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Posts Tagged ARL
By Orli Belman, USC Institute for Creative Technologies
New research aims to get robots and humans to speak the same language to improve communication in fast-moving and unpredictable situations.
Scientists from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies are exploring the potential of developing a flexible multi-modal human-robot dialogue that includes natural language, along with text, images and video processing.
“Research and technology are essential for providing the best capabilities to our warfighters,” said Dr. Laurel Allender, director of the ARL Human Research and Engineering Directorate. “This is especially so for the immersive and live-training environments we are developing to achieve squad overmatch and to optimize Soldier performance, both mentally and physically.”
The collaboration between the Army and ICT addresses the needs of current and future Soldiers by enhancing the effectiveness of the immersive training environment through the use of realistic avatars, virtual humans and intelligent agent technologies, she said.
By Joyce P. Brayboy, ARL Public Affairs
While leading a medical training team in Kabul, Afghanistan, a U.S. Navy commander became frustrated as he faced the challenge of interpreting complex medical information.
Commander Kurt Henry was seeing cases of intestinal tuberculosis that he knew were treatable, but the regional hospital’s critical care unit did not have medical manuals to provide treatment instruction for newly assigned doctors.
When he scanned the Internet for documentation about treatment options, he only came across information written in English. His team spoke the native language of the Afghan people, Dari, recalled Steve LaRocca, computer scientist and team chief at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.
By T’Jae Ellis, ARL Public Affairs
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — A futuristic dashboard could change the way Army aviation operates, allowing for autonomous location tracking and updates on the health of an aircraft even at the material level.
U.S. Army Research Laboratory scientists are conceptualizing technologies to deliver a more accurate and real-time view into aircraft operations of the future.
Today’s black boxes capture basic flight operational information and are not for real-time monitoring. However, possibly three decades from now, Army researchers hope to provide automated real-time solutions for aviators to safely complete their missions, according to Dy Le, an ARL division chief who specializes in sciences for maneuver.
“It’s an integrated capability designed to automatically gauge changes in air, ground, and autonomous systems vehicles’ functional state at the material level; assess vehicles’ maneuvering capabilities taken into account of measured functional state in the context of upcoming or even ongoing missions; and enable operators or Soldiers to maneuver accordingly to achieve mission requirements,” Le said.
The system is called VRAMS, or the Virtual Risk-informed Agile Maneuver Sustainment Intelligent State Awareness System.
Total awareness of location and status of all air assets would provide Army commanders with enhanced situational awareness and the decisive edge. But researchers are also aware of the importance of protecting this information.
“This is one of the challenges that we will be working on as we progress through various stages of VRAMS maturation,” Le said. “Data/information assurance to protect aircraft position/identity is one of critical pieces to safeguarding the national aviation infrastructure from real cyber attacks.”
The dashboard framework would depend on technologies that currently do not exist but would help air traffic controllers, maintenance teams and commanders detect real and potential system and component damage of aircraft.
The concept was inspired by Dr. Bill Lewis, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center Aviation Development director, whose desire was to have fatigue-free aircraft to protect from aircraft catastrophic failures, as well as to reduce operation and sustainment costs.
The project hopes to achieve the Army sustainment goal, for example, zero-maintenance, by containing or eliminating aircraft structural fatigue using the VRAMS Intelligent State Awareness System.
By David McNally, RDECOM Public Affairs
Scientists and engineers from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory gathered Sept. 10, 2014 to discuss ethical robots.
Dr. Ronald C. Arkin, a professor from Georgia Tech, roboticist and author, challenged Army researchers to consider the implications of future autonomous robots.
“The bottom line for my talk here and elsewhere is concern for noncombatant casualties on the battlefield,” Arkin said. “I believe there is a fundamental responsibility as scientists and technologists to consider this problem. I do believe that we can, must and should apply this technology in this particular space.”
By Joyce P. Brayboy, ARL Public Affairs
Army researchers are finding they have much to learn from bees hovering near a picnic spread at a park.
Dr. Joseph Conroy, an electronics engineer at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, part of the Research, Development and Engineering Command, works with robotic systems that can navigate by leveraging visual sensing inspired by insect neurophysiology.
