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Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Safariland and Flying Cross Launch Virtual Sizing Technology for Body Armor and Uniforms

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

XpertFit™ is a Touchless, First-To-Market Innovation for Public Safety

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Safariland®, a brand of The Safariland Group, a leading global provider of safety products, along with Flying Cross, a Fechheimer Brothers Company brand and global leader in public safety uniforms, announced today their collaborative launch of phase one of a new virtual sizing technology called XpertFit. This virtual sizing technology revolutionizes the process in which individual officers are sized for body armor and uniform apparel. XpertFit offers a touchless, self-measure method of capturing body measurements right from a mobile phone.

“This new sizing service really sets apart the level of innovation and depth of resources available to our customers as two leading industry brands,” said Bob Getto, President/CEO of Fechheimer Brothers Company, the parent company of Flying Cross. “XpertFit will provide our dealers and end users value and efficiencies they have not previously experienced up until now. In addition, XpertFit is the perfect solution during this heightened time of social distancing.”

XpertFit takes the guesswork out of onsite measuring by providing instant and accurate measurements from a smart device. The process takes less than 2 minutes to complete from initiating the technology until the time you are provided with product sizing.

Individuals will simply access the technology from a mobile device and choose their path to fit either body armor or uniforms. Next, the technology will gather general information and then take a front and side profile picture. This is then used to calculate measurements based on its uniquely developed algorithm, and determine a recommended size for Safariland body armor, or Flying Cross uniform apparel.

The new XpertFit technology will enter phase one of its release in early December to a select group of dealers and customers and will be ready for a full launch in Q2 of 2021. This first-to-market technology is an exclusive for Safariland and Flying Cross through their participating partnering dealers. XpertFit was created in partnership with 3DLOOK, the global leader in AI-first contactless body measuring and fit solutions.

“The proper fit of armor and uniforms is essential to duty and safety personnel, and our collaboration with 3DLOOK has allowed us to revolutionize the process.” said Brad Williams, President of Safariland. “Convenience and accuracy of measurements is a growing concern. XpertFit will allow the reflection of this urgency and efficiency to change the procurement process in an effort to save time and increase consumer confidence.”

“We’ve worked hard to bring this level of service to our customers,” said Getto. Every detail has been vetted from the algorithms, use in market, process flow and privacy of customer information. Being able to partner with Safariland to incorporate body armor makes this even more powerful. We are excited to see what this will do for our top customers, retailers, and internal teams as well.”

“We’ve had the pleasure of working with the amazing teams at both Fechheimer and The Safariland Group to deliver this first of a kind simple and accurate fit and sizing solution that delivers a contactless and safe measuring experience. This is a major step in digital transformation for the whole global uniform manufacturing industry,” said Vadim Rogovskiy, Co-founder and CEO at 3DLOOK.

Wearin’ Connected Vest: New Ready-to-Use Wearable Technology for Connected Soldiers

Monday, October 26th, 2020

Fischer Connectors Group, the leader in rugged connectivity solutions for harsh environments, is proud to present its spin-off Wearin’™, the provider of new wearable connectivity solutions.

Wearin’s solutions integrate wearable technology into ergonomically designed gear, helping reduce weight, simplify use and enhance situational awareness.

Easy-to-use, rugged & lightweight, Wearin’ connectivity solutions are suited for the Generic Soldier Architecture (GSA), Soldier Modernization programs and C5ISTAR applications.

At the recent AUSA NOW, Wearin’ unveiled a connected vest designed to meet SWaP (Size, Weight & Power requirements) and enhance soldier mobility, performance and safety.

The Wearin’ connected vest offers a distributed data (USB 2.0) and power bus, eliminating external cables and multiple batteries. Connector receptacles sewn in strategic locations turn the soldier’s vest into a flexible hub delivering power and data.

Communications gear, sensors, cameras, night vision systems, smartphones, tactical computers, GPS devices and other essentials can be fastened with matching plugs built directly into the device.

