ARL showcases technologies at 2015 DoD Lab Day

June 03, 2015

By Tracie R. Dean, ARL Public Affairs

Story Highlights

  • This unprecedented event was created as an opportunity for the science and technology communities to display the groundbreaking work developed throughout DoD.
  • During the ceremony, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research and Engineering) awarded the Applied Research for the Advancement of Science and Technology Priority grant to the ARL, NRL and AFRL to support game-changing research in the areas of quantum sciences and engineering.
  • The $45 million award will fund a three-year project titled, "Joint Service Laboratories Capabilities in Quantum Sciences and Engineering," which necessitates cross-coordination between the ARL, NRL and AFRL.

Scientists and engineers from across the Department of Defense gathered at the Pentagon courtyard on May 14 to show off their innovative technologies at the 2015 DoD Lab Day.

This unprecedented event was created as an opportunity for the science and technology communities to display the groundbreaking work developed throughout DoD. The event provided a platform for the "best of the brightest" scientists and engineers to showcase specific projects and demonstrations being worked on in the world of science and technology that will someday benefit the Warfighter.

The official opening ceremony kicked off the event and included remarks by Mr. Alan Shaffer, Principal Deputy, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and the Honorable Frank Kendall, Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. The keynote speaker for the ceremony was the Honorable Robert O. Work, Deputy Secretary of Defense.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory was among those organizations participating, exhibiting the lab's dedication to basic and applied research and some of the enhanced capabilities that have resulted from ARL's cutting-edge research. Showcasing advancements in autonomy and personal protection technology, ARL displays included: Armor Materials on Demand and by Design; Flex Electronics: Tactical Edge X-Ray; Head Protection Research; Cognitive Sensing Headgear; and Fuel Cell Powered Small Unmanned Aerial System.

One of the most popular exhibits of the event was cognitive sensing headgear. Dr. Jean Vettel of ARL's Human Research and Engineering Directorate Translational Neuroscience Branch, discussed the popularity of the exhibit and how it links with the current cultural fascination of tracking metrics with apps and watches.

"The current proof-of-concept design for a wear-and-forget EEG cap has a certain futuristic feel to it, and why it is a visible part of the Army's strategic message about how S&T will create novel capabilities for future Army," said Vettel.

"In addition, our culture has a growing interest in tracking our behavior with Fitbit watches, Garmin computers, and various apps on our smartphones, so seeing wires on our heads lead many to ask, 'So, what are you going to do with it?'"

Vettel went on to explain the most significant benefit to the Soldier when wearing cognitive sensing headgear. "One of our main aims in the translational neuroscience research program is to identify ways that technology can adapt to the Soldier," Vettel said. "We all experience time frames where we feel fatigued, have a hard time attending to information, need to reread the same text a few times to comprehend it, experience stress, and the like. Our group focuses on measuring brain and physiological signals to identify methods and metrics to track these fluctuations in cognitive states which impact performance.

"If we can capture ways to quantify these changes in state, then we can design technology to augment performance or mitigate decrements. This would revolutionize the way Soldiers interact with technology, enabling designs where the technology can adapt to fluctuations in our cognitive states rather than requiring us to adapt to its hard constraints."

During the ceremony, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research and Engineering) awarded the Applied Research for the Advancement of Science and Technology Priority grant to the ARL, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to support game-changing research in the areas of quantum sciences and engineering.

Deputy Secretary Work presented Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Masiello, commander of AFRL, Dr. Thomas P. Russell, director of ARL, and Dr. Gerald M. Borsuk, assistant director of research at NRL with the ARAP award. The $45 million award will fund a three-year project titled, "Joint Service Laboratories Capabilities in Quantum Sciences and Engineering," which necessitates cross-coordination between the ARL, NRL and AFRL.

"Cyber security is one of our greatest national security challenges," Work said. "This project will use the laws of quantum engineering at the nano-scale...to provide our troops with the information and communication networks that meet this challenge."

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology Mary Miller and others from across OSD were in attendance for the event, which they viewed as a resounding success for the Army and DoD.

"We have some of the most innovative projects here at this event that showcase the knowledge, skills and expertise resident in our Army laboratories and centers," Miller said.

"It is our Army scientists and engineers making us successful – they understand [better than others] the problems faced by our Soldiers and the environment within which our equipment must work."


The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is the nation's premier laboratory for land forces and is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC delivers it.

For more information, visit www.arl.army.mil, follow @ArmyResearchLab on Twitter and follow the lab on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ArmyResearchLaboratory.

 

Last Update / Reviewed: June 3, 2015