Four Lincoln Laboratory technologies win five 2023 R&D 100 awards | MIT News

Ultrasound that doesn’t require touching sufferers. An internet-based device that reinvents crew scheduling for the Air Drive. Cryptographic {hardware} that protects delicate information. And the world’s first sensible reminiscence for quantum networking.

These 4 applied sciences developed at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, both wholly or with collaborators, obtained 2023 R&D 100 Awards. The ultrasound expertise additionally obtained a second award in a particular class recognizing market-disrupting merchandise. Bestowed by R&D World journal, the awards acknowledge the 100 most vital improvements which have transitioned to make use of or been made obtainable on the market or license previously yr. The worldwide competitors is judged by a panel of science and expertise consultants and business professionals.

“Lincoln Laboratory has been very lucky to obtain 86 R&D 100 Awards over the previous 14 years. Our price of unclassified expertise transition continues to be very excessive, and now we have the same excessive transition price for our categorized packages. The laboratory is really altering the world by way of its profitable expertise growth and transition. We congratulate everybody concerned,” says Lincoln Laboratory Director Eric Evans.

Medical imaging with noncontact ultrasound

Many individuals are aware of the ultrasound course of — a sonographer presses a transducer onto a affected person’s pores and skin and strikes it round, gathering photographs of tissues and organs. Although a well-established expertise, ultrasound suffers from sonographer variability, making it troublesome to precisely evaluate repeat measurements, and is proscribed by the necessity to make contact with the pores and skin. For these causes, magnetic resonance imaging and computerized tomography, regardless of their excessive prices and lack of portability, are nonetheless the predominant imaging applied sciences for illness monitoring.

The Noncontact Laser Ultrasound (NCLUS) for Medical Imaging overcomes these limitations. The skin-safe laser system acquires ultrasound photographs with out touching a affected person. It makes use of a pulsed laser that emits optical power, which is transformed to ultrasound waves upon hitting tissue. The returning echoes are detected by a laser Doppler vibrometer and are processed to generate photographs. The system’s laser positioning on the physique could be precisely reproduced, thus eliminating variability throughout repeated scans. This repeatability might allow ultrasound for use to trace illness development, equivalent to adjustments in tumor measurement over time.

Its touchless design additionally opens up solely new makes use of for ultrasound: “NCLUS might picture burn or trauma victims, sufferers with open deep-tissue areas instantly throughout surgical procedure, untimely infants requiring intensive medical care, sufferers with neck and backbone accidents, and contagious people from standoff distances,” says Robert Haupt, NCLUS co-inventor.

With NCLUS, medical employees with out sonography coaching would possibly be capable of carry out ultrasound imaging outdoors of a hospital — in a physician’s workplace, at dwelling, or in a distant battlefield setting. Due to its game-changing potential within the medical imaging business, NCLUS additionally obtained the R&D 100 Silver Medal within the Particular Recognition: Market Disruptor Merchandise class, along with the R&D 100 Award.

Each awards are shared with the Massachusetts Normal Hospital Heart for Ultrasound Analysis and Translation and Sound & Vivid LLC.

An optimizer for aircrew scheduling

The U.S. Air Drive has intense scheduling wants. Its fleet of C-17s, the cargo plane that transports troops and provides globally, marked 4 million flight hours final yr. Till just lately, Air Drive airmen, equivalent to pilots and loadmasters, must schedule every flight’s crew manually, on a whiteboard.  

Puckboard has modified that. The online-based utility supplies clever, training-informed scheduling for the primary time since navy flight scheduling started about 80 years in the past, and is returning beneficial time again to airmen to give attention to their main duties.

Puckboard’s collaborative instruments present schedulers with project suggestions whereas permitting crew members to volunteer for occasions that work greatest for his or her private lives. Past offering a digital calendaring perform, Puckboard applies synthetic intelligence methods that contemplate metrics equivalent to crew coaching development, flight-hour distribution, overqualification avoidance, and project fragility to advocate optimum schedules. Immediately, Puckboard hosts 24,000 customers and has scheduled greater than 315,000 occasions throughout 87 squadrons.

