May 28, 2016

New Horizons' Best Close-Up of Pluto's Surface

This is the most detailed view of Pluto’s terrain you’ll see for a very long time. This mosaic strip – extending across the hemisphere that faced the New Horizons spacecraft as it flew past Pluto on July 14, 2015 – now includes all of the highest-resolution images taken by the NASA probe. (Be sure to zoom in for maximum detail.) With a resolution of about 260 feet (80 meters) per pixel, the mosaic affords New Horizons scientists and the public the best opportunity to examine the fine details of the various types of terrain on Pluto, and determine the processes that formed and shaped them.

“This new image product is just magnetic,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado. “It makes me want to go back on another mission to Pluto and get high-resolution images like these across the entire surface.”

The view extends from the “limb” of Pluto at the top of the strip, almost to the “terminator” (or day/night line) in the southeast of the encounter hemisphere, seen below. The width of the strip ranges from more than 55 miles (90 kilometers) at its northern end to about 45 miles (75 kilometers) at its southern point. The perspective changes greatly along the strip: at its northern end, the view looks out horizontally across the surface, while at its southern end, the view looks straight down onto the surface.

This mosaic strip – extending across the hemisphere that faced the New Horizons spacecraft as it flew past Pluto on July 14, 2015 – now includes all of the highest-resolution images taken by the NASA probe. Note: video is silent/no audio. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

This movie moves down the mosaic from top to bottom, offering new views of many of Pluto’s distinct landscapes along the way. Starting with hummocky, cratered uplands at top, the view crosses over parallel ridges of “washboard” terrain, chaotic and angular mountain ranges, cellular plains, coarsely “pitted” areas of sublimating nitrogen ice, zones of thin nitrogen ice draped over the topography below, and dark mountainous highlands scarred by deep pits.

The pictures in the mosaic were obtained by New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) approximately 9,850 miles (15,850 kilometers) from Pluto, about 23 minutes before New Horizons’ closest approach.


Bigelow Expandable space station module has been expanded at the Space Station

Pressurization of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) began at 4:34 p.m. EDT, and the eight tanks filled with air completed full pressurization of the module 10 minutes later at 4:44 p.m. BEAM’s pressure will be equalized with that of the International Space Station, where it will remain attached for a two-year test period.

The module measured just over 7 feet long and just under 7.75 feet in diameter in its packed configuration. BEAM now measures more than 13 feet long and about 10.5 feet in diameter to create 565 cubic feet of habitable volume. It weighs approximately 3,000 pounds.

During the next week, leak checks will be performed on BEAM to ensure its structural integrity. Hatch opening and NASA astronaut Jeff Williams’ first entrance into BEAM will take place about a week after leak checks are complete.

BEAM is an example of NASA’s increased commitment to partnering with industry to enable the growth of the commercial use of space. The project is co-sponsored by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Division and Bigelow Aerospace.

The space station now hosts the new fully expanded and pressurized Bigelow Expandable Activity Module attached to the Tranquility module. Credit: NASA

Military Analysts concerned about the lost of the US conventional military technology advantages

The US Navy now believes it has a railgun design that soon will be able to fire 10 times a minute through a barrel capable of lasting 1,000 rounds.

Besides speed, the railgun also has a capacity advantage. A typical U.S. Navy destroyer can carry as many as 96 missiles—either offensive cruise missiles or defensive interceptors. A ship armed with a railgun could potentially carry a thousand rounds, allowing the vessel to shoot incoming missiles or attack enemy forces for longer periods and at a faster rate of fire.

The U.S. has kept its military dominance over the past quarter-century largely through such precision weaponry as guided missiles and munitions. It also has spent billions of dollars on interceptor-missile based defense systems to shoot down ballistic missiles fired at the U.S. or its allies.

That monopoly is about over. China is perfecting a ship-killing ballistic missile. Russia mostly impressed U.S. military planners with the power and precision of its cruise missiles deployed in Syria, and its improved artillery precision revealed in Ukraine.

“I am very worried about the U.S. conventional advantage. The loss of that advantage is terribly destabilizing,” said Elbridge Colby, a military analyst with the Center of a New American Security.

Defense planners believe the U.S. needs new military advances. Russia, for example, is believed to be developing longer-range surface-to-air missiles and new electronic warfare technology to blunt any forces near its borders.

Hitting a missile with a bullet is still a technical challenge. Railgun research leans heavily on commercial advances in supercomputing to aim and on smartphone technology to steer the railgun’s projectile using the Global Positioning System.

Missile defense by the railgun is at least a decade away, but Pentagon officials believe the weapon’s projectiles can be used much sooner. They are filled with tungsten pellets harder than many kinds of steel, officials said, and will likely cost between $25,000 and $50,000, a bargain compared with a $10-million interceptor missile.

Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs

The Navy has been procuring Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) class Aegis destroyers since FY1985. The two DDG-51s requested for procurement in FY2017 are to be the 75th and 76th ships in the class.

The 10 DDG-51s programmed for procurement in FY2013-FY2017 (in annual quantities of 3-1-2-2-2) are being procured under a multiyear-procurement (MYP) contract. One of the DDG-51s funded in FY2016 is to be the first of a new DDG-51 design variation called the Flight III design, which is to incorporate a new and more capable radar called the Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR).

As part of its action on the Navy’s FY2016 budget, Congress provided $1 billion in unrequested procurement funding to help pay for a DDG-51 that would be in addition to those being procured under the 10-ship MYP contract for FY2013-FY2017. The Navy, in its budget submission, notes this additional $1 billion in funding for the DDG-51 program, but does not show the additional DDG-51 in its shipbuilding plan.

The Navy estimates the combined procurement cost of the two DDG-51s requested for procurement in FY2017 at $3,393.9 million. The ships have received a total of $182.6 million in prior-year advance procurement (AP) funding

The DDG-1000 program was initiated in the early 1990s. The DDG-1000 is a multi-mission destroyer with an emphasis on naval surface fire support (NSFS) and operations in littoral (i.e., near-shore) waters. The DDG-1000 is intended to replace, in a technologically more modern form, the large-caliber naval gun fire capability that the Navy lost when it retired its Iowa-class battleships in the early 1990s, to improve the Navy’s general capabilities for operating in defended littoral waters, and to introduce several new technologies that would be available for use on future Navy ships. The DDG-1000 was also intended to serve as the basis for the Navy’s now-canceled CG(X) cruiser.

