Technology

October 17, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Soldiers travel in an M113 armored personnel carrier during a combat support training exercise. The Army keeps purchases and stores for long periods components of major systems, such as transmissions for M113s, but advances in manufacturing could help the service, and the industrial base, find new ways of sustaining heavy equipment. Credit: Master Sgt. Michel Sauret

Advanced manufacturing techniques could inject innovation into the defense industry, suggested Bruce Jette, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology.

“We have a problem with the industrial base, particularly for the defense industry,” Jette told the audience at the Association of the United States Army annual conference in Washington, D.C. He added that the industrial base still conjures images of “large, smoking cauldrons of steel” because “that’s what we drove them to.”

Jette further noted that the industrial base “has some gaps in it because we haven’t been producing large equipment systems in a long time.”

June 12, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Tom Miller (c), CEO of ClearForce, stands with the judges who declared his firm’s technology the winner in the second AFCEA Small Business Innovation Showcase Competition. Flanking Tom are (l-r) Glenn Hernandez, CISO, OpEdge Solutions LLC; Manoj Bhatia, president, Network Runners Inc.; Maria Horton, CEO of EmeSec; and Bill Jones, senior vice president of DSA’s Integrated Solutions Group. Photo credit: Elizabeth Moon

A small business with a prestigious board of directors is the second firm selected in an AFCEA Small Business Innovation Showcase competition June 7 to uncover innovative emerging technologies. The company, ClearForce of Vienna, Virginia, won against three other firms with its proprietary technology for seeking out employees who might be motivated to commit insider crimes deliberately as well as accidentally.

July 29, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Judges and competitors gathering after the latest AFCEA innovation shark tank are (l-r) Robert Osborne, CTO of IMPRES Technology Solutions; judge Glenn Hernandez, national director of U.S. Cyber Challenge; judge Col. Laurie Moe Buckshot, USA (Ret.), president and CEO of Corvus Consulting; Nicholas Edwards, founder and CEO of winning company TunnelVue; Robert Stewart Jr., president and CEO of Federal Government Experts; and judge Bob Gourley, co-founder and CTO of OODA LLC.

A technology that provides network-wide encryption throughout the existence of its information was identified as the winner of the latest AFCEA Innovation Showcase. The competition was the second in a series of individual competitions running into the fall.

October 11, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
DARPA’s Blackjack program wilDARPA’s Blackjack program will leverage commercial low Earth orbit solutions, says Paul “Rusty” Thomas, Blackjack program manager. Concept graphic courtesy of DARPAl leverage commercial low Earth orbit solutions, says Paul “Rusty” Thomas, Blackjack program manager. Credit: Concept graphic courtesy of DARPA

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeing initial success from its Blackjack program, according to Paul “Rusty” Thomas, program manager. The research agency is developing a subset of a constellation, 20 low Earth orbit (LEO) globe-to-globe satellites, to demonstrate a new way of building out space systems.

“We are looking at how we might do space architecture differently,” said Thomas. “We want to limit the integration time, so we can actually get to the point where a payload might not even know what bus it is going to go on, and you can actually think of the payload as the mission.”

October 7, 2019
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Credit: Lemberg Vector studio

A new study shows that robots could be taught to recognize human emotions from the way people move.

Researchers from Warwick Business School, University of Plymouth, Donders Centre for Cognition at Radboud University in the Netherlands, and the Bristol Robotics Lab at the University of the West of England, found humans could recognize excitement, sadness and aggression from the way people moved, even if they could not see their facial expressions or hear their voice.

September 30, 2019
By Maryann Lawlor
 Putting content in predetermined structures facilitates sharing, tracking and reusing.

Although computers are full of data, unless it’s structured, it can’t really be considered information—or knowledge. Unfortunately, a great deal of the documents most organizations rely on were created without structure in mind, making it difficult to find, hard to collate or compare and therefore less valuable.

Chad Dybdahl, solutions consultant, Adobe Technical Communications, shared his expertise about the value of establishing a structured data system during a recent SIGNAL Media webinar. Dybdahl didn’t sugarcoat the challenges: Going from business as usual to a structured content environment poses some trials and tribulations. But Dybdahl believes making the transition is worth overcoming those ordeals.

October 7, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Sandia National Laboratories is pursuing a heartbeat-based technology for a security application. Credit: Shutterstock/LuckyStep

Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico is testing security applications that depend on a user’s heartbeat. Under a recently signed Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), Albuquerque-based Aquila Inc. will create and test a wearable prototype that issues a real-time identifying signature based on the electrical activity of the user’s heart, according to a report from Sandia.

The electrocardiogram signals are sent from the wearable technology—which could be a wristband or a chest strap—to identify a person and grant them access to facilities or other security applications. 

October 4, 2019
Posted by George I. Seffers
A new policy approved by the secretary of the Army requires the use of advanced manufacturing techniques, which included 3D printing, for new and existing systems. Credit: Pixabay/mebner1

Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy has approved a new policy on advanced manufacturing designed to help the Army secure a competitive edge against near-peer adversaries.

October 1, 2019
By Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, USA (Ret.)

If you haven’t been paying attention, virtual reality (VR) is now real (pun intended). No longer an overhyped curio of the commercial gaming world, VR—along with augmented reality and other immersive technologies collectively known as extended reality (XR)—is advancing across the military community.

“This is cutting-edge technology,” Gen. James McConville, USA, now the U.S. Army’s chief of staff, told lawmakers in May. “It is going to transform the way we train soldiers and the way soldiers operate in combat. We’re excited about it.”