The new ready-to-use connected vest is Wearin’s Starter Kit, now commercially available. It includes:

• 1x tactical plate & load carrier (vest)

• 1x tactical wearable hub USB 2+ / plug & play with standard wiring integrated within the vest without break-out cables

• 6x Fischer LP360™ cabled receptacles integrated into the vest, i.e. sewn thanks to the new Fischer LP360™ Quick Detach System* including an adapter, a sewing junction, and a retaining ring

• 1x cable with a Fischer LP360™ plug and Fischer UltiMate™ 80* plug (6-pin NATO STANAG 4695 compatible)

• 1x cable with a Fischer LP360™ plug and a USB type A

• 1x Fischer LP360™ LED

• 1x Fischer LP360™ USB 2.0 adapter

Optional applications include the Fischer LP360™ Rugged Flash Drive and the Fischer LP360™ BodyCam*.

* Fischer Connectors’ NEW products commercially available as of September 2020

Wearin’ for Defense & Security. As part of the Fischer Connectors Group, Wearin’ combines the agility of a start-up with the expertise of one of the world’s leading manufacturers of rugged connectivity solutions for harsh environments. With a global network of specialized partners in wearable technology, data management, garment manufacturing and other fields, Wearin’ breaks the silos of product development to help create comprehensive, rugged and reliable military-grade wearable ecosystems. www.wearin.tech.

Medevac Officer Looks to Help Army One Invention at a Time

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii — Mahdi Al-Husseini had his whole career figured out as he enrolled in Georgia Institute of Technology back in 2013. He knew he would graduate with a joint degree in biomedical engineering and public policy before attending graduate school for computer science.

From there, he planned to pursue a job in the defense and space industry.

The idea of joining the Army never once crossed his mind, he said. He knew nothing of his school’s Reserve Officer Training Corps, or ROTC, and the vast opportunities in the Army.

Now a first lieutenant, Al-Husseini serves as an active-duty aeromedical evacuations officer with 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii.

He is also an engineer currently developing an aerial hoist stabilization system that could help save lives during an in-air medical extraction.

“There is something unique about the medevac mission,” he said. “We ensure that America’s sons and daughters — individuals that have experienced great tragedy — have an opportunity to return home.”

Best-laid plans

While Al-Husseini’s passion for engineering never wavered during college, he did find a deeper calling to support something greater than himself.

The Army quickly soared to the top of his list, as he joined ROTC during his junior year. He was determined to give back to the people and institutions that helped him succeed.

“After I joined, I was deciding between a few different Army branches: medical services, engineering, or cyber,” Al-Husseini said. “That same year, I interned at the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Lab.”

The USAARL looks to deliver scientific solutions to help save lives, according to lab officials. Research efforts target biomedical, physiological, and psychological issues, as the Army aims to increase the performance of aviation, airborne, and ground personnel.

As an intern, Al-Husseini assisted the lab’s experimental testing efforts tied to various aviation helmets. He eventually crossed paths with two medevac pilots working on a separate project. The three became friends as they started to exchange ideas.

“This was the first time I talked in depth about the medical evacuation mission,” Al-Husseini said. “We are responsible for bringing home America’s wounded warriors. In my opinion, this is truly one of theArmy’s no-fail mission sets.”

Influenced by his peers’ passion and drive, Al-Husseini’s outlook on engineering and his future career decisions started to shift.

“My experience [with USAARL] cemented my interest in the aeromedical mission. I decided to request medical services as my first choice of branch,” he said.

“I [now] look at engineering and computer science as tools in my toolbox,” he added. “I love engineering and computer science … but as an engineer, you have to decide what to do with those tools.”

Training, engineering, competing

Shortly after college, Al-Husseini found himself at Fort Rucker, Alabama, for flight training. It was around the same time that he started building his own company, a combined team of Army aviators and engineers, to develop their Stabilizing Aerial Loads Utility System.

“When we perform a medical evacuation on a real mission, usually it is the worst day of a patient’s life,” he said. “I wanted to use my skills and tool in a way that supports these Soldiers.”

