Tag Archives: research

Innovative designs, smart manufacturing deliver Soldier readiness

Gene Curran, senior mechanical engineer, demonstrates the operation of the Lightweight Counter Mortar Radar Live-Fire Test Simulator at Tobyhanna Army Depot. (U.S. Army photo by Kathryn Bailey)

By Kathryn Bailey, CERDEC Command, Power & Directorate

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Dec. 21, 2015) — Army production and logistics is teaming with Army research and development to better streamline the rapid design and fielding of cutting-edge technologies to the Soldier.

“The Army has called for increased innovation, which is shining a spotlight on prototype designs,” said Christopher Manning, Prototype Integration & Testing Division chief, under the Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC. “However, it is imperative that our designs can be leveraged for mass production and sustainment.”

CERDEC’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, or C4ISR, Prototype Integration Facility, or C4ISR PIF, designs, tests and builds prototypes using an iterative development process. It is teaming with Tobyhanna Army Depot, or TYAD, which is staffed and equipped as the full-rate production and logistics support facility for C4ISR technologies.

Both organizations are under the U.S. Army Materiel Command’s, or AMC’s, subordinate commands — CERDEC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and TYAD is part of the Communications-Electronics Command. AMC provides materiel readiness across the spectrum of joint operations. Its research, development and engineering centers and depots are critical components of the Army’s organic industrial base. Continue reading

‘Phantom head’ may one day take guesswork out of EEG monitoring

David Hairston, a neuroscientist at the Army Research Lab’s Human Research and Engineering Directorate, built a phantom head to calibrate electroencephalography machines. This could revolutionize the medical and research communities. (U.S. Army photo illustration by Peggy Frierson)

By David VergunArmy News Service

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Dec. 24, 2015) — Electroencephalography, or EEG, has been used for decades to measure voltage fluctuations in different parts of the brain to graph a person’s neural patterns.

IMPORTANCE OF EEG

EEG patterns, or waves, provide insights into what the person is seeing, hearing, thinking and feeling, sort of peering into individual’s mental and emotional state.

Medical facilities use EEGs extensively to test for such things as psychological disorders, brain injuries and monitoring the effects of sedatives and anesthesia.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, also uses EEGs to help design equipment for Soldiers to help them with complex cognitive tasks, said David Hairston, an ARL neuroscientist here. Continue reading

Army technology team helps field robot

The PackBot 510 robot undergoes final testing at the Robot Logistics Support Center. (U.S. Army photo)

By Dan Lafontaine, RDECOM Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Dec. 18, 2015) — U.S. Army science and technology advisors have initiated a project to field a robot capable of assessing chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosives, or CBRNE, threats from a safe distance.

Several Army organizations combined on a new variant of the PackBot 510 robot with enhanced CBRNE detection capabilities.

“These robots are one-of-a-kind and filled a critical gap for Soldiers on the front lines in Korea,” said Lt. Col. Mark Meeker, field assistance in science and technology advisor assigned to U.S. Forces Korea.

Student’s research continues to develop at Army Research Laboratory

Ben Burke’s summer project at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory focused on the development of a phantom head for testing electroencephalography, or EEG headsets. EEG is the process of measuring electrical activity on the scalp to determine brain function. Shown with Burke (center) are his mentors, Alfred Yu (left) and Dave Hairston. (U.S. Army photo by Joyce Conant)

By Joyce M. Conant, ARL Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Oct. 28, 2015) — Ben Burke’s College Qualified Leadership, or CQL, internship at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s Human Research and Engineering Directorate came to an end this summer when he returned to college at the University of Maryland, College Park, but his project at ARL continues to develop.

Burke’s project focused on the development of a phantom head for testing electroencephalography, or EEG headsets. EEG is the process of measuring electrical activity on the scalp to determine brain function.

Burke, who is majoring in biological sciences with a possible minor in neuroscience, was mentored by Drs. W. David Hairston and Alfred Yu — both of whom are in ARL’s Translational Neuroscience Branch.

“The goal of this project was to design and fabricate a molded human head out of ballistics gel. The mold is based on an MR (magnetic resonance) image of one of our lab members, with some of the facial features anonymized. This image was used to 3-D print an inverse mold, which also contains a specially designed base containing wires to serve as internal electrical sites inside of the head,” said Hairston.

