"He plays fast forward for as long as he can. But he won't need a bed--He's a digital man." This lyric from "Digital Man" by the Canadian band Rush refers to societal changes brought on by the digital age. It also could apply to the digital-soldier model being developed by the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Command's (SSCOM) Modeling, Simulation and Analysis Center (MSAC). The program recently received Phase II status from the Small Business Innovative Research project on virtual prototyping. The object: to design "an automated system that will allow designers of clothing, equipment, weapons, protection (systems),shelters, and workplaces to explore proposed designs and how they affect user performance, survivability, and behavior in realistic operational (battlefield) settings." Unlike pastArmy endeavors, however, the program would not require that the items be physically constructed prior to evaluation and testing. The plan would result in a "digital human model suitable for virtual prototyping of protective equipment and as a character (computerized representation of the human form) in a virtual environment." Software to permit such activity includes the Integrated Unit Simulation System, which allows for high-resolution analytic simulation and the insertion of proposed technologies in larger scenarios prior to investing in actual constructed prototypes. FAX (508) 233-5390.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.