Entries with tag darpa.

DARPA Develops Electronic Component-Authentication System

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has announced that it will launch a program designed to thwart the use of counterfeit electronic components, particularly those in military electronics systems, which is becoming a widespread problem. DARPA’s Supply Chain Hardware Integrity for Electronics Defense (SHIELD) program will develop a 100 × 100 micron component, which it calls a dielet, to authenticate electronic components. This tool, according to DARPA, would let users “verify, without disrupting or harming the system, the trustworthiness of a protected electronic component.” It will consist of an encryption engine and antitampering sensors that could indicate tampering if exposed to light, as well as wireless-communications and power components. It will be small enough to fit on microchips by electronics makers. Consumers would apply an ordinary probe to a component to authenticate it. Although the system has yet to be developed, DARPA says, after such a scan, another device, perhaps a smartphone, should be able to upload a serial number to a central server to check the component. The server would send an unencrypted challenge to the dielet for authentication, which sends back an encrypted answer and data from the sensors. “SHIELD demands a tool that costs less than a penny per unit, yet makes counterfeiting too expensive and technically difficult to do,” DARPA program manager Kerry Bernstein, told Network World. “What SHIELD is seeking is a very advanced piece of hardware that will offer an on-demand authentication method never before available to the supply chain.” (SlashDot)(Network World)(RT)(SHIELD: Supply Chain Hardware Integrity for Electronics Defense Proposers’ Day)

DARPA Goes Open Source

DARPA has placed some of its sponsored research data online and made it available to the public through its Open Catalog, which contains a list of the US Defense Department agency’s available software and peer-reviewed publications. The information has not traditionally been easy for interested researchers to find. The response to this criticism was the creation of this site, which currently includes links to peer-reviewed publications from DARPA’s XDATA open source software library for big data. The agency says it is making the information public to increase “the number of experts who can help quickly develop relevant software for the government” and eventually incorporate some of the software into their own products. Should the R&D community prove interested, DARPA said, it will release additional information from other programs including Broad Operational Language Translation (BOLT) and Visual Media Reasoning (VMR). The DARPA Open Catalog is at www.darpa.mil/OpenCatalog/index.html.  (PC Mag)(WIRED)(The Verge)(DARPA)

Google-Acquired Robotics Firm Leads DARPA Trials

SCHAFT, a Japanese company newly acquired by Google, won the most points in a field of 16 organizations competing in the DARPA Robotics Challenge in Florida. The top eight teams gain continued DARPA funding and will compete at the end of 2014 for a $2 million prize. The competition was focused on tasks that might typically be encountered in hazardous first-responder environments, such as climbing and descending a ladder as well as debris removal. The SCHAFT robot was awarded 27 of 32 possible points in the competition. The trials were held 20 and 21 December 2013 in Florida. The event also included demonstrations from organizations, including Sandia National Laboratories, which showed its Gemini-Scout Mine Rescue and Urban Hopper robots. DARPA says the finals competition will require robots to attempt a circuit of consecutive physical tasks, with degraded communications between the robots and their operators. (Robotics Tomorrow)(PhysOrg)(The Wall Street Journal)(DARPA Robotics Challenge 2013 Trials) 

New US Military Network Technology Supports Mobile Communication in the Field

A program of the US DARPA is designed to provide troops with the ability to immediately send and access tactical information in the field via mobile devices. The Content-Based Mobile Edge Networking program is a new form of networking that allows those in the field to share critical content even in the event the radios or mobile devices have lost contact with their headquarters units. The devices can function as a server in this event, distributing information, including tactical updates. This, says the agency, significantly improves the common situational awareness of those in the field and their ability to carry out their mission. The agency tested software for the network on Android-based smartphones and military radios. The technology may also be used in civilian applications, namely disaster response, where first responders and other organizations could share images and information. The program started its second phase of testing in August to prove its ability to support United States Marine Corps and Army networks using both military radios and commercial smartphones with Wi-Fi capabilities. It will also work on developing network security and the efficiency of information exchanges to ultimately reduce power and bandwidth. (PhysOrg)(DARPA)

DARPA Creating Robotic Hands

DARPA, which is conducting numerous robotics-related projects designed to aid US soldiers in the field, has created a low-cost robotic hand. The latest work by its Autonomous Robotic Manipulation program is a step toward creating robots with dexterous hands. The agency designed its new device to cost $3,000. A robot was able to use the new hand to change a tire by itself. The new hands could be key to developing robots able to operate autonomously in the field on tasks such as finding and defusing improvised explosive devices or inspecting suspicious packages. DARPA is collaborating with researchers from iRobot, the US Sandia National Laboratory, the University of Southern California, Carnegie Mellon University, and NASA to create a robotic arm with multifingered hands. (CNET)(Gizmodo)(DARPA Autonomous Robotic Manipulation)

DARPA Issues Spectrum Radio Challenge

DARPA announced it wants to find innovative approaches for robust radio communications in congested and contested environments and issued a challenge, asking teams to create software-defined radio protocols to resolve such interference. The DARPA Spectrum Challenge is a competition with a US$150,000 prize for the team able to guarantee successful communication in a shared spectrum using a standardized radio hardware platform. This technology is key for military and civilian radio communications.  Clear communications is essential in disaster relief response or emergency situations in which organizations frequently work together. Those agencies responding need to be able to share spectrum without advance planning or other coordination. DARPA will officially open registration for its Spectrum Challenge in January 2013. (PhysOrg)(DARPA)(DARPA Spectrum Challenge)

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