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Archive for the ‘Digitization’ Category

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

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

Army Modernizes Its Biometric Processing Capabilities

Sunday, February 16th, 2020

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — U.S. Army Soldiers patrolling critical checkpoints overseas will have an improved biometrics tool to help identify persons of interest in real time.

Army Futures Command’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center has developed and delivered software that will enable Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO IEW&S) to modernize the Army’s 20-year-old biometric processing capabilities.

The Biometrics Automated Toolset — Army (BAT-A) is a handheld device used by deployed Soldiers to collect, process and reference biometric identity information — such as iris, fingerprint and facial images — during force protection screenings.

With the system deployed to U.S. joint forces around the world and more than one million entries saved in the DoD’s Automated Biometrics Identification System, it is important to migrate BAT-A to a database that will meet the government’s new electronic biometric transmission specifications, explained Brian D. Likens, product lead for the Biometrics Collection Capability at PEO IEW&S’ Project Manager Department of Defense Biometrics (PM DoD Biometrics).

“We asked the C5ISR Center to make the database more efficient and useful for tomorrow’s Soldier. To do this, they restructured the data to comply with future standards and modern architecture practices,” Likens said.

The new database software architecture will improve the overall speed and functionality of the tool so Soldiers can access better filtered information, noted Will Daddario, a software engineer with the C5ISR Center.

“In the past, superfluous information had the ability to make its way up and into the BAT-A database. That will not happen anymore. You are now going to have a database with improved integrity that will be easier to use,” Daddario said.

The architecture will also make future software development work easier.

“Previously, all database relationships were performed by the application. Our new database has all of these relationships built in, so when you make a change in one area, it propagates through the whole database,” Daddario said.

The C5ISR Center delivered a data conversion tool with the architecture and plans to deliver data migration and filter tools in Fiscal Year 2021 before helping the PM migrate the data. The Center is also slated to support PM DoD Biometrics throughout the development of the Next Generation Biometric Collection Capability.

“The need for accurate and timely data is vital to the protection of our warfighters in support of Multi-Domain Operations. This updated database will make it more efficient for warfighters to collect, identify and neutralize the enemy,” said Col. Senodja “Frank” Sundiata-Walker, project manager for PM DoD Biometrics.

By Douglas Scott

Rare-Earth Element Material Could Produce World’s Smallest Transistors

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — A material from a rare earth element, tellurium, could produce the world’s smallest transistor, thanks to an Army-funded project.

Computer chips use billions of tiny switches called transistors to process information. The more transistors on a chip, the faster the computer.

A project at Purdue University in collaboration with Michigan Technological University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Texas at Dallas, found that the material, shaped like a one-dimensional DNA helix, encapsulated in a nanotube made of boron nitride, could build a field-effect transistor with a diameter of two nanometers. Transistors on the market are made of bulkier silicon and range between 10 and 20 nanometers in scale.

“This research reveals more about a promising material that could achieve faster computing with very low power consumption using these tiny transistors,” said Joe Qiu, program manager for the Army Research Office, an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory, which funded this work. “That technology would have important applications for the Army.”

The Army-funded research is published in the journal Nature Electronics. The Army is focused on integration, speed and precision to ensure the Army’s capability development process is adaptable and flexible enough to keep pace with the rate of technology change.

“This tellurium material is really unique. It builds a functional transistor with the potential to be the smallest in the world,” said Dr. Peide Ye, Purdue’s Richard J. and Mary Jo Schwartz Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

One way to shrink field-effect transistors, the kind found in most electronic devices, is to build the gates that surround thinner nanowires. These nanowires are protected within nanotubes.

Ye and his team worked to make tellurium as small as a single atomic chain and then build transistors with these atomic chains or ultrathin nanowires.

They started off growing one-dimensional chains of tellurium atoms, and were surprised to find that the atoms in these one-dimensional chains wiggle. These wiggles were made visible through transmission electron microscopy imaging performed at the University of Texas at Dallas and at Purdue.

“Silicon atoms look straight, but these tellurium atoms are like a snake. This is a very original kind of structure,” Ye said.

The wiggles were the atoms strongly bonding to each other in pairs to form DNA-like helical chains, then stacking through weak forces called van der Waals interactions to form a tellurium crystal.

