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Archive for the ‘Digitization’ Category

Bollé Launches First Ever Augmented Reality Sunglass Experience For Smartphones

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

New AR Technology Allows Users to Experience Bollé Phantom lenses on their Smartphone and Purchase From a Participating Retailer.

Lyon, France, (JUNE 23, 2020) – Bollé, maker of the most innovative lenses in the world is forever changing the way people try and buy sunglasses. With the introduction of an exclusive Augmented Reality Sunglass experience, shoppers can now try-out Bollé’s flagship Phantom lens technology without ever having to physically touch the glasses. 

Partnering with QReal and M7 Innovations, Bollé’s AR experience is a first for the sunglass industry. Within Instagram, the demonstration invites users to try out Bollé’s Phantom lens through one of the brand’s iconic models – the Chronoshield. After seeing the glasses on their face, users simply flip their camera from selfie-view to front-facing and Phantom lenses are superimposed on their actual view. Users then introduce sunglass effects like high contrast, anti-fog, and light-adaptive into their real surroundings to see Phantom lenses in action. Once users select a lens that suits their style and needs, they can search for a retailer that carries Bollé. 

“AR is routinely used for try-on and certainly enhances the buying experience. But AR for try-out, this is a first,” said Louis Cisti, Vice President of Global Marketing for Bollé Brands. “In the new normal of retail, Bollé recognizes that safety is now the most important thing. Consumers demand shopping encounters that minimize physical interaction. However, when it comes to buying premium sunglasses, they still have high expectations and expect to see tangible benefits. Bollé’s AR try-out does all that heavy lifting. Shoppers get to see perceivable performance benefits before making a purchase.” Cisti continued.

Using AR, users will experience several unique Bollé lens features that demonstrate Phantom’s superiority for spring skiing, cycling, running and more: 

• Light Adaptive Technology: the user is presented with a slider that allows them to change their exposure, making the scene brighter or darker. They watch Phantom’s molecular photochromic filter adapt to changes in ambient light. 

• Platinum Anti-Fog Treatment: The user’s view begins to fog up, simulating the fogging that occurs from sweat while riding, hiking, or spring skiing. Fog condenses outside the glasses, but the view through the sunglasses remains crystal clear, mimicking the real-world performance Phantom Lenses in a perspiring situation.

• High Contrast: The scene outside the glasses remains natural, but the user is able to experience improved color and depth perception as they look through the Phantom lenses. 

For the Try On part of the experience users will be able to see how they look in the Bollé Chronoshield, a new take on an original style from the 1980s. The Chronoshield offers an extra wide field of view, ideal for visual comfort and protection against wind or debris. Venting ensures the lenses never fog up and the adjustable Thermogrip nose-pads and temple tips gives a custom fit while making sure they stay in place.

To try-out Phantom Lenses using this augmented reality experience, users can either click on a QR code that will be included in Bollé marketing materials or may visit this link using their: Merged Single Lens Experience

Integrated Visual Augmentation System Update

Friday, June 19th, 2020

Here one of the latest photos of the US Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System, a which fuses image intensification and thermal imaging with Augmented Reality overlays. It’s built by Microsoft.

Interestingly, the form factor is pretty similar to the Soldier Integrated Protective Ensemble headborne subsystem from the early 90s.

Here’s an update from the Program Office.

Team IVAS Continues to Deliver Despite COVID Obstacles
“I can absolutely say that today we are on track to meet a fourth quarter ‘21 delivery for our first unit equipped.”
– COL. Chris Schneider, PM IVAS

FORT BELVOIR, Va.– Cutting-edge modernization efforts come with their own set of challenges, and COVID-19 has ensured that there are no exceptions.

Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier’s Project Manager Integrated Visual Augmentation System (PM IVAS) continues to leverage the team’s unique structure, talents, and culture to contribute to the force’s readiness, even with the additional challenges presented by COVID-19.

Mark Stephens, PM IVAS Director of Acquisition and Operations, and Jared Walega, PM IVAS Test Director, highlighted how problem solving, routine distributed work solutions, modular architecture design, Soldier Centered Design (SCD), and Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) have allowed the project flexibility during the COVID pandemic.

Stephens emphasized how Team IVAS has applied efficient problem-solving skills from the project’s inception.

“Senior defense officials recognized the erosion in close combat capabilities and saw an immediate need to ensure overmatch for our dismounted force,” said Stephens. “Congress recognized the requirement and reprogrammed funds to start IVAS in FY19. Within six months from the Secretary of Defense’s approval in late May, Team IVAS awarded multiple Other Transaction Agreements to industry and kicked off IVAS before Christmas 2018.”

