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Archive for the ‘Disruptive Tech’ Category

DOD Funds New Tissue Biofabrication Manufacturing Consortium

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department will fund an 87-member coalition to develop next-generation manufacturing techniques for repairing and replacing cells, tissues and organs for wounded service members, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics announced Wednesday at the White House.

Frank Kendall introduced the winning consortium, which is led by the nonprofit Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), headquartered in Manchester, New Hampshire. Members of the consortium — from industry, academic and government backgrounds — will serve as part of the new Advanced Tissue Biofabrication Manufacturing Innovation Institute, or ATB-MII.

The institute is the 12th manufacturing hub awarded by the Obama administration, seven of them so far led by DOD.

MANUFACTURING AND NATIONAL SECURITY


Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory say the precision and 3D structures made possible through bioprinting are enabling them to more effectively reproduce human physiology outside of the body, which will eventually lead to a better representation of each tissue system that makes up the human body. (Photo Credit: Courtesy Department of Energy)

“Manufacturing is deeply important to national security,” Kendall said, noting that DOD signed a technology-investment agreement Monday with ARMI to establish the institute.

Participating in the selection process were more than 20 technical experts, representing four federal government departments or agencies. Among the DOD representatives were members of five military services and agencies.

“This agreement, awarded by the Army Contracting Command, provides for seven years of operation with financial support supplied by a combination of $80 million in DOD funds and more than $214 million in non-federal cost sharing,” Kendall said.

“This financial support offers ample evidence that industry is fully behind this initiative. This is truly a team effort,” the undersecretary said.

PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP

The Advanced Tissue Biofabrication team — organized by ARMI and led by engineer, inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen — consists of 47 companies, 26 academic institutions and 14 government and nonprofit organizations, all supporting the industry-driven nonprofit public-private partnership, Kendall said.

“Members of the partnership include small-through-large businesses, DOD research and development laboratories, public and private universities, research institutions, federal and state government entities and local governments — who are all collaborating to meet future defense and commercial requirements,” he explained.

ARMI will bring current and future members together in a collaborative space in Manchester, Kendall said, and “key state partners in the ATB-MII have pledged substantial support.”

State partners include New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, California, Colorado, Washington, Arizona, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland.

“I don’t think you want to be left out of this activity,” Kendall said.

REGENERATIVE MEDICINE

The ATB is an investment in manufacturing and testing technologies to advance the state of the art in regenerative medicine, the undersecretary said.

“The ‘why’ for this institute is one that is extremely important to all of us and personal to many of us in the Defense Department — restoring form, function and appearance for our wounded warfighters and changing what is possible for the many Americans who’ve spent far too long on the organ-transplant waiting list,” he added.

The institute encompasses state-of-the-art tissue manufacturing, cell and biomaterial processing, 3-D bioprinting, automation and nondestructive testing technologies, Kendall said.

“The biggest challenge to widespread availability for emerging manufacturing tissue products is in common technologies, processes and standards to advance manufacturing, product testing, quality control, quality assurance and product preservation,” the undersecretary said.

CELLS, TISSUES, ORGANS


Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory say the precision and 3D structures made possible through bioprinting are enabling them to more effectively reproduce human physiology outside of the body, which will eventually lead to a better representation of each tissue system that makes up the human body. (Photo Credit: Courtesy Department of Energy)

It’s necessary, Kendall said, to create and sustain an industrial commons — a foundation of knowledge and capabilities — “for the ATB-MII to advance the standardization of tissue products and processes for widespread use across industries in areas such as cell therapies, engineered replacement tissue and biopharmaceutical products.”

Scaling up manufacturing processes to produce cells, tissues and organs at scale “will catalyze disparate supply-chain elements and enable novel products for the Defense Department and the larger health-care sectors,” he added.

The challenge is amplified in medicine, Kendall said, because of the complexities of scaling and, especially, the unique nature of tissue engineering.

