The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is experimenting with underground robotic capabilities through its three-year contest—the Subterranean Challenge, also called SubT. This competition aims to spur tactical communications, mapping and search-related robotic technologies for use in subterranean environments.
Broadcast on CyberSecurity TV by TV Worldwide, the latest episode of AFCEA’s Innovation Shark Tank Series on November 19 featured five companies offering government solutions addressing cybersecurity, the STEM workforce, cloud migration, security of Industrial Internet of Things devices and mobile application development.
The companies were competing for selection to the association’s Shark Tank finals to be held April 22-24, 2019, at its planned joint homeland security conference with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced today $35 million in funding opportunities for a new DHS Center of Excellence (COE) for Terrorism Prevention and Counterterrorism Research (TPCR). Accredited U.S. colleges and universities are invited to submit proposals as the center lead or as an individual partner to work with the lead institution in support of the center’s activities.
The fight to secure microelectronic chips is becoming as basic as the chip itself. With chips facing a myriad of threats throughout their life cycle, experts are incorporating security measures into the development of the chip from the foundry to assembly. Other approaches safeguard against threats that could appear as the chip moves through the supply chain. The bottom line for microelectronics security is that necessary measures cannot wait until the device is in the hands of the user.
A division of Las Cruces, New Mexico-based SameDay Security Inc., has introduced a virtual home health care assistant that the company claims will “quickly deliver an immersive end user experience.” The electronic interface, known as Addison Care, uses visual, artificial intelligence and augmented reality. The system runs on Amazon Sumerian, a service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS).
“Designed to transform the home into a full-time health and wellness environment, Addison appears on 15-inch media screens throughout a residence and provides support to consumers with features including medication management, care plan adherence, social experiences and emergency response,” a company official stated.
Researchers envision a day when shape-shifting materials, novel sensors and other interactive technologies replace the flat, insipid computer screen. Such advances will allow users to interact in a tactile manner, enhancing their understanding of information and data. Researchers on the cutting edge of human-computer interaction are working on physical representations of data or information. Computer scientists portend that computers can, and should, have an output of information that mirrors the adroitness and expressiveness of the human body.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, known as the ATF, granted a Federal Explosives License to Aquabotix Ltd. The explosives license will allow the unmanned aquatic vehicle company to develop, manufacture, store and sell unmanned vehicles with explosive capabilities, according to a company statement.
Innovative pioneers looking to bring their ideas and concepts to reality are pushing the edge of aerospace capabilities. In some cases, the technologies are the result of university research, while others come from markets outside of defense. The entrepreneurs purport that their technologies will be, if not groundbreaking, useful and more efficient. The entrepreneurs presented their nascent products and discoveries at a pitch meeting hosted by The MITRE Corporation in McLean, Virginia on October 11 as part of Starburst Aerospace Accelerator’s annual East Coast Selection Committee event.
The move away from technologies meant for a static battlefield environment continues for the U.S. Marine Corps, as the service fields technologies needed for operating in austere environments.
Leaders want ruggedized and resilient technologies that are low in size, weight and power for soldiers on the move. The technology gaps to fill come across all aspects of command, control, communications and computing, or C4. Marine Corps leaders identified the service’s top technological needs during the Modern Day Marine event September 25-27 at the Marine Corps Quantico base.
This summer, the U.S. Marine Corps accepted delivery of five compact laser weapon systems, and is now considering many aspects of the weapon’s functionality. The service is looking for reliable, cost effective protection against the growing threat of unmanned aerial vehicles.
In a world where the U.S. Defense Department is facing asymmetric threats, department leaders are counting on long-term research and development to provide primary solutions to protect the nation. For the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which has helped create technologies that have changed the course of history, the pressure is on to find the next significant contribution, says the laboratory’s director, Ralph Semmel. “When you look back in history, we had nine of those [groundbreaking technologies], so we are holding ourselves to a very high bar,” Semmel says. “But the key is that we don’t know which technology is actually going to turn into a defining innovation.”
The military’s miniature air-launched decoy technology, known as MALD, equipped with decoy, jamming and now electronic warfare capabilities, advanced this week after a successful free flight run through. The decoys are used by the military to confuse adversarial air defenses.
The Air Force’s MALD Program Office and the Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) of the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, along with the Naval Air Warfare Center at Point Mugu, California, successfully completed a series of MALD-X demonstrations on August 20 and 22, the DOD noted in a statement.
The Northeast is drawing in companies and military organizations seeking innovation. The Boeing Co. announced that it would be opening the new Boeing Aerospace & Autonomy Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, according to an August 1 statement.
The center will focus on “designing, building and flying autonomous aircraft and developing enabling technologies,” the statement said. The facility will house employees from both Boeing and its subsidiary Auora Flight Sciences, purchased last year. Aurora creates flight autonomy software, among other innovations.
The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is creating a virtual MK-19 trainer that will help shorten training set-up time and decrease ammunition costs, according to the Army. Researchers at the ARL in Orlando, Florida, are merging the weapon with existing hardware and software algorithms to create a training experience that blends real-time vision with virtual reality.
Once it is ready for full use in the field, the training platform will help soldiers expedite training on the weapon.
The concepts proven by the MK-19 trainer represent “the future of training for soldiers,” said Dean Reed, software developer and team lead at the ARL in Orlando.
Ushering in full-blown mobility for the U.S. Defense Department will require key technology advances, particularly in areas of automation and security management. With mobile no longer a fringe idea, troops want to avail themselves of all the bells, whistles and efficiencies the ecosystem has to offer. But security concerns continue to crimp the department’s migration to what is otherwise commonplace in the private sector, experts shared Wednesday during the day-long AFCEA DC Chapter Mobile Tech Summit.
Roll back the clock to 2009. With great fanfare, General Dynamics and L-3 announced the now infamous (in government circles) Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device (SME-PED) designed to be a special secure phone—one that, say, a U.S. president might use. But several problems plagued the effort, including cost, weight, short battery life and a lack of functionality. Then, “the iPhone happened,” says a former National Security Agency (NSA) executive. “We missed it. But hey, so did Blackberry and a lot of commercial companies.”
No matter how much we think technological solutions will be the panacea for all our information assurance concerns, there's still the human factor to consider, writes Linton Wells II in this month's Incoming column, "Uneasy Sleep in a Golden Age":
Every service has faced changes brought about by new technologies and new missions, but the Air Force is wrestling with nothing less than a total overhaul of its structure and activities. Its legacy mission was fairly clear-cut: maintain air superiority and provide support to ground forces where needed. But now, experts are building a new force of unmanned combat air vehicles that vie in importance with piloted craft. And, the Global War on Terrorism and the information technology revolution have struck at the very heart of the Air Force's raison d'etre. SIGNAL takes a look at how the Air Force is changing to meet its new roles and which technologies might play a major role in them.
Research and development is the seed corn of our technology driven world. With the commercial sector providing many of the military's new technologies, the old lines delineating military and commercial technologies are blurring into nonexistence. The defense community is working with academia and the private sector to an ever greater degree, and the rapid pace of commercial information technology innovation is increasing the importance of laboratory research. SIGNAL Magazine's June issue looks at some of the new technologies about to emerge from the laboratory and the effect they might have in this technology-driven age.