During an in-air medevac mission, pilots are trained to control the aircraft as the hoist-line sways from the downward force of air created by the vehicle’s rotor system. Commonly known as downwash, this aerodynamic force can cause the hoist line to spin or oscillate, putting a patient or operator at risk.

“There have been fatalities connected to the spin, sway, or oscillation of the hoist line,” Al-Husseini said. “There have been a lot of folks that are negatively affected, either through asphyxiation, fatigue, or nausea. These real problems are impacting our patients, which are already in a compromised state.”

The new hoist-line system is designed to connect between a patient’s litter and the line’s base. The device’s internal control system will help stabilize the patient through a series of automatic spinning reaction wheels to counter the hoisted load movement.

As Al-Husseini continued through flight training, he split himself between two worlds. He spent most of his time learning to be an aeromedical evacuation officer, and then his free time on his invention.

He credits much of his success to the overwhelming support he received from leadership and colleagues during training and his career, including Capt. Kimberly Smith.

“It is amazing to see everything that he’s done and accomplished, all while learning how to fly,” said Smith, commander of Company D, 1st Bn., 145th Avn. Rgt. at the Army Aviation Center of Excellence.

Al-Husseini remained committed to his team as they entered their new aerial load system into several competitions, including the Army’s xTechSearch.

“The xTechSearch program is incredibly well run,” he said. “It is so important to the many small businesses that are working to develop technology” that might aid in the Army’s future.

The Army’s acquisition process can be confusing and overwhelming for a smaller business, he added. Through the competition, small business owners develop connections and can earn possible funding for a specific program.

“It is an exciting time to be in the Army right now and be an engineer,” Al-Husseini said. “The Army is working to improve on a technical level, and the xTechSearch program is a model blueprint” for the way ahead.

To attend these competitions, Al-Husseini had to request a delay in training, Smith said. Pausing a Soldier’s education could negatively impact their career, and is typically granted on a case-by-case basis.

“When you are on the flight line, it can definitely become very challenging. Your purpose is to learn how to fly,” Smith said. “I always preach to the students: you have to find balance.

“I am impressed that [Al-Husseini] managed all of flight school and graduated, all while designing a device that could be beneficial for the Army,” she added.

Currently, the device from Al-Husseini’s team is being evaluated by USAARL. If selected, it could become a vital tool in support of the medevac mission, he said.

Seeing the device on an Army aircraft, “would be a dream come true,” he added. “Not for myself and the success of my team, and not for any financial gain. Just knowing that each Soldier will be better off because of what we developed … is more than I could possibly ask for.”

Alternatively, if his device does not meet the Army’s final selection process, Al-Husseini would applaud the decision.

“I do not want my device to be selected if there is a better device that exists,” he added. “I want whatever is best for our Soldiers in the field. That is what it means to be an engineer. You have to continue to scrap your designs or refine to pivot and to create new ideas.”

Overall, Al-Husseini said, the Army is a diverse force full of incredibly inventive and resourceful people.

“Identify a problem and find a way to solve it,” he added. “You will be amazed at how supportive the Army can be. I think this is one of the things that makes our Army the greatest in the world.

“I want to encourage Soldiers to think outside the box and continue to push their limits to find ways to improve their organization. Because at the end of the day — no one knows their mission set better than they do.”

By Devon Suits, Army News Service

SBIR Grant Fast-Tracks 3D-Printed Runway Mat Development

Monday, August 24th, 2020

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A $1 million SBIR Phase II grant from the U.S. Air Force will help fast-track the development of a new innovative runway mat.

Pablo Zavattieri, the Jerry M. and Lynda T. Engelhardt Professor in civil engineering at Purdue University, is working with Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies (ITAMCO) to develop the new runway mat. The team uses metal 3D printing methods for its technology.

“The objective of the research is to develop a robust sheet or roll technology that serves as an alternative to the AM-2 mat for temporary or expeditionary flight operations,” Zavattieri said. “AM-2 matting has served the U.S. military well since the Vietnam War, but the materials and technology in the ITAMCO-led research project will offer many benefits over AM-2 matting.”

