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research and development

Lasers Detect Targets From the Sky

December 2006
By Henry S. Kenyon

An experimental sensor technology may one day permit reconnaissance and combat aircraft to detect and identify ground targets more rapidly and efficiently than with radar. The prototype equipment uses a laser to create a high-resolution image of an object from an aircraft in flight, something that only radar had been able to achieve.

Diamonds Are a Technology's Best Friend

December 2006
By Rita Boland

Electronic devices across an array of fields may soon experience major improvements because of advancements in diamond film technologies. The material results in the enhanced functioning of various technological tools, and organizations from the military to the medical community could reap the benefits.

Small Sensors Show Big Potential

December 2006
By Henry S. Kenyon

Researchers have developed nanoscale sensors capable of detecting trace amounts of chemical and biological agents. The tiny devices can be placed on microchips, creating the potential for highly accurate networked sensors embedded in a variety of equipment and systems.

Rapid Changes Lie Ahead for Computing

December 2006
By Robert K. Ackerman

Businesses, the military and consumers have never seen the pace of change in computing that may be just around the corner, according to a leading technologist at the world's largest software company. Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft Corporation, predicts that new hardware and software architectures will open up a host of revolutionary capabilities and applications-but they also will tax information system developers and managers who must stay abreast of advances without sacrificing the integrity of their systems.

Software System Manages Schedules for Troops

October 2006
By Rita Boland

Troops in the field may soon have a little help handling their busy schedules. Researchers are working on a developmental distributed intelligent software system that adapts field units' mission plans as situations and events unfold. The software can be used with a variety of devices and reduces the time and personnel necessary when changing tactics.

Agency Seeks Urban Automatons

August 2006
By Maryann Lawlor

Daring the world's robot builders and visionaries to design autonomous ground vehicles that could traverse the treacherous terrain of the Mojave Desert was not enough for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Always on the lookout for new ways to solve persistent problems, it is now taking its quest to the streets-the city streets, that is. Dubbing its latest competition Urban Challenge, the agency is enticing the mechanically inclined dreamers of the world with substantial cash awards to develop a driverless vehicle that can master the roads of a metropolis.

Human-Computer Interface Gets Personal

July 2006
By Maryann Lawlor

Conversations with computers are usually pretty one-sided: Users may yell obscenities; cursors continue to blink innocuously. But a collaborative effort between the military and industry may one day replace this one-way, futile discourse with systems that understand the user's cognitive state and then respond accordingly. The implications of this capability reach beyond ensuring that warfighters are primed to receive critical information. It could prove to be instrumental to inventing ways of designing new systems and improving military training.

Dedicated Army Force Speeds Technology To Warfighters

June 2006
By Robert K. Ackerman

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.

Warriors and Engineers Partner

February 2006
By Clarence A. Robinson Jr.

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.

For Software Modeling Firm, Seeing Is Believing

July 2005
By Michael A. Robinson

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.

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