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Featured Stories

Tiny Technologies Promise Powerful Protection

June 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

Today’s dismounted infantry soldier often packs more than 140 pounds and still has incomplete ballistic protection, insufficient defense against chemical and biological weapons, and too many pieces of equipment that do not work well together, according to officials at the U.S. Army Research Office’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies. Reducing the cumbersome weight that soldiers lug around on the battlefield is a major priority for the Army, which is intent on transforming itself into a lighter, more flexible 21st century force. Research being conducted at the institute one day could help transform current combat fatigues and bulky equipment into a do-it-all battle uniform that not only is lightweight but also provides many other benefits.

Virtual Humans Keep It Real

June 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

U.S. Army soldiers have something in common with Superman and Spider-Man: they all benefit from Army-funded virtual reality research being conducted at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies. The Oscar-winning research has made digital characters look more realistic in movies such as Avatar, Spider-Man II and Superman Returns, among others, and it also helps soldiers cope with post-traumatic stress disorder. It also is used to train service members for a variety of missions and situations, including countering both improvised explosive devices and insurgency operations, as well as tactical intelligence gathering. The institute’s research, which rapidly is taking the “virtual” out of virtual reality, also helps teach soldiers such traits as leadership, cultural awareness and relationship building.

Train Like You Fight, Even in Cyberspace

May 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

Joint and coalition relationships that begin long before forces meet on the field have become a cornerstone of defense policies and officials in the military’s cybersecurity training arena are working to make sure the same holds true in the newest battlespace domain as well. Troops from the various armed forces branches already are attending education courses together, no matter which service sponsors the class, and in some cases coalition partners also are participating.

Marines Revolutionize Network In Southwest Afghanistan

May 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

Members of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) recently spent a year in what is arguably the most dangerous place on the planet for a U.S. service member—Helmand Province, Afghanistan. During the deployment, combat communicators were tasked with the normal duties of equipment operations and data transmission security. But by the time they came home, they had celebrated other noteworthy accomplishments, employed technology new to the Corps and identified several challenges as well as ways industry could help overcome them.

Seeing Eye Systems Learn to Discern

May 2011
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine

Persistent surveillance has been pegged as a crucial capability in current and future operations. Mind’s Eye is one of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) newest and most aggressive efforts to improve conditions for warfighters on the ground. The agency is working with the U.S. Army, industry and academia to create a way to educate video collection devices. Although existing cameras and sensors capture activity in an area, the mounds of visual data they collect are overwhelming to analysts and warfighters alike. Once visual intelligence is achieved, these information mountains will become actionable knowledge molehills that can be sent to commanders and perhaps directly to warfighters’ handheld computers in the field.

Robots Arming for Combat Duty

May 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

Unmanned ground systems on the battlefield provide critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data and help counter improvised explosive devices. Now, ground robots are positioned to expand into armed missions in Afghanistan.

NATO Agency Infuses Opportunities Into Dutch Economy

May 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

The story of the technology marketplace in the Netherlands is much like that of other countries in Europe and around the world. The economic downturn has led to slashed government budgets, greater outsourcing and a need for companies to expand internationally. One thing that sets the Netherlands apart, though, is the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency, which has an office in The Hague, as well as in Brussels, Belgium, and offers opportunities not found elsewhere.

Neutralizing the Network to Defeat IEDs

April 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

The key to defeating improvised explosive devices may lie in attacking the network that procures, develops and emplaces the weaponry rather than focusing on the device itself. Eight years of combating both the devices and their effects has broadened the mission of those tasked with rendering these weapons null in the realm of asymmetric warfare.

Connectivity Builds Independence In Afghanistan

April 2011
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine

The road to stability in Afghanistan is being paved with telecommunications systems. Through the strategic use of technology, the country already is experiencing improvements in connectivity that will continue to progress until the governance, industrial and the socio-economic state of the country all reap the benefits. If plans, activities and cooperation continue as they have for the past few months, Afghanistan will be poised by the middle of this decade to take its place among the most economically stable and technologically savvy countries in the world.

Robotics Research Gives Life to Artificial Limbs

April 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

The U.S. Army is giving soldiers who have lost limbs a higher quality of life, including allowing some to remain on active duty or to return to combat if they choose. In part because of research conducted through the Army’s Advanced Prosthetics and Human Performance program, individuals who have lost limbs are jumping out of airplanes or commanding troops in combat.

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