US Army Developing Robotic Exoskeletons?

Whenever I hear a new piece of tech which is being developed with the aim of blurring the lines of real life and science fiction, I am curious, but it’s then sometimes followed by a groan when you realize it’s for the purposes of war, destruction and general super power posturing. A new Robotic Exoskeleton is being developed by yes the US army to assist in the training of soldiers and their shooting accuracy.

A gentleman by the name of Dan Baechle who is a mechanical engineer is testing MAXFAS, a mechatronic arm exoskeleton at the Army Research Laboratory in the United States. As you can see by the image below, this device contains a motor for the MAXFAS cable which is driven behind the wearer. This in turn pulls the cables that are attached to arm braces; the effect of this would be similar to a puppeteer who pulls strings to make certain objects move. The braces are constructed from carbon fibre; this is useful because it adds very little weight to the arm. Always amuses me when you’re handling a potentially lethal object but always remember to wear goggles.

By having sensors placed onto the braces it feels and corrects any shaking in the arm by sending signals to the motors. By doing this, the arm would be able to focus without the slightest of human tremors and therefore improves shooting accuracy at a faster rate, which is fantastic for the shooter, perhaps not so much for the target.

This design has the potential to be implemented outside of military circles, for example, if an individual has Parkinson’s disease and has a constant tremor, this might be able to help manage this. I also feel that perhaps the US government should lend its researchers and dev team to produce cutting edge tech with the aim of assisting the general public, after all, finances should be allocated for not only war but peace.

Thank You army.mil for providing us with this information

Lawyer Blames Ars Readers For Hack Attempts

The web is a large place, with lots of people saying a lot of things on it. Not all of these things are nice, just a few bad people can quickly make the internet seem like a horrible place. While action can be taken, it is often difficult as people saying nasty things online often hide behind fake accounts and proxies to mask where they are actually connecting from, if its even in the same country as the agency trying to find them. In this case though a lawyer is taking action against several people after claiming that an online article was “defamatory”.

At the start of this story is a lawsuit by one man against three others, over the fact that the names of their trademarks may be too close. This is not an uncommon story, what with Bethesda taking action against Mojang over the fact that their new game ‘Scrolls’ could be confused with the Elder Scrolls Series. In this case, these names are “CaseRails”, “CaseWebs” and “CaseSpace”, with “CaseRails” being the only one not owned by Sanford Asman, the man taking action over the possible confusion. In an action to express his point of view regarding the matter; Asman decided to speak to Ars Technica about the problem, he does however disagree with how the article was written (the article can be viewed here).

Apparently the defendants, in his now amended complaint, state that CaseRails CEO Erik Dykema and several others may have encouraged the website to write “derogatory comments”. Examples given are the writing of “Ass Man” in the comments section and the creation of a website that uses Sanford’s name to direct users to an external website with no official affiliation, endorsement or permission from Sanford Asman. After the article was published, Sanford says his websites came under attack and was harassed as a result of the deformation that had occurred.

With both parties involved being intellectual property lawyers the case may be set to drag out, with the initial argument about naming possibly becoming overshadowed by the amended status talking about the negative comments posted online.

Thank you Ars Technica for the information.

Image Courtesy of Ars Technica.

Court Rejects Lawsuit Challenging the Use of Personal Electronics During Flights

A court has overturned a lawsuit challenging the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to loosen restrictions on the use of personal electronics in-flight. A Washington, DC court said Friday that the FAA had the authority to allow the use of gadgets at various stages during a flight, Ars Technica reports.

The lawsuit argued that the use of personal electronics during flights could pose a danger by distracting passengers from the various safety announcements before take-off or becoming projectiles during turbulence or other issues. Due to differences in aircraft the rule was not always applicable but in all modern aircraft there is little to no risk from having a personal device.

In 2013, the FAA made the official decision to allow the use of electronic devices during most phases of a flight. By 2014, around 96 percent of US commercial plane passengers were allowed to use small electronics during takeoff and landing, the AP reports.

The FAA stated in 2013:

Passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions. Electronic items, books and magazines, must be held or put in the seat back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing roll. Cell phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled – i.e., no signal bars displayed—and cannot be used for voice communications based on FCC regulations that prohibit any airborne calls using cell phones.    If your air carrier provides Wi-Fi service during flight, you may use those services.  You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.

1. Make safety your first priority.

2.  Changes to PED policies will not happen immediately and will vary by airline. Check with your airline to see if and when you can use your PED.

3.  Current PED policies remain in effect until an airline completes a safety assessment, gets FAA approval, and changes its PED policy.

4. Cell phones may not be used for voice communications.

5.  Devices must be used in airplane mode or with the cellular connection disabled. You may use the WiFi connection on your device if the plane has an installed WiFi system and the airline allows its use.  You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.

6. Properly stow heavier devices under seats or in the overhead bins during takeoff and landing. These items could impede evacuation of an aircraft or may injure you or someone else in the event of turbulence or an accident.    

7. During the safety briefing, put down electronic devices, books and newspapers and listen to the crewmember’s instructions.

