Mississippi Governor’s Military Defense Initiative Task Force

Downtown Jackson, MS photo credit legalsportsreports
Downtown Jackson, MS

Kopis Mobile is truly honored to announce that one of our team members, Dr. Henry Jones, has been appointed to the Mississippi Governor’s Military Defense Initiative Task Force effective immediately.

The Task Force has been set up by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant to provide insights from experts around the State to develop a strategy “to protect, grow and diversify the defense industry in Mississippi.” Retired Colonel Greg Michel, Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, will serve as Chairman and Jamie Miller, Deputy Director of the Mississippi Development Authority will be Co-Chairman.

“The citizens of Mississippi have consistently shown their support for our men and women in uniform,” said Dr. Jones. “That has created an excellent environment for businesses to innovate and create new solutions to help our neighbors who serve. I am humbled to be a part of this team of entrepreneurs, officials, and other leaders across the great State of Mississippi.”

Dr. Jones has almost two decades of experience in product commercialization, development of electromechanical systems, and software architecture and design. Prior to the founding of Kopis Mobile, Dr. Jones was the Director of the Center for Battlefield Innovation at Mississippi State University. Dr. Jones has a Ph.D. and M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University. He also has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Mississippi.

 

Video Does Not Lie But It Does Improve Performance

SHOT Show 2018
SHOT Show – New Product Section

We recently wrapped up the 40th anniversary of the SHOT Show in Las Vegas. It was probably won of our best trade shows to date since we have been in business. Our focus product for the show was NTtv and how video greatly improves performance.

I spoke to many people during the week who either conduct training or own a firearms facility of some type. I was blown away by the fact almost none of them utilize video as a way to improve the performance of their students. Let’s dig into this training subject a little deeper.

Subjective: “reality as perceived – rather than as independent of mind.”

What does this really mean? When something like an observation of an event is viewed in a subjective way, it is based inside of an individual’s brain.  Things like life experiences, memories, personal biases and prejudices all command the subjective view.

To get even more crazy scientific on you, when a person looks at something in a subjective way, they see it as perceived reality instead of reality itself. The bottom line is a subjective observation can change wildly from person to person.

Now, let’s look at the opposite of subjective.

Objective: “the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers.”

The real meaning of this is pretty simple. This type of observation starts and happens outside the mind of any specific person. In this instance, the action is observable by any other individual looking at the same situation. In order for this to happen, all subjective biases have to be removed.

I am sure you are wondering what point I am trying to make. If you are reading this blog, you have probably done some type of structure clearance. It could have been a few rooms, a small house or an entire abandoned mental hospital (they are pretty creepy, by the way).

I am willing to bet many of you have had a lane grader, training cell or whatever your particular service calls them, tell you at the end of the run, “You went left instead of right in that room, on the fourth floor, at the end of the hallway, two rooms deep with the chair in it.”

Oh, and you aren’t the only one they have comments about. It makes you think there is no way in Hell they know what every single person in the stack did on a ten-minute run.

I actually knew some guys in training cell that could remember just about every single thing a guy did on a run, but I can guarantee you that it isn’t the norm.

The reason I bring all of this up is to prove the point that subjective evaluation lends itself to rely on memory and what an individual thought they saw. Objective evaluation is concrete, unbiased, and based on what really happened. The best example of an objective review tool is video. We all know pictures and video don’t lie.

Video review is a very useful tool. If it is used in a targeted manner at the right times, it allows a person to build a mental model of the correct skill. Watching video is a proven way to enhance the skill learning process.

Unfortunately, the video analysis of a training event doesn’t happen until the end of the day or even the following day. Immediate review can provide a person with the opportunity to improve a skill or technique by the very next training iteration – in a matter of minutes.

Video is saved for anytime use or evaluation to review the progress of individual skills. Video recordings reveal improvements or losses in one’s performance over time. It also is an invaluable tool in the diagnosis of a unit’s overall training program. Finally, it  shows new members of a unit the performance of veteran, top performers by providing them a solid baseline in which to begin training.

