HDIAC Spotlights

HDIAC Spotlights are brief, high-level overviews of relevant research and emerging technologies written by HDIAC SMEs.

If you’re interested in authoring an HDIAC Spotlight, please register to become an HDIAC SME, review the HDIAC Publications Guidelines,and email publications@hdiac.org.


Spotlight: Fracture-targeted Drugs for Accelerated Bone Repair

By: Stewart A. Low, Ph.D. & Philip S. Low, Ph.D.




Spotlight: Novel 3D-printed Synthetic Scaffolds Offer Personalized Repair of Major Bone Injuries

The majority of traumatic injuries sustained during combat involve the extremities (limbs, hands, and feet), and around one-quarter of these involve damage to the bone...


Spotlight: Chemical Attacks – Addressing the Threat

The use of acid or other corrosive liquids in criminal attacks has more than doubled in the United Kingdom since 2012, and Ireland has also experienced chemical attacks [1,2]...


Sound Byte: DoD Solar Power & the 2017 Total Eclipse

On Monday, August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will darken skies across the continental U.S. (CONUS), throwing a 165-mile-wide strip known as the “path of totality” into near darkness. However, one need not be...


Sound Byte: Risks Associated with the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of internet-connected objects able to collect and exchange data using embedded sensors. The IoT is a relatively recent and lesser-known component of infrastructure...


Sound Byte: Small Modular Reactors

Nuclear power development in the United States has been largely stagnant after safety concerns rose out of the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl incidents. The negative public stigma surrounding nuclear technology is...


Sound Byte: Solar Roads

Modern technological advances are significantly improving the operational capabilities of the power grid in the United States, and some of these advancements could be applied to existing infrastructure. One example is...


Spotlight: Face Morphs – A New Pathway to Identity Fraud

The human face recognition system is able to recognize new and highly varied instances of people we are familiar with. Unfamiliar face recognition, however, has been shown to be a difficult task and one that is...


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Sound Byte: SCADA Vulnerabilities in Critical Infrastructure

Supervisory control and data acquisition systems, or SCADA systems, are remote industrial control systems responsible for controlling and monitoring a wide range of infrastructure, such as power grids, dams and oil and gas pipelines...

Sound Byte: 3D Printing Applications for Alternative Energy

Alternative energy remains a priority for the Department of Defense. The DoD seeks to leverage alternative energy technology in order to improve mission effectiveness and increase military capabilities while also remaining cost effective...

Sound Byte: Nanomedicine for Defense Applications

The individual warfighter is a vital component of U.S. military strength. [1] Health issues and injuries encountered by the warfighter in the line of duty pose unique challenges compared with civilian environments. Discovering and implementing...

Sound Byte: Emerging Infectious Diseases and the DoD

The Department of Defense maintains a global footprint, with military personnel stationed in nearly 150 countries. [1] Many of these countries contain endemic diseases not commonly found in the United States. [2] From time-to-time, outbreaks...

Spotlight: New 'Trojan Horse' Antibody Strategy Shows Promise Against All Ebola Viruses

In research published online today in Science, a team of scientists describe a new therapeutic strategy to target a hidden Achilles' heel shared by all known types of Ebola virus. Two antibodies developed with this strategy blocked the invasion of...

Spotlight: ECBC Tests Chemical, Biological Sensor Integration in Utah Desert

The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) joined with technology developers from private industry and other Army and joint organizations to test a new integrated system of chemical and biological agent sensors...

Spotlight: Wearable Technology Reports Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries in Real Time

Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries cost the military more than a billion dollars per year. With 20 percent of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan experiencing head injuries during deployment, there is a need for technology that alerts supervising...

Spotlight: New Gun Safety Technology Prevents Unauthorized Use

Superimposed Hybrid Intelligent Electromechanical Locking Device, or S.H.I.E.L.D., features a patent pending electromechanical, biometric locking system that restricts access to the trigger with a sliding sheath. The sheath will only uncover...

Spotlight: Need for Nanotechnology in Military Uniforms

Projects such as the Army-funded Institute for Solider Nanotechnologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Naval Research Laboratory’s Institute for Nanoscience are designed to develop nanomaterials and other...

Spotlight: Innovative Neurotechnologies Maximize Physical and Mental Performance and Regulatory Capacity

The availability and use of biometric data are changing the landscape of military training and defense operations. Real-time biometrics made available through advances in physiological acquisition technologies...

Spotlight: Hemafuse Autologous Transfusion Device to Mitigate Battlefield Deaths

Hemorrhage remains the leading cause of death in both civilian and military settings, and is responsible for 50-80 percent of combat casualty deaths. Researchers with Sisu Global Health designed an intraoperative autologous...

Spotlight: Using Rats to Detect Landmines, Save Lives

Landmines represent a paramount roadblock on the path towards peace following regional conflicts. Last year, 3,678 people were killed by landmines. Years after a conflict concludes, landmines remain a risk to the physical and...

