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December 02, 2010

DARPA funds non-volatile logic and bioagent detection chip and brings in Terrafugia on the flying Hummer

1. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a $65M program to develop a four person flyable and roadable vehicle. Terrafugia, Inc., developer of the Transition® Roadable Aircraft, or “Flying Car”, is the largest subcontractor to one of two winning teams, led by AAI Corporation and comprised of other Textron companies.

The vehicle will be able to travel 280 miles by land and air, using vertical take-off and landing to increase access to difficult terrain, and automating flight controls to enable operation by non-pilots.

Phase I of the five year, three-phase program will focus on conceptual design of both a prototype and a production vehicle. Phases II and III will focus on the design and manufacture of the prototype, which could be ready as early as first quarter 2015.

The work calls for Terrafugia's expertise in drive and flight integration, deployable flight surfaces, and automotive crash safety for an aircraft.



2. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science an $8.4 million grant for research on a technology known as non-volatile logic, which enables computers and electronic devices to keep their state even while powered off, then start up and run complex programs instantaneously.

The UCLA researchers are aiming to develop a prototype non-volatile logic circuit, which could lead to the development of new classes of ultra–low-power, high-performance electronics. The research program will explore three technical areas: the behavior of nanoscale magnetic materials; the fabrication and testing of a non-volatile logic circuit; and the development of novel circuits and circuit-design tools

3. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has granted $4.3 million dollars to a project that will develop a chip capable of simultaneously detecting both chemical and biological agents.

Researchers will need to achieve three major goals to create the integrated chip. They must design optomechanical and photonic structure that will be able to sense miniscule differences in refractive index, fluorescence, absorption, mass and Raman emissions. The team must make the sensor surface functional with coatings that the agents can attach to. Development must also occur on the micofluidic sample deliver device and the connection between the device and the coated photonic structure.

“In two years, we hope to have a lab-on-a-chip system that includes all of the sensing modalities with appropriate coatings and microfluidic delivery,” Adibi said. “To show the feasibility of the technology, we plan to demonstrate the high sensitivity and high selectivity of each sensor individually and be able to use at least two of the sensing modalities simultaneously to detect two or three different chemical or biological agents.”

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