Weekly Tech Roundup | Dec 28, 2018

Weekly tech roundup: top six most popular Department of Defense technologies of 2018

We’re quickly approaching the end of 2018. So this week’s tech roundup highlights the top six Department of Defense technologies that were viewed the most often.

If these six inventions are already on your radar, feel free to click through to the patent database and try a keyword search or browse by your interest category. 2019 could be your year to launch a new business!

Also read: Business Innovation is Risky: How Technology Transfer Can Help

Here’s the 2018 roundup:

2B-Alert personalized alertness and cognitive performance app

The Army has developed and validated the 2B-Alert mobile app which learns an individual user’s specific phenotypical responses to sleep loss and caffeine consumption and their impacts on the individual’s cognitive performance.

Potential applications include student exam preparation, scheduling for the transportation industry (truckers, air traffic controllers, pilots, etc.), clinical and research studies involving sleep and caffeine, and planning for any activity where an individual or team needs to be performing at peak cognitive levels during a particular time period.

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Low Alloy, High Impact Toughness Steel

The Air Force has developed and scaled up to 200,000lb+ quantity USAF-96 Steel. USAF-96 Steel contains no tungsten or cobalt and is a low carbon, low nickel alloy steel composition.

In addition to its material cost advantage, USAF-96 Steel can be produced using standard “air-melt” production processes, at a substantially lower cost than prior methods. Its material composition, along with specific thermal processing conditions, leads to the growth of beneficial nano-scaled carbides in a martensitic matrix that allows USAF-96 Steel to possess its high-performance characteristics in heavier sections while using reduced quantities of expensive alloying elements.

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Crowfoot Torque Wrench Adapter for Tight Spaces

The Navy has developed and tested a technology to properly torque electrical and other small connectors and nuts in difficult-to-reach locations. Current solutions are designed for bigger nuts in automotive and other larger-scale mechanical settings.

Manufacturers of subminiature version A (SMA) and other small electronics connectors produce torque wrenches designed for specific uses of a given connector product. However, the wrenches frequently are unable to reach a connector once the connector is incorporated into a device and installed in a system.

The Navy’s crowfoot adapter provides an economical solution to reduce or eliminate the need for disassembly in order to reach connectors.

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METBENCH Automated Calibration System

The Navy has developed, tested, patented, and fielded the METBENCH automated calibration system.

METBENCH performs a variety of tasks, including automated calibration procedures and data collection, which results in lower costs, better workflow, and improved data and calibration quality. The automated procedure execution component interfaces with more than 800 pieces of equipment, increases calibration efficiency, eliminates technical errors, and lowers the skill level required to perform accurate calibration operations. Procedures can be standardized and readily updated to ensure consistency and compliance throughout an enterprise.

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Light-activated polymers with shape memory

Shape memory polymers (SMPs) are stimuli-responsive materials that remember their original shape that can be recovered from a temporarily fixed shape by exposure to external stimuli such as heat, light, electricity, moisture, solvent, or magnetic field.

Air Force researchers have identified glassy azobenzene as one such SMP material that can bend bi-directionally when exposed to blue-green light of 440–514 nm. It retains the photo-deformed state upon removal of light for a significant period of time. It can then be returned to its original state by specific light activation. SMPs have already found commercial utility in building materials and ophthalmic devices. Other applications could be photo-responsive switches; additional medical devices such as stents, shunts, and sutures; and self-repairing vehicle structures.

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Facial recognition via thermal imaging

Automatic facial recognition has a wide range of applications in the commercial, military, and government sectors, spanning from tagging people in social networking websites to surveillance for homeland security. To date, facial recognition research has predominantly focused on the visible spectrum, addressing challenges such as illumination variations, pose, and image resolution. However, for surveillance during nighttime, the lack of illumination prevents cameras operating in the visible light spectrum from being used discreetly and effectively.

The Army’s solution is a cross-modal face matching system using polarimetric thermal image data.

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Headshot Image of Austin Leach, PhD, CLP

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