Sports coaches are utilizing immediate video evaluation more and more to critique the performance of athletes at every level. Traditionally, the feedback process has been based upon a coach’s subjective observation of performance, which can be influenced by bias, emotion and previous experiences (Hughes and Bartlett, 2008).

For example, a football coach’s subjective observation process is known to be unreliable and inaccurate, since even experienced coaches have been shown to be able to recall just 59.2% of the critical events occurring during 45 minutes of football performance (Laird and Waters, 2008).

This lack of accurate recall ability can lead to ‘highlighting’, where a coach’s perception of performance becomes distorted by those events that they can remember (Hughes and Bartlett, 2008). Ultimately, this results in inaccurate coaching feedback and decision-making, which can be improved with the use of objective, unbiased and comprehensive information performance analysis that video is capable of providing (James, 2006; Hughes and Bartlett, 2008).

A few years ago, we participated in a military exercise and had the opportunity to interview some special operators. They told our engineers they were using action cameras on operations and had no way of sharing what they were seeing with other squad members. The operators already had the cameras and were issued some type of smart device, but they couldn’t understand why there wasn’t an easy way for the two talk to each other.

We iterated extensively with these and other operators to develop a solution to greatly improve overall situational awareness. This solution is called Networked Tactical Television or NTtv.

Networked Tactical Television or NTtv
NTtv System

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The system provides the on scene commander real time video of operations. This results in far better situation awareness than just describing what is going on over a radio. NTtv is an invaluable training tool that allows trainers to set the system up in any location to capture the actions of trainees.

NTtv now also includes a multiple video DVR (mvDVR) feature that adds the ability to instantly review multiple synchronized camera views of the same action without having to go through hours of recorded video to find what you are really looking for. This vastly speeds up the after-action review process and provides immediate feedback using video angles that matter for each training evolution.

mvDVR
mvDVR

There is a very good reason why video is used to improve performance. That’s because it works and it is almost immediate. You can’t correct what you can’t see.

Army Tests New Tactical Vehicles For Future Conflicts

The Hunter (right) and Killer vehicles drive up a road toward the experimentation area of the Maneuver Fires Integrated Exercise (MFIX), April 3, at Fort Sill. (Photo by Monica K. Guthrie)

Although we don’t do much with vehicles, we do like to post information on cool stuff. Polaris manufactures some really great vehicles. We bump into some of their guys at various trade shows from time to time. This is an article from Autoblog.

Two dune buggies crest a hill at Fort Sill, Okla. These aren’t recreational 4x4s, but military prototypes with a definite job: to help the U.S. Army develop a next-generation fighting vehicle. They are Polaris MRZRs, outfitted with radar domes, electronic jamming equipment, video monitors and various sizes and styles of antennae that sprout from the grille, rear bumper and seatbacks.

As befitting such cutting-edge military machines, the Army testers have dubbed these “Hunter” and the other “Killer.” They are being put through the paces at an Army exercise called the Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment (MFIX), held last spring.

The 10-day event involves scores of real-world tests of new technologies that the Army says it needs to keep up with the modernizing militaries of China, Iran and Russia.

Hunter and Killer provide a glimpse into what future battles might look like, and what combat vehicles will be asked to do. The lessons learned now will be applied to vehicles the Army hopes to field in 2020, Army officials tell Autoblog.

The first thing that becomes obvious when examining these machines is that the Army is not counting on infantry troops to be able to drop close to their mission targets. “We’ve all grown used to an environment where we’ve enjoyed air superiority,” says Maj. Andrew Forney, branch chief of the Maneuver, Aviation, Soldier Division, Army Capabilities Integration Center at Fort Sill. “We’re having a lot of discussions on what we do if we can’t rely on that.”

Modern antiaircraft missiles made by Russia and China have increasingly long ranges, so infantry parachuting into combat will have to travel farther to get to the fight. That means small off-road vehicles will have to be dropped with them, to help ferry the soldiers and the 80 pounds of gear they each carry closer to the action.