FROM SCIENCE TO INDUSTRY

Kamen’s inventions include the Segway human transporter, the first drug-infusion pump, portable dialysis machines, a water purifier, an all-terrain electric wheelchair and — working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — the DEKA-Luke prosthetic arm.

At the White House, Kamen described the development of the arm technology, which is now approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as “making arms for some of these young [military] heroes who desperately need and deserve something more than a stick with a hook on it.”

Referring to the science infrastructure scientists require in order to turn their research into useful products, Kamen said, “We can supply essentially what the printing press did to get all these ideas to the world that needs them. We need to essentially make the printing press for the world of regenerative medicine.”

And that’s not just an analogy, Kamen added, “It’s a real printing press — we’ll be printing 3-D organs.” Kidneys, he said, may be one of the first organs to be produced.

The inventor said he and his team of engineers will give the scientists the tools they need to turn what is now an incredibly exciting science into an industry “that will meet the needs, first of your soldiers who need skin for burns and organs because of what they lost, but then the rest of the country, and the rest of the world will benefit.”

(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter: @PellerinDoDNews)

TRADOC’s First Mad Scientist Science Fiction Writing Contest

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command is pleased to announce its first Mad Scientist Science Fiction Writing Contest and will accept submissions between November 22, 2016 and February 15, 2017.


The topic for this competition is “Warfare in 2030 to 2050.” Writers from all walks of life have the opportunity to contribute ideas that are outside what the Army is already considering about the future. These stories are being used to explore fresh ideas about the future of warfare and technology. Writers are asked to consider (but not limited to) how trends in science, technology, society, the global economy, and other aspects could change the world in a meaningful way, with implications for how the Army operates in future conflicts.

The winning contestant will receive an invitation with most expenses paid to the concluding 2017 Mad Scientist Conference co-hosted by Georgetown University, Center for Security Studies, School of Foreign Service, Washington, D.C. Submissions selected as runners up will be published in one of several professional military journals.

For more information and guidelines for the competition visit the TRADOC G2 2017 Mad Scientist Conference Science Fiction Writing Contest Page or contact Allison Winer at allison.d.winer.civ@mail.mil.

There is no DoD affiliation required to enter.

Mission Ready’s No-Contact LLC Announces First Order of Riot Shield Covers

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

VANCOUVER, B.C. – December 13, 2016 – Mission Ready Services Inc. (“Mission Ready” or the “Company”) (TSX-V: MRS) is pleased to announce the initial order of its No-Contact Riot Shield Covers for use in a military application. Developed and fulfilled through the Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Protect The Force Inc. (“PTF”), the modest sub $9,000 order of 12 units represents the official commercial launch of this now market-ready product.

The No-Contact Shield cover, upon activation, releases a strong electrical pulse and an electrical shock sound and spark that deters an assailant. Similar to stun guns, the No-Contact technology is uniquely engineered into a textile composite that can be applied into any type of shield cover, including riot control and correctional facilities types as well as other form factors.

Requirements for this unique patented technology have been established through a product development effort that was initiated in FY2016 and has resulted in further intellectual property claims being filed by the Company. This order further validates No-Contact as a less than lethal technology that supports the unique mission sets of those who protect us.

The manufacturing of the No-Contact Shield covers will be done at the Company’s PTF Manufacturing Inc. facility in Jacksboro, TN and the key electronic components will be manufactured at the Company’s laboratory in Boston, MA.
Francisco Martinez, CTO states: “This small but fundamentally significant order is a milestone for the Company and the commercialization process. We strive to meet the changing demands being placed on military and law enforcement personnel and we believe this product provides them with another tool to help them successfully complete their mission. In addition to the application for this order, we have developed No-Contact Shield Covers for riot control units and for correctional facilities.”

www.missionready.com

That’s One Way To Defeat Paratroopers

Monday, November 28th, 2016

Finland, during the Continuation war.

Disruptive Tech – Home Brewed Pistol Firing Drone

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Here’s another example of, “just becuase you can, doesn’t mean you should.” 

