Sensors, Wind Energy & More Innovations Demonstrated at DoD Lab Day

All week long, we’ve been showing you the military science and technology innovations that were on display at the Department of Defense’s first-ever Lab Day last Thursday. Today, we’re wrapping up the series with a look at three more projects from the May 14, 2015 event at the Pentagon.

The Gen II Helmet Sensor, made by the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s JTAPIC, is displayed at the inaugural DoD Lab Day at the Pentagon, May 14, 2015. (Photo: Yolanda R. Arrington/Defense Media Activity/Released)

The Gen II Helmet Sensor, made by the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s JTAPIC, is displayed at the inaugural DoD Lab Day at the Pentagon, May 14, 2015. (Photo: Yolanda R. Arrington/Defense Media Activity/Released)

The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Joint Trauma Analysis and Prevention of Injuries in Combat (JTAPIC) presented a new helmet that records head impacts and blast events. JTAPIC works to prevent injuries to deployed service members. The Gen II Helmet Sensor records linear accelerations and rotational velocities during blasts. The senor system is small and lightweight. The gauges mount inside the helmet and two other areas: the non-firing shoulder and the chest. Those three gauges record blast pressure and work together to capture acceleration and over pressure to help determine if warfighters have been exposed to concussions.

U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center's Flutter Mallard wind generator system is displayed with the help of a large fan at the inaugural DoD Lab Day at the Pentagon, May 14, 2015. (Photo: Yolanda R. Arrington/Defense Media Activity/Released)

U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Flutter Mallard wind generator system is displayed with the help of a large fan at the inaugural DoD Lab Day at the Pentagon, May 14, 2015. (Photo: Yolanda R. Arrington/Defense Media Activity/Released)

The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) isn’t letting a good breeze go to waste. ERDC’s Flutter Mallard is a non-rotational micro wind generator system that’s able to extract energy from low-wind scenarios to power electronic devices. The generator harvests the low energy portion of the wind that would be too little for turbines to use. The Flutter Mallard weighs about 30 lbs. and uses strips of elastic material that “flutter” in the wind, capturing energy. The kinetic energy is then converted into electricity that can provide emergency power in remote areas.

The goal of the Flutter Mallard device is to eventually mirror the female end of a USB port that can then charge cell phones and other small devices for warfighters.

SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific engineer Todd Webber briefs a senior Navy flag officer on capabilities of the MK-18, Kingfish during inaugural DoD Lab Day at the Pentagon, May 14, 2015. (Photo: SSC Pacific/Released)

SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific engineer Todd Webber briefs a senior Navy flag officer on capabilities of the MK-18, Kingfish during inaugural DoD Lab Day at the Pentagon, May 14, 2015. (Photo: SSC Pacific/Released)

The Navy is on a continued mission to develop and deploy unmanned robots. The MK-18 UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles) are similar to ground robots but they search the seas for mines and explosives. Several Navy laboratories are working with the Office of Naval Research to refine the vehicles. There are two versions of the MK-18, a small one that’s light enough for two people to carry and a larger version that weighs more than 600 lbs. Both versions use cameras and sonars to detect and locate dangerous underwater devices.

More than 100 military innovations were featured during DoD Lab Day. We couldn’t list them all here, but you can check out more photos and videos from Lab Day on DVIDS.

Yolanda R. Arrington is the content manager for Armed with Science. She is a journalist and social media-ista with a flair for moving pictures and writing.
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