December 7, 2011

Contract Award: Adapx to support DARPA's Deep Green Program

News Report

Here in this blog we have already reported that on last October Adapx was awarded a contract by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory's Simulation and Training Technology Center (STTC) to build advanced speech and sketch interfaces for course-of-action simulators. Adapx's solution, named Capturx, provides natural interfaces which enable commanders of small units to model outcomes faster and improve decision making without the distractions and data-capture obstacles of today’s complex C2 and C4ISR interfaces.

A recent entry on Digital Battlespace illustrates how such technology is going to be applied in the context of DARPA's Deep Green Program.

The Program

The mission of the Deep Green Program is to enable commanders to use simulation to foresee the outcomes of plans and make necessary adjustments. The program is developing a synergistic human/machine system, which includes establishing natural warfighter-computer interfaces, creating a common futures graph, and building a synthetic battlespace engine that will understand inputs and employ reasoning to predict multiple battlefield outcomes. Instead of having a planning phase followed by an execution phase, Deep Green will execute both phases simultaneously. The idea is to allow commanders to think creatively about the options available to accomplish a mission. The software-based system then takes these alternatives and analyzes how they might play out to help commanders stay within an enemy’s decision cycle. The technology will allow commanders to generate options rapidly and proactively to avoid any surprises. “The assertion behind Deep Green is we should be surprised much less frequently,” said Deep Green's Program Manager Col. John Surdu.

Deep Green is divided into several components or applications:
  • Commander’s Associate, i.e. the primary interface between human users and Deep Green. Its interface allows users to draw freehand on it and to speak instructions to generate options. In the future, it will be able to infer or deduce commanders’ intents from their sketches and speech. The goal is for officers to draw a course of action on a monitor the way they would on a piece of paper and to have the computer understand the drawings and generate futures. The Commander’s Associate also will be able to prompt commanders at times when they need to generate options.
  • Blitzkrieg, which takes the options generated for friendly, allied and neutral forces and models possible futures.
  • Crystal Ball, which basically controls how Blitzkrieg generates rules, and it monitors data from an ongoing operation and updates the likelihood metrics associated with possible futures.
The Context

The previous two phases of the programme saw the development of the voice and written symbology, also provided by Adapx. The recent contract aims to integrate Capturx into battle command systems, enabling commanders to create their own battle plans by ‘simply speaking and sketching their plans using standard military jargon or symbols.

Designed to be ‘faster for decisions and deployment’, Capturx was developed to make battle command easier for soldiers and commanders in an effort to reduce data entry obstacles: ‘You made a decision five minutes ago, and in ten minutes it could be wrong’, a company spokesman added.

Describing itself as a ‘global expert for speech and sketch’, Adapx claims to provide easier interfaces which require less training, and avoid the ‘clunky interface’ commonplace in legacy systems. The company also provides a pen and paper option using special pens for those who use hard copy for mission planning.

As already stated, this news follows the contract award to the company in October from the U.S Army Research Laboratory’s Simulation and Training Technology Center, which aims to ‘streamline course-of–action simulations’ for small unit commanders, which allow them to predict potential courses of action.

References: Digital Battlespace (1), Capturx (2), AFCEA (3)

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