We’re pretty sure this isn’t the first armed civilian drone, and it won’t be the last, that is until someone does something stupid and there’s a crackdown. Some don’t think it’s real but this guy did some analysis of the footage and believes it is: www.wired.com/2015/07/uh-oh-video-pistol-firing-drone-probably-real/

It’s Art, Really

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Yesterday, I attended a panel at the Atlantic Council on the new novel, “Ghost Fleet” by PW Singer and August Cole which supposes a future conflict. This recruiting poster was created as part of the complimentary Art of World War III project also hosted by the Atlantic Council.

  
Chris Martin and Ben Mauro
“Make History”

All of the art can be seen at motherboard.vice.com/read/the-art-of-world-war-iii but this one reamins my favorite for a variety of reasons.

Atlantic Council’s “Envisioning The Future of Urban Warfare”

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Awhile back I mentioned the upcoming Envisioning The Future of Urban Warfare panel presented by the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC. This is the fourth in a series of “The Art Of Future Warfare”. The Atlantic Council is dedicated to bringing new voices and ideas to the national security arena. It holds numerous symposiums throughout the year and publishes various studies.

Somehow the comments in the post where I mentioned this event went sideways with readers concerned that this was some group of whacko artists hell bent to leverage a visit to America’s foreign battlefields in order to get a glimpse of realism in order to make their more realistic. The truth of the matter is the opposite. We need them. Sessions like this are used by think tanks to leverage the imagination of artists and help develop a “concept of the possible” regarding future operational environments. The idea is to envision what the environment might look like, but also how our adversaries might fight. Their creativity was put to work to illuminate novel concepts and disruptive technologies in the 2040-2050 timeframe.

  
The “Envisioning The Future of Urban Warfare” session consisted of three panelists guided by August Cole, Director, Art of Future Warfare Project at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council. Two panelsists are artists in their own right and the third, an intelligence analyst amd advisor to the US government. All focused their efforts to offer some insight into future operating environments.

Max Brooks

Author Max Brooks is well known to many. His focus has been on Urban Chaos and comes to prominence in his works, World War Z and Extinction Parade.

He offered these insights:

-We are the world’s first isolationist superpower. Brooks said he is convinced that the war of 2050 has already stated. It isn’t a conflict yet, it’s an environmental dispute, a border issue, a tribal turf war. About 2030, the war starts, and in 2050, we are drawn in. This goes back to his point that we are a reluctant superpower and leery about wading in.

-America is very good at reinventing itself. We adapt as a nation, in fairly short periods of time. As an example he explained that the Army that went into World War Two was quite different than the Army that emerged triumphant in 1945.

-Multiculturalism is our strength. No matter where we go in the world, we have diaspora living here who can bridge across cultures and we have mega cities that are similar to those we will see in the future. He did however, add one comment about those megacities that struck me as flippant, “Thanks to the gun lobby, they are armed to the teeth.”

-As a medium, Brooks mentioned that he needs science fiction to be able to educate. He went on to said that in order to look forward, we need to look back. In WWZ, he did exactly that. Take the Battle of Yonkers vignette for instance. It’s based on history. He also suggests we look sideways for other, similar situations.

One thing impressed me. Max Brooks has been studying. He understands the concept of the elements of national power, or DIME (Diplomatic, Information, Military, Economic). Even our federal government, outside of the military seems oblivious to the concept that we wage conflict as a nation and not just via force of arms.

Brooks also gave some good advice, “Always try to feel like a seventh grader, the dumbest person in the room. Then you’re learning.”

Interestingly, Max Brooks related that he is dyslexic and didn’t pick up his first book until he was 16 when he read “Hunt for Red October”. Tom Clancy was very influential. He was not only entertained by the book but also educated and this helps you understand how he uses science fiction to inform as well as entertain.

Jon Chang

Many of you know Jon Chang for his work on the “Black Powder, Red Earth” video games and graphic novels. He also works for Haley Strategic Partners.

Chang sees art as an expression of data. BPRE was written based on study, but of experience, more than of raw data. He had access to several people with extensive experience in Iraq that helped him understand the environmemt.