These van der Waals interactions set apart tellurium as a more effective material for single atomic chains or one-dimensional nanowires compared with others because it’s easier to fit into a nanotube, Ye said.

Because the opening of a nanotube cannot be any smaller than the size of an atom, tellurium helices of atoms could achieve smaller nanowires and, therefore, smaller transistors.

The researchers successfully built a transistor with a tellurium nanowire encapsulated in a boron nitride nanotube. A high-quality boron nitride nanotube effectively insulates tellurium, making it possible to build a transistor.

“Next, the researchers will optimize the device to further improve its performance, and demonstrate a highly efficient functional electronic circuit using these tiny transistors, potentially through collaboration with ARL researchers,” Qiu said.

In addition to the Army Research Office, the National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency partly funded the work.

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

‘milDrive’ Offers DoD More Secure Cloud Storage Solution

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Defense Information Systems Agency has been offering “milDrive,” a cloud-based storage solution for desktop users, for nearly a year.

The cloud service already has about 18,000 users across 20 organizations, the program manager said.

“There’s quite a large user base in the queue right now that’s interested, and we are currently piloting with and developing a migration strategy for them,” said Carissa Landymore. “The need is definitely there.”

The milDrive service is available for users on DODIN, the unclassified Defense Department information network.

Users often store files on network drives so they can be shared with others within their organizations. The milDrive service gives users that ability, and it also allows them to access files from any common access card-enabled computer on the network and from their government cell phones and tablets. Typically, network shared drives only allow users to access files when they are on their home network.

Unlike other cloud-service solutions in use by some DOD agencies, milDrive allows users to store files that contain personally identifiable information, personal health information and “for official use only” information because the storage for milDrive is maintained by DISA, rather than by a commercial provider, Landymore said.

“From a security perspective, all the data is always encrypted, in transit and at rest,” she said. “So, it’s always providing that extra blanket of security.”

Also, unlike with typical network shares, milDrive users can grant access to their files to any milDrive user in the Defense Department, Landymore said. Users can even share files with other DOD personnel who don’t have milDrive access through a web-based interface. And unlike some web-based cloud service solutions, milDrive is thoroughly integrated into the desktop environment, which means users can create, read and manipulate files stored in the cloud using the software already installed on their desktop computers.

“It’s completely integrated and transparent on your desktop,” she said. “It’s the same traditional look and feel as Windows File Explorer and used like any other location to open or save files.

Landymore said DISA offers 1 terabyte or 20 gigabyte licenses for individual users. Both licenses cost less than $10 a month. Organizations can also order “team drives” starting at 1 TB. As with traditional network shares; milDrive “Team Folders” allow organizations the ability to collaborate traditionally with the added benefits of online and offline access, mobility and portability of group data they do not have today.

Guidance from the DOD chief information officer and DISA direction is going in the direction of the cloud, Landymore said. “MilDrive is going to help the department get there faster,” she said. “It’s going to help folks immediately migrate off their end-of-service-life equipment right onto another service that DISA is already invested into. We’ve made that investment to really help the department long-term, getting to a cloud solution and realizing our cost savings with economies of scale.”

Jeremiah Collins, the information technology services deputy director at Army Futures Command in Austin, Texas, said milDrive has provided the command with cost savings over traditional storage solutions and a reduction in workload for a limited information technology staff.

Army Futures Command stood up in July 2018, and Collins said the command has used milDrive as its storage solution from the start.

“When we were standing up the command, we really needed a storage solution that would support a mobile workforce beyond just the installation boundaries,” Collins said. “So, where teams are collaborating, no matter where they are located, they can reach back to those documents. Traditional network storage doesn’t allow for that. But with milDrive, anybody that has a CAC can access it from any web browser. That was monumental in our decision to choose milDrive.”

Additionally, Collins said, the low cost of storage was a deciding factor in the command’s decision to go with milDrive.

“The DISA milDrive was about a third of the cost of traditional storage,” Collins said. “It wasn’t even close.”

The cost of milDrive isn’t the only way the command saves money, he said. There’s also a reduction in workload by information technology support staff — something Collins said is important in Army Futures Command, where they have both limited space and a limited staff.

