CRANE, Ind. (AP) - In 2007, improvised explosive devices were killing a growing number of American soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.
What the military calls an “urgent need statement” arrived from the front lines, asking for help detecting the hidden ground-based bombs to stop the deadly attacks.
Jamie Bass, a young engineer working at the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center, got to thinking. “There were programs for jamming systems, and there had to be a way to develop something for foot soldiers out on patrol,” he told The Herald-Times (https://bit.ly/1rnX134 ).
In August 2009, the Daviess County native and cyber security expert filed for a patent for a portable signal transmission surveillance system he designed: a laptop computer programmed to detect and trace electronic signals from IED detonation devices such as cellphones, radios and garage door openers.
Bass met with the man who oversees patent development at Crane and sold him on the idea. From there, Bass worked with an engineer and patent lawyer to refine the invention. In November 2011, U.S. Patent No. 8,001,902 was issued for Bass’ system.
He was among dozens of Crane patent holder recognized Wednesday at the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Invention and Technology Showcase. More than 100 framed patents with drawings of the inventions were displayed around a conference room at the WestGate Academy center. Patent holders were encouraged to continue using imaginative and creative thinking to meet the military’s needs.
“As global security threats continue to escalate, we are challenged to do more with less,” said speaker Adam Razavian, technical director for the Naval Surface Warfare Center. “How do we continue to ignite that spark of genius that fuels Crane’s technological growth? We have to out-innovate the rest of the world.”
Inventions displayed at the conference center would not be of use to the average person. Patents ranged from simple to complex: a device for separating parts of acoustic sensors, a laser targeting system, a skin and tissue simulant for munitions testing, an electromagnetic weapon, an exothermic torch rod with seven inventors listed, a gun mount, a pressure seal.
Jeffery and Trevor Snow of Bloomington are the only father-son Crane patent holders; they have been issued two. They worked together to devise complex coordinating systems for electronic weapons and explosives.
Trevor Snow said he and his father, who has retired, would discuss and refine their ideas on the daily 40-minute commute from Bloomington and back home. Sometimes, talk of weapons systems, radar technology and explosives’ coordination would continue over dinner.
“We’d kick stuff back and forth,” Snow, an engineer with a doctoral degree from Purdue University, said. “There was some eye rolling from my mom.”
Bass said his ground soldier IED detection system was never produced because a more immediate system like it was patented and installed in armored military Humvees, drastically reducing soldier injuries and deaths from IEDs.
That doesn’t mean his invention is obsolete; he is looking at nonmilitary uses. He worked with a University of Southern Indiana professor to convert the technology for use as a visitor tracking system. His independent cyber security business unsuccessfully pitched the idea to the owners of Holiday World amusement and water park, and he thinks his system might have applications in law enforcement as well.
“We’ve locked in the concept and technology with the patent, and we can utilize the rights for other purposes,” he said.
Information from: The Herald Times, https://www.heraldtimesonline.com
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