Spotlight: Algorithm to Predict ISIL Movements

Recently in eastern Afghanistan, an elder tribesman told an American Special Forces commander that U.S. precision weapon strikes against Taliban insurgents in his country were like “magic.” He saw attacks striking the exact spot where terrorist...

Spotlight: “Kamikaze Drone” Accurate and Versatile for Military Missions

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones, are increasingly used in the military due to their accuracy and gathering and disseminating capabilities. Used heavily in U.S. counterterrorism, drones remain one of the most effective tools of the...

Spotlight: Materials Amplify or Absorb Light

When a light wave penetrates a material, it is usually changed drastically. Scattering and diffraction lead to a superposition of waves, resulting in a complicated pattern of darker and brighter light spots inside the material. In specially tailored high-tech...

Spotlight: Nanoparticle Membrane: A Unique Two-dimensional Material

important functions in biology as it controls the transport of ions or organic substances in and out of the cell. Synthetic membranes, such as lipid bilayers and graphene membranes, on the other hand, are not as nearly as complex either in terms...

Spotlight: Developments in Ultra-High Performance Concrete and Bunker-Busting Bombs

Ultra-High Performance Concrete can withstand bombs and bunker penetrators, making it a unique new material that may be of interest for the Department of Defense (DoD). The concrete was...

Spotlight: Mitigating Chemical Agent Hazards with Agent Defeat Weapons

After an attack on the city of Marea, Syria last month left residents with symptoms indicating exposure to mustard gas, the use of chemical weapons continues to concern warfighters...

Spotlight: Studying Border Control at the International Center for Biometric Research

Border control authorities across the globe increasingly invest in more secure and reliable identification systems following an extensive growth in traveler traffic, longer queuing times...

Spotlight: Using Robot Technology to Triage and Remove Injured Soldiers

The U.S. military has high hopes for the future use of robotic technologies in medical missions, anticipating robots will one day be used to evacuate casualties from the front lines and provide...

Spotlight: Managing Flood Risk Through Risk Reduction Infrastructure

As Hurricane Joaquin approached the United States, individuals along the East Coast prepared for the wind, heavy rain and dangerous storm surges that would impact their area. Coastal water levels rose significantly above normal tides, which...

Spotlight: Harvesting the Power of Footsteps

While developments in collecting power from rain, waves and sunlight seem to be standard sources for power generation, the goal of less reliance on fossil fuels causes researchers to look for energy generation methods in some unexpected places. One of...

Spotlight: Fingerprint Analysis to Determine Link to Explosives, Drug Use

Fingerprints have been used to identify individuals for more than a century, but now at least one law enforcement agency is utilizing a new fingerprint technology that could make identification easier. Traditionally, fingerprints are analyzed and...

Spotlight: Refugee Crisis A Global Concern

Armed conflict, violence, human rights violations and natural disasters are all factors contributing to people leaving their homes in search of stability. Recently, images of Syrian refugees fleeing their country to seek asylum in Europe flashed across...

Spotlight: Balancing Interests and Protecting the U.S. Rail Infrastructure

Protecting the United States’ railroads is an ever increasing responsibility, especially as new threats to America’s infrastructure emerge since the September 11th terrorist attacks. In addition to terrorism, concerns arise regarding the aging infrastructure...

Spotlight: Explosive Threat Detection Technologies Within Public Transportation

Some U.S. lawmakers are concerned that public transportation in the United States is at risk for terrorist attacks. Rep. John Katko, chair of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security, spoke at a joint meeting with the...

Spotlight: Magnetic Fields for Wireless Communication

A new, lower power, more secure form of wireless communication may be on the horizon as researchers at the University of California San Diego develop the “magnetic field human body communication” concept. This technique sends magnetic...

Spotlight: Scent Detection Technology with Rats to Tackle Tuberculosis

The threat of tuberculosis (TB) is a significant health concern. Last year more than 6 million TB cases were reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). Research shows that being a military member is not a risk factor for TB; however situations...

Spotlight: Going Green: Artificial Photosynthesis

Rising energy costs and climate change create heavy interest in alternative and renewable energy sources. Ideal methods for alternative energy production are cheap and efficient without emitting damaging byproducts. The artificial leaf, one of the...

Spotlight: Studying Multidrug Resistant Pathogens

The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports at least two million infections and 23,000 deaths are caused annually by multidrug resistant pathogens. Within the U.S. military, there is serious concern about the use of broad...

Spotlight: Using DNA Origami to Build Nanodevices of the Future

The Department of Defense allocates time and money to developing biosensors able to detect biological molecules because biological warfare and the spread of disease are concerning vulnerabilities for the military. One particular biosensor, created...

Spotlight: Railway Security Concerns Increasing for Travelers and Military Logistic Planners

The recent attempted terrorist attack on a French passenger train, which was hindered by the quick and heroic actions of three American servicemen, once again draws the world’s attention to rail safety and points out a potential weakness in the United...