“For us, we don’t have the luxury of a lot of resources in our IT shop,” he said. “We have to be very diligent in what we assign for tasks. With milDrive, it’s simply provisioning a user to a milDrive account, which is exponentially easier for the staff here to execute based on our current resourcing thresholds.”

To achieve a seamless, transparent use of milDrive, software does have to be installed on a user’s computer. Until that software is installed, users can access files via a web-based application. Collins said initial use of milDrive at Army Futures Command was complicated by that requirement, but those challenges disappeared after the software was approved for use on their network.

“Quite frankly, ever since the application was installed, we’ve received zero complaints,” Collins said.

Landymore said organizations that want to make use of milDrive can check out the services catalogue on the DISA website. In addition, she said, DISA can help organizational IT staffs migrate data on existing storage services to milDrive.

By C. Todd Lopez

ShadowTrack 24-7 & ST-Lock, Official Launch, Booth 20000 (SERT), SHOT Show

Monday, January 20th, 2020

Fletcher, NC – January 18, 2020

SERT, LLC will be supporting the official launch of ShadowTrack 24/7 GPS tracking solutions during the 2020 SHOT Show at their Booth 20000 in the main LE Hall, January 21-24 at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

ShadowTrack 24/7 was founded to bring innovative GPS tracking solutions to a wide-based clientele. Their solutions are customizable and unique to each customer’s need to track valued assets. In addition, the company’s “best-in-class” approach offers solutions that are innovative as well as cost effective and ultimately open untapped market opportunities.

ShadowTrack 24/7 will also be introducing the ST-Lock secured by Nok?, connecting all your locks, sharing data in real time, sending you updates and keeping valuable assets safe. ST-Lock padlocks are key-less, heavy duty locks with an industrial strength body and intelligent core. These powerful locks are tamper resistant , work in harsh environmental conditions and are also available with a shrouded shackle for extra protection.

These new solutions and products, plus many more, will be on display at Booth No 20000 (LE). For more information on ShadowTrack 24/7, please visit or contact Brynne Williams at [email protected] for more information.

Persistent Systems Improves MPU5 Radio – Releases Software Update

Thursday, January 16th, 2020


NEW YORK, NY. – Dec 04, 2019 – Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”) is excited to release Firmware Version 19.5.3 for the MPU5 and Embedded Module. This firmware addresses feedback from a readiness exercise conducted by the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division.

“Thank you to the Rakkasan’s for the in-depth after-action report. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and helps Persistent continue to improve the MPU5 in ways that are most beneficial to the warfighter,” said Eric Stern, Director of Engineering at Persistent.

Firmware Version 19.5.3 contains significant performance improvements specifically intended to benefit dismounted end users.  Improvements include:

• Improved Battery Life: about 3-hours increase in MPU5 runtime on a standard 6.8 Ah battery pack reduces the number of batteries soldiers must carry to support their mission duration. Power consumption improvements also benefit Embedded Module users.

• Improved Audio Quality: new Opus audio codec implementation, delivers crystal clear audio and an 8x reduction in network utilization for voice traffic. Improved audio clarity further reduces the cognitive load on the soldier.

• Rotary Knob implementation: users can now modify Audio Volume or select their Intercom Talk Group via the 8-position knob on the MPU5.

• LED Blackout Mode: users can now disable the status LED to support low-visibility operations.

• Simplified Web Management: Web interface is now streamlined based on the cables currently connected to the radio and displays only relevant settings to the user, improving ease of use and ensuring users are maximizing the capabilities of the MPU5.

• Multicast Firmware Upgrade: firmware upgrades to large MPU5 networks now occur via multicast, enabling a rapid upgrade of a large number of nodes.

• Rapid Configuration Tool: implementation of a tool to help automate the mass configuration of MPU5s. As users continue to create larger networks, rapid configuration becomes even more critical. 

“We want to empower warfighters with industry-leading capabilities, and receiving direct user feedback from operational units is extremely beneficial. Their feedback allows us to focus on improving existing capabilities and developing new ones to address capability gaps that can only be discovered in real-world deployments of the network,” Stern added.

Firmware Version 19.5.3 is immediately available. Existing customers will receive an email notification and can download the firmware from the new Persistent Customer Support Portal. All customers are encouraged to upgrade.