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GCN : March and April 2016
PHOTOCREDITHERE [BrieFing] 3-D printing has been used to cre- ate products as diverse as tools for astronauts on the International Space Station, electronics and jet wings. And now a team at the Army Research Laboratory wants to use 3-D printing to build on the fly — literally. The plan is to get small 3-D -printed unmanned aerial systems into the hands of soldiers so that they can create customized solutions to the problems they face in the field. “We saw the trajectories of two beneficial technology areas converging,” said Eric Spero, an acting team lead in ARL’s Vehicle Technology Directorate. “Our technology is not about UAS [but rather] about the capability to design and build on demand.” He added that “small UAS can also be used to investigate weapons of mass destruction at a safe...distance, look- ing beyond gaps, collecting forensic data and breaching complex obstacles such as those that require hover-flight capability.” To produce the drones, users enter vehicle requirements, according to Georgia Institute of Technology’s Aerospace Systems Design Lab, which is partnering with ARL on the tech- nology. A design is created from the specifications, and a technician uses commercial parts gathered from inven- tory, electronics and the 3-D -printed components to assemble the drone. “The vehicle is relatively easy to re- pair or replace, or can be disposed of,” Spero said. “The level of maintenance is driven by how long you want to [use] a particular vehicle solution.” He said the on-demand approach helps to avoid obsolescence because new components can be incorporated into the software with little delay. The 3-D printed drone will be dem- onstrated at the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiments in 2017. • 3-D printing on the fly BY MARK POMERLEAU 8 GCN MARCH/APRIL 2016 • GCN.COM by the numbers Data center outages in 2015 25% 22% 22% 11% 10% 6% 4% Source: Ponemon Institute survey of 63 data centers in the U.S . that had experienced outages in the previous 12 months; sponsored by Emerson Network Power Average cost of an outage: $740,357 — a 38% increase since 2010 Maximum downtime cost: $2.4 million — an 81% increase since 2010 YOUTUBE.COM A new system would tailor drones to soldiers’ needs in the field. Uninterruptible power supply failure Human error Cybercrime Water, heat or air conditioning failure Weather Generator failure IT equipment malfunction Top causes of unplanned outages: 0416gcn_006-008.indd 8 3/3/16 9:47 AM
January and February 2016