The proposed matting solution is composed of an upper surface that mates with a lower surface and contains a type of architectured material called Phase Transforming Cellular Material (PXCM) geometry to mitigate anticipated loading and shear stresses.

Zavattieri said a portable and lightweight airfield mat must be easy to install and store, yet capable of withstanding the stresses of repeated takeoffs and landings of aircraft.

“Products made with PXCM geometry have the ability to change from one stable configuration to another stable or metastable configuration and back again,” Zavattieri said. “This means the new runway mat could potentially heal itself, resulting in a much longer life span than a runway made with AM-2 matting. Another benefit is that debris on the runway will not hamper the runway’s performance with our technology.”

In Phase II, the team will move into the prototype and testing stage. The prototype’s ability to restore itself to its original contour and attain full operational capability 30 minutes after compaction and preparation of the final repair site will be tested.

Quantum Chip Fabrication Paves Way for Scalable Processors, Producing the Largest Quantum Chip of its Type Using Diamond-Based Qubits and Quantum Photonics

Sunday, August 2nd, 2020

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — An Army-funded project marks a turning point in the field of scalable quantum processors, producing the largest quantum chip of its type using diamond-based qubits and quantum photonics.

Millions of quantum processors will be needed to build quantum computers, and new research at MIT and Sandia National Laboratories, funded and managed in part by the U.S. Army Combat Capability Development’s Command’s Army Research Laboratory’s Center for Distributed Quantum Information, demonstrates a viable way to scale-up processor production.

“Building large scale quantum devices will entail both the assembly of large numbers of high-quality qubits and the creation of reliable circuits for transmitting and manipulating quantum information between them,” said Dr. Fredrik Fatemi, Army researcher and CDQI co-manager. “Here, the research team has demonstrated exceptional progress toward reliably manufacturing complex quantum chips with both critical elements.”

Unlike classical computers, which process and store information using bits represented by either 0s and 1s, quantum computers operate using quantum bits, or qubits, which can represent 0, 1, or both at the same time. This strange property allows quantum computers to simultaneously perform multiple calculations, solving problems that would be intractable for classical computers.

The qubits in the new chip are artificial atoms made from defects in the diamond, which can be prodded with visible light and microwaves to emit photons that carry quantum information. The process, which the researchers describe in the peer-reviewed journal Nature, is a hybrid approach, in which carefully selected quantum micro-chiplets containing multiple diamond-based qubits are placed on an aluminum nitride photonic integrated circuit.

“In the past 20 years of quantum engineering, it has been the ultimate vision to manufacture such artificial qubit systems at volumes comparable to integrated electronics,” said Dirk Englund, an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “Although there has been remarkable progress in this very active area of research, fabrication and materials complications have thus far yielded just two to three emitters per photonic system.”

Using their hybrid method, the researchers were able to build a 128-qubit system — the largest integrated artificial atom-photonics chip yet.

The artificial atoms in the chiplets consist of color centers in diamonds, defects in diamond’s carbon lattice where adjacent carbon atoms are missing, with their spaces either filled by a different element or left vacant. In the chiplets, the replacement elements are germanium and silicon. Each center functions as an atom-like emitter whose spin states can form a qubit. The artificial atoms emit colored particles of light, or photons, that carry the quantum information represented by the qubit.

Diamond color centers make good solid-state qubits, but “the bottleneck with this platform is actually building a system and device architecture that can scale to thousands and millions of qubits,” said Noel Wan, MIT research and the paper’s coauthor. “Artificial atoms are in a solid crystal, and unwanted contamination can affect important quantum properties such as coherence times. Furthermore, variations within the crystal can cause the qubits to be different from one another, and that makes it difficult to scale these systems.”

Instead of trying to build a large quantum chip entirely in diamond, the researchers decided to take a modular and hybrid approach.

“We use semiconductor fabrication techniques to make these small chiplets of diamond, from which we select only the highest quality qubit modules,” Wan said. “Then we integrate those chiplets piece-by-piece into another chip that wires the chiplets together into a larger device.”

