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SIGNAL Connections

High-Tech Hide and Seek

November 15, 2010
By Rachel Eisenhower, SIGNAL Connections

An explosive ordnance disposal specialist with the U.S. Army credits a popular treasure-hunting game called geocaching for his keen eye and ability to seek out improvised explosive devices.

Homefront Help

November 15, 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Connections

Homefront Help is SIGNAL Connections’ effort to support U.S. service members, veterans and their families. The column highlights programs that offer resources and assistance to the military community ranging from care packages to benefits and everything in between. In that same spirit, Homefront Help presents opportunities for readers to donate time, offer resources and send words of thanks to those who sacrifice for freedom. Programs that provide services are listed in red. Opportunities for the public to reach out to service members are listed in blue. Each program description includes a link to the organization's website, when available. Homefront Help also has a Facebook page where visitors can gather and share information.

Orlando Military Discounts

New Products

November 15, 2010
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Connections

Hybrid Helicopter Concept

 
The demonstrator for the X3 high-speed, long-range hybrid helicopter recently began test flights. The vertical takeoff and landing aircraft is designed to cruise at speeds in excess of 220 knots. Two turboshaft engines power a five-blade main rotor system and two propellers installed on short-span fixed wings, which offer the speed of a turboprop-powered aircraft and the full-hover flight capabilities of a helicopter. The concept is tailored to applications where operational costs, flight duration and mission success depend directly on the maximum cruising speed. The aircraft is designed for a range of missions, including special forces operations, troop transport, combat search and rescue, medical evacuation long-distance search and rescue missions, Coast Guard duties, border patrol missions, passenger transport and intercity shuttle services. Initial testing will continue through December. After a three-month upgrade, Eurocopter-built X3 will resume flights in March with the goal of reaching sustained cruise speeds in excess of 220 knots. 

Test Range Interference Detection

One Box, Many Networks Close to Fielding

October 15, 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Connections

The C4ISR community's clamor for a reduction of under-the-desk hardware should soon be answered. AFRL officials are working on a secure access to multiple networks, and an application to enable data sharing across those networks is close behind.

Collaboration and Autonomy Converge

October 15, 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Connections

Great minds will converge in one laboratory to create platforms with minds of their own. After decades as the birthplace of unmanned systems, the Naval Research Laboratory is building a new facility where researchers from many disciplines can collaborate. Their focus will be on building, testing and evaluating autonomous machines that could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with warfighters.

Homefront Help

October 15, 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Connections

Homefront Help is SIGNAL Connections’ effort to support U.S. service members, veterans and their families. The column highlights programs that offer resources and assistance to the military community ranging from care packages to benefits and everything in between. In that same spirit, Homefront Help presents opportunities for readers to donate time, offer resources and send words of thanks to those who sacrifice for freedom. Programs that provide services are listed in red. Opportunities for the public to reach out to service members are listed in blue. Each program description includes a link to the organization's website, when available. Homefront Help also has a Facebook page where visitors can gather and share information.

AdoptAPlatoon

As the name suggests, AdoptAPlatoon does in fact allow organizations to adopt units of troops to send them packages and letters. But the effort goes much further, including: adoptions of military members by individuals or groups; a pen-pal option; one-time support opportunities; support for special operations forces whose information is not public; and holiday and special campaigns. The campaigns include sending holiday-themed cards and treats at the appropriate times of the year as well as programs to gather supplies for specific needs of troops or local children.

New Products

October 15, 2010
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Connections

Building Blocks for Computer Vision

 
It is difficult for computer vision systems such as those used on robotic platforms to make sense even of a single image; understanding more complex outdoor scenes remains one of the great challenges of artificial intelligence. But a new vision system CarnegieMellonUniversity researchers developed enables computers to see the world through the eyes of a child. Similar to the way a child might assemble a building using blocks, the computer analyzes and approximates an outdoor scene using virtual building blocks to create a three-dimensional image based on volume and mass. The novel visual system allows the computer to replicate an image block by block, so that it can better understand the scene. It could eventually enable computers to understand spaces between buildings and other objects, or what might lie behind objects in the foreground, which would be helpful for robots planning a route. An image is first broken into segments corresponding to objects in the scene. Once the ground and sky are identified, other segments are assigned geometric shapes, which are categorized as light or heavy based on appearance, before being reconstructed using virtual building blocks. The National Science Foundation supported the research.

Mobile Weather Predictor

Employers Dig E-Deep

September 15, 2010
By Joe Dysart, SIGNAL Connections

While anecdotes abound about job opportunities lost over something posted online, new research reveals that the risk is greater than previously known. One survey revealed that 70 percent of recruiters have eliminated a candidate based on online text, photos or videos.

Technology Provides Greater Leaps Forward for China

September 15, 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Connections

Advances in cyberspace and missile technology are extending China’s military reach.

Air and Missile Defense Prototype System Arrives

September 15, 2010
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Connections

The U.S. Army received a prototype that will eventually integrate current and future air and missile defense capabilities into one overall command and control (C2) system.

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