Archives for posts with tag: Military

Big dog is a joint project involving DARPA, NASA and Harvard University. It is an all terrain robot that can walk through snow, balance on ice and even avoid toppling over when kicked. Amazing!

Also, as the Berg Blog points out, the part of the video when Big Dog gets kicked provokes the same kind of negative emotions we would feel if seeing a real dog kicked. Is this a glimpse of something much larger – human machine empathy?


‘The struggle for control of the internet is just beginning’ – that is what Nikko Hyppönen, chief research officer for F-Secure, a Finnish-based computer security company believes.

At the start of October US Cybercom, the division of the pentagon created to battle enemies in cyberspace, went operational.

The Pentagon computer network is probed up to six million times a day by groups including 140 different foreign spy networks, according to General Keith Alexander, the commander of US Cybercom.

To defend against this increasing threat to national security US Cybercom needs to do all it can to lift the United States from the vulnerable position it now finds itself in. A cyber-attack on the critical infrastructure of an American city would probably succeed in taking out power, communications and financial services.

However, as Richard Clarke points out, the creation of this military division has been done without a “public debate, media discussion, serious congressional oversight, academic analysis or international dialogue”

As the Financial Times have commented.

‘These moves will lead to a much deeper apparatus of control and monitoring of internet activity by the US.’

It is not just the military that are having to defend against cyber-enemies. Banks are losing out on millions as a result of cyber-crime. One of the responses of  financial organisations is that people need to become more responsible.

HSBC are already refusing to reimburse victims of cyber crime unless they have the correct level of internet security on their computer. In China, the next generation of internet users will have to pass a ‘internet test’ to prove their proficiency before surfing the web.

The Battle of Cyberspace is one that can never really be won and will roll on indefinitely. As criminals up their game with new technologies, the response from the American military (and the military of other countries) will be to increase their power in cyber-space.

What the effects will be can only be imagined.

Never one to be left behind when it comes to utilising new technologies, the American Army have fully jumped on board the smart phone app’s band wagon.

However, rather than hiring an expensive team of experts to create an arsenal of useful applications, they crowdsourced the task by running a competition.

The winners have been announced and, although most app’s are concerned with providing quick access to information, we can begin to see how the military might begin to start using this growing phenomenen.

‘Movement Projection’ & ‘Disaster Relief Operations’ are two app’s that demostrate the ability for improving real time information about the terrain.

‘Movement Projection’ will work out the best route for a soldier or convoy to take through an environment based on updated threats and obstacles.

‘Disaster Relief Operations’ is described as ‘a web-based data survey, dissemination and analysis tool for searching, editing and creating maps viewable on Google Earth and Google Maps.’

Although it is dubbed as a tool for helping with disaster relief efforts, it is easy to imagine its implementation when dealing with large scale hostile conflicts.

Imagine a Google map with possible ambush sites, surrounding fire-fights, up to date environmental intelligence and enemy units.

With shrinking military budgets it is becoming much more likely that a soldiers iPhone will be the tool to provide this battlefield information.

A smart-phone costs around $200 and the military mobile network access programming costs around $1000 – a big saving on the $3000 – $18,000 for current devices.

One developer has already built an app for helping snipers. BulletFlight uses the iPhone accelerometer to judge angles, accesses weather information to calculate wind-speed and can let a sniper listen to his favourite tunes instead of getting bored in the field.

Mental health is an area where smart-phones are playing a role. ‘Telehealth Mood Tracker’ is an app designed to record a soldiers mental health in real time.

Turning a soldiers iPhone into a field psychiatrist, troops would complete a combination of activities from describing their mood in colours to choosing key words to describe their feelings.

This info would be fed back to the command centre leading to early discovery of potential problems. Meaning that command can dispatch Domino’s pizza when a soldier begins to show early signs of mental trauma.

Although no finalised details of any roll out of militarised smart-phones across the US army has been announced, it is likely that the time will come soon.

And any contract will prove ludicrous for whichever phone manufacturer secures the deal. I’m sure it will be a furious fight between Google and Apple.

I would place my bets on Apple. Simply because of the success of Apple branding and marketing, iPhones are cooler and more desirable than any other handsets. So the promise of having your own miltary grade iPhone when you join up will be a major boom to recruitment drives.