Innovation Crossover: Day One Blog

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — NSWC Crane News is live from the inaugural “Innovation Crossover: The Shape of Things to Come” conference at the Bloomington Conference Center. Throughout the two-day event, there will be a number of experts in their respective fields as keynote speakers, and we will provide periodic updates on this page on the key issues discussed.

If you’re attending the event or want to participate in the conversation on Twitter, use the hashtag #Innoxover2016 and follow @NAVSEACrane.

Dr. Chris Fall:


Dr. Chris Fall, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, addresses the audience at the Innovation Crossover conference. (Oct. 11, 2016)

Wednesday’s Innovation Crossover event began with a key note speech from Dr. Chris Fall, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Dr. Fall centered his speech on the challenges of continued innovation in the areas of technology and economic growth, and how those challenges can be addressed through the collaboration of defense, industry and academia.

“I’m a policy guy. I think it’s important that we take small steps forward in understanding the policy and how it affects us,” Fall said. “Great on Crane for tech transfer. I think we could look at Crane as the model for tech transfer. You guys are way ahead in trying to tie this together. I think you have a great plan.”

Highlights from SPARC Panel:

In a fast-moving, 75-minute session, the Innovation Crossover conference audience heard from a number of experts in a variety of fields from a variety of institutions.

Here are a couple of the highlights from those talks:

  • Dr. Ben Conley of NSWC Crane gave an interesting speech about the development of new efficient lighting technology that helps Warfighters see significantly better in the dark.

The lights can not only be attached to the helmets of the fighters, but weapons and binoculars as well. Conley said the lights can last for a full 24 hours on a single AA battery, and they feature an extremely fast frame rate.

“It allows for our fighters to see when the adversaries cannot,” Conley said. “We always want to have the upper hand. They’re high speed. We can put these on Warfighters that are doing extremely fast tasks.”

  • Dr. Jonathan Poggie of Purdue University introduced the audience to the concept of hypersonic flight and argued its importance to the United States. Essentially, hypersonic flight uses an air-breathing engine through a concept Poggie called “Payload Fraction”, which would significantly increase the efficiency of flight.

Poggie used a rocket ship as an example of an inefficient form of flight, and he said using an air-breathing engine could double the payload.

“Hypersonic testing is an extremely expensive endeavor, and by doing some of that work on a computer, we can speed up that process,” Poggie said.

Poggie said Purdue is currently working on developing a new wind tunnel to test hypersonic flight and find a way to combat the extreme heating associated with flying so fast in the atmosphere.

  • Dr. Matt Gadlage of NSWC Crane focused his presentation on the concept of trusted microelectronics and the challenges that the continued evolution of such electronics present.

Gadlage pointed out the fact that advanced electronics give warfighters a distinct advantage, but also warned about their potential dangers.

Defense electronics must be both trusted and reliable, Gadlage said, meaning they must have long lifetimes and be able to function in extreme environments.

“They need to do exactly what they’re supposed to do, nothing more, nothing less,” Gadlage said. “Your IPhone probably won’t work in 20 years, but we have to design security programs that will last that long.”


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