Most Advanced Night Vision Technology Unveiled By Army Scientists

night vision

By Debbie Gregory.

A new synthesis process for low-cost fabrication of a material for infrared cameras has been developed by scientists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and Stony Brook University. This new development makes room for new possibilities for future Army night-time operations.

This research demonstrates a path to a lower cost, practical solution for the eventual fielding of night-vision systems.

“The more sensitive such a camera is…the more details that can be discerned on a battlefield and enemies can be detected at longer ranges,” Dr. Wendy Sarney explained.

High resolution transmission electron microscopy was used to examine the material in order to make sure it had adequate structural quality.

They also discovered that the optical quality related to detection properties was extraordinarily high.

The Army planned to field 47,000 Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III kits this fall to give soldiers improved visibility in low-light settings and poor weather conditions.

But it was clear that Taliban insurgents had the advantage last November when they killed scores of Afghan security personnel, mostly police officers, in two provinces in southern and western Afghanistan.

The Afghan authorities said that the insurgents in these and similar recent attacks were proving to be better equipped than government forces, particularly those in police units, which have suffered most of the casualties.

The so-called Red Unit has carried out many of these attacks, Afghan officials said, often using stolen military or police vehicles to get close to bases they plan to attack.

But these next-generation IR light sensors envisioned by ARL scientists may give soldiers the edge they need to reclaim the night.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Meet the Army Robot That Can Lift a Box or Pour Your Coffee


By Debbie Gregory.

The future of Army warfare will likely involve robotics deployed to perform an array of functions that Soldiers today perform for themselves. To that end, “RoMan”, a small tracked unmanned vehicle, has been built through a collaboration of the military, industry and academic partners.

Short for “Robotic Manipulation,” RoMan is equipped with mounted cameras that can enable the vehicle to locate an object, as well as articulated arms that can grasp and move the object.

“Anytime there’s a mundane or dangerous task, you could put a robot forward to do that thing,” said Marshal Childers, a team leader with the Unmanned Systems Division of the Army Research Lab. This would include tasks such as lifting a box or pouring coffee.

Future plans include making the robot faster and improving its environmental perception to distinguish between objects.

Dr. Stuart Young, who serves as the chief of the Asset Control and Behavior Branch at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory said his team’s project involves making robots more capable of understanding natural language, so they can function more like members of a team rather than just a tool that has to be controlled by a soldier.

Currently, Army robots are tele-operated and require soldiers to control them directly. This means that a soldier who is operating a robot must stop his/her other duties to focus on directing the robot.  Requiring a soldier to put down a gun to pick up a controller might result in an additional soldier providing security for that soldier, taking two soldiers out of the fight.

But within the next 20 years, scientists hope to have evolved the robot technology so that the “robot-as-teammate” is a reality.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Urine Might One Day Power America’s Wars


By Debbie Gregory.

As gross as it may sound, scientists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD are looking at ways to turn liquid human waste into clean, efficient fuel.

The scientists observed an unexpected result when combining urine with a newly engineered nano-powder based on aluminum. It instantly releases hydrogen from the urine at much higher rate than with ordinary water.

Hydrogen has the potential to fuel cells and provide energy that doesn’t cause pollution. It is also the most abundant element in the entire universe.

In space, astronauts recycle waste water and urine because drinking water is a precious commodity. For soldiers, power and energy are becoming increasingly important to run communications and electronics gear, which can’t be resupplied.

Dr. Kristopher Darling, an ARL researcher said, “What we do as Army scientists is develop materials and technology that will directly benefit the Soldier and enhance their capabilities.”

Fuel cells generate electricity quietly, efficiently and without pollution. According to a Department of Energy’s website, fuel cells are “more energy-efficient than combustion engines and the hydrogen used to power them can come from a variety of sources.”

The ARL team will continue investigating ways to harness the nano-powder as a potential energy source.   They are working closely with other researchers at the laboratory, including the Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate, to discover how to harness the material as a potential energy source.

Across the DOD, thousands of scientists pursue innovative research in support of the joint warfighter.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.