The U.S. Army is asking Hollywood for help. It wants better military training simulators for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is cost. The price tag for a live-fire exercise for a single Bradley fighting vehicle is just under $5,000, according to Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera. In a simulator, the cost is $11. The research for improving the simulators is coming from the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT). The organization is reaching out to writers, directors, cinematographers, production designers, art directors, sound mixers, and special effects designers—a collection of creative thinkers who know how to use their imaginations—hoping for help in developing realistic simulations that help soldiers practice negotiating, learn local cultures, and deal with hostage situations. Projects under development at ICT include artificial intelligence that allows digital characters to react to various military situations. Applications for the military technology include special effects for video games. For more information, go to www.ict.usc.edu.
A new federally sponsored manufacturing innovation center to strengthen US manufacturing abilities in fiber-reinforced composites has formed, bringing together materials suppliers, OEMs, university R&D labs, and national labs.
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