It’s no coincidence that Polaris ATVs are being used for this test. They have a pedigree within the military because of their use by Special Operations forces. The company even has a division called Polaris Defense to focus on this market. Special Operations forces also use the General Dynamics’ Flyer as an off-road vehicle of choice.

New tactical vehicle

However familiar, the Army cannot just adopt these militarized dune buggies since Special Operations Command has some specific uses and requirements for their ATVs that the Army doesn’t share.

SpecOps vehicles carry six soldiers, not the nine needed to transport an entire squad of infantry. SpecOps also demands a vehicle that the troops (called operators) can use as a fighting platform, so they have weapons mounts.

They carry extra, secret communications equipment. And while some Army helicopters can carry these vehicles, the versions fielded today aren’t designed to be dropped from airplanes.

Neither Hunter nor Killer are the final design that will appear in the field in 2020. A large-scale acquisition program will settle that in the future. But the gear that the vehicle has to carry, and the rules that govern how frontline soldiers use it, are being developed now.

Let’s get back to that hypothetical airdrop. The Army troops have landed, stowed their parachutes and loaded up their 4x4s. They are now ready to move toward the enemy’s position. To get there unnoticed — and to be “noticed” means being targeted by lethal barrages of enemy artillery — requires air defenses targeted at enemy drones.

Russia used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to spot Ukrainian forces during their recent conflict, a grim lesson that U.S. military planners took to heart. Knocking down UAVs is now a cottage industry, and more than a dozen drone-killing systems tested at MIFIX 2017 proved this interest is still strong.

The system that got the most attention was a 5-kilowatt laser mounted on a Stryker vehicle, which officials say torched more than 12 drones during the exercises. A 10-kW version is to be tested in November.

But the laser is too big for the buggies needed to drop into combat with airborne forces. For scale, the Army says Hunter/Killer has a maximum load of 1,500 pounds — compare that to the Army’s current Stryker vehicle weighing almost 20 tons. So these small vehicles need something else to counter snooping unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Killer vehicle has specialized radar and a laser range finder that soldiers can use to detect and track drones as they get close. Some of these systems have been adapted from equipment developed to track incoming mortar rounds.

The system is largely automated. When the drone is spotted, the soldiers can jam the communications between a UAV and its operator, a bit of electronic warfare pushed out to the front line of a battle.

Giving a commander the tools in hand to make a quick decision could be the key to victory, or even survival. “What we’re excited about is that these platforms allow these capabilities to be pushed down to the tactical level,” says Michael Murray, battle operations software suite team program lead for the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center.

The main mission of these light, air-dropped forces is to find the enemy and direct long-range attacks against their air defenses. That could mean missions such as disabling GPS signal jamming, directing long-range cruise missile attacks against command centers, seizing airports or crippling antiaircraft missile batteries. These actions will open up the skies to warplanes, friendly drones and closer airdrops of reinforcements or supplies.

This is the art of what the military calls “precision fires.” Army troops need to be able to direct long-distance attacks from their own branch, or from the Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps. At MFIX 2017, the Hunter vehicle was kitted out with an automated system that can ease the process of asking for this support.

The soldiers in the vehicle also had a live video feed showing them what U.S. drones were seeing. This kind of tech is already standard at headquarters and is becoming standard in many large vehicles, but is also needed by those close to the action — airborne divisions.

“After previous exercises, we heard, ‘We love these capabilities, but it’d be great if they were on a vehicle that is suited for a light division,” says Murray. “We want to arm that young leader with things that let him operate decentralized, with all the tools and situational awareness he needs to make decisions in real time, at the tactical edge and not at divisional HQ.”

Seeing Is Believing – Subjective vs Objective Observation

Room Entry

This week, I am going to talk about Subjective vs Objective Observation and how video can significantly improve training.

Subjective: “reality as perceived – rather than as independent of mind.”

