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Public Affairs : 2014 Projects Day

Cadets display intellectual talents on Projects Day 

By Kathy Eastwood
USMA Public Affairs Staff Writer
WEST POINT, N.Y. (May 15, 2014) — Every year, graduating cadets demonstrate what they have learned over 47 months when they present their research projects and honors theses to faculty, community members, peers and corporate and Army leaders.

More than 250 presentations from every academic department were on display; everything from posters, presentations, mock court trials to robotics during this year’s Projects Day May 1.

Students from other schools have increased in participation over the years. This year, students represented Columbia University, George Mason University, Stevens Institute of Technology and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Cadets compete for the annual Scott R. Clark Innovation for Soldiers Award, which is presented to a cadet project that demonstrates an innovative approach to solving a problem of direct application to the Army.

Cadets also compete for the Walter W. Hollis Award that recognizes excellence in Operations Research or Systems Analysis.

One project titled “Wheels Up” from Class of 2014 Cadets Paul Freiert, Richard Snyder, Cartavious Kincade and Jerome Raphael of the Department of Systems Engineering worked on the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center’s challenge to dramatically reduce the time for a vertical lift airframe to transition from a cold start to take off with the goal to have wheels up in less than five minutes.

The cadets began their analysis with a current helicopter checklist and interviewing stakeholders.

“We determined that the checklist would not be able to reach the time desired by AMRDEC and a new design was needed,” Kincade said.

The cadets looked at other technologies available and developed several potential solutions for the future of Army aviation that would be able to reach the wheels up in less than five minutes and developed alternatives that would solve the problem for future vertical lift aircrafts.

Solutions included using smart phones, GPS systems and software radio to eliminate the lengthy checklist.
2014PD_02.jpgClass of 2014 Cadet Geoffrey Gibson shows off the Cadet Open Source Extensible Quadcopter at Projects Day May 1. The idea behind the Extensible Quadcopter is to provide an open source, cost effective hardware and software design so that anyone can make a project requiring an effective and extensible airborne platform. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Fincham/USMA PAO.

Other projects included the exoskeleton project, a device worn by a Soldier to lessen fatigue by using ankle or joint support; legal issues such as domestic surveillance and terrorist attacks, neutralizing the bigger threat, and medicine like inactivation of the virus MS-2 by butanoic acid.

The deputy director of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, Jyuji Hewitt, visited Projects Day and was especially interested in the cadet project titled Wheels Up.

“The briefing on Projects Day was a good opportunity to talk with cadets,” Hewitt said. “It is important to them to see this (research and development) in the real world.”

RDECOM and other research organizations provide much of the funding for Projects Day and Hewitt feels it is a great opportunity for collaboration.

“I think this is very impressive,” Hewitt said. “There is great interest in what the cadets are doing. Cadets are able to link up structure to a problem. RDECOM does this on behalf of the Army and Projects Day is a tremendous opportunity. It is beneficial to the Army.”