Intellectual, Cultural, Social, Ethical, Operational and Strategic Level Military Experience...
The EECS Advanced Individual Academic Development (AIAD) Program has several summer opportunities for cadets.
Our cadets have excellent opportunities to immediately apply what they have learned in the classroom to real research and engineering problems in the field with DOD research laboratories, commercial business, and other activities across the nation and the world. In most cases the sponsors are directly supporting the warfighter in current conflicts while simultaneously developing cutting-edge technology for potential future conflicts. Rising juniors and seniors are eligible, and we always send some rising sophomores so they can directly observe and participate in the types of activities an electrical engineer, computer scientist, or information technologist performs at such organizations.
What follows are a few examples of recent and current opportunities....
Cultural Immersion and Robotics work in China
Beijing Institute of Technology, China
This 21-day international project in China is an AIAD designed to provide cadets a unique cultural immersion experience.
The Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science sent three cadets and an OIC for an AIAD program at Peking University, both Beijing campus and Shenzhen campus, China. The cadets attended the military training program with the business school students and conducted collaborative robotic work with the engineering students at the Peking University.
The cadets comment that the key take-away from the AIAD is the opportunity to experience a totally unique culture and the challenge of interacting with the Chinese students on tough engineering problems.
As an extension of the China AIAD, CDT Hardy, CDT Kennedy and CDT Chapman also attended the “International Army Cadet Week” hosted by the University of Science and Technology of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Nanjing. During the eight- day-long program, themed on “strengthen understanding, learn from each other, develop cooperation and advance together,” the cadets had drills, attended lectures, participated in military trainings, experienced the daily routine, visited teaching and training facilities, made themed orations, run military forums, carried out club activities and paid home visits to some officers together with the PLA cadets.
On their off-duty time, the cadets visit Beijing, Shanghai and the surrounding areas having an opportunity to explore tourist, cultural, and historical sites. They visit different areas of China and experience the full span of Chinese life.
Robotic Development in Germany
Bundeswehr Technical Center for Engineer and General Field Equipment, located next to the University of Koblenz-Landau
Three cadets from the EECS Department were selected to travel to Koblenz, Germany to work with fellow German students to design and implement a robotics project. The purpose of this foreign AIAD was to expose the cadets to the fundamental principles of robotic systems while working collectively in small groups with fellow German students. Besides introducing robotics to the cadets, this AIAD also exposed them to the German culture. The microcontroller based project required the students to build their own custom joystick controller that provided commands to a small robot that had a camera and range detector mounted on a pan & tilt servo system. An Xbee wireless transceiver on the joystick was used to convert the analog voltages from the joystick potentiometers into digital data that could be transmitted and later decoded by the Arduino microcontroller mounted on the robot chassis. The students learned a lot about robots while learning to work together as an international team!
Besides exploring beautiful Koblenz, Germany, the cadets conducted a military staff ride at Normandy, France and also explored other famous French sites including Mont Saint Michel, the French Invalides, and the Eiffel Tower.
Simulation and Virtual Reality
Marina del Ray, California
Cadets escape from the fluorescent labs at West Point and bask in the sun at Marina del Rey, California. At the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) cadets skillfully apply their foundational EE, CS, and IT skills to bridge the knowledge gap and leverage software pipeline programming strategies for real-time training simulations. Their efforts include working on Mixed Reality Labs, where cadets worked on various tasks to increase the Labs’ ability to develop new products through CAD-CAM software and also helped develop props for virtual reality training. Another project was Virtual Reality Cognitive Performance Assessment Test, designed to relate the structure and function of the brain with psychological processes and overt behavior, assess and train soldiers for combat situations, and understand and rehabilitate soldiers with stress symptoms such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or blast injuries such as Traumatic Brain Injury.
These simulations are built in conjunction with movie producers from Hollywood and are used to train U.S. Soldiers. The sponsor of this AIAD is RDECOM's Simulation & Training Technology Center.
As you can see, they also found time to enjoy sunny California and rumor has it that some were able to meet the LA Clippers basketball team!
Meanwhile south along the Southern California coast at Boeing...
Boeing Smartphone Applications
Huntington Beach, California
The Army is very interested in developing SmartPhone applications for the iPhone and the Android family of phones, and cadets working at Boeing helped realize that vision. Using the Android development kit and Boeing's System of System Common Operating Environment (SOSCOE), the cadets aggressively developed two Android applications and briefed their work to a 3-star General and other high ranking military and civilian officials. Their work was also the subject of several blogs and email lists for about a one week period!
Boeing also exposed the cadets to their Maritime branch facility to see their underwater robotics program to include the advanced technologies of underwater imaging, Artificial Intelligence, fluid dynamics, fuel cell advanced energy storage, and antennas that interpret almost every kind of radio wave known to man.
As you can see the cadets also found time to hit the California beaches, attend a California Angels baseball game, and visit Disneyland!
And then back on the East Coast...
Developing robotic arm manipulation technology for the PackBot robot
iRobot, Bedford, Massachusetts
iRobot's vision is to make practical robots a reality. In addition to their household products, they also have robots that perform military missions. Packbot is used in search and rescue and IED disposal. Cadets quickly built prototypes for the Packbot's robotic arm using the Ardunino microcontrollers, various sensors, and the C programming language. The experience exposes the cadets to the mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering/science challenges of building autonomous robots.
In addition to being exposed to the engineering challenges and development of practical engineering skills, the experience at iRobot and similar companies exposes cadets to the vast array of robotic technologies currently being developed for the military along with their social, ethical, and legal implications. The cadets also have the opportunity to interact with civilians and corporations that are visibly dedicated to supporting the warfighter.
Super Secret Squirrel Situation
National Security Agency (NSA), US Cyber Command, US Army Cyber Command, and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in undisclosed locations that may or may not exist!
Have you ever wondered what happens in super-secret rooms hidden in sub-basement level floors in buildings which may or may not exist? Every summer several EECS cadets venture to various highly classified NSA, Cyber Command, and NRO sites and discover what actually does happen. Teaming up with Army, Navy and Air Force officers along with expert programmers and engineers
from the Department of Defense, some of the cadets join the “good guy” effort each summer in cyberwarfare. Cyberwarfare is the term used to describe the “virtual” battle occurring digitally on the internet between hackers and defenders. Some of the cadets participated in top secret briefings while others exercised their electrical engineering, computer science, and math skills – a.k.a. hacker-fu – for projects related to information assurance and cryptography.
If you are interested in heading to the National Security Agency or the National Reconnaissance Office for a Summer AIAD, contact LTC Fernando Maymi (845.938.6272) or the EECS NSA Fellow, Mr. Howard Taylor (845.938.7674), in September for your chance to earn a Top Secret clearance and work with these outstanding organizations!