The DDG-1000 is to have a reduced-size crew of 142 sailors (compared to roughly 300 on the Navy’s Aegis destroyers and cruisers) so as to reduce its operating and support (O and S) costs. The ship incorporates a significant number of new technologies, including an integrated electric-drive propulsion system and automation technologies enabling its reduced-sized crew.

The DDG-1000 incorporates a significant number of new technologies, including a wavepiercing, tumblehome hull design for reduced detectability, a superstructure made partly of large sections of composite (i.e., fiberglass-like) materials rather than steel or aluminum, an integrated electric-drive propulsion system, a total-ship computing system for moving information about the ship, automation technologies enabling its reduced-sized crew, a dual-band radar, a new kind of vertical launch system (VLS) for storing and firing missiles, and two copies of a 155mm gun called the Advanced Gun System (AGS). The AGS is to fire a new rocket-assisted 155mm shell, called the Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP), to ranges of more than 60 nautical miles. The DDG-1000 can carry 600 LRLAP rounds (300 for each gun), and additional rounds can be brought aboard the ship while the guns are firing, creating what Navy officials call an “infinite magazine.” When the DD-21 program was initiated, a total of 32 ships was envisaged. In subsequent years, the planned total for the DD(X)/DDG-1000 program was reduced to 16 to 24, then to 7, and finally to 3.

With an estimated full load displacement of 15,482 tons, the DDG-1000 design is roughly 63% larger than the Navy’s current 9,500-ton Aegis cruisers and destroyers.

May 27, 2016

16 Predictions of quantized inertia where experiments could validate the predictions and the theory

Dr. Mike McCulloch, Lecturer in Geomatics, had created a model for inertia called: Modified inertia by a Hubble-scale Casimir effect (MiHsC) or quantized inertia. Nextbigfuture covered it a few months ago. Mike uses it to explain the controversial emDrive.

The idea of inertia is that in a vacuum, where there is no friction, objects move along in a straight line at constant speed until you push on them.

MiHsC predicts a lot that has been seen already. MiHsC predicts 'specific' new effects that can be looked for more effectively. Some predictions have not had calculations to predict exactly would would be seen so they are more like ideas for experiments rather than rigorous predictions.

Progess in Physics - Can the Emdrive Be Explained by Quantised Inertia?

Progress in Physics - Energy from Swastika-Shaped Rotors

The Frontiers of Physics - Testing quantised inertia on the emdrive

Predictions of quantized inertia:

1. In MiHsC inertial mass is enhanced when the peak wavelength of the Unruh spectrum (determined by acceleration) fits exactly within the Hubble scale. So for any accelerating/spinning object: solar system or galaxy, there should be some acceleration or radii with higher inertial mass because the Unruh waves fit exactly (resonate) and some with lower. This should give rise to subtle concentric patterns in these systems. For example, for Pioneer it would lead to tiny variations in the Pioneer anomaly.

2. In MiHsC as acceleration decreases the inertial mass drops towards zero (explains galaxy rotation without dark matter) so for any system ejecting mass into deep space at some point the inertial mass should dissapear and the gravity pulling it back should dominate. These systems should then have rings around them at the radius where accelerations are ~7x10^-10 m/s^2.

3. More generally, there should not exist any mutual acceleration below about 7x10^-10 m/s^2 today, and further back in time this minimum acceleration, a_min=2c^2/(Hubble scale), was higher, since the Hubble scale was smaller, so ancient (high redshift) galaxies should have greater spin for less visible mass.

4. The opposite case, for objects coming from deep space into the Solar system, or into galaxies, their acceleration is increasing so they should gain inertial mass by MiHsC and slow down anomalously, just like an inverted Pioneer anomaly, and of the same size (it will appear as though there's unseen mass at the outer edge of the system).

5. Along a spin axis the mutual acceleration with surrounding matter is zero so inertial mass should collapse for nearby objects there and produce unusual dynamics. For Earth this predicts the flyby anomaly, but it is hugely magnified for slow spinning system, eg: galaxies, and should result in axial jets (galactic jets?).

Spacex has third successful droneship rocket landing

SpaceX on Friday landed its third consecutive rocket on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean, during a mission that successfully launched a commercial communications satellite to orbit.

“Falcon 9 has landed,” a member of SpaceX’s launch team confirmed about 10 minutes after a 230-foot Falcon 9 rocket's 5:39 p.m. blastoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

SpaceX says it hopes to re-fly a rocket for the first time later this year, using the stage landed in April during an ISS resupply mission.

Whatever their condition, each recovered booster gives engineers a chance to learn more about how systems fared during flight, potentially leading to design improvements.

SpaceX plans to launch another commercial satellite mission before its next ISS supply run, which is scheduled for no earlier than July 16. That mission will be the next attempting to return a Falcon 9's first stage to land.

Crush core is aluminum honeycomb for energy absorption in the telescoping actuator. Easy to replace (if Falcon makes it back to port).

Doctors say Postpone or move Olympics due to Zika

The summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro should be postponed or moved "in the name of public health" due to the widening Zika outbreak in Brazil, more than 100 prominent doctors and professors said Friday in an open letter to the World Health Organization.

"We make this call despite the widespread fatalism that the Rio 2016 Games are inevitable or 'too big to fail,' " the writers said in the letter addressed to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. "Our greater concern is for global health. The Brazilian strain of Zika virus harms health in ways that science has not observed before

Dr. Ford Vox, a CNN contributor and physician who works in brain injury medicine with the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, said he signed the letter because he believes a delay or postponement is necessary.

"In my opinion, non-essential travel to Zika endemic areas should be deferred until the situation improves, and the Olympics are not essential," he said.

World Cities face growth and other challenges, 2026 about two thirds of GDP from cities up from half now

By 2026, about two-thirds of the world's gross domestic product will be generated by cities, up from about half now.

Most of that growth will come from the emerging world, especially China and India, meaning the stakes to get growth and development right are increasing rapidly.
The challenges range from ensuring clean streets to confronting the impact of climate change. In Rio de Janeiro, the military roams the streets to crack down on crime; in Lagos, policy makers who have often left residents to their own devices now have to introduce governance without wrecking structures developed over the years.

It is a common misperception that megacities have been driving global growth for the past 15 years. In fact, most have not grown faster than their host economies, and MGI expects this trend to continue. Today's 23 megacities—with populations of 10 million or more—will contribute about 10 percent of global growth to 2025, below their 14 percent share of global GDP.