“Since ballistics gel is grossly similar to organic tissue in its conductance profile, the head can then be used as a test fixture with our EEG equipment either to test the equipment’s function, model different sources of environmental noise and how it affects the equipment, or verify different kinds of algorithms that we use for processing or analyzing data.” Continue reading

Army’s ‘extreme batteries’ research center taps local experts

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is a leader in electrolyte chemistry used to make high energy dense batteries to develop new ways for U.S. land forces to store energy in an operational environment. (U.S. Army photo by Tom Faulkner)

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is a leader in electrolyte chemistry used to make high energy dense batteries to develop new ways for U.S. land forces to store energy in an operational environment. (U.S. Army photo by Tom Faulkner)

By Joyce P. Brayboy, U.S. Army Research Laboratory

  • ARL scientists are on a search for advanced battery chemistries.
  • The Army’s Center for Research in Extreme Batteries will host a meeting this spring for experts interested in taking part.

ADELPHI, Md. — The U.S. Army’s Center for Research in Extreme Batteries strengthens bonds between partners who want to solve practical battery problems.

Officials held the inaugural Power and Energy innovation workshop in 2014 to get local experts in batteries and materials talking, for an integrated, cross disciplinary look at challenges that may have solutions beneficial to all.

The workshop kicked off the Center for Research in Extreme Batteries as a regional hub in advancing battery chemistries with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, as the lead, and University of Maryland as the co-lead of the newly forming center.

Dr. Kang Xu, explained to the crowd of more than 100 leading experts from the local universities, government labs and industry that the ground forces reliance on energy in places beyond traditional grid access has led ARL scientists on a search for advanced battery chemistries that are beyond the expertise of government laboratories alone.

An expert in his own right, and best known in the field for his two comprehensive reviews on electrolyte materials, published at Chemical Reviews in 2004 and 2014, respectively, Xu asked the on-looking members of government, university and industry organizations for their help.

“In order for the real advances in energy storage technology to happen, a lot needs to be understood at fundamental levels, and we will have to extend the current expertise. It’s not enough to just have me or our other group members inside ARL. We will have to include a lot of other disciplines and form a team that is strongly associated by complementing expertises,” Xu said.

The concept of the center started with Xu and Dr. Chunsheng Wang, associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering within the Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland, using their complementary experience in electrolytes and electrodes, respectively, to build up to advances in rechargeable batteries over the course of years. They co-authored a number of publications in scientific journals of high-impact numbers, and were funded by Department of Energy.

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Innovation to fuel future Army

 

The July/August 2015 issue of Army Technology Magazine focuses on innovation.

The July/August 2015 issue of Army Technology Magazine focuses on innovation.

By David McNally, RDECOM Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (July 1, 2015) — The Army of the future will be fueled by innovation according to military leaders in research and development. 

“It’s up to us to establish the technical vision,” said Army Materiel Command Chief Technology Officer Patrick O’Neill. “We’ve got what it takes to meet the demands of the future. At the center of Force 2025 and Beyond will be the ability to provide technologies for supporting future operations and to streamline operational processes to produce a more adaptable, agile and effective Army.”

O’Neill is the featured interview for the July/August 2015 issue of Army Technology Magazine, which focuses on innovation. The magazine is an authorized, unofficial publication published under Army Regulation 360-1, for all members of the Department of Defense and the general public.

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Innovative treatments offer hope for burn victims

Soldiers from the 1st Armored Division, react to an explosion while participating in an urban combat exercise at a Fort Bliss, Texas, training facility May 11-12, 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph Wilbanks)

Soldiers from the 1st Armored Division, react to an explosion while participating in an urban combat exercise at a Fort Bliss, Texas, training facility May 11-12, 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph Wilbanks)

By Crystal Maynard, USAMRMC Public Affairs

Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan brought a surge in burn and blast wound injuries from improvised explosive devices. Many who sustain such injuries endure years of rehabilitation and countless surgeries. Finding innovative strategies to heal these complex wounds more quickly, with fewer complications and less long-term impact from scarring, contractures and disability is a high priority for military medicine.

