Brazil, Unmanned Patrol Boats, Graphene

Dated: 6 Oct 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: International, Security, Technology

Brazil: Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff emerged as the front-runner in Sunday’s presidential election but did not secure an overall majority. Having won 41.5 percent of the vote, she will face pro-business candidate Aécio Neves, who won 33.7 percent, in a runoff election on October 26. Brazil’s politics have been largely dominated by the center and center-left parties, yet this election has been the most contested race since the 1980s.

Unmanned Patrol Boats: The US Navy says it will soon use armed, robotic patrol boats with no sailors on board to escort and defend warships moving through sensitive sea lanes.  The Office of Naval Research on Sunday released the results of what it called an unprecedented demonstration in August involving 13 robotic patrol craft escorting a ship along the James River in Virginia.  The demonstration was a “breakthrough” that goes far beyond any previous experiment, adding that similar robotic patrol craft likely will be escorting US naval ships within a year.

Graphene: A team of scientists in a collaboration between the Cambridge Graphene Centre at the University of Cambridge, UK, and Plastic Logic Ltd., also in Cambridge, have created a prototype of a flexible display incorporating graphene in its pixels’ electronics, marking the first time that graphene has been used in a transistor-based flexible device. They say that this is a significant step forward to enable fully wearable and flexible devices.

Boeing, Robotic Cheetah, France

Dated: 19 Sep 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: Business Model, International, Security, Technology

Boeing: The head of Boeing’s defense unit, Chris Chadwick, is preparing a road map that would concede the fighter market to Lockheed and pin the business’s future on other aircraft, including military versions of its commercial jetliners. With defense revenues down from 56% in 2003, to 38% in 2013, the company is at a crossroads, sitting between their legacy portfolio, and a reshaping portfolio.  Boeing Chief Executive Jim McNerney told investors in July that keeping defense and space revenue around $30 billion a year requires replacing the lost fighter revenue by winning contracts such as a new long-range strike bomber, a proposed Air Force trainer jet and the Navy’s UCLASS carrier-based drone program.  Additionally there is a drive to build more software products, emulating the technology industry’s effort to balance sales of hardware.

Robotic Cheetah: MIT researchers have developed an algorithm for bounding that they’ve successfully implemented in a robotic cheetah — a sleek, four-legged assemblage of gears, batteries, and electric motors that weighs about as much as its feline counterpart. While a bit slower, in experiments on an indoor track, the robot sprinted up to 10 mph, even continuing to run after clearing a hurdle. The MIT researchers estimate that the current version of the robot may eventually reach speeds of up to 30 mph.

France: French President François Hollande announced that the country’s first airstrikes in Iraq destroyed an ISIS logistics center on Friday morning. The French airstrikes are the first addition to U.S. military action in Iraq against ISIS.  Meanwhile, the United Kingdom said it would help arm Kurdish forces, support the Iraqi government, keep supplying humanitarian help and coordinate with the United Nations to battle ISIS.