What does this really mean? When something like an observation of an event is viewed in a subjective way, it is based inside of an individual’s brain. Things like life experiences, memories, personal biases and prejudices all command the subjective view. To get even more crazy scientific on you. When a person looks at something in a subjective way, they see it as perceived reality instead of reality itself. The bottom line is a Subjective Observation can change wildly from person to person.

Now, let’s look at the opposite of subjective.

Objective: “the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers.”

The real meaning of this is pretty simple. This type of observation starts and happens outside the mind of any specific person. In this instance, the action is observable by any other individual looking at the same situation. In order for this to happen, all subjective biases have to be removed.

If you are reading this article, you have probably done some type of structure clearance. It could have been a few rooms, a small house or an entire abandoned mental hospital. They are pretty creepy, by the way.

I am willing to bet many of you dealt with a lane grader or training cell. At the end of the run, they tell you, “You went left instead of right in that room, on the fourth floor, at the end of the hallway, two rooms deep with the chair in it.”

Oh, and you aren’t the only one they have comments about. It makes you think there is no way in Hell they know what every single person in the stack did on a ten-minute run.

I actually knew some guys in training cell that could remember just about every single thing a guy did on a run, but I can guarantee you that it isn’t the norm.

The reason I bring all of this up is to prove the point that subjective evaluation lends itself to rely on memory and what an individual thought they saw. Objective evaluation is concrete, unbiased, and based on what really happened. The best example of an objective review tool is video. We all know pictures and video don’t lie. Unless your best friend does an edit job so it looks like you are making out with your mother. That is a subject for a different time.

Video review is a very useful tool. If is used in a targeted manner at the right times, video allows a person to build a mental model of the correct skill. Watching video is a proven way to enhance the skill learning process.

Unfortunately, the video analysis of a training event doesn’t happen until the end of the day or even the following day. Immediate review can provide a person with the opportunity to improve a skill or technique by the very next training iteration – in a matter of minutes.

Video is saved for anytime use or evaluation to review the progress of individual skills. Video recordings can reveal improvements or losses in one’s performance over time. It also is an invaluable tool in the diagnosis of a unit’s overall training program. Finally, it can be used to show new members of a unit the performance of veteran, top performers by providing them a solid baseline in which to begin training.

Video Improves Swing

Sports coaches are utilizing immediate video evaluation more and more to critique the performance of athletes at every level. Traditionally, the feedback process has been based upon a coach’s subjective observation of performance, which can be influenced by bias, emotion and previous experiences (Hughes and Bartlett, 2008).

For example, a football coach’s subjective observation process is known to be unreliable and inaccurate, since even experienced coaches have been shown to be able to recall just 59.2% of the critical events occurring during 45 minutes of football performance (Laird and Waters, 2008).

This lack of accurate recall ability can lead to ‘highlighting’, where a coach’s perception of performance becomes distorted by those events that they can remember (Hughes and Bartlett, 2008).

Ultimately, this results in inaccurate coaching feedback and decision-making. This is improved with the use of objective, unbiased and comprehensive information performance analysis that video is capable of providing (James, 2006; Hughes and Bartlett, 2008).

A few years ago, we participated in a military exercise and had the opportunity to interview some special operators. They told our engineers they were using action cameras on operations and had no way of sharing what they were seeing. The operators already had the cameras. They were also issued some type of smart device. However, they couldn’t understand why the two wouldn’t talk to each other.

We iterated extensively with these and other operators to develop a solution to greatly improve overall situational awareness. This solution is called Networked Tactical Television or NTtv.

NTtv is a first person video sharing system that allows you to view different video streams in real time. The system also allows for recordings up to 30 hours for use in after action reviews. It is compatible with a wide variety of cameras to include action cameras, thermal, IR and the MOHOC® wireless tactical camera.

The video encoders are actually small computers that include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. The encoders mesh with one another providing up to half-mile line of sight connection between each encoder.

