News in Brief

Smart suits, cloud sharing, Facebook for terrorists and more

Soft Exosuit_Wyss Institute

Harvard's Wyss Institute has received a contract to further develop the Soft Exosuit to protect warfighters from fatigue and other ailments.

DARPA taps Harvard institute to further develop 'smart suit'

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded Harvard University's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering a $2.9 million contract to further develop a "smart suit" to help warfighters overcome fatigue and other ailments.

Dubbed the Soft Exosuit, the suit is worn underneath clothing and could help warfighters minimize the risk of injury, the institute said in announcing the contract on Sept. 11. The project is part of DARPA's Warrior Web program, which is developing technologies to reduce musculoskeletal injuries to warfighters.

A prototype of the suit uses "webbing straps around the lower half of the body [that] contain a low-power microprocessor and network of supple strain sensors that act as the 'brain' and 'nervous system' of the Soft Exosuit, respectively, continuously monitoring various data signals, including the suit tension," according to the institute's announcement.

A different sort of cloud sharing

Shadow IT users take note: Governments are demanding data from Dropbox, too.

The cloud storage service receives a tiny fraction of the subpoenas, court orders and national security requests that Google, Yahoo and Facebook do, but Dropbox's 2014 Transparency Report shows that the number is growing. The company also noted that "agencies keep asking us not to notify users of requests for their data, even when they are not legally entitled to do so."

Dropbox also said the "rate of government data requests received per user remains steady," which means the increase is proportional to its growing user base.

A Facebook for terrorists?

Modus Operandi, a high-tech software company that serves the defense and intelligence community, is developing what it calls a Facebook for terrorists that would provide intelligence analysts with a familiar interface that draws on a semantically linked trove of information, Defense Systems reports.

Currently in the research and development phase, the app -- as yet unnamed -- would allow analysts to update information, upload photos, make comments and even rate the quality of information.

Senate confirms Rung for OFPP post

Anne Rung is officially the new administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. The Senate confirmed her nomination on Sept. 11 by voice vote, giving OFPP a permanent replacement for Joe Jordan, who left in January and is now FedBid's president of public sector.

Rung has been serving as a senior adviser at the Office of Management and Budget since late May as she awaited the outcome of the confirmation process.

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