“Puckboard’s impression is a direct reflection of the breadth and depth of talent units and honest ardour that every one the contributors have. From the designers, software program engineers, and algorithm consultants to the active-duty squadrons and aircrew members, all the best way as much as senior management — everyone seems to be dedicated to growing the readiness of the U.S. Air Drive by way of the lens of bettering the standard of lifetime of our airmen,” says Michael Snyder, a principal investigator on the venture. “Scheduling is a posh subject, made much more troublesome below uncertainty, and this effort is a testomony to having the ability to resolve any drawback with the correct group.”

This R&D 100 Award is shared with MIT, RevaComm, Division of the Air Drive – MIT AI Accelerator, Air Drive fifteenth Wing, sixtieth Air Mobility Wing, 437th Airlift Wing, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Air Drive Analysis Laboratory, assistant secretary of the Air Drive (Installations, Atmosphere, and Power), and Raytheon-BBN.

A tool to safe information on uncrewed platforms

For the U.S. navy, using uncrewed techniques is rising to attenuate hurt to human operators. As a result of these techniques usually transmit delicate information over the air, their radio elements have to be licensed by the Nationwide Safety Company (NSA). For years, this certification course of has been an insurmountable hurdle for a lot of small companies and would-be innovators in radio expertise and robotics from which the navy may benefit. Now, such builders can use an already-NSA licensed safety answer, developed by Lincoln Laboratory, that’s able to drop in and deploy for all kinds of automobiles and missions.

The Safety/Cyber Module (SCM) Finish Cryptographic Unit (ECU) is a compact machine that secures tactical datalinks of uncrewed techniques. The module modernizes safety by pulling collectively a number of cybersecurity applied sciences, most notably a way referred to as Tactical Key Administration that establishes secret keys on the fly for safe communication. The module is the primary crypto machine designed for a broad swath of uncrewed techniques inside the Joint Communication Structure for Unmanned Programs (JCAUS), a current U.S. Division of Protection effort to modularize uncrewed system radio hyperlinks and permit reuse of NSA-certified elements by standardizing capabilities and interfaces.

Since its supply, the U.S. Navy has awarded a full-rate manufacturing contract to Tomahawk Robotics to produce SCM ECUs to be used of their explosive ordnance disposal robots. “Whereas developed primarily for Navy floor robotics, the SCM/ECU’s adherence to JCAUS ensures that it’s well-suited to airborne and underwater automobiles alike,” says Ben Nahill, a principal investigator on this system.

The award is shared with the Naval Info Warfare Heart Pacific.

A scalable, photonic reminiscence for quantum networking

In quantum data processing, reminiscence receives and shops the state of a quantum bit (qubit), just like how reminiscence for an unusual communication system or pc receives and shops data as binary states. Reminiscence makes it potential to reliably ship and obtain data between separate techniques, even throughout lossy transmission hyperlinks. Lincoln Laboratory’s quantum reminiscence is the primary to mix, in a single module, the three capabilities required for networking collectively separate quantum techniques: a photonic interface, a option to right for loss errors, and an structure scalable to tens of reminiscences in a single module. Till now, quantum reminiscence techniques have fallen quick on a number of of those capabilities. 

“This module eliminates most of the boundaries to deploying quantum reminiscences into real-world settings and take a look at beds and to really utilizing them to develop rising superior quantum functions, equivalent to distributed sensing and networked quantum processing,” says Ben Dixon, who leads this work.

A photonic interface permits for qubits to be transferred through particles of sunshine (photons) between the reminiscence and optical-fiber networks. The laboratory’s quantum reminiscence makes use of silicon-vacancy (SiV) diamond color-centers, that are atom-like buildings that may be effectively manipulated with mild, even on the single photon degree. This SiV expertise can even right for signal-loss errors ensuing from inefficient and lossy community hyperlinks. As a result of it makes use of particular person atomic color-centers, this expertise is suitable with environment friendly “heralded” protocols, the place a sign confirms the profitable transmission of a photon throughout the community and storage of the related qubit in reminiscence.

The SiV module can also be scalable. The SiV reminiscence cells are built-in to a custom-made photonic built-in circuit, a expertise that permits sending and receiving alerts and could be scaled to a whole bunch of parallel channels. Combining this integration method with a novel packaging structure, laboratory researchers built-in eight quantum reminiscences right into a single module. Further reminiscences could be built-in into this single module, which could be joined with further modules for additional scalability.

Along with these successful applied sciences, 5 different Lincoln Laboratory applied sciences had been named R&D 100 award finalists. A gala celebrating the 2023 award winners might be held on Nov. 16 in San Diego, California.

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