WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

Blog archive
Nick Wakeman

Lockheed looks to nature in $10M research effort

Let’s file this in the off-beat but pretty cool category. Maybe a little geeky too.

Lockheed Martin is working with the Army Research Laboratory to take cells and use them as building blocks for novel materials.

Their work is primarily focused on new materials to improve defense optical technology and coatings.

“Cells efficiently create all sorts of materials, like a spider’s silk or a butterfly’s iridescent wings. We want to harness nature’s process to better protect people,” Melissa Rhoads, Lockheed senior research manager and lead for the project, said in a company release. “Biodesign exists today, but it doesn’t exist at the scale and to the quality of defense standards.”

Biodesign is the intersection of biology and technology. Lockheed sees potential to bring the materials work to a more precise level. To mature the concept, Lockheed is working with the Army Research Lab and companies such as Ginkgo Bioworks.

Researchers are looking to nature for inspiration such as the way a squid filters and focuses light and how melanin in humans and animals can provide protection from the Sun’s ultraviolet rays.

“We can’t manufacture that kind of capability, so Lockheed Martin will try nature’s way,” Rhoads said. “Harnessing the power of self-assembling materials is sustainable, affordable and can be much faster to produce than artificial methods.

"As much potential there is for biodesign, the maturity of the materials technology is still low, so our five-year study will advance this field significantly for precision science.”

The $10 million, five-year agreement goes by the name Self-Assembly of Nanostructures for Tunable Materials. They will use the Army’s Open Campus model to collaborate with universities, small business and other scientists and engineers.

I’ve always been a Star Trek fan so this kind of stuff -- even if I can’t understand the science -- is what makes me excited about the future my kids will grow up in.

That’s for indulging my geek moment of the day.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Feb 26, 2019 at 12:50 PM


Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here
close

Trending

  • POWER TRAINING: How to engage your customers

    Don't miss our Aug. 2 Washington Technology Power Training session on Mastering Stakeholder Engagement, where you'll learned the critical skills you need to more fully connect with your customers and win more business. Read More

  • PROJECT 38 PODCAST

    In our latest Project 38 Podcast, editor Nick Wakeman interviews Tom Romeo, the leader of Maximus Federal about how it has zoomed up the 2019 Top 100. Read More

contracts DB

Washington Technology Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.