NATICK, Mass. (April 13, 2012) -- The Army's future leaders got an inside look at cutting edge research during a visit on April 13 to the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM).
Engineering psychology cadets from the U.S. Military Academy got a firsthand look at research that will help shape the future Army -- their Army. They received a tour of USARIEM's four unique divisions and took part in hands--on briefings, from the Altitude Chamber to the Bone Health Lab to the Water Immersion Pool. They saw new technologies, including the 3D laser facility at U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center which is used to measure a Soldier's body dimensions, that promise to protect them as leaders and their future Soldiers and enhance war fighter capabilities.
As engineering psychology majors, these cadets were interested in how the human factor fits in with technology and whether new developments can be used effectively once humans are added to the equation. According to Maj. Lou P. Nemec, the incoming anthropometric and biomechanics instructor for West Point who arranged this visit with USARIEM, this trip is a vital part of these future leaders's education.
"This visit is important because in the next five years these cadets will be leading the Soldiers who are using the equipment being researched at USARIEM," Nemec said. "This is their major and being here today will no doubt give them a deeper understanding of that as well as a greater appreciation for USARIEM."
Hi-tech research is becoming increasingly important in the Army and the world Nemec said. Unfortunately, with technology sometimes the human element is forgotten. Ultimately he said it will be these future leaders who can provide the valuable link between personnel and equipment because, he hopes, many will stay in the Army and be able to offer their experiences for future research.
According to Dr. Edward J. Zambraski, chief of the Military Performance Division at USARIEM, this visit was a crucial step in exposing these cadets to the importance of collaboration between the war fighter and researchers. Zambraski said that this visit was also a great opportunity to keep the best and brightest interested in research and to possibly return to USARIEM one day.
"We are hoping that by giving these cadets a look at our research activities, they walk away with a better understanding of the Army's medical problems and, more importantly, how we deal with them," Zambraski said. "This visit will expose them to the broader picture of what the Army is facing outside of West Point and how we can help them address these issues."
USARIEM has worked with cadets from West Point for the past year and assists them with vital research support throughout their senior capstone projects, which includes a bionic foot for amputees.
"Many of these individuals are going to stay in the Army," Zambraski said. "My hope is that they stay with the Army as researchers to build upon their experiences from West Point and beyond and bring it back."