In 2008, the Department of Defense established the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, led by the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Rutgers University. AFIRM was designed as a partnership between academia, industry and the government to deliver regenerative medicine therapies with the goal of restoring form and function to the most critically injured wounded warriors.

“Regenerative medicine is a rapidly growing area of science that aims to unlock the body’s own ability to rebuild, restore or replace damaged tissue and organs,” said Kristi Pottol, director of the Tissue Injury and Regenerative Medicine Program Management Office. “Much of regenerative medicine research in the civilian sector is focused on finding ways to reduce the burdens of chronic illness—diabetes, heart disease and others. The DOD wants to use these technologies to treat complex traumatic injuries.”

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Modular Active Protection and Better Buying Power 3.0

Maj. Gen. John F. Wharton, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (right) discusses advancements in armor and protection technology with Lt. Col. Sherwood P. Baker in front of TARDEC's Concept for Advanced Military Explosion-mitigating Land Demonstrator during the 2015 DOD Lab Day at the Pentagon. (U.S. Army photo by Jerry Aliotta)

Maj. Gen. John F. Wharton, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (right) discusses advancements in armor and protection technology with Lt. Col. Sherwood P. Baker in front of TARDEC’s Concept for Advanced Military Explosion-mitigating Land Demonstrator during the 2015 DOD Lab Day at the Pentagon. (U.S. Army photo by Jerry Aliotta)

By William Norton, TARDEC

Henry Ford said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” This quote is often used to authenticate his successful development and innovation philosophy. Ford reinvented the basic concept of personal mobility by applying emerging technology, manufacturing and business techniques to allow his company to achieve his personal vision.

A similar philosophy has emerged in Army research and development.

The Modular Active Protection System, or MAPS, program is a Research, Development and Engineering Command-wide effort led by the Detroit Arsenal-based U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center.

The program’s evolution rivals the American consumers’ move to cars as its “faster horse.”

An active protection system, or APS, provides a military vehicle with automatic protection from armor penetrators and direct-fire threats such as rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles. An effective APS must include:

  • sensing to detect potential threats
  • high-speed processing to classify the threat and to derive a relevant fire control solution
  • countermeasures to destroy the threat before the vehicle and its occupants are hit

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Revolutionary mortar system to boost speed, accuracy, enhance Soldier safety

The ADIM, currently an 81mm mortar weapon system, uses "soft recoil" to reduce the firing loads transmitted to the platform by a factor of eight, well within the limits of light tactical vehicle capacity. This enables mounted firing and supports rapid mobile operations. (U.S. Army photo)

The ADIM, currently an 81mm mortar weapon system, uses “soft recoil” to reduce the firing loads transmitted to the platform by a factor of eight, well within the limits of light tactical vehicle capacity. This enables mounted firing and supports rapid mobile operations. (U.S. Army photo)

By Eric Kowal and Ed Lopez, Picatinny Arsenal Public Affairs

In certain battlefield conditions, such as the mountainous terrain and unimproved roads of Afghanistan, large-caliber indirect-fire weapon systems lack the mobility and maneuverability required to successfully execute an assault.

To solve this problem, engineers at the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, are developing a revolutionary weapon system called the Automated Direct Indirect-fire Mortar, known as ADIM, which can be fired while mounted on a light tactical vehicle such as the Humvee or its potential replacement.

The ADIM, currently an 81mm mortar weapon system, uses soft recoil to reduce the firing loads transmitted to the platform by a factor of eight, well within the limits of light tactical vehicle capacity.

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Innovate the Future

Patrick-ONeill_AMC_OntheMove500px

Patrick J. O’Neill became the chief technology officer for the U.S. Army Materiel Command April 5, 2015, at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. Previously, he was the U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity technical director at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. He holds a master of science in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, a master of science in computer science from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor of science in mathematics and computer science (double major) from Loyola University. He has published numerous AMSAA technical reports and presented numerous papers in national and international operations research and military forums.He was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in March 2011.

Interview with Army Materiel Command Chief Technology Officer Patrick O’Neill

Army Technology: What is your vision for the Army of the future, and what role will technology play?

O’Neill: We should try to be the best. To enable that, I encourage us to challenge the status quo, empower and encourage innovation and professional growth, navigate our thinking, and infuse industry and academia in our plans.

