WASHINGTON -- Scientists and engineers from research laboratories across the Department of Defense showcased innovative technologies at the Pentagon April 25 at its 2019 DOD Lab Day.
Officials created the event as an opportunity for the science and technology communities to highlight and display the groundbreaking work developed throughout the Defense Laboratory Enterprise. DOD Lab Day provides a platform for researchers to display near and far-term research and development efforts and emerging technologies that will benefit the warfighter and perhaps provide them with advanced capabilities.
An opening ceremony kicked off the event and included remarks by Deputy Director for Research, Technology and Laboratories Dr. JihFen Lei and Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Dr. Michael Griffin.
Griffin talked about the exceptional talent within the defense laboratory enterprise and underlined the important role defense labs play in maintaining a technological edge over potential adversaries.
"DOD's labs develop emerging technologies that make warfighters a more lethal and protected force. These emerging technologies are not replicated in the commercial sector," Griffin said. "Engineers who work in the labs must strike the right balance of speed, diligence and quality. Emerging and disruptive technologies are being developed by adversaries, so speed matters."
Griffin also emphasized the importance of continued collaborative efforts between defense laboratories and government agencies.
"It's important to work across the services," he said. "Loyalty to one's service and organization should come second to engineers' loyalty to truth, excellence and favorable outcomes for the warfighter."
Officials recognized Lab Scientists of the Quarter with the presentation of the Applied Research for the Advancement of S&T Priorities grant and the announcement of Congress's recognition of Lab Day.
Dr. Bryn Adams, research biologist in the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command's Army Research Laboratory, the Army's corporate research laboratory known as ARL, received the DOD Laboratory Scientist of the Quarter Award for S&T excellence based on outstanding performance of her duties. Adams is with ARL's Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate.
Defense officials also awarded the Applied Research for the Advancement of S&T Priorities grant to the Topologically Enabled Devices Program, a collaborative effort between ARL, the Naval Research Laboratory and the Air Force Research Laboratory.
The $45 million award is aimed at projects oriented toward the design, development and improvement of prototypes as well as new processes which may translate promising research and solutions into solving high priority military needs.
Defense officials also announced the recently passed congressional resolution recognizing the work and accomplishments of defense laboratories for the technological dominance of the armed forces and the designation of April 25, 2019 as "Department of Defense Laboratory Day."
ARL displays highlighted advancements in materials and autonomous technologies. Technologies included Radio Frequency Novel Metta-Ferrite Material Devices and Robots Teaming with Dismounted Soldiers.
Subject matter experts from ARL's Sensor and Electron Devices Directorate and the Technology Transfer Office displayed the MetaFerrite Materials for Low Profile Antennas technology effort, a low profile Tactical Satellite and Mobile User Objective System antenna for vehicle applications.
At the "Robots Teaming with dismounted Soldiers" display, Geoff Slipher, division chief of ARL's Autonomous Systems Division, discussed the challenges facing the technology which is focused on transitioning robots from tools to robots as teammates.
"The key challenge with the Robotic Manipulation research platform that we are displaying is to enable fully autonomous exploitation of combined mobility, perception, and manipulation," Slipher said. "What makes this platform different and exciting is that it is helping us to answer fundamental questions about how mobile manipulation can be used by the Army in the future."
Demonstrations of the capabilities, along with a variety of other new robotic and autonomous systems will be part of the Robotic Collaborative Technology Alliance capstone demonstration in October.
DOD held its first Lab Day in 2015 as an opportunity for the military's S&T communities to highlight and display the work developed throughout the previous year. The audience included members of Congress, military and civilian S&T leadership, STEM high-school students, members of the media and special guests.
The CCDC Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. As the Army's corporate research laboratory, ARL discovers, innovates and transitions science and technology to ensure dominant strategic land power. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our Nation's wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.