12/12/13: Here are today's technology updates:
Raytheon and Chemring announced plans earlier this year to develop a low-cost defensive anti-surface warfare system, specifically designed to counter fast inshore attack craft with the flexibility to be placed on everything from small patrol boats to large combatants. In a recent round of tests announced Tuesday, Chemring Countermeasures and Raytheon Missile Systems say they have successfully fired a Raytheon-Lockheed Martin Javelin missile from a prototype multi-role Centurion launcher. According to Raytheon, Centurion can offer rocket-propelled munitions, mortar-launched munitions and mortar-launched submunitions. The lightweight system has 12 individually-controlled barrels that are stored vertically on a rotating platform, giving it a small deck footprint. And it can be easily and rapidly loaded with any round.
Scientists at the University of Wollongong in Australia have developed a device that replaces traditional surgery with something more akin to an art project. The BioPen is a handheld 3D printer that can actually print bone directly onto patients during surgery. Soon, surgeons will simply be able to doodle their patients back to health.
- On Tuesday, curiosity and expectations were ratcheted up significantly with the unveiling of NASA's Johnson Space Center entry, a humanoid robot called Valkyrie (R5). This is a 6-foot-two-inch, battery operated robot weighing 286 pounds with 44 degree of freedom. Valkyrie, as an entry in the DRC challenge, has to be something quite beyond a space robot; the challenge for the NASA team, as with all hopefuls in the DARPA challenge, is to present a robot that demonstrates critical improvements in what robots can do to help out in disaster relief efforts, when human intervention is unsafe and time is of the essence, such as nuclear power plant disasters, oil spills, and wildfires.