As we think about the deep future, we should work closely with industry and academia to identify potential technologies early and to identify ways to support them for use in existing systems. How should we think differently? By partnering with industry and academia on systems still under development.

The challenges the Army faces, especially with the continued competition for resources, will be daunting. Our chief of staff, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, characterized it well by describing that the “velocity of instability is increasing and protecting technology is very critical.”

Army Technology: You’ve said that we should focus on being more efficient and effective. What is the best way to accomplish this?

O’Neill: It is important, especially with the threat of sequestration, to acquire technologies in a cost effective and efficient manner through joint collaboration and leveraging of investment dollars. It is critically important that the Army collaborate with other services, industry and academia to identify potential technologies early and to identify ways to integrate those technologies into the Soldiers’ kit.

The Defense Innovation Initiative is a new approach to allow new thinking focused on threats and challenges to our military and technological superiority. At the center of Force 2025 and Beyond will be the ability to provide technologies for supporting future operations and to streamline operational processes to produce a more adaptable, agile and effective Army. I believe the new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental in Silicon Valley will help create the presence we need in order to best identify and speed the technologies of tomorrow.

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Army chemists study new kind of molecule

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Greg Peterson, U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, exams a M-50 gas mask filter cartridge containing zirconium-based MOF material.

ECBC Public Affairs

Imagine a future in which a chemical attack on a Middle Eastern village in the dead of night has no effect on the people in its path. They are sleeping soundly in tents embedded with protective filtration material that prevents any harm. The village elders who come out to investigate have that same material in the headscarves they wear over their faces as they walk about with chemicals lingering in the air.

That day is coming closer. Two U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center scientists, Greg Peterson and Jared DeCoste, are working with chemists at Northwestern University to make it a reality.

For the past eight years, Peterson and DeCoste have been steadily refining and improving a recently developed class of chemical compounds known as metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs. Chemists make them in a laboratory using organic struts and metallic nodes, much like an erector set, creating void spaces for chemical warfare agent or toxic industrial compound molecules to enter.

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Knowledge management emerging as key requirement for collaboration, innovation

Pam Kartachak is the G6 for the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and chief information officer for the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center. (U.S. Army photo)

Pam Kartachak is the G6 for the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and chief information officer for the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center. (U.S. Army photo)

ECBC Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The rapid pace of technology continues to be a catalyst for the way people live, work and play. Network connections have promoted mobile computing applications that have increased access to information and knowledge sharing, and as a result, empowered communication on an individual and organizational level. But is the network secure?

The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center R&D IT Enterprise uses the Defense Research Engineering Network. Its secure network technology facilitates how scientists and engineers are able to get the right information to the right people at the right time in order to fulfill their mission to advance chemical and biological defense.

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One display to rule them all

A plug-in demonstrates slew-to-cue functionality, enabling efficient use of high magnification sensors for inspecting areas of interest on-the-move. (U.S. Army graphic)

A plug-in demonstrates slew-to-cue functionality, enabling efficient use of high magnification sensors for inspecting areas of interest on-the-move. (U.S. Army graphic)

Army engineers increase situational awareness for route clearance teams

By Allison Barrow, CERDEC Public Affairs

U.S. Army researchers are reducing the cognitive load on Soldiers by streamlining critical surveillance functions as part of counter-explosive, route clearance missions inside the Medium Mine Protected Vehicle, known as MMPV.

By collapsing the multiple video displays within the vehicle into a single touchscreen display, the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, in partnership with Product Manager Assured Mobility Systems, set out to increase situational awareness and operator efficiency, while decreasing size, weight and power, or SWaP.

Because of the way the counter-IED threat has evolved, there are an increased number of individual systems inside the MMPV compartments, such as imaging sensors, weapon systems and communications equipment, said Sean Jellish, CERDEC Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate Multifunction Video Display lead engineer.