8.  It only takes a few minutes to secure items according to the crew’s instructions during takeoff and landing.

9.  In some instances of low visibility – about one percent of flights – some landing systems may not be proved PED tolerant, so you may be asked to turn off your device.

10. Always follow crew instructions and immediately turn off your device if asked.

I’ve used my phone and laptop on a plane before and I’m still here!

Thanks to The FAA and The Verge for providing us with this information.

More Batman: Arkham Knight Details Revealed

An AMA on Reddit has revealed some new information about the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight game. Please note that there are massive spoilers for Arkham City ahead!

The story is reported to pick up right after the death of the Joker, focusing on what would happen around Gotham with him removed.

The new Batsuit is heavily redesigned and mimics much of the design of the Batmobile. Rocksteady claims the new suit will impact gameplay, enhance Batman’s abilities and will have some kind of interaction between Batman and the Batmobile. Yes you read that right, the Batmobile is in this game!

“When we added the Batmobile to the game, we wanted to make sure it’s a fun, meaningful addition to every part of the game. Batman wouldn’t use it if he didn’t need it. So there will be points in the main story where you will need to use the Batmobile to progress, and if you’re anything like me, there will be points where you can’t use the Batmobile and wish it was there!” – Rocksteady

If revised combat, the Batmobile, a new suit, a bigger environment and a whole lot more aren’t going to get you excited about this game. The developers have promised a new trailer coming this Monday, so stay tuned for more!

Thank you DSO for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of DSO.

Google Earth Reportedly Infringes ACI’s Terravision, ‘Terrafight’ in Progress?

Alleged patent infringements look like consist of a daily business around the world nowadays. This is the case with a company named ART+COM, or ACI for short, which has recently fled an infringement suit against Google.

The suit reported consists of Google infringing a patent which ACI holds (#RE44,550), having the following title: “Method and Device for Pictorial Representation of Space-related Data”. In the suite, ACI describes how Google Earth looks strikingly similar to their software named Terravision, developed over a decade ago before Google Earth moved into the market.

“Terravision was developed using Onyx computers of Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) which were the most powerful available at the time for processing and displaying graphical data,” ACI’s Detlef Andreovits stated. “In the course of developing Terravision, our inventors worked directly with Michael T. Jones when he was at SGI, where he was our designated contact person. We understand SGI subsequently used Terravision as a demonstration of the capabilities of their Onyx computers.” he added.

Judging by the images, it does have similar elements present in their interface and graphical interpretation of planet Earth (even though it’s the same planet?), however ACI also says that it has issue with some Google executives, in particular with Michael Jones, CTO of Google Earth, and Brian McClendon, VP of Engineering for Google Maps.

ACI state that the latter mentioned Google executives worked for companies which had access to data on the Terravision system in the past. The company added that Google’s infringement is deliberate and could be greatly impacted in court.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TweakTown

$2,000 Will Buy You A Replica Iron Man Mark III Suit… Awesome!

Fancy kicking it up a notch at your next fancy dress party? A company in China is offering custom full-body Iron Man costumes, complete with glowing lights. The aptly named Iron Man Factory is charging $2,000 for the suits, sure that’s a lot of money, but this isn’t your usual fancy dress attire, it’s freaking Iron Man!

It will take around eight months for your order to be complete and shipped as each one is built to order, there is a faster option is that you can order a 3D printed version, however that will set you back an insane $35,000 and let’s be honest, that’s freaking stupid.

The suits are made using injection moulded pieces that use reinforced polymer, and come fitted with a sensor on the side of the helmet that will allow you to open it up Iron Man style. Finally, the internal lights in the hands are powered by batteries and will offer up the glowing features that are a trademark of the suit. The suit is only suitable to be made for people between 5ft 6inch and 6ft 1inch (164cm to 185cm).

The suit isn’t even licensed from Marvel, but the company has made a statement on legality: “We will only charge your credit card when your order is shipped and we will still ship out all orders no matter what.”

So, who’s going to put in a pre-order?

Thank you T3 for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of T3.

Real-Life Iron Man Suit Could Allow Space Diving Without a Parachute!

The movie and comics of Iron Man have clearly inspired some to take the next step in crazy, developing a suit similar to that of Iron Man that will allow astronauts to jump to earth without a parachute, using rocket boots to soften their landing instead…. cool! The idea is to use augmented reality goggles, power gloves, movement gyros, rockets and a commercial space suit combined to create the system and I can’t help but think that the Felix Baumgartner jump helped research this one, given that the guy practically jumped from space just last year.

Solar System Express, a Baltimore based space firm and Juxtopia, a biomedical design firm, have been working together to combine their space tech and biomedical knowledge with the hope of releasing a production model of the suit by 2016. The yellow suit you can see in the image above is made from a commercial space suit, it’s to be fitted with “rocket boots” and tested by July 2016.

These tests will be similar to that of the Baumgartner jump, but will later integrate everything from wing suit tech, to small aerospike engines to allow proper propulsion and maneuvering, while the AR glasses will feed information about speed, altitude, radar and oxygen levels.

It’s obviously completely freaking mental, but it’s still incredibly cool and while this may sound like the reserve of extreme thrill seekers it’s also another step in providing an emergency escape system for astronauts.

Source

Image courtesy of DailyMail