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Rosetta, Miniature UAVs, Iran

Dated: 12 Nov 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: International, Technology, Uncategorized

Rosetta: The Philae probe has landed on the surface of a comet, scientists from the European Space Agency (ESA) announced today. It is the first time a soft landing has been achieved on a comet. Since blasting off in March 2004, Rosetta and its lander Philae have traveled more than 6bn kilometers to catch up with the comet, which orbits the sun at speeds up to 135,000km/h.

Miniature UAVs: The Army Research Laboratory is developing a palm-sized, prototype UAV that, using insect-inspired visual sensing, is designed to navigate a 3D space such as a building on its own while relaying tactical awareness back to a soldier. The quad-copter drone, the result of an ARL collaboration with academia and industry, is expected to be tested at the manned and unmanned teaming, or MUM-T, exercise at the Maneuver Center of Excellence. The prototype is capable of wide-field vision and high update rate—both present in insect vision—and researchers hope to combine those features with 3D mapping and motion estimation to allow it to operate autonomously.

Iran: Russia signed a contract with Iran on Tuesday to build (AP) November 24 deadline to make a deal on its nuclear program with six major world powers.  This comes as the Nov. 24 deadline for Iran and P5+1 to negotiate a comprehensive nuclear agreement, with both sides signaling that there may be an additional extension.

US Airstrikes, Persuasion, UAV Application

Dated: 10 Nov 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: International, Security, Technology

US Airstrikes: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of ISIS, was wounded Saturday in a U.S.-led air strike on the Western Iraqi border town of al-Qaim, according to Iraqi officials; Baghdadi’s condition remains unclear. Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a new phase of the U.S. campaign against ISIS, deploying 1,500 troops to Iraq on Sunday.

Persuasion: Interesting Time Magazine article regarding FBI persuasion techniques.

UAV Application: A team of Japanese scientists have developed a “flying rescue robot” with a device that can open doors to enter buildings hit by earthquakes or accidents. To open a door, the UAV uses suction cups to stick to the door’s surface. Then, it presses its arm with an air bag-like device against the door handle and blows the bag up to open the door. After partially opening the door in this way, the robot uses its propellers’ wind pressure to open it further.