Engineers associated with the U.S. Army Research Lab work on everything from stronger helmets and safer vehicles to the development of new materials and energy sources. On Thursday, ARL’s Steve C. Taulbee visited the CSULB College of Engineering to talk about ARL’s Open Campus Initiative.
“We want to collaborate as much as we can with major universities,” said Taulbee. “We realize we’re in a military environment. You have to go through a gate. You may have to have a security clearance. There are things that prohibit open collaboration.”
The focus of the Open Campus Initiative is collaboration, not funding. The ARL provides world-class research facilities, such as the Rodman Materials Research Lab and Spesutie Island, where energetics research and ballistic testing take place. ARL also has centers that focus on intelligent systems, battery materials, network science, and specialty electronics.
One recent accomplishment is creation of a thermoplastic helmet that increases ballistic protection by 35 percent.
With the exception of a human sciences center in Playa Vista, which will focus on research into how humans use data to make decisions more effectively, most of the ARL’s facilities are on the East Coast. There are currently 300 available opportunities for collaboration nationwide, Taulbee said.
“This is a good opportunity to expand our research with the U.S. Army,” said Hamid Rahai, CSULB Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs.
ARL’s mission is to provide innovative science, technology, and analyses to enable full-spectrum operations. It comprises six directorates: the Army Research Office (ARO), Computational and Information Sciences Directorate (CISD), Human Research and Engineering Directorate (HRED), Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate (SEDD), Survivability/Lethality Analysis Directorate (SLAD), Vehicle Technology Directorate (VTD), and Weapons and Materials Research Directorate (WMRD).
The U.S. Army Laboratory is engaged in an intensive, multidisciplinary program to actively investigate disruptive technologies that are potentially capable of providing game-changing enhancements in capabilities for U.S. soldiers and the equipment they use. Many of these research efforts occur at the fundamental research level — largely in collaboration with academia partners — where new discoveries and new theories are made.