Dave Bullock / eecue

photographer, programmer, husband,
photojournalist, caver, blogger, search and rescuer,
angeleno, foodie, hacker, nerd, geek, human

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SPAWAR - Autonomous Military Robots

A few years ago I toured the U.S. Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Robotics Lab in San Diego. I shot photos and wrote a piece for Wired about my experience there. What follows are some out-takes along with high-res versions of many of the shots in the piece. Autonomous military robots... what could go wrong?

SAN DIEGO -- The Navy's MDARS-E is an armed robot that can track anything that moves. Told that I was the target, the unmanned vehicle trained its guns on me and ordered, "Stay where you are," in an intimidating robot voice. And yes, it was frightening. Perched atop a strip of cliffs lining a beautiful section of the Pacific Ocean, the Space and Naval Warfare System Command in San Diego develops semiautonomous armed robots for use in combat by the U.S. military. "We're not building Skynet" says Bart Everett, the technical director for robotics at SPAWAR. Though Everett assured me that the use of the robots' on-board weapons is under the strict control of their operators, the lab's bots can navigate and map complicated terrain, work cooperatively with soldiers and identify and confront hostile targets. Sure, they're no Johnny Five, but robots with guns are both creepy and fascinating.

Robart 3E at SPAWAR

Robart 3E at SPAWAR

ROBART III is a prototype platform designed in-house at SPAWAR. If it weren't for the chain gun and missiles, he would be pretty cute. Once he's ready for battle he'll almost certainly don an evil-looking suit of armor. ROBART's sensor array consists of a multitude of cameras, SICK LIDAR (like radar, but with lasers), ultrasonic transducers (gold spots), passive IR (infrared radiation) detectors and more. The weapons are planned to work in unison with a special rifle that would automatically target where a soldier points his weapon.

Laser Guided Chain Gun on Development Robot

Laser Guided Chain Gun on Development Robot

One of ROBART III's weapon systems is this nonlethal pneumatic chain gun. It uses a combination of laser sighting and machine vision to lock in on its target and barrages it with a torrent of 3/16-inch-diameter projectiles. In tests, plastic pellets (like air-soft munitions) and steel darts were used.

Autonomous Machine Gun

Autonomous Machine Gun

This prototype robotic weapon platform is designed to be buried underground for camouflaged deployment. When called to action, the robotic gun pops up and starts shooting. If you're the unlucky soul on the business end of this gun, it's likely curtains for you -- this robot is an extremely accurate shooter. A high-tech night-vision scope permits dead-on targeting even during moonless nights.

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Wired Gallery: Igniting a Star With Laser Light

A few months ago while on a San Francisco vacation with my lovely wife Penelope, I took a tour of Livermore Lab's National Ignition Facility.

NIF is an amazing experiment designed to create fusion using lasers. As you've probably noticed, I love lasers and robots, and NIF employs both to get its job done. The NIF gallery just went up on Wired.com. It uses the new gallery format which allows for bigger pictures and the ability to view the whole thing at once. NIF is probably the coolest thing I have ever photographed.

Click the photo below to see the gallery:

Energy of the Future: Igniting a Star With Laser Light

Screengrab hosted by flickr.

Blog

My Top 10 Wired Galleries From 2008

Last year I shot 26 galleries for Wired.com. Although we're well into the new year and past the usual top-ten retrospective period, I've put together a collection of my ten favorite shoots from 2008.

I really enjoy shooting for Wired, mostly due to the fact that I'm a huge nerd and love technology and science. I'm looking forward to shooting many more cool locations, labs and lairs this year.

So without further ado, here they are, my top ten favorite Wired.com galleries from 2008:

As I mentioned yesterday, I am going through all my Wired.com assignment archives and uploading my favorite shots, including never-before-published out-takes, in full resolution on flickr and my gallery. Here are a few shots from my tour of Paul Bellan's Plasma Lab at Caltech:

Plasma Vacuum Chamber

A high-speed camera peers into the vacuum chamber, awaiting plasma to form.

A View Through A Lens

A lens magnifies the view inside the vacuum chamber at the Bellan Plasma lab at Caltech.

Auna Moser Fires The Plasma

Caltech graduate student fires a charge of electricity into the vacuum chamber, creating plasma in the process.

Click here to see the rest of the Plasma Lab shots.

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Wired Gallery: X-rays From Sticky Tape

I shot this gallery yesterday and my editor and I turned it around in less than 24 hours. You can view the gallery here on Wired, if you like it, give it a digg.

