October 08, 2015

Special Forces TALOS powered strength boosting exoskeleton with electrically activated liquid body armor will debut in 2017

DARPA and Special Ops Commands plan a 2018 debut for the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or TALOS -- exoskeleton to give make commandos more lethal while being better protected. They are particularly wanting this for the vulnerable first soldier to breach a compound. The TALOS program has churned out several prototypes and is on track to deliver a first-generation suit by August 2018.

Research on the TALOS suit has also been a boon in other areas, helping the military develop improved technologies related to lightweight armor and communications systems.

Navy Cmdr. Anthony Baker, the head of JATF- TALOS, was reluctant to talk about the program when reporters approached him.

"We have powered exoskeletons on contract being developed; the foundation is the exoskeleton," he said. "All I can say is 'we are shooting for the vision,'" which calls for "increased armor protection, increased situational awareness, increased lethality, increased, human performance."

The TALOS program is costing an estimated $80 million.

An amalgam of academics, defense industry types and Pentagon personnel are trying to fine-tune the battery-powered exoskeleton, which would reduce strain on the body, provide superior ballistic protection and in-helmet technologies to boost communications and visibility

Manufactured by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, SOCOM (Special Operations COMmand ) intends to outfit the TALOS with a revolutionary type of electrically-activated shield called liquid body armor. While wearing the suit, the operator simply triggers a magnetic or electrical current on the TALOS and the body armor transitions from liquid to solid in a matter of milliseconds.

In 2013, the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) partnered with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to engineer a next-generation, super-soldier style suit for military operators. According to Defense One, the team’s early blueprint aimed to outfit the suit with full-body ballistic protection, integrated heating and cooling systems, 3D audio, embedded sensors and computers, and life-saving oxygen and hemorrhage controls — among other advanced tech.

A full-size mannequin was shown wearing Revision Military's Kinetic Operations Suit looked alien with its fully-enclosed helmet and quad-tube night-vision device.

Revision's suit features hard, body armor protection, capable of stopping rifle rounds, that covers 60 percent of the operator – compared to the 18 percent armor coverage operators currently wear.

It also features a powered, lower-body exoskeleton, to transfer the additional weight of the armor down to the waste belt and supports it with motorized actuators on each leg, according to Brian Dowling, program manager.

Spacex plans to return to flight with upgraded Falcon 9 v1.2 with 33% more power

SpaceX had been working for some time on an upgrade to the current Falcon 9 v1.1, sometimes called v1.2, with increased thrust. That first launch of the upgraded Falcon 9 was scheduled for September before the June 28 launch failure.

The upgraded Falcon 9 will be slightly taller than the Falcon 9 v1.1 and have a 33-percent increase in performance, said Lee Rosen, vice president of mission and launch operations for SpaceX, in another panel session here Sept. 1. “It has the same engines that we’ve flown before, but with some upgrades and things like that to increase reliability and performance,” he said.

The first static firing of the upgraded Falcon 9's first stage with densified propellant, completed on 9/21/2015.

Static test firing in mid September

The updated version 1.2 engine design was already planned before the explosion, and SpaceX is taking pains to ensure that the struts don't fail again.

The new engines will boast an extra boost. According to Spaceflight Now, each of the nine engines on the Falcon 9 rocket will provide 170,000 pounds of sea level thrust—up from 147,000 on the previous version.

The new upgrades will help the rocket carry heavier cargo into space, and will hopefully leave enough propellant left over after the launch to do a controlled landing of the rocket's first stage. That would help to usher in an era of rockets that are reusable and hence, cheaper.

The Falcon 9 Upgrade involves changes throughout the rocket with the exception of the payload fairing and is not just a slightly modified Octaweb first-stage motor configuration and the increased thrust of the Merlin 1D engines.

The first stage landing legs have been upgraded and the first stage structure enhanced. The grid fins, to help guide the first stage to landing, sport a new design. The interstage structure is longer, the second stage Merlin Vacuum engine’s thrust is increased, its nozzle lengthened and the overall length of the second stage is increased.

SpaceX has said it will attempt a barge landing of the first stage used for the SES-9 launch, the first such attempt following a launch to geostationary transfer orbit, the destination of most telecommunications satellites.

Four out of Eight Yuan Class Submarines will be built in Pakistan

Pakistan will build four of the eight submarines it plans to purchase from China, potentially speeding up the timeframe for delivery of the class to the Pakistan Navy, according to Rana Tanveer Hussain, minister for defence production.

The minister did not specify when the construction would begin, but said it would be happening soon. A training centre would be set up in Karachi for this purpose. He also did not specify the type of submarines but it was speculated that the deal was for Yuan-class Type-041 diesel-electric submarines equipped with AIP systems.

