Modernizing the military
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New technologies are playing an increasingly significant role in nearly
every aspect of society, and the military is no exception. From software
to identification systems, diagnostics to emergency management, Pacific
Northwest National Laboratory has developed technologies that could
support the military as it moves into the 21st century.
Dog tags go digital
Researchers at Pacific Northwest have developed a "digital dog tag"
based on the Laboratory's radio frequency technology that could quickly
provide critical information to those who are responsible for assessing
injuries, administering treatment and transporting wounded military
personnel in the field.
The Tactical Medical Coordination System, or TacMedCS, consists of
two componentsâ€"the tag and the reader. The tag is a silicon chip and
antenna encapsulated in rubber that would store an electronic record of
a person's medical history, condition and treatment. The second
component includes a device that beams radio frequency waves to
"read" and update information stored on the tags. It also contains a
global positioning system to track a patient's location, a wireless modem
and a computer.
After developing a proof-of-concept
system and conducting initial field
testing in collaboration with the Naval
Aerospace Medical Research
Laboratory, researchers now face the
challenge of making the reader
portion of the system smaller and
lighter so it could easily be carried by
Navy corpsman providing medical
Are the tanks ready?
The Laboratory's prototype system to
diagnose and predict failures in the turbine engines of the Army's M1
Abrams main battle tank helped pique the Army's interest in prognostic
technology. REDI-PRO, or Real time Engine Diagnostics-Prognostics,
was designed to continuously monitor data from sensors on the Abrams'
engine and uses artificial neural networks, rule-based algorithms and
predictive trending to recognize normal and degraded operating
conditions. The same approach to prognostics is applicable in other
Decision details on the desktop
The Laboratory's EMAdvantage is a suite of information system tools
created to prepare for emergencies at chemical weapons storage
depots. The Federal Emergency Management Information System
(FEMIS) gives the Utah Comprehensive Emergency Management
Center the capability to quickly and easily communicate key information
between the Deseret Chemical Depot, Tooele County and the Utah
State Comprehensive Emergency Management Agency.
Originally developed for the Army, FEMIS served as the basis for hazard
emergency management software that is being customized and
enhanced for various applications. A version of EMAdvantage installed
at the Minatitlan Refinery in Mexico was customized to address
situations specific to the oil industry and translated into Spanish. Earth
Alertâ€"another extended versionâ€"can speed the process of declaring
national disasters by allowing users to collect and communicate damage
assessment data directly from the field using wireless handheld devices.
EMAdvantage is available to government and commercial users.
Sending in the GOAT
Engineers at Pacific Northwest have developed the concept for a
battery-powered robot that might one day take the place of soldiers
doing reconnaissance surveillance in the field. Under a $500,000
contract from DARPA, Laboratory engineers and two development
partners created the conceptual design for the Goes Over All Terrain
Known as GOAT, the machine would maneuver at speeds of up to 15
miles per hour and would be equipped with global positioning
equipment, sensors and cameras. Independent wheels, arms that could
move individually and remote radio frequency controls would allow
GOAT to traverse difficult terrain and cross water.
Based on GOAT's scalable design, the team is designing and fabricating
a smaller version targeted for use in urban areas and inside buildings
where it could be deployed in terrorist and hostage situations. The
modular design also allows GOAT to be quickly adapted with different
wheels and tires for use in caves and other hazardous exploratory work.