Wired Gallery: X-Rays From Sticky Tape

Wired Gallery: X-Rays From Sticky Tape Wired Gallery: X-Rays From Sticky Tape
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Wired Updates

I have somewhat of a backlog of galleries for Wired.com right now. Earlier this week one of them posted, as well as a photo of my laptop. In case you were wondering I wrote all the captions and intros for the galleries, but the laptop one wasn't written by me.

Wired Microscope-on-a-Chip

This gallery is about a new technology that will allow a microscope to be squeezed onto a microchip.

My Laptop on Wired.com

That's my laptop.

Wired Nano Still

This gallery is about a scientists at Caltech who have shrunken a still down to micro-size.

Wired Nano Still Wired Microscope-on-a-Chip
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Wired: Virgin Galactic Unveils WhiteKnightTwo Launch Vehicle

This morning I took a 20 minute flight on Virgin America out to the Mojave Spaceport to witness (and photograph) the unveiling of WhiteKnightTwo. I had a great time and wrote an article about it for Wired Science that I posted on the tarmac waiting to fly back to LAX. I ran in to Xeni Jardin and met Brian Lam when I was there.

Virgin Galactic Unveils WhiteKnightTwo

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My First <del>Sony</del> Wired Podcast(s)

I'm covering the Phoenix landing on Sunday from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Today was my second trip to JPL in as many weeks. I had a chance to interview two of the Mission Managers and I recorded them with my totally awesome Sony PCM-D60 using an excellent Sennheiser MD46 microphone and listening to it all with my Sennheiser HD 25-1 II headphones.

The first interview is with Joe Guinn, Mission System Manager:

Wired Science Podcast : Joe Guinn

My second interview that I recorded today is with Barry Goldstein, Phoenix Project Manager:

Wired Science Podcast : Barry Goldstein

Screen-grabs hosted by flickr.

A funny anecdote: After interviewing Goldstein in Mission Control I asked him to move into some better light for a photograph with a good background. When he was walking over there I signaled Reuters photographer, Mario Anzuoni, to follow me so he could get a good photo as well. After I shot my photos Anzuoni took his, which is now up on Reuters. Here are some other great photos of the San Diego fire by Anzuoni.

Wired Science Podcast : Joe Guinn Wired Science Podcast : Barry Goldstein
WIRED Metallic Glass Gallery WIRED Metallic Glass Gallery
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Wired Gallery : Metallic Glass

A gallery that I shot for Wired.com just went live this morning. The process for creating the metallic glass is pretty cool. The materials they are producing will end up finding tons of commercial uses in the near future.

WIRED Metallic Glass Gallery

USC Surgical Skills Center : Iraq Training on WIRED News
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Heal a Robot, Go to War : WIRED News Gallery

A few weeks ago I toured USC's medical center for WIRED News. One of the interesting things I saw was their Surgical Skills Center. One thing they do there is particularly pertinent to a serious issue in our world, the Iraq War. Click here or on the image below to see the Heal a Robot, Go to War gallery on WIRED News.

USC Surgical Skills Center : Iraq Training on WIRED News

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Internet Archive Book Scanning on WIRED News

Earlier this year my lovely wife and I took a trip to the Bay Area to visit family and check out some cool stuff which I also shot for WIRED. One of the tours that my sister-in-law took us on was to the Internet Archive headquarters as well as a book scanning facility. The gallery went up on WIRED today:

Internet Archive on WIRED News

Internet Archive on WIRED News
Quantum Storage Gallery on WIRED News
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Quantum Storage : WIRED News Gallery

A couple weeks ago I got an embargoed preview of an upcoming research paper in Nature. I contacted the scientist involved as well as my press contact at CalTech and asked if I could come down and shoot the experiment at the Quantum Optics laboratory. On Monday morning I went and interviewed the lead author of the paper, a student and researcher named Kyung Soo Choi. He explained the experiment to me, as the Nature article is quite dense, and afterward I shot the lab. Here is the resulting gallery on WIRED News:

Quantum Storage Gallery on WIRED News

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WIRED News : UCLA Nanotech Lab Tour

Last week at UCLA I was given a really interesting tour of Dr. Omar M. Yaghi's laboratory where he and his students have created some amazing nanotechnology that has nearly unlimited potential. The gallery just went live:

WIRED News : UCLA Nanotech Lab Tour

I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed shooting them!

