Hammond speaker at Evolution of the Warfighter event in Washington D.C.

Hammond WEDr. Tracy Anne Hammond, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, was one of four speakers at Evolution of the Warfighter, Technology Version, an event designed to showcase the relationship between government funded research and general innovations. About 150 congressional staff members were at the event that was held in Washington, D.C.

Hammond, who is the director of the Sketch Recognition Lab, presented on her work on HaptiMoto, a solution that allows warfighters to receive navigational direction information solely through vibration feedback. Funding from IDA and DARPA supports Hammond’s work. 

Rigorous testing has shown that both warfighters and civilians using the Haptigo or HaptiMoto navigational vest have higher situational awareness and get to their location more quickly and more directly than those using audio (headphone), visual (smartphone, watch, or paper map), or even memorized solutions.

With Congress facing continuing issues related to funding of the nation’s armed services, a coalition of business, science, and university organizations presented a unique demonstration to staffers about past successes in military research and the potential for the future.

While many policymakers are aware that federally funded research has been essential to the creation of thousands of companies, industries, products and jobs, many are not aware of the military innovations over many decades that similarly would not have been possible without federally funded basic research, much of it supported by the Department of Defense.

Among the innovations that help protect warfighters and improve their capabilities are: Gas Masks, Radar, body armor, and improved medical techniques.  An example is the EpiPEN, which sprung from similar devices designed to protect soldiers from nerve agents and chemical weapons through various conflicts.

The Task Force on American Innovation, with the help of warfighters dressed in combat uniforms from the World War One era to the modern era, showed the amazing technologies that would not have been possible without research.