A U.S. Army organization has found a way to move badly needed technologies and capabilities to soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is adapting existing products such as leaf blowers to meet vital requirements in the field, and it is inserting technologies such as advanced sensors directly from military and commercial laboratories to accelerate the evolution of combat capabilities.
The large hexagonal building's Tidewater architecture blends well with its placid Hampton Roads surroundings. Indeed, this bucolic Virginia setting belies the beehive of combat-related activity inside-experiments that are profoundly transforming the way this nation fights wars and protects its citizens.
If his eyesight had not failed him, Scott Dixon Smith might never have embarked on a career in technology, let alone one supplying visualization software to corporations and federal agencies. In fact, even before he entered college on a tennis scholarship, Smith already had charted a completely different course.
The U.S. Army is marshalling the forces of supercomputers and superanalysts in an effort to merge diverse battlefield intelligence data into knowledge for commanders. The intention is to establish a technology-based means of fusing vast amounts of sensor data into effective information without magnifying the inescapable errors that creep into data at various stages.
Virtually any device employing semiconductor technology soon may be able to communicate with its electronic siblings, cousins and even distant relatives. Research underway at an engineering institute, supported by private industry funding, aims to empower electronic components and everyday hardware to communicate with one another during the course of routine operations.
Smart mobile mines, underwater attack trumpets and an artificial dog's nose are some of the products that may emerge from a newly reorganized defense research office. The reorganization reflects a growing interdependence among various electronics technologies, according to defense officials.
The 2020 citizen returns home from an afternoon of outdoor recreation to resume work. Recognizing him as he strides up the walkway to his door, his house's computers unlock the door and activate hallway lighting systems. As he walks through the house, environmental controls that are sensitive to his presence switch lights on and off and adjust each room's temperature. Similarly, his intelligent clothing loosens and thins out for greater body heat dispersal as he cools down from exertion.
Revolutionary changes are taking place in military tactical equipment that promise to eliminate many of today's interoperability issues. A next-generation system that is backward compatible with legacy systems as well as capable of hosting new advanced waveforms could dramatically enhance communications among military units and resolve many of the vexing issues that have plagued past military operations.
Holodecks may only exist in the realm of science fiction, but work underway at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory will allow military personnel to not only view a deluge of data but also interact with it. Many of the technologies that are key to this effort are still in their infancy; however, researchers are examining some currently available commercial products that meet requirements identified by commanders. Today's data display systems allow military personnel to view substantial amounts of data on one interactive screen. Tomorrow's systems would invite commanders to step inside a scenario virtually and become immersed in situational awareness.
A new polymer-based electro-optic modulator may provide fiber optic networks with an order of magnitude increase in bandwidth that could clear the way for applications ranging from broadband Internet access to full-scale holographic projection currently found in science fiction television programs. Developed in a joint research effort by scientists at the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, and the University of Washington, Seattle, the new technology also uses less power than present-generation modulators and features low noise disturbance.