Pulse


Pulse

By GCN Staff


DARPA 'system on a chip' to broaden connectivity of troops

Researchers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency recently demonstrated a “system on a chip” (SoC), an all-silicon, microchip-sized wireless transmitter that military experts say will ultimately provide connectivity faster to more troops and at lower cost.

“What normally would require multiple circuit boards, separate metal shielded assemblies and numerous I/O cables, we can now miniaturize onto one silicon chip about half the size of an adult’s thumbnail,” said  DARPA program manager Dev Palmer.

Researchers at DARPA’s Efficient Linearized All-Silicon Transmitter ICs program were able to demonstrate performance of the chip at 94 GHz, the first time an all-silicon chip has achieved such a high frequency, according to DARPA.

Many existing compact, high-data-rate millimeter-wave wireless systems use integrated circuits (ICs) made with gallium arsenide or gallium nitride, which provide high power and efficiency but are costly to produce and difficult to integrate with electronics that provide most other radio functions, according to DARPA.

In contrast, silicon ICs are less expensive to make at high volume but until now have not shown the power and efficiency at the millimeter-wave frequencies used  in military applications, including radar and guidance systems.

The DARPA breakthrough will lead to “new design architectures for future military RF systems,” Palmer said.

The all-silicon SoC transmitter uses a digital power amplifier that dynamically adapts its performance to changing signal requirements, a key goal of transmitters designed to quickly deliver large amounts of data on the emerging, net-dependent battlefield.

“This SoC can support a range of modulation formats, so it’s possible to communicate to multiple systems using different waveforms from a single silicon chip,” Palmer said.

“Its efficient silicon construction will significantly reduce SWAP [size, weight, and power] requirements for millimeter-wave applications, including compact satellite communications ground terminals for frontline troops.”

Posted on Jul 09, 2014 at 7:48 AM0 comments


BOP seeks e-discovery devices for inmates

The Federal Bureau of Prisons is looking for e-discovery solutions that can be securely used by inmates to view legal materials related to their cases.

The BOP issued a request for information for an e-discovery system that incorporates the hardware, software necessary to view litigation materials as well as support services for the bureau’s IT staff to troubleshoot or repair equipment.

The bureau is requesting information on both fixed desktop and mobile solutions so that the system can accommodate inmates who access legal materials via the institution’s law library or those who are primarily confined to their cells for most of the day.

Additionally, the solution needs to meet or exceed current e-discovery systems and include the following features:

  • The device does not store data across user sessions.
  • The device is capable of tiered‐role privileges that distinguish between users and administrators and their authorized functions.
  • The device disables network, telephony and peer-to-peer communication.
  • The device does not allow access to boot partitions, the root file system, macros, scripting or application programming interfaces.

Responses are due Friday, July 18, 2014.

Posted on Jul 08, 2014 at 7:48 AM0 comments


Dogs help police detect electronic devices

State Police enlist drive-sniffing dogs

Rhode Island state police have a new nose for sniffing out hidden drives they suspect may contain child pornography. Thoreau, a golden retriever, has been trained to find hard drives, thumb drives and other tech devices, according to a report in the Providence Journal.

The dog assisted in its first search in June by pinpointing a thumb drive hidden four layers deep in a tin box inside a metal cabinet. That discovery led the police to secure an arrest warrant, the paper said.

Detection dogs are used extensively by police to sniff out drugs, weapons and even cadavers.  In some state correctional facilities, the dogs have been used to detect contraband cellphones.

The electronics-detecting dogs can distinguish between a television and a hard drive, but not an iPad or computer and a hard drive, according to Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt. Vance, who spoke to Gizmodo. And of course, they can’t detect the content of the information stored on the device.  Additionally, because the dogs can’t tell the difference between one small electronic from another, Vance said, they’re usually used in confined spaces.  

Connecticut and Rhode Island are reportedly the only two states that use dogs to sniff out computer memory during searches, according to the Journal.  Thoreau's special training took more than 5 months at the Connecticut State Police Training Academy.

Posted on Jul 08, 2014 at 7:48 AM0 comments


Army wants unified system to manage exams, surveys

The Army is looking for existing commercial software to automate the management of the thousands of online exams and surveys it uses for training across the department.

The Army also wants to improve the process of exam and survey development, it said, which is currently being handled by more than 70 different Army organizations, each of which may be using its own secure domain for development, testing and storage of contents.

In a request for information, the Army said it uses Web-based applications for distributed learning, which automate a range of learning, training and course support tasks, including scheduling, registration, training administration, testing and recordkeeping. To handle all the requirements, Army now wants to acquire an off-the-shelf application to administer all online exams and surveys using one centralized Web-based system integrated with existing training management systems.

The system is being dubbed the Army Exam and Survey Application, or AESA.

Students would use the AESA to take online exams and surveys related to different training programs. Trainers would use the application to import individual question and answer combinations from other training systems or to create and store exams directly through a user interface, said the Army.

Instructors could use AESA to remotely administer exams and surveys to students in either synchronous or asynchronous modes. Overall, the Army said the AESA software would “close a large existing capability gap in online exam training management at the enterprise level.”

Key requirements for AESA include:

  • Use of an online enterprise approach to manage the lifecycle of exam content, including content development, testing, exam updating, student access and completion of exams.
  • Operation as a standalone or in combination with other business systems using data provided by them or provided to them.
  • Near-real-time interfaces or data exchange with other Army training systems.
  • Exchange user identity, user authentication, learning object identity and related data.
  • Web accessibility for all users with no client-side plug-ins or applets required.
  • Operation in the dot com and dot mil networks.

Posted on Jul 07, 2014 at 7:48 AM1 comments


State seeks info on asset discovery tools

The State Department is looking for vendors who can provide asset discovery tools to track IT equipment and installed software at the agency’s domestic and overseas locations, according to a presolicitation notice on FedBizOpps.

The asset discovery tools will help the department better understand its computer environment and will be used to reduce unnecessary license fees and maintenance costs. Among the desired capabilities are:

  • A summary of all computer hardware and software found on the network.
  • A summary of the readiness of computers on the network for migration and which computers already meet the hardware requirements.
  • Automatic identification of distributed software activity to help manage increasingly complex license compliance.
  • A summary of infrequently used software to help reduce unnecessary license fees and maintenance costs.
  • A summary of hardware currently in use and what software is installed on it.
  • Software usage metering.

The State Department said it intends the RFI be a living, on-going process until the information obtained meets its needs. At that point, a formal request for quotation will be initiated.  

Posted on Jul 01, 2014 at 7:48 AM0 comments