In contrast, 577 middleweights—cities with populations of between 150,000 and 10 million, are seen contributing more than half of global growth to 2025, gaining share from today's megacities. By 2025, 13 middleweights are likely to be have become megacities, 12 of which are in emerging-markets (the exception is Chicago) and seven in China alone.

Emerging-market mega—and middleweight cities together—423 of them are included in the City 600—are likely to contribute more than 45 percent of global growth from 2007 to 2025.

Indonesian Megacity Jakarta sees rising sea level challenge

By 2023, 80 percent of nothern Jakarta (population 10.4 million) will lie below sea level—up from 40 percent now. In 50 years, current streets could be at least 10 feet below it.

So this former Dutch trading post is embarking on one of history’s biggest seawall projects. In three phases over three decades, it aims to build an exterior wall off the coast that would be 25 miles (40 kilometers) long and 80 feet high, a third of which would sit above sea level.

Russian Terminator-3 BMPT is an Armata based tank with missiles instead of a main gun and Russian plans Armata vehicle versions that are robotic and unmanned

The Russian T-14 main battle tank is the most prominent member of the Armata family, the vehicle series incorporates a host of new fighting machines. A tank support fighting vehicle based on the Armata ground vehicle system is called the Terminator-3.

“Russia also plans to develop its tank support fighting vehicle dubbed the Terminator-3 on the basis of the country’s latest Armata tanks," Oleg Sienko, said.

"We will [produce them].We have a concept for developing vehicles on the basis of the Armata platform," Sienko said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

Oleg Siyenko said that if ordered, a robotic Armata would not take long to make.

“Even the Armatas we showcased on Red Square last year can be refitted to become remote-controlled, to become robots,” Oleg Siyenko said.

BMPT Terminator at the 2009 Russian Expo Arms

At the moment, Uralvagonzavod produces both Terminator and Terminator-2 tank support fighting vehicles based on the chassis of the T-72 tank.

The BMPT is unofficially named the "Terminator" by the manufacturers. It is heavily armed and armored to survive in urban combat. This AFV is armed with four 9M120 Ataka missile launchers, two 30 mm 2A42 autocannons, two AG-17D grenade launchers, and one coaxial 7.62 mm PKTM machine gun. The BMPT's powerful armaments allow it to engage virtually every enemy formation while operating in a common battle formation. Due to the multiple weapons systems found on the BMPT, this vehicle is able to fire at multiple targets simultaneously

Such vehicles can be used to destroy enemy tanks, infantry and other armored assets, according to company's website.

The tank is three times cheaper than the [US-made] Abrams, [German-made] Leopard and [French-made] Leclerc.

A potentially closer comparison for the Armata based Terminator-3 might be the Israeli Namer — which is based on a Merkava 4 tank chassis — but the Russian machines are not designed to carry troops.

The idea of the tank support vehicle is a vehicle with the protection of a main battle tank, but which had the ability to engage enemy armor, bunkers and infantry in hiding in elevated positions. Indeed, every version of the Terminator built to date has the armor protection equivalent to — or better — than a main battle tank.
Generally speaking, the Russians employ BMTP vehicles alongside with their main battle tanks in the same unit in combat. On the open battlefield, there would normally be a pair of tanks accompanied by a BMTP.

Feds Spending Tech Money on Floppy Disks and COBOL

The government is spending about three-fourths of its technology budget maintaining aging computer systems, including platforms more than 50 years old in vital areas from nuclear weapons to Social Security. One still uses floppy disks.

In a report to be released Wednesday, nonpartisan congressional investigators say the increasing cost of maintaining museum-ready equipment devours money better spent on modernization.

Despite a White House push to replace aging workhorse systems, the budget for modernization has fallen, and will be $7 billion less in 2017 than in 2010, said the Government Accountability Office.

GAO said it found problems across the government, not just in a few agencies. Among those highlighted in the report:

  • The Defense Department's Strategic Automated Command and Control System, which is used to send and receive emergency action messages to U.S. nuclear forces. The system is running on a 1970s IBM computing platform, and still uses 8-inch floppy disks to store data.
  • Treasury's individual and business master files, the authoritative data sources for taxpayer information. The systems are about 56 years old, and use an outdated computer language that is difficult to write and maintain. Treasury plans to replace the systems, but has no firm dates.
  • Social Security systems that are used to determine eligibility and estimate benefits, about 31 years old. Some use a programming language called COBOL, dating to the late 1950s and early 1960s. "Most of the employees who developed these systems are ready to retire and the agency will lose their collective knowledge," the report said. "Training new employees to maintain the older systems takes a lot of time."
  • Medicare's Appeals System, which is only 11 years old, but facing challenges keeping up with a growing number of appeals, as well as questions from congressional offices following up on constituent concerns. The report says the agency has general plans to keep updating the system, depending on the availability of funds.
  • The Transportation Department's Hazardous Materials Information System, used to track incidents and keep information relied on by regulators. The system is about 41 years old.
Defense Department's Strategic Automated Command and Control System still looks something like this

The Defense Department's Strategic Automated Command and Control System information technology operations budget seems to be well over ten million per year.

GAO estimates that the government spent at least $80 billion on information technology, or IT, in 2015. However, the total could be significantly higher. Not counted in the report are certain Pentagon systems, as well as those run by independent agencies, among them the CIA. Major systems are known as "IT investments" in government jargon.

May 26, 2016

Planetary Resources Raises $21.1 Million In Funding and Unveils Advanced Earth Observation System

Planetary Resources, Inc., the asteroid mining company, announced today that it has secured US$21.1 million in Series A funding. The capital will be used to deploy and operate Ceres, an advanced Earth observation business that features the first commercial infrared and hyperspectral sensor platform to better understand and manage humanity’s natural resources. The funding was led by Bryan Johnson and the OS FUND; and joined by Idea Bulb Ventures; Tencent; Vast Ventures; Grishin Robotics; Conversion Capital; The Seraph Group; Space Angels Network, a syndication of investors from; and Larry Page. Earth observation will be another aspect of Planetary Resources’ operations in addition to prospecting and mining asteroids.