WIRED News : SLAC
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Stanford Linear Accelerator Awesomeness on WIRED News

Earlier this year I was treated to a wonderful tour of the Stanford Linear Accelerator. As you know, I love shooting photos of geek / nerdy / techy subjects and SLAC did not disappoint. I've been working with my photo editor at WIRED News (http://wired.com) for weeks on this gallery and it just went live:

wired.com/science/discoveries/multimedia/2008/02/gallery_slac

WIRED News : SLAC

Update Looks like the gallery has been linked on slashdot.

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Biophysics Gallery on WIRED News

If you like crazy robots that automatically do all types of cool tests on individual cells you'll enjoy this gallery I shot for WIRED earlier this week:

BIophysical Society Meeting : WIRED News

PMA Wrapup Gallery on WIRED News Front Door PMA Wrapup Gallery on WIRED News
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PMA08 Wrap-up on WIRED News

I covered PMA08 for WIRED News. The final gallery just went live:

PMA Wrapup Gallery on WIRED News Front Door

PMA Wrapup Gallery on WIRED News

You can find my complete coverage here.

SPAWAR : WIRED News Gallery PMA08 : WIRED News Gallery
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PMA08 : WIRED News Gallery

Here are some selects that I shot for WIRED at PMA:

PMA08 : WIRED News Gallery

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SPAWAR Robotics : WIRED News Gallery

Two weeks ago I drove down to San Diego and took some photos of SPAWAR's robotic research department. Check em out:

SPAWAR : WIRED News Gallery

OCWD Groundwater Replenishment System : WIRED News Gallery OCWD Groundwater Replenishment System : WIRED News Gallery
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WIRED News Gallery : Groundwater Replenishment System

I shot this cool plant earlier this week. The gallery just went live over on WIRED News:

OCWD Groundwater Replenishment System : WIRED News Gallery

WIRED News Namm Gallery WIRED News NAMM Gallery
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NAMM 2008 on WIRED News

Last weekend, despite having a freshly sliced up foot, I shot photos of the NAMM show for WIRED News. The gallery just went live on the front door of WIRED. You can check out the gallery by clicking on the screengrab below:

WIRED News NAMM Gallery

WIRED Homeland Security Con Gallery
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WIRED Gallery : Homeland Security Convention

I just shot the Homeland Security Convention yesterday at the LA Convention Center. The gallery is up on WIRED now:

WIRED Homeland Security Con Gallery

Photo hosted by flickr.

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DV Expo 2007 on WIRED

DV Expo : WIRED News Gallery

Two weeks ago I shot the DV Expo in Downtown Los Angeles for WIRED News. The gallery went live on the front door of wired.com today. This is the first time I've had two pieces on the front door of WIRED News at the same time. I'm really really really looking forward to my first magazine assignment, if I ever get one!

DV Expo : WIRED News Gallery
wired autopia bling wired autopia gtr wired living home wired sc07
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WIRED News Photos

Here are a few links / screengrabs of recent photos I've shot for WIRED News:

wired sc07

wired living home

wire norton sales

wired autopia bling

wired autopia gtr

Keep an eye out for my out-takes coming soon!

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Wired Blog Post : Transformer in Hollywood

A short bit I wrote about a life sized version of Bumblebee in Hollywood just went up on the Wired News Underwire Blog. I'm looking forward to doing more writing and photography for Wired News, and hopefully for the actual magazine as well at some point.

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WIRED Nextfest Multimedia Gallery

I'm excited. My first WIRED gallery just went online! So far there are 11 images in the gallery, but soon there should be around 20. Checkout my photos in the WIRED Nextfest Gallery. =]

Update The rest of my images, totaling 22, are now up on the gallery. I ended up writing the captions for the remaining 11 images. Unfortunately, WIRED.com's gallery doesn't allow two bylines for a gallery, but Kristen Philipkoski was nice enough to allow my to have the byline even though she wrote the captions on the original 11 images. Thanks Kristen!

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WIRED Nextfest Multimedia Gallery

I'm excited. My first WIRED gallery just went online! So far there are 11 images in the gallery, but soon there should be around 20. Checkout my photos in the WIRED Nextfest Gallery. =]

Blog

WIRED Nextfest Photos

Here are a few of my photos from the WIRED Nextfest:

Humankind

Zou Ren Ti & Clone

Safari Keepon

Albert Hubo

Winem

Morpho Towers

E-TAF Automatic Door

Anamatronics Workshop Creation

You can see the full gallery here: Nextfest Creative Commons Benefit, Nexfest Day 1 and Nextfest Day 2. If you haven't checked it out, take a look at my Nextfest Robot Roundup, which I just updated with photos. More after the jump.