The integration takes place on a photonic integrated circuit, which is analogous to an electronic integrated circuit but uses photons rather than electrons to carry information. Photonics provides the underlying architecture to route and switch photons between modules in the circuit with low loss. The circuit platform is aluminum nitride, rather than the traditional silicon of some integrated circuits.

Using this hybrid approach of photonic circuits and diamond chiplets, the researchers were able to connect 128 qubits on one platform. The qubits are stable and long-lived, and their emissions can be tuned within the circuit to produce spectrally indistinguishable photons, according to the researchers.

While the platform offers a scalable process to produce artificial atom-photonics chips, the next step will be to test its processing skills.

“This is a proof of concept that solid-state qubit emitters are very scalable quantum technologies,” Wan said. “In order to process quantum information, the next step would be to control these large numbers of qubits and also induce interactions between them.”

The qubits in this type of chip design wouldn’t necessarily have to be these particular diamond color centers. Other chip designers might choose other types of diamond color centers, atomic defects in other semiconductor crystals like silicon carbide, certain semiconductor quantum dots, or rare-earth ions in crystals.

“Because the integration technique is hybrid and modular, we can choose the best material suitable for each component, rather than relying on natural properties of only one material, thus allowing us to combine the best properties of each disparate material into one system,” said Tsung-Ju Lu, MIT researcher and the paper’s co-author.

Finding a way to automate the process and demonstrate further integration with optoelectronic components such as modulators and detectors will be necessary to build even bigger chips necessary for modular quantum computers and multichannel quantum repeaters that transport qubits over long distances, the researchers said.

“The team has made an incredible advance toward the large-scale integration of artificial atoms and photonics and, looking forward, we are very excited for increasingly complex testing of the devices,” said Dr. Sara Gamble, program manager at the Army Research Office, an element of CCDC ARL, and CDQI co-manager. “The modular approach so far successfully demonstrated by the team has enormous promise for the future quantum computers and quantum networks of high interest to the Army.”

By U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs

*Adapted with permission from an article by Becky Ham, MIT News.

The Smuzzle – The US Army’s Latest Invention Combines Muzzle Brake and Suppressor

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020

Engineers at the U.S. Army’s CCDC Armaments Center have designed a firearm sound suppressor that incorporates the features of a high-performance muzzle brake.

Known as the smuzzle, this hybrid device limits the muzzle climb of automatic and semi-automatic weapons while simultaneously providing significant sound suppression.

The Smuzzle’s flow-through design features asymmetric venting through tiny holes which researchers claim results in a 50% drop in volume at the shooter and a 25% reduction in the flash signature downrange with a minimal weight increase. They also incorporated a feature they refer to as a “bottom blocker” which reduces how much dust is kicked up.

The initial design work comes from a muzzle device for a 155mm Howitzer, but they say it is scalable you any caliber. The team has manufactured multiple devices based on this technology; they’ve made short and light cans (.8 pounds) with the design, and longer three-pound versions.

In these two photos, you can see the Smuzzle mounted to a 6.8mm Next-Gen Squad Weapon Technology Demonstrator. The Smuzzle is 3D printed Titanium and incorporates a bore evacuator.

This weapon was used by Army researchers to establish a baseline during the early stages of the NGSW program. It’s important to note that this demonstrator was manufactured by Textron and based on years of development under the Lightweight Small Arms Technology project of the Joint Service Small Arms Program. It fires Case Telescope ammunition.

Its refinement has included the use of sophisticated engineering techniques including computational fluid dynamics modeling and the center’s state-of-the-art testing equipment.

The size, weight, and durability of the device are tailorable, ie., its manufacture is adaptable.

Prototypes for the NATO 7.62mm and 6.8mm cartridges have been constructed using titanium and/or Inconel 718 steel. 3D printing techniques have also been successfully used.

Based on this research, they have two patents:
U.S. Patent 10,598,458 (33)
U.S. Patent 9,347,727

Below, you can see the Smuzzle attached to an M240B machine gun mounted in a test cradle in a full auto failure test.

Those interested in licensing this technology should visit techlinkcenter.org.

WTF Roll Rasslers (with Split Bar FirstSpear Tubes)

Monday, July 6th, 2020

Whiskey Two Four are excited to offer an expanding line of workspace management tools for gearmakers.