Conceived from the company’s vision for the exploration and utilization of asteroid resources, Ceres will leverage Planetary Resources’ Arkyd spacecraft to deliver affordable, on-demand Earth intelligence of our natural resources on any spot on the planet. While typical satellite imagery provides only a picture, Ceres will provide actionable data with higher spectral resolutions – going beyond what the human eye can see – by measuring thermographic properties and detecting the composition of materials on Earth’s surface. The midwave-infrared sensor is the first ever commercial capability from space to offer thermographic mapping and night-imaging, and the hyperspectral sensor includes an unprecedented 40 color bands in the visible to near-infrared spectrum.

The imaging technology is integrated onto the Arkyd spacecraft and deployed as a constellation of 10 satellites in low-Earth orbit. The constellation will provide global monitoring capability to benefit multiple industries including agriculture, oil & gas, water quality, financial intelligence and forestry. Ceres can analyze the spectral signatures of crops and provide customized information to growers, identify energy and mineral resources, and monitor pipelines and remote infrastructure. The system can also track toxic algae blooms, monitor global water quality and enable the detection of wildfires in their earliest stages.

Ceres Constellation

The most capable, low-cost small satellites ever deployed into Earth orbit.

More Capabilities, Less Cost Using only 10 micro-satellites, the Ceres constellation provides weekly data for any location on Earth at a lower cost than legacy multispectral data.

Planetary Resources is deploying a constellation of Arkyd 100 spacecraft in low-Earth orbit to deliver valuable information-rich data to markets today. With just 10 satellites, the Ceres constellation provides weekly hyperspectral and mid-wave infrared data for any spot on Earth at a lower cost than existing multispectral data. Furthermore, leveraging its revolutionary on-board processing power, the Ceres constellation can also be programmed on-board to search for and identify specific materials or temperature signatures – a capability that does not exist from satellites or drones today. Our system is also highly-intelligent and customizable. Ceres can send complete hyperspectral data cubes if required or can return specifically requested wavelengths, temperatures, or even simplified algorithmic “answers” about a target.

In bringing new capabilities to the market Ceres features:

  • Twice-daily revisit rates, daytime and nighttime
  • Weekly monitoring service level agreements
  • 10m Hyperspectral and 15m Midwave Infrared resolution
  • Global coverage
  • Sensor re-configurability on-orbit

General Atomics will fund development of a 10 MJ medium-range railgun

GA has committed more than USD50 million of internal funding to develop its next railgun weapon system GA hopes that its successful development will increase US Navy and US Army interest General Atomics (GA) told IHS Jane's that it will have committed significant company funds to develop its 10 megajoule (MJ) Multimission Medium Range Railgun Weapon System (MMRRWS) from 2007 to the end of testing in 2017.

Speaking to IHS Jane's at the Navy League's 2016 Sea-Air-Space symposium in mid-May, company officials said that GA had committed funds in excess of USD50 million, but declined to be exact.

Intended to complement or replace current US Navy (USN) 5-inch guns, if successful, the General Atomics MMRRWS would be able to intercept missiles and aircraft as well as conduct kinetic strikes against maritime or land targets. However in contrast to multimillion dollar missiles, a GA official noted a railgun hypersonic guided projectile could cost between USD25,000-50,000.

Foxconn replaces 60,000 factory workers with robots

Apple and Samsung supplier Foxconn has reportedly replaced 60,000 factory workers with robots.

One factory has "reduced employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000 thanks to the introduction of robots", a government official told the South China Morning Post.

Xu Yulian, head of publicity for the Kunshan region, added: "More companies are likely to follow suit."

China is investing heavily in a robot workforce.

Foxconn, spent a total of 4 billion yuan (HK$4.74 billion) on artificial intelligence last year.

The manufacturing hub for the electronics industry, Kunshan, in Jiangsu province, is seeking a drastic reduction in labour costs as it undergoes a makeover after an industrial explosion killed 146 people in 2014.

The county, one-seventh the size of neighbouring Shanghai and the mainland’s first county to achieve US$4,000 per capita income, was adjudged the best county for its economic performance by Forbes for seven years in a row.

Foxconn Technology Group confirmed that it was automating "many of the manufacturing tasks associated with our operations" but denied that it meant long-term job losses.

"We are applying robotics engineering and other innovative manufacturing technologies to replace repetitive tasks previously done by employees, and through training, also enable our employees to focus on higher value-added elements in the manufacturing process, such as research and development, process control and quality control.

Economists have issued dire warnings about how automation will affect the job market, with one report, from consultants Deloitte in partnership with Oxford University, suggesting that 35% of jobs were at risk over the next 20 years.

Former McDonald's chief executive Ed Rensi recently told the US's Fox Business programme a minimum-wage increase to $15 an hour would make companies consider robot workers.

"It's cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who is inefficient, making $15 an hour bagging French fries," he said

Start Shipyards with drawingless plans could lower costs by 15% for third aircraft carrier

Newport News Shipbuilding is in the midst of several pilot programs aimed at creating a Smart Shipyard that could accommodate “drawingless” plans for the Enterprise CVN-80 aircraft carrier, company officials told USNI News.

Huntington Ingalls Industries President and CEO Mike Petters told USNI News in February that he hoped CVN-80 would have no paper, two-dimensional drawings but instead would be all digital and all 3D. HII’s Newport News yard has taken the lead on this initiative and estimates that creating an integrated digital shipbuilding environment could generate more than 15-percent cost savings on the third Ford-class aircraft carrier, NNS president Matt Mulherin said May 17 at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition 2016.
  • Workers would have detailed daily work plan downloaded each day
  • Daily materials would be routed to each deckplate
  • Augmented reality would guide the work
The benefits of a digital shipyard in terms of training – having 3D models of the ship would make it more intuitive to build and operate the ship, saving training dollars for the shipyard and the Navy. Mulherin also focused on the impact to the builder

Google could replace some passwords with a 'trust score" by the end of the year

Conventional passwords might soon be a thing of the past, or at least on devices running Android. Google announced at I / O last week that it's pushing ahead with plans to replace passwords with "trust scores" that incorporate various data points about users to determine whether or not they're legitimate. Its Trust API is the result of its year's-worth of password work, and it's rolling out to "several very large" financial institutions in the coming weeks.

"Assuming it goes well, this should become available to every Android developer around the world by the end of the year," Dan Kaufman, head of ATAP at Google, said at I / O.

The trust score is based off various user-specific data points, including current location, facial recognition, and typing patterns. Certain apps could require different scores. A banking app might want a higher trust score than Instagram requires, for instance. The Trust API always runs in the background of users' devices, monitoring its sensors and information to so that it can provide apps with the current trust score — basically its confidence level that you are who you say you are.