A recently developed prototype that is capable of wide-field vision and high update rate, hallmarks of insect vision, is something researchers hope to test at the manned and unmanned teaming, or MUM-T exercise at the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, Georgia. This project will give us a chance to implement methods of perception such as 3-D mapping and motion estimation on a robotics platform, Conroy said.
By David McNally, RDECOM Public Affairs
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Oct. 28, 2014) — Army researchers are evaluating prototype devices developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA, Warrior Web program’s goal is to create a soft, lightweight undersuit to help reduce injuries and fatigue, while improving mission performance. DARPA is responsible for the development of new technologies for the U.S. military.
Researchers from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering spent the past two years developing a biologically inspired smart suit that aims to boost efficiency through a new approach. A series of webbing straps contain a microprocessor and a network of strain sensors.
“The suit mimics the action of leg muscles and tendons so a Soldier’s muscles expend less energy,” said Dr. Ignacio Galiana, a robotics engineer working on the project.
Galiana said the team looked to nature for inspiration in developing cables and pulleys that interact with small motors to provide carefully timed assistance without restricting movement.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Oct. 20, 2014) — Army Research Laboratory scientists say they may be better able to develop novel armor technologies to improve protection levels for U.S. warfighters based on information from a recent Department of Energy study.
For the first time, American researchers observed and measured the dynamic deflection and failure of material fibers as they deformed under high impact and at high speeds during recent experiments at the Argonne National Laboratory, a national laboratory within the DOE.
“If we know at very high fidelity scales how and why an armor or armor material is failing, we may be able to come up with a new material or material response mechanism to circumvent the failure mode and, in turn, significantly increase the armor performance by eliminating this ‘weakest link’ failure mode,” ARL physicist Dr. Michael Zellner said.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Sept. 16, 2014) — Researchers from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory received the best conference paper award at the 14th IEEE International Conference on Nanotechnology held in Toronto, Canada, Aug. 18-21.
IEEE Nano is one of the largest nanotechnology conferences in the world, bringing together the brightest engineers and scientists through collaboration and the exchange of ideas. There were a total of 263 conference proceeding papers submitted for the conference; 180 oral presentations and 83 posters.
The winning paper was one of the seven finalists selected. It was entitled “Gold Nanocluster-DNase 1 Hybrid Materials for DNA Contamination Sensing,” and was co-authored and presented by Dr. Abby West, biochemist, ORISE postdoctoral fellow at the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate.
Industry, academia and government collaboration highlights different approaches
By Joyce Brayboy, ARL Public Affairs
Collaborative Technology and Research Alliances are partnerships between the Army, industry and academia that are focusing on the rapid transition of innovative technologies for the Army’s future force.
The collaboration between industry, academia and the government is a key element of the alliance concept as each member brings with it a distinctly different approach to research.
Academia is instrumental for its cutting-edge innovation; the industrial partners are able to leverage existing research results for transition and to deal with technology bottlenecks.
The multidisciplinary research teams bring together world class research and development talent and focus it on the Soldier.
ARL has a history of successful collaborations bringing together the triad of industry, academia and government, dating back to the 1990s.
There are currently four active CTAs:
- Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology, awarded in 2008
- Network Science, awarded in 2009
- Robotics, awarded in 2010
- Cognition and Neuroergonomics, awarded in 2010
Two Collaborative Research Alliances, or CRAs, were awarded in 2012: Electronic Materials, and Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments. Finally, the most recent Collaborative Research Alliance in the area of Cyber Security was announced last year.
Each CTA and CRA has a distinctive mission and focus. The MAST CTA conducts research and transitions technology that will enhance warfighter’s tactical situational awareness in urban and complex terrain through the autonomous systems. The Network Science CTA performs cross-cutting research of common underlying science among social and cognitive, information, and communications networks to enhance effectiveness in network-enabled warfare.
The Robotics CTA enables the creation of future highly autonomous unmanned systems and permits those systems to conduct military operations in mixed environments.
The Cognition and Neuroergonomics CTA conducts research leading to fundamental translational principles of the application of neuroscience-based research and theory to complex operational settings.
The Multi-Scale Multidisciplinary Modeling of Electronic Materials CRA is developing a quantitative understanding of materials from the atomic scales to advance the state of the art in electronic, optoelectronic and electrochemical materials and devices.
The Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments CRA is establishing the capability to design materials for use in specific dynamic environments, especially high strain-rate applications.
The most recent CRA came about when ARL established a group led by Pennsylvania State University last year. The alliance includes ARL, CERDEC, academia and industry researchers to explore the basic foundations of cyber-science issues in the context of Army networks.
For information about the Collaborative Technology or Research Alliances, call Kelly Foster at (301) 394-5503.
Researchers, engineers work to improve safety of munitions
By William H. Ruppert, IV, P.E., Program Manager, Joint Insensitive Munitions Technology Program
It’s the year 2045 and your grandchild is deployed to the hot spot of the future, commanding a ground unit combating the latest terrorist group. The vehicle he is riding in is suddenly struck by two rocket propelled grenades. The vehicle interior is breached and the ammunition inside sustains a direct hit, but none of them explode and the crew has only minor injuries. They quickly assume their respective defensive positions from inside the vehicle and return fire on the aggressors, decisively defeating them. Their training and their equipment have not failed them. They will live to fight another day.
This may sound too farfetched or even impossible, but at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, researchers lead and support the Joint Insensitive Munitions Technology Program, or JIMTP, to develop safer munitions with the goal of ensuring the safety of our future warfighters.
The JIMTP is a unique partnership of government, industry and academic partners. The Office of the Secretary of Defense has program oversight, but it’s managed by ARL, and laboratories within the Air Force and Navy provide technical management. The partnership is essential to ensure the maximum return on investment in a time of increasing fiscal constraint.
These partners are working together to reinvent the way munitions work – making them almost impossible to ‘go off’ when the warfighter doesn’t want them to – while at the same time improving the lethality, reliability, safety and survivability of munitions.
By T’Jae Gibson ARL Public Affairs
Army researchers are forging new paths in material development to bring to Soldier equipment and supplies tougher than steel, from materials that don’t yet exist.
As part of a 10-year program involving partners from universities and industry, Army Research Laboratory scientists are investigating novel approaches that will result in the development of new classes of materials to protect Soldiers, their warfighting and communication equipment and the combat vehicles they rely on to get them in and out of warzones. Building upon expertise in coupling materials together to arrive at the best soldier solutions like ballistic vests and helmets, the ARL-led collaborative research team is forging a new path to develop new materials. They’re taking unprecedented approaches to examine materials. They will design the atomic level structures down to the crystal and molecular level to create transformational materials that will be used in future uniforms, electronic devices, armored vehicles and anything else Soldiers touch, or touch Soldiers.
When researchers achieve this understanding, Soldiers could then be outfitted with 30 percent lighter weight, more robust but less cumbersome protection equipment; weapon systems that have five to 10 times their current energy output; 30 percent more battlefield power; and electronics with 30 percent longer battlefield lifetimes. These improvements will free up Soldiers to focus on devastating the enemy’s willpower and ability to act.
This program requires Army scientists to model and examine materials in extreme environments.
Bringing together research and development talent to improve the ability of the Army’s Future Force
By Jenna Brady, ARL Public Affairs
To develop revolutionary capabilities for Soldiers on the battlefield, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory brings together world-class research and development talent by leveraging the vast intellectual capital of the nation’s universities.
The lab makes this possible through programs and alliances including University Affiliated Research Centers, Collaborative Technology Alliances and Collaborative Research Alliances.
UARCs are university-led collaborations among universities, industry and Army laboratories that conduct basic, applied and technology demonstration research.
Army Research Office extends University of California at Santa Barbara at the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies research
ARL Public Affairs
Army experts, along with leading university professors and industry partners have been collaborating over the last decade to explore biological systems that have the potential to drive sweeping bio-technological advances for Soldiers.
The research is led by the University of California at Santa Barbara at the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies, or ICB, a university affiliated research center.
The Army Research Office extended the contract in December 2013, providing an additional $48 million over three years to study high-performance biological systems and the translation of these to engineering systems of benefit to Soldiers.
“Looking ahead, the value first and foremost will be a more comprehensive integration between the ICB and partners in Army and industry,” said Robert J. Kokoska, who manages the relationship with the center for ARO.
