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DARPA Modifies Military Equipment to be Used by Firefighters

June 11, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Tracking technology developed for the U.S. military might help in saving the lives of firefighters battling wildfires.

Guest Blog: Mobile Battlefield Trends and the State of In-Theater Communications

June 4, 2014
By Chris LaPoint

Ongoing changes in the tactical networks—the mobile battlefield—should provide the U.S. Cyber Command with an increased ability to discover and address vulnerabilities in these networks.

Scientists' Experiment Regrows Muscle in Wounded Legs

May 16, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine might have discovered a way to get bodies to regrow muscle following traumatic injuries.

Scientists Create Thermal-Imaging Lenses From Waste Sulfur

May 9, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

One man’s trash really can be another man’s treasure. Professors at the University of Arizona (UA) recently transformed sulfur waste from refining fossil fuels into moldable, infrared-capable plastic lenses—an incredibly inexpensive and lightweight component that can be used for night-vision goggles among other uses.

The discovery could have huge positive implications for the U.S. military, which has already expressed interest in the patent-pending polymer, Robert A. Norwood, professor of optical sciences at UA, says.

The polymer can be molded into any arbitrary shape needed, opening up a new range of options for military developers seeking alternatives to expensive and heavier night-vision goggles, Norwood says. Other military applications on a short list include thermal imaging, missile sites and spectroscopic threat detection, he adds.

These lenses could be used for any function or mission that involves heat detection and infrared light, from cameras to night-vision goggles or surveillance systems.

Norwood and his colleague Jeffrey Pyun, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UA who was first to start experimenting with sulfur-based polymers, placed the new polymer in a sort of window and snapped a photo of a man standing on the other side. “We could see the heat coming off the body,” Norwood says. “It was pretty exciting to see that.”

The professors discovered the sulfur-based lenses are transparent to mid-range infrared, between 3 to 8 microns. And the lenses have “high optical” or focusing power, which means they can be thin—and thus lightweight—to focus on nearby objects.

The UA scientists' next step involves drumming up industry and Defense Department talk and funding as they continue their research and work to improve the product. “We really would like to have now a focused program on further development of these materials,” Norwood says.

NASA Explores Making Planets Right Here On Earth

May 7, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

NASA scientists at Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, reproduced the processes that occur in the atmosphere of a red giant star and lead to the formation of planet-forming interstellar dust.


Cloud Computing Market to Grow Dramatically By 2017

May 1, 2014
BY Henry S. Kenyon

The global market for cloud-based architecture and related services and applications is expected to surge through 2017, analysts say. Demand for a variety of virtualized “as a service” capabilities such as infrastructure, software and security also will increase.

Worldwide spending on cloud-related technologies and services will be in the range of $174.2 billion in 2014, a 20 percent increase from the $145.2 billion spent in 2013, states a recent report by IHS Technology. According to IHS, by 2017 the cloud market will be worth $235.1 billion, triple the market’s $78.2 billion in 2011.

This strong projected global growth includes both the commercial and government sectors, says Dr. Jagdish Rebello, the senior director and principal analyst for the cloud and big data at IHS. He notes that many commercial and public enterprises gradually are moving their databases to the cloud, have cloud strategies or are considering migrating their data and services to the cloud.

But despite cloud’s growth, regional and market differences exist in cloud services, Rebello reports. For example, regions with poor broadband infrastructure will see slower cloud growth/access, while more developed regions of the world have faster cloud adoption rates, he explains.

Security is another issue for organizations adopting cloud strategies. For example, Europe’s stringent rules for data security mean that organizations on the continent will migrate to cloud services more slowly than those in the United States, Rebello says.

In consumer and retail markets, Rebello sees two types of growth: customer engagement and access to media content. Growth in the first area is in the form of messages and subscription information sent to customer’s computers and mobile devices—an area where cloud-based applications are very useful, he says. The other area is access to entertainment content such as movies, games and music stored in the cloud.

Computer Security Problems at VA Doubled in Six Years

April 1, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) remains plagued by decades-old problems of unreliable and vulnerable networks and computer systems, putting the veterans they serve at risk, according to a recent government report. Despite years of documented weaknesses, the VA still has failed to shore up vulnerabilities, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

Connecting Private Innovation and National Security

March 31, 2014
By Rita Boland

A new effort hopes to improve relationships between nontraditional performers and government agencies.

FAA Chooses UAS Research Sites

December 30, 2013
By Maryann Lawlor

The Federal Aviation Administration has announced the six unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) sites available for conducting operations research and testing. Test site operators will perform their research at the University of Alaska; Griffiss International Airport, New York; Texas A&M University; and Virginia Tech, as well as in the states of Nevada and North Dakota.

Social Media Could Jeopardize Military Operations, Careers

December 13, 2013
By Jim Sweeney

Every year SIGNAL Magazine introduces a new columnist in the January issue for its Incoming opinion column. Next year’s columnist, Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, USA (Ret.), picked a timely topic for his first column. He worries that with social media posts, warfighters and civilian military employees “merrily are doing the work of a million foreign spies.” Gen. Bolger warns of a broad trend toward posting too much information in social media.

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