100 years ago the world absolute poverty rate was as bad as the poorest country today

Here is data tracking the world absolute poverty rate from 1820 to 2015. The data shows vast improvement in the reduction of absolute poverty( living on less than US$1 per day in 1996).

People are considered to live in extreme poverty at a consumption (or income) level below 1.90 international-$ per day. International $ are adjusted for price differences between countries and for price changes over time (inflation).

The highest absolute poverty rate in the world today is Madagascar at 81.8% living on less than $1.90 per day (US$1 per day in 1996) This is about the overall world level of absolute poverty 100 years ago.

Why Education Does Not Fix Poverty

Brookings and the American Enterprise Institute claim to have hatched a bipartisan consensus plan for reducing poverty. David Brooks will unveil the plan at an event on December 3rd.

The consensus poverty reduction plan will focus on three things:

  1. education
  2. marriage
  3. work.
The Education Poverty Argument

The higher the education, the lower the poverty rate.

Since 1991, the US population has done precisely what the education-focused poverty reduction people said to do. Between 1991 and 2014, we steadily reduced the share of adults in the "less than high school" and "high school" categories.

By 2014, the share of adults in the "less than high school" bin declined 9 points from 20.6% to 11.6%. The share of adults in the "high school" bin declined 6.5 points from 36% to 29.5%

Adults these days are as educated as they have ever been, but poverty is no lower than it was in 1991. This is not because the few lingering people with "less than high school" have soaked up all the poverty. Quite the contrary: poverty has simply moved up the educational scale. The poor in 2014 were the most educated poor in history.

- College education does (at least in part) is signal to employers that you have a certain level of relative "quality" over others in society. The degree was always a signal, not a productivity enhancer.

- When more credentials are chasing the same number of decent jobs, what you get is credential inflation: jobs that used to require a high school degree now require a college degree

- poverty is really about non-working people: children, elderly, disabled, students, carers, and the unemployed. The big things that cause poverty for adults over the age of 25 in a low-welfare capitalist society—old-age, disability, unemployment, having children—do not go away just because you have a better degree.

Nextbigfuture comment -
Education and productive skills can increase the productivity of society. Degree mills do not improve anything.
A culture that values education and work ethic can increase the wealth of a society.

SOURCE - Demos (public policy)

May 25, 2016

Bilayer Graphene Quantum Tunneling transistors are ultralow power and could achieve 100 gigahertz operations

Scientists have developed a new type of graphene-based transistor and using modelling they have demonstrated that it has ultralow power consumption compared with other similar transistor device. They could eventually achieve 100 gigahertz clock speeds.

Building transistors that are capable of switching at low voltages (less than 0.5 volts) is one of the greatest challenges of modern electronics. Tunnel transistors are the most promising candidates to solve this problem. Unlike in conventional transistors, where electrons "jump" through the energy barrier, in tunnel transistors the electrons "filter" through the barrier due to the quantum tunneling effect. However, in most semiconductors the tunneling current is very small and this prevents transistors that are based on these materials from being used in real circuits.

In a continuous search for the energy-efficient electronic switches, a great attention is focused on tunnel field-effect transistors (TFETs) demonstrating an abrupt dependence of the source-drain current on the gate voltage. Among all TFETs, those based on one-dimensional (1D) semiconductors exhibit the steepest current switching due to the singular density of states near the band edges, though the current in 1D structures is pretty low. In this paper, we propose a TFET based on 2D graphene bilayer which demonstrates a record steep subthreshold slope enabled by van Hove singularities in the density of states near the edges of conduction and valence bands. Our simulations show the accessibility of 35,000 ON/OFF current ratio with 150 mV gate voltage swing, and a maximum subthreshold slope of (20 μV/dec)^−1 just above the threshold. The high ON-state current of 0.8 mA / μm is enabled by a narrow (~0.3 eV) extrinsic band gap, while the smallness of the leakage current is due to an all-electrical doping of the source and drain contacts which suppresses the band tailing and trap-assisted tunneling.

(A) Layout of the proposed graphene bilayer TFET with electrically defined source and drain regions (B) Band diagram of graphene bilayer TFET for the optimal biasing conditions. At zero top gate bias, VG = 0, the TFET is switched on, while at VG less than 0 it is switched off.

Nature Scientific Reports - Abrupt current switching in graphene bilayer tunnel transistors enabled by van Hove singularities

Samsung and SK Telecom to build World-First Nationwide LoRaWAN Network Dedicated to Internet of Things

Samsung Electronics today announced a new contract with SK Telecom to deploy the world’s first commercial Internet of Things (IoT)-dedicated nationwide LoRaWAN network.

The network will be deployed across Korea using the 900 MHz frequency band. The commercial service is scheduled to launch in Daegu, Korea’s fourth largest city, next month and will be available nationwide by the middle of this year.

Low Power Wide Area Network and the Internet of Things

There can be no Internet of Things (IoT) without the network to support it. Sensors and gadgets will gather increasingly vast amounts of data. But the Internet of Things is about more than just gadgets and displays; the amount of data gathered will seriously impact the network, and the networking industry needs to evaluate possible implications.

Three areas of the IoT that will impact the network are data analytics, the need for network agility, and security.

The sheer volume of data created by the IoT will have unfathomable impact on the networking systems used today. Deep analytics will require distributed datacenters and real-time response to events. Fast, agile networks are crucial to enable the real-time analysis of sensor data. Given these requirements, it is very unlikely that today's networks will stand up to the demands of 2020.

The internet of things requires huge scalability in the network space to handle the surge of devices. IETF 6LoWPAN would be used to connect devices to IP networks. With billions of devices being added to the internet space, IPv6 will play a major role in handling the network layer scalability. IETF's Constrained Application Protocol, MQTT and ZeroMQ would provide lightweight data transport.

LoRaWAN is designed to provide Low Power Wide Area Network with features specifically needed to support low-cost, mobile, secure bi-directional communication for Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M), and smart city, and industrial applications. It is optimized for low power consumption and to support large networks with millions and millions of devices. It has innovative features, support redundant operation, location, low-cost, low-power and can even run on energy harvesting technologies enabling the mobility and ease of use to Internet of Things.

LoRaWAN network architecture is typically laid out in a star-of-stars topology in which gateways is a transparent bridge relaying messages between end-devices and a central network server in the backend. Gateways are connected to the network server via standard IP connections while end-devices use single-hop wireless communication to one or many gateways. All end-point communication is generally bi-directional, but also supports operation such as multicast enabling software upgrade over the air or other mass distribution messages to reduce the on air communication time.