The eight submarine contract is worth about USD 4 billion to USD 5 billion and is the biggest arms export deal for China.

Israeli team SpacIL plans 2017 robotic lunar mission as leading Google LunarX Prize contender

A team from Israel called SpaceIL has signed a contract to launch its robotic lunar lander toward the moon aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in the second half of 2017. SpaceIL is therefore a strong contender to win the $20 million top prize in the Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP), contest organizers said.

The Hop instead of a Rover

While the other Google Lunar X Prize teams developed large rovers to move the required 500 meters on the Moon’s surface, in order to conserve mass, SpaceIL developed the idea of a space hop: to have the spacecraft land and then take off again with the fuel left in its propulsion system, and then perform another landing 500 meters away.
Efficiency and Multi functionality

For extra efficiency, SpaceIL believes in multifunctional use of every single part of the spacecraft. For example, the propulsion system will be used both for landing and for performing the 500 meter hop.

October 07, 2015

Long Range Bomber Contract Award in final stages

The US Air Force is still working through the details of a contract award for the next-generation bomber, and expects an announcement on the final downselect in the next few months. The Pentagon is still deciding between proposals from Northrop Grumman, builder of the B-2 stealth bomber, and a Boeing-Lockheed Martin team.

The six-month delay in awarding the contract has already prompted lawmakers to cut $460 million from the program in fiscal 2016, Forbes said during the hearing. The Air Force stands to lose $100 million for each additional month the announcement is delayed, one congressional source said.

The Pentagon is planning to procure 80-100 LRS-Bs to replace the Air Force’s aging B-1 and B-52 bombers. Initial operating capability is slated for the mid-2020s, with nuclear certification planned two years after that.

However, lawmakers expressed concern during the hearing that 80-100 LRS-Bs is insufficient to replace the current fleet. The Air Force has 159 bombers in inventory today: 76 B-52s, 63 B-1s and 20 B-2s.

The US Air Force is in the final phase of discussion before awarding a contract for the next-generation bomber, and expects an announcement very soon.

“We’re in the final closing phase and it’s going well and you should expect to hear something pretty soon,” William LaPlante, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, said during an event hosted by Defense One on Tuesday.

Ending Extreme Poverty and current count of the poor

Globally, only about 10 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty; in Africa the number is down to 35 percent. “Technology has absolutely had a leading role,” Economist Sachs said. “Nothing has been as important as the mobile phone.”

The World Bank uses an updated international poverty line of US $1.90 a day, which incorporates new information on differences in the cost of living across countries (the PPP exchange rates). The new line preserves the real purchasing power of the previous line (of $1.25 a day in 2005 prices) in the world’s poorest countries. Using this new line (as well as new country-level data on living standards), the World Bank projects that global poverty will have fallen from 902 million people or 12.8 per cent of the global population in 2012 to 702 million people, or 9.6 per cent of the global population, this year.

Actual poverty data from low income countries come with a considerable lag but the organization, which released the information on the eve of its Annual Meetings in Lima, Peru, based its current projections on the latest available data.

Facebook’s Internet Drone Team Is Collaborating with Google’s Stratospheric Balloons Project

Facebook and Google compete intensely for your time online and for the ad dollars of corporations. But now the two companies are collaborating on efforts to use balloons and drone aircraft to expand Internet access to the four billion people that don’t have it.

Documents filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission show that both companies are pushing for international law to be modified to make it easier to use aircraft around 20 kilometers above the earth, in the stratosphere, to provide Internet access.

At the Solve conference at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Monday, representatives of the competing projects said they are now working together, although they wouldn’t say exactly how.

Japan offering Australia bigger and better version of Soryu class submarine and 100% technology transfer in US$38.8 billion deal

A Japanese consortium has placed a $35 billion bid to construct submarines for the Royal Australian Navy. While France’s DCNS Group and Germany’s Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems (TKMS) have offered proposals, several analysts believe Japan is the only bidder with submarines large enough to meet Australia’s demands.

Japan has offered to construct a state-of-the-art submarine concept which would be larger than its 4,000-ton Soryu-class submarine using new designs and sustainment centers in Japan as well as Adelaide and Perth. In addition, Japan has offered to train hundreds of Australian engineers in Kobe, its manufacturing hub, as well as Australia.

Australia is seeking a long-range submarine, about 4,000-tonnes, bigger than the 3,300-tonne Collins that it currently deploys. To compete against Japan’s 4,200-tonne Soryu class, TKMS is submitting a 4,000-tonne Type 216, and DCNS is offering a smaller, non-nuclear variant of its 5,300 tonne Barracuda-class submarines.

Japan would transfer 100 percent of the technology involved in building a larger version of Japan’s state-of-the-art 4,000-ton diesel-electric Soryu-class submarine to the Australian submariner community.

