Showing posts with label darpa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label darpa. Show all posts

Thursday, June 1, 2017

US Army testing a device that could give soldiers a 'third arm'

Traditional weaponry has often been a burden to soldiers, placing added weight on their bodies, slowing reaction at times when all of their facilities are needed. Future troops may wind up having a “third arm” to help offset the weight.

The Army Research Laboratory is testing a device that attaches to ground troops’ protective vests, potentially letting Soldiers’ hands be freed up for other tasks.

NFL PLAYERS AND COMBAT VETERANS JOIN FORCES TO SAVE LIVES

"We're looking at a new way for the Soldier to interface with the weapon," Zac Wingard, a mechanical engineer for the lab's Weapons and Materials Research Directorate told the U.S. Army's website. "It is not a product; it is simply a way to study how far we can push the ballistic performance of future weapons without increasing Soldier burden."



The goal of the device would put all of the weight on a soldier’s body, allowing them to potentially have a more lethal weapon, perhaps adding as much as 20 pounds to their traditional combat load of more than 110 pounds, while not adding any burden.

"With this configuration right now, we can go up to 20 pounds and take all of that weight off of the arms," added Dan Baechle, a mechanical engineer.

The device is made out of carbon fiber composite and it can be used in the prone position on either side of a soldier’s body. It could also improve accuracy and potentially help soldiers deal with recoil, but further testing is needed.

Currently, researchers are using an M4 carbine to test the device, but other weapons, such as a M249 squad automatic weapon or M240B machine gun may also be tested.

Water harvester can pull moisture out of the air using only power of Sun

CREDIT: ALAMY  Sarah Knapton, science editor
13 APRIL 2017 • 7:00PM

Droughts could be consigned to history after scientists invented a water harvester which can pull moisture out of the air using only the power of the Sun.

The prototype, designed by scientists at MIT and the University of California, works even in desert conditions and could eventually provide households with all the drinkable water they need, simply by extracting dampness from the surrounding atmosphere.

The solar-powered harvester can provide 2.8 litres of water from the air over a 12 hour period in conditions as dry as the Mojave Desert, where the average humidity is around 20 per cent.

The prototype water harvester
The prototype water harvester  CREDIT: UC BERKLEY
Researchers say it could provide the first ‘personalised water’, taken directly from vapour in the local environment.

"This is a major breakthrough in the long-standing challenge of harvesting water from the air at low humidity," said Professor Omar Yaghi, at UC Berkeley.

"There is no other way to do that right now, except by using extra energy. Your electric dehumidifier at home 'produces' very expensive water.

"One vision for the future is to have water off-grid, where you have a device at home running on ambient solar for delivering water that satisfies the needs of a household. I call it personalised water."

The device is an open air chamber containing a lattice-like structure made from zirconium metal and adipic acid sandwiched between a solar absorption panel and a condenser plate.

Two-thirds of the world’s population experiences annual water shortages and yet an abundance of water – an estimated 13,000 trillion liters worldwide – is present in the air around us.



"This work offers a new way to harvest water from air that does not require high relative humidity conditions and is much more energy efficient than other existing technologies," said Evelyn Wang, a mechanical engineer at MIT.

The team is planning to improve the harvester so it can suck in much more air, and produce more water. But even the prototype is powerful enough to keep someone alive in desert conditions.

“We wanted to demonstrate that if you are cut off somewhere in the desert, you could survive because of this device,” said Professor Omar Yaghi.

“A person needs about a Coke can of water per day. That is something one could collect in less than an hour with this system."

The research was published in the journal Science.

DARPA Is Planning to Hack the Human Brain to Let Us “Upload” Skills

MINDHACK FOR FASTER LEARNING

In March 2016, DARPA — the U.S. military’s “mad science” branch — announced their Targeted Neuroplasticity Training (TNT) program. The TNT program aims to explore various safe neurostimulation methods for activating synaptic plasticity, which is the brain’s ability to alter the connecting points between neurons — a requirement for learning. DARPA hopes that building up that ability by subjecting the nervous system to a kind of workout regimen will enable the brain to learn more quickly.

[Taken]Military Researchers Are Hacking the Human Brain So We Can Learn Much Faster
Credit: DARPA

The ideal end benefit for this kind of breakthrough would be downloadable learning. Rather than needing to learn, for example, a new language through rigorous study and practice over a long period of time, we could basically “download” the knowledge after putting our minds into a highly receptive, neuroplastic state. Clearly, this kind of research would benefit anyone, but urgent military missions can succeed or fail based on the timing. In those situations, a faster way to train personnel would be a tremendous boon.

FIRST NEUROSTIMULATION, THEN APPLICATION

As part of the TNT program, DARPA is funding eight projects at seven institutions. All projects are part of a coordinated effort that will first study the fundamental science undergirding brain plasticity and will conclude with human trials. The first portion of the TNT program will work to unravel the neural mechanisms that allow nerve stimulation to influence brain plasticity. The second portion of the program will practically apply what has been learned in a variety of training exercises.



To ensure the work stays practical, foreign language specialists, intelligence analysts, and others who train personnel now will work with researchers to help refine the TNT platform to suit military training needs. Researchers will compare the efficacy of using an implanted device to stimulate the brain versus non-invasive stimulation. They will also explore both the ethics of enhanced learning through neurostimulation and ways to avoid side effects and potential risks.

“The Defense Department operates in a complex, interconnected world in which human skills such as communication and analysis are vital, and the Department has long pushed the frontiers of training to maximize those skills,” Doug Weber, the TNT Program Manager, said in a DARPA press release. “DARPA’s goal with TNT is to further enhance the most effective existing training methods so the men and women of our Armed Forces can operate at their full potential.”

If the TNT program succeeds, striving to be all you can be may mean learning at a much faster pace, and not just for military personnel. Downloadable learning may be one of the ways we achieve next-level humanity.

References: Darpa, Darpa

 
https://futurism.com/?p=81137&post_type=post