Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University have discovered a light-emitting compound that may assist optical communications as well as eventually help identify biological and chemical weapons at long distances. The compound structure almost went unnoticed because it grows lengthwise, creating long, thin crystals that are well suited for fiber optics but difficult for researchers to study. Scientists were able to determine the structure using the Chemistry and Materials beamline of the Center for Advanced Radiation Sources at the Advanced Photon Source.
The SIGNAL Blog
The Defense Technical Information Center and the Director of Defense Research and Engineering have launched a U.S. Defense Department science and technology wiki. DoDTechipedia, an online encyclopedia, aims at promoting transparency and communication among the department's scientists, engineers, program managers and warfighters. In addition, the department believes it will enhance its ability to collaborate across the enterprise, identify solutions for technology challenges and ensure the efficient use of resources. Operated as a live forum, DoDTechipedia allows users to see and discuss innovative technologies throughout the Defense Department and emerging technology from the academic and private sectors.
Interest is high in the area of blue force tracking capabilities for the battlespace, but the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) also is interested in people-tracking of another kind, the kind that can help the command ensure that it is doing its job as primary conventional force provider. JFCOM is soliciting industry and academia input on existing technologies to improve the process of tracking the forces it provides to worldwide operations. A notice of the solicitation is in Federal Business Opportunities; all submissions on the topic must be made by October 30 and must contain information on how to support several business processes across all organizations that provide joint forces and several cross-cutting but common joint force-providing processes. In addition, five distinct, integrated capabilities must be detailed in the submission that show how the solutions are service-oriented-network-enabled; collaborative in direct and indirect ways; include a process workflow engine; feature enterprise content management; and incorporate decision-support reporting.
The National Science Foundation is funding SRI International and the University of Michigan to use CubeSats in a program called CubeSat-based Ground-to-Space Bistatic Radar Experiment-Radio Aurora Explorer. CubeSats are small satellites, typically a 10-centimeter cube weighing one kilogram, used for science missions that are dedicated to space weather and atmospheric research. The program's mission is to remotely explore small-scale ionization structures in the form of plasma turbulence that occurs in response to intense electrical currents in space. Those structures can have a negative impact on communications and navigation signals by perturbing the refractive index along signal propagation paths. The first launch is scheduled for December 2009.=
A team of researchers and engineers has won the U.S. Defense Department's $1 million Wearable Power Prize competition. The DuPont/Smart Fuel Cell team beat out six other teams by building a lightweight wearable system providing an average of 20 watts of power for more than 96 hours and weighing less than 8.8 pounds. All of the finalists used either fuel-cell or battery technologies or a combination of the two to meet the Defense Department's exacting standards. The goal of the effort is to develop a long-endurance, lightweight power pack for soldiers in the field.
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has been awarded a contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Defense Sciences Office to design and develop a sensor inspired by a canine's olfactory system, or sense of smell. The contract has a potential value of $18 million if all options are exercised. The effort is part of DARPA's RealNose Program. The program's goal is to build an artificial "nose" to create a breakthrough detection system with capabilities beyond that of a dog. Under the contract, SAIC will model, design and develop this sensor, which will include subsystems for air/odor intake, detection using olfactory receptors, signal transduction and pattern recognition to identify odors. The sensor could help protect U.S. forces in war zones by detecting explosives and chemical or biological weapons.
CSC has signed an information technology outsourcing contract with very light jet manufacturer Eclipse Aviation. The new agreement has an estimated total eight-year contract value of $106 million. Under the contract, CSC will manage Eclipse Aviation's applications development and maintenance and information technology infrastructure, including mid-range computers and desktops, help desk operations, information technology security, engineering computing, voice and video telecommunications, servers, and local- and wide-area networks.
Raytheon Company has received a $17.9 million contract from the U.S. Army to develop a sensor system prototype to give helicopter crews full day or night spherical situational awareness while eliminating visual obstructions caused by the airframe and its contents. Raytheon's Advanced Distributed Aperture System is intended for rotary wing applications. The multi-sensor system and combined helmet display allow pilots to see around the cockpit and other parts of a helicopter in daylight and darkness.
SRA International Incorporated has been awarded a contract with the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Emergency Communications (OEC). The contract is valued at more than $25 million if all options are exercised. Under this contract, SRA will provide the OEC with strategic and project management consulting services, including governance development, communications and outreach, performance management, organizational strategy and policy analysis.