The implications of 5G for the U.S. Defense Department are profound. Among the plethora of capabilities it will provide—enabling the Internet of Things, low latency, higher bandwidth—5G could be used to run a multilevel secure coalition communications system.
Experts agree that reopening the United States requires contact tracing—working out, when someone has tested positive for COVID-19, who they might have infected already. Contact tracing, like any kind of detective work, is ultimately a very human undertaking. It’s a labor intensive, empathetic process of walking people back through the last few days of their lives and helping them remember who they might have been in close enough contact with to infect.
You can’t do that with an app—especially one that’s not downloaded by 80 percent of smartphone users, and uses Bluetooth location data that might list someone in an adjacent apartment as a “close contact.”
Officials at one of the U.S. Army’s premier research and development centers are exploring the possibility of adding a so-called data fabric to the service’s original tactical cloud system. The concept could improve interoperability, aid the convergence of intelligence and operations information and allow service leaders to completely rethink future Army operations.
The Air Force Cost Analysis Agency (AFCAA) offers multiple examples of data visualization tools being actively used for cost analysis, including the Air Force Total Ownership Cost (AFTOC) program decision support system, the Flying Hour Program and an array of research projects. However, these are far from the only examples. Data visualization tool power is popping up everywhere.
The Department of Defense is rethinking how it approaches software and systems development in its technology programs by using more flexible methods to streamline the process and to improve cybersecurity from the start.
Because traditional DOD program development processes don’t have the speed and flexibility to keep up with rapid technological changes or fast-paced modern adversaries, new methodologies are being considered. One approach gaining traction in many parts of the DOD is Development, Security and Operations, or DevSecOps.
To harness the technological revolution in the face of rising adversarial competition, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency issued its first report in 2019 publicly outlining areas of focus for capability adoption. This year, the agency, known as the NGA, issued a strategy as well as identifying focus areas. The NGA is looking for technologies from the commercial sector to support joint warfighters in an era of great power competition in advanced analytics and modeling; data management; modern software engineering; artificial intelligence; and future of work. The agency also emphasized not only improving the U.S.’s competitive stance “in all realms,” but also supporting allied advancements.
A self-assembled “skunk works” team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has worked tirelessly to prototype a simple ventilator design for quick and easy assembly from available parts. The effort is in response to a potential surge in demand for ventilators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dubbed the “Novel Emergency Response Ventilator” (NERVe), the design comes from proven concepts and contains parts that are not being used by commercial ventilator manufacturers to prevent disrupting already thin supply chains.
A team of researchers has invented software to create accurate digital representations of complex objects. VoroCrust enables scientists to create these “meshes” and use them in many disciplines that work with geometric models of all kinds of parts, from rotors to wheels to protective equipment.
Complex meshes often have curves, sharp edges or holes. Once created, they look like 3D images that can be used in computer simulations that incorporate algorithms to determine when parts might fail in extreme conditions. This is a helpful aspect of design prior to creating prototypes and parts for real tests.
Spiro Devices LLC, and AirMid Critical Care Products Inc., have been awarded $100,000 prizes for their emergency ventilator designs as part of the ongoing U.S. Army’s xTech COVID-19 Ventilator Challenge launched earlier this month.
On April 5, the Army called for ideas for a low-cost, easily manufactured, deployable ventilator that could operate in austere and rural environments. In just 10 days, 150 American companies, academic institutions and individuals submitted their concepts, with a chance at winning $5,000 if invited to present their ideas. The goal of the Army xTech COVID-19 Ventilator Challenge is to produce 10,000 ventilator units within eight weeks.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and its industry partners are committed to applying the nation’s most powerful supercomputers and knowledge in computational modeling and data science to fighting the deadly disease.
To assist in this effort, LLNL, Penguin Computing and AMD have reached an agreement to upgrade the lab’s unclassified, Penguin Computing-built Corona high performance computing (HPC) cluster with an in-kind contribution of cutting-edge AMD Instinct accelerators, which is expected to nearly double the peak performance of the machine.
The four-month-old U.S. Space Force is setting its priorities for the future, and part of that is a plan to leverage key partnerships with allies, the intelligence community and the commercial space industry. And while partnerships with the commercial space industry in regard to launch services have been quite visible, the Space Force is set to work more frequently with the producers of small communications satellite systems, said Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, USAF, chief of operations, U.S. Space Force.
A U.S. Defense Department research program that has not yet even officially begun may contribute advanced testing devices for COVID-19 and other future pandemics.
The program is being run by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and is called the Detect It with Gene Editing Technologies. The acronym, DIGET, is pronounced “dig it.”
A group of entrepreneurs presented their nascent products and discoveries during a virtual pitch meeting on April 8 held as part of Starburst Aerospace Accelerator’s latest Selection Committee event. Headquartered in Paris, Starburst's U.S. team brought in 10 hopeful companies, all vying for partnership agreements, venture capitalist funding and a chance to join Starburst's Accelerator Program. The event pairs the startups with potentially interested corporations, investors and government agencies. The startups’ prospective products, which range in level of technical readiness, cut across all aspects of aerospace, from power generation to launch platforms, satellite-enabled connectivity and autonomous aerial vehicles.
Sandia National Laboratories has a fast-track licensing program to rapidly deploy technology to the commercial sector. The move is designed to support businesses facing widespread often-technical challenges resulting from the COVID-19 effects on companies. Under the program, more than 1,000 Sandia-patented technologies are temporarily eligible for any U.S. person to use commercially for free; licenses are valid through December 31.
A technology that harnesses augmented reality will enable the U.S. Air Force to train in the air for initial pilot qualification, dogfighting, refueling and maneuvering. The A-TARS augmented reality platform, or Airborne Tactical Augmented Reality System, developed by California-based Red 6, provides virtual opponents, such as the fifth generation Chinese J-20 and Russian Su-57, for pilot’s aerial dogfighting training runs, as well as other aerial digital assets to develop and enhance different piloting skills.
From elaborate buildings constructed by on-site 3D printers to synthetic fish for testing hydroelectric projects, U.S. national laboratory scientists are exploring the state of the art in additive manufacturing. Their goal is to develop new techniques that can be transitioned to commercial applications as well as explore advances that could revolutionize industrial manufacturing.
Additive manufacturing, also described as 3D printing, is opening up new pathways to production. While many of these are dead ends as economics and logistics limit some of the hoped-for applications, others offer the potential to be game changers in the manufacturing arena.
Printed body parts are taking shape in laboratories, but printed industrial parts may not always fit the bill. Issues such as reliability, integrity and longevity must be determined on a case-by-case basis as custom parts are devised and built.
A new, highly precise photon sensor could help advance the science of growing human tissue, such as bones, skin or vital organs, in the laboratory and could benefit warfighters and society. The potential applications include monitoring environmental conditions, such as poison gases on the battlefield or toxins in the home.
Researchers recently announced that they can use a groundbreaking 4D-printing process to create material capable of morphing into the likeness of a human face, the most complex shape-shifting structure ever. The research may one day lead to advances in dynamic communications, soft electronics, smart fabrics, tissue engineering for medical purposes, robotics and an array of commercial applications.
Many people looking at the technology of the future have focused on electronics and software. While these two have fueled the information revolution, another technology is poised to impose significant changes on life at large. Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, has the potential to alter the way items are made and economies of scale are leveraged.