Team IVAS has rapidly solved problems ever since. This includes the successful integration of partners from around the country. Because the team overcame this initial obstacle, remote work is now routine.

The distributed team has built and relied on a digital infrastructure to manage the mission from any physical location. Therefore, they are able to maintain the mission even with the obstacles COVID has presented.

“When COVID hit we had already established a solid Integrated Product Team [IPT] Battle Rhythm using long distance collaboration methods like SharePoint, TEAMs, and Power BI,” Stephens said. “Using TEAMs over the past 18 months allowed video teleconferencing, sharing document collaboration, and reviewing our program management dashboards, so all our leaders were battle tested”.

Secure remote tools have allowed for continued IVAS prototyping through Army Enabled Tests (AET) even while team members are quarantined at home.

“We also implemented a practice of what we call Army Enabled Testing that allows us to get updates from our partners, test the updates in a safe environment, and provide feedback. This methodology helps us manage our performance risks, and not have to wait until Soldier Touchpoint 3 [STP 3] to discover problems,” said Stephens.

Team IVAS’ dynamic problem solving and reliable remote infrastructure guaranteed that aspects of testing continued to ensure minimal overall impacts to the program’s timeline.

“As COVID-19 impacted the organization, the Test Directorate determined we could still conduct a thorough AET with focus on Rapid Target Acquisition (RTA), Tactical Assault Kit (TAK), Synthetic Training Environment (STE), and other necessary capabilities while maintaining requisite social distance and implementing COVID-approved decontamination procedures for the Heads Up Displays (HUD),” said Walega.

“We have a dispersed team that is capable of downloading the latest software build and loading it onto their HUDs. This process has enabled remote testing of software builds and the ability to provide rapid feedback to Microsoft to include live fire video, data, and assessments,” Walega added.

The continued AET testing and iteration of specific IVAS capabilities through the COVID pandemic has been largely based on the Soldier feedback collected at every stage in development over the last 18 months.

“Soldier Centered Design (SCD) was developed in IVAS as a combination of Human Centered Design and tailored acquisition best practices,” said Walega. “SCD focuses on current Soldier and Marine input throughout the entire development process to prevent engineers and developers from building a product that does not meet the priorities of our warfighters.”

The process puts emphasis on making a product that Soldiers will enjoy using to increase their lethality in training and on the battlefield.

According to Walega, “If a Soldier loves and uses IVAS, then we have provided a system that has much greater capability than the current kit.”

In order to ensure that IVAS will truly maximize Soldier lethality, intentional Soldier feedback at every design and decision point has been a program priority.

“We have collected over 23,000 hours of Soldier feedback,” said COL. Christopher Schneider, Program Manager IVAS. “Because we’ve got so much feedback, we’re highly confident in the current design and STP 3.”

The Soldier-centric approach has turned out to be a key asset to the program during the change in normal operations. Though large scale events such as the IVAS STP 3 will shift due to COVID restrictions, the team has reorganized the internal program schedule so that IVAS is not delayed in deploying to the warfighter.

The team is reordering the intensive hardware and software design reviews that were initially planned for after STP 3, and is leveraging their ingenuity, remote tool infrastructure, and plethora of Soldier feedback to expedite the hardware design review to before the October event. This will allow the formal software design sprint to be completed after STP 3, and both designs to be finalized during Capability Set 4 iterations.

“We wouldn’t have the flexibility that we do, frankly, if we hadn’t been doing Soldier Touchpoints, user juries, user studies, and human factors engineering excursions throughout the last 18 months of the program,” said Schneider.

Though the pandemic has impacted every aspect of the program, including supply chain logistics, industry partners have continued to support with solutions.

“With the advent of the Coronavirus, the supply chain risk management strategy has taken on a new level of importance,” said Nicholas Pate, PM IVAS Manufacturing Engineer.

“IVAS vendors have worked tirelessly to assess, analyze, and make quick decisions to avert imminent delays. Luckily, the PM IVAS supply chain strategy, from the very start of the program, has always been to mitigate risk by avoiding sole sources of supply, cultivating multiple sensor vendors, and ensuring parallel paths of supply,” said Pate.

To date, IVAS vendors have been able to react quickly to minimize negative impacts from the Coronavirus.

“Microsoft, as well as the low light and thermal sensor vendors, delivered preliminary supply chain information on critical components for early risk mitigation assessment on the IVAS supply chain,” Pate added. “This information ensures that quality and security controls are implemented to ensure a stable and sustainable supply chain.”

