Category: Tactical Systems

In their current state, wearable computing devices, such as glasses, watches, or sensors embedded into your clothing, are obtrusive. Jason Hong, associate professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, wrote in a 2014 co-authored article in Pervasive Computing that while wearables gather input from sensors placed optimally on our bodies, they can also be "harder to accommodate due to our social context and requirements to keep them small and lightweight."

Our modern data infrastructure has become very effective at getting the information you need, when you need it. This infrastructure has become so effective that we rely on having instant access to information in many aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, there are still situations in which the data infrastructure cannot meet our needs due to various limitations at the tactical edge, which is a term used to describe hostile environments with limited resources, from war zones in Afghanistan to disaster relief in countries like Haiti and Japan. This blog post describes our ongoing research in the Advanced Mobile Systems initiative at the SEI on edge-enabled tactical systems to address problems at the tactical edge.

Whether soldiers are on the battlefield or providing humanitarian relief effort, they need to capture and process a wide range of text, image, and map-based information. To support soldiers in this effort, the Department of Defense (DoD) is beginning to equip soldiers with smartphones to allow them to manage that vast array and amount of information they encounter while in the field. Whether the information gets correctly conveyed up the chain of command depends, in part, on the soldier's ability to capture accurate data while in the field. This blog posting, a follow-up to our initial post, describes our work on creating a software application for smartphones that allows soldier end-users to program their smartphones to provide an interface tailored to the information they need for a specific mission.

As noted in the National Research Council's report Critical Code: Software Producibility for Defense, mission-critical Department of Defense (DoD) systems increasingly rely on software for their key capabilities. Ironically, it is increasingly hard to motivate investment in long-term software research for the DoD. This lack of investment stems, in part, from the difficulty that acquisitions programs have making a compelling case for the return on these investments in software research. This post explores how the SEI is using the Systems and Software Producibility Collaboration and Experimentation Environment (SPRUCE) to help address this problem.

Many people today carry handheld computing devices to support their business, entertainment, and social needs in commercial networks. The Department of Defense (DoD) is increasingly interested in having soldiers carry handheld computing devices to support their mission needs in tactical networks. Not surprisingly, however, conventional handheld computing devices (such as iPhone or Android smartphones) for commercial networks differ in significant ways from handheld devices for tactical networks. For example, conventional devices and the software that runs on them do not provide the capabilities and security needed by military devices, nor are they configured to work over DoD tactical networks with severe bandwidth limitations and stringent transmission security requirements. This post describes exploratory research we are conducting at the SEI to (1) create software that allows soldiers to access information on a handheld device and (2) program the software to tailor the information for a given mission or situation.