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Yahoo! News | Yahoo Finance | September 2006
UNITED STATES ARMY SELECTS BOSTON MICROMACHINES FOR PHASE 1 STTR PROJECT Boston Micromachines to Build Device to Prevent Friendly Fire


Watertown, Mass., September 5, 2006
Boston Micromachines Corporation, a leading provider of MEMS-based deformable mirror products for adaptive optics systems, today announced that it has been selected by the United States Army for a Phase 1 Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) award through the Department of Defense. The STTR award of approximately $100,000 will allow Boston Micromachines and its research partner Boston University to begin development of the Secure Communicating Optical Ultra-small Transponder (SCOUT). This new device could save lives on the battlefield through secure optical communication using an active mirror enabling the rapid identification of friendly soldiers, vehicles, or aircraft.

SCOUT will be a highly versatile device. Applications extend beyond Identify Friend or Foe, to include situational awareness, covert communication and reading from remote sensors such as bio-weapon detector and motion trackers. Slightly larger than a matchbox, this ultra-low power, and long range transponder will allow for ground-and air-based communication from soldier-to-soldier, vehicle-to-soldier, and vehicle-to-vehicle. Additionally, SCOUT will be an upgrade to current weapons’ laser systems so the integration of the technology will be seamless.

“We are pleased to be awarded this grant by the United States Army and to help address an ever growing concern for our military forces," said Paul Bierden, president and CEO of Boston Micromachines. “Our technology, which has helped advance applications in Department of Defense laser communications systems, will now play an important role in the effort to save lives on the battlefield.”

SCOUT’s technology is based on a modulated retro-reflector, which employs a design that combines a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) deformable mirror to modulate light with a simple optic which returns a reflected light to its point of origin. The device is enhanced by two inherent characteristics. First, unlike RF transmitters, SCOUT does not send an omni-directional signal but instead directs an optical signal along a narrow path increasing security and stealth with minimal power consumption. Second, since all optical energy comes from the source, SCOUT requires no on-board transmission power. STTR is an important small business program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development arena. Central to the program is expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small business and the nation's premier nonprofit research institutions. STTR's most important role is to foster the innovation necessary to meet the nation's scientific and technological challenges in the 21st century.

About Boston Micromachines Corporation Founded in 1999, Boston Micromachines Corporation (BMC) is the leading provider of advanced microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) - based mirror products for use in commercial adaptive optics systems, applying wavefront correction to produce high resolution images of the human retina and enhance images blurred by the Earth’s atmosphere. The company’s suite of award-winning compact deformable mirror (DM) products are the most cost-effective, highest performance mirrors in the market today. They are widely used in vision science applications such as advanced optic retinal imaging, long range laser communications, and astronomy, including NASA’s search for planets in other solar systems. Customers include leading manufacturers of optical imaging and communication systems, governmental agencies and contractors, and vision science research laboratories worldwide, including NASA, UCal Berkeley, Lockheed Martin and Boston University. Located in Watertown, Mass., BMC is privately held and also offers custom designed manufacturing services.

 
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