Communication between end-devices and gateways is spread out on different frequency channels and data rates. The selection of the data rate is a trade-off between communication range and message duration. Due to the spread spectrum technology, communications with different data rates do not interfere with each other and create a set of "virtual" channels increasing the capacity of the gateway. LoRaWAN data rates range from 0.3 kbps to 50 kbps. To maximize both battery life of the end-devices and overall network capacity, the LoRaWAN network server is managing the data rate and RF output for each end-device individually by means of an adaptive data rate (ADR) scheme.

National wide networks targeting internet of things such as critical infrastructure, confidential personal data or critical functions for the society has a special need for secure communication. This has been solved by several layer of encryption:

  • Unique Network key (EUI64) and ensure security on network level
  • Unique Application key (EUI64) ensure end to end security on application level
  • Device specific key (EUI128)

LoRaWAN has several different classes of end-point devices to address the different needs reflected in the wide range of applications:
Bi-directional end-devices (Class A): End-devices of Class A allow for bi-directional communications whereby each end-device's uplink transmission is followed by two short downlink receive windows. The transmission slot scheduled by the end-device is based on its own communication needs with a small variation based on a random time basis (ALOHA-type of protocol). This Class A operation is the lowest power end-device system for applications that only require downlink communication from the server shortly after the end-device has sent an uplink transmission. Downlink communications from the server at any other time will have to wait until the next scheduled uplink.

Bi-directional end-devices with scheduled receive slots (Class B): In addition to the Class A random receive windows, Class B devices open extra receive windows at scheduled times. In order for the End-device to open its receive window at the scheduled time it receives a time synchronized Beacon from the gateway. This allows the server to know when the end-device is listening.

Bi-directional end-devices with maximal receive slots (Class C): End-devices of Class C have nearly continuously open receive windows, only closed when transmitting. Class C

Korea wide network

Daegu will serve as a test bed for the IoT network, and focus on setting up and adopting infrastructure for renewable energy solutions, cloud platforms and big data analytics of healthcare and medical services, as well as electric vehicle infrastructure for autonomous cars. For example, streetlights in the city will collect weather and traffic information using IoT sensors, enabling cost savings by automatically adjusting the lighting level and also sending air pollution status information.

“With the early deployment of a nationwide IoT network, SK Telecom will be able to maintain its position as pioneer in the field of telecommunications,” said Lee Jong-bong, Executive Vice President and Head of Infra Division at SK Telecom. “SK Telecom will continue to work closely with partners including Samsung to deliver new value and convenience to both individual and enterprise customers over the IoT network.”

Ohio Replacement SSBN-X Ballistic Missile Submarine Program Report to Congress

The Ohio ballistic submarine replacement program is about $97.0 billion in constant FY2016 dollars, including about $12.0 billion in research and development costs and about $85.1 billion in procurement costs. The Ohio replacement program (ORP) os a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy’s current force of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs.

The Navy wants to procure the first Ohio replacement boat in FY2021.

The Navy as of February 2015 estimated the procurement cost of the lead boat in the program at $14.5 billion in then-year dollars, including $5.7 billion in detailed design and nonrecurring engineering (DD/NRE) costs for the entire class, and $8.8 billion in construction costs for the ship itself

The Navy in January 2015 estimated the average procurement cost of boats 2 through 12 in the Ohio replacement program at about $5.2 billion each in FY2010 dollars, and is working to reduce that figure to a target of $4.9 billion each in FY2010 dollars. Even with this cost-reduction effort, observers are concerned about the impact the Ohio replacement program will have on the Navy’s ability to procure other types of ships at desired rates in the 2020s and early 2030s.

The U.S. Navy operates three kinds of submarines—nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs), nuclear-powered cruise missile submarines (SSGNs), and nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). The SSNs and SSGNs are multi-mission ships that perform a variety of peacetime and wartime missions. They do not carry nuclear weapons.

The SSBNs, in contrast, perform a specialized mission of strategic nuclear deterrence. To perform this mission, SSBNs are armed with submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), which are large, long-range missiles armed with multiple nuclear warheads. SSBNs launch their SLBMs from large-diameter vertical launch tubes located in the middle section of the boat. The SSBNs’ basic mission is to remain hidden at sea with their SLBMs, so as to deter a nuclear attack on the United States by another country by demonstrating to other countries that the United States has an assured second-strike capability, meaning a survivable system for carrying out a retaliatory nuclear attack.

Navy SSBNs, which are sometimes referred to informally as “boomers,” form one leg of the U.S. strategic nuclear deterrent force, or “triad,” which also includes land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and land-based long-range bombers. At any given moment, some of the Navy’s SSBNs are conducting nuclear deterrent patrols. The Navy’s report on its FY2011 30- year shipbuilding plan states: “These ships are the most survivable leg of the Nation’s strategic arsenal and provide the Nation’s only day-to-day assured nuclear response capability

  • Unlike the Ohio-class design, which requires a mid-life nuclear refueling, the SSBN(X) is to be equipped with a life-of-the-ship nuclear fuel core (a nuclear fuel core that is sufficient to power the ship for its entire expected service life). Although the SSBN(X) will not need a mid-life nuclear refueling, it will still need a mid-life non-refueling overhaul (i.e., an overhaul that does not include a nuclear refueling) to operate over its full 42-year life.
  • The SSBN(X) is to be equipped with an electric-drive propulsion train, as opposed to the mechanical-drive propulsion train used on other Navy submarines. The electric-drive system is expected to be quieter (i.e., stealthier) than a mechanical-drive system.
  • The SSBN(X) is to have SLBM launch tubes that are the same size as those on the Ohio class (i.e., tubes with a diameter of 87 inches and a length sufficient to accommodate a D-5 SLBM).
  • The SSBN(X) will have a beam (i.e., diameter) of 43 feet, compared to 42 feet on the Ohio-class design, and a length of 560 feet, the same as that of the Ohio class design.
  • Instead of 24 SLBM launch tubes, as on the Ohio-class design, the SSBN(X) is to have 16 SLBM launch tubes. (For further discussion of the decision to equip the boat with 16 tubes rather than 20)
  • Although the SSBN(X) is to have fewer launch tubes than the Ohio-class SSBN, it is to be larger than the Ohio-class SSBN design, with a reported submerged displacement of 20,815 tons (as of August 2014), compared to 18,750 tons for the Ohio-class design.