By Orli Belman, USC Institute for Creative Technologies
When ICT’s Peter Khooshabeh was an undergraduate at the University of California at Berkeley he worked on developing a virtual practice tool for surgeons. The idea was that an individual interacting in this simulated scenario would show improved outcomes in the operating room. But when Khooshabeh spent time in a real hospital, he observed that technical skill was just one aspect of surgical success. Any useful virtual environment would also need to capture the interpersonal dynamics of such a high-stress, multi-person setting.
“At first we were focused on putting just one person in this virtual environment but there are many players involved in any given surgery,” Khooshabeh said, a research fellow in ICT’s virtual humans research group. “I came to understand that the key to improving performance may not be in the quality of the technology, but in how much you understand about people and how they perceive one another”.
Khooshabeh went on to earn a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from UC Santa Barbara and continues to leverage technology as a tool to better understand people.
USC Institute for Creative Technologies brings training of tomorrow to Soldiers today
By Orli Belman, USC Institute for Creative Technologies
At the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies, researchers specializing in the art and science of creating an immersive experience work with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to advance interactive simulation-based solutions for training Soldiers, teaching students, treating patients and more.
In 1999, the Army and USC joined together to establish ICT as a University Affiliated Research Center, or UARC, that would combine the creative talents of the film and game industries with world-class university research in engineering, education and cinematic arts. The goal: to make simulations more effective through the study and development of emerging digital technologies and engaging narrative-driven experiences.
Today, transitioned prototypes from this forward-looking lab can be seen throughout the Army, including video games designed to prepare Soldiers in negotiations and stability operations, virtual role players programmed to provide practice in conducting sensitive interviews and virtual reality systems developed to enhance therapies for post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Jan. 28, 2014) — Australia’s chief defense scientist met with U.S. Army leaders Jan. 27 to explore opportunities for research and development partnerships.
The U.S. Army’s engagement with foreign partners in fostering science and engineering is essential to ensuring that Soldiers, as well as American allies, have access to the world’s best technology, said Dale A. Ormond, director of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.
“We are trying to expand our international outreach,” Ormond said. “Seventy percent of the money spent worldwide on science and technology is outside the U.S. There are great scientists and engineers everywhere. [It's important to] go find out who they are and work with them.”
Read more: http://go.usa.gov/BC6w
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Nov. 13, 2013) — Results from a recent study that looked at how battlefield-born vibrations, like those from blasts and heavy armored vehicles, for example, are leading research scientists to rethink military vehicle testing and evaluation methods that could also, eventually, improve automotive and aviation industry standards.
A group of Army and University of Maryland researchers and engineers have developed reliability tests to better capture unforeseen failures in ground and air vehicle designs before the military adopts systems and components.
Ed Habtour, principal investigator on the project at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, said the physics of failure, known as PoF, based reliability models and test methods developed by ARL, U.S. Army Materiel Systems Activity Analysis, or AMSAA, Aberdeen Test Center, the University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, or CALCE, TEAM Corporation and Data Physics Corporation were run on the TEAM Tensor 900 six degrees of freedom, referred to as 6-DoF, shaker, one of only two of its kind in the world.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Computer networks face persistent cyber threats from the nation’s adversaries. The future defenders of cyberspace, America’s students, honed their skills this summer as they learned from U.S. Army scientists and engineers who are experts in the field.
Cybersecurity practitioners from across the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command joined forces to spark an interest and share their knowledge with high-school students as part of the Army Educational Outreach Program at APG.
Two RDECOM organizations — Army Research Laboratory and the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center — partnered to develop and deliver two Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Sciences cyber programs in July.
ADELPHI, Md. (Sept. 23, 2013) — Did you know that U.S. Army Research Laboratory scientists can reprogram cellular machinery to develop protein materials that nature has yet to discover?
ARL researchers report on just this type of breakthrough in an article highlighted on the inside front cover of the Sept. 6 issue of Advanced Materials.
Advanced Materials is a premier material science journal, featuring interdisciplinary “research … at the cutting edge of the chemistry and physics of functional materials.”
ADELPHI, Md. (Sept. 19, 2013) — Current terahertz-based sources suffer from a number of drawbacks including high cost, complex fabrication, and restrictions associated with large externally applied voltages.
The most common of these THz source technologies are photoconductive switches comprised of a semiconductor material and two parallel metal strips that act as electrodes through which a large voltage is applied externally.