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Innovative technology gains new potential

 

The operational concept behind the Enhanced Area Protection and Survivability technology is to have a 50mm course-corrected projectile intercept an incoming threat. The warhead has a tantalum-tungsten alloy liner to form forward-propelled penetrators for defeat of rockets, artillery and mortars, while steel-body fragments are designed to counter unmanned aerial systems. The technology is in various stages of development and testing. (U.S. Army graphic)

The operational concept behind the Enhanced Area Protection and Survivability technology is to have a 50mm course-corrected projectile intercept an incoming threat. The warhead has a tantalum-tungsten alloy liner to form forward-propelled penetrators for defeat of rockets, artillery and mortars, while steel-body fragments are designed to counter unmanned aerial systems. The technology is in various stages of development and testing. (U.S. Army graphic)

By Ed Lopez, Picatinny Arsenal Public Affairs

As drone technology gains greater public attention, along with its potential for hostile action against American targets, U.S. Army engineers are seeking to adapt ongoing research to counter aerial systems that could threaten Soldiers.

At Picatinny Arsenal, the Extended Area Protection and Survivability Integrated Demonstration, or EAPS ID, began as an Army Technology Objective program. The goal was to develop and demonstrate technology that could support a gun-based solution to counter rockets, artillery and mortars, or C-RAM.

Research into enhanced C-RAM technology had the goal of extending the range and probability of success against the incoming threat.

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Army researchers develop batteries that don’t corrode

Kang Xu, an Army Research Laboratory scientist, is one of the inventors responsible for a 30-percent increase in energy density in lithium batteries. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson)

Kang Xu, an Army Research Laboratory scientist, is one of the inventors responsible for a 30-percent increase in energy density in lithium batteries. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson)

By C. Todd Lopez, Army News Service

New, lighter batteries are under development for Soldiers now, in-house, at the Army Research Laboratory at Adelphi, Maryland.

Chemists at the lab here do materials research on lithium ion batteries and other advanced battery chemistry in an effort to support the warfighter.

“We help to develop new battery materials that are lighter and last longer for the Soldier, so he doesn’t have to carry so many batteries,” said Cynthia Lundgren, a chemist and Chief of the Electrochemistry Branch of the Power and Energy Division in the Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate.

To create a better battery, Lundgren and her team experiment with small “button cells,” such as what one might find in a watch. A “cell” consists of two electrodes: an “anode,” which is the side marked with a “minus” sign; and a metal oxide or phosphate cathode, which bears the “plus” sign. Between these two electrodes is a liquid electrolyte soaked separator that facilitates the transfer of lithium ions to transfer charge. One or more of these “cells” is used to construct a battery pack.

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Nano-satellites may soon communicate with Soldiers from space

Dr. Travis Taylor, senior scientist for Space Division, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command - Tech Center, at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., discusses Army space satellites during Lab Day at the Pentagon, May 14, 2015. He is shown holding a plastic and liquid nitric oxide container, which propels the satellite into low-Earth orbit after it leaves the mothership. Behind him is the imagery satellite and to the right is the smaller data and voice satellite. (U.S. Army photo by David Vergun)

Dr. Travis Taylor, senior scientist for Space Division, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command – Tech Center, at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., discusses Army space satellites during Lab Day at the Pentagon, May 14, 2015. He is shown holding a plastic and liquid nitric oxide container, which propels the satellite into low-Earth orbit after it leaves the mothership. Behind him is the imagery satellite and to the right is the smaller data and voice satellite. (U.S. Army photo by David Vergun)

By David Vergun, Army News Service

Tiny Army satellites may someday provide Soldiers with voice, data and even visual communications in remote areas, which lack such communications.

Already some of that technology has been successfully tested, said Dr. Travis Taylor.

Taylor is the senior scientist for Space Division, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command – Tech Center, or SMDC, at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He spoke during Lab Day at the Pentagon, May 14, 2015.

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Combat rations database allows Soldiers to learn about meals, ready-to-eat nutrition

A Soldier digs into a First Strike Ration in the mountains of Afghanistan. Nutritional information about the First Strike Ration and other individual rations is now available at the online combat rations database. (U.S. Army photo by Michael Stepien)

A Soldier digs into a First Strike Ration in the mountains of Afghanistan. Nutritional information about the First Strike Ration and other individual rations is now available at the online combat rations database. (U.S. Army photo by Michael Stepien)

By Bob Reinert, USAG-Natick Public Affairs

When Soldiers rip open meals, ready-to-eat, also known as MRE, in a combat zone, most people probably are thinking more about flavor and filling their stomachs than about the nutrition.

