Battlefield 2.0: How Augmented Reality is Changing Military Strategy


Image result for hololens army

By Andrew Gunder, DCMME Graduate Assistant

The US Army recently awarded a $479 million dollar contract to Microsoft to develop the next generation of cutting edge Army technology. Dubbed the IVAS (Integrated Visual Augmentation System) and developed off of the Microsoft Hololens 2 platform this system will reduce the need for multiple systems to be carried in the field by consolidating them into one integrated HUD (Heads-Up Display) for soldiers.

The Army is often hampered with an abundance of equipment and systems, some of which aren’t exactly light in weight. The IVAS effectively eliminates that burden on the soldier with a single solution. The individual soldier can see their squad’s position on a map, a compass, and even their weapon system’s reticle. The addition of thermal imaging in the system would aid visibility in the dark without the telltale glow of existing night vision goggles (NVGs) and headsets. Additionally, with the enhanced awareness of the IVAS user, the Army hopes that the system will minimize collateral damage and civilian casualties on the battlefield.

From a training perspective, the IVAS can be used to provide real-time data to improve soldier performance, such as show the wearer’s field of vision and heart rate. This would allow instructors to effectively coach soldiers in instances such as improving aim or room-clearing techniques.

As an Infantryman, this technology not only has the capability to improve soldier performance, but the sheer magnitude of increasing battlefield awareness in soldiers is where this system is truly groundbreaking. Battlefield environments are constantly evolving and having the edge to adjust to rapidly changing conditions on a mission can be the difference between life and death of the end user.


What are some challenges that exist for the Army to fully adopt the IVAS?

What additional capabilities do you think could be added to the IVAS?

Do you believe Microsoft made the right decision in accepting the contract from the Army? Why or why not?


So You Want To be a Drone Pilot

Image result for drone pilotBy Andrew Gunder, DCMME Graduate Assistant

Drones, over the past several years, have evolved to an extent that was once thought possible in only science fiction. Whether it be by land, sea, or air drones are redefining what is possible as well as how their implementation impacts companies and end users alike.

Today, they are rapidly expanding business process improvement in areas such as express shipping, delivery, site inspection, thermal imaging, geographic mapping, intelligence gathering, and many more.  While some processes involving drones can be automated, others still require a skillful human touch behind the controls to reduce risk and ensure quality. As a result, this has created a need for qualified drone operators for many businesses.

How do I become a drone pilot you ask? The process is actually quite simple. To obtain a drone pilot certification one must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English
  • Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a drone
  • Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam​
  • Upon certification, must recertify every 2 years

Pilots are also required to carry their certification on them at all times during drone operation. Thankfully, for those interested in pursuing this certification path here at Purdue, you won’t have to go far to find a testing center for the FAA’s aeronautical knowledge exam. There is a testing center in West Lafayette at PURDUE AVIATION LLC at 1630 Aviation Drive. For additional details on becoming a drone pilot, you can visit the FAA’s website.



Is obtaining a drone pilot certification something you’d be interested in obtaining? Why or why not?

What other jobs could be augmented with drone technology?

What additional business processes can be improved through drone technology?


Living on the Edge: Edge Computing

By Andrew Gunder, DCMME Graduate Assistant

Image result for edge computing

Edge computing is an emerging trend in the world of technology. Yet, its concepts aren’t completely new. Edge computing is defined as the practice of processing data near the “edge” of your network, where data is being generated, instead of at a centralized data-processing warehouse. It gathers the data at its closest point to make that data actionable in the least amount of time. For example, smart thermostats use edge computing to determine when to adjust temperature through out the day.

Edge computing is beneficial because it moves the computer workload closer to the consumer  this reducing latency, bandwidth and overhead for the centralized data center. Content delivery networks (CDNs) are a prime example that showcase the benefits, such as reduced latency and higher uptime, in storing information closer to the end user. It also increases security and reduces risk of breach since the data remains at its point of creation, rather than consolidating in a centralized location such as a server.

Edge computing has emerged as result of the increased prevalence of the Internet of THings (IoT) and IoT devices.  The network “edge” relies on use case. Cell towers, smartphones, and automated vehicles all function as micro datacenters for the network. As we continue to see IoT and its related devices expand into mainstream use the limits of edge computing will transcend most physical boundaries on a global scale.

What are some examples of devices that use Edge computing already?

How is the IoT necessary for the success of Edge computing?

How can business and different industries effectively use Edge computing?


Dueling AI: How AI is Making AI Smarter

By Andrew Gunder, DCMME Graduate AssistantImage result for dueling AI

I know what you’re thinking. Dueling AI sounds a lot like a game of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots, or maybe you’ve conjured up images of the Siri and Alexa arguing with one another. Dueling AI refers to the capability that one AI engine can be used to train another AI engine.

