ADELPHI, Md. -- Dr. Nathan Lazarus is an electronics engineer and Army Civilian working with the Army Research Laboratory. He serves as a research scientist working on cutting-edge technologies. Dr. Lazarus took the time recently to answer a few questions about his work and how it directly supports Soldier readiness. In August, the U.S. Army recognizes the work of Army Civilians as a vital component of the Army's mission.
As the Army's corporate research laboratory, Army Research Laboratory discovers, innovates and transitions science and technology to ensure dominant strategic land power. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, ARL 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.
1. HOW DOES THE WORK YOU PERFORM IMPROVE SOLDIER PERFORMANCE?
My field of stretchable electronics focuses on the creation of highly wearable sensors and actuators that can be integrated directly into clothing or on the surface of the skin. Picture a biosensor in the form of a temporary tattoo, a sticker that can be attached on a Soldier's skin to monitor stress and welfare. I work on the power systems for these types of stretchable systems, attempting to make them last longer and recharge more quickly and efficiently.
2. HOW DOES YOUR RESEARCH HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE ARMY'S MISSION TO FIGHT AND WIN OUR NATION'S CONFLICTS?
My work is intended to help Soldiers perform at maximum performance (by helping them monitor their own hydration, levels of exhaustion, and stress), with the intent of helping them become more effective in the field. While ARL does not work as heavily in the medical space, the same technologies can also be used for medical treatment after injury, allowing remote telemedicine and monitoring.
3. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO SERVE AS AN ARMY CIVILIAN SCIENTIST? WHAT'S YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH UNIFORMED SOLDIERS LIKE IN THIS ROLE?
Working as an Army Scientist gives me the opportunity to work on cutting-edge technologies, and to do so while helping our country. I interact regularly with uniformed and retired Soldiers; ARL has a number of uniformed military who assist with guiding our programs, while many of my supervisors and managers are retired military. My cubicle is also right next to a Wounded Warrior transitioning into civilian life, and I regularly interact with him and get his input on what technologies will be most useful to the Soldiers in the field.
4. HOW WILL YOUR RESEARCH IMPACT THE ARMY OF THE FUTURE?
One of our long term visions is to be able to take many of the electronics currently carried by the soldier (their radio, computers, sensors, etc.) and be able to turn them into lighter weight and less obtrusive electronics integrated directly into their clothing. The soldier of the future is likely to carry far less of a burden into combat, keeping our Army at the forefront of technology.