Spotlight: Tattoo Recognition Valuable Form of Biometric Identification

With one in five U.S. adults having at least one tattoo, tattoo recognition could be key in identifying suspects, criminals, soldiers and victims of crimes. Tattoos are trademarks of individuals in society and U.S. government officials are making special...

Spotlight: 3-D Printing Advances Could Assist Warfighters in the Field

As 3-D printing grows in efficiency and the associated costs decrease, the new prospects for this technology are limitless. One company, Raytheon Missile Systems, even intends to use additive manufacturing to print missiles. The ability for a warfighter...

Spotlight: Commemorating 9/11 and the Transformation of the U.S. Military

Every year, our nation commemorates the anniversary of September 11, memorializing the lives lost and honoring people who risked their lives to save many. In the 14 years since this tragedy, a sense of unity still resides, driving the ongoing need...

Spotlight: 3D Integrated Imaging to Tackle Landmine Detection

Using dual tomography imaging techniques, the University of Bath hopes to develop a new 3D subsurface camera system capable of detecting landmines underground. The three-year research project lead by Dr. Manuchehr Soleimani at the...

Spotlight: Breakthrough Cell Regeneration Device Speeds Healing Time

A new device, which allows surgeons to harvest healthy skin cells and re-generate them for transplant to damaged areas of the patient’s skin, could transform the healing process. Avita Medical Ltd. of Woburn, Massachusetts announced a new research...

Spotlight: Aerosol Vaccine Offers Protection from Deadly Ebola Virus

A revolutionary, needle-free Ebola vaccine shows a high degree of protection from the deadly virus that continues to spread between species and is considered a breakthrough in the scientific community because of its inherent logistical advantages...

Spotlight: Flying IEDs: The Next Evolution in Warfare?

Over the course of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, roadside Improvised Explosive Devices have become the scourge of the United States military’s ordinance disposal units. The IED is a staple weapon of asymmetric warfare tactics, providing...

Spotlight: Sensor Mimics Nature to Detect Dangerous Structural Cracks

As the world’s infrastructure ages, future inspections and assessments need new methods to predict and assess structural conditions. Using geometrical patterns appearing in nature, researchers developed a new type of ultrasound sensor that...

Spotlight: Lightweight Syntactic Foam Useful for Military Vehicles

Materials allowing for greater energy independence and fuel efficiency are of great interest to the Department of Defense (DoD). Advanced lightweight materials provide the ability to create lighter vehicles and are crucial to improving the performance of...

Spotlight: Solving the Tin Whiskers Dilemma

A decades old electronics performance problem is re-emerging as the European Union enacted legislation removing the use of lead in electronics. In the 1940s, electronics were failing due to the formation of “tin whiskers,” which are filaments that can...

Spotlight: Easily Retrievable, Biodegradable Nanoparticles for Environmental Cleanup

News reports continue to raise awareness of potential health threats associated with exposure to hazardous materials. The Elk River chemical spill in January 2014 caused deprivation of tap water to 300,000 people for weeks. Elsewhere, disturbing...

Spotlight: Breakthrough with New Technique for Graphene Production

Graphene is the thinnest substance capable of conducting electricity, but is also flexible and one of the strongest known materials. Because of these characteristics, scientists and engineers have dedicated years to adapting graphene to...

Spotlight: Researchers Use Luminol to Treat Malaria

Malaria is a devastating infectious mosquito-borne disease caused by single-celled parasites called Plasmodium that can live inside red blood cells. In 2013, 500,000 people died after being infected with malaria. As the malaria parasite mutates, it...

Spotlight: MERS-CoV: A Persistent Threat to International and U.S. Force Public Health

As new biological threats emerge around the world, deployed personnel risk encountering these agents both on the battlefield and during peacetime. The current outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) continues to cause...

Spotlight: Japan’s “Privacy Visor” Thwarts Facial Recognition Technology

Japan has worked for years to create a pair of glasses that will shield the wearer from discovery on facial recognition software. The first iteration of the “privacy visor” used near-infrared lights, which are visible to cameras but not humans. The new...

Spotlight: The Offshore Floating Nuclear Power Plant Concept

If the nuclear industry is to live up to its immense potential and thrive in a post-Fukushima, post 9/11 world in which public concerns about safety and security are high and the cost of alternative energies is either low (natural gas) or rapidly decreasing...

Spotlight: Manufacturing Miniature Primary Batteries

When soldiers depart on long patrols, the gear they carry weighs up to 100lbs. Deployable communication devices such as radios, GPS and night-vision goggles require the use of batteries in order to function. Batteries, along with water, contribute to...

Spotlight: Shielding Radiation Using Composite Metal Foam

The Advanced Materials Research Lab (AMRL) at North Carolina State University is creating a new class of metallic foam, known as composite metal foam (CMF), to combine the benefits of metal matrix composites and metallic foams. In the past decade...