May 24, 2016

China to help Sudan develop East Africa's first nuclear plant

China and Sudan have signed a framework agreement for the construction of the east African country's first nuclear power plant.

Sudan - one of China's main suppliers of oil - was on the list of priorities for Chinese reactor sales in a State Council (cabinet) Energy Development Strategic Action Plan 2014-2020.

Sudan's Ministry of Energy and Mines initiated a nuclear power program in 2007, and in 2010 the country started considering the feasibility of a nuclear power plant. At that time, Sudan was envisaging a nuclear plant with four 300-600 MWe units operating by 2030.

The country's Atomic Energy Commission has been consulting the International Atomic Energy Agency on introducing nuclear energy.

In July 2015, the government's Geological Research Authority said that uranium exploration was a high priority and that any mining would be undertaken by Russian companies.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed last September, China General Nuclear and the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board are to discuss CGN's Hualong 1 technology, and carry out comprehensive cooperation in nuclear power development and capacity building in neighbouring Kenya. This will include research and development, construction, operation, fuel supply, nuclear safety, nuclear security, radioactive waste management and decommissioning.

Researchers microwave a graphene composite to toughen wellbore oil and gas well walls

Wellbores drilled to extract oil and gas can be dramatically reinforced with a small amount of modified graphene nanoribbons added to a polymer and microwaved, according to Rice University researchers.

The Rice labs of chemist James Tour and civil and environmental engineer Rouzbeh Shahsavari combined the nanoribbons with an oil-based thermoset polymer intended to make wells more stable and cut production costs. When cured in place with low-power microwaves emanating from the drill assembly, the composite would plug the microscopic fractures that allow drilling fluid to seep through and destabilize the walls.

ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces - Microwave Heating of Functionalized Graphene Nanoribbons in Thermoset Polymers for Wellbore Reinforcement

pCell being trialed by Nokia and VenueNext at large traffic indoor venues like stadiums

Nokia is testing Artemis™ pCell™ wireless technology in 2016 with wireless operators, initially in large indoor venues and other high density areas. pCell has the potential to enhance the capacity of conventional 4G TD-LTE networks in certain use cases, while remaining compatible with unmodified devices.

pCell uses data centers to calculate the shaping of wireless transmissions to target individual antennas of target users.

Early in 2015, pCell pioneer Artemis Networks is achieving 35X the spectral efficiency of conventional LTE networks.

LTE networks today achieve a spectral efficiency (SE) of 1.7 bps/Hz. Practical pCell systems today achieve average spectral efficiency of 59 bps/Hz, a 35X leapfrog with unmodified standard LTE devices, such as iPhone 6/6 Plus, iPad Air 2 and Android devices, as well as Wi-Fi devices. pCell’s spectral efficiency scales indefinitely, while remaining compatible with legacy devices.

VenueNext, the mobile services provider for Levi’s Stadium, and other venues throughout the world, is trialing pCell in high-density, high-traffic venues, to enable concurrent usage by 10s of thousands of fans of HD video-rich services and high-bandwidth upstreaming of images and HD video

pCell technology accomplishes this through an entirely new approach to wireless: rather than avoiding interference like cellular or Wi-Fi systems, pCell embraces interference, utilizing interfering transmissions to synthesize a tiny personal cell, a “pCell”, around each individual user device, enabling every user to utilize the full capacity of the spectrum at once. Instead of many users sharing the limited capacity of one cell, resulting in steadily declining data rates as new subscribers join the network, with pCell technology, each user gets a personal cell

Shipping containers full of capacitors will enable flexible railgun designs for shipboard and fixed or mobile land based railguns

The US Navy will be taking its futuristic Railgun out of the lab where it has been tested for to past eight years. Over the next two years, railguns will be tested in open firing ranges and eventually at sea, where the futuristic electromagnetic gun will be able to demonstrate its full capacity to fire projectiles at targets 50-100 nautical miles (92 – 185 kilometers) away.

The Navy is evaluating two electromagnetic railgun models. A 32-megajoule prototype built by BAE Systems and the 32 megajoule Blitzer developed by General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS). The company has also developed a 3-megajoule railgun variant. In the future, the Navy plans to deploy railguns rated to 64-megajoule.

A railgun can deliver muzzle velocities greater than twice those of conventional guns. Using electromagnetic power, where magnetic fields created by strong electrical currents accelerate a sliding metal conductor between two rails, the railgun achieves muzzle speeds of more than Mach 7.5 without the use of chemical propellant.

The railgun hyper-velocity projectiles (HVP) rely on kinetic energy for maximum effect and reduces the number of high explosives and propellant carried on ships. Against specific threats, the cost per engagement is orders of magnitude less expensive than comparable missile engagements. It also minimizes the dangers of unexploded ordnance remaining on the battlefield. BAE Systems is developing the HVP under a separate contract awarded by the Office of Naval Research. The new low drag, guided projectile will provide lethality and performance enhancements to current and future gun systems, including Navy 5-Inch; Navy, Marine Corps, and Army 155-mm systems and railguns. The HVP’s low-drag aerodynamic design enables high-velocity, maneuverability, and decreased time-to-target. HVP will have a range of more than 50 nm (93 km) from Mk 45 Mod 4 guns, and exceed 100 nm (185 km) from EM Railgun.

The first step toward mobilization of the new weapon was the delivery of the ‘Pulse Power Containers’ (PPC) – huge banks of capacitors or rechargeable batteries packed inside standard ISO containers. Each container packs enough energy to discharge 18 kilowatts for each shot. To enable the railgun to fire ten such shots per minute the PPC must recharge from the host ship in seconds and be able to store and discharge the energy in very short time while managing the thermal load generated by the process.

GE-AMS has already delivered a prototype of PPC for its weapon. Raytheon announced today the shipping of the first PPC units to the Navy. L-3 Applied Technologies is also expected to complete working on another version of PPC within a year.

Raytheon has completed the first examples of containerized pulse power packs designed to support field tests of the electromagnetic rail gun. Photo: Raytheon.

Navy officials are recommending to install the new rail gun on the third Zumwalt-class destroyer Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002) where it will be used operationally.