As Team IVAS continues to overcome COVID’s obstacles, leadership is unwavering in its dedication to the safety of both Soldiers and the team.

“We really took a deliberate thought process and approach to moving the Soldier Touchpoint into October,” said Schneider. “We wanted to make sure that we had the opportunity to get it right.”

Overall, every decision has been made with the safety of the team and readiness of Soldiers as top priorities. Though STP 3 is now taking place in October at Fort Pickett, Va., the rest of the program deliverables remain on track.

“I can absolutely say that today we are on track to meet a fourth quarter ‘21 delivery for our first unit equipped,” said Schneider.

Story by Courtney Bacon.

SOFWERX – Trusted Capital AI Virtual Venture Day Starting 24 June 2020

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Trusted Capital, in concert with the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), and the Department of Energy (DOE), will host an AI-focused Trusted Capital Virtual Venture Day.

Trusted Capital events are designed to bring together DoD-critical companies and capital providers to align their existing capabilities with national security interests.

The goal is to facilitate funding of companies with critical technology to provide risk mitigation against adversarial influence in supply chains and funding channels.

Trusted Capital maximizes the public-private partnership model. The U.S. government screens capital providers and companies for national security risks prior to offering participation in Venture Days and the Trusted Capital program. Eligible companies are firms offering technologies and capabilities critical to national security and seeking to secure sources of funding in support of the defense industrial base. Eligible capital providers are investment groups that support U.S. national security sectors that align with their investment portfolio.

Approximately 10 qualifying AI companies will deliver their pitches and funding needs to trusted providers of capital weekly over the course of several weeks. If your organization is accepted in Trusted Capital, you will receive an opportunity to prepare a five-minute pitch video with one minute at the end for questions from the capital providers and acquisition community.

This program will be administered on a first-come, first-serve basis for those companies that qualify to participate in the Trusted Capital Marketplace (TCM).

AI sectors of interest:
• Autonomous Vehicles
• Machine Vision and Image Recognition
• Machine Learning
• Robotics and Scale Automation
• Navigation System
• Language Processing and Recognition

Potential participants will undergo the due diligence required to pass a national security review for entrance into the Trusted Capital Venture Day and Trusted Capital Marketplace.

Submission Deadline: 22 June 11:59 PM EST

Visit events.sofwerx.org/trustedcapital to enter.

New 5G Switch Provides 50 Times More Energy Efficiency Than Currently Exists

Saturday, May 30th, 2020

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — As 5G hits the market, new U.S. Army-funded research has developed a radio-frequency switch that is more than 50 times more energy efficient than what is used today.

With funding from the Army Research Office, an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Lille in France, have built a new component that will more efficiently allow access to the highest 5G frequencies, in a way that increases devices’ battery life and speeds up how quickly users can do things like stream HD media.

Smartphones are loaded with switches that perform a number of duties. One major task is jumping back and forth between different networks and spectrum frequencies: 4G, WiFi, LTE, Bluetooth, etc. The current radio-frequency switches that perform this task are always running, consuming precious processing power and battery life.

“Radio-frequency switches are pervasive in military communication, connectivity and radar systems,” said Dr. Pani Varanasi, division chief, materials science program at ARO. “These new switches could provide large performance advantage compared to existing components and can enable longer battery life for mobile communication, and advanced reconfigurable systems.”

The journal Nature Electronics published the research team’s findings.

“It has become clear that the existing switches consume significant amounts of power, and that power consumed is useless power,” said Dr. Deji Akinwande, a professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering who led the research. “The switch we have developed can transmit an HDTV stream at a 100GHz frequency, and that is an achievement in broadband switch technology.”

The new switches stay off, saving battery life for other processes, unless they are actively helping a device jump between networks. They have also shown the ability to transmit data well above the baseline for 5G-level speeds.

Prior researchers have found success on the low end of the 5G spectrum – where speeds are slower but data can travel longer distances. This is the first switch that can function across the spectrum from the low-end gigahertz frequencies to high-end terahertz frequencies that could someday be key to the development of 6G.

The team’s switches use the nanomaterial hexagonal boron nitride, a rapidly emerging nanomaterial from the same family as graphene. The structure of the switch involves a single layer of boron and nitrogen atoms in a honeycomb pattern sandwiched between a pair of gold electrodes. Hexagonal boron nitride is the thinnest known insulator with a thickness of 0.33 nanometers.

