addition to supporting the unit’s contingency operations,
the SNAP Lite also could provide NIE support in the future.
Additional procurement and fielding of the terminals will
occur as funding is determined. The reduction in setup time
and size, weight and power in the SNAP Lite compared to
the legacy SNAP increases units’ mobility.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NIST Seeks Advanced Materials Center
Officials at the National Institute of Standards and Technol-
ogy (NIST) recently announced a competition to create an
Advanced Materials Center of Excellence. The new center will
focus on fostering interdisciplinary collaborations and accel-
erating the discovery and development of advanced materials
through innovations in measurement science and in new mod-
eling, simulation, data and informatics tools.
Advanced materials, such as new high-performance alloys
or ceramics, polymers, glasses, nanocomposites or bio-
materials, are a key factor in global competitiveness. They
drive the development of new products and new technical
capabilities and can create whole new industries. Currently,
however, the average time from laboratory discovery of a
new material to its first commercial use can take as long
as 20 years. Reducing that lag by half is one of the primary
goals of the administration’s Materials Genome Initiative
announced in 2011.
NIST anticipates funding the new center at approximately
$5 million per year for five years, with the possibility of
renewing the award for an additional five years.
AI Assists Mental Health Training
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the mental health
care field could lead to improved training methods for med-
ical personnel and clinicians. Researchers at the University
of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies
currently are developing virtual mental health patients that
can converse with human trainees.
The AI agent system, in the form of either a virtual reality
simulation or a humanoid robot, could access patient medi-
cal records and knowledge and mimic psychological states
through natural language processing, computer vision,
facial recognition, olfactory sensors and even thermal imag-
ing. For example, a “virtual veteran” could be used to help
military clinicians and other personnel detect the risk fac-
tors for suicide.
In addition, the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency is developing a system that can detect psychologi-
cal states, and IBM is developing a version of Watson with
knowledge of all medical literature.
App Automates Pathogen Field Review
The same smartphone that allows users to surf the Web
and play video games now can be used for the more serious
Dozens of radio transmitters hang from the ceiling of
the Open Access Research Testbed for Next-Generation
Wireless Networks (ORBIT) at Rutgers University at New
Brunswick. Competitors in the DARPA Spectrum Challenge
will test their radio software protocols in this room.
Teams Tackle Spectrum
A competition sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) aims to tackle the issue of radio spectrum congestion caused by wireless devices. Next month, 18 semi-
finalists representing a mix of organizations from top
research universities to startups will go head-to-head
in the agency’s Spectrum Challenge. The teams will
attempt to design smart radios that can accommodate
the largest number of users while still enabling priority
traffic to get through.
The semifinals competition will consist of two sep-
arate events, with the winner of each taking home
$25,000. Each event requires teams to transfer the same
file between a source radio and a destination radio,
sharing 5 MHz of bandwidth and requiring the teams’
signals to overlap. DARPA will provide all teams with
the same hardware and data, which ensures the results
will be based on the teams’ software algorithms alone.
After this round, teams will advance to the finals
in March 2014 at DARPA with the prize money set at
$50,000 per event.
purpose of saving lives. The U.S. Army’s Edgewood Chemical
Biological Center (ECBC), working with a team at the Univer-
sity of California Los Angeles (UCLA), has developed a plastic,
clip-on microscope to fit an Android smartphone commonly
used by the Army. The device works just like a microscope—a
soldier collects a sample, puts it into the device and snaps a pic-
ture using the phone’s camera.
The app that runs the clip-on reads the sample, makes
a positive or negative determination, geotags the sample’s
location using Google Maps and sends the result to a labo-
ratory for further review. UCLA researchers are developing
the hardware and software for the device, while the ECBC is
working on diagnostic and detection assays.
Another hardware add-on being developed would expand
the use of smartphones for biosurveillance. Other research
aims at developing a cloud-based database for use by war-
fighters in the field and for civilian medical experts.