They also have a small server that feeds the video recordings to a site we have established. They can be sent to your own site that you control, if you choose. If there is no other backhaul communication support, the encoders speak to each other, providing you a video sharing capability. Finally, they can communicate over existing cellular networks and over certain data capable tactical radios.

The system can be used to provide the on scene commander real time video of operations. This results in far better situation awareness than just describing what is going on over a radio. NTtv is an invaluable training tool that allows trainers to set the system up in any location to capture the actions of trainees.

NTtv now also includes a multiple video DVR (mvDVR) feature that adds the ability to instantly review multiple synchronized camera views of the same action without having to go through hours of recorded video to find what you are really looking for. This vastly speeds up the after-action review process. Additionally, it provides immediate feedback using video angles that matter for each training evolution.

The bottom line; Subjective Observation and Objective Observation have their respective places in this world. Subjective is perfect if you are viewing the Mona Lisa and coming to your own conclusion as to why she is really smiling. But, it has no value and can arguably, be detrimental when it comes to training our warriors and first-responders.

 

USER INTERFACE: CONTINUED & SIMPLIFIED

Joe launched a Tomahawk missile into all of our brains last week. So, I thought I would bring things down a few notches. After he finished explaining the Theory of Relativity (of course I am kidding), he wrote about why we (Kopis Mobile) incorporate a simple User Interface with our products.

What you don’t want to have is something that looks like this:

Confusing Interface

Simple is always best. I am sure you can imagine all of the things a soldier or First Responder have going on during a real world situation. The last thing they need to navigate is something like the picture above, especially under fire.

What you really want to see is a clean, easy to use and uncomplicated screen. Apple hired over 800 engineers just to work on the iPhone camera. How many do you think they have working on what everything looks like on the screen? That is why iPhone looks the way it does. Clean and simple to use.

iPhone Home Screen

In the course of participating in many different exercises, we have come across a number of government designed mobile applications. As with many things the government does, they completely overburden the User Interface with too much information. When you try to make one app do more than it can handle, it ultimately fails to work properly.

I have already referred to Einstein, but he knew the importance of the KISS Principle (Keep It Simple Stupid). He said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” This means that one should simplify the design of a product and success is achieved when a design is at its maximum simplicity.

Every product we make is purposely designed to learn how to use in less than 10 minutes. All of our products come with a manual. There are more pictures than words because, who reads manuals anyway?

We pride ourselves on our simplicity. If you can’t put it together in the dark or figure out how to use without getting an engineering degree, it is worthless to those folks keeping us safe everyday.

ENGINEER VS OPERATOR: USER INTERFACE

Rocket Telemetry

Joe – The Engineer

I have been an engineer, a geek, and a human long enough to know where my area of expertise is. I also know where it is lacking. Engineers have different desires from the rest of the world. We don’t understand why everyone else doesn’t see the world like we do. I will flatly admit to not knowing anything about the subtleties of User Interface.

To prove this point, let me introduce the quintessential engineer’s game, Kerbal Space Program. Your job is to build rockets and using orbital mechanics, somewhat real gravity and somewhat real aerodynamic forces. These are used to explore the solar system surrounding Kerbal. An Earth like planet in that system. You basically become NASA.

If you’re not a “gamer,” you also likely don’t know that some games can be modified thru external programs to add new aspects of the game. Therefore, I will admit that my Kerbal addiction is so bad that I run over 30 of these modifications.

These modifications make the game harder and more realistic. They add part failures, real life antennaes, and astronauts that go crazy in confined spaces. All of this adds to the joys of space travel.

This requires that I have sub screens showing me various data points. Thrust to Weight Ratio tells me if I have engine failure options. Remaining Delta V tells me if I can make it home. Finally, electrical charge to know if my momentum wheels can properly orient my spacecraft… data, data, data! I need it all!

Then one day,  my wife walks by and says, “I don’t know how you can enjoy a game that requires so many numbers.” It’s at that point, I hope you realize, there is a hopeless disconnect between an engineer’s ideal User Interface and virtually everyone else’s.