The impact of these switches extends beyond smartphones. Satellite systems, smart radios, reconfigurable communications, and Internet of Things, are all examples of potential uses for the switches. In addition, these switches can be realized on flexible substrates making them suitable for Soldier wearable radios and communication systems that can benefit from the improved energy efficiency for longer battery life with faster data speeds as well as other defense technologies.

“This will be very useful for radio and radar technology,” Akinwande said.

This research spun out of a previous project that created the thinnest memory device, also using hBN. Akinwande said sponsors encouraged the researchers to find other uses for the material, and that led them to pivot to RF switches.

In addition to the U.S. Army, support through a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the U.S. Office of Naval Research and The National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Center funded the research. The Texas Nanofabrication Facility partly fabricated the switch and Grolltex, Inc., provided hBN samples.

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

Samsung Introduces Next Generation of Tactical Mobility with the Galaxy S20 Tactical Edition

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

Mission-ready smartphone solution provides operators with the power to achieve their objectives in any tactical environment.
 

RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J. – MAY 20, 2020 – Samsung Electronics America, Inc. today introduced the Samsung Galaxy S20 Tactical Edition (TE), a mission-ready smartphone solution tailored to the unique needs of operators in the federal government and Department of Defense (DoD).  With a highly customized software and feature set, the Galaxy S20 TE can operate seamlessly with a range of existing peripherals and supports the requirements of tactical and classified applications, especially those designed to help operators navigate complex terrain, expansive distances, and the potential loss of communication with command units. Galaxy S20 TE also introduces DualDAR architecture, which delivers two layers of data encryption based on the NSA standards to secure up to top-secret level data for classified missions.

“The development of this solution is a result of coordination and feedback received from our Department of Defense customers and partners,” stated Taher Behbehani, Head of the Mobile B2B Division, SVP and General Manager, Samsung Electronics America. “The Galaxy S20 Tactical Edition provides the warfighter with the technology that will give them an edge in the field, while providing their IT teams with an easy-to-deploy, highly secure solution that meets the demands of their regulated environment.”

Galaxy S20 TE offers federal program managers and executive officers an easy to manage and deploy mobile solution that works with a broad range of technologies and is backed by the assurance of the defense-grade Samsung Knox mobility platform. It harnesses the most sought after tools of Samsung’s premium Galaxy devices in a unique, easy-to-use configuration.

Helps Operators Stay Connected in Multi-domain Operations. Galaxy S20 TE easily connects to tactical radios and mission systems, out of the box, ensuring seamless operations. Multi-ethernet capabilities provide dedicated connections to mission systems, while network support for Private SIM, 5G, Wi-Fi 6 and CBRS ensure a connection is maintained throughout multi-domain environments.

Provides complete, accurate real-time situational awareness. Galaxy S20 TE caters to the unique needs of military operators, through customization of numerous device features. A night-vision mode allows the operator to turn display on or off when wearing night vision eyewear, while stealth mode allows them to disable LTE and mute all RF broadcasting for complete off-grid communications. Operators can easily unlock the device screen in landscape mode while it’s mounted to their chest, and quick launch their most commonly used apps at the push of a button.

One Device for All Mission Requirements. When in the field, operators need a lightweight, easy to carry device that doesn’t weigh them down, yet offers the power they need to complete the mission. With its powerful 64-bit Octa-Core processor, Galaxy S20 can support the running of multiple mission applications in the field (ATAK, APASS, KILSWITCH, BATDOK) so operators can access the intelligence they need. Galaxy S20 TE also includes powerful Samsung DeX software, which offers a PC-like experience when connected to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. With DeX, operators can use the device for completing reports, training or mission planning when in vehicle or back at the base.

Certified and secure for Special Operations. Galaxy S20 TE is built on Samsung Knox, the defense-grade mobile security platform that protects the device from hardware through software layers.  DualDAR architecture further secures the device with two layers of encryption, even when the device is in a powered off or unauthenticated state. This multi-layer, embedded defense system helps Galaxy S20 TE meet the most stringent regulated industry requirements, including NSA’s Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSFC) Component’s List, and Mobile Device Fundamental Protection Profile (MDF PP) as laid out by the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP). Galaxy S20 TE comes out of the box approved for use within the Department of Defense (DoD) using the Android 10 Security Technical Implementation Guide (STIG) as laid out by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).

The Samsung Galaxy S20 TE will be available in Q3 2020 through select IT channel partners.  For more information on Galaxy S20 TE, please visit www.samsung.com/TacticalEdition. For more information about Samsung Government, please visit www.samsung.com/us/business/by-industry/government.

