Robotics, augmented reality, rescue innovations and other cutting-edge technologies will be on view at the second annual Military Invention Day presented by the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation Saturday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The free event in the first-floor innovation wing of the National Museum of American History will include opening talks featuring the Secretary of the U.S. Air Force Heather Wilson, stage programs and demonstrations, as well as nearly 30 interactive displays of leading technologies based on armed forces research alongside the museum’s historical exhibitions and collections.
Military Invention Day is focused on the role of the U.S. military in the invention of new technology, and the value of communication between soldiers and scientists and engineers. Attendees will have opportunities to personally interact with the inventors behind the technologies and also experience hands-on family-friendly invention challenges such as “invent and test a transport vehicle” and “build an exoskeleton.” Displays by the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, DARPA, Draper, Dynamis and MIT Lincoln Laboratory will emphasize the cross-disciplinary work of invention in areas that include, but are not limited to, communications, drones and surveillance, robotics, navigation, health and frontline medical response, augmented and enhanced reality, and more.
“It is our hope that Military Invention Day will play a role in empowering visitors to apply their curiosity to real-world problems and see themselves as inventors,” said Arthur Daemmrich, director of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. “We see the potential for direct conversations with diverse inventors, showcasing how the technology is used, what challenges inspired it, and what impact it will have, to inspire or deepen our visitors’ interests in science and engineering.”
Among the diverse displays from across the five units of the U.S. Armed Forces is the Battlefield Trauma Observation Kit, an Air Force-developed multi-patent monitoring and documenting tool that aggregates data from sensors on multiple patients simultaneously to give a medic better situational awareness while speeding triage. Museum collections on view for the day include rarely displayed objects, such as the Ghostrider Self-driving Motorcycle, an early example of self-driving technology and how military invention extends into uses for daily American life.
For a full list of activities, displays and stage demonstrations, visit http://invention.si.edu/military-invention-day-2018.