Australia is only looking to get about 12 submarines, but clearly they are top of the line non-nuclear submarines

Nanoscale wrench with 1.7 nanometer opening

University of Vermont chemist Severin Schneebeli has invented a new way to use chirality to make a nanoscale wrench. His team’s discovery allows them to precisely control nanoscale shapes and holds promise as a highly accurate and fast method of creating customized molecules.

This use of “chirality-assisted synthesis” is a fundamentally new approach to control the shape of large molecules — one of the foundational needs for making a new generation of complex synthetic materials, including polymers and medicines.

Like NanoLegos

Experimenting with anthracene, a substance found in coal, Schneebeli and his team assembled C-shaped strips of molecules that, because of their chirality, are able to join each other in only one direction. “They’re like Legos,” Schneebeli explains. These molecular strips form a rigid structure that’s able to hold rings of other chemicals “in a manner similar to how a five-sided bolt head fits into a pentagonal wrench,” the team writes.

The C-shaped strips can join to each other, with two bonds, in only one geometric orientation. So, unlike many chemical structures — which have the same general formula but are flexible and can twist and rotate into many different possible shapes — “this has only one shape,” Schneebeli says. “It's like a real wrench,” he says — with an opening a hundred-thousand-times smaller than the width of human hair: 1.7 nanometers.

“It completely keeps its shape,” he explains, even in various solvents and at many different temperatures, “which makes it pre-organized to bind to other molecules in one specific way,” he says.

A blue wrench (of molecules) to adjust a green bolt (a pillarene ring) that binds a yellow chemical “guest.” It’s a new tool — just 1.7 nanometers wide — that could help scientists catalyze and create a host of useful new materials. (Image courtesy of Severin Schneebeli)

Angewandte Chemie International Edition - Regulating Molecular Recognition with C-Shaped Strips Attained by Chirality-Assisted Synthesis

Critical conditions needed for LENR aka Cold Fusion

E-catworld has information from the research notes of Louis F. DeChiaro, Ph.D, a physicist with the US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), Dahlgren Warfare Center.

Louis F. DeChiaro wrote a review of current low energy nuclear reactions (LENR aka Cold Fusion) work.

DeChiaro has a 23 page presentation

His background is in Condensed Matter Physics.
He discusses the atomic vibrational LENR initiation mechanism.
There is a lengthy list of prerequisite conditions for successful LENR.

1. It is necessary to set up conditions favoring the formation of molecular hydrogen (H2 or D2) inside the solid lattice for a certain range of possible values of lattice constant and for some fraction of the allowed values for electron momentum. This condition alone rules out almost ALL the elemental , because the electron density is just too large to permit molecules to form, except near vacancies in the lattice where a metal atom is absent.

Making 25 cent mini-brains with spheres of nervous system tissue

Brown University researchers describe a relatively accessible method for making a working – though not thinking – sphere of central nervous system tissue. The advance could provide an inexpensive and easy-to-make 3-D testbed for biomedical research.

If you need a working miniature brain — say for drug testing, to test neural tissue transplants, or to experiment with how stem cells work — a new paper describes how to build one with what the Brown University authors say is relative ease and low expense. The little balls of brain aren’t performing any cogitation, but they produce electrical signals and form their own neural connections — synapses — making them readily producible testbeds for neuroscience research, the authors said.

A bundle of neurons
A bioengineering team at Brown University can grow “mini-brains” of neurons and supporting cells that form networks and are electrically active.
Image: Hoffman-Kim lab/Brown University

Tissue Engineering Part C: Methods - Three-Dimensional Neural Spheroid Culture: An In Vitro Model for Cortical Studies

October 06, 2015

Four new Breakout Labs Startups funded by Peter Thiel - Gecko inspired glue and new way to combat aging

Breakout Labs, a program of Peter Thiel’s philanthropic organization, the Thiel Foundation, announced today that four new companies advancing scientific discoveries in biomedical, chemical engineering, and nanotechnology have been selected for funding.

“We’re always hearing about bold new scientific research that promises to transform the world, but far too often the latest discoveries are left withering in a lab,” said Lindy Fishburne, Executive Director of Breakout Labs. “Our mission is to help a new type of scientist-entrepreneur navigate the startup ecosystem and build lasting companies that can make audacious scientific discoveries meaningful to everyday life. The four new companies joining the Breakout Labs portfolio – nanoGriptech, Maxterial, C2Sense, and CyteGen – embody that spirit and we’re excited to be working with them to help make their vision a reality.”

- adhesives: inspired by geckos

- sense of smell for the digital world (can reduce the 1.3 billion tons per year of food wastage)

- Metals that Completely Repel Water
- dramatically increase the human healthspan with new approach to antiaging

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