However, that does not mean nutrition is not important. The new online combat rations database, or ComRaD, formally launched earlier this month by the Department of Defense’s Human Performance Resource Center, or HPRC, provides warfighters, military dietitians, food service officers and leaders the opportunity to learn more about the nutritional value of what is inside those packages.

ComRaD is the result of a collaborative effort between HPRC, the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, also known as NSRDEC, and the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, or USARIEM, at Natick Soldier Systems Center. The database contains nutrition information about the MRE, First Strike Ration, Meal, Cold Weather, and Food Packet, Long Range Patrol.

Before ComRaD, military customers needed to contact experts at NSRDEC’s Combat Feeding Directorate, or CFD, to obtain accurate nutritional information. The lack of public access to this information has left customers to obtain nutritional information from alternate sources that are sometimes unreliable and inaccurate.

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Army, Air Force take bomb disposal to new level with lasers

The Recovery of Airbase Denied by Ordinance, or RADBO, prototype performs during the testing phase in February 2015 at Redstone Test Center, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama (U.S. Army photos)

The Recovery of Airbase Denied by Ordinance, or RADBO, prototype performs during the testing phase in February 2015 at Redstone Test Center, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama (U.S. Army photos)

By Carlotta Maneice, AMRDEC Public Affairs

The U.S. Army and Air Force are working together to develop Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles with laser technology.

Before, when the military wanted to disable a bomb, highly trained bomb disposal specialists wore body armor, protective suits or used robots to render an area safe.

With lasers, operators can negate the threat of improvised explosive devices, makeshift bombs, mines, and other unexploded explosive ordnance from a safe distance.

The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center Prototype Integration Facility, U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command and the Redstone Test Center developed the technology.

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DOD showcases innovation

Osie David (right), an RDECOM computer scientist, explains new communications and electronics technology to Mary Miller, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Research and Technology, at the Department of Defense Lab Day at the Pentagon May 14, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson)

Osie David (right), an RDECOM computer scientist, explains new communications and electronics technology to Mary Miller, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Research and Technology, at the Department of Defense Lab Day at the Pentagon May 14, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson)

By Dan Lafontaine, RDECOM Public Affairs

Military researchers demonstrated how their scientific and engineering efforts enable technological overmatch for Soldiers during the Department of Defense Lab Day at the Pentagon May 14.

Subject-matter experts from the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s seven centers and labs displayed examples of their latest research to hundreds of uniformed and civilian defense employees in the Pentagon’s Courtyard.

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Designing exoskeletons: Army researcher’s interest in robotics leads to innovative device

Dan Baechle from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory Multifunctional Materials research team has created a laboratory prototype of a device he designed to sense and damp out arm tremors for Army marksmanship training. His concept demonstrates the simple, control scheme has potential to correct involuntary tremors in shooting. Research Assistant Sean Averill, an incoming sophomore at Drexel University who majors in mechanical engineering, has been working with Baechle on the project for the last seven weeks. (U.S. Army photo by Doug LaFon)

Dan Baechle from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory Multifunctional Materials research team has created a laboratory prototype of a device he designed to sense and damp out arm tremors for Army marksmanship training. His concept demonstrates the simple, control scheme has potential to correct involuntary tremors in shooting. Research Assistant Sean Averill, an incoming sophomore at Drexel University who majors in mechanical engineering, has been working with Baechle on the project for the last seven weeks. (U.S. Army photo by Doug LaFon)

By Joyce P. Brayboy, ARL Public Affairs

Dan Baechle had a childhood fascination with robotics and exoskeletons since he first saw Caterpillar’s Power Loader full-body exoskeleton from Aliens. Robotic exoskeletons have been a science fiction theme and an engineering feat since the 1960s.

Practical design techniques that allow a fictional character to be stronger, more powerful or more functional intrigues engineers toward simplicity in futuristic innovation.

At the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, Baechle, a mechanical engineer, is testing MAXFAS, a mechatronic arm exoskeleton, which is designed so that it could be used to train new Soldiers to reach shooting proficiency faster.

The near-future vision for the developmental test system is that it would be a training device to help new recruits with novice marksmanship skills and generally help increase combat arms shooting performance on the battlefield.

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