WTF’s Roll Rasslers (with split bar FirstSpear® Tubes™) will wrangle even the peskiest of difficult to store rolled goods.

WTF’s Roll Rasslers help prevent premature wear of your MultiCam® printed VELCRO® USA brand wide loop.  WTF’s Roll Rasslers help prevent unnecessary depressions in softer, squishier fabrics like tricots and mesh.  WTF’s Roll Rasslers help prevent dust and debris from collecting on expensive rolls of fabric.

ITW 1.5″ Tri Glides and 60″ Texcel solution dyed, milspec, Berry compliant, MIL-W-17337, webbing straps offer a wide range of adjustment.

wtfidea.com

Sold in pairs. USA SALES ONLY. NO EXCEPTIONS. “FirstSpear® Tubes™” is owned by FirstSpear® LLC.

New Research Leads to Army Drones Changing Shape Mid-Flight

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Soon, the U.S. Army will be able to deploy autonomous air vehicles that can change shape during flight, according to new research presented at the AIAA Aviation Forum and Exposition’s virtual event June 16.

Researchers with the U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory and Texas A&M University published findings of a two-year study in fluid-structure interaction. Their research led to a tool, which will be able to rapidly optimize the structural configuration for Future Vertical Lift vehicles while properly accounting for the interaction between air and the structure.

Within the next year, this tool will be used to develop and rapidly optimize Future Vertical Lift vehicles capable of changing shape during flight, thereby optimizing performance of the vehicle through different phases of flight.

“Consider an [Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance] mission where the vehicle needs to get quickly to station, or dash, and then attempt to stay on station for as long as possible, or loiter,” said Dr. Francis Phillips, an aerospace engineer at the laboratory. “During dash segments, short wings are desirable in order to go fast and be more maneuverable, but for loiter segments, long wings are desirable in order to enable low power, high endurance flight.”

This tool will enable the structural optimization of a vehicle capable of such morphing while accounting for the deformation of the wings due to the fluid-structure interaction, he said.

One concern with morphing vehicles is striking a balance between sufficient bending stiffness and softness to enable to morphing,” Phillips said. “If the wing bends too much, then the theoretical benefits of the morphing could be negated and also could lead to control issues and instabilities.”

Fluid-structure interaction analyses typically require coupling between a fluid and a structural solver.

This, in turn, means that the computational cost for these analyses can be very high – in the range of about 10,000s core hours – for a single fluid and structural configuration.

To overcome these challenges, researchers developed a process that decouples the fluid and structural solvers, which can reduce the computational cost for a single run by as much as 80 percent, Phillips said.

The analysis of additional structural configurations can also be performed without re-analyzing the fluid due to this decoupled approach, which in turn generates additional computational cost savings, leading to multiple orders of magnitude reductions in computational cost when considering this method within an optimization framework.

Ultimately, this means the Army could design multi-functional Future Vertical Lift vehicles much more quickly than through the use of current techniques, he said.

For the past 20 years, there have been advances in research in morphing aerial vehicles but what makes the Army’s studies different is its look at the fluid-structure interaction during vehicle design and structural optimization instead of designing a vehicle first and then seeing what the fluid-structure interaction behavior will be.

“This research will have a direct impact on the ability to generate vehicles for the future warfighter,” Phillips said. “By reducing the computational cost for fluid-structure interaction analysis, structural optimization of future vertical lift vehicles can be accomplished in a much shorter time-frame.”

According to Phillips, when implemented within an optimization framework and coupled with additive manufacturing, the future warfighter will be able to use this tool to manufacture optimized custom air vehicles for mission specific uses.

Phillips presented this work in a paper, Uncoupled Method for Massively Parallelizable 3-D Fluid-Structure Interaction Analysis and Design, co-authored by the laboratory’s Drs. Todd Henry and John Hrynuk, as well as Texas A&M University’s Trent White, William Scholten and Dr. Darren Hartl.

By U.S. Army CCDC Research Laboratory Public Affairs