We can even point to historically bad examples of User Interface Design. The Honeywell Kitchen Computer (H316) comes to mind. This thing was actually sold in Neiman Marcus for $10K. That’s $77K in today’s dollars. It expected the home-maker of the late ‘60s to deal with switches and binary light read-outs to assist in meal preparation. You even got a free two week training course with it.

Kitchen Computer

Luckily, we now live in a world that has massive computer power and unbelievable graphics. Kopis Mobile was, in a way, actually founded to tackle this exact problem. We use smart devices with advanced touch-screens that enable us to keep things super simple for the user. As a result, we have an engineering knack for interfacing differing items to these smart devices.

Differing screens, hidden debug menus, more graphically rich displays, all help improve the user experience and provide the adaptability that differing people need in a User Interface.

Hugh – The Operator

Wow! My head hurts so much I am going to continue this discussion next week. I suspect most of you need a drink and an aspirin as much as I do. Stayed tuned for my response…

 

 

 

 

THE REAL MEANING OF MEMORIAL DAY

Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial overlooking Omaha Beach in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy

Another Memorial Day has come and gone. Although, I feel most Americans understand its true meaning, I think a lot of younger folks only think of it as a day to stuff their faces with hotdogs and drink beer. Don’t get me wrong, I did the same thing. However, I remembered all of my friends who are no longer alive to share a drink with me.

Instead of going on about what Memorial Day means to me. I want to do a cut and paste job from an email my mother sent yesterday. I think it is a fantastic message not only for young people, but for everyone.

In September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a History teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock , did something not to be forgotten.  On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks in her classroom.  

When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks.
 
‘Ms. Cothren, where are our desks?’

She replied, ‘You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.’

They thought, ‘Well, maybe it’s our grades.’  ‘No,’ she said.

‘Maybe it’s our behavior.’  She told them, ‘No, it’s not even your behavior.’

And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period.  Still no desks in the classroom.  Kids called their parents to tell them what was happening and by early afternoon television news crews had started gathering at the school to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.

The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the desk-less classroom.  Martha Cothren said, ‘Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he or she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. 

 Now I am going to tell you.’

At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it.  Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniform, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall.  By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.

Martha said,

 ‘You didn’t earn the right to sit at these desks.  These heroes did it for you. 

They placed the desks here for you.  They went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have.  Now, it’s up to you to sit in them.  It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens.  They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education.  Don’t ever forget it.’

 By the way, this is a true story.  And this teacher was awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year for the State of Arkansas in 2006.  She is the daughter of a WWII POW.

This in fact a true story.

New Product Development – Engineer vs Operator

New product development diagram

Over the next few weeks, the blog is going to focus on new product development. Primarily, it is going to take a look at things through two different sets of eyes. The engineer and the operator. By operator, I mean the guy or girl out on the pointy end of the spear.

The diagram at the top is what operators think is swirling around in an engineer’s head most of the time.  As a result, when you ask an operator to describe the perfect engineer, this is what you get:

Engineer on the computer

At the end of the day, the operator only wants something that is super easy to use and actually works. Often times, what an operator gets is not what they wanted or ever asked for. The new product development process rarely involves any input from ‘the field’. Therefore, a new product is conceived, tested and developed in a vacuum.

It also takes way too long to get a product to the field doing things that way. I mentioned in past posts, the bad guys are not concerned with budgets, approval processes or multi layers of red tape. Products have to get to operators as quickly as possible and this happens with their input from the start.

Over the next few weeks with a lot of help from one our Co-Founders and lead engineers,  I will write about SWaP (Size, Weight, and Power), user interfaces, ruggedization of equipment and training. Especially relevant, the battle between the engineer and the operator will be highlighted throughout the posts. It will all revolve around new product development.

We always want to hear from our readers. I am positive there are stories out there from both sides of the fence. Probably more from the operator side than the engineer. Especially since the operator is on the receiving end of the engineer’s creation.