October 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Three groups of researchers in Finland conduct outdoor experiments at Tampere University’s Hervanta campus to simultaneously jam a radio-controlled improvised explosive device while receiving tactical communication signals on the same frequency band.  Tampere University

Military communicators have long been transmitting and receiving signals to aid decision making and warfighter operations. But the ability to transmit and receive radio signals on the same frequency, simultaneously, would prove to be a crucial ability, researchers say. This capability, known as same-frequency simultaneous transmission and reception, or SF-STAR, employed with full-duplex radio technology could well be a superpower, says Taneli Riihonen, assistant professor, Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University, Finland.

October 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood

NATO’s Science and Technology Organization took notice of the military potential of same-frequency simultaneous transmission and reception, or SF-STAR, capability employed with full-duplex radio technology, and in 2017 formed an exploratory team to examine the potential use in tactical communications and electronic warfare.

October 1, 2019
By Henry S. Kenyon

Developed during the Cold War to direct U.S. and NATO fighter aircraft against the threat of incoming Soviet aircraft over Western Europe, the Link 16 datalink system is now becoming a ubiquitous situational awareness and command and control tool capable of providing all echelons and services with both theater and tactical battlespace data.

October 1, 2019
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

Every modern military today owes a major portion of its capabilities to electronics-based technologies that have automated or improved warfighting capabilities. Defense electronics have promoted and driven a revolution in military affairs that shows no signs of abating, and their impact is likely to increase in the coming years. Further, commercial electronic technologies are taking an ever-expanding role in the national security market. But this revolution brings with it potential hazards that go beyond conventional threats.

September 27, 2019
 
Students from the Autonomy New Mexico program at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque developed drone platforms in order to test hypersonic system applications. Credit: Vince Gasparich

As part of Sandia National Laboratories' quest to develop hypersonic solutions, a group of university students working at the labs this summer developed autonomy and artificial intelligence capabilities for hypersonic flight systems. They tested the capabilities on unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs.

September 26, 2019
By Shaun Waterman
Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley said biometrics will fundamentally change the way we must think about privacy during his closing keynote at the Federal Identity Forum and Expo. Photo: Shaun Waterman/Signal

Civil libertarians are wrong to fear facial recognition and other biometric identity technologies. But, they will fundamentally change the way we must think about privacy and could have very negative consequences for democracy if not regulated correctly, said constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley, George Washington University, at the AFCEA International Federal Identity Forum and Expo in Tampa, Florida.

Facial recognition “is perfectly suited to blow privacy law to pieces,” Turley told the audience in his closing keynote.

September 26, 2019
By Shaun Waterman
Panelists (l-r) Duane Blackburn, S&T policy analyst for The MITRE Corporation; Ralph Rodriguez, Facebook research scientist; Logan O'Shaughnessy, attorney, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board; Arun Ross, professor, Michigan State University; and moderator Stephanie Schuckers, director of the Center for Identification Technology Research at Clarkson University, discuss misperceptions about facial recognition at FedID 2019. Photo: Shaun Waterman/Signal

One or two inaccurate studies, amplified by a media focused on conflict, have stoked Americans’ concern about facial recognition, tainted the public conversation and led to flawed legislative proposals to ban the technology, experts told AFCEA International’s Federal Identity Forum and Expo Wednesday.

“We had a couple of academic papers come out that unfortunately were pretty wrong, to be blunt,” said Duane Blackburn, a science and technology policy analyst with The Mitre Corporation, and one of the conference organizers.

September 25, 2019
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Close-up of a "smarticle"—smart active particle—showing the two 3D-printed arms, light sensor and motor. Credit: Rob Felt, Georgia Tech

Researchers have taken a new approach to developing robots—using smaller robots known as “smarticles” to unlock the principles of a potentially new locomotion technique. The 3D-printed smarticles—short for smart active particles—can only do one thing: flap their two arms. But when five of these smarticles are narrowed in a circle, they begin to push one another, forming a robophysical system known as a “supersmarticle” that can move by itself. Adding a light or sound sensor allows the supersmarticle to move in response to the stimulus.

September 24, 2019
By Shaun Waterman
Credit: Shutterstock/Andrey_Popov

Facial recognition technology has become “spectacularly” more effective at matching an individual with their photo in a gallery of millions of pictures, according to the latest research by U.S. government scientists.

“The algorithms now are spectacularly more successful [at matching two pictures of the same person] than they were when we first tested this technology in 2010,” Patrick Grother, the biometrics testing project leader at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) told AFCEA International’s Federal ID Forum and Expo Tuesday.

September 19, 2019
By Maryann Lawlor
The wearable authentication tokens will enable soldiers at every echelon to prove their identity when operating systems, devices and applications on the Army tactical network. Credit: Spc. Dustin D. Biven, USA, 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

The identification verification tools that easily work at the corner bank to access cash or online to pay a bill don't work as easily on the battlefield, where the simple action of pulling a card out of a pocket is clumsy at best and impossible at worst. To address this challenge in harsh environments, the U.S. Army is introducing tokens that can be incorporated into wearables as small as bracelets or dog tags.

September 16, 2019
Posted by: George I. Seffers
Sandia National Laboratories researchers are ready to commercialize a nanoantenna-enabled detector on an assembled focal plane array for a thermal infrared camera. The gold nanoantennas are too small to be visible on top of the detector array.    Photo courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratories researchers are ready to commercialize tiny, gold antennas to help cameras and sensors deliver clearer pictures of thermal infrared radiation for everything from stars and galaxies to people, buildings and items requiring security, lab officials announced today. In a Laboratory Directed Research and Development project, a team of researchers developed a nanoantenna-enabled detector that can boost the signal of a thermal infrared camera by up to 3 times and improve image quality by reducing dark current, a major component of image noise, by 10 to 100 times.

Pages