Each of the three Zumwalt-class destroyers has two Advanced Gun Systems (AGS) mounting the BAE Systems 155/62 gun. The first two of the class, DDG 1000 and DDG 1001 will use the standard AGS but the last ship in this class, DDG 1002 could have the AGS in the first battery and the railgun in the second (rear). Both guns will be able to fire the hypervelocity projectiles designed for the rail gun, but the AGS will also be able to fire the Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) – a guided munition developed by Lockheed Martin, as well as standard 155mm projectiles.

Pulsed power capacitors in shipping containers will allow modular scaling of railguns for 3 megajoules to 64 megajoules

The PPC power source could become a critical factor in a land-based deployment of the railgun, as it enables fixed system to expand both railgun energy level and shot sequence, allowing for larger systems resulting in greater effective range. In such land-based installations, it would be used in fixed installation that will provide affordable, high capacity defense against massive threat raids of ballistic and cruise missiles. As such it will be used to reinforce tiered missile defense, providing terminal defense of key fixed assets.

The footprint of a land-based fixed railgun system has greater expandability than a shipboard or mobile application, allowing for larger systems resulting in greater effective range. A land-based fixed railgun system, integrated with other national assets, provides added capability in a layered defense architecture. Illustration: General Atomics.

10 megajoule mobile land based railgun design

Wafer scale carbon nanotube films

A simple filtration process helped Rice University researchers create flexible, wafer-scale films of highly aligned and closely packed carbon nanotubes.

Scientists at Rice, with support from Los Alamos National Laboratory, have made inch-wide films of densely packed, chirality-enriched single-walled carbon nanotubes

In the right solution of nanotubes and under the right conditions, the tubes assemble themselves by the millions into long rows that are aligned better than once thought possible, the researchers reported.

The thin films offer possibilities for making flexible electronic and photonic (light-manipulating) devices, said Rice physicist Junichiro Kono, whose lab led the study. Think of a bendable computer chip, rather than a brittle silicon one, and the potential becomes clear, he said.

“Once we have centimeter-sized crystals consisting of single-chirality nanotubes, that’s it,” Kono said. “That’s the holy grail for this field. For the last 20 years, people have been looking for this.”

The Rice lab is closing in, he said, but the films reported in the current paper are “chirality-enriched” rather than single-chirality. A carbon nanotube is a cylinder of graphene, with its atoms arranged in hexagons. How the hexagons are turned sets the tube’s chirality, and that determines its electronic properties. Some are semiconducting like silicon, and others are metallic conductors.

A film of perfectly aligned, single-chirality nanotubes would have specific electronic properties. Controlling the chirality would allow for tunable films, Kono said, but nanotubes grow in batches of random types.

For now, the Rice researchers use a simple process developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology to separate nanotubes by chirality. While not perfect, it was good enough to let the researchers make enriched films with nanotubes of different types and diameters and then make terahertz polarizers and electronic transistors.

Fabrication and characterization of wafer-scale monodomain films of aligned CNT

Nature Nanotechnology - Wafer-scale monodomain films of spontaneously aligned single-walled carbon nanotubes

Australia and DARPA making separate advances in vastly lower cost night vision technology

A breakthrough by an Australian collaboration of researchers could make infra-red technology easy-to-use and cheap, potentially saving millions of dollars in defence and other areas using sensing devices, and boosting applications of technology to a host of new areas, such as agriculture.

Infra-red devices are used for improved vision through fog and for night vision and for observations not possible with visible light; high-quality detectors cost approximately $100,000 (including the device at the University of Sydney) some require cooling to -200°C.

Now, research spearheaded by researchers at the University of Sydney has demonstrated a dramatic increase in the absorption efficiency of light in a layer of semiconductor that is only a few hundred atoms thick - to almost 99 percent light absorption from the current inefficient 7.7 percent.

When light falls on a very thin, uniform layer almost all of it is reflected (right-hand arrows). By etching thin grooves in the film, the light is directed sideways and almost all of it is absorbed (left-hand arrows) even though the amount of material is very small. Insets show electron micrographs of the structuring. The absorbing layer is only 0.041 μm thick. CREDIT Dr Thomas P. White, Australian National University.

Optica Journal - Total absorption of visible light in ultrathin weakly absorbing semiconductor gratings

DARPA has a few programs to revolutionizing the cost of night vision

Defense Department scientists are working on a new, digital night vision and thermal device that’s smaller and lighter than the Army’s latest Enhanced Night Vision Goggle.

The analog night vision goggles (NVG) used by our troops to identify adversaries are limited to a single band of light. As NVGs also become available to adversaries as a commercial off-the-shelf product, the advantage in low- and no-light operation conditions is diminished. Current multi-band cameras, which may be used in a variety of environmental conditions, are too large and expensive for individual warfighters to carry.

DARPA’s PIXNET program aims to develop a low size, weight and power (SWaP); inexpensive; Soldier-portable digital infrared (IR) camera that will render real-time single and multiple-band imagery in both the thermal and reflective bands. The camera sought by DARPA would provide single band and multiple band fused imagery on demand, and afford troops with an enhanced situational understanding. A camera with these features would eliminate limitations posed by current assets to identify targets in multiple conditions: low-light, no-light, cluttered environment, etc.

PIXNET seeks significant reductions in SWaP, as well as low-cost manufacturing of IR sensors and coolers that may enable portability and wide deployment to all warfighters. The emphasis on a small form-factor naturally enables new applications, such as surveillance with small UAVs, rifle sights with multiple bands, and handheld surveillance systems.

PIXNET is a helmet-mounted camera that digitizes infrared capabilities. That saves a ton of weight; while an Enhanced Night Vision Goggle weighs around two pounds, the PIXNET camera weighs a fraction of a pound. It also would offer more settings, and be set up with a transmitter that could someday connect its signal to any of a series of devices, from a goggle to Family of Weapon Sights to a broader information technology platform like Nett Warrior.

The Low Cost Thermal Imager - Manufacturing (LCTI-M) program seeks to enable widespread use of infrared imaging technology by individual warfighters and insertion in small systems. The general use of infrared technology, at the individual warfighter level, may open possibilities for the implementation of new tactical procedures where a common view of the battlefield is essential for success. Infrared imaging has the capability to image through obscurants, providing valuable information even in environments with severely degraded visibility. Low cost infrared cameras will empower each warfighter with this essential capability. In addition, these cameras will enable the capture and transmission of electronic images for intelligence analysis and other critical situations.

The PIXNET camera is designed to provide small combat units with a helmet-mounted shortwave and longwave infrared blended imager with wireless networking capability. Photo: Matthew Cox,

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