Based on what he has learned studying modern conflict, Chang made a couple of observations.

-Tools may change but the techniques don’t.

-There are no shortcuts.

-People are always in conflict. It’s about managing that conflict to make it unpalatable enough that they don’t escalate.

Chang also sees future conflict very much a function of corporate, rather than national interests. He believes that corporations will work engagement angles like funding NGOs in order to build goodwill.

When asked what art form influenced him growing up, Chang mentioned Manga.

Dr Erin M Simpson

Dr Erin Simpson is the President and CEO of Caerus Associates. She isn’t the typical artist. Her training is in Political Science but has a great deal of experience in using statistics and other data to support analysis. Most recently, she has examined cities as systems, making her contribution to this panel most excellent, in my opinion.

Dr Simpson’s observations:

-Her recent work on a Mega cities project led her to conclude that cities are not an engineering problem, but rather a systems problem. She sees an explosion of connectivity and a move to instrument cities which has led to an ubiquitousness of sensors. As far as analysis of the urban environment goes, Dr Simpson advises to look at how a city behaves as a system and remove the emotion from the equation.

-She’d like to see a narrative piece added to intelligence analysis. Most information is presented as raw data and a narrative agent might be used to create a story from the data. Furthermore, a storybook tool could be used for predictive analysis to see how outcomes might change as different data is fed into the system.

-Her work is driven by human and organizational behavior. She considers who has power but doesn’t stop there, wanting to determine the source of that power. Take, for instance, access to water. Is it just access, or is it something else like having control of the village with the engineers that manage the water system?

-Nature abhors a vacuum. Even though a state doesn’t have control of an area, someone does.

-Regarding expeditionary operations, she says that we won’t bring everything with us anymore and will rely on host nation services.

Dr Simpson was very careful to differentiate urban operations vice urban warfare since there is such a wide mission set that may be accomplished in urban areas.

I found this comment regatding US intervention abroad most enlightening, “It’s the santa clause problem, the State department is not coming.”

She is fascinated by discovery. It’s not about collecting info once you know what the problem is, but rather, the real issue is identifying the problem itself. For example, having a hunch that there is an international Islamic terrorist network. The hard work is in the proving it. The book, “Band Played On” that chronicals the discovery if the AIDS virus is about that; “There’s a disease killing people. What is it?” She also mentioned Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash” as particularly influential.

Alex Brady

Artist Alex Brady Winner of the War-Art challenge contest. It was obviously inspired by the events of 1999 in Tiannemen Square. I’m curious though, what does it say to you?

  

Blast From The Past – What Kind of Leader Are You?

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

An Army buddy reminded me about the Hammerstein-Equord leadership model. Below is a story initially published on SSD in May, 2012.

In the mid-1800s a Prussian Field Marshal named Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke developed a means to evaluate his officers.

Smart & Lazy – I make them my Commanders because they make the right thing happen but find the easiest way to accomplish the mission.
Smart & Energetic – I make them my General Staff Officers because they make intelligent plans that make the right things happen.
Dumb & Lazy – There are menial tasks that require an officer to perform that they can accomplish and they follow orders without causing much harm.
Dumb & Energetic – These are dangerous and must be eliminated. They cause things to happen but the wrong things so cause trouble.

I’ve also seen this attributed to various German Army leaders beginning in the inter-war years and seems to convey prevailing thinking. It boils leadership down into its simplest form and measures the leader on two axes: Intelligence (competence) and industriousness (or lack thereof).

As Chief of the Army High Command, the Anti-Nazi Gen Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord oversaw the composition of the German manual on military unit command (Truppenführung), dated 17 October 1933. In it, he proposed a classification scheme for military leaders.

‘I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined.
Some are clever and diligent — their place is the General Staff.
The next lot are stupid and lazy — they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties.
Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions.
One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent — he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief.’

Remember, in the German model, the most promising go to the General Staff for grooming. In the American model, the best and brightest take command. Considering that, do you think its still a viable model?