ARA – Augmented Reality Command Control Communicate and Coordinate RECON

Thursday, April 16th, 2020

During SHOT Show, Quantico Tactical ran me through several new technologies. The Augmented Reality Command Control Communicate and Coordinate or ARC4 was a special pleasure because I had served in the Air Force with the SME on hand. Nate Sanders was a Combat Controller and is now working for Applied Research Associates, Inc.

I really like ARA’s Augmented Reality technology. In fact, so does the Army who awarded them a contract last year.

Instead of looking down at a map and overlay while orienting it to the ground truth in front of you, ARC4 places the information from ATAK, day or night, within your field of view. Your head is in the battle space where it belongs.

Look at an area and you will see floating icons above targets, friendlies, routes, waypoints, and more in your field of view and they track 360 deg as you scan the horizon.

Below are demonstrations.

This COTS system integrates GPS, accelerometer, gyro, magnetometer, barometric presssure sensor as well as an EO camera. Output is via Day HUD or clipon for Visual Augmentation System, including Optics1’s ECOTI/ECOSI.

Don’t forget, ARC4 Recon is available for government users through Quantico Tactical.

SOFWERX Target Location Device Assessment Event

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020

SOFWERX, in collaboration with USSOCOM PEO-SOF Warrior (PEO-SW), is conducting a Target Location Device Assessment Event designed to acquire and/or develop a device that can be used to effectively observe potential targets at distance, accurately determine the potential target(s) location, and be interoperable with ATAK.

Ground forces require an improved capability to precisely fix-finish known enemies in an operationally relevant scenario. Currently, forces use map data, which is hard to get, or lengthy talk-ons for fixed and rotary wing close air support (CAS). Map data, while useful, is not always updated and cannot be used for personnel or moving targets. Ground systems have precision munitions and ground forces require coordinates with enough fidelity to maximize effectiveness of these precision munitions.

Target Location Device (TLD) is an acquisition project with the objective to streamline developmental efforts and field high accuracy target location technology in a rapid acquisition environment.

Select individuals will be allotted a one-on-one virtual session with USSOCOM to pitch, demonstrate, and/or discuss solutions.

The TLD event will be held on 28 May 2020

Submission Deadline: 04 May 11:59 PM EST

For full details on how to participate, visit events.sofwerx.org/tld.

Army Scientists Create Innovative Quantum Sensor – Covers Entire RF Spectrum

Saturday, March 21st, 2020

ADELPHI, Md. — A quantum sensor could give Soldiers a way to detect communication signals over the entire radio frequency spectrum, from 0 to 100 GHz, said researchers from the Army.

Such wide spectral coverage by a single antenna is impossible with a traditional receiver system, and would require multiple systems of individual antennas, amplifiers and other components.

In 2018, Army scientists were the first in the world to create a quantum receiver that uses highly excited, super-sensitive atoms–known as Rydberg atoms–to detect communications signals, said David Meyer, a scientist at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory. The researchers calculated the receiver’s channel capacity, or rate of data transmission, based on fundamental principles, and then achieved that performance experimentally in their lab–improving on other groups’ results by orders of magnitude, Meyer said.

“These new sensors can be very small and virtually undetectable, giving Soldiers a disruptive advantage,” Meyer said. “Rydberg-atom based sensors have only recently been considered for general electric field sensing applications, including as a communications receiver. While Rydberg atoms are known to be broadly sensitive, a quantitative description of the sensitivity over the entire operational range has never been done.”

To assess potential applications, Army scientists conducted an analysis of the Rydberg sensor’s sensitivity to oscillating electric fields over an enormous range of frequencies–from 0 to 10^12 Hertz. The results show that the Rydberg sensor can reliably detect signals over the entire spectrum and compare favorably with other established electric field sensor technologies, such as electro-optic crystals and dipole antenna-coupled passive electronics.

“Quantum mechanics allows us to know the sensor calibration and ultimate performance to a very high degree, and it’s identical for every sensor,” Meyer said. “This result is an important step in determining how this system could be used in the field.”This work supports the Army’s modernization priorities in next-generation computer networks and assured position, navigation and timing, as it could potentially influence novel communications concepts or approaches to detection of RF signals for geolocation.

In the future, Army scientists will investigate methods to continue to improve the sensitivity to detect even weaker signals and expand detection protocols for more complicated waveforms.

The Journal of Physics B published the research, “Assessment of Rydberg atoms for wideband electric field sensing,” in its special issue on interacting Rydberg atoms. Army scientists David H. Meyer, Kevin C. Cox and Paul D. Kunz led this research, as well as Zachary A. Castillo from the University of Maryland. This work was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

By US Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs