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Lab Highlights Science, Tech Advances

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U.S. Army
Monday, January 13, 2020

From teaming with robots to reading minds, the Army Research Laboratory made some critical science and technology advancements last year.

Topping ARL’s 2019 list is soldier-robot teaming. Researchers were able to train robots to operate in unfamiliar scenarios using new algorithms and capabilities—an improvement in artificial intelligence that’s “unseen in the industry,” according to the Army. 

Researchers also developed a system of bots to find fuel-efficient materials that can help better equip soldiers and solve one of the Army’s major challenges: battery power in the field. 

“The exciting part about basic science research is you can’t always predict where the results will lead,” said Purush Iyer, division chief of network sciences at the Army Research Office.

Other developments on the list include hydrogen-generated power made with any water-based liquid, self-healing synthetic materials, a water-based fireproof battery and artificial muscles made from plastic—to name a few.

And while the Army can’t read soldiers’ minds, it’s not too far off, thanks to a “human interest detector” developed by Army researchers.

According to the Army, the detector can determine where people are looking and decode brain activity by watching brain waves, tracking neural responses and assessing what exactly is capturing a person’s attention.

Click here for more on ARL’s top advancements for 2019. The Army Research Lab is part of the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command.