Rotorcraft are following the flight path of their fixed-wing counterparts as the U.S. Army advances a program to digitize controls.
Night-vision capability embedded in a smartphone could be in the future equipment pack of every military service member if the Army Research Laboratory and Northeastern University successfully tap into the promise of graphene—carbon atoms so tightly packed that they resemble a honeycomb. The laboratory has embarked on a three-year collaboration with the Boston-based school to develop a new generation of low-cost infrared imaging devices using the material.
The electronics firms that are leading the information revolution now are facing the challenge of ensuring that their products have no taint of war.
No matter how much we think technological solutions will be the panacea for all our information assurance concerns, there's still the human factor to consider, writes Linton Wells II in this month's Incoming column, "Uneasy Sleep in a Golden Age":
Tweet was for swag; SIGNAL Scape is for great tech!
Every service has faced changes brought about by new technologies and new missions, but the Air Force is wrestling with nothing less than a total overhaul of its structure and activities. Its legacy mission was fairly clear-cut: maintain air superiority and provide support to ground forces where needed. But now, experts are building a new force of unmanned combat air vehicles that vie in importance with piloted craft. And, the Global War on Terrorism and the information technology revolution have struck at the very heart of the Air Force's raison d'etre.
Research and development is the seed corn of our technology driven world. With the commercial sector providing many of the military's new technologies, the old lines delineating military and commercial technologies are blurring into nonexistence. The defense community is working with academia and the private sector to an ever greater degree, and the rapid pace of commercial information technology innovation is increasing the importance of laboratory research.
When it comes to military technologies, it's all about the warfighter. The men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan know firsthand their greatest technological needs, and their counterparts back home are striving to provide them as quickly as possible. The combat experience also is providing grist for the design mill as engineers plan for the future. SIGNAL looks at the efforts underway to develop new warfighter technologies as well as what may lie ahead.
Rapidly evolving communications techniques are leading scientists to integrate technology trends and human methods of thinking to solve problems that are yet to be encountered.
Eyeglasses with directional microphones that enhance hearing, polymeric lattices that heal broken bones, and databases that scan weather information to predict earthquakes are just a hint of government-developed technologies that could drastically alter life in the next century. From cars and airplanes to personal computers and lasers in common household products, technological advancement in America has evolved dramatically in the past 100 years and will occur twice as rapidly throughout the next 50 years, scientists predict.
Communications, computer and material technologies will deeply impact future military and peacekeeping missions by empowering warfighters at every conceivable command level. Smart computers will sift through mounds of data to deliver knowledge directly to a combatant who is clothed in a modern-day suit of armor. Today's scientists predict that a combination of imagination and analytical work conducted at the end of this century will lead to 21st century warfighters who respond quickly and accurately to defeat enemies.
Over the years, ship propulsion has evolved from sail to steam to diesel and gas turbine engines. The U.S. Navy now is transitioning to all-electric ships, which will increase available power throughout a vessel. The benefits will be enhanced ship survivability, improved combat capability, reduced crew size-sending fewer sailors into harm's way-and lowered ship life-cycle costs.