2003 and cost taxpayers about $320 million.


The Prosthetics Breakthrough That Could Fuse Nerves With Fake Limbs

A replacement limb that moves, feels and responds just like flesh and blood. It’s the holy grail of prosthetics research. The Pentagon’s invested millions to make it happen. But it’s been elusive - until, quite possibly, now.

The body’s own nerves are arguably the biggest barrier towards turning the dream of lifelike replacements into a reality. Peripheral nerves, severed by amputation, can no longer transmit or receive any of the myriad sensory signals we rely on every day. Trying to fuse them with robot limbs, to create a direct neural-prosthetic interface, is no easy task.

But now a team of scientists believe they’ve overcome that massive barrier. Their research is still in the early stages. But if successful, it’d yield artificial arms and legs that can move with agility; discern hot from lukewarm from freezing; and restore even the subtlest sensations of touch.

Read Full Article Here:


Pentagon successfully tests hypersonic flying bomb

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Thursday held a successful test flight of a flying bomb that travels faster than the speed of sound and will give military planners the ability to strike targets anywhere in the world in less than a hour.

Launched by rocket from Hawaii at 1130 GMT, the “Advanced Hypersonic Weapon,” or AHW, glided through the upper atmosphere over the Pacific “at hypersonic speed” before hitting its target on the Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands, a Pentagon statement said.

Kwajalein is about 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) southwest of Hawaii. The Pentagon did not say what top speeds were reached by the vehicle, which unlike a ballistic missile is maneuverable.

Scientists classify hypersonic speeds as those that exceed Mach 5 — or five times the speed of sound — 3,728 miles (6,000 kilometers) an hour.

The test aimed to gather data on “aerodynamics, navigation, guidance and control, and thermal protection technologies,” said Lieutenant Colonel Melinda Morgan, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

The US Army’s AHW project is part of the “Prompt Global Strike” program which seeks to give the US military the means to deliver conventional weapons anywhere in the world within an hour.

On August 11, the Pentagon test flew another hypersonic glider dubbed HTV-2, which is capable of flying 27,000 kilometers per hour, but it was a failure.

The AHW’s range is less than that of the HTV-2, the Congressional Research Service said in a report, without providing specifics.

The Pentagon has invested 239.9 million dollars in the Global Strike program this year, including 69 million for the flying bomb tested Thursday, CRS said.

Air Force’s Experimental Hypersonic Aircraft Disappears Again

I don’t know what the hell is going on with the Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle 2, but the Air Force just lost it again. Last year, the first Falcon vanished over the Pacific Ocean, leaving absolutely no trace.

Now it has happened again. The Falcon HTV-2 launched today from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on top of a Minotaur IV Lite rocket.

After successfully separating from the missile, the Falcon reoriented itself for reentry using its Reaction Control System. During the reentry, it used RCS and its aero controls to fly into Earth’s upper atmosphere, passing to the pull-up phase, which put it in the correct altitude for the glide phase. In theory, during this phase the Falcon was going to test its aerodynamics and integrity flying at Mach 20, experiencing temperatures of 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit—enough to melt steel.

DARPA controllers at Vandenberg acquired signal from reentry to some time into the glide phase. At that point, only 36 minutes after launch, they lost telemetry contact never to get it back again. According to DARPA, the Falcon has automated self-destruction controls in case something goes wrong, but they still don’t know what has happened. Two hours ago at the time of this writing they haven’t followed up on their last Tweet.

Back in April 2010, the first Falcon flew for nine minutes before DARPA experienced loss of signal. According to the Air Force, “the vehicle’s onboard system detected a flight anomaly and engaged its onboard safety system-prompting the vehicle to execute a controlled descent into the ocean.”

Why did the Falcon disappear again? To me, the answer is clear. In two words:

Lex Luthor. [DARPA Twitter]



US military to launch fastest-ever plane

Artist’s rendition of the Falcon HTV-2, an unmanned, rocket-launched aircraft that flies at approximately 13,000 miles per hour. Photograph: AP/DARPA) Photograph: AP

By the time you finish reading this sentence, the Falcon HTV-2, the fastest plane ever built, could have flown 18 miles. It would get from London to Sydney in less than an hour, while withstanding temperatures of almost 2,000C, hotter than the melting point of steel.

At 3pm BST on Thursday , the US Defence Advance Research Projects Agency will launch the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 on the back of a rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. If all goes to plan, engineers will launch the Falcon HTV-2 to the edge of space, before detaching the plane and guiding it on a hypersonic flight that will reach speeds of 13,000mph (about 20 times the speed of sound) on its return to Earth.

The Falcon started life in 2003, part of a US military research project to build a plane that could reach (and potentially deliver bombs to) any part of the world in less than an hour.

The plane has been tested in computer models and wind tunnels, but they can only simulate speeds up to Mach 15 (11,400mph). A real test is the only way to determine if the plane will remain flying at high speeds.

Thursday’s flight will also test the carbon composite materials designed to withstand the extreme temperatures the plane will experience on its skin and also the navigation systems that will control its trajectory as it moves at almost four miles per second.

The design and flight pattern of the plane has been tweaked since an aborted test flight in April last year. Nine minutes into that mission, which succeeded in flying for 139 seconds at Mach 22 (16,700mph), the onboard computer detected an anomaly and ordered the plane to ditch into the ocean for safety reasons.

Unlike most other rocket launches, this one will not be shown live online, though it will be possible to follow the plane’s progress via tweets from@DARPA_News.



Featured to your right is the Blackfish, the Navy’s killer robot jetski, ensuring that when the robot uprising happens, literally nowhere will be safe. Thanks, Department of the Navy, you shouldn’t have! No, really, you shouldn’t have. What were you idiots thinking? Have you even seen a Terminator movie?

Anyway, the Blackfish was designed to hunt down and take out swimmers. No, really, that’s its job. There are supposedly security concerns about terrorists swimming up to our ships and harbors and blowing things up. We thought we had sea mines for this but apparently we need an overpowered robot.

We say overpowered because this beast can rip through the water at 40mph, but will rarely do so since the swimmers it’s looking for generally go about 2mph. So why make it a jetski? Why not a robot paddle boat or something?

[ via the floating robots at Wired ]


The Crowd Delivers: DARPA’s XC2V Military Vehicle Arrives On Time

When Local Motors won DARPA’s XC2V private “crowd-sourced” competition about 14 weeks ago, they secured the right to build a prototype that could eventually serve as a next-gen military vehicle for U.S. armed forces. Not a lot of time!

As you can see, however, they delivered. The fruits of their labor are on display above.

Now, while a new kick-ass military vehicle is cool, the true goal of DARPA’s competition was to see how much faster a crowd-sourced project could go from concept to prototype than traditional means.

Turns out the answer was “much faster,” with Local Motors completing their task before schedule (the 14 weeks). Even if they had completed it exactly on deadline the process would have still been about five times faster than a traditional build.

The beast is named FANG, by the way (Fast Adaptable Next-Generation Ground Combat Vehicle) and it could represent a much more privatized future for the U.S. military. [Local Motors via DVICE]