By Mr. Dennis Neal (RDECOM)January 23, 2013
SAN ANTONIO -- The U.S. Army showed off its latest technology advancements, including the Containerized Kitchen that can serve three hot meals a day for up to 800 soldiers, at the Army All-American Bowl Jan. 5.
The kitchen is housed on a trailer that is 8 feet tall, 8 feet wide and 20 feet long. It is powered by an on-board 10 kilowatt generator.
The Containerized Kitchen was just one of many technology displays the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command showcased in the Army Strong Zone Jan. 4-5. The displays are set up each year just outside the Alamodome in conjunction with the Army All-American Bowl.
In addition to providing hot food to the crowds of students and local residents visiting the Strong Zone, RDECOM displayed night-vision devices, robotics, medical simulation technologies and transparent armor.
A popular stop for the folks visiting the high-tech displays was the robotics area from RDECOM's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center. TARDEC displayed military robots and allowed visitors to steer the robots around an obstacle course.
TARDEC scientists and engineers explained the operation of the robots, how they are used to perform ordnance protection and how they can guard Soldiers from potentially lethal situations. They are remotely operated and include on-board cameras that allow the Soldier to operate them from a distance even when the robots are out of sight.
Each robot has unique characteristics and duties. Some are used to look under vehicles for explosives and can lift objects weighing up to 15 pounds.
Another high-end display by TARDEC featured the Fuel Efficient Demonstrator concept vehicle Alpha.
"The FED does the same mission as an up-armored Humvee," said Rachel Agusti, lead project engineer. "It's a little more current because it has v-body hulls, underbody shaping for blasts as well as export power, and it does that mission 70 percent more fuel [efficiently]."
RDECOM's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center showed off two of its technologies with night-vision devices and Command and Control Multi-touch Enabled Technology.
COMET demonstrates a multi-touch, multi-user collaborative platform with software enhancing the planning, wargaming, and mission execution functions of the military.
"We could build electronic maps that would behave like normal maps but have special capabilities. Because multi-touch technology lowers the barriers between the computer and its human users, these systems are approachable, easy to use and powerful," said Cyndi Carpenter, a systems engineer with the COMET team.
CERDEC's Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate set up a display to prove its slogan, "We own the night." To demonstrate the technology, they set up a thermal weapon sight connected to a monitor displaying the crowds visiting the Zone.
RDECOM's Army Research Laboratory displayed two high-tech innovations. The Multiple Amputee Trauma Trainer animatronics face display is a pain-response prototype that was developed to give medics and combat lifesavers more realistic training.
"[The MATT program] incorporated movement and special effects technologies to significantly increase realism," said Dr. Teresita Sotomayor, science and technology manager for Medical Simulation Technologies at ARL's Simulation and Training Technology Center.
"The system has improved the effectiveness of both military and civilian trauma training. The system also improves treatment performance, which saves lives and limbs," she said.
Thousands of American Soldiers have been trained using the MATT simulations located worldwide throughout the joint medical and combat communities.
ARL also featured advanced transparent armor. Samples of glass-based and ceramic-based transparent vehicle window components were set up to allow the attendees to see and feel the weight and thickness advantages of ceramic transparent armor systems. They are half the weight and thickness of current armor but have the same ballistic protection.
With the high-tech displays, RDECOM is supporting the Army's mission of ensuring students, parents and educators are aware of science, technology, engineering and math opportunities with the Army, said Louie Lopez, chief of STEM education outreach.
RDECOM manages the Army Educational Outreach Program for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology.
"RDECOM is in the business of research and development," Lopez said. "With our investment in future technologies, its just as critical for us to make an investment in future engineers and scientists."