Posts

November 26, 2014

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5:30 PM | Iconic Cold War Spyplane May Get A Drone Makeover
Based at times in Area 51, the U-2 spyplane tested the very limits of human endurance and Cold War technology when it first flew in 1955. Pilots would fly the high-altitude…

November 25, 2014

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7:50 PM | America’s Laser Gun Goes To War
Right now, the U.S. Navy has a warship with a laser gun patrolling the Persian Gulf. The USS Ponce is an old ship that first saw service as an amphibious transport in the…

November 14, 2014

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11:30 PM | The Week In Drones: Mushroom Corpses, Parasite Concepts, and Skycraft Carriers
Parasite Drone Concept The drones perch on billboards during the day, and then fold their wings to obscure the ads at night. NAS-DRA Here's a roundup of the week's top drone news: the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft. Concept Billboards Design collective NAS-DRA has a concept for parasite drones that flutter about cities, attaching themselves to billboards and using sunlight during the day to feed the plants […]

November 13, 2014

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6:30 PM | Mushroom-Body Drone Biodegrades Into Almost Nothing
BioDrone's Fungus Body CNASA/Ames Small, cheap drones make appealing cameramen for a variety of tasks -- from a research apparatus to a tourist's plaything. Light, unmanned aircraft, especially those piloted by amateurs, pose a new danger to the environment, however. What happens if a gust of wind or pilot error sends the drone into, say, a beautiful and delicate geothermal hot spring? The bio-drone, developed by researchers at NASA's Ames Research Center in […]

November 12, 2014

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7:00 PM | Iran Supposedly Flies A Stealth Drone [Video]
Iranian RQ-170 Sentinel Replica As seen on The Aviationist Fars news Agency Years after capturing an American drone, Iran claims to have made its own version. In December 2011, Iran revealed its possession of an RQ-170 stealth drone. Earlier this week, an Iranian Brigadier General promised that the Iranian replica of the “Beast of Kandahar” has already had a successful test flight. Earlier today, the video footage of this flight aired on Iranian […]

November 11, 2014

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3:50 PM | DARPA Wants Airborne Aircraft Carriers
USS Macon Airborne Aircraft Carrier U.S. Navy airship USS Macon (ZRS-5) conducts initial operations with her Curtiss F9C-2 "Sparrowhawk" fighters. U.S. Navy Photo, via Wikimedia Commons Apart from America’s nuclear arsenal, the 10 active aircraft carriers of the U.S. Navy are the most powerful single units of military might in the world. While the combined ranges of ships and planes mean carriers can place bombs on most of the Earth’s surface, the […]

November 10, 2014

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8:59 PM | Video Game Trains Bomb-Sniffing Dog Handlers
Screens showing ROVER in action U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Small, homemade bombs are an ever-present threat in America’s wars. Commonly known as Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs, these bombs are easily made by insurgents, hidden along patrolled roads, and surprisingly deadly. In the early years of the Iraq war, the Department of Defense commissioned a serious bomb-proof vehicle program and borrowed lessons from submarine warfare to protect troops […]

November 07, 2014

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8:19 PM | The Week In Drones: Flying Cars, Robotic Starlings, And Braaaains
Dubai Skyscrapers Andre Engels, via Wikimedia Commons Here's a roundup of the week's top drone news: the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft. Drones On The Brain, Brains On The Drone DARPA researchers tested a human-brain-inspired microchip on a drone. To test the new chip, researchers flew the brain-equipped drone into an unfamiliar room, and watched as the chip filtered sensory input into new data. Then, they put the drone […]
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5:00 PM | Navy Wants A Minesweeping Robot Boat To Protect Their Fragile Ship
An Earlier Unmanned Influence Sweep System Prototype U.S. Navy Photo Robots are at their best when doing jobs humans shouldn’t. Sometimes, this job means doing boring work, like slowly crossing the ocean recording data. Other times, this means looking for explosives under the water. The U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Influence Sweep System, or UISS, is a robot boat (or roboat, if you will) meant to perform the latter. It is intended to go onboard the Littoral […]

November 05, 2014

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8:15 PM | Man Makes Special Ammunition For 3-D Printed Guns
Crumling's Printed Gun Note the open-top design. Michael Crumling As police from Germany and Australia will tell you, 3-D printed guns are likely to be as fatal to the person firing as they are to anyone else. This is true primarily for poorly made 3-D printed guns using weaker plastics that can't absorb the explosive shock from the gun blast. Without specially designed ammunition, the stress of firing rounds risks exploding the gun -- and […]

November 04, 2014

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11:00 PM | Virgin Galactic: We Are Moving Forward
National Transportation Safety Board Inspects SpaceShipTwo Wreckage National Transportation Safety Board Last night, Virgin Galactic held a press conference intended as its last connected directly to SpaceShipTwo’s crash on Friday. The conference had three major themes: the crash investigation is ongoing, the cutting edge of transportation technology always carries risk, and despite setbacks Virgin Galactic has no intention to abandon space tourism. At the core of the […]

November 03, 2014

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8:59 PM | Watch A Drone Take Off From Another Drone
Helicarrier In Flight Flite Test, screenshot from Facebook In this video, a drone aircraft carrier takes off into the sky with another drone on top of it. That second, more normal airplane drone, then takes off from a runway that is itself already flying. It’s like something straight out of The Avengers, but instead of a fictional platform costing untold billions of dollars, this is a real thing that someone made and flew in their backyard: This isn’t the first […]

October 31, 2014

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10:18 PM | The Week In Drones: Saving Lives, Spooking Nukes, And More
Nuclear Reactor Belleville France Panelfestoon, via Wikimedia Commons Here's a roundup of the week's top drone news: the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft.  No Drones At The Game Recently in Europe, people have flown drones over a few major soccer games, even disrupting one game so much it had to end prematurely. Stateside, the FAA announced new penalties for flying an unmanned vehicle near a sporting event. In a […]
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6:59 PM | Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashed During A Mojave Test Flight [Developing]
SpaceShipTwo Virgin Galactic Note: This is a developing story. We'll post updates here as new details become available. There’s a growing, looming shadow over the private spaceflight industry. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, a suborbital rocket designed for tourists, crashed on Friday, Oct. 31 due to an “in-flight anomaly" during a powered test flight over the Mojave Desert. Although the company hasn’t specified what anomaly caused the fatal failure, […]

October 30, 2014

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9:01 PM | China Plans To Put Floating Docks On Disputed Islands
Swallow Reef (Pulau Layang-Layang) in Spratly Islands, South China Sea Matthew Lee, via Wikimedia Commons What’s a country to do with a chain of disputed islands? One option is just “go ahead and build a dock to claim them,” and attach it to some of the islands. Shown off at the Shiptec China 2014 exhibition, China has a plan for floating docks it wants to put in the disputed Spratly Islands. Roughly, the Spratly Islands refers to an area 500 nautical miles […]

October 28, 2014

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7:50 PM | Future Airplanes Might Replace Windows With OLED Screens
Windowless Airplane Concept Centre for Process Innovation There may be no such thing as a window seat on the airliners of the future. A concept released by the U.K.’s Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) envisions airliners with thinner walls, made by doing away with cabin windows altogether. In their place, CPI sees OLED screens lining entire interior walls, which would show passengers the sky around them. Weirdly, the OLED screens aren’t CPI’s selling […]
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