Like humans, AI engines don’t start out smart right out of the gate. They must be educated over time. Take a chess playing robot for example, it may not win its first match or even its second or third, but after studying previous outcomes it begins to recognize patterns and tailor its strategy accordingly. Chess essentially has an infinite number of outcomes after several moves, so it is next to impossible for the AI to learn each move, it must learn instead.

Dueling AI isn’t just limited to robotics. Imagine the ramification on other industries or other possibilities. Suppose we are trying to determine between an authentic image and a digitally altered image. One AI attempts to create a realistic image, and another AI attempts to decide whether the image is real or artificial.

If AI is capable of learning and training another AI, you’re probably wondering what’s preventing it from achieving world domination. Fortunately for us, AI only becomes as smart as the data that it is fed. It possible to “poison” AI by feeding bad data, thus showcasing that as smart as AI can be it is not without limitations.


Can you think of some other tasks AI can train another AI on?

What industries can be impacted the most by dueling AI?

Do you foresee ways that AI might be able to overcome its limitations?


The Rise of the Smart City

By Andrew Gunder, DCMME Graduate Assistant

Image result for smart cityTechnologies that once seemed like science fiction fantasy years ago are very rapidly changing our urban landscape. The world is set to become more urbanized, and by 2050, more than 60% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities. Ensuring that these cities are better places to live with an adequate quality of life is essential to making them more sustainable and efficient with streamlined services.

Companies such as Intel, Cisco Systems, IBM, Verizon, Silver Spring Networks, GE, Ericsson, and Siemens are among those pioneering and building smart city solutions. The smart city market is projected to be a $400 billion industry by 2020, with more than 600 cities globally expected to contribute to 60% of the world’s GDP by 2025, according to recent McKinsey research.

In our digital age, imagine having the power at your fingertips via an app to gain fast access to traffic information, road conditions, points of interest, and more in a given city. At the end of the day, it is all about efficiency. The idea of using your smart phone to impact things such as traffic management, waste removal, and even snow removal is simply remarkable, and the next step in urban evolution.



What are some other companies that can contribute smart solutions to cities?

What kinds of technologies can help make a city “smart”?

What are the biggest barriers to bringing about a smart city?



One Giant Leap for 3D Printing

By Andrew Gunder, DCMME Graduate Assistant


Think for a second. You do not have the tools you need to perform your job, but have limited materials and resources to make what you need to accomplish your tasks. What if the process could be simplified? What if you were in outer space? It just so happens that there is a solution.

The International Space Station (ISS) is employing the use of a combination 3D printer and recycler. Dubbed as a “Refabricator”, this device turns waste into reusable parts and tools. Due to the scarcity of resources in space the refabricator is able to recycle previously printed items, parts, and other on-board plastics into much needed tools for the ISS crew. This is key in reducing the station’s on-board waste and reduces the need to potentially jettison the waste into space.

This device is still in an experimental stage, but its implications for promoting an environmentally sustainable future have yet to reach their full potential. The idea that an all-in-one, on-demand, user friendly machine will some day be widely available here on Earth is a game changer.



How does this device promote a more sustainable environment?

What other materials/items here on Earth might be worth refabricating?

What industries do you think this technology could have the greatest impact on?


Drones: The Cool Lifesaving Gadgets of Now

By Andrew Gunder, DCMME Graduate Assistant

Drones are becoming more and more visible and prevalent throughout our society. The practical applications of drone technology increase day by day as manufacturers, innovators, and hobbyists push the boundaries of what is possible with these “gadgets”.

One such innovator, Keller Rinaudo, the CEO and founder of San Francisco drone start-up “Zipline” has engineered a solution to one of the world’s most dire needs, medical supplies. Zipline utilizes its fleet of small, autonomous planes to deliver medical supplies, and most importantly blood, to rural communities across Africa, most notably Rwanda, after signing a contract to operate in the African country.

The operations process of Zipline is quite efficient. Should a hospital worker in Rwanda need critical supplies such as plasma, O- blood (universal donor) and or platelets they would send a text message to Zipline mission control in Kigali. A technician loads the supplies into a disposable box with an attached folded paper parachute, which is tucked into the belly of a drone. The aircraft and payload delivery system is designed to be cost effective to build and has a strong but lightweight foam shell and electrical components that snap in and out, making them easy to fix. The return on investment of saving a human life catapults drones into a realm that many would not think possible five to ten years ago. With capabilities like those of Zipline, it is not hard to see why this technology has taken flight on a global level.


What other practical applications for drones can you think of?

Is this concept scalable to where it could revolutionize other industries?

What are the biggest barriers to mainstream drone use?