The West Point cadet design teams competed and won second, third and fourth place prizes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2010 Soldier Design Competition.

The 11 teams, six from West Point and five from MIT, presented their final designs to judges from industry, academia and the Army April 15. The competition's goal is to generate new products and systems that will help the modern Soldier both on and off the battlefield. Focused on practical, non-weapons products such as Soldier identification systems and battery rechargers, the technology that comes out of the competition often has dual-use potential for firefighters, police or even athletes.

This year, Cow Michael Weigand, a computer science major, won second place after building and demonstrating a low-cost and lightweight, unmanned aerial system. The Soldier Tactical Aerial Reconnaissance Systems is Soldier deployable and operates autonomously to provide Soldiers an on-demand aerial observation capability. The system exceeds many of the currently fielded small UAV systems' capabilities and costs less than 1 percent of similarly fielded systems.

Firsties John Eischer, George Hopkins and Derek Wales, all electrical engineering majors, won third place after building a low-cost position location system. The project, known as DemonEye, integrates a laser range finder, compass, GPS sensor, computation algorithms and a microprocessor to provide Soldiers with accurate location data to any point up to a mile away with a push of a button. At a cost of approximately $1,000, DemonEye is inexpensive enough to be issued down to the squad and smaller-sized units.

Civil and Mechanical Engineering Firsties Nate Humbert, Steven LaFave, Brad Mirkovich and Jordan Morris won fourth place for their prototype design of a universal weapons mount for military vehicles. The Integrated Soldier Protection and Elevation Kit provides Soldiers with a significantly expanded elevation range for mounted weapons while providing enhanced Soldier protection inside the turret. Currently, fielded systems limit the elevation range of mounted weapons and expose Soldiers to small arms fire when elevating to extreme angles. ISPEK solves both of these problems.