I believe you will quickly come to realize just how “hard headed” both groups are. You will also read about success stories when engineers and operators work together to make some really innovative stuff.

WHAT EXACTLY IS CBRNE…KEEP READING

If you see the above coming at you, you may considering heading the opposite direction. CBRNE stands for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives. Some of this stuff has been around for a very long time. In fact, there are ancient plays dating back to 404 BC that mention how characters were poisoned by arrows during the Trojan War.

I don’t need to describe each one, however here are two examples. Biological weapons are the use of biological pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins derived from living organisms to kill or incapacitate people.

From poisoned arrows (Scythians, and later the Viet Cong guerrillas) to poisoned wells (Sparta, Persia, Rome and others) to bombs with nasty bugs (Japan, United States, Soviet Union and Iraq), the intentional use of biowarfare has been around for an exceptionally long time.

The first wide spread use of chemical weapons was during World War I in the trenches of Belgium. During the war, 124,000 tons of chemical agents were dispersed resulting in 90,000 deaths and over 1,000,000 casualties. I think you get my point. Nothing related to CBRNE is pleasant.

There is one good thing related to this subject. Kopis engineers were recently able to partner with first responders up in Massachusetts. It proved to be a great opportunity for us to operationally test one of our newest products.

ERSA or Environmental Reachback Situational Awareness is a communication system that enables CBRNE sensors to send real-time readings. The readings provide situational awareness to incident commanders or Hazmat leaders.

Typically, a first responder turns on a sensor and it takes a reading to alert if there is any bad stuff around. The information doesn’t go anywhere for on scene commanders to analyze and track.

Our team participated in an exercise involving over 30 first responders located at an industrial training site. For the exercise, radiation samples were hidden in various locations. Individual teams had to find and identify the samples.  The teams successfully used the Ludlum 9DP and FLIR R300 radiation detectors with the ERSA dongle.

Because ERSA also has GPS in it, the exercise leaders were not only able to see the sensor readings, but they were able to keep track of where the reading were coming from.

All in all, it was a great event. We always welcome the opportunity to work along side the folks who keep us all safe. What we learn from them, helps us build better products.

ADS WARRIOR WEST IS IN THE BOOKS

ADS Warrior West Expo 2017 wrapped up last week. This is the fourth year in a row for us at the show. This year’s show was much larger with added events like training classes, capability demonstrations and giveaways. Shows like this really provide us with a fantastic opportunity to connect with current and hopefully future customers.

During this type of focused customer show, we are able to conduct short interviews with folks to find out what their daily pain points are. More and more, we’ve discovered the worst part about person’s day is having to deal with unending paperwork. All to often, paperwork is a real time killer.

From these interviews, our engineers have developed super easy to use products that often cut in half the time it takes to do paperwork. No one likes to sit at their desk for hours hammering out mind numbing spreadsheets or forms. The time saved gives a military member or first responder additional time to hone their skills in their respective fields vice wearing their fingers out on a keyboard.

Additionally shows like the Warrior Expo, provide an excellent opportunity to network with other companies. It is amazing what can be accomplished over a few beers. Every year for Warrior West, ADS provides all the vendors with tickets to a Padres game. This year, the company rented out a party deck with an impressive view of the entire field. It was really a great idea from a business development perspective. Vendors weren’t sitting in individual seats and were able to speak with one another in a casual setting.

Every year, we discover more companies that are really developing some innovative products that help our military and first responders. Those folks already have a tough enough job. Being able to offer them top of the line products that make their lives just a little better is one of the most rewarding things we do. Everyone should offer up their deepest level of respect and gratitude to those working hard everyday to keep us safe.

As always, we welcome your ideas for improving what you do every day. We pride ourselves on listening to problems and try to discover ways to solve them. Once again, thanks to ADS for another well run event. We hope to see everyone at the Warrior East Expo at the Virginia Beach Convention Center July 13th and 14th.