ARL showcases research at 2012 Maneuver Conference

October 19, 2012

Story Highlights

  • ARL participated in the 2012 Maneuver Conference.
  • Theme for the conference was "The Human Dimension of War: Ready to Lead, Ready to Fight."
  • Both the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate (WMRD) and the Human Research and Engineering Directorate (HRED) represented ARL.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) recently participated in the 2012 Maneuver Conference at the Iron Works Convention and Trade Center in Columbus, Ga. as part of a Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) joint exhibit.

The theme for this year's conference was "The Human Dimension of War: Ready to Lead, Ready to Fight."

Attending the conference were senior leaders and Soldiers from the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Ga., as well as numerous attendees from industry, academia, and the Department of Defense.

Joining ARL at the conference were the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center and the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.

Both the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate (WMRD) and the Human Research and Engineering Directorate (HRED) represented ARL and provided subject-matter experts and technology displays throughout the three-day conference.

The WMRD portion of the exhibit featured a vehicle protection research theme and included displays of ballistically tested armor targets. WMRD is the Army's leader in the development and advancement of ground vehicle protection technologies. Their armor research program intensely investigates high-rate mechanisms of material deformation and failure from the interaction with weapon and explosive device threats.

ARL has been instrumental as the primary source of ground vehicle armors, including the Abrams tank, Bradley vehicle, Stryker vehicle, Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs).

ARL is also pursuing development of protection technologies for low-altitude battlespace aircraft platforms and emerging ground vehicles (Ground Combat Vehicle - GCV, Joint Light Tactical Vehicle - JLTV). Robust advanced armor technologies allow our Soldiers to achieve their missions with the minimal weight burdens and return home safely.

"The discussions with the Soldiers offered an excellent reinforcement of the lead role we play in vehicle protection research," said Steve Taulbee, who is with WMRD's Office of the Director.

HRED showcased their efforts in Soldier Load Apps (Applications) on mobile devices that help the dismounted Soldier through planning, training and resource management to arrive fresh to the fight. Metabolic cost algorithms assist in minimizing heat casualties and reduce instances of physical over-burden.

HRED also focused on its collaborative work with Army Research Institute (ARI) on visual improvised explosive device (IED) detection training tools designed to enhance the critical human dimension component of visual IED detection. The tools specifically address aspects of visual IED detection that research has shown to be most critical for visually finding IEDs.

Dr. Grayson CuQlock-Knopp and Samantha Wallace, both from HRED's Perceptual Sciences Branch, said attendance at the conference allowed them to demonstrate the 3D high definition IED video training lane to Warfighters and obtain their feedback regarding its usefulness for training the search for IEDs.

These training tools consist of three separate and complimentary training modules. One module is a VBS2 based vigilance training scenario, designed specifically to enhance individual's ability to maintain vigilance over time. A second module provides anomaly-detection training. This is accomplished by providing high definition, tactically relevant scenes that challenge the viewers to identify potential IED targets or indicators thereof. Once a Soldier evaluates the scene, the module provides comments and visual guidance from a subject-matter experts to describe how he evaluates the visual scene.

A third module uses high definition 3D video to virtually take Soldiers down a route with IEDs and indicators thereof. Soldiers are challenged to dynamically identify IEDs and the indicators in tactically relevant scenarios. This experience is then followed by replaying the scenario again with subject-matter experts describing their interpretation of the tactical elements that should be considered. All three interactive components specifically challenge the Soldiers to improve their cognitive and visual detection skills.

Dr. Alan Davison, branch chief of HRED's Maneuver and Mobility Branch at Fort. Leavenworth, Kan., was upbeat about the outcome of the conference.

"I found the Maneuver Conference a great opportunity to meet with other members of RDECOM and learn of the work that they are doing. Most importantly, it provided the opportunity to interact with Soldiers and receive their ideas on products we are developing. Lastly, being able to see what industry is developing to support Army's needs and consider the realm how new developments may complement our research